Genre – Rock – Roots Rock

The Band – The Band (2011)

More The Band

More The Band – The Band

xxxxx


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

Holy mother of god, this is one KNOCKOUT copy of The Band’s self-titled masterpiece! Both sides earned our top grade of A+++ and beat the pants off every other copy — including quite a few RL-mastered originals — in the shootout. On top of that, both sides play between Mint Minus and Mint Minus Minus, which is pretty dan quiet for this album. We love this music, but most copies out there have flimsy sound, trashed vinyl, or both. Here’s the exceedingly rare copy that does just about everything right WITHOUT the typical crackly campfire surface noise!

This Capitol Green Label pressing mastered by Robert Ludwig has TWO KILLER SIDES. When you play either side of this copy, you are going to lose your mind. It’s got Master Tape clarity, You Are There presence, and unbelievable transparency. Drop the needle on Night They Drove Old Dixie Down or Up On Cripple Creek and get ready for some SERIOUS MAGIC! (more…)

Dr. John – In The Right Place

More Dr. John

More In The Right Place

xxxxx

  • Off the charts “Triple Triple” sound for this Must Own Dr. John album – both sides earned our top grade of A+++
  • SURPRISINGLY GOOD SOUND – who knew how well recorded this album was? (Certainly not the audiophile press)
  • We don’t know of any other Dr. John album with sound remotely as good, and the modern albums of his we’ve played were just awful
  • 4 1/2 Stars: “Dr. John finally struck paydirt here and was certainly In the Right Place. With the hit single “Right Place Wrong Time” bounding up the charts, this fine collection saw many unaware listeners being initiated into New Orleans-style rock.”

Punchy drums, solid bass, smooth vocals, extended highs — this album was produced, recorded and mastered by superbly talented individuals who deserve a lot of credit for the work they have done here.

If you like Little Feat this album should be right up your alley. And if you like this album and don’t know little feat, the link on the left will take you to their music. They’re one of the all time great bands of the ’70s (and still going as far as I know). (more…)

The Band – Music From Big Pink (2012)

More The Band

More Music From Big Pink

xxxxx


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

This Capitol pressing has some of the best sound we’ve ever heard for this album! It’s beyond frustrating to try to find great sound for Big Pink — most copies tend to be an absolute nightmare. The sound is rich, warm, sweet, and full-bodied with exceptional clarity and transparency. There’s tons of ambience and you can really hear the sound of the room around the drums. The sound of the organ is AMAZING!

Side one earned an A++ grade. It has a strong bottom end and the vocals sound correct. The sound can be a bit murky at times, but that’s pretty much the case for every Band record we’ve ever played — it’s just kind of their sound. (The Moody Blues are another band whose records always sound murky, for whatever reason.)

Side two was a bit better — fuller, cleaner, livelier and more transparent than just about any copy we’ve ever heard. There’s tons of tubey magic and real weight to the bottom. We gave it an A++ to A+++ — you’ll have a VERY hard time finding one that sounds even close to this good if our experience is any guide. (more…)

Creedence Clearwater Revival – Pendulum

More Creedence Clearwater

Pendulum

xxxxx

  • This Fantasy stereo pressing boasts Shootout Winning Triple Plus (A+++) sound on side one and an outstanding Double Plus ( A++) side two
  • Both sides here are quite a bit richer and fuller than most with a big bottom end and solid midrange presence and energy
  • 4 stars: “John Fogerty spent time polishing the production, bringing in keyboards, horns, even a vocal choir. His songs became self-consciously serious and tighter, working with the aesthetic of the rock underground — Pendulum was constructed as a proper album, contrasting dramatically with CCR’s previous records, all throwbacks to joyous early rock records where covers sat nicely next to hits and overlooked gems tucked away at the end of the second side.”

(more…)

Creedence Clearwater Revival – Pendulum

More Creedence Clearwater

Pendulum

xxxxx

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

This copy will THRASH any copy you put it up against. This will be especially true if you put it up against the Analogue Productions Heavy Vinyl from years back, which will undoubtedly sound thick, opaque, airless and congealed next to a properly mastered Fantasy original such as this.

Now if you are looking for quiet vinyl, we might not be able to help you there. We didn’t hear any truly quiet copies. Mint Minus Minus is about it, folks. Fortunately, CCR’s music is usually loud enough to obscure the shortcomings of Fantasy’s vinyl. Once the songs get going the vinyl is not really a problem, for us anyway.

