Genre – Blues, Electric Blues and R&B

Stevie Ray Vaughan – Live Alive

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Live Alive

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  • KILLER sound for this live Stevie Ray Vaughan outing with Triple Plus (A+++) grades or close to it on sides one and three and solid Double Plus (A++) sound on the other two sides
  • The overall sound here is incredibly full-bodied, Tubey Magical and spacious with tons of bottom end weight
  • Exceptionally quiet vinyl throughout — Mint Minus to Mint Minus Minus
  • “Live Alive is a magnificent double-length showcase for Stevie Ray Vaughan’s guitar playing, featuring a number of extended jams on a selection of most of the best material from Vaughan’s first three albums.. The renditions here sound less polished than the studio versions, with Vaughan’s guitar tone bitingly down and dirty and his playing spontaneous and passionate” – All Music

KILLER sound throughout! 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. (more…)

John Lee Hooker – The Healer

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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…)

Fleetwood Mac – Peter Green’s Fleetwood Mac

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

We won’t be surprised if you don’t have this one in your collection. Let’s face it, who in his right mind would keep throwing good money after bad, buying up one bad sounding copy after another in the hopes that someday one of them would sound good?

We would! Why shouldn’t we? We get paid good money to do that kind of dirty work, and beyond the money, we get the THRILL of being the first to play these wonderful records, full of the music we love. (Not too many Hot Stamper shootouts get done for bands and albums we don’t like. Who could get motivated enough to sit through copy after copy of some Audiophile Bullshit LP?) 

Here’s a record that we almost never have on the site — a stunning White Hot Stamper copy of Peter Green’s Fleetwood Mac — some of the hardest hitting Blues Rock ever made or ever to be made!

We Love the Early Fleetwood Mac

This is the band back in the day when they were playing their unique brand of Blues Rock, with Peter Green leading the band, about as far from Rumours as you can get. If you like British Blues Rock, I don’t think any other band can hold a candle to the Mac back then. Clapton may have been considered a god but I think Green is the better guitar player.

AGAIG Sound

Side two is As Good As It Gets — Triple Plus (A+++). The pluck of the guitar transients aren’t smeary and dull for once. There’s real extension up top, a big help to the cymbals, and the voice sounds tonally correct with just the right presence, placing Green front and center but still keeping the band in the mix. Like a good vintage Brit record, the sound is smooth, rich and full. This is ANALOG baby; they don’t make ’em like this anymore because they don’t know how. (more…)

Son Seals – The Son Seals Blues Band

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  • An excellent Electric Blues record with exceptionally big, clear, lively sound that earned Double Plus (A++) grades on both sides – exceptionally quiet vinyl too
  • This copy will shame most Blues albums for sound and music – it’s quite a bit better than any other Son Seals album we have played as well 
  • 4 stars: “The Chicago mainstay’s debut album was a rough, gruff, no-nonsense affair typified by the decidedly unsentimental track “Your Love Is like a Cancer.” Seals wasn’t all that far removed from his southern roots at this point, and his slashing guitar work sports a strikingly raw feel on his originals “Look Now, Baby,” “Cotton Picking Blues,” and “Hot Sauce” (the latter a blistering instrumental that sounds a bit like the theme from Batman played sideways).”

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Stevie Ray Vaughan – Soul To Soul

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Soul To Soul

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  • STUNNING Shootout Winning Triple Plus (A+++) sound throughout for this Classic of Electric Blues Guitar – exceptionally quiet vinyl too
  • This is one of the better copies to hit the site in years – good SRV albums are getting tough to find nowadays 
  • A copy like this one soars above the pack with its hard-rockin’ energy, rich, solid bass, open top end, and freedom from congestion
  • “[SRV] wanted to add soul and R&B inflections to his basic blues sound, and Soul to Soul does exactly that.” 

