Side One: Mint Minus Minus (often quieter than this grade)
Side Two: Mint Minus Minus (often quieter than this grade)
- This outstanding original Reprise pressing earned solid Double Plus (A++) grades or BETTER for its remarkably Tubey Magical sound throughout
- Exceptionally quiet vinyl too, on the high end of Mint Minus Minus, the kind of vinyl we rarely find on early pressings of this album (which are of course the only ones that do well in our shootouts)
- This is the vinyl embodiment of the Classic Analog Rock sound we love - smooth, rich, full-bodied, warm, punchy, dynamic and clear
- 5 stars in Allmusic, Top 100, and a Demo Disc that is guaranteed to knock your socks off
- "It's a magnificent, style-setting album which saw the Canadian's elevation to rock hero. For those who like their emotion raw."
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Vintage covers for this album are hard to find in clean shape. Most of them will have at least some ringwear, seam wear and edge wear. We guarantee that the cover we supply with this Hot Stamper is at least VG and maybe a bit better than that.
Folks, a Hot Stamper collection of the Greatest Rock Records of All Time would not be complete without a knockout copy this album. That’s why it's been a Better Records All-Time Top Ten Title right from the start.
This original Reprise pressing has the kind of Tubey Magical Midrange that modern records rarely even 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 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.
We built our reputation on finding Demo Disc Quality pressings like this. Who else can offer you a copy of After the Gold Rush that delivers this kind of Tubey Magical Analog sound?
What the Best Sides of After The Gold Rush 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 1970
- 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.
Tubey Magical Acoustic Guitar reproduction is superb on the better copies of this album. Simply phenomenal amounts of Tubey Magic can be heard on every strum, along with richness, body and harmonic coherency that have all but disappeared from modern recordings (and especially from modern remasterings).
The reason a record like this needs to sell for the kind of serious bread we charge is that there just aren't that many clean copies that have survived; there aren't that many copies with the right stampers; and there aren't that many copies that were pressed just right, the way this one was.
I've been picking up originals of this record for 20 years. Nowadays we pick up every clean original copy that we see. People loved this album and played it to death. Who can blame them; it's Young's masterpiece. It's actually a better album than Harvest, and Harvest is an awfully good album.
Most original copies of this album leave a lot to be desired. Some are clean but lack Tubey Magic and warmth. Others are thick, dull, and compressed sounding. And almost all of them are pressed on dubious vinyl or have been treated poorly.
Subtracting all the problematical copies, you're left with only a handful of real contenders, copies that are good enough to go into a shootout with the potential to win it. If you would like to spend a couple of years finding, cleaning, and playing original pressings of After The Gold Rush, the chances are very good that you would eventually come across one like this.
Anyone can do it. But do you want to? Would you rather spend your free time searching for an amazing copy of Neil Young's masterpiece or enjoying it?
What We're Listening For on After the Gold Rush
- 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 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.
The Tracklist tab above will take you to an extensive song by song breakdown for each side, with plenty of What to Listen For advice.
A Must Own Rock Record
This Demo Disc Quality recording should be part of any serious Rock Collection. Others that belong in that category can be found here.
- Tell Me Why
Just listen to those Tubey Magical acoustic guitars. You know right away that you're about to have a sublime musical experience. Nothing sounds that way but analog.
- After The Goldrush
- Only Love Can Break Your Heart
Does it get any better than this?! Overly rich? Maybe, but when it sounds this good, who cares?
- Southern Man
This is Neil Young rockin' the free world at his best. You need a big pair of speakers, lots of power, and a Hot Stamper pressing like this one to make this music come to LIFE. It just doesn't get any better. You need rock solid bass and a total lack of phony top end to play this song right. When you turn up the volume on a track like this, all the flaws are readily apparent. Only the best pressings do this song justice at loud levels.
- Till The Morning Comes
Listen to the harmony vocals. You can almost picture all the people standing behind Neil.
- Oh Lonesome Me
- Don't Let It Bring You Down
This is the demo track for side two. Play this track on the better pressings and impress your friends with the best sounding Neil Young both you and they have ever heard. The drum sound Neil gets throughout this album, but especially on this track is SO right. They just don't record drums like that anymore. You don't so much HEAR the way the drummer is playing, you FEEL it.
A sweetheart! Neil's voice is recorded beautifully and the background vocals on the best copies are just right. No hint of strain, if only because this is a fairly mellow track.
- When You Dance I Can Really Love
- I Believe In You
This is probably the TOUGHEST TEST for side two. The chorus tends to be thin and can really strain unless you have just the right pressing. That means not only the right stampers but the stampers that actually were pressed properly. About one out of twenty copies will get this track to sound its best.
- Cripple Creek Ferry
If the acoustic guitars here are as Tubey Magical as they were on Tell Me Why, you can be sure that you've just had a sublime musical experience, courtesy of the all-but-forgotten recording, mastering and pressing technologies of 1970.
Everybody Knows was a sort of big bang for Young, a dense moment of creative explosion that saw possibilities expanding in every direction. So its follow-up was anything but a retread. With his newfound confidence, Young was poised to stretch, and After the Gold Rush sounds a bit like an overview of the Great American Songbook but with one guy writing almost all the songs.
Members of Crazy Horse appear in various combinations on a few of tracks, and songs like "Southern Man" and "When You Dance I Can Really Love" have the hypnotically stoned but sneakily intense groove of the previous record. But more precisely crafted songs like "Only Love Can Break Your Heart", "Birds", and especially the astonishing title track, which has become a rock standard, show Young's gift as a writer of original melodies of extraordinary beauty in full flower.
It's an aspect of Young's work that can be overlooked: the guy can write a simple tune over a chord change that hollows you out completely. Sure, the record has a phrase or two that might sound a little dippy to those with an aversion to hippies (Young was one of those, though of a very individualistic sort), but After the Gold Rush is basically unassailable.
There's a reason why it's the favorite Neil Young album for so many.
Collins Gem Classic Albums
The sleeve is bleak: a solarized photograph of a rangy Neil Young passing an old woman in the street, but After The Goldrush was Young's first truly great album.
The spellbinding title track mixes everything from social commentary to science fiction, yet somehow Young's plaintive vocals tie it all together. The Canadian's penchant for heartbreak is well served on the album. "Oh Lonesome Me," a cover performed as a slow, sad waltz, features a wailing harmonica and an emotional vocal. Against a slow, swaying beat, "Only Love Can Break Your Heart" contrasts childhood happiness with the pain of adult love. "Birds," with its dry-eyed lyrics and poignant vocal, is heart-wrenching, while "Don't Let It Bring You Down" is dark and majestic, a stark vignette of a harsh world.
Those tracks showcase Neil Young the troubadour. With "Southern Man" we get Young the axe maniac, here is a real glimpse of the checked-shirt wearing, Crazy Horse-fronting Young of the future. The lyrics are a tirade against Southern racism. Young shrieks them out while his guitar solos are fractured, unpredictable snatches of fire. "When You Dance I Can Really Love" is a euphoric explosion of abrasive guitars, clattering drums and a pounding piano.
It's a magnificent, style-setting album which saw the Canadian's elevation to rock hero. For those who like their emotion raw.