Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young / Deja Vu – Our Four Plus Side Two from 2016

Letters and Commentaries for Deja Vu

More CrosbyMore Stills / More Nash / More Young

We award this copy’s side two our very special Four Plus A++++ grade, which is strictly limited to pressings (really, individual sides of pressings) that take a recording to a level never experienced by us before, a level we had no idea could even exist. We estimate that less than one per cent of the Hot Stamper pressings we come across in our shootouts earn this grade. You can’t get much more rare than that.

This FOUR PLUS (A++++) side two boasts insane energy, size and power. Deja Vu is one of our all time favorite albums at Better Records and one that almost never sounds THIS good.

If you play this copy good and loud, and have the kind of full range system that plays loud and clean like live music, we guarantee you will be nothing less than gobsmacked at the size and power of the sound.

Just listen to the guitars during the solos — you can really hear the sound of the pick hitting the strings. The rhythm guitars sound meaty and chunky like the best sounding copies of Zuma and After The Gold Rush.

Tough Sledding

Folks, I have to tell you, the first two Crosby Stills and Nash (and in this case Young) get my vote as the two best records — musically and sonically — with the consistently worst mastering in the history of the world! It’s astonishing that so many copies can actually sound so bad; it makes no sense that the average copy of either of these two records sounds the way it does.

It’s very difficult to find a copy that sounds anything like this — the voices are actually smooth, breathy and sweet, not shrill, harsh and sour the way they are on most pressings. What audiophile in his right mind wants a CSNY record where the voices don’t sound right? It’s a positive dealbreaker here at Better Records, the number one reason most copies end up in the trade-in pile.


Side One

Carry On

This song is a great test for the quality of the vocals. If you can get through the first part of the song with little to no strain in the voices, you’re on the right track.

The bass on this track always lacks a measure of definition, but you’ll know by track three if your bass is solid enough to set the foundation this music requires to really get going. Carry On has a huge number of overdubs, so it will never have very high-resolution, but on a Hot Stamper copy like this one it can sound wonderful.

Teach Your Children
Almost Cut My Hair

One of the key test tracks we use for side one, this is the only time Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young actually sounds like a rock and roll band. According to Stephen Barncard this was recorded live in the studio. It sure sounds like it. The amount of energy the band generates on this track exceeds all the energy of the first album put together.

The reason this track presents such a tough test is that it has to be mastered perfectly in order to make you want to turn it up as loud as your stereo will play. This song is not for sipping wine and smoking cigars. It positively cries out to be played at serious volume levels on monstrously large speakers. Nothing else will do justice to the power of the band’s one and only live performance.

Listen to Neil in the left channel wailing away like a man possessed. Imagine what his grunged out guitar would sound like coming out of a stack of Marshall amps the size of Chicago. Now hold that sound in your head as you turn up the volume on your preamp. When your system starts to distort like crazy, back it off a notch and have a seat.


Side Two

Déjà Vu

When you get a good copy of this album, this song sounds so rich and tubey magical you’d swear it couldn’t get any better. Huge amounts of deep bass. Acoustic guitars that ring for days. Midrange magic to die for. Unfortunately so few copies sound this way that most audiophiles have no concept of what this track really can do.

If I could indulge in some more MoFi and Half-Speed bashing for a moment, the bass “solo” at the end of this song is a great test for bass definition. The notes are relatively high, and it’s easy for them to sound blurred and wooly. The MoFi, like virtually all Half-Speed mastered records, has a problem with bass definition. If you own the MoFi, listen for how clearly defined the notes are at the end of this track. Then play any other copy, either of So Far or Deja Vu. It’s a pretty safe bet that the bass will be much more articulate. I know how bad the MoFi is in this respect. Rarely do “normal” records have bass that bad.

Our House
4 + 20
Country Girl: Whiskey Boot Hill/Down, Down, Down

Neil’s big rocker. On a Hot Stamper copy it’s out of this world. Listen to how HUGE that organ sounds — so much harmonic texture, too!

Everybody I Love You

AMG Review

One of the most hotly awaited second albums in history — right up there with those by the Beatles and the Band — Déjà Vu lived up to its expectations and rose to number one on the charts… Déjà Vu worked as an album, a product of four potent musical talents who were all ascending to the top of their game coupled with some very skilled production, engineering, and editing.