#1 my favorite gal, #2, my favorite place, #3 my favorite scotch and #4 one of my favorite albums. I’ve been asked “what is your favorite band/album?” more times than I can count. It’s a mechanism for music lovers to find common ground. Trouble is, that ground can be quicksand! My favorite band? Easy question, the Beatles, hands down… unless I’m in a Led Zeppelin mood at the moment, or… wait! What about Miles Davis or Michael Hedges or Ani DiFranco???
One album that I constantly return to is Rumors by Fleetwood Mac. The record came out in 1977, and my memory of it is centered on one day in the summer of 1978 in Lewiston, Idaho. My parents had taken over the management of Hell’s Gate Marina on the Snake River. I was tasked with mowing the lawn, emptying garbage cans and, occasionally, minding the convenience store and gas pump at the marina. I was alone in the store when a small runabout came into the marina to get gas, ice and beer. There were four or five people in the boat, but there was one girl, twice my age I’m sure, wearing a “hippy” summer dress that got out of the boat on the dock and danced… twirled, carefree, smiling to this music! There was an 8-Track player in the boat and a couple of Kraco speakers. They never turned the music off and this girl danced! I had never seen such a happy person and I had to know, what the hell was that music?!? I have several versions of this LP. This is my most recent addition… it is a Nautilus “Super Discs” version, which means it was a half speed master on superior and heavy virgin vinyl. The jury is still out on whether or not these “masters” are worth the additional cost, but, when this copy showed up at local record store Recorded Memories, I fell hook, line and sinker… Yup, that’s $44.50 I paid for a used record. That’s the most I’ve ever paid for an LP in my life. I decided that if I was truly going to live this vinyl lifestyle for a whole year I needed to invest in my foundation in order to keep the whole house of cards from collapsing. I do have a pretty decent collection of Beatles and Bob Dylan vinyl, but am looking to build up the other pillars of my musical fortress… the Police, U2, Dire Straits, the Clash. Led Zeppelin has just re-re-re-released some of their records on vinyl and those are definitely on the want list. I picked this Rumors album up a few weeks ago. It has been sitting in the basement waiting for a time the my wife (also a big fan of the record) and I could devote some time together to listen to the thing. Tonight was that night. First, my wife was down with the idea (#1, check), we could hunker down in the basement… fire roaring, cocktails in hand and relax (#2, check), I had just enough Lagavulin 16 for the ~40 minute play time, (#3 check) and I had a clean copy of Rumors (#4 check). The album is fantastic! Is it because of the Nautilus “Super Discs” version? I don’t know and, really, I don’t care. There were a few pops and crackles (more than my pristine copy of Magical Mystery Tour) but way less than any of the other several copies of Rumors I own. In fact, the sound stage presented on this album was not only wide but deep. I could perceive, on some tracks, notably on Dreams on side one and The Chain on side two, the position of the drums in the front, the bass and guitar in the middle and some of the vocals behind, but mixed to the front dynamically. I’ll need to do a side by side comp of the normal vinyl LPs I have to the Super Disc to make a better assessment. There are a few extenuating circumstances for me to not do so tonight: