Month: April 2019

Philippe Entremont / The Chopin I Love – A Sleeper from Columbia

This is an undiscovered Columbia gem from 1971. Both musically and sonically this record is superb. Who knew Columbia could record a piano this well? You could play fifty vintage piano recordings and not find one as good as this! We know, we’ve played plenty, including a number of Entremont’s Columbia records that don’t sound too good to us. Maybe we need to find a Hot Stamper of some of the weaker titles, but it hasn’t happened yet. A word of advice: avoid the piano concertos. We have yet to hear a good one. Those steely Columbia strings are far from our idea of good sound.

These solo piano pieces are performed with consummate skill and deep feeling by the legendary Phillipe Entremont. His liner notes are beautifully written and insightful as well — well worth reading.

Fortunately this record has no strings, just a solid, clear piano in a big hall. (more…)

Bread – The Best of Bread Vol. 2 – Reviewed in 2010

More Bread

More Pure Pop

This very nice looking Elektra Butterfly Label LP has the best sound I’ve ever heard for this compilation. Keep in mind that this is an album of mostly weak material, not in the class with the first ’Best of Bread’ by a long shot. However, some of these songs sound quite good here, easily better than the typical Bread album from which they are taken. Listen to ‘Been Too Long On The Road’ or ‘He’s A Good Lad’ to hear the best sounding Bread.

Letter of the Week – “Un******believable that any record could sound that good.”

Reviews and Commentaries for the Music of America

Reviews and Commentaries for The Eagles’ Debut

One of our good customers had this to say about some Hot Stampers he purchased recently:

Hey Tom, 

I want to tell you I bought America’s 1st LP from you some couple of years back. White Hot designation at that time. I don’t know if you have found one better since then. Paid big dollars and I still cannot believe the sound. Worth every penny. 

When I play that LP, I cannot avoid getting goose bumps or getting totally enveloped with the music. The guitars and vocals are flat out surreal.

It is just as amazing as the Eagles 1st LP Hot Stamper. Un******believable that any record could sound that good.

Bill P.



Thanks for your letter. I know exactly what you mean. In 1971 or 1972 I got my first copy of America and it quickly became a record I could hardly get enough of.

I didn’t discover how hot the first Eagles album could sound until about 2000. That’s how long it took me to stumble upon the original white label Asylum pressing. Before then all I had heard were the blue label reissues, and most of those are unimpressive to say the least.

The Ames Brothers – The Blend and the Beat

  • Superb sound throughout with both sides earning a solid Double Plus (A++) for sound or BETTER – fairly quiet vinyl too
  • With Tubey Magical Stereoscopic presentation like you will not believe, this copy is spacious, sweet and positively dripping with ambience
  • If you’re looking to demonstrate just how good the All Tube Analog Recording Chain was that created the magic of Living Stereo for RCA in 1960, this killer pressing might just be the record that can do it

This copy of The Blend and the Beat has a lot in common with the other Decca and Living Stereo titles we’ve listed over the years, albums by the likes of Henry Mancini, Esquivel, Dick Schory, Edmundo Ros, Prez Prado and a handful of others. (more…)

Letter of the Week – The Wall

One of our good customers had this to say about some Hot Stampers he purchased recently:

Hey Tom, 

I got around to listening to The Wall last weekend, a 3+ / 3+ / 2+ / 3+ copy. It was yet another of those cannot-concentrate-on-anything-else experiences, simply astonishing. I kept putting the volume up little by little and it just got better and better and better. The quality is mind-blowing. I want you guys to know how much pure pleasure you’re able to generate, and it’s priceless. Thank you all.

Rich F.


More The Wall

Brahms / Violin Concerto / Szeryng / Monteux

Hot Stamper Pressings Featuring the Violin


One of the most amazing violin concerto records I have ever heard! Makes most of the Heifetz records pale in comparison. The performance is sublime as well.

When you hear the gorgeous texture of the massed strings at the beginning of this work you know you are in for a magical Living Stereo experience. It only gets better. Szeryng’s violin is as sweet and musical as any I have ever heard. This has to be one of the greatest Golden Age recordings in the history of the world. Its reputation is probably hurt by the fact that it’s so rare that few people have had a chance to hear how good it is.

If you love this work, one of the classics of the violin repertoire, you will be hard pressed to find a better performance with better sound. In my mind, there simply is no competition for this record.

Grateful Dead – Grateful Dead

  • KILLER sound throughout for this original WB Gold Label pressing with both sides earning Shootout Winning Triple Plus (A+++) grades
  • Both sides here are super rich and full-bodied yet still clean, clear and open with tons of energy and a great bottom end
  • A copy like this lets you hear what the band was going for without the grit and congestion (not to mention godawful surfaces) that you find on the typical pressing
  • “… a valiant attempt to corral the group’s hydra-headed psychedelic jug-band music on vinyl…” – All Music

We just finished a big shootout for this title and it was pretty difficult. The best Gold Label originals and Green Label pressings can be superb, but most of them are noisy and many of them don’t sound any good. Those of you who are familiar with this music are sure to be surprised at how good these songs sound here.

Unfortunately, Viola Lee Blues, the last track on side two, never sounds all that good. It’s pretty easy to imagine that high-fidelity audiophile-quality sonics were not what these guys were going for in 1966. (more…)