Mastered from the original analog master tapes and pressed at RTI on MoFi SuperVinyl. Mobile Fidelity's limited numbered-edition UltraDisc One-Step 180g 45RPM 2LP box set presents Taylor's beloved music with unparalleled detail, richness, presence, and intimacy. The Boston native's warm baritone, expert breath control, and soothing guitar playing emerge as if they're coming directly out of a studio control room. There's no better way to hear Taylor – who stopped performing in small halls decades ago and now primarily frequents arenas and stadiums – weave folk, pop, country, and soft-rock threads into relaxed tapestries.
His homespun arrangements are framed against pitch-black backgrounds enhanced by the practically nonexistent noise floor of MoFi SuperVinyl. Greatest Hits also benefits from superior groove definition, sublime transparency, and dead-quiet surfaces. Never before have the critical instrumental accents that surround Taylor's singing sounded so lifelike, balanced, and whole. Even if you've heard favorites like "Fire and Rain" countless times, you've never experienced these classics in such realistic fashion.
The gorgeous packaging of the Greatest Hits UD1S pressing complements its distinguished status. Housed in a deluxe box, the LPs come in special foil-stamped jackets with faithful-to-the-original graphics that illuminate the splendor of the recording. This UD1S reissue exists as a curatorial artifact meant to be preserved, touched, and examined. It is made for discerning listeners that prize sound quality and production, and who desire to engage themselves in everything involved with the album.
And with Greatest Hits, that immersion extends to its unusual context. Like many collections, it was issued to fulfill a contract and capitalize on an artist's escalating popularity. Once Taylor signed to Columbia, Warner Bros. – which released the singer-songwriter's six previous LPs and watched as he transformed into a star – sought to bookend his stretch at the label with a career overview. Interestingly, Greatest Hits overlooks several tracks that landed on the charts and includes re-recordings of two songs – "Something in the Way She Moves," "Carolina in My Mind" – originally on Taylor's 1968 debut for Apple. In another twist, "Steamroller" is not the version from Sweet Baby James but a then-unreleased live rendition.
That the curiously titled Greatest Hits plumbs several deep cuts and bypasses Top 40 singles in favor of fare such as "Walking Man" worked – and still works – to its advantage. The strategy showcases the breadth, depth, and consistency of a songsmith whose primary concern has always been his craft. Though Taylor is tied to the pop universe, his identity remains that of an approachable confidante. He's the neighbor outside on his front porch ready with a good word; the reliable companion whose plainspoken voice conveys steadiness, trust, and honesty; the life companion whose tranquil demeanor and hopeful tones remind us of the importance of reflection, focus, and calm. These attributes are among the reasons why the familiar sound of Taylor's voice, gentle guitar, and mellow moods remain part of our DNA. His chart-topping cover of Carole King's "You've Got a Friend" said it all – and still speaks volumes more than 50 years later.
The beauty of this UD1S reissue is how it brings those treasured traits nearer to our hearts and deeper inside our souls. Whether it's the Latin-accented "Mexico," rustic shuffle "Country Road," vulnerable ballad "Don't Let Me Be Lonely Tonight," or cozy bear hug that is "Shower the People," these songs offer reassurance and function as emotional balms in a frantic world. And they show no signs of aging. To put into perspective how pervasive Greatest Hits has been since its 1976 release, consider that the album peaked at No. 23 on the charts and has still managed to sell more than 11 million copies.
That Taylor is accompanied by a cadre of ace musicians – King (piano, background vocals); Russ Kunkel (drums and percussion); Joni Mitchell (background vocals), David Crosby, Graham Nash, and Carly Simon (harmony vocals); Danny Kortchmar (electric guitar); David Sanborn (saxophone); Leland Sklar and Randy Meisner (bass) – further explains the everlasting appeal of Greatest Hits. Trends will come and go, but Greatest Hits will doubtlessly endure for another five-plus decades.
More About Mobile Fidelity UltraDisc One-Step and Why It Is Superior
Instead of utilizing the industry-standard three-step lacquer process, Mobile Fidelity Sound Lab's new UltraDisc One-Step (UD1S) uses only one step, bypassing two processes of generational loss. While three-step processing is designed for optimum yield and efficiency, UD1S is created for the ultimate in sound quality. Just as Mobile Fidelity pioneered the UHQR (Ultra High-Quality Record) with JVC in the 1980s, UD1S again represents another state-of-the-art advance in the record-manufacturing process. MFSL engineers begin with the original master recordings, painstakingly transfer them to DSD 256, and meticulously cut a set of lacquers. These lacquers are used to create a very fragile, pristine UD1S stamper called a "convert." Delicate "converts" are then formed into the actual record stampers, producing a final product that literally and figuratively brings you closer to the music. By skipping the additional steps of pulling another positive and an additional negative, as done in the three-step process used in standard pressings, UD1S produces a final LP with the lowest noise floor possible today. The removal of the additional two steps of generational loss in the plating process reveals tremendous amounts of extra musical detail and dynamics, which are otherwise lost due to the standard copying process. The exclusive nature of these very limited pressings guarantees that every UD1S pressing serves as an immaculate replica of the lacquer sourced directly from the original master recording. Every conceivable aspect of vinyl production is optimized to produce the most perfect record album available today.
Developed by NEOTECH and RTI, MoFi SuperVinyl is the most exacting-to-specification vinyl compound ever devised. Analog lovers have never seen (or heard) anything like it. Extraordinarily expensive and extremely painstaking to produce, the special proprietary compound addresses two specific areas of improvement: noise floor reduction and enhanced groove definition. The vinyl composition features a new carbonless dye (hold the disc up to the light and see) and produces the world's quietest surfaces. This high-definition formula also allows for the creation of cleaner grooves that are indistinguishable from the original lacquer. MoFi SuperVinyl provides the closest approximation of what the label's engineers hear in the mastering lab.