A classic case of live and learn.
We listed a White Hot copy of This Was in 2008 on the Island Pink Label, and noted at the time:
Be forewarned: this ain’t Stand Up or Aqualung. I don’t think you’ll be using any copy of This Was to demo your stereo, because the recording has its share of problems. That said, this record sounds wonderful from start to finish and will make any fan of this music a VERY happy person. We guarantee you’ve never heard this album sound better, or your money back.
Now we know a couple of things that we didn’t back in 2008.
1). This album is a lot better sounding than we gave it credit for years ago. It’s not perfect by any means but it is much better than the above comments might lead you to believe.
We chanced upon an exceptional sounding copy of the album in 2017 or so, and that taught us something new about the record:
2). The Pink Label pressings are not the best way to go on this album.
Once we heard the exceptional copy alluded to above, we played it against our best Pink Label copies and it was simply no contest.
In 2008 we still had a lot to learn. We needed to do more Research and Development, which of course we are doing regularly with Classic Rock records, our bread and butter and the heart of our business.
We do them as often as is practical, considering how difficult it is to find copies with audiophile quality playing surfaces.
Nine years later, we felt we finally had a proper understanding on the various pressings of This Was. It goes like this:
The Pink Label original British pressings can be good, but they will never win a shootout up against copies with these stampers (assuming you have more than one copy — any record can have the right stampers and the wrong sound, we hear it all the time. Beware of small sample sizes).
Other albums that can sound good on the UK Island Pink Label, but not as good as our Shootout Winning Hot Stamper pressings, can be found here.