Overall the most common problem we run into with Creedence’s records are edgy vocals, a problem that we noticed varied quite a bit from track to track on any given side. Lack of frequency extension on the top and bottom is another big one; few copies have any real highs (and if we weren’t so good at cleaning these old records with the Walker fluid none would have. If you want your records to sound transparent and open the right cleaning fluids and the right cleaning machine are essential). (more…)

The Band – Rock Of Ages (2009)

More The Band

More Rock Of Ages

xxxxx


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

White Hot Stampers for side two — WOW! Check out the track listing for that side: Stage Fright / The Night They Drove Old Dixie Down / Across the Great Divide / This Wheel’s on Fire / Rag Mama Rag

Pretty hard to beat that batch of Band songs; practically every one is a classic. And considering how difficult it is to get a good sounding copy of the albums those songs are taken from, this double album is a great way to go if you love The Band. The performances are uniformly excellent, and the live horn section adds a lot to the fun and energy of the music.

(The same can be said for Little Feat’s live album, Waiting for Columbus. We’ve been trying to find Hot Stampers on that one for years with little luck. Guess we’ll just have to keep trying.) (more…)

Creedence Clearwater Revival – Willy and the Poor Boys

More Creedence Clearwater

More Willy and the Poor Boys

xxxxx

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

The typical copy of this album is grainy, murky, and veiled — and that’s just for starters. It took us a HUGE stack of copies to find ANY that had bottom end weight, midrange presence, freedom from grain (mostly) and real energy.

Those of you who have been watching the site for a while have probably noticed that we hardly ever list Hot Stamper copies of Creedence records. That’s because it is DARN NEAR IMPOSSIBLE to find copies that sound any good, a fact that many of you have probably stumbled upon on your own. (more…)

Creedence Clearwater Revival’s Debut

More Creedence Clearwater Revival

More Creedence Clearwater…

xxxxx

  • This an unusually good sounding copy of CCR’s debut boasts outstanding Double Plus (A++) grades on both sides
  • The sound is big and rich with a punchy bottom, perfect for swamp rockers like I Put a Spell on You and Susie Q
  • A tough album to find with sound and surfaces as good as these – not as many copies qualify to make it to the site as we would like
  • 4 stars: “…the band’s sound is vibrant, with gutsy arrangements that borrow equally from Sun, Stax, and the swamp.

It’s unlikely you will be demonstrating your system with this record, but you may find yourself enjoying the hell out of it for what it is — a prime example of a Roots Rock ‘n’ Roll album that sounds RIGHT, with music that still holds up today.

Good luck finding a copy of this album with even one side that sounds this good. Most copies are grainy, murky, and veiled. It took a good-sized stack of copies to find any that had bottom end weight, midrange presence, freedom from grain (mostly) and real energy. (more…)

The Band – Music From Big Pink

More The Band

More Music From Big Pink

xxxxx

  • Two strong Double Plus (A++) sides AND quiet vinyl make this a consistently impressive copy of this all-time classic album
  • Forget all those lifeless, ambience-free, vague sounding Heavy Vinyl pressings – THIS is the sound of the album
  • It’s big, punchy and dynamic, and resolves all the intricacies of the recording that make it so interesting to us audiophiles
  • 5 stars on Allmusic: “Over time, Music from Big Pink came to be regarded as a watershed work in the history of rock, one that introduced new tones and approaches to the constantly evolving genre.”

We guarantee you have never heard Music from Big Pink sound remotely as good as it does on this very copy. (more…)

The Band’s Second Album – Listening in Depth

More The Band

More The Band – The Band

xxxxx

Another in our series of Home Audio Exercises with advice on What to Listen For (WTLF) as you critically evaluate your copy of The Band’s second album.

The best copies have no trace of phony sound from top to bottom. They’re raw and real in a way that makes most pop records sound processed and wrong. Our best Hot Stampers have plenty of the qualities we look for in The Band. Energy, presence, transparency, Tubey Magic… you name it — you will find it there. The biggest strength of this recording is its wonderful, natural midrange. And tons of bass.

Despite what anyone might tell you, it’s no mean feat to find good sounding copies of this record. There are good originals and bad originals, as well as good reissues and bad reissues. Folks, we’ve said it many times — the label can’t tell you how a record sounds, but there’s a sure way to find out that information. You’ve got to clean ’em and play ’em to find out which ones have Hot Stampers, and we seem to be the only record dealers who are doing that, in the process making unusually good pressings available to you, the music-loving audiophile. (more…)