Genre – Rock – Country Rock

Neil Young – Old Ways – Our White Hot Shootout Winner for 2018

Our White Hot Shootout Winner for 2018


  • A surprisingly good sounding album, with Triple Plus (A+++) sound from start to finish
  • Both sides here are incredibly big, full-bodied and energetic, with wonderfully present vocals and a huge bottom end – not bad for 1985
  • Neil’s unabashed country album (hello Waylon Jennings!) has been a long time coming; it’s the first copy to hit the site in over five years
  • We guarantee this one will make your MoFI pressing sound like the bad joke it was back in 1996 or your money back and then some

See all of our Neil Young albums in stock

We just finished a major shootout for Neil’s country-fried album from the mid-’80s and this was one of the best copies to hit our table. Most of the pressings we played were too gritty and grainy to hold our interest, but this one was sweeter and smoother by a country mile!

This is Neil heading out to the sticks with his buddies, authentic country greats such as Willie Nelson, Waylon Jennings and others (nice friends to have), doing what Neil loves to do — making the music that HE wants to make, not the music that anyone else wants him to, including David Geffen and his lawyers. Old friend Ben Keith (a huge part behind the sound of Harvest) shows up with his pedal steel guitar on a couple tracks.

This probably wasn’t anyone’s favorite Neil Young album, but when it sounds like it does here it sure makes a lot more sense than it did when we heard it on the more mediocre pressings. The MoFi is a muckfest, as was to be expected from a record mastered during the Anadisq era, the darkest chapter in the dark and disgraceful history of Mobile Fidelity. (more…)

Listening in Depth to The Eagles – Desperado

More Eagles albums

More Desperado

Listening in Depth


Presenting another entry in our extensive Listening in Depth series. This is the second-best sounding Eagles record of all time, no doubt thanks to the engineering of our man Glyn Johns. Of course, the best sound on an Eagles record is found on the first album. For whatever reason, that record was left off the TAS Super Disc list, even though we feel that both musically and sonically it beats this one by a bit.


Side One


This wonderful song is a great test track for side one. Typical pressings of this album tend to be dark and lack extension up top. When you have no real top end, space, detail and resolution suffer greatly. You need to be able to appreciate each of the stringed instruments being played — guitar, banjo, dobro — and the top end needs to be extended and correct for you to be able to do that.

When the vocals on this track sound natural with lots of breathy texture, and the cymbal crashes ring cleanly, you know you’ve got a good copy on your hands.


A fairly tough track to get right. This song can sound great, but on a lower resolution copy it will often sound a bit smeared. When the top end is correct, the clarity and detail usually fall right into place.

Out of Control
Tequila Sunrise
Desperado (more…)

Willie Nelson – Tougher Than Leather – Our White Hot Shootout Winner for 2017


Our White Hot Shootout Winner for 2017


  • Triple Plus (A+++) on side one and almost as impressive on side two, this is as good a copy of Tougher Than Leather as can be found
  • It’s richer, fuller, more musical and more natural – Willie’s unique voice is reproduced with a solidity and immediacy not heard on other copies
  • This is the first Hot Stamper to make it to the site, and we’ve been trying since 2011! Not that many good sounding copies out there…
  • As one Amazon reviewer wrote “This is a must buy album for any true Willie Nelson fan. This is good Willie – THERE IS NO BAD WILLIE!”

See all of our Willie Nelson albums in stock

The first Hot Stamper copy of this great album to ever hit the site and it’s one for the ages. It’s taken us a long time to pull together enough clean copies to make this shootout happen. Boy, was it worth all the trouble.

The presence and immediacy here are outstanding. Turn it up and Willie is right between your speakers, putting on the performance of a lifetime. He’s clearly one of our favorite male vocalists, and this superb copy will show you why.

The sound is big, open, rich and full. The highs are extended and silky sweet. The bass is tight and punchy. And this copy gives you more life and energy than others big time.

This original Columbia LP also has the MIDRANGE MAGIC that’s missing from The Typical Modern 180 Gram Reissue. This record is dramatically more real sounding than anything that’s been remastered for the audiophile market in years. (more…)

The Byrds – Ballad of Easy Rider – Our White Hot Shootout Winner for 2018

Our White Hot Shootout Winner for 2018


  • A stunning original pressing, earning a Triple Plus (A+++) sonic grade on the first side and a strong Double Plus (A++) on the second
  • We’re always blown away at just how much further the best copies are able to take the music – what a difference
  • Jesus Is Just Alright is the killer track here and it rocks like you will not believe
  • “Ballad of Easy Rider was the album where the new lineup really hit its stride.” Allmusic, 4 stars

See all of our Byrds albums in stock

Every now and then we manage to stumble on one with some serious magic, and this is one of the best of those to ever make it onto our site. You won’t believe how much better this great country-rock material sounds when you have a copy that sounds as good as this one does.

Jesus Is Just Alright is the killer track here and it rocks like you will not believe! It’s one of the All Time Best Byrds tracks, especially for sonics, with Rock and Roll energy that shows just how good a band these four guys had become.

What to Listen For (WTLF)

Here are some of the things we specifically listen for in an Electric Folk Rock record from 1969.

Our hottest Hot Stamper copies are simply doing more of these things better than the other copies we played in our shootout.

The best copies have:

  • Greater immediacy in the vocals (most copies are veiled and distant to some degree);
  • Natural tonal balance (many copies are at least slightly brighter or darker than ideal; those with the right balance are the exception, not the rule);
  • Good solid weight (so the bass sounds full and powerful);
  • Spaciousness (the best copies have wonderful studio ambience and space);
  • Tubey Magic, without which you might as well be playing a CD;
  • And last but not least, transparency, the quality of being able to see into the studio, where there is plenty of musical information to be revealed in this sometimes simple, sometimes complex and sophisticated recording.


Poco – Poco

Some sections on our site are hard to find. Here’s one with lots of cool records in it:

Forgotten Rock and Pop Classics


Poco – Poco

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

Poco’s second album is an unusual blend of country-rock, with some long, jazzy instrumental breaks that center around Rusty Young’s pedal steel, which doesn’t sound like any pedal steel guitar you’ve ever heard. It’s played with a wah-wah pedal and, if that wasn’t enough, the resulting sound is sent through a Leslie organ speaker.

We know it sounds crazy, but it really works. There is nothing else like it on record, nothing that we’ve ever heard anyway.

More Poco

Country Prog Rock

Most of side two is taken up by a single track, Nobody’s Fool / El Tonto de Nadie, Regresa. It’s a suite in which the band stretches out instrumentally in a somewhat proggy way, although one could make the case that Bluegrass music is all about “stretching out instrumentally.” (more…)