Month: August 2019

Paul Desmond & Gerry Mulligan – Two Of A Mind

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More Two Of A Mind

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A distinguished member of the Better Records Jazz Hall of Fame.

THIS is the sound of Tubey Magic. No recordings will ever be made like this again, and no CD will ever capture what is in the grooves of this record. There actually IS a CD of this album, and youtube videos of it too, but those of us with good turntables could care less.

And if you have an especially good turntable and the system that goes with it, we think you will find a world of difference in the sound of our Hot Stamper early pressing and any of the Heavy Vinyl records being produced of this very title. (more…)

Bud Shank – Brazilliance Vol. 2

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  • Shank’s 1962 collaboration with Laurindo Almeida arrives with a Shootout Winning Triple Plus (A+++) side one and an outstanding Double Plus (A++) side two – exceptionally quiet vinyl too
  • Another superb Rickard Bock production from the early ’60s, with huge amounts of studio space and Tubey Magic to die for
  • The combination of Shank’s sax and flute with Almeida’s Brazilan folk-influenced guitar creates a delightful and unique fusion of bossa nova-influenced jazz
  • These two would go on to form the L.A. 4, but we much prefer their earlier work on this album
  • 4 stars: “…once again combining Brazilian rhythms and folk melodies with cool bop improvising… highly recommended.”

This World Pacific pressing has the kind of Tubey Magical Midrange that modern records rarely even BEGIN to reproduce. Folks, that sound is gone and it sure isn’t showing signs of coming back. If you love hearing INTO a recording, actually being able to “see” the performers, and feeling as if you are sitting in the studio with the musicians, this is the record for you. It’s what vintage all analog recordings are known for — this sound. (more…)

Taj Mahal – Oooh So Good ‘N Blues

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Oooh So Good ‘N Blues

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  • You’ll find excellent Double Plus (A++) sound on both sides of this 1973 album of primarily acoustic Folky Blues
  • If you like the music of Ry Cooder this album should be right up your alley – it’s as well recorded as Ry’s stuff, and that’s saying something 
  • As quiet as we can find them – Mint Minus to Mint Minus Minus
  • “Ooh So Good ‘N’ Blues takes a more straight-ahead approach that keeps the experimentation down to a minimum. As a result, this is one of his most consistently enjoyable and even albums.”

Taj does his own material and a few classics by the likes of Mississippi John Hurt, Elmore James and Willie Dixon. With the Pointer Sisters singing backup on some of the songs, fans of authentic acoustic blues will find much to like here. (more…)

Boz Scaggs – Silk Degrees – Our Shootout Winner from 2011

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A distinguished member of the Better Records Rock and Pop Hall of Fame.

This White Hot Stamper side one will BLOW THE DOORS OFF any Silk Degrees you have ever heard. Side one earned an A+++ grade with incredible clarity, a huge bottom end, silky sweet highs, and tons of energy. The strings have real texture, something you won’t hear on too many pressings of this album. The mids are clear, the vocals are breathy and the piano is super solid.  

Most copies SEVERELY lack presence and top end. Dull, thick, opaque sound is far too common on Silk Degrees, which may account for some audiophiles finding the half-speed preferable. Of course, our Hot Stampers give you the presence and highs that let this music come to life. If they didn’t they wouldn’t be Hot Stampers now would they? (more…)

Gerry Mulligan – The Concert Jazz Band

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A distinguished member of the Better Records Jazz Hall of Fame.

If you’ve never heard a good All Tube Recording of the baritone sax, buy this record — it will blow your mind! 

Huge amounts of ambience fill out the space the extends from wall to wall (and all the way to the back wall of the studio), leaving plenty of room around each of the players.

Full-bodied sound, open and spacious, bursting with life and energy — these are the hallmarks of our Truly Hot Stampers. If your stereo is cookin’ these days, this record will surely be an unqualified Sonic Treat. (more…)

JS Bach / Suite #2 / Janigro – Reviewed in 2007

More of the music of Johann Sebastian Bach 

More Suite #2 / Janigro 

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A distinguished member of the Better Records Orchestral Music Hall of Fame

This is a 1S/ 1S Indianapolis pressing with A1 metal mothers from 1960 with sweet sound! Perfectly fitting for these Baroque pieces recorded in Italy.

