Genre – Rock – Southern Rock

Creedence Clearwater Revival – Green River (from Way Back)

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

The first White Hot copy of Green River to ever hit the site! We’ve been trying this one for years but it’s insanely tough to find copies that really deliver. Creedence recordings tend to be somewhat rough and raw and this one is no exception, but this copy brought the music to life in a way that very few before it ever have on our system.

Green River isn’t ever going to be a knockout demo disc, but a copy like this allows you to enjoy the music as it was recorded. Most copies are so dull, grainy and lifeless that someone would have to wake you at the end of a side! (more…)

What to Listen For on Eat a Peach

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EAT A PEACH

What do high grades give you for this album? Unbelievably Tubey Magical guitars, huge whomp factor on the bottom end, incredible dynamics and life, shocking transparency and clarity, and the kind of immediacy that puts these crazy southern rockers right in your very own living room. The overall sound is impressively BIG, BOLD, and POWERFUL!

This and Live At Fillmore East are the two monumental albums these guys ever put out, and they have a lot in common. You know what you’re gonna get with the Allmans: dueling electric guitars, sweet acoustic guitars, energetic drumming, and full-bodied vocals throughout. There’s obviously a lot of exploration — two complete sides are dedicated to the song Mountain Jam — but the heartfelt radio-friendly songs such as Melissa and Little Martha keep up the energy and provide maximum enjoyment factor.

The Three Keys: Transparency, Energy, and WHOMP

A great copy like this one really lets everything that’s great about this music come through. You can easily pick out each of the musicians and follow their contributions over the course of the songs. The huge WHOMP factor throughout kicks up the excitement factor and sets the foundation for the extended guitar jams to work their Southern bluesy magic. The top end extends beautifully to bring out all the ambience and spaciousness of the Fillmore. (more…)

Creedence Clearwater Revival – Pendulum

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Pendulum

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  • 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.”

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Creedence Clearwater Revival – Pendulum

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Pendulum

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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…)

Creedence Clearwater Revival – Willy and the Poor Boys

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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…)

Gregg Allman – Laid Back

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

We were surprised at how well recorded the album is, dramatically better than the Allmans’ album from the same year, Brothers and Sisters. Full-bodied and Tubey Magical, with especially smooth, present vocals, this is the sound we love at Better Records.

AMG Review

Recorded in the same year as the Brothers and Sisters album, this solo debut release is a beautiful amalgam of R&B, folk, and gospel sounds, with the best singing on any of Gregg Allman’s solo releases. He covers his own “Midnight Rider” in a more mournful, dirge-like manner, and Jackson Browne’s “These Days” gets its most touching and tragic-sounding rendition as well. Although Chuck Leavell and Jaimoe are here, there’s very little that sounds like the Allman Brothers Band — prominent guitars, apart from a few licks by Tommy Talton (Cowboy, ex-We the People), are overlooked in favor of gospel-tinged organ and choruses behind Allman’s soulful singing. (more…)

Creedence Clearwater Revival – Bayou Country

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  • Two outstanding sides, earning very strong Double Plus (A++) sonic grades and pressed on fairly quiet vinyl  
  • Proud Mary and Good Golly Miss Molly are two of the best sounding tracks found on the album – they sound great here
  • Our pick for the best sounding CCR recording — when you have a copy that sounds as good as this one does
  • 4 1/2 stars: “All the songs add up to a superb statement of purpose, a record that captures Creedence Clearwater Revival’s muscular, spare, deceptively simple sound as an evocative portrait of America.”

Both sides here are Tubey Magical with surprising resolution and freedom from smear, easily heard on the clean, clear guitar transients. (more…)

Creedence Clearwater Revival – Green River

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  • This insanely good pressing boasts superb Triple Plus (A+++) sound on side one and a Double Plus (A++) side two
  • Both sides are rich and full-bodied yet clean, clear and spacious, with note-like bass and relatively smooth vocals
  • An essential, Must Own album for every CCR collection, this LP includes some of the band’s biggest hits: Green River and Bad Moon Rising, Lodi and plenty more
  • 5 stars ” CCR’s third album Green River represents the full flower of their classic sound initially essayed on its predecessor, Bayou Country.”

This copy is bigger, livelier, harder rockin’, more spacious and more relaxed than most all of the other pressings we have played over the years.

Clean copies with great sound are incredibly hard to find from CCR (but worth the search), and it took us a good-sized stack to find a few with bottom end weight, midrange presence, real energy, and freedom from grain. This pressing will show you just how good this album can sound.

What to Listen For (WTLF)

Here are some of the things we specifically listen for in a vintage Creedence Swamp Rock record.

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

A Classic Case of I Was Wrong

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Sonic Grade: D

Another Half-Speed Mastered Audiophile Pressing Debunked.

I’d always preferred the famously rare Half-Speed to the domestic copies I had auditioned back in the day, until now of course.

Now, with changes to the stereo and better cleaning techniques and all the rest, that half-speed’s weaknesses are on display for all to hear. Where is the rock ’em, sock ’em bottom end that the best originals have? It’s gone!

Yes, the smeary veiled quality of the typical original pressing is gone too, which is why I used to like the DD Labs version better. It’s simply another case of a good Half-Speed beating a bad domestic pressing, and in turn being beaten (soundly) by The Real Thing, the kind of record we like to call a Hot Stamper.

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…)