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Love Hz: Yellow Sunshine

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Lovin' Spoonful Sundazed promo shotThe folks at Sundazed Records certainly have my number: if you’re gonna put out a reissue LP, make it special so that even hardcore collectors (who probably already have the album) will want to buy it. This reissue of the classic 1966 album by The Lovin’ Spoonful — Hums of the Lovin’ Spoonful, which reached #14 on the Billboard charts — falls squarely in that category and I have no regrets over the purchase. The reissue initially came out in 2003, but I just bought an uber-limited edition spectacular yellow-gold splash vinyl (only 100 copies pressed!) which Sundazed sells through its website. This album is arguably their best — and best sounding, with engineering by the legendary Roy Halee (Simon & Garfunkel, The Byrds, Laura Nyro, Blood Sweat and Tears, etc.). The stereo actually sounds really enjoyable, with crisp separation and good instrument definition for the period.

The reissue includes extremely comprehensive and enlightening liner notes by Smithereen Dennis Diken. It also has four bonus tracks not on the original LP, including a lovely instrumental version of “Rain on the Roof.”

But how does it compare to he original pressing? Well I have a pristine original copy and can say that the reissue sounds almost identical! And this is a good thing, because finding perfect condition pressings of albums from 1966 isn’t really that easy, especially on the Kama Sutra label — a label I’ve had hit and miss experiences with, sonics wise. The original possibly has a bit of edge in the warmth category since it was probably all analog every step of the way, not to mention some degradation of signal over time due to aging tape sock. I suspect that somewhere along the line, the album got a new digital cleansing. That said, Sundazed did a fabulous job on this and it will be my go-to play version so I can keep my original… well, pristine!

Original black vs. yellow pressings of Hums of the Lovin' SpoonfulWhat songs are on it? Hums… is almost a Greatest Hits album in its own right, with Lovin’ Spoonful classics “Lovin’ You,” “Rain on the Roof,” “Nashville Cats,” “Coconut Grove” and the #1 smash hit “Summer in the City.” Go here to sample some of the tracks.

Whether you get this on yellow vinyl or not, definitely seek Hums of the Lovin’ Spoonful out. Its a great record that should be listened to alongside other key records of the period, such as The Kinks’ Face to Face, The Beatles’ Revolver, The Stones’ Between The Buttons, The Beach Boys’ Pet Sounds, and Dylan’s Blonde on Blonde. It’s that good. Here’s how the yellow reissue (right) looks alongside my near mint original 1966 pressing.

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