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The Association - Insight Out

Our Shootout Winner from 2010


A distinguished member of the Better Records Rock and Pop Hall of Fame.

The sound of the Sixties will fill your room like never before -- wall to wall, floor to ceiling, with layers upon layers of depth. You would be very hard pressed to find a pop rock recording from 1967 that sounds as good as a Hot Stamper Insight Out. (Sgt. Pepper comes to mind, but what else?) Can you imagine the Mamas and the Papas or The Jefferson Airplane with this kind of rich, sweet, open, textured, natural, tonally correct recording quality?

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Sku # : associnsig_2010
Manufacturer : Warner Brothers LP
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The midrange is pure tubey magic! If you have the kind of system that brings out that quality in a recording, you will go wild over this one. In fact it's so good, it made me appreciate some of the other songs on the album which I had previously dismissed as filler. When you hear them sound this good, you can actually enjoy them!

Hal, Joe and Bones

The real stars of Windy (and the album itself) are Hal Blaine and Joe Osborne, the famous session drummer/ bass player team, who create the driving force behind these songs. Osborne's web site puts Windy front and center as the first track demonstrating what a top rhythm section can do for a pop song. This whole album can be enjoyed simply for the great drum and bass work, not to mention the sound that both of those instruments are given by the pop recording master Bones Howe.

He produced and engineered the show here; Bones is a man who knew his way around a studio as well as practically anybody in the '60s. He's the one responsible for all the tubey magic of the recording. That's his sound. Those of you who appreciate that sound will find much to like here. If, on the other hand, you prefer the sound of a band like, say, Dire Straits, a group with a dry, processed, transistory approach to recording, the sound of this LP is unlikely to move you as much as it does us here at Better Records.

The Association is not an "album" band by any stretch of the imagination. Some of the material here leaves much to be desired. But the two great songs contained herein -- Windy and Never My Love -- are so wonderful they make up for the filler that surrounds them.

Bouncing Tracks

Never My Love is clearly the best sounding track on the album. Those of you with better front ends will be astonished at the quality of the sound. Windy also sounds excellent, but I hear some sub-generation harmonic distortion, probably caused by bouncing down some of the tracks to make room for others. This is the era of the four track machine, and when four of the tracks are used up they are bounced down to one track, making available three new tracks. Some of the albums from this era -- the Mamas and the Papas come to mind -- have multiple bounces, three and four deep, which accounts for the distortion that you hear all through their recordings. The two track finished master might have five generations of tape on some instruments!

We Do The Work So You Don't Have To

Let's face it: if you find this record in a record store it's going to be $10 or less, which is what I paid for most of the copies here. But they're usually noisy and dull sounding. You really have to work at it to find a copy that sounds like this one. Or, better yet, pay us to do that work for you by just buying this one.

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