SH Spotlight Pressing and mastering quality of Creedence Clearwater Revival albums*

Discussion in 'Music Corner' started by alexbunardzic, Jun 5, 2017.

  1. alexbunardzic

    alexbunardzic Forum Resident Thread Starter

    Location:
    Vancouver, BC
    I've recently purchased five CCR studio LPs. I only wasn't able to find "Willy and the Poor Boys" and "Mardi Gras". On listening to those LPs, one thing jump at me -- some LPs deliver incredibly high quality sound, while some are quite the opposite, with murky, dull and wimpy sound.

    The best sounding of those 5 LPs is "Bayou Country". That record just bites, it has incredible presence and is an enormous pleasure to listen to. One of the absolute best sounding LPs in my collection.

    Next to that record in terms of sound quality is their first LP (the eponymous "Creedence Clearwater Revival"). Also very lively sounding, with a lot of bite and presence, but not as brilliant as "Bayou Country".

    At the other end of the sonic spectrum is "Pendulum". Such weak, wimpy sounding LP. It's really heartbreaking. "Cosmo's Factory" isn't much better, to be honest; neither is "Green River". Dull, murky overall sound, feels like someone had stuffed cotton pads into my ears.

    So my question is: did I get bad pressings of these LPs, or were those albums in general recorded/mixed/mastered in such a wimpy way, while "Bayou Country" was prepared in a much better way, sonically speaking?
     
    Mark L. and DK Pete like this.
  2. DK Pete

    DK Pete Forum Resident

    Location:
    Levittown. NY
    No, you're pressings are in all likelihood, fine. But I do disagree with you on Cosmo's Factory; overall, for the sound they put out, i think it's their best sounding album. Pendulum, I agree, is *too^ clean and all the 'bite"-as you put it-is lost. Green River, to my ears, is the very worst of the bunch..very muddy and dull. We agree on Bayou Country except for Proud Mary...I don't know what happened on that track..it almost sounds like it came from Green River.
     
  3. alexbunardzic

    alexbunardzic Forum Resident Thread Starter

    Location:
    Vancouver, BC
    Right, I forgot about "Proud Mary", it really sticks out like a sore thumb and sounds right down awful. Thanks for the correction.

    "Cosmo's Factory" sounds good? Hmm, on my LP "I Heard It Through The Grapevine" sounds like someone rolled off all frequencies below 160 Hz (OK, I may be exaggerating a little, but definitely no frequencies below 100 Hz are prominent). Which is a shame, because it is a monster of a track with biting playing by all parties involved.

    Looks like my copy of "Cosmo's Factory" must be botched, considering that you find it the best sounding of the bunch. OK, time to look for an alternative pressing...
     
    Mark L. likes this.
  4. W.B.

    W.B. The Collector's Collector

    Location:
    New York, NY, USA
    It may well be the end result of how RCA Hollywood mastering and cutting engineers were told to cut the records, folks (certain rolloffs of certain frequencies which Our Host is more able to technically express) . . . but "Proud Mary" does sound better in the 45 RPM single release, to my ears anyway. Up to the Cosmo's Factory LP and "Looking Out My Back Door" / "Long As I Can See The Light" single, RCA Hollywood had a Scully lathe for mono cutting, and Neumann AM-32 for stereo. Beginning with the release of the single "Have You Ever Seen The Rain," monos would be cut on Neumanns. (B.T.W., the "Proud Mary" single, and Bayou Country LP, were even recorded at RCA Hollywood at Sunset and Ivar; would have loved to see the 'W3KM 9###" numbers for each track on the tape box or whatever.)

    In those days, RCA Hollywood did the lacquer mastering, and RCA's plants in Rockaway, NJ; Indianapolis, IN; and Hollywood, CA, did the pressing.

    In terms of sound quality, in terms of best, middling or worst, check the dash numbers in the deadwax of your copies. That may be a clue as to why some of their output would sound better than others.
     
    dee, Shawn, Cassius and 1 other person like this.
  5. sonofjim

    sonofjim Forum Resident

    A bit pricey, but I've never regretted buying the AP Absolute Originals box. They all sound great to me. I don't play the originals anymore but I will be hanging on to them.
     
  6. Steve Hoffman

    Steve Hoffman Your host Your Host

    First of all, isn't the OP the "everything sounds a bit dark on my turntable" guy from a few threads back? Well, here he is again.

    Do new vinyl pressings tend to sound a bit on the dark side?

