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Category Archives: vinyl


Was it really just little more than a week? Felt longer.

Ok, so the treatment of The Mamas & the Papas masters and their catalogue over the past decades seems pretty abysmal. Until Sundazed I don’t think anybody was doing anything decent with this material in the CD era and beyond aside from lame comps.

Steve Hoffman tried his hand at remastering some of the singles for a compilation, and while he got it extraordinarily clean sounding, he turned once mono radio singles into hard-panned severe stereo mixes. That move perplexed me and renders the songs pretty unlistenable to boot. I dunno, it’s out there if you want to compare. All the other CDs I’ve heard have similarly abysmal stereo mixes. Yes, I love their voices and harmonies, but I don’t really appreciate the great stomping beat of “Creeque Alley” relegated to somewhere far off in my right ear.

Anyway, by the time Sundazed got their hands on the masters, they were deteriorated to the point where… well, you can hear it for yourself on their reissues. I don’t knock them for it, they did the best they could. There’s some Byrds stuff they put out that suffered a similar fate.

SO, the conclusion I have come to is that there is really no satisfying reissue of The Mamas & the Papas’ albums. You’re stuck with original Dunhill vinyls from the 1960s to hear how this stuff was meant to sound. So that’s what the three M&P albums here are ripped from. I’m totally up for suggestions of what OOP releases sound better… the MCA discs from the 1980s?

Oh, for the record my favorite single LP by them is DELIVER, if you wanted a starting point.

I’m throwing in the excellent Cass Elliot comp for good measure, because I’m obsessed with her lately. “California Earthquake” is one of the best songs ever written. Her cover of The Beach Boys’ “Disney Girls” is pretty stellar also.

Hey, you know that band Tool? How they’re so “edgy” for writing that post-apocalyptic misanthropic nightmare song about how Los Angeles will be swallowed by the ocean? Yeah, Mama Cass wrote that shit in 1968 and shoved it down Middle America’s throat on The Fucking Smothers Brothers. Take your ball and go home, Tool.

DOWNLOAD:
The Mamas & the Papas-IF YOU CAN BELIEVE YOUR EYES AND EARS (1966)
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The Mamas & the Papas-THE MAMAS & THE PAPAS (1966)
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The Mamas & the Papas-DELIVER (1967)
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Cass Elliot-DREAM A LITTLE DREAM (1997 compilation)
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320kbps

Can’t seem to avoid PBTHAL at this point. Every time I fall for a classic album, he’s got the prime cut lossless vinyl rip of the best pressing there ever was, crushing whatever CD junk remaster is commercially available. This is another case where there’s some junky special edition that sounds like digital fucking death, and a thirty year old vinyl that sounds like diamonds. In fact, you couldn’t even get the real, original mix of this album for over twenty years. Wikipedia sez:

During the height of ZZ Tops’ success in the early 1980s an inferior “digitally remixed” version of the recording replaced the original 1973 analog mix. The remix version was used on all early CD copies and was the only version available for over 20 years. A remastered and expanded edition of the album was released on February 28, 2006, which contains three bonus live tracks. The 2006 edition is the first CD version to use the original 1973 mix.

I understand that said comment will probably be stripped of its biased language, but its point stands!

For the FLAC version of this, and two other early ZZ Top jamz, check with the master.

DOWNLOAD:
ZZ Top-TRES HOMBRES (1973)
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320kbps


Stooges vinyl rips. First and third are rips of the 180g reissues of the original masters taken at 24/96 resolution. FUN HOUSE is from PBTHAL, who makes the best needledrops on the internet. This one isn’t offered on his site, though. No, I don’t have a special deal worked out. He was doing this for years before he started his blog and is only putting new rips up nowadays. FUN HOUSE is recorded at 192khz off a first pressing from Columbia. All are dithered to redbook standards and then converted to mp3 by me. Yes, they sound better than the CDs. Certainly better than the trash Iggy remaster of RAW POWER.

