Black Sabbath – Paranoid (1970)

Vertigo

6360 011

1491 - Black Sabbath - Paranoid (Aus)(Front)

Originally Released: 1970

This Release: 1970 (Australia)

Mastering: ?

The Music: Any album that kicks off with a couplet rhyming “masses” with “masses” is alright in my book. This album isn’t just an onslaught of heaviness – it swings (Electric Funeral) and mellows out too (Planet Caravan). But mostly, it rocks very hard. The album contains some of the most recognisable riffs in hard rock history and sowed the seeds for stoner / doom metal (though I think Into the Void off Master of Reality is the biggest influence).

The Sound: Warm, thick and syrupy. This particular copy has a fair amount of crackle, which is particularly obvious during Planet Caravan, but it doesn’t distract from the music. All the instruments are clearly defined and there is a hefty amount of low end. I’ve only compared this to the US Rhino 180 gram reissue and the Japanese SHM-SACD. I prefer this to both, especially the SACD. The Rhino reissue is excellent but the vinyl for my copy was awful – far noisier than a new piece of vinyl should ever be. This early (not sure if first) Australian pressing will do me until the unlikely event of me stumbling across a UK original, or even a better copy of this one.

Other Comments: Thankfully I picked this up about 25 years ago so it was pretty cheap. It’s not the finest specimen (VG vinyl and VG+ cover) but these days if I saw this in a store for sale the asking price would be ridiculous. 

1491 - Black Sabbath - Paranoid (Aus)(Label A)

1491 - Black Sabbath - Paranoid (Aus)(Label B)

1491 - Black Sabbath - Paranoid (Aus)(Back)

 1491 - Black Sabbath - Paranoid (Aus)(Gatefold)

Do you have this pressing? If so, what do you think? Do you have a different pressing? How is it? Please feel free to comment.

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  Discogs Link

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The Doors – Strange Days (Mono)(1967)

Elektra / Rhino Vinyl

R1-4014

2450 - The Doors - Strange Days (US Mono 180g)(Front)

Originally Released: 1967

This Release: 2015

Mastering: ? (Cut at The Mastering Lab)

Comments: Where to start with this incredible album? I was one of those 17 year-old Jim Morrison devotees around the time that the double album Greatest Hits arrived on the scene, with the iconic B&W cover shot. I fell for the whole poet/god/shaman rubbish but I was also sucked in by the music. Thankfully after the bullshit wore off, the music remained….and I’ve never been “not into” the Doors since. I have vivid memories of a night alone in my late teens, spent drinking several beers and listening to all 6 Doors studio albums back to back. Sounds slightly sad, but it’s a happy memory (and for the record it’s the only time I can remember ever drinking alone). Anyway, this was always my favourite Doors album. Right from the opening Manzarek keyboard notes I always lock in for the album’s entirety. I do love all of their albums (even Soft Parade – ok, maybe love is a bit strong) but there’s something about Strange Days that lifts it above the pack. So many great moments – the sludgy bass guitar sound on the title track; the simple but evocative bassline of Your Lost Little Girl; Robbie Krieger’s tasty guitar licks on Love Me Two Times; the mute nostril agony of Horse Latitudes leading into the pop majesty of Moonlight Drive; the straight ahead rock of My Eyes Have Seen You (I’d love to hear someone like High on Fire do a cover of this); and of course When The Music’s Over with its great intro, fantastic jazzy drumming by John Densmore, and the young, fit, trippy Jim doing his thing.

