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
- With a nearly Triple Plus (A++ to A+++) side two and a seriously good Double Plus (A++) side one, this copy will be very hard to beat - exceptionally quiet vinyl too
- Here are the full-bodied mids, punchy lows and clear, open top that let this Psych Classic by the band come alive
- Over, Under, Sideways, Down - the big hit off the album - sounds great here in MONO
- 5 stars in Allmusic: "The Yardbirds' best individual studio album."
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This is one of the few Mono albums that really justifies the claims made for the superiority of mono in general. Just listen to the vocals on side one: they're right up front and centered the way they should be on any good pop song. On the stereo version they're off to the left and way down in level. They have no power over there! It robs the song of its focus.
Even worse, the stereo remaster by Edsel has no bass. It's a joke next to the mono. It's doubtful we would ever buy one again. What a waste of good import vinyl.
Edsel did a great remastering job of the mono mix here. What do we hear on this pressing that's different from most of the early pressings? A smoother, sweeter, lower distortion midrange and top end. And really punchy solid super low distortion bass. The transparency of this pressing is clearly better.
What amazing sides such as these have to offer on this Mono Roger The Engineer 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 1966
- Tight, note-like, rich, full-bodied bass, with the correct amount of weight down low
- Natural tonality in the midrange -- with all the instruments (and effects!) 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 above
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 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.
Over, Under, Sideways, Down
The Nazz Are Blue
I Can't Make Your Way
Rack My Mind
Hot House of Omagarashid
He's Always There
Turn Into Earth
What Do You Want
Ever Since the World Began
...the real sound of swinging London in ’66...
Chris Jones 2007-04-17
At the top of this review is a little white lie: the title of this album. Forever to be now known as Roger The Engineer, after Chris Dreja’s cartoon rendition of a studio technician (Roger Cameron) – this album was originally just titled The Yardbirds. If you really want to be confused it was actually released stateside as Over Under Sideways Down with a different tracklisting, but let’s not get ahead of ourselves…
By 1966 the Yardbirds had the respect of every young guitar-slinger in London due to their main axeman, Jeff Beck. Having replaced the more puritanical Eric Clapton in 1965, Beck had to both contend with an audience who missed the bluesman’s authentic tones and also management who couldn’t decide whether the band would be an out and out pop combo or retain their earlier R’n’B credibility that had made Five Live Yardbirds such a hit during the Blues boom.
Luckily for Beck, the nascent strains of psychedelia were just around the corner, fitting nicely with his disregard for anything approaching the straight playing of six strings. Even in his days before the Yardbirds with bands like the Tridents, Beck had demonstrated a stinging attack and ability to coax weird sounds from his guitar. Now with ballads like "Heart Full Of Soul" and "Shapes Of Things" he was given license to unleash the full fuzz terror of his proto metal stylings.
On Roger…the band approached something like the only proper studio album of this classic mid-period line-up. While Keith Relf’s rather anaemic blues yelps were never going to make them the rivals to the Stones or Beatles, the well-oiled rhythm section were perfectly suited to support some of Beck’s wildest sounds to date. From The gloomy chant of "Hot House of Omagarashid" to the cod-Arabian whirlings of “Over Under Sideways Down” these are songs that sit midway between Eel Pie Island and the UFO club. While they still clung to the 12-bar shapes that had seen them through the lean years (“The Nazz Are Blue”) they now had a stunning weapon in Beck’s filigree fills. Just listen to his amazing showboating on “Jeff’s Boogie”.
Unfortunately it was a brief, bright point for the band. More bad management and a seeming inability to capitalise on any success eventually led Beck to quit and two years later it was all over. But for the real sound of swinging London in ’66 you’d do no better than to listen to the Engineer…
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