Discussion in 'Music Corner' started by MisterBritt, Jul 24, 2020.
Pivotal in what way? Always felt like a fun gimmicky, pretty much inconsequential record to me.
It was the first organ based prog like reimagining of songs that we already new at the time. The long format of songs was just really starting and their version of Hangin On was so different and made it high on the charts.
So I have this version but still just bought the MoFi 45. Yes the white mono sounds very good (was just happy to get a quiet good sounding version finally), but the one issue with it, is it's a bit heavy on the bass side. Still well worth having, but I know the new MoFi is going to out perform it. I'm sure it opens up and breathes much better. I will compare the two after I get it and listen.
This is not some type of novelty record but a stone cold 60's psychedelic masterpiece.
The MFSL will likely be a bit bass heavy too.
Agreed, because this record seems to have been recorded somewhat that way. But I would think with the way I'm expecting this to open up more, it will smooth the bass out better.
Can anyone that has this already speak to what I'm trying to say here, as I am of course just speculating.
It may have better separation, is that what you mean?
Well that, but it is still mono, but when done right the staging is not so narrowed in allowing the bass to not be so dominate sounding, more able to breathe so to speak. Again just speculating. Won't have my copy until the end of the week as I was going to pay to overnight my records until I found out it would cost close to $50, so I am going with free fedex ground instead, allowing me to get another record for that spend.
Separation applies to Mono too, its about how easily destinguished the instruments are. Stereo separation is more about how wide the projection is. Although the terms are pretty subjective.
Of course and that's what I meant by the staging. Mono done right does separate to a degree.
Can only imagine what this sounds like on a turntable/cartridge like @MisterBritt has. I'm only running a $4500 cartridge and his setup makes me jealous, but in a good way. To dream...
I have listened to this record in full or in part on three distinct occasions. I'm putting it on again this morning and will listen to its entirety. I will attempt to clarity or add more color. Meanwhile, per @ellingtonic 's observation, after each listening session, I failed to re-address my preamp and switch the unit back to STEREO. I'd be well into another album before I realized that the subsequent album was STEREO and I was still listening in the MONO mode. In other words, the presentation is so full and satisfying that it never occurs to me that it is not STEREO. It simply doesn't register on my radar screen.
"Summer of Love" Meanderings:
The album opens with a non-musical passage. I had previously misidentified the comparison to Simon & Garfunkel's Bookends "Band 5/Voices of Old People," which begins with the striking of a match and an exhalation. In fact, this is "Song 4/Overs" (see *1, below). I previously mentioned that I wasn't clear which came first, Bookends or Vanilla Fudge. These specific sections, the opening of Vanilla Fudge and Bookends "Song 4/Overs," are so similar that I suspect one is an homage to the other. Vanilla Fudge was released in August 1967, while Bookends was not released until April 3, 1968. That might seem to settle it, save for the reality that Bookends was conceived (recording sessions began) as early as September 1966; while portions of it, At the Zoo, were released as early as March 1967, followed by Fakin' It, August 1967.
At any rate, striking a match and taking a puff sets the tone. As long as I have compared a segment of this album to Bookends, there is something else about Bookends that has me flummoxed.
Pardon my indulgence, but we're waiting for the tubes to warm up. The tune "Mrs. Robinson" (see *2, below) has a very distinctive drum pattern on it. I have long puzzled over this. Here's what I think. The musical "Hair" and its subsequent chart-topping album were in the air at this time. Everybody and I mean everybody was checking out "Hair." It was ground-breaking. Performed off-Broadway as early as 1967, the album was released in 1968. It was the number one selling album (think about who else was charting at this time) and remained number one for 13 weeks into 1969.
Here's the deal with that drum pattern on "Mrs. Robinson." It is a New Orleans street beat, probably emanating from the 13th Ward. I'm not totally an expert on that. To my mind (a fallible instrument), it was first recorded, in any commercial sense, on Ahmad Jamal's 1958 super hit record "Poinciana," (see *4, below) from At the Pershing: But Not for Me, performed by New Orleans drummer Vernel Fournier. The original drummer from "Hair," also a New Orleans native, integrated that drum pattern into the tune "Aquarius" (see *3, below), which opened the musical "Hair." Subsequently, Hal Blaine, who recorded "Mrs. Robinson," took that New Orleans drum beat and put it on the Simon & Garfunkel Bookends album.
