Genre – Rock – American Blues Rock

The Allman Brothers – Brothers and Sisters

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Brothers and Sisters

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

A+++ sound on side one! It’s bigger, punchier and livelier with more texture to the instruments than any other copy we played. Finding great sound for this album is no mean feat. This one is definitely not a Demo Disc — no copy will truly be — but it’s a BIG step up from most of the copies we played. I don’t think you could find better sound for the first side no matter what you did!

One important note: it’s pretty clear that Ramblin’ Man and Jessica were not cut from the real master tapes. We’ve talked about this issue before; there are many instances where the master tapes were used to cut the singles and then dubs were used for those tracks on the albums. (It’s why the versions of the songs on The Best Of Traffic sound so much better than they do on the regular albums, for example.)

Those Harmonizing Guitars

One of the keys to the Allman’s sound is obviously the guitars and the way they blend with one another. The typical copies tend to be dry, congested, and grainy, which hurts the effect of two soaring, harmonizing leads. When you get a copy with smoother, more tubey magical, more open sound, you really understand what the band was going for. It’s a great sound, and no one ever did it better than these guys. (more…)

Letter of the Week – … At Fillmore East

… At Fillmore East

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

Hey Tom,  

Oh. My. God.

Apologies for sounding like a 13-year-old girl at a Justin Bieber concert, but … screw it, that’s the way I feel. I’ve just finished sides one and four of the Allman’s “Live at Fillmore East,” and I am in awe. I have never never NEVER heard this album sound so good, and I’ve been listening to it for almost 40 years, in every format one can.

It’s not just the drums (and cymbals!), it’s the whole thing. It’s energetic, the bass is powerful yet refined, the soundstage is HUGE, and it’s got more air than any live rock recording I’ve ever heard. 

You’ve outdone yourselves on this one, gentlemen. Well worth my $500, and probably a steal at twice the price … but don’t get any ideas!

Keep it up, and thanks,

Bill

The Allman Brothers – Idlewild South

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

The first Top Copy to ever hit the site! Double Plus (A++) on side one, Triple Plus (A+++) on side two

  • Easily the group’s best sounding studio recording and especially impressive on a copy like this

Drop the needle on Midnight Rider or In Memory Of Elizabeth Read to hear what this copy can do. You get lots of extension here both up top and down low that makes the overall sound far more engaging and musical than what you’d hear on a typical copy.

One of the biggest problems we ran into with this shootout was thin, recessed or edgy vocals. This is a band known for their rockin’ guitar jams, so it shouldn’t be a huge surprise that the vocals are not where they focused their energy when recording. I wish the vocals here were a bit fuller but at least they have enough presence to put them front and center. (more…)

Janis Joplin Has Got Dem Ol’ Kozmic Blues Again Mama!

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  • With outstanding Double Plus (A++) sound from first note to last, Janis is ROCKIN’ on this very quiet original copy
  • This pressing has the ideal combination of openness and transparency, coupled with the richness and solidity of vintage analog
  • When Janis starts singing, watch out – her voice positively jumps out of the speakers, something we heard on very few copies in our shootout
  • Features Try, one of Janis’s All Time Classics — and with these grades you can be sure it sounds positively amazing here

This Columbia 360 Label is the cure for Dem Ol’ Kozmic Blues!

Drop the needle on the great song Try and just listen to how crisp, punchy, and BIG the drums sound. When Janis starts singing, watch out — her voice positively JUMPS out of the speakers, something we didn’t hear her do on any other copies quite as well.

The bottom end has real weight and the top end is silky and extended. The overall sound is richer, fuller, and smoother than any side one we’ve ever played.

ENERGY is the key element missing from most copies, but not on this bad boy (or girl if you prefer). The electric guitars are super Tubey Magical and the bass is solid and punchy. (more…)

The Doors’ Strange Days – A True Demo Disc


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  • A stunning Demo Disc quality early pressing of one of the most difficult-to-find records in the world of Classic ’60s Rock
  • You get two incredible sides each rating a Triple Plus (A+++) or very close to it
  • The sound is HUGE, full-bodied and lively throughout – check out that killer bottom end and the amazing transparency
  • Amazing sound for so many classics: When The Music’s Over, Moonlight Drive, Love Me Two Times and more
  • Nearly impossible to find copies that play anywhere near this quietly, let alone ones that sound like this!

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PHENOMENAL sound for the Doors sophomore classic. You won’t believe how good this copy is — incredibly rich and full yet still clean, clear and dynamic with a big bottom end, driving rock and roll energy and huge amounts of space. Thanks Bruce Botnick, you are da man!

Honestly, we must return or reject 80% of the copies that come through the door, which should go a long way towards explaining why they hit the site with such irregularity. We know what the best stampers are and have for quite a while. What we have a devil of a time doing is finding anyone selling the album who knows how to grade it properly, especially when it comes to the kind of groove damage that’s common to records played on turntables that lack anti-skate adjustment. What good is a record with distortion on vocal peaks, not to mention inner grooves that are borderline unlistenable? (more…)

The Allman Brothers – … At Fillmore East

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  • A big, hard-rockin’ copy with STUNNING Triple Plus (A+++) sound on side one and three other sides that rate a Double Plus (A++) or better 
  • This is one of the all-time great live albums, and with a copy like this one YOU ARE THERE at the Fillmore
  • The WHOMP factor here kicks up the excitement – here is the low end foundation that lets the extended guitar jams work
  • 5 stars: “At Fillmore East is like a great live jazz session, where the pleasure comes from the musicians’ interaction and playing… The pinnacle of the Allmans and Southern rock at its most elastic, bluesy, and jazzy.”

This is one of the all-time great live albums, and with a copy like this one you are there at the Fillmore. (more…)

Bonnie Raitt – Nick Of Time – Our White Hot Shootout Winner for 2018


Our White Hot Shootout Winner for 2018

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  • A stunning sounding copy with a Triple Plus (A+++) side two and an excellent Double Plus (A++) side one
  • The overall sound here is rich, full and solid with a nice extended top end and excellent bass – Have A Heart sounds fantastic
  • About as quiet as we can find them — Mint Minus to Mint Minus Minus
  • 4 1/2 stars on Allmusic: “A great comeback album that made for a great story”.

See all of our Bonnie Raitt albums in stock

The sound here is POWERFULLY BIG AND BOLD, with meaty, deep bass (such a big part of the rockers here, Thing Called Love being a prime example) and some of the sweetest, richest, most ANALOG sound we’ve heard from any record Don Was has been involved with.

When you hear it like this — something probably pretty close to what he heard during the control room playback for the final mix — it actually makes sense. It works. It’s not exactly “natural,” but natural is not what they were going for, now is it?

We play albums like this VERY LOUD. I’ve seen Bonnie Raitt live a number of times and although I can’t begin to get her to play as loud in my listening room as she did on stage, I can try. To do less is to do her music a profound disservice.

What to Listen For (WTLF)

Note how silky the cymbal crashes are; not too many copies get them to sound that way.

Listen especially for how all the elements of the recording are clearly laid out and audible, never forced or hyped in any way. The sound can be so 3-D!

Key note for side two — listen for the sibilance on Bonnie’s voice on Too Soon to Tell. Some copies have really gritty spitty sibilance, others keep it well under control, with a much more silky quality. (more…)