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
- This early Arista pressing boasts superb Double Plus (A++) sound from start to finish - exceptionally quiet vinyl too
- A surprisingly well recorded album, this copy is simply bigger, bolder and richer than most of what we played
- "The six new Weir/Barlow compositions are good, sometimes very good. You can draw a direct line from songs like 'Shade of Grey' and the title track to subsequent Dead tracks like 'Saint of Circumstance.'"
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What separated the best copies from the also-rans was more than just rich, sweet, full-bodied sound. The better copies make Bob's voice more palpable -- he's simply more of a solid, three dimensional, real presence between the speakers. You can hear the nuances of his delivery much, MUCH more clearly on a copy that sounds as good as this one does.
Keith Olsen produced and co-engineered here, which should go a long way toward explaining why the sound is so good. He is of course the man helped make Fleetwood Mac's 1975 album such a sonic blockbuster.
This vintage Artista 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 Bob and 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 Heaven Help The Fool 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.
What We're Listening For On Heaven Help The Fool
- 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 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.
- Bombs Away
- Easy To Slip
- Salt Lake City
- Shade Of Grey
- Heaven Help The Fool
- This Time Forever
- I'll Be Doggone
- Wrong Way
The slickest of the Bob Weir solo albums, featuring Terrapin producer Keith Olsen and the hottest L.A. studio cats that money could buy...
The six new Weir/Barlow compositions are good, sometimes very good. You can draw a direct line from songs like “Shade of Grey” and the title track to subsequent Dead tracks like “Saint of Circumstance.” In my opinion, the Weir/Barlow partnership was in its ascendancy at this stage, just as the Garcia/Hunter tandem was starting to decline. Weir’s raunchy rhythm & blues (“Salt Lake City,” “Wrong Way Feelin”) is balanced by increasingly sophisticated (and often elusive) melodies, especially on the ballads. And Barlow has always been an ace lyricist.