The copy we are selling is similar to the one pictured above.
Side One: Mint Minus to Mint Minus Minus
Side Two: Mint Minus to Mint Minus Minus*
- You'll find outstanding Double Plus (A++) sound from first note to last on this early Columbia pressing - exceptionally quiet vinyl too
- Like the recordings of Floyd, the sound is BIG, with lots of energy, excellent presence and real weight down low
- A tough album to find with this kind of sound, and our pressing here features mostly quiet vinyl with only one small issue, noted below
- 4 stars: "The Pros and Cons of Hitch Hiking continues to showcase Waters' unprecedented knack of addressing his darkest thoughts and conceptions in a most extraordinary fashion."
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- On side two, a mark makes 8 very light ticks near the beginning of track 1, 4.50 AM (Go Fishing).
Let me tell you, it is no walk in the park to find a copy of The Pros and Cons of Hitch Hiking that sounds as good as this one and plays as quietly. Those of you who like Floyd's The Final Cut will probably get a lot out of this album.
This is the first solo Roger Waters album, although apparently, these songs date back to The Wall album. Waters was writing this material at the same time he was composing The Wall and even gave the band the choice of which project they wanted to tackle. The Wall obviously became one of the most popular albums in rock history, while this album, whatever its merits, didn't get nearly as much attention. Eric Clapton and David Sanborn help fill out Waters' band here.
This album has an interesting concept -- the songs happen in "real time," which is to say the story takes place completely within the playing time of the record. Each track is subtitled with the time that the events are supposed to take place, and there's even an extra minute between the A side and the B side to allow you to flip the record. <
What the best sides of The Pros and Cons of Hitch Hiking 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 even as late as 1984
- 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.
If you have five or ten copies of a record and play them over and over against each other, the process itself teaches you what's right and what's wrong with the sound of the album. Once your ears are completely tuned to what the best pressings do well that the others do not do as well, using a few specific passages of music, it will quickly become obvious how well any given pressing reproduces those passages.
The process is simple enough. First, you go deep into the sound. There you find something special, something you can't find on most copies. Now, with the hard-won knowledge of precisely what to listen for, you are perfectly positioned to critique any and all pressings that come your way.
What We're Listening For on The Pros and Cons of Hitch Hiking
- 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 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.
The Players and Personnel
Backing Vocals – Madeline Bell Drums – Andy Newmark Electric Guitar – Eric Clapton Orchestra – The National Philharmonic Orchestra Organ – Andy Bown Percussion – Ray Cooper Piano, Conductor, Producer, Arranged By – Michael Kamen Saxophone – David Sanborn Twelve-String Guitar – Andy Bown
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 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 that is a key part of the appeal 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.
4.30 AM (Apparently They Were Travelling Abroad)
4.33 AM (Running Shoes)
4.37 AM (Arabs With Knives and West German Skies)
4.39 AM (For the First Time Today, Pt. 2)
4.41 AM (Sexual Revolution)
4.47 AM (The Remains of Our Love)
4.50 AM (Go Fishing)
4.56 AM (For the First Time Today, Pt. 1)
4.58 AM (Dunroamin, Duncarin, Dunlivin)
5.01 AM (The Pros and Cons of Hitch Hiking, Pt. 10)
5.06 AM (Every Stranger's Eyes)
5.11 AM (The Moment of Clarity)
When dissected carefully, The Pros and Cons of Hitch Hiking becomes a fascinating conceptual voyage into the workings of the human psyche. As an abstract peering into the intricate functions of the subconscious, Waters' first solo album involves numerous dream sequences that both figuratively and symbolically unravel his struggle with marriage, fidelity, commitment, and age at the height of a midlife crisis...
The Pros and Cons of Hitch Hiking continues to showcase Waters' unprecedented knack of addressing his darkest thoughts and conceptions in a most extraordinary fashion.
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