- This an unusually good sounding copy of CCR’s debut boasts outstanding Double Plus (A++) grades on both sides
- The sound is big and rich with a punchy bottom, perfect for swamp rockers like I Put a Spell on You and Susie Q
- A tough album to find with sound and surfaces as good as these – not as many copies qualify to make it to the site as we would like
- 4 stars: “…the band’s sound is vibrant, with gutsy arrangements that borrow equally from Sun, Stax, and the swamp.
It’s unlikely you will be demonstrating your system with this record, but you may find yourself enjoying the hell out of it for what it is — a prime example of a Roots Rock ‘n’ Roll album that sounds RIGHT, with music that still holds up today.
Good luck finding a copy of this album with even one side that sounds this good. Most copies are grainy, murky, and veiled. It took a good-sized stack of copies to find any that had bottom end weight, midrange presence, freedom from grain (mostly) and real energy.
What the best sides of this classic Creedence album have to offer is not hard to hear:
- The biggest, most immediate staging in the largest acoustic space
- The most Tubey Magic, without which you have almost nothing. CDs give you clean and clear. Only the best vintage vinyl domestic pressings like this one offer the kind of Tubey Magic that was on the tapes in 1968
- Tight, note-like, rich, full-bodied bass, with the correct amount of weight down low
- Natural tonality in the midrange — with the vocals, guitars and drums having the correct sound for this recording
- Transparency and resolution, critical to hearing into the three-dimensional space of the studio
No doubt there’s more but we hope that should do for now
Playing the record is the only way to hear all of the above, and playing the best pressings against a pile of other copies under rigorously controlled conditions is the only way to find a pressing that sounds as good as this one does.
If you own any of the new heavy vinyl pressings of CCR’s albums mastered by SH and KG, hearing this Hot Stamper pressing will surely be a revelation.
We were never big fans of the recuts from the early 2000s, but back in the day we thought they were tolerable. We have much better reproduction (equipment, room, tweaks, electrical quality) these days than we did then, and now we can’t stand them. They bore us to tears.
Head to head in a shootout, our Hot Stampers will be dramatically more transparent, open, clear and just plain REAL sounding, because these are all the areas in which heavy vinyl pressings fall so short. Those looking for a list of specific shortcomings can easily find reviews and commentaries for hundreds of heavy vinyl titles on the site.
I Put a Spell on You
The Working Man
Ninety-Nine and a Half (Won’t Do)
Get Down Woman
Walk on the Water
AMG 4 Star Rave Review
Released in the summer of 1968 — a year after the summer of love, but still in the thick of the Age of Aquarius – Creedence Clearwater Revival’s self-titled debut album was gloriously out-of-step with the times, teeming with John Fogerty’s Americana fascinations.
While many of Fogerty’s obsessions and CCR’s signatures are in place — weird blues (“I Put a Spell on You”), Stax R&B (Wilson Pickett’s “Ninety-Nine and a Half”), rockabilly (“Susie Q”), winding instrumental interplay, the swamp sound, and songs for “The Working Man” — the band was still finding their way. Out of all their records (discounting Mardi Gras), this is the one that sounds the most like its era, thanks to the wordless vocal harmonies toward the end of “Susie Q,” the backward guitars on “Gloomy,” and the directionless, awkward jamming that concludes “Walking on the Water.”
Still, the band’s sound is vibrant, with gutsy arrangements that borrow equally from Sun, Stax, and the swamp.
We Shootout Cosmo’s Factory
[Note that we have not played the Heavy Vinyl pressing of CCR’s first album. Having heard AP’s Cosmo’s Factory we have no intention of playing any CCR title on that label. We’re assuming, rightfully or otherwise, that the AP versions will not be to our liking. Ultimately we guarantee that our Hot Stampers will beat any pressing you may have, including, perhaps especially, any of those by Analogue Productions.]
Our story begins: Years ago a customer sent me his copy of the Analogue Productions LP (mastered by Hoffman and Gray) in order to carry out a little shootout I had planned among the five copies I could pull together: two MoFi’s, the Fantasy ORC reissue, a blue label original, the AP, and another reissue.
Let’s just say there were no real winners, but there sure were some losers.
My take on the Hoffman version is simply this: it has virtually no trace of TUBEY ANALOG MAGIC. None to speak of anyway. It sounds like a clean, tonally correct but fairly bass-shy CD. No pressing I played managed to be so tonally correct and so boring at the same time. The MoFi has some funny EQ colorations, the kind that bug the hell out of me on 98% of their crappy catalog, but at least it sounds like analog. It’s warm, rich and sweet. The AP copy has none of those qualities.
This is simply more pointless 180g sound, to my ear anyway. I couldn’t sit through it with a gun to my head.
It’s an all-but-IMPOSSIBLE record to find with good sound. It’s shocking how bad most of the original blue label pressings are. No top, no bass and hard mids — not exactly a recipe for audiophile happiness. The ORC (Original Rock Classics) Fantasy reissues we’ve played are usually a joke as well; there’s not a whole lot above 6k on most of those pressings and the bass is hollow.
Bottom line: You would need a LOT of vintage tubes in your system to get the AP record to sound right, and then everything else in your collection would sound wrong.