I started listening to this album on vinyl back in 1987 after picking up one of the 80’s Australian reissues. Until about 5 years ago, that was my one and only copy. I then caught the audiophile flu and before I knew it I had the Rhino 180 gram reissue (a massive improvement on my Aussie pressing), the Doors Perception CD/DVD-Audio box set (worth it for the 5.1 surround mix), a hi-rez vinylrip of the DCC reissue (very nice) and most recently the 2 x 45rpm Analogue Productions reissue (a very slight edge over the Rhino). Then along comes the announcement that a Rhino Vinyl reissue of the original mono mix was being released for Record Store Day. Now, I’m afraid that I no longer get excited about Record Store Day. I love my records, and I’ll keep buying them, and trying as much as possible to buy them from my local record store. I get that it’s a great boost for these stores and they deserve all the business they get. It’s just that I’m not interested in competing for records and unfortunately that’s what it has become – jostling with other people who want the same record as you. Some of these people may be wanting it for the same altruistic reasons as you, i.e. to take it home and listen to the damn thing. Then there’s the others who are only there to make some cash by selling it for an inflated price on some type of website where you can auction and buy things (the name escapes me). These people are known as arseholes. I could go on. I already have.

So I turned up at my local store a few hours after the main event to see what was left, having no idea what goodies they had actually gotten in. I was amazed to see a lone copy of this beauty just sitting there behind a whole bunch of  Springsteen reissues. As for the sound of this pressing, I have no other mono copy to compare this to as I’ve never heard it in mono before (originals go for more than I can afford). I can say that it has a nice, tight bottom end (fnaar, fnaar). I think I heard a couple of instances of master tape damage or dropouts – it doesn’t look or sound like it could have been the vinyl – but this was only slightly distracting. This probably isn’t for the casual Doors fan, but if you love this album as much as I do, I’d recommend snagging a copy.

 2450 - The Doors - Strange Days (US Mono 180g)(Label A)

2450 - The Doors - Strange Days (US Mono 180g)(Label B)

 2450 - The Doors - Strange Days (US Mono 180g)(Back)

2450 - The Doors - Strange Days (US Mono 180g)(Inner A)

2450 - The Doors - Strange Days (US Mono 180g)(Inner B)

2450 - The Doors - Strange Days (US Mono 180g)(Hype Sticker)

Do you have this pressing? If so, what do you think? Do you have a different pressing? How is it? Please feel free to comment.

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  Discogs Link

Judas Priest – The Best of Judas Priest (1978)

Gull

GULP 1026

2420 - Judas Priest - The Best of (UK)(Front)

    • Originally Released:  1978

    • This Release:   1978

    • Mastering:   George “Porky” Peckham

    • Comments:   This is a great compilation of early hard rock tracks from the NWOBHM giants’ first two albums. I believe it may not have had the band’s seal of approval but after 37 years I’m hoping they’ve moved on. This is an original UK pressing with “A Porky Prime Cut” etched in the side one runout and “PEK” on side two, denoting a George “Porky” Peckham cut. As is the norm with a Porky cut, the sound is big, bold and punchy. This isn’t an essential compilation, but it sounds amazing.

Do you have this pressing? If so, what do you think? Do you have a different pressing? How is it? Please feel free to comment.

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Back Cover

Back Cover

 

Label A

Label A

 

Label B

Label B

 

 

Discogs Link

Traffic – The Low Spark of High Heeled Boys (1971)

Island Records

SW-9306

1674 - Traffic - The Low Spark Of High-Heeled Boys (US)(Front)

    • Originally Released:  1971

    • This Release:   1971

    • Mastering:   Lee Hulko

    • Comments:   I’d never heard this album prior to adding it to an order from a Discogs seller to make the most out of the postage rates. It’s quite varied stylistically, with elements of rock, pop, jazz and prog. It also gets better and better with every listen. As for the sound quality, this is a great example of an original pressing that gets it right. This is the US pressing which was cut by Lee Hulko at Sterling Sound (“LH” and “STERLING” marked in the runout area). It can be found easily for a few dollars and is worth tracking down. It has that 70’s warmth that I love with plenty of detail as well, along with a pretty cool sleeve design.

Do you have this pressing? If so, what do you think? Do you have a different pressing? How is it? Please feel free to comment.