DOWNLOAD:
THE STOOGES (1969)
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FUN HOUSE (1970)
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RAW POWER (1973)
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320kbps

This is a rip of a Verve first pressing vinyl of the third album, in case you wanted that regular mix! -Ian!

Upon first release, the Velvet Underground’s self-titled third album must have surprised their fans nearly as much as their first two albums shocked the few mainstream music fans who heard them. After testing the limits of how musically and thematically challenging rock could be on Velvet Underground & Nico and White Light/White Heat, this 1969 release sounded spare, quiet, and contemplative, as if the previous albums documented some manic, speed-fueled party and this was the subdued morning after. (The album’s relative calm has often been attributed to the departure of the band’s most committed avant-gardist, John Cale, in the fall of 1968; the arrival of new bassist Doug Yule; and the theft of the band’s amplifiers shortly before they began recording.) But Lou Reed’s lyrical exploration of the demimonde is as keen here as on any album he ever made, while displaying a warmth and compassion he sometimes denied his characters. “Candy Says,” “Pale Blue Eyes,” and “I’m Set Free” may be more muted in approach than what the band had done in the past, but “What Goes On” and “Beginning to See the Light” made it clear the VU still loved rock & roll, and “The Murder Mystery” (which mixes and matches four separate poetic narratives) is as brave and uncompromising as anything on White Light/White Heat. This album sounds less like the Velvet Underground than any of their studio albums, but it’s as personal, honest, and moving as anything Lou Reed ever committed to tape.

-Mark Deming, allmusic.com

DOWNLOAD:
The Velvet Underground-THE VELVET UNDERGROUND (1969)
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320kbps

This sounds amazing, and I had no idea how much of a hack job my CD was until I heard it. The most obvious difference is this is longer, and doesn’t edit Sara, which is one of the best songs on the album! Its info can be found here. I did not rip this personally, its lineage/equipment used can be read here. If you ripped this drop me a comment, you did a great job!

It’s a tall order, about 700mb per part. They’re not parts of a single archive so they can extract/play individually, each part ten tracks. They’re higher res than Redbook standard so you have to dither them down to 16/44 to burn them to CD. I’ll leave that up to you.

Again I included an MP3 version of the rip in case you just want to throw it on your iPod and whatnot. iTunes doesn’t play high end FLACs natively, I don’t believe. -Ian!

Like John said a few reviews ago, find this album on vinyl and burn your own cd. That’s what I’ve attempted to do, but my burner is broken. Anyway there are at least two major problems with the CD. Most people know that Sara is edited, and that you can actually hear the edit when it takes place (ouch!). But then there is also a practically new version of I Know I’m Not Wrong, and its horrible. I’m sure there are other differences, but I only played the CD twice, and then immediatly sold it. However, on vinyl, Tusk is a masterpiece. Lindsey Buckingham proves to be an excellent producer/songwriter. Of the 20 songs, 5 are stellar Buckingham songs: Save Me A Place, What Makes You Think You’re The One, That’s All For Everyone, I Know I’m Not Wrong, and Walk A Thin Line. Despite a few extremely slow parts (Brown Eyes, Beautiful Child), the other 15 songs are great. Anyway, YOU WANT THIS. Look for the vinyl. Tusk is BY FAR the greatest FM album, and my #3 favorite album of all time.

-SonOfPFunk, amazon.com review of the CD

DOWNLOAD:
PART ONE
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PART TWO
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24/96 FLAC

MP3 VERSION
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320kbps

This is one of those “big deal” discoveries for me. Big thank you to Bananafish and the blog LIKE A TIME MACHINE POWERED BY BICYCLES for this stunning find! I didn’t know that one of my favorite films of all time even had a score! -Ian!