    I would be inclined to help him out except for the fact that nowhere in his post does he mention WHAT Creedence pressings these are or when they were done. Are they from the late 1960's? Are they from the 1970? The 1980s? Are they Audiophile reissues? Are they American pressings, British, Japan, Dutch, German, Australian?

    If American pressings, Creedence on Fantasy albums were cut and recut many, many times a side over at least 20 years. Are these blue label originals? Are they Dynaflex versions? Are they later? Are they this, are they that, are they......?

    The bright, ear bleeder that is BAYOU COUNTRY has been fixed on all versions I ever worked on, as well as the ear bleeders on the first album (I Put A Spell On You & Walking On The Water). The rest of the stuff with that nice, organic sound as engineered by SH Forum member Russ Gary are pretty much perfection. Or as the OP would call them: "Dark sounding."

    For the rest of you, please note that the lovely reverb on the first four Creedence albums pretty much vanishes by the time of COSMO. Perhaps the OP is missing the lack of any type of reverb on the later albums? I miss it as well. Shouldn't stop anyone from enjoying the music.

    The OP should definitely NOT buy any Creedence I ever remastered, either for DCC Compact Classics or Analogue Productions. He will come to grief.
     
  7. alexbunardzic

    alexbunardzic Forum Resident Thread Starter

    Location:
    Vancouver, BC
    First of all, I do not appreciate your 'painting with a broad brush' mocking of my statements., I never wrote "everything sounds dark on my turntable", so please let's behave like adults and drop the mockery. I did indeed complain, in another thread, about a few LPs (a tiny portion of my vinyl collection) sounding dark, that's true (mostly the Beatles 2012 stereo "Abbey Road" and stereo "White Album", plus some Erykah Badu LPs), but that cannot, under any circumstances, be generalized as "everything sounds dark on my turntable". I have a sizeable collection of LPs, and 98% of those sound just fine on my turntable, thank you very much.

    Moving along. I am referring to the blue label CCR LPs. I didn't mention that detail because I don't have the exact values to supply, but I can certainly get them later today for the purposes of this discussion.

    Furthermore, I also never wrote that "Bayou Country" sounds dark on my turntable. Quite the reverse -- it sounds brilliant, sparkly, lively, with extremely visceral, fully satisfying delivery. I love the way that LP sounds, and like I already mentioned, it's one of the best sounding LPs I've ever heard. My issue is mostly with "Pendulum" and "Cosmo's Factory" -- not sure why these two LPs sound less visceral, much less attractive than "Bayou Country", as well as their first LP.
     
  8. W.B.

    W.B. The Collector's Collector

    Location:
    New York, NY, USA
    There were many "blue label" Fantasy LP's of CCR's. The ones pressed between 1968 and 1971, and the 1980's and '90's re-pressings.
     
  9. Steve Hoffman

    Steve Hoffman Your host Your Host

    Collectors note, the later the cutting the more "tame" the sound got (in other words, more like the actual sound of the masters). It's the earliest jacked up RCA cuttings that the OP would like the most, I'm bettin'..
     
    dee likes this.
  10. W.B.

    W.B. The Collector's Collector

    Location:
    New York, NY, USA
    Y'know, I was thinking exactly the same thing.
     
    dee likes this.
  11. mpayan

    mpayan Resident Mofi Shill

    *mic drop*

    pow..and ouch :cool:
     
  12. beccabear67

    beccabear67 Musical omnivore

    Location:
    Victoria, Canada
    Does anyone know of a Canadian pressing from the time of original release? I have Bayou Country and Green River with matching dull dark blue labels and hand written numbers in the dead wax, Bayou also says W3RS (or is that a 5) - 9237 and W3RS-9238. The labels state 'Printed in Canada' not pressed so thinking these are probably Indianapolis. Bayou has a lot of presence I can tell but I don't remember Green River being all that big a difference soundwise. These also got played through Kustom PA hooked up to a turntable and it was like hearing the guys in the room on Born On The Bayou.
     
    Last edited: Jun 5, 2017
  13. Steve Hoffman

    Steve Hoffman Your host Your Host

    The early pressings would probably be the most easiest to find. They sold millions. The recuts/reissues/repressings, not so many.
     