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 was possible on his previous albums. (more…)

Stevie Ray Vaughan – Couldn’t Stand The Weather

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Couldn’t Stand The Weather

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  • This outstanding pressing of Stevie Ray Vaughan and Double Trouble’s sophomore album boasts solid Double Plus (A++) sound on both sides – fairly quiet too
  • The bass is big, the overall presentation is huge, and the energy is jumpin’ on this early pressing – this is the right sound for SRV’s hard-chargin’ Electric Blues
  • 4 stars: “Stevie Ray Vaughan’s second album, Couldn’t Stand the Weather, pretty much did everything a second album should do: it confirmed that the acclaimed debut was no fluke, while matching, if not bettering, the sales of its predecessor, thereby cementing Vaughan’s status as a giant of modern blues.”

Excellent sound for this Stevie Ray classic! 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…)

B.B. King – Midnight Believer

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Midnight Believer

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  • An outstanding copy of Midnight Believer with solid Double Plus (A++) sound or close to it from start to finish
  • Rich and full-bodied, clean, and clear, while the bass is big and punchy, and the energy level is off the charts
  • B.B. is backed by members of The Crusaders here, and on a copy like this one you can really get a sense of just how much they contribute to this music
  • “Another collaboration that worked a lot better than one might have expected. King and the Crusaders blended in a marginally funky, contemporary style for the buoyant ‘Never Make Your Move Too Soon’ and an uplifting ‘When It All Comes Down.'”

B.B. is backed by members of The Crusaders here, and on a copy like this one you can really get a sense of just how much they contribute to this music. The best sides have the kind of rich, full tonality and extended low end we just don’t hear often enough!

You can be sure this will beat the pants off the Direct Disc Labs Half-Speed Mastered pressing, or your money back. It’s no wonder they wanted to do an audiophile pressing of the album — it’s a superb recording. But mastering it at half-speed is not the answer. Finding one like this that has the LIFE of that master tape pressed into its grooves is the only way to be sure you will get real audiophile sound, not that pseudo kind we bash all over the site. (Sorry, we just can’t help it.) (more…)

John Mayall and The Bluesbreakers – A Hard Road

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  • With two seriously good Double Plus (A++) sides, this copy was one of the best we played in our recent shootout – reasonably quiet vinyl too
  • Forget the dubby domestic pressings and whatever crappy Heavy Vinyl record they’re making these days – these early UK stereo LPs are the only way to fly
  • “Eric Clapton is usually thought of as John Mayall’s most important right-hand man, but the case could also be made for his successor, Peter Green. The future Fleetwood Mac founder leaves a strong stamp on his only album with the Bluesbreakers, singing a few tracks and writing a couple, including the devastating instrumental “Supernatural.” – All Music

This vintage Decca import pressing has the kind of Tubey Magical Midrange that modern records can barely BEGIN to reproduce. Folks, that sound is gone and it sure isn’t showing signs of coming back. If you love hearing INTO a recording, actually being able to “see” the performers, and feeling as if you are sitting in the studio with the band, this is the record for you. It’s what vintage all analog recordings are known for — this sound. (more…)

B.B. King – In London

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In London

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  • With two nearly Triple Plus (A++ to A+++) sides, this copy is close to the BEST we have ever heard
  • This is one of the better sounding B.B. King albums we’ve played lately – both sides are big, full-bodied and spacious with plenty of Olympic Studios + Record Plant Tubey Magic
  • Ringo, Peter Green, Klaus Voorman, Steve Winwood, Alexis Korner, Gary Wright and Dr. John are just a few of the artists featured on this record behind B.B. – quite a cast of luminaries
  • “… all 9 tracks are top notch fusion between US Legend and awe inspired younger British bluesmen. A must have!”

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Taj Mahal – Oooh So Good ‘N Blues

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Oooh So Good ‘N Blues

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  • You’ll find excellent Double Plus (A++) sound on both sides of this 1973 album of primarily acoustic Folky Blues
  • If you like the music of Ry Cooder this album should be right up your alley – it’s as well recorded as Ry’s stuff, and that’s saying something 
  • As quiet as we can find them – Mint Minus to Mint Minus Minus
  • “Ooh So Good ‘N’ Blues takes a more straight-ahead approach that keeps the experimentation down to a minimum. As a result, this is one of his most consistently enjoyable and even albums.”

Taj does his own material and a few classics by the likes of Mississippi John Hurt, Elmore James and Willie Dixon. With the Pointer Sisters singing backup on some of the songs, fans of authentic acoustic blues will find much to like here. (more…)