This LP was presumably rushed out to capitalize on the surprising critical success of Faces, though I’ve never come across a single mention of it in any Cassavetes bio. As the title says, the album (produced by Miles Davis’ producer/collaborator Teo Macero) is comprised of “music from the soundtrack, plus music inspired by the film;” what this means is that only a few tracks were actually featured in the film (Love Is All You Really Want, Love Has Conquered Man, and Charlie Smalls’ stark and soulful Never Felt Like This Before), while the rest are either extrapolations of musical themes from the minimal score (i.e. two additional renditions of Love Is All You Really Want), or are pieces with loose thematic or practical ties to scenes in the film (I Dream of Jeannie, Deck The Halls[?]).

It’s impossible to say who’s “inspiration” was responsible for this collection, as three of the four people who would presumably know — Macero, Smalls (a composer and songwriter later known for writing the music for the 1975 Broadway musical The Wiz), and Cassavetes himself — are no longer with us (anyone have a phone number for Jack Ackerman?). Personally, I’m just glad that an officially-produced soundtrack to any Cassavetes film exists; the only other one I know of is Bill Conti’s Gloria score, issued in a limited edition by Varese Sarabane’s limited-edition and now out of print. Now, if only someone would put together a nice collection of Bo Harwood’s music for John’s other films (hint hint)…

http://likeatimemachinepoweredbybicycles.blogspot.com

DOWNLOAD:
Various Artists-MUSIC FROM AND INSPIRED BY JOHN CASSAVETES’ “FACES” (1966)
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Another HPN find, never know if I should be crediting that or if we don’t talk about HPN. -Ian!

Best album I’ve heard this year. Too bad it took me so long to discover it, but so lucky for me I can hear it now with fresh ears and still find joy in previously unheard music. This is a masterpiece. Exotic, poppy, jazzy, folky and proggy. Cheesy and beautiful. Tickles your funnybone and brings a tear to the eye. What else could you possibly want? Prog heads might be miffed that there aren’t any totally ruling riffs. But Lucio is primarily a songsmith and not a rock showman. This album is all about quirky pop arrangements, Italian psych melodies and arty song structures. If you have any kind of leanings towards the SMiLe album, Genesis, 10cc, and Italian prog then you’ll probably get a lot out of this. It’s freaking REALLY REALLY good.

-some dude on rateyourmusic.com

DOWNLOAD:
Lucio Battisti-ANIMA LATINA (1974)
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320kbps

Another one from FUNK MY SOUL. I’m done biting their stylie for the night. But oh man, they have it all! This rip beats any of the CD versions I’ve heard! -Ian!

I often wonder what ever happened to the brothers who’d remained on active duty after serving in Nam and with whom I served in the mid and late seventies. Wherever I was stationed during that time period one of them was sure to be playing this album every evening. I worked with a number of them, women too – one troubled man gave me his bootleg album shortly before he died from alcohol poisoning.

We played “Back to the World” at the EM Club at the remote post in South Korea I was stationed in the mid 70’s; at the height of cold war juxpositioning and feeling like sitting ducks it seemed the thing to do especially for the many men and women among us who’d recently returned from ‘nam. Here was a popular successful singer and musician who cared about us, understood how we felt, how our returning brothers and sisters were being treated.

It’s been almost thirty years since I first heard this album, that first copy was lost long ago in a move. It thrills me to find it again as I remember dusty evenings with friends in a quonset hut barracks room singing “back to the world” with tears in our eyes as stories were told and too many drinks were drunk.

He spoke for those who served.

-lhamo55, amazon.com

DOWNLOAD:
Curtis Mayfield-BACK TO THE WORLD (1973)
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Another amazing find from FUNK MY SOUL, I’m telling you that blog is the BUSINESS. -Ian!

Skull Snaps were a mysterious funk group that lasted long enough to record and release a self-titled 1973 album before apparently disbanding. Since its small-time release on the GSF label, Skull Snaps has become one of the more legendary rare funk records, having been sampled countless times on rap records. Gang Starr’s “Take It Personal,” Camp Lo’s “Cooley High,” Ol’ Dirty Bastard’s “Hippa to da Hoppa,” Lords of the Underground’s “Funky Child,” and Diamond D’s “Sally Got a One Track Mind” represent just a handful of the tracks that have put the drums from “It’s a New Day” to use. Charly later issued the album on CD in the ’90s, to the amazement of those who had paid triple figures for the original LP.

