- An incredible pressing of this Must Own Live Blues Album with Nearly Triple Plus (A++ to A+++) sound from first note to last – just shy of our Shootout Winner
- Accept no substitutes – no reissue of the album can ever give you the energy, size and you-are-there presence that’s on this disc
- Finding originals with sound this good and surfaces this quiet is quite a feat, but here is a knockout one
- 4 1/2 stars: “Live Wire / Blues Power is one of Albert King’s definitive albums. Recorded live at the Fillmore Auditorium in 1968, the guitarist is at the top of his form throughout the record — his solos are intense and piercing… he makes Herbie Hancock’s ‘Watermelon Man’ dirty and funky and wrings out all the emotion from ‘Blues at Sunrise.'”
These Nearly White Hot Stamper pressings have top-quality sound that’s often surprisingly close to our White Hots, but they sell at substantial discounts to our Shootout Winners, making them a relative bargain in the world of Hot Stampers (“relative” meaning relative considering the prices we charge). We feel you get what you pay for here at Better Records, and if ever you don’t agree, please feel free to return the record for a full refund, no questions asked.
This is one of the all time great live Blues albums. This Is Blues Power!
If you exclusively play modern repressings of vintage recordings, I can say without fear of contradiction that you have never heard this kind of sound on vinyl. Old records have it — not often, and certainly not always — but maybe one out of a hundred new records do, and those are some pretty long odds.
What The Best Sides Of This Blues Rock Album Have To Offer Is Not Hard To Hear
- The biggest, most immediate staging in the largest acoustic space
- The most Tubey Magic, without which you have almost nothing. CDs give you clean and clear. Only the best vintage vinyl pressings offer the kind of Tubey Magic that was on the tapes in 1968
- Tight, note-like, rich, full-bodied bass, with the correct amount of weight down low
- Natural tonality in the midrange — with all the instruments having the correct timbre
- Transparency and resolution, critical to hearing into the three-dimensional studio space
No doubt there’s more but we hope that should do for now. Playing the record is the only way to hear all of the qualities we discuss above, and playing the best pressings against a pile of other copies under rigorously controlled conditions is the only way to find a pressing that sounds as good as this one does.
Halverson was the engineer on this album as well as a slough of other favorites of ours here at Better Records, Classic Rock Albums that we know to have potentially amazing sound. We’re talking Deja Vu (from the next year, 1970, and surely his engineering masterpiece), Steve Stills’ first album (1971), the first Crosby/Nash album (1972), and the live material on Cream’s various releases from Wheels of Fire to Goodbye (1968-1969).
It has been our experience, and possibly yours, that one has to work very hard to find good sounding pressings of most of the albums he recorded. But that should take nothing away from the extraordinary engineering skills he employed in recording them.
Until we found the right pressings of his albums, we had no idea what a brilliant job he had done recording so many of the records we’ve known and loved from the ’60s and early ’70s. As unlikely as it would seem, it’s only been within the last ten years or so that the best pressings of Deja Vu, Goodbye and Wheels of Fire were randomly discovered during our regular shootouts. Sure, we’d played them by the score, but the fact is that the right copies had managed to elude us, for decades.
The better copies of the albums mentioned above have superb, Demo Disc sound, especially Deja Vu and Goodbye, both of which can be mind-blowing when you find the right copy.
What We’re Listening For On Live Wire – Blues Power
- Energy for starters. What could be more important than the life of the music?
- Then: presence and immediacy. The vocals aren’t “back there” somewhere, lost in the mix. They’re front and center where any recording engineer worth his salt would put them.
- The Big Sound comes next — wall to wall, lots of depth, huge space, three-dimensionality, all that sort of thing.
- Then transient information — fast, clear, sharp attacks, not the smear and thickness so common to these LPs.
- Tight punchy bass — which ties in with good transient information, also the issue of frequency extension further down.
- Next: transparency — the quality that allows you to hear deep into the soundfield, showing you the space and air around all the instruments.
- Extend the top and bottom and voila, you have The Real Thing — an honest to goodness Hot Stamper.
Mint Minus Minus and maybe a bit better is about as quiet as any vintage pressing will play, and since only the right vintage pressings have any hope of sounding good on this album, that will most often be the playing condition of the copies we sell. (The copies that are even a bit noisier get listed on the site are seriously reduced prices or traded back in to the local record stores we shop at.)
Those of you looking for quiet vinyl will have to settle for the sound of other pressings and Heavy Vinyl reissues, purchased elsewhere of course as we have no interest in selling records that don’t have the vintage analog magic of these wonderful originals.
If you want to make the trade-off between bad sound and quiet surfaces with whatever Heavy Vinyl pressing might be available, well, that’s certainly your prerogative, but we can’t imagine losing what’s good about this music — the size, the energy, the presence, the clarity, the weight — just to hear it with less background noise.
Blues at Sunrise
Please Love Me
AMG 1/2 Star Rave Review
Live Wire/Blues Power is one of Albert King’s definitive albums. Recorded live at the Fillmore Auditorium in 1968, the guitarist is at the top of his form throughout the record — his solos are intense and piercing. The band is fine, but ultimately it’s King’s show — he makes Herbie Hancock’s “Watermelon Man” dirty and funky and wrings out all the emotion from “Blues at Sunrise.”