Author: humorem

David Bowie – Hunky Dory

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

The sound is rich, spacious and sweet with a HUGE soundstage. Drop the needle on Changes and check out how dynamic it is. Side one is where the most popular material for this album is found (Changes, Life On Mars, Oh! You Pretty Things) so this copy definitely a great way to go on Hunky Dory.

Pressings of this record typically suffer from one major shortcoming: a severe lack of presence in the midrange. Bowie sounds like he has a blanket over his head on 90% of the copies you might run into, import and dometic. I always just kind of expected to hear it that way for the rest of my life. Now I know better. Both sides of this copy show you the Hunky Dory that you always dreamed could exist, must exist, but somehow has proved elusive in the real world. (more…)

Lionel Richie – Can’t Slow Down

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  • An outstanding copy of Richie’s second solo studio album, with solid Double Plus (A++) very ANALOG sound from start to finish – exceptionally quiet vinyl too
  • Rich, smooth and natural, the sound here is guaranteed to please – recall that the 12″ of All Night Long was on the TAS List back in the day (and yes, I used to sell it!)
  • 4 1/2 stars: “In 1999, Q magazine included Can’t Slow Down on its list of the best Motown records of all time and stated, “Production values are high, his songwriting craft is at its peak and at least one track – the global smash ‘All Night Long’ – is an anthem to good times that makes the heart sing and feet twitch.””

This vintage Motown pressing has the kind of Tubey Magical Midrange that modern records barely BEGIN to reproduce. Folks, that sound is gone and it sure isn’t showing signs of coming back. (more…)

Blood, Sweat & Tears – Child is Father to the Man

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A QUIET White Hot Stamper on side one for BS and T’s debut, one of my favorite albums of all time. Why do we so rarely list amazing copies of this album? Let me ask you this: have you played one recently? The average copy of this record is a sonic MESS. Even the best copies have problems.

We present here a FREAKISHLY GOOD SOUNDING SIDE ONE. This copy blew the doors off the competition, earning our highest grade of A Triple Plus and giving us a whole new appreciation for what this record can really sound like! Who knew? The brass has power on this copy like we almost never hear for this album. The bass was bigger and bolder than any other; finally, here is the kind of rock sound we are always looking for on the album but is so elusive. (more…)

Tom Waits – Swordfishtrombones

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  • Insanely good Nearly Triple Plus (A++ to A+++) sound from start to finish; we rarely have these on the site!
  • Both sides here are incredible — big, rich, full-bodied and super spacious with tons of energy and presence
  • “…the dominant sounds on the record were low-pitched horns, bass instruments, and percussion, set in spare, close-miked arrangements…”
  • Allmusic 5 stars: “Swordfishtrombones marked an evolution of which Waits had not seemed capable”

This is yet another wonderful sounding Tom Waits recording, though it’s very different from the earlier titles from his catalog that have been featured on our site before. While we’re huge fans of the sound Waits and engineer Bones Howe put together on albums like Small Change and Heartattack and Vine, this album marked a turning point for Waits and the sound of his albums. (more…)

Aretha Franklin – Aretha Now

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  • A superb sounding pressing of this vintage Atlantic label LP with Double Plus (A++) sound on both sides – exceptionally quiet vinyl too
  • Here is the kind of Tubey Magical Midrange that modern pressings barely begin to reproduce – folks, that sound is gone and it sure isn’t showing any sign of coming back
  • Exceptionally QUIET vinyl for this stereo pressing – Mint Minus to Mint Minus Minus, as quiet as any copy we have ever heard
  • 4 1/2 stars: “… this still caught Aretha Franklin at the peak of her early form. Think, I Say a Little Prayer, See Saw, and I Can’t See Myself Leaving You were all big hits.”

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Letter of the Week – Supertramp and The Final Cut

One of our good customers had this to say about some Hot Stampers he purchased recently:

Hey Tom, 

Just received by delivery this afternoon. I am just about beginning to realize what a good pressing really means…

I have only been able to listen to Supertramp and The Final Cut until now. While Supertramp is excellent, the Final Cut is simply astounding!! I really am at a loss of words so I will just say that I really am listening to completely new music. I can’t come to terms with the fact that there is so much information buried in those grooves that I am listening to, honest to God, for the very first time… And the Final Cut is my favorite Floyd!

I couldn’t be happier. I confess I am a little emotional now. By no means, is this a casual purchase but boy… I think this is worth its weight in gold!

I’ll be back for more!!

Sujay

 

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Letter of the Week – Sade

One of our good customers had this to say about some Hot Stampers he purchased recently:

Hey Tom, 

Wow! Wow! Wow! I’ve been playing records all my life. A few years on the road kept me from home as well as my duty to country… but ever since my Dad introduced me to vinyl in the early 1960’s I’ve been loyal and proud of it.

Tom, your record albums are just beyond fantastic. Never before have I ever experienced the pleasure I received from the recent Sade album. I’ve got most of her work and have always loved Sade’s sexy, dominating vocals. Listening to the percussion — not to forget the saxophone –is just awesome!

Tom I certainly thank you and your team for making this marvelous medium available to us hard-core music lovers and audiophiles.

Frederick

 

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Big Brother & The Holding Company – Cheap Thrills

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

We’ve rarely been able to get this shootout off the ground, but we finally managed to stumble upon enough clean copies to get this round going. It’s been well over two years since we’ve had any copy of this album on the site!

This album has got that trippy ’60s San Francisco sound, no doubt about it. Those of you who are familiar with Jefferson Airplane’s Surrealistic Pillow or the early Grateful Dead albums know what I’m talking about. The tubey magic of the guitars is worth the price of admission alone; you just don’t hear this kind of sound on modern records.

Like you might expect from this mixture of blues and psychedelic rock, the sound can be a bit raw. Of course, that’s probably the way the band wanted it to be — I don’t see what a mastering engineer might have done to make this music work any better. Much of this material is recorded at The Fillmore (check out the one and only Bill Graham introducing the band at the beginning) and the sound is surprisingly good for live ’60s sound. (more…)

INXS – Kick

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  • INXS’s one true Masterpiece album comes to the site with two KILLER sides each rating a Triple Plus (A+++) or close to it – exceptionally quiet vinyl too
  • Surprisingly rich and full-bodied, the best copies really ROCK with big bass and punchy drums.
  • The Big Rock sound is courtesy of Chris Thomas’ production and Bob Clearmountain’s mix
  • “Kick is an impeccably crafted pop tour de force, the band succeeding at everything they try. Every track has at least a subtly different feel from what came before it; INXS freely incorporates tense guitar riffs, rock & roll anthems, swing-tinged pop/rock, string-laden balladry, danceable pop-funk, horn-driven ’60s soul, ’80s R&B, and even a bit of the new wave-ish sound they’d started out with.”

For a recording from 1987 there is a surprising amount of rich, Tubey Magical Analog sound to be found here.

There is almost always a trace of hardness in the loudest vocal parts; that’s where the 1987 recording technology raises its head, but the better copies such as this one keep it to a bare minimum.

The copies that were the richest and had the biggest bottom end, without being smeary or dark from a lack of top tended to do the best in our shootout. The copies that lacked weight or lower midrange fullness were most often rejected; rhythmically driven Funk Rock simply doesn’t work without plenty of richness and bass. (more…)