This title is extremely rare. I haven’t seen one of these in about ten years. For those of you who are fans of this kind of music, you will find much to like here. (more…)

Mussorgsky, Borodin, et al. / Orchestral Showpieces / Solti – Our Shootout Winner from 2011

More of the music of Modest Mussorgsky

Orchestral Showpieces / Solti

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A distinguished member of the Better Records Orchestral Music Hall of Fame

This London Whiteback LP recorded in 1967 (CS 6503) has DEMO QUALITY SOUND on side two. Solti is the man for this music! He’s on fire with this fiery material and the London engineers do him full justice — at least they do on side two. (Side one has a long scratch and cannot be played.)

Don’t go looking for the Tubey Magic of an earlier era. What you get instead is super low distortion, full bandwidth sound with deep powerful bass and lovely transparency. THIS is the way you want to hear Russian Orchestral Showpieces — played with verve and dynamically ALIVE.

The Polovtsian Dances on side two sound as dynamic and powerful as any I know. (more…)

The Allman Brothers – Brothers and Sisters

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Brothers and Sisters

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A distinguished member of the Better Records Rock and Pop Hall of Fame

A+++ sound on side one! It’s bigger, punchier and livelier with more texture to the instruments than any other copy we played. Finding great sound for this album is no mean feat. This one is definitely not a Demo Disc — no copy will truly be — but it’s a BIG step up from most of the copies we played. I don’t think you could find better sound for the first side no matter what you did!

One important note: it’s pretty clear that Ramblin’ Man and Jessica were not cut from the real master tapes. We’ve talked about this issue before; there are many instances where the master tapes were used to cut the singles and then dubs were used for those tracks on the albums. (It’s why the versions of the songs on The Best Of Traffic sound so much better than they do on the regular albums, for example.)

Those Harmonizing Guitars

One of the keys to the Allman’s sound is obviously the guitars and the way they blend with one another. The typical copies tend to be dry, congested, and grainy, which hurts the effect of two soaring, harmonizing leads. When you get a copy with smoother, more tubey magical, more open sound, you really understand what the band was going for. It’s a great sound, and no one ever did it better than these guys. (more…)

Heart – Little Queen – Listening in Depth

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More Little Queen

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Presenting another entry in our extensive Listening in Depth series with advice on what to listen for as you critically evaluate your copy of Little Queen.

One of the little tricks I used toward the end of my marathon Little Queen tweaking session from a few years back (which lasted more than six hours one Saturday evening, leaving me euphoric but exhausted) was to listen to the ending of Barracuda.  

In-Depth Track Commentary

Side One

Barracuda

One of the little tricks I used toward the end of my marathon Little Queen tweaking session from a few years back (which lasted more than six hours one Saturday evening, leaving me euphoric but exhausted) was to listen to the ending of Barracuda. Some of the big guitar chords at the end of the song are louder than others, and the more the differences in level among them can be heard, the better the stereo and the room must be doing.

You can’t make the guitarist play some of the notes at the end louder than others, you can only reveal the fact that he indeed must have. This is what is meant by FIDELITY, the higher the better. (more…)

June Christy – The Intimate Miss Christy

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A distinguished member of the Better Records Rock and Pop Hall of Fame.

Both sides of this 1962 All Tube Recorded and Mastered record are just as rich and relaxed as you would expect. The balance is correct, which means the top is there as well as the bottom, with good vocal presence throughout.

We are HUGE fans of this album at Better Records, but it’s taken us a long time to pull together enough clean copies to make this shootout happen. We’re happy to say it worth all the trouble.

Get the volume just right and June will be standing between your speakers and putting on the performance of a lifetime. This is one of our favorite female vocal albums (along with Clap Hands, Julie Is her Name and a fair number of others) and this amazingly good copy will show you why – the sound and music are wonderful.

The Mono Is King

This early mono pressing is the only way to find the MIDRANGE MAGIC that’s missing from modern records. As good as the best of those pressings may be, this record is dramatically more REAL sounding. (more…)