Side One: Mint Minus Minus (w/ a mild warp that does not affect play)
Side Two: Mint Minus Minus (often quieter than this grade)
- STUNNING sound for this Vanguard release from 1969 with Shootout Winning Triple Plus (A+++) sound from the first note to the last
- Both of these sides are incredibly Tubey Magical, natural, spacious and present with a big punchy bottom end; why don't more records sound like this?
- AMG 4 1/2 Stars: "A beautifully simple album of country-flavored original songs, mostly from the point of view of the sentimental roustabout, this great record sounds as though the players just went in, knocked it off, and hit the road."
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A superb recording, with audiophile quality sound all the way. And the music is just as good, fully deserving the 4 1/2 Stars All Music Guide gave it. Over the last few years you've seen rave reviews for many Vanguard recordings - Joan Baez, The Weavers, Vivaldi's The Four Seasons, etc. You can confidently add Jerry Jeff Walker's Driftin' Way of Life to that list.
Listen to the second track on side one, Morning Song to Sally. It's so natural sounding you will quickly stop judging the quality of the reproduction and just start enjoying the show. Not edgy, not dry, not thin, not dull the way so many are. Just right.
What amazing sides such as these 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 1969
- 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
What We're Listening For on Driftin' Way of Life
- 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.
Some Players You Might Know
And if you don't, the list might give you a hint as to some of the sounds you are likely to hear on the album.
David Briggs - Clavinet, Harpsichord, Piano David Bromberg - Guitar, Guitar (Electric) Kenny Buttrey - Drums Charlie McCoy - Harmonica Wayne Moss - Guitar Norbert Putnam - Bass Hargus "Pig" Robbins - Piano (Electric), Tack Piano Harold Ruggs - Dobro, Guitar (Steel) Pete Wade - Dobro, Fiddle Jerry Jeff Walker - Guitar, Harmonica, Vocals
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 originals.
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.
Driftin' Way of Life
Morning Song to Sally
No Roots in Ramblin'
North Cumberland Blues
Let It Ride
Dust on My Boots
A beautifully simple album of country-flavored original songs, mostly from the point of view of the sentimental roustabout, this great record sounds as though the players just went in, knocked it off, and hit the road.
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