Monday, December 21, 2009
Back to Mercury
I got all of these after the fact in a jumbled two-fer that included songs from Chuck Berry in Memphis and Live at the Fillmore. I bought it used in 1972 or 1973 and played it a few hundred times on an old turntable that I had fished out of a dumpster a few years before that. It occurred to me recently that this history—a used record played on record player that was somebody else’s garbage—might explain my oft-repeated claim that Mercury records sound “tinny.” (My only other Mercury records are another jumble that includes the Memphis songs and the remakes, and “Concerto in B. Goode.”) But I don’t think it’s strictly a matter of being misled by circumstance. I think they sound bad—like the guitars, drums, organ and vocals are being squeezed through a transistor radio, and the bass is pretty much gone.