Side One: Mint Minus Minus
Side Two: Mint Minus Minus
Side Three: Mint Minus Minus
Side Four: Mint Minus Minus
- Outstanding Triple Plus (A+++) sound or close to it on sides three and four and solid Double Plus (A++) sound on the other sides of this wonderful double album from 1973
- This copy is surprisingly spacious, full-bodied and natural, with a nicely extended top end, plenty of space around the instruments and vocals, and few of the problems that plagued most of what we played
- Features B.B. King, Muddy Waters, Eddie "Cleanhead" Vinson, Big Mama Thornton, Arthur "Big Boy" Crudup and more
- Live at Newport in New York, this is an exceptionally well recorded concert starring the blues greats of the day
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This is an excellent sounding Buddah Brown & Pink Label Double LP. Listen to ’Big Mama’ Thorton’s voice on this record -- it sounds like somebody forgot to put a limiter on her mic. It is without a doubt one of the most dynamic vocals I have ever heard on any record in my entire life. You feel like you are sitting front row center.
This record sounds JUST RIGHT to me. It doesn't sound like there's anything you could do to it to make it sound better. It's tonally correct from top to bottom and very transparent. If you want a great introduction to the blues, I can't think of a better one than this.
What the best sides of The Blues... A Real Summit Meeting 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 1973
- 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 space of the studio
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.
I raved about the Mobile Fidelity pressing years ago as being one of the best blues albums, musically and sonically, around. There's virtually no chance that the MOFI sounds as good as this one. We would wager quite a large sum of money on that claim!
What We're Listening For on The Blues... A Real Summit Meeting
- Energy for starters. What could be more important than the life of the music?
- 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 for the guitars, horns and drums, not the smear and thickness common to most LPs.
- Tight, note-like bass with clear fingering -- which ties in with good transient information, as well as 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 players.
- Then: presence and immediacy. The musicians aren't "back there" somewhere, way behind the speakers. They're front and center where any recording engineer worth his salt would have put them.
- 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 later 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.
"Big Mama" Thornton - Little Red Rooster
"Big Mama" Thornton - Ball And Chain
Jay McShann - Smooth Sailing
Jay McShann - Cronfessin' The Blues
Eddie "Cleanhead" Vinson - They Call Me Mr. Cleanhead
Eddie "Cleanhead" Vinson - Hold It Right There
Eddie "Cleanhead" Vinson - Back Door Blues
Eddie "Cleanhead" Vinson - Kidney Stew
Arthur "Big Boy" Crudup - That's Alright Now Mama
Lloyd Glenn - Honky Tonk Train
Lloyd Glenn - After Hours
Lloyd Glenn - Pine Tops Boogie Woogie
Muddy Waters - Long Distance Call
Muddy Waters - Where's My Woman Been
Muddy Waters - Get My Mojo Workin'
Clarence "Gatemouth" Brown - The Drifter
Clarence "Gatemouth" Brown - Please Mr. Nixon
B.B. King - Outside Help
Besides the legendary B.B. King and Muddy Waters, a live Newport audience in New York hears some lesser lights such as Eddie "Cleanhead" Vinson. Of historical interest, Big Mama Thornton, Arthur "Big Boy" Crudup, and Jay McShann offer renditions of their own songs that were covered for a much larger audience by Janis Joplin, Elvis Presley, and others. An unexpected delight is the electrified violin played by Clarence "Gatemouth" Brown, who backs other performers here as well as taking the lead on two tunes.
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