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Back Cover

Back Cover

 

Label A

Label A

 

Label B

Label B

 

Inner Sleeve

Inner Sleeve

 

Discogs Link

The Dave Brubeck Quartet – Time Out (1959)

Columbia

CL 1397

 2341 - The Dave Brubeck Quartet - Time Out (US Mono)(Front)

    • Originally Released:  1959

    • This Release:   1960

    • Mastering:   Unknown

    • Comments:   Here’s a great example of a record playing well above it’s appearance. This second mono pressing was purchased from an online seller who described the vinyl as G+. Most sellers would have given it a VG grade, but they would have been wrong. There are many, many hairline marks and it is obvious from this, and the spindle marks on the labels, that this has been played many times and not especially well cared for. However, the seller also added a description, saying that side A plays great and side B has occasional light noise. The asking price was $5.00 USD so I thought it was worth taking a chance. I’m glad I did. Because it is a mono recording, a lot of noise is reduced by using y-cables to sum the channels (there’s no need to do this is you have a mono switch on your amp or a dedicated mono cartridge). If this was a stereo recording I suspect the noise would have been very distracting. As for the sound, it is exceptional, as is the music.

Do you have this pressing? If so, what do you think? Do you have a different pressing? How is it? Please feel free to comment.

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Back Cover

Back Cover

 

 

Label - Side A

Label – Side A

 

 

Label - Side B

Label – Side B

 

 Discogs Link

 

Dark – Dark Round The Edges (1972)

Machu Picchu, Ltd.

PICCHU 2

#2260 - Dark - Dark Round the Edges (Front)

    • Originally Released:  1972

    • This Release:   2013

    • Mastering:   Bob Weston

    • Comments:   After hearing this album online a few times I had to find a vinyl copy. However, with only 60 copies in existence (!!!), it was easier said than done. Thankfully my timing just happened to coincide with this deluxe reissue by Machu Picchu (distributed by Light in the Attic Records). It’s obvious that a lot of care went in to this package, from the beautiful gatefold cover to the 20 page booklet, as well as the high quality vinyl itself. The vinyl mastering was handled by Bob Weston at Chicago Mastering Service. I don’t know if he had the original analogue tapes or a digital transfer, but he has managed to create a very analogue and warm sounding record. There’s a nice big sound stage here with that distinctive early 70’s bass feel which I personally love. As for the music itself, think late 60’s / early 70’s prog/psych with cool riffs and stretched out guitar solos. Highly recommended.

Do you have this pressing? If so, what do you think? Do you have a different pressing? How is it? Please feel free to comment.

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Back Cover

Back Cover

 

Label A

Label A

 

Label B

Label B

 

Gatefold

Gatefold

 

Booklet - Front

Booklet – Front

 

 

OBI

OBI

Discogs Link

2013 Interview with Steve Giles from Dark


Faith No More – King For A Day… Fool For A Lifetime (1995)

Music on Vinyl

MOVLP934

#2240 - Faith No More - King For a Day Fool For a Lifetime (MOV)(Front)

    • Originally Released:  28 March 1995

    • This Release:   25 November 2013

    • Mastering:   Unknown

    • Comments:   Since original pressings of this album are quite expensive, I was pretty excited when I heard that Music on Vinyl were putting out a reissue. Quite simply, it’s one of the best albums of the 90’s. So many different moods and sounds, all tied together by the unmistakable vocals of Mike Patton. From crooning to demented screaming, he does it all and he does it exceptionally well, with just a little help from one very tight band. Since I don’t have any other vinyl pressings for comparison, I can only compare it to my well-played CD. There really is no comparison – this reissue, on two 180 gram slabs of red marbled vinyl, has more depth, more bass and just more oomph. I would assume the standard black version is just as good. Highly recommended.

Do you have this pressing? If so, what do you think? Do you have a different pressing? How is it? Please feel free to comment.

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Back

Back

 

 

Label A

Label A

 

 

Label B

Label B

 

 

Label C

Label C

 

 

Label D

Label D

 

 

Inner A

Inner A

 

 

Inner B

Inner B

 

 

Hype Sticker

Hype Sticker

 

Discogs Link


Wikipedia Link