Genre – Rock – Psych Rock

Spirit – Spirit – Sundazed Mono Reviewed

More Spirit

More Spirit – Spirit

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Sonic Grade: D

Another Sundazed record reviewed and found wanting.

As usual, the Sundazed only hints at the real sound of the recording. We recommended it back at the day; it’s tonally correct, so for fifteen bucks you are getting your fifteen bucks worth and probably not a dime’s more. We just cannot take this kind of sound seriously these days. Once you’ve heard the real thing, this pressing just won’t do.

This is the band’s Masterpiece as well as a Desert Island Disc for yours truly.

What qualifies a record to be a Masterpiece needs no explanation. We will make every effort to limit the list to one entry per artist or group, although some exceptions have already occurred to me, so that rule will no doubt be broken from time to time. As Ralph Waldo Emerson so memorably wrote, “A foolish consistency is the hobgoblin of little minds…”

For a record to come to my Desert Island Disc, such a record: 1) must have at some time during my fifty years as a music lover and audio enthusiast been played enthusiastically, fanatically even, causing me to feel what Leonard Bernstein called “the joy of music”; 2) my sixty year old self must currently respect the album, and; 3) I must think I will want to listen to the music fairly often and well into the future (not knowing how long I may be stranded there).

How many records meet the Desert Island Disc criteria? Certainly many more than you can see when you click on the link, but new titles will be added as time permits. (more…)

The Moody Blues – To Our Children’s Children’s Children on Mobile Fidelity Anadisc

More Moody Blues

More To Our Children’s Children’s Children

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Sonic Grade: F

Hall of Shame pressing and another MoFi LP debunked.

The muddiest, tubbiest, most worthless records in the world.

Well… 

Worthless to those of us who play records and want to hear them sound good. But, worth money to those who collect that sort of audiophile trash.

Folks, seriously, you really would have to work at it to find worse sounding pressings of the Moody Blues albums than the ones MoFi did in the ’90s.

Three Qualities to Look for (more…)

Sowing The Seeds Of Love for Psych

The Seeds Of Love

 

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This Tears for Fears album is a real desert island disc for me. When you get a big, rich, smooth copy such as this one, the short list of problems with the recording don’t interfere with the music. Like good stereo equipment, a good record lets you forget all that audio stuff and just listen to the music as music.

The Seeds Of Love is the band’s masterpiece, and hearing it this way is nothing short of a THRILL.

The sound of most copies is aggressive, hard, harsh and thin. What do you expect? The album is recorded digitally and direct metal mastered at Masterdisk. Most of us analog types put up with the limitations of the sound because we love the music, some of the most powerfully moving, brilliantly written and orchestrated psychedelic pop of the last thirty years. Imagine if the Beatles in their Sgt. Pepper/ Magical Mystery Tour phase kept going in that direction. They very well might have ended up in the neighborhood of Sowing the Seeds of Love. (more…)

Workingman’s Dead is Dead as a Doornail on Rhino Records

Workingman’s Dead

Rhino Records has made a mockery of the analog medium I tell you!

Sonic Grade: F

A Hall of Shame pressing and another Heavy Vinyl LP debunked.

The 2003 Rhino reissue on heavy vinyl of Workingman’s Dead is absolutely awful. It sounds like a bad cassette. The CD of the album that I own is superb, which means that the tapes are not the problem, bad mastering and pressing are. (more…)

The Moody Blues – In Search Of The Lost Chord – Listening in Depth


Our White Hot Shootout Winner for 2018

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  • This early UK pressing has a stunning Triple Plus (A+++) side two backed with an excellent Double Plus (A++) side one
  • Just full of that Moodies Magic: warm, full-bodied, rich and smooth with excellent size and energy
  • The first Moody Blues album to feature their trademark mellotron arrangements
  • “…the album on which the Moody Blues discovered drugs and mysticism as a basis for songwriting and came up with a compelling psychedelic creation, filled with songs about Timothy Leary and the astral plane and other psychedelic-era concerns.”

See all of our Moody Blues albums in stock (more…)

Traffic – The Low Spark Of High Heeled Boys – MoFi Debunked

 

The Low Spark of High Heeled Boys

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Sonic Grade: F

A Hall of Shame pressing and another MoFi LP debunked. 

Of course our Hot Stamper pressings are going to be better than the Anadisq LP from the mid ’90s. How much better? Words fail me. The MoFi was an out and out disaster. Perhaps some of the MoFi collectors didn’t notice because they had nothing to compare it to. God forbid they would ever lower themselves to buy a “common” pressing such as one of our domestic Islands.

