The copy we are selling is similar to the one pictured above.
Side One: Mint Minus to Mint Minus Minus
Side Two: Mint Minus Minus (often quieter than this grade)*
- A superb early pressing with Nearly Triple Plus (A++ to A+++) sound on both sides of The Talking Head's One True Masterpiece - just shy of our Shootout Winner
- We guarantee that you have never heard these songs sound as BIG, BOLD and ALIVE as they do here - Take Me to the River is really rockin' on this side two
- With Eno producing and Rhett Davies engineering, every track is (psycho) killer - truly this is a Must Own from 1978
- Mostly quiet vinyl with just one minor mark that passes quickly
- 5 stars: "Brian Eno brought a musical unity that tied the album together, especially in terms of the rhythm section, the sequencing, the pacing, and the mixing."
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*NOTE: On side two, a mark makes 6 moderate pops at the beginning of Track 2, I'm Not in Love.
These Nearly White Hot Stamper pressings have top-quality sound that's often surprisingly close to our White Hots, but they sell at substantial discounts to our Shootout Winners, making them a relative bargain in the world of Hot Stampers ("relative" meaning relative considering the prices we charge). We feel you get what you pay for here at Better Records, and if ever you don't agree, please feel free to return the record for a full refund, no questions asked.
If you thought you'd never hear a truly great pressing of this album, here's the copy that will prove you wrong and rock your world doing it! The top end is extended and sweet, the bottom end is big and punchy, and the overall sound is as rich and full-bodied as you could expect from this zany art-rock.
The vocals have the kind of presence that put David Byrne right there in your living room, and not under a blanket or behind the speakers as most of the pressings we played were wont to do.
Top Notch '70s Art Rock
I don't think these guys ever put together a better group of songs. The ultimate pressings of Little Creatures go a step further sonically, but the best copies of this one can sound incredible, if not quite Demo Disc worthy.
We're huge fans of late '70s / early '80s Art Rock and New Wave music, and these guys are obviously some of the best in the biz. I'd be hard pressed to name another act from the era who put out so many good records.
Along with this album, More Songs About Buildings And Food, Fear Of Music, and Little Creatures are all works of genius. '77 is full of good ideas, but it doesn't sound like a fully realized work of art the way the next four albums did.
What the Best Sides of More Songs About Building and Food Have to Offer Is Not Hard to Hear
- The biggest, most immediate staging in the largest acoustic space
- The most Tubey Magic, without which you have almost nothing. CDs give you clean and clear. Only the best vintage vinyl pressings offer the kind of Tubey Magic that was on the tapes in 1978
- Tight, note-like, rich, full-bodied bass, with the correct amount of weight down low
- Natural tonality in the midrange -- with all the instruments having the correct timbre
- Transparency and resolution, critical to hearing into the three-dimensional studio space
No doubt there's more but we hope that should do for now. Playing the record is the only way to hear all of the qualities we discuss above, and playing the best pressings against a pile of other copies under rigorously controlled conditions is the only way to find a pressing that sounds as good as this one does.
Key Test Tracks
With Our Love turned out to be one of the better tests for side one. The picking of the rhythmic guitar in the intro told us just about everything we needed to know about smear, veiling and resolution. On most copies the instrument is simply blurry, the notes mashed together. When you get a copy with its transients intact, resolving properly and clearly right there in front of you, you have the makings of a Hot Stamper side one.
My other test track for side one was Warning Signs. This is a great track for evaluating transparency and bass. On the average copy you'd never know how much ambience exists around the drums. Hint: it's a lot.
Our favorite copies have a fair amount of WHOMP down low, giving the bass guitar that rich, beefy sound that we're simply crazy for here at Better Records. Once you've heard a copy with well-defined, note-like bass, nothing less will do.
A great test track for side two is Artists Only. The guitars in the intro section are almost unbearable to listen to on most copies. I recognize that I am somewhat sensitive to harsh high frequencies, but I'm literally in pain when I listen to an overly compressed, overly midrangy copy. There's got to be a better way!
Wait, there is. Find a copy that actually has a sweet top end. It makes all the difference.
