Stephen Stills – Stephen Stills – Our Shootout Winner from 2008

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

TWO YEARS LATER, Stephen Stills Hot Stampers are BACK! We’ve had an unbelievably hard time finding copies of this album that lived up to our expectations, prompting much of my crew to argue that it just could not be done. Folks, today is the day where the Doubting Thomases of Better Records are proven WRONG. We didn’t find copies that sounded just as good as I remembered — no, we found copies that went BEYOND what I had hoped for. To the CSN(Y) fans who visit our site, and I know there are lots of you, prepare to be BLOWN AWAY. You are going to freak out over this record!

It’s Been A Struggle To Bring You This Hot Stamper

Many copies of this album tend to be a bit aggressive, with a hard and unpleasant midrange. We’ve been trying to get this shootout going for ages, but it’s taken us a LONG time to find enough copies that had even a taste of the kind of sound we hoped for. I began to worry that I’d never again hear the kind of sound that I was certain I remembered loving back in the day.

Tubey Magical Analog Sound

They sure don’t record music that sounds like this anymore, and even if they did I doubt they could press a record that sounds this good.

Side one is amazingly rich and full-bodied. It’s also incredibly transparent, with lots of separation between the parts. That alone sets it apart from 9 out of 10 copies that we audition around here, which tend to be murky, thick, and veiled. The overall sound here is airy, open, and spacious, with TONS of ambience. Check out the sound of the big organ solo on Love The One You’re With — you can really hear the air moving through the instrument. That’s what a Hot Stamper is all about!

And that’s not even the half of it. Listen to all the texture to the strings, the warmth to the midrange, and the breath in the vocals. The bottom end is well-defined and has substantial weight to it, something you won’t hear on most copies. We’ll keep trying to find those Hot Deja Vu’s, but in the meantime, you CSN fans should consider tiding yourselves over with one of these Stephen Stills Hot Stampers. We guarantee you’ll love it, or your money back of course.

Side two is nearly as amazing — very natural, with a BIG, WIDE soundfield. The overall sound is clean, clear, and transparent, and the vocals sound JUST RIGHT. This copy’s got the kind of jumpin’-out-your-speakers sound that separates a Hot Stamper from the run-of-the-mill copies — a track like Cherokee has the power of live music when played at the proper volume (good and loud, of course).

We Can’t Get Enough Of This Stuff

Some of the most sought after, and difficult to find, records in the world are those by the various groupings of Crosby, Stills, Nash and Young. This album is no exception. It’s Stills’ masterpiece, a record I’ve been playing since I was in high school, and the sound on the LPs I bought over the years has been pretty consistently disappointing. It’s refreshing to actually find a copy like this that lets you hear the album the way you remember it. Of course, the copy you played back then was no doubt just as poor sounding, but you REMEMBER it sounding good. That’s what makes us keep chasing after these albums from our younger days, trying to find the copy that gives us the satisfaction now that we achieved so easily then.