So this tribal beat, probably emanating from the 13th in New Orleans, was first plied by drummer Vernel Fournier on "Poinciana," resurfaced by another New Orleans drummer (Leo Morris) about ten years later on "Aquarius," and was immediately picked up by Hal Blaine, who put it on "Mrs. Robinson." That's how I think about it.
Okay, let's put on Vanilla Fudge.
The primary question seems to regard the balance and tone of the bass. This album is (I hesitate to say) "unique" in that it has both B3 organ and bass guitar. Certainly, this is not unique. But I'm thinking of the Doors performing live as a quartet without a dedicated bass player, and adding a bass player on the records. We're much less likely to get both a B3 and a dedicated bass player in jazz. But it was done in "rock." Are the Doors, the band Love, or Vanilla Fudge at heart respective jazz bands, or rock bands? Amorphous, they are all of that.
Do the harmonics of the bass guitar collide against the B3 organ? I would say no. I think it is mixed very well. The bass is full, round and dynamic -- nothing like, say, the upright articulation on a traditional jazz album -- but most satisfactory. The short version is, I wouldn't worry about the bass making a morass of things. It is obviously a very wet-sounding record. To conclude this aspect, does the album sound overly dark or muddy? I would say no. I think the general character of this album leans in that direction, and that's partially what makes it so unique-sounding. Each instrument has its voice in the mix.
It's also interesting that all four Vanilla Fudge members are credited with vocals on this album. I had wondered about that -- how much overdubbing was done on the mass vocals? I wouldn't know. But there is a lot of reverb happening for sure. That can be problematic but I think it is done very, very well, blending with an approximate reverb level on the rest of the instruments. I don't like a lot of artificial reverb on, say, the vocals that don't match the rest of the band. Such incongruity upsets my listening experience. Vanilla Fudge doesn't sound like the vocals were done in a dedicated booth and dropped over the music. The vocals are great across the board. Personally, I think the vocals on "Bang Bang" are superlative.
I would say this album sounds fantastic!
Last thought. There's something in the title of the band, Vanilla Fudge -- that's funny. (Kind of like, "our **** don't stink.") I know there is such a thing as vanilla fudge, but I think it is in keeping with the oxymoronic nature of band names from this era. Led (lead: a heavy but soft and malleable material) Zeppelin. Iron Butterfly. And here we have Vanilla Fudge. Delicious. But there is also something intrinsic in the name Vanilla Fudge, an adumbration, a metaphor for this album's sound. Put it on. Yes, it is dark-leaning -- yet not overly so. This, even at the hands of MoFi (let us put that shibboleth to rest). They knock it out of the ballpark. All the while, the midrange blooms -- and I don't mean maybe. It is a delicacy not to be missed! It has a "gothic" vibe that suggests sunlight streaming through the stain-glass windows of a cathedral.
In conclusion, the album is balanced and righteous. Guys, I am all in on this record! I have no idea why some of you are even still talking about the Rhino or Sundazed versions. If this album is important to you, this is the one to have. That said, I realize I tend to over-enthuse when an album lights my fire. This one does. After repeated listening sessions, we're still giving it a big thumbs-up!
*1) Simon & Garfunkle "Song 4/Overs"
*2) The tune "Mrs. Robinson" from Bookends https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9C1BCAgu2I8
*3) The tune "Aquarius" from Hair https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_V2q07GOe28
*4) The tune "Poinciana" from Ahmad Jamal's At the Pershing: But Not for Me https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GB4XUnKIeJY
As always, simply an awesome review of one of my favorite records. I have left my mono setting on a few times myself when I go back to stereo records. I now always put a reminder in place so I do not forget. But I realize you were calling out how this mono version sounds causing that.
And as I said my white Rhino sounds good, but I know damn well this will blow it out of the water. Because of your review I am beyond excited now! My order hopefully will ship tomorrow. I have this, the One Step of Blood On The Tracks, and the new AP 45 of Bill Evans "Montreux Jazz all ordered. Should be one nice weekend of sweet sounding music!
By the way "Bookends" is by far my favorite album from them and by a long shot!
I'll be digesting you above review more later as it's time to go back downstairs for a cold one and some more good music!
