Blues, Electric Blues and R&B

Muddy Waters – I’m Ready

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  • A KILLER copy with insanely good Triple Plus (A+++) sound or close to it from the first note to the last
  • If you’re looking for a Hot Stamper Blues album to add a little variety to your collection, you can’t do much better this copy of I’m Ready
  • ‘Waters and band provide these well-worn gems with a little new studio polish, but it is with the newer songs that the performers really shine… For new listeners trying to get a feel of what the blues is all about, I’m Ready and its bookends are the albums to start with. Once you experience a taste of Muddy Waters, you’ll be ready for more.”

*NOTE: On side one there is a mark that plays lightly ten times at the start of the first track.

Waters made three albums with Johnny Winters in the ’70’s, including this one. Muddy was still in great form, and the sound can be fantastic on the right copy. It’s not easy to find blues recordings that sound natural and honest while still giving you the energy, presence and clarity needed to bring the music to life, but this bad boy has exactly the sound we were looking for. (more…)

Albert King – Born Under a Bad Sign – Where Are All the Clean Copies?

A Record We May Never Shootout Again

Some records were just too much work to find, too expensive to buy.

This is one such album. Our last shootout was in 2007!

The link above will take you to many more.

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This original Stax LP has AMAZING sound. You could not make this record sound any better. We really liked the Sundazed copy of this record until we heard this bad boy. It MURDERS the Sundazed! It has more life, energy and natural presence.

We always suspected that a good original pressing would be better than the Sundazed but we had no way of knowing since all the copies we ever saw were beat to death. This is the first clean copy of this record I’ve seen in 20 years.

The sound is RICH and FULL with lots of texture to the guitars. It’s very natural sounding and full-bodied.

Like many of these old Stax pressings this record would benefit from a bit more extension on the top end. If you can add a a click of treble the sound will be even more out of this world.

One of the all time great electric blues albums — a Must Own for fans of the genre (more…)

Son Seals – The Son Seals Blues Band

More Son Seals

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  • An excellent Electric Blues record with exceptionally big, clear, lively sound that earned Double Plus (A++) grades on both sides
  • This copy will shame most Blues albums for sound and music – it’s quite a bit better than any other Son Seals album we have played as well
  • 4 stars: “The Chicago mainstay’s debut album was a rough, gruff, no-nonsense affair typified by the decidedly unsentimental track ‘Your Love Is like a Cancer.’ Seals wasn’t all that far removed from his southern roots at this point, and his slashing guitar work sports a strikingly raw feel on his originals ‘Look Now, Baby,’ ‘Cotton Picking Blues,’ and ‘Hot Sauce’ (the latter a blistering instrumental that sounds a bit like the theme from Batman played sideways).

Son Seals’ 1973 debut album has the kind of Live-in-the-Studio sound that most Blues albums (and every other kind of album) strive for but rarely if ever achieve. If you turn this one up good and loud, the Son Seals Band will be right there in the room with you. If there’s any overdubbing on this record, you sure can’t hear it.

If you’ve been suffering with one bad sounding Stevie Ray Vaughan album after another, this record should come as a godsend. This album will show you just how dynamic and energetic Electric Blues recordings can be.

You can’t see this guy live anymore, he’s dead, RIP, but you can still hear him perform live in your listening room if you have a killer system and a Hot Stamper copy of this album — and you can hear him as often as you want to, too. Play this one for all your friends who love Stevie Ray. Son Seals has the chops to go head to head with him, with recording quality that’s night and day better than Stevie’s non-posthumous albums in every way. Your friends’ minds will surely be blown (and if they aren’t, turn up the volume a click or two and try again. Live music is loud). (more…)

Janis Joplin – I Got Dem Ol’ Kozmic Blues Again Mama!

More Janis Joplin

More Blues Rock Albums

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  • This outstanding 360 Stereo pressing boasts solid Double Plus (A++) sound from start to finish – exceptionally quiet vinyl too
  • This copy 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 didn’t hear her do on many of the other 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 Stereo pressing 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.

The bottom end has real weight and the top end is silky and extended. The overall sound is rich, full, and smooth.

ENERGY is the key element missing from the average copy, 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.

On many copies — too many copies — the vocals are pinched and edgy. Here they’re breathy and full — a much better way for Janis to sound. There’s a slight amount of grit to the vocals at times and the brass as well, but the life force on these sides is so strong that we much preferred it to the smoother, duller, deader copies we heard that didn’t have that issue.

On copy after copy we heard pinched squawky horns and harsh vocals, not a good sound for this album. Janis’ voice needs lots of space up top to get good and loud, and both of these sides have it in spades.

Few other copies had this combination of openness and transparency on the one hand, and full, rich tonality on the other. (more…)

Willie Dixon – I Am The Blues

More Willie Dixon

More Soul, Blues and R&B

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  • This early