Rodgers / Slaughter on Tenth Avenue – How is this title not on the TAS List?

Hot Stamper Pressings of Orchestral Spectaculars

More Living Stereo Recordings

This copy from years ago was so good on side two it almost left me speechless.

How is this title not on the TAS List?

Why is it not one of the most sought-after recordings in the RCA canon? Beats the hell out of me.

But wait just one minute. Until a month ago [now years ago] I surely had no idea how good this record could sound, so how can I criticize others for not appreciating a record I had never taken the time to appreciate myself?

Which more than anything else prompts the question — why is no one exploring, discovering and then bringing to light the exceptional qualities of these wonderful vintage recordings (besides your humble writer of course)?

HP has passed on. Who today is fit to carry his mantle into the coming world of audio?

Looking around I find very few prospects. None in fact. But then again, I’m not looking very hard.

I could care less what any of these people have to say about the sound quality of the records they play.

They all seem to like records that don’t sound very good to us, so why put any faith in their reviews for other records?

Reviewer malpractice? We’ve been writing about it for more than 25 years.

Back to our most recent Shootout Winning copy of Slaughter on Tenth Avenue

Side Two

White Hot and simply amazing on every level. Rich, clear, undistorted, open, spacious, with depth and transparency like few recordings you may have heard, the music flows from the speakers effortlessly. You are there.

The loudest brass and string sections of the music are never brash or shrill, something that no other side could manage.

Side One

My notes read: The Big Living Stereo Sound, and man is it ever! The players are arrayed on a huge stage, with transparency that lets you hear all the way to the back of the hall.

This record will have you asking why so few Living Stereo pressings actually do what this one does. The more critical listener will recognize that this is a very special copy indeed. Everyone else will just enjoy the hell out of it.


What do we love about these Living Stereo Hot Stamper pressings? The timbre of every instrument is Hi-Fi in the best sense of the word. The instruments here are reproduced with remarkable fidelity. Now that’s what we at Better Records mean by “Hi-Fi”, not the kind of Audiophile Phony BS Sound that passes for Hi-Fidelity these days. There’s no boosted top, there’s no bloated bottom, there’s no sucked-out midrange. There’s no added digital reverb (Patricia Barber, Diana Krall, et al.). The microphones are not fifty feet away from the musicians (Water Lily) nor are they inches away (Three Blind Mice).

This is Hi-Fidelity for those who recognize The Real Thing when they hear it. I’m pretty sure our customers do, and whoever picks this one up is guaranteed to get a real kick out of it.

What about the bad sounding Living Stereo pressings?

When vintage RCA Living Stereo records don’t sound good, we put them on this list and they go into our Hall of Shame.


Side One

Slaughter on Tenth Avenue – Rodgers
Gavotte: The Blues – Gould
Three Dances From Fancy Free – Bernstein

Side Two

Dances From The Three Cornered Hat – Falla
Polka From “The Age of Gould” – Shostakovich
Rodeo: Saturday Night Breakdown – Copland
Estancia: Malambo – Ginastera
Ballet Suite No. 1: Sabre Dance – Khachaturian


A great collection of 20th Century music. Each selection provides a wonderful interpretation of modern music for the dance. Some, such as “The Sabre Dance” and “Hoedown”, are well known. Others, such as de Falla’s “Three-Cornered Hat” and Bernstein’s three exquisite dances from “Fancy Free” deserve a place in every music lover’s heart. Richard Rodgers’ “Slaughter on 10th Avenue” may be the most exciting music he ever composed. Arthur Fiedler leads the Boston Pops in the definitive versions of these works. A must-have for any music collection. – Amazon –
It’s a starry, moonlit night in 50’s Manhattan…

…And this album is the perfect soundtrack to it. In this compilation are the creme de la creme of modern nocturnal classical pieces, with the exception of Khachaturian’s Sabre Dance. Here is the anthem of Manhattan itself, “Slaughter On Tenth Avenue” by Richard Rodgers, “Gavotte and Blues” by Morton Gould, “Fancy Free: Gallop, Danzon and Waltz” by Bernstein, “The Three Cornered Hat” By De Falla and the “Age of Gold Polka” by Shostakovitch, a piece to help bring up images of an old string-marionette puppet show.

…will mentally put you in a cherry paneled den with subdued lighting, in a big red leather easy chair, puffing on the most aromatic pipe you own, (if you smoke,) reading your favorite Raymond Chandler novel. I can’t recommend it highly enough! (The album, not smoking!) – Amazon – Photoscribe

What to Listen For

Top end extension is critical to the sound of the best copies. Lots of old records (and new ones) have no real top end; consequently the studio or stage will be missing much of its natural air and space, and instruments will lack their full complement of harmonic information.

Tube smear is common to most pressings from the late ’50s and this is no exception. The copies that tend to do the best in a shootout will have the least (or none), yet are full-bodied, tubey and rich. (Full sound is especially critical to the horns; any blare, leanness or squawk ruins much of the fun, certainly at the loud levels the record should be playing at.)

Which brings up a point that needs making. The tonality of this record is correct when it is playing loud. The trumpets do not get harsh at loud volumes the way they will on, say, a Chicago record. The timbre of the instruments is correct when loud, which means that it was mixed loud to sound correct when loud.

The frequency extremes (on the best copies) are not boosted in any way. When you play this record quietly, the bottom and top will disappear (due to the way the ear handles quieter sounds as described by the Fletcher-Munson curve).

Most records (like most audiophile stereos) are designed to sound correct at moderate levels. Not this album. It wants you to turn it up. Then, and only then, will everything sound completely right from top to bottom.


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