Hoping that we can also get Renaissance and Near The Beginning out of this deal (I'd be in for The Beat Goes On and Rock & Roll, too.)
Bookends is a stone-cold classic. MoFi is doing so much Paul Simon -- if rumors are to be believed, and they come to fruition -- that I would much, much prefer they set their sites on Bookends. I'm super happy with what they have done, and the rumors of their future One-Steps. While Montreaux is not one of my favorite Bill Evans records, I do have a gorgeous Japan pressing. I skipped on the AP 33. Here's where I going with this:
If you are a Bill Evans fanatic (as I am), I will submit for your consideration that my personal favorite Bill Evans trio record isn't even with Scott LaFaro and Paul Motian. It is the Bill Evans Live with Chuck Israels and Larry Bunker. Larry Bunker is a god on the drums, especially with a pair of brushes in his hands. No one can do what he does. A lot of guys don't really know him or know him from some work with Billie Holiday, perhaps. He's an unbelievable musician.
This particular configuration of a Bill Evans Trio is the greatest thing since (never mind they predated) Miles Davis Second Great Quintet. Larry Bunker basks this configuration of the Bill Evans Trio in wonderful light. Man, I'm going to put that on right now.
The Bill Evans Trio "Live" - Wikipedia
Oh, and by the way, the sonics of this album is like an 11/10. My particular slab of vinyl is the 1981 Japan reissue. Mine has the "JazzTime Now" obi. I've never heard another version of it, but this exact record is as fine as anything I've ever dropped on the platter. I just wanted you to know about it.
Here it is on Discogs. I have not in the aggregate had a good experience with Discogs. There's a lot of crap out there. The Bill Evans Trio - "Live"
Anyhow, enough thread-capping. Next you know, @Mazzy and @Myke will be shuffling back over to discuss an Eagles box set or some such nonsense on my thread. . Ha. By the way, I recently installed Grammarly in an effort to clean up some of my correspondence on this forum. I just got a notification pop-up that suggests this post comes across as both angry and concerned. Ha.
Imagine what'd say if you had said crapping instead of capping.
Angry and concerned are emotions and states of mind the probably equal the sentiments of approximately half of the postings on this forum.
Oh, man, "Renaissance" would be a treat. The Fudge can't have been an easy band to record with all the soft/loud passages and massed vocals. Some time back, a friend and I were talking about the mix on "Renaissance" and he was kind of critical of it. After the discussion, I listened to it with that in mind and I think the mix is pretty damn good overall. I wasn't hearing what he said he was hearing. Great album in any event. I'd be happy to see "Near the Beginning" as well but I'd be shocked if Mo-Fi did either of them.
I lucked out a few years back and found one at my local Best Buy. It was buried on a shelf behind some CD Box Sets. It was sealed but had no price sticker on it. Manager couldn't find it in their system and at first said he couldn't sell it to me and it had to be returned to their warehouse. I pulled the "loyal Elite Customer since the 90's card and got him to relent and sell it to me..........for $79.99!!! Best Buy Indeed!!!!
Except on a very bright system of course, you know this Rich.
After reading through this thread, I could find no comparison of the MoFi mono vinyl to an original Atco 1st pressing. I don't have the new vinyl but do have the SACD version. I also have a NM original early vinyl pressing. After comparing both, my conclusion is that although the SACD is very good, it is bass heavy. The early Atco version has more balanced SQ and most tracks, except for "You Keep Me Hanging On" are in true stereo without the boosted bass, and to my ears more satisfying sonically. Hope this helps in decision making. BTW, "Vanilla Fudge" is my all time favorite psychedelic album. Those B3 riffs crush! The tracks may not be original but the concept sure was.
I see this being a very possible preference for a few. Ill compare when I get mine too.
Listened to some of my white Rhino mono version yesterday and it really sounded pretty good and not quite as bass heavy as I thought it was originally. For $21 (I believe that's what it cost me) not bad at all. So now I'm more than ready to compare. Still hope to get later this week, but I am waiting on a credit from Acoustic Sounds before I have them ship my order. It is reserved though...
I pulled out my original copy of "Rock & Roll" last night and was amazed at how good of shape it was in. This is a very neglected title from them. A very strong album throughout and a bit on the heavier side at times. Some very cool songs on this one. I doubt this will get any type of love anytime soon though...
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