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<br>Neil Young - On The Beach <p>Our Shootout Winner from 2008</p>




Neil Young - On The Beach

Our Shootout Winner from 2008


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

HOT STAMPERS FOR THIS NEIL YOUNG GEM FINALLY DISCOVERED! We’ve been trying for quite a while to find a copy of this album with the kind of wall-to-wall, floor-to-ceiling sound we get from the best copies of Zuma and After The Gold Rush, but it's been quite the tough task. We love the music, but most of the copies we played left us wondering if we'd ever play one worthy of the Hot Stamper designation. Well, folks, I'm pleased to report that we've finally confirmed what we had imagined and hoped -- that on the best pressings, this album can sound OUT OF THIS WORLD!

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Sku # : youngonthe_2008
Manufacturer : Reprise LP
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Before we get to discussing the sound of this album and this specific copy, I want to take a moment to acknowledge the string of superb albums Neil released from 1970 to 1976. I mean, look at these titles: After The Gold Rush, Harvest, On The Beach, Tonight's The Night, and Zuma. Not a dog in the lot, to say the least. I can't think of anyone else besides Led Zep (first five titles) and The Beatles (pick 'em!) who put out at least this many killer albums consecutively. We consider each of those albums a work of genius, and after this week's progress with On The Beach, we can proudly claim to have found copies of each with the sonic credentials necessary to bring you these masterpieces at their absolute best -- exactly the way you want to hear them.

That Live In The Studio Sound

On the best copies, the title track is OUT OF THIS WORLD. It's got that live-in-the-studio sound we recognize and love from Zuma, but in this case it sounds like it was recorded at three in the morning in a room full of pot smoke! When you play a Hot Stamper copy, the soundfield is HUGE -- big, wide, and deep -- and there's lots of space around each of the instruments. You will not believe all the studio ambience, and you can probably catch a contact high from it!

Two Knockout Sides

Side one held its own against every copy we threw against it, earning our top grade of A+++. The sound is relaxed, musical, and SUPER transparent -- there's virtually nothing between you and the music! Neil's voice is PERFECTION with lots of texture, and it is surrounded by lovely ambience. Play the second track, See The Sky About To Rain, to hear some mellow magic! Neil's work on the wurlitzer sounds fantastic, and the soft, breathy vocals are bound to give you goosebumps. The next song (featuring Rick Danko and Levon Helm of The Band) goes completely in the other direction and rocks like you wouldn't believe. It's full of energy and the bottom end has got the kind of WHOMP that brings the power of rock and roll to your living room.

Side one has also got unusually high resolution and super low distortion. Every last copy we played had at least a touch of strain in the chorus to Walk On, but on this copy it's not all that objectionable.

Side two is PHENOMENAL as well. We found the sound of side twos to be generally stronger than on our side ones, so a grade of A++ on side two gets you SUPERB sound indeed. Al Schmitt handled production for each of the the tracks on side two, and it seems he did the same kind of bang-up job that earned him Grammy awards for his production on the Hatari soundtrack (A TAS List title) and his engineering on Steely Dan's Aja, Toto IV, and more.

Side two has a MASSIVELY HUGE SOUNDFIELD -- it's a monster! Hi-res sound is the name of the game here -- everything has clear transients and loads of texture, and the subtle dynamics really come through. The sound of the hand percussion at the beginning of the title track is INCREDIBLE! You can really hear the sound of the skins. The overall sound is lusher, sweeter, and warmer than the average copy by a mile. We rated this side A++ and I bet you'll be surprised we didn't rate it higher.

We Won't Have Too Many Of These

We don't see this one in the bins too often, and when we do we've got to pay top dollar for them. (That's probably in part since this one wasn't released on CD until very recently.) Beyond that, most of the copies we've dropped the needle on just didn't have enough sonic power or quiet enough vinyl to merit Hot Stamper status. We'll keep on trying, of course, but I can't promise that you'll be seeing many more Hot copies of this one on our site in the near future. Neil Young fans, you've gotta get while the gettin's good!

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