What We're Listening For on More Songs About Buildings and Food
- Energy for starters. What could be more important than the life of the music?
- Then: presence and immediacy. The vocals aren't "back there" somewhere, lost in the mix. They're front and center where any recording engineer worth his salt -- Rhett Davies in this case -- would put them.
- The Big Sound comes next -- wall to wall, lots of depth, huge space, three-dimensionality, all that sort of thing.
- Then transient information -- fast, clear, sharp attacks, not the smear and thickness so common to these LPs.
- Tight punchy bass -- which ties in with good transient information, also the issue of frequency extension further down.
- Next: transparency -- the quality that allows you to hear deep into the soundfield, showing you the space and air around all the instruments.
- Extend the top and bottom and voila, you have The Real Thing -- an honest to goodness Hot Stamper.
Take Me to the River
One of the best-sounding tracks on the album is the awesome cover of Al Green's Take Me To The River. Most copies are very skimpy with the amount of bottom-end information you get.
Pay attention to the opening before the keys start. The best pressings give you texture on the bass that you won't find on most. When everything's working right you'll also hear ambience around the organ that's nowhere to be found on the average pressing.
The bass should be tight, punchy, and fairly deep. We wouldn't mind if some of the tracks were mixed with a bit more punch to the bottom end, but far be it from us to tell Brian Eno and Rhett Davies how to do their jobs. At least on some copies the bass has the kind of power that brings a song like Take Me To the River to heights you probably never imagined it could go.
Mint Minus Minus and maybe a bit better is about as quiet as any vintage pressing will play, and since only the right vintage pressings have any hope of sounding good on this album, that will most often be the playing condition of the copies we sell. (The copies that are even a bit noisier get listed on the site are seriously reduced prices or traded back in to the local record stores we shop at.)
Those of you looking for quiet vinyl will have to settle for the sound of other pressings and Heavy Vinyl reissues, purchased elsewhere of course as we have no interest in selling records that don't have the vintage analog magic of these wonderful recordings.
If you want to make the trade-off between bad sound and quiet surfaces with whatever Heavy Vinyl pressing might be available, well, that's certainly your prerogative, but we can't imagine losing what's good about this music -- the size, the energy, the presence, the clarity, the weight -- just to hear it with less background noise.
A Must Own Rock Record
This Demo Disc Quality recording should be part of any serious Rock Collection. Others that belong in that category can be found here.
- Thank You for Sending Me an Angel
- With Our Love
- The Good Thing
- Warning Sign
- The Girls Want to Be with the Girls
- Found a Job
- Artists Only
- I'm Not in Love
- Stay Hungry
- Take Me to the River
- The Big Country
All Music 5 Star Rave Review
The title of Talking Heads' second album, More Songs About Buildings and Food, slyly addressed the sophomore record syndrome, in which songs not used on a first LP are mixed with hastily written new material. If the band's sound seems more conventional, the reason simply may be that one had encountered the odd song structures, staccato rhythms, strained vocals, and impressionistic lyrics once before.
Another was that new co-producer Brian Eno brought a musical unity that tied the album together, especially in terms of the rhythm section, the sequencing, the pacing, and the mixing. Where Talking Heads had largely been about David Byrne's voice and words, Eno moved the emphasis to the bass-and-drums team of Tina Weymouth and Chris Frantz; all the songs were danceable, and there were only short breaks between them.
Byrne held his own, however, and he continued to explore the eccentric, if not demented persona first heard on 77, whether he was adding to his observations on boys and girls or turning his 'Psycho Killer' into an artist in 'Artists Only.' Through the first nine tracks, More Songs was the successor to 77, which would not have earned it landmark status or made it the commercial breakthrough it became.
It was the last two songs that pushed the album over those hurdles. First there was an inspired cover of Al Green's 'Take Me to the River'; released as a single, it made the Top 40 and pushed the album to gold-record status.
Second was the album closer, 'The Big Country,' Byrne's country-tinged reflection on flying over middle America; it crystallized his artist-vs.-ordinary people perspective in unusually direct and dismissive terms, turning the old Chuck Berry patriotic travelogue theme of rock & roll on its head and employing a great hook in the process.