Genre – Blues, Electric Blues and R&B

B.B. King – L.A. Midnight

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

An A++ side one backed with an A+ side two! We had the chance to sit and play a big stack of these recently and only a few copies sounded any good. This was one of the better overall copies, especially on side one which is full of tubey magic. Check out how cool the tuba sounds anchoring the bottom end on the opening track! Both sides were more open and transparent than most of what we played.

Side one is open and transparent with lots of tubey magic. The overall sound is clean, clear and natural. Side two isn’t quite as rich but it’s still very lively, musical and natural. (more…)

Jimmy Reed – Jimmy Reed at Carnegie Hall

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  • Jimmy Reed makes his debut on this site with this stunning copy of Jimmy Reed at Carnegie Hall
  • You’ll find Shootout Winning Triple Plus (A+++) sound on ALL FOUR sides of this killer album
  • A surprisingly good recording – this early stereo pressing is wonderfully big and rich, with natural tonality and more three-dimensional space than any other copy we played
  • It took us years to find enough early Vee-Jay stereo (and mono) pressings that played quietly in order to do this shootout, and here is the winner in all its glory!
  • 5 stars: “… In some ways, it almost does make for a greatest-hits compilation, as it contains most of Reed’s most popular tunes… it was highly popular and influential, making the Top 50 at a time when few blues LPs charted.”

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Stevie Ray Vaughan – Soul To Soul – Our Shootout Winner from 2014

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Soul To Soul

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

If you’re a fan of this kind of electric (and electrifying) blues-rock, the stunning size and presence of this pressing will blow you away! At its best this recording can really jump out of the speakers and fill the room, but most copies just can’t quite get there. Vaughn’s guitar playing is as fiery as ever, and the addition of keyboards and saxophone here gives the music broader scope and range than his previous albums.  (more…)

Stevie Ray Vaughan – Couldn’t Stand The Weather – Our Shootout Winner from 2011

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

This SUPER HOT STAMPER side one gets Stevie’s bluesy guitar to sound about as rich and powerful as any recording of it can. Just picture yourself in a blues club. Now imagine the volume being about ten times as loud. This is the kind of music you would hear and it would tend to sound pretty much like this, a bit messy but also real. If you’re one of those audiophiles who likes pinpoint imaging, forget it. They were going for the “live in the studio” sound with this one, which means it’s a bit of a jumble image-wise. But that’s the way you would hear it in a blues club, so where’s the harm? (more…)

Stevie Ray Vaughan – Live Alive

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

We just finished a big shootout for this bluesy live album, and this was one of just a handful of copies that impressed us from start to finish. Most copies we played were thick, murky, overly smooth and/or veiled, but this one almost never suffers in any of those areas. The sound is clean, clear, transparent and lively throughout.

This is one of Stevie Ray Vaughan’s better albums. We’ve heard reissues on both heavy and regular vinyl, but I guarantee this will KILL them all or your money back. (more…)

John Lee Hooker – Free Beer and Chicken

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

  • KILLER sound from start to finish with both sides earning Shootout Winning Triple Plus (A+++) sound or very close to it
  • Hooker’s albums are surprisingly good sounding – they have the open, immediate, dynamic qualities of a live-in-the-studio session – my understanding is that most of them are recorded precisely that way
  • These sides are doing it right – they’re big, rich and Tubey Magical, with wonderfully present vocals and huge amounts of energy
  • Free Beer And Chicken is one of the better sounding John Lee Hooker records we’ve ever played lately – an interesting lineup of guests too, including the one and only Mr. Joe Cocker!

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Stevie Ray Vaughan – The Sky Is Crying – Beyond White Hot Stamper Sound

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A distinguished member of the Better Records Rock and Pop Hall of Fame and another record that really comes alive when you Turn Up Your Volume.

Little Wing ROCKS AS HARD on this Four Plus pressing as any song we have ever heard, with DEMO DISC SOUND to rival the greatest rock records of all time.

The Guitar Solos on Little Wing are as HUGE and LIVELY as any we have ever heard (assuming you have a copy that sounds like this one). 

If you have BIG DYNAMIC SPEAKERS and the power to drive them to serious listening levels, you will be blown away by the sound found on the best copies of The Sky Is Crying.

This is one of the most blistering recordings of electric blues-rock we’ve ever played. Few other records recorded in the ’80s, or pressed in the ’90s, have this kind of BIG, BOLD SOUND. Maybe none. The sheer impact and wallop of this music is a real treat, but only if you have the right pressing (and the right kind of stereo to play it on, of course). (more…)

Stevie Ray Vaughan – Texas Flood – Our Shootout Winner from 2013

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Texas Flood

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

This copy gets Stevie’s room-filling guitar to sound about as rich and powerful as a recording of it can. When playing this record, first make sure the volume is up good and high. Now close your eyes and picture yourself in a blues club, with the volume ten times louder than your stereo will play. Electric Blues played at loud levels in a small club would sound pretty much like this album does, a bit messy but also real.  

If you’re one of those audiophiles who insists on precise soundstaging with layered depth and pinpoint imaging, forget it. That’s not in the cards. The producers and engineers were going for the “live in the studio” sound with this one (and most of his other albums it seems), which means it’s a bit of a jumble image-wise. But that’s the way you would hear it performed live in a club, so where’s the harm? (more…)

John Lee Hooker – Simply The Truth

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  • KILLER sound throughout for this ABC Bluesway pressing with both sides earning Shootout Winning Triple Plus (A+++) grades 
  • Our vintage ABC Bluesway pressing here has the kind of Tubey Magical Midrange that modern records can barely BEGIN to reproduce, so if you want to know what this album from 1969 is REALLY supposed to sound like, we guarantee you cannot do better than this very copy
  • “Overseen by noted jazz producer Bob Thiele, this session had Hooker backed by some of his fullest arrangements to date, with noted session drummer Pretty Purdie and keyboards in addition to supplementary guitar and bass… Another of his many characteristically solid efforts…”

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John Lee Hooker – The Healer

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

These guys (and one gal!) are definitely LIVE in the studio. The amount of studio reverb may be a bit much for some, but we think it works for this music. 

And the vinyl is quiet, a true Mint Minus, the highest condition grade we use (as a practical matter).

Side One

Big and clear, with a fair amount of Tubey Magical Richness for a record recorded in 1989.

Side Two

Even better, truly Super Hot by track two — it’s bigger, with more bass and more space than almost every other copy we played. (more…)