More Traffic

Had they done so what they would have heard is huge amounts of musical information that is simply missing from the MoFi pressing. (more…)

The Rolling Stones – Their Satanic Majesties Request – Our White Hot Shootout Winner for 2018


Our White Hot Shootout Winner for 2018

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  • This elusive Rolling Stones classic returns to the site after a long absence, with two insanely good sides each rating a Triple Plus (A+++) or very close to it
  • You get some great rockers here – Citadel, 2000 Man, and 2000 Light Years From Home, to name a few
  • Relatively quiet, Mint Minus to Mint Minus Minus throughout (w/ caveats, see below)
  • The Stones at their most psychedelic, a lot of fun on a pressing like this

See all of our Rolling Stones albums in stock

This is the Stones at their most experimental, so there are plenty of strange effects and trippy arrangements. Only the best copies manage to make sense of it, but when you find one this music is a lot of fun.

One Tough Album

Not only is it hard to find great copies of this album, it’s hard to play them when you do find them. You’re going to need a hi-res, super low distortion front end to play this properly, but if you’ve got the goods this is one hot record! Play this with a budget cart / table / arm and you’ll hear very little of the magic that we heard. (more…)

Jimi Hendrix – Electric Ladyland – Our White Hot Shootout Winner for 2017


Our White Hot Shootout Winner for 2017

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  • Side three won our shootout, earning a Triple Plus (A+++) grade – Rainy Day, Dream Away; 1983… (A Merman I Should Turn to Be) and Moon, Turn the Tides… all sound amazing
  • Side one earned a nearly Triple Plus (A++ to A+++) grade, with killer sound for those four tracks including Crosstown Traffic and Voodoo Chile
  • Probably the best-recorded of Hendrix’s studio albums – huge studio space and Tubey Magical richness are key to the shootout winners
  • 5 stars: “Jimi Hendrix’s third and final album with the original Experience found him taking his funk and psychedelic sounds to the absolute limit. The result was not only one of the best rock albums of the era, but also Hendrix’s original musical vision at its absolute apex.”

See all our Jimi Hendrix albums in stock

We’ve played a lot of copies of this sprawling, psychedelic masterpiece but rarely have heard one that puts it all together better than this one does.

Some of Jimi’s best songs can be found here, including Crosstown Traffic, Voodoo Child (Slight Return) and his incendiary cover of Dylan’s All Along The Watchtower. All four sides have truly killer sound, big and full-bodied with a MUCH better low end than you’ll find on most. You get enough energy and weight to make the rock songs really ROCK, and enough clarity and transparency to bring out the more spacey, psychedelic elements that Jimi and Eddie Kramer worked so hard on. (more…)

Ten Years After – A Space In Time – Our White Hot Shootout Winner for 2017


Our White Hot Shootout Winner for 2017

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  • Two superb sides, Triple Plus (A+++) for the second side and Double Plus (A++) for the first
  • One of the most Tubey Magical rock recordings out there, and a copy like this captures and delivers all of it
  • The sound is big, rich and full-bodied with massive size and tons of space
  • A Better Records Psych Rock Favorite with the hit single “I’d Love To Change The World”

See all of our Ten Years After albums in stock

This is some of the best high production value rock music of the ’70s. The amount of effort that went into the recording of this album is comparable to that expended by the engineers and producers of bands like Supertramp, Yes, Jethro Tull, Ambrosia, Pink Floyd and too many others to list. It seems that no effort or cost was spared in making the home listening experience as compelling as the recording technology of the day permitted. (Of course, as it turns out, recording technology only got worse as the decade wore on, and during the ’80s the sound of most records went off a cliff.) (more…)

Wheels of Fire and its Glaring Lack of Bass

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It’s EXCEPTIONALLY difficult to find even decent sounding copies of this album. We’ve played SCORES of original domestic copies, original imports, and all kinds of reissues — trust me, most of them would make you cringe.

When you get a good copy, this music is AWESOME! For ’60s power trio hard rock, you just can’t do much better than the studio material.

White Room, Sitting On Top Of The World, Politician, Born Under A Bad Sign — this is the very essence of Classic Blues Rock. Unfortunately, the typical copy barely hints at the potential of this recording, and the audiophile pressings are even worse. (The DCC Gold CDs are especially bad in our opinion; they sound nothing like the good pressings we’ve played over the years.)

Where’s The Bass?

Most early pressings you find these days are thrashed beyond belief. We used to pick up every clean Plum & Gold label copy we’d find back in he day, but no more. We gave up. The Cream magic was just plain missing from the early domestic pressings. The problem is simple: a glaring lack of bass.

Let’s think about that. Cream is a power trio. The music absolutely demands a solid, weighty bottom end. Sacrifice the bass and the sound is just too lean to rock.

We can sum up the sound of the whomp-less copies in a word: fatiguing. As is always the case, some copies sound better than others, but none could give us the kind of bass that we were hoping for. (more…)