Original vinyl copies of Skull Snaps’ one and only LP continue to exchange hands on the rare groove market for three figures. There are two reasons for this: one, it’s rare, and two, the drum breaks from the album have been feasted upon for samples so frequently that samples of the samples have likely been sampled. It’s not that the album is spectacular — it’s merely a decent early-’70s funk record from some accomplished musicians who don’t exactly leave a trademark of their own throughout its nine songs. This soul-drenched funk album is most notable for the drums of “It’s a New Day.” It’s the album’s strongest cut, and the opening drum pattern is as ubiquitous they come — you can hear it get put to re-use in well over two dozen popular rap songs. Anyone who likes hard funk will find much to like — the vocals are gruff, the rhythms are tough yet nimble (the drums are crisp and smacking throughout), and the subject matter takes on everything from pimps to romance to everyday relationships.

-Andy Kellman, allmusic.com

DOWNLOAD:
Skull Snaps-SKULL SNAPS (1973)
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320kbps

This is an incredible rip of EXILE by PBTHAL, which I believe is not even available on his blog. Anyway, I think everyone should know about the incredible work he’s doing.

This was recorded differently than the THEIR SATANIC MAJESTIES REQUEST rip I posted earlier was recorded, different person! PBTHAL captures at 192khz, way higher than the SATANIC REQUEST guy did. PBTHAL also has arguably better hardware. It is then dithered down to Redbook standard 16bit / 44.1khz. In other words, analog captured as highly as consumer hardware really even allows. Now. Which is insanely better than what was available to studios in 1987, or whenever, when CDs of old albums were being made from master tapes with early, primitive DACs. Even remasters that claim to use original masters now tend to do who knows what to them.

Here’s some literal symbolism for you: look at the sleeve art from the vinyl, and now compare it to the sleeve from the CD version. Notice the difference? The art on the vinyl is a messy patchwork with obvious masking tape holding the pieces together. The CD version smooths everything down until it all looks like one professional layer. Sloppy replaced with the illusion of sloppy.

Now listen to the original mix. There are tons of mistakes. You hear dropouts, wrong plug-ins, rumbles, sibilance. These aren’t from the medium of vinyl, trust me. Jimmy Miller knew what he was doing. This was an intentionally sprawling mess in concept.

You feel like you’re in the room during Sweet Virginia, I turned my head when the saxophone came in. Hear the deep thud in the right ear during the beginning of Loving Cup. Hey, what was that weird squelch of the vocals as it went into the verse? It was Jimmy Miller or Keith Richards de-pressing a button when layering takes into the mix.

You might find yourself saying, “Ian, come on. There’s distortion during Torn and Frayed!” To which I would say, “Listen closer, idiot! That’s TAPE FLUTTER. From the MASTER TAPE. It’s SUPPOSED TO BE THERE!” This album feels lived in. It creaks like old floorboards.

Guess stuff like that gets washed away in numbing barrage of Noise Reduction during the CD remaster.

This has been THE DEFINITIVE EXILE for me for about a year. Which makes it pretty much my favorite recording of anything, ever. There’s like maybe three albums ever made that top this for me. It’s as good as it’s ever going to get. I’ve taken the liberty of making this rip available in MP3, again, for those people that just want to hear the mix but are unconcerned with lossless fidelity and just want it on their iPods.

Yes, I know. This was pretty much a big slab of hyperbole. But there aren’t reviews specific to the original vinyl, comparing it to subsequent remasters. So I had to write something. Cut me some slack, jerk!

Please consider other excellent recordings of rare vinyl from PBTHAL:
http://pbthal.blogspot.com

DOWNLOAD:
The Rolling Stones-EXILE ON MAIN ST. ORIGINAL UK VINYL by PBTHAL (1972)
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FLAC

MP3 VERSION
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320kbps