  14. beccabear67

    beccabear67 Musical omnivore

    Location:
    Victoria, Canada
    Oh, and the 'Fantasy' is in plain capital Arial type. No 'Full Radial Stereo' anywhere, just stereo in the same plain Arial font. Numbers on Bayou (F-2715) and (F-2716) Green River (F-2744) and (F-2745), dead wax and on label below 'Printed in Canada'. Heavy vinyl.
     
    John Schofield likes this.
  15. Raunchnroll

    Raunchnroll Senior Member

    Location:
    Seattle
    After going through piles of originals the ones I like best are Hollywood cuttings (look for an 'H') that have the so-called 'deep groove' on the label. Slate like old heavy RCA vinyl that sometimes has that signature 'sandy' floor noise of late 60's RCA vinyl - but they have the best overall tone and balance. In my opinion. Rockaway and Indianapolis pressings are OK too but I think the Hollywoods edge them out. Theres even some mid 70's Santa maria Columbia pressings which sound pretty good. You can find the original 'H' masterings on Dynaflex (1971-73) and these sound good too -- plus the vinyl is often quieter. But they're thinner so some adjustment may be needed.

    As far as mastering well you're stuck if you want originals. They are what they are. These albums rock - they sound like rock & roll records - and they don't hurt my ears. Plus they have some decent bottom end. Personally I have no problem with any of them. The AF re-masterings are a different beast without the compression etc. so not worth comparing them.

    Clean playing originals are getting harder to find though.
     
    dee, Taxman, James_S888 and 3 others like this.
  16. alexbunardzic

    alexbunardzic Forum Resident Thread Starter

    Location:
    Vancouver, BC
    This is my copy of "Pendulum" -- Creedence Clearwater Revival - Pendulum

    Terrible sounding LP. Just lifeless.
     
  17. alexbunardzic

    alexbunardzic Forum Resident Thread Starter

    Location:
    Vancouver, BC
    All my CCR LPs are pressed by the label Fantasy. Two ("Bayou Country" and their first LP) sound fantastic. The other three sound lifeless in comparison.
     
  18. libertycaps

    libertycaps Forum Resident

    Location:
    Portland, OR, USA
    Very happy with the way my Fantasy blue label deep groove original pressings sound. Most pulled from the GW bins over the last 10 odd years.
     
    tkl7 likes this.
  19. W.B.

    W.B. The Collector's Collector

    Location:
    New York, NY, USA
    An RCA Indianapolis, I see. I usually seek out RCA Rockaway ('R') pressings of these things.
     
  20. beccabear67

    beccabear67 Musical omnivore

    Location:
    Victoria, Canada
    Sorry... found mine at discogs... first Canadian editions, says Canadian "Deep Grooves" pressing. Anyway, the Green River is probably better than the U.S. based on my not remembering any huge difference between the two, although it is the Born On The Bayou track I remember being most impressed by and tripping big time with. Will have to spin them again real soon. :D
     
    timind likes this.
  21. W.B.

    W.B. The Collector's Collector

    Location:
    New York, NY, USA
    RCA Canada had a plant in Smiths Falls, ON, thus it would be there. The Canadian copy would not have had a Fantasy logo on the label, and the numbers as you say are hand-etched (Indianapolis pressings used small machine-stmaped type in the runouts).
     
    dee and beccabear67 like this.
  22. MickAvory

    MickAvory Forum Resident

    Location:
    New Orleans, LA
    W.B. any reason that you seek out Rockaway pressings of the CCR titles besides your love of label typesetting? Preference soundwise? Vinyl quality? Especially for first or early pressings...

    I've got early pressings (maybe first) of Bayou Country, Willie and Pendulum all pressed at Hollywood. I read some opinions in other threads that Hollywood pressings got a nod for CCR, so I've slowly sought those out. I know Raunchnroll upthread said he prefers those.

    And yes.. I'd probably love the sound of some of the later Columbia pressed, Brown-label??, recuts, but I never see those in the bins. I only see early, mostly beat up, blue 60s labels.
     
  23. Steve Hoffman

    Steve Hoffman Your host Your Host

    A different pressing plant isn't going to help this guy, he doesn't like the sound of the recording. Nothing to do with what cut he has, there is no pressing of it that he will ever like. He should save his money and move on.
     
  24. drbryant

    drbryant Senior Member

    Location:
    Los Angeles, CA
    I love the sound of "Run Through the Jungle" and "Who'll Stop the Rain" from Cosmos Factory.
     
  25. Steve Hoffman

    Steve Hoffman Your host Your Host

    What about the rest of the album? The stuff recorded after those? Big change, eh?
     

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