The copy we are selling is similar to the one pictured above.
Side One: Mint Minus Minus (often quieter than this grade)*
Side Two: Mint Minus to Mint Minus Minus
- This original Tomato pressing boasts superb Double Plus (A++) sound or BETTER from start to finish - remarkably quiet vinyl too
- Amazingly present, real and resolving, this copy is guaranteed to murder any remastering undertaken by anyone - past, present and future
- The LIFE of the man's music is captured on this pressing, and you can be pretty sure that that is simply not going to be the case with whatever Heavy Vinyl mediocrity they're peddling to record buyers these days
- 4 stars: "The melodies here are strong, the lyrics full of Van Zandt's razor sharp insight, and the production is sparse and to the point, bringing to mind the inconspicuous polish of High, Low and in Between. The feel here is a balance between folk and country, with Van Zandt's voice and guitar up front, letting the songs speak for themselves. "
100% Money Back Guarantee on all Hot Stampers
FREE Domestic Shipping on all LP orders over $150
*NOTE: There is a mark that plays 3 times very lightly at the start of track 3 on side 1.
Vintage covers for this album are hard to find in exceptionally clean shape. Most of the will have at least some amount of ringwear, seam wear and edge wear. We guarantee that the cover we supply with this Hot Stamper is at least VG
This original Tomato pressing has the kind of Tubey Magical Midrange that modern records can barely BEGIN to reproduce. Folks, that sound is gone and it sure isn't showing signs of coming back. If you love hearing INTO a recording, actually being able to "see" the performers, and feeling as if you are sitting in the studio with the band, this is the record for you. It's what vintage all analog recordings are known for -- this sound.
If you exclusively play modern repressings of vintage recordings, I can say without fear of contradiction that you have never heard this kind of sound on vinyl. Old records have it -- not often, and certainly not always -- but maybe one out of a hundred new records do, and those are some pretty long odds.
What The Best Sides Of Flyin' Shoes 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.
Standard Operating Procedures
What are the criteria by which a record like this should be judged? Pretty much the ones we discuss in most of our Hot Stamper listings: energy, vocal presence, frequency extension (on both ends), transparency, harmonic textures (freedom from smear is key), rhythmic drive, tonal correctness, fullness, richness, and so on down through the list.
When we can get all, or most all, of the qualities above to come together on any given side we provisionally award it a grade of "contender." Once we’ve been through all our copies on one side we then play the best of the best against each other and arrive at a winner for that side. Repeat the process for the other side and the shootout is officially over. All that’s left is to see how the sides matched up.
Record shootouts may not be rocket science, but they're a science of a kind, one with strict protocols developed over the course of many years to ensure that the sonic grades we assign to our Hot Stampers are as accurate as we can make them.
The result of all our work speaks for itself, on this very record in fact. We guarantee you have never heard this music sound better than it does on our Hot Stamper pressing -- or your money back.
What We're Listening For On Flyin' Shoes
- 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 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.
Mint Minus Minus 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.
- No Place To Fall
- Flyin' Shoes
- Who Do You Love
- When She Don't Need Me
- Dollar Bill Blues
- Rex's Blues
- Pueblo Waltz
- Brother Flower
- Snake Song
AMG 4 Star Review
This is another stalwart collection from Townes Van Zandt, and not a dud in the bunch. The melodies here are strong, the lyrics full of Van Zandt's razor sharp insight, and the production is sparse and to the point, bringing to mind the inconspicuous polish of High, Low and in Between. The feel here is a balance between folk and country, with Van Zandt's voice and guitar up front, letting the songs speak for themselves. The tunes are full of heartbreak and hopelessness, making it a great album to put on during, or right after, the breakup of an affair.
"No Place to Fall" sports one of Van Zandt's strongest melodies with a melancholy chorus that immediately imbeds itself in your mind. Pedal steel, a brief mandolin solo, and almost inaudible percussion add to the despairing feel of the track. "When She Don't Need Me" is another hopeless love song, this time with a Tex-Mex feel and a measured tempo that wrings every bit of drama out of the lyric. The title track has to be one of Van Zandt's saddest songs; images of winter, desolate hillsides, and loneliness complement an achingly beautiful melody. "No Place to Fall" is a teary waltz, a love song that pleads for connection and tries to be seductive, but ultimately succumbs to its own pessimism.
On the slightly brighter side, there's an Everly Brothers influenced country-rock take of Bo Diddley's "Who Do You Love." "Snake Song" is a blues that could be about a poisonous snake or the obvious phallic object. The song ends with a fatal punch line. "Brother Flower," a striking meditation on mortality and the impermanence of love, has a melody that recalls Gordon Lightfoot's "Don Quixote" while "Dollar Bill Blues" is a sea shanty celebrating gambling, booze, self-destruction, and the desperate late-night search for love, or maybe just sex.
None of the tunes on Flyin' Shoes have yet achieved the iconic status of Van Zandt's best-known work, but in the early 2000s, as his back catalog is being reissued and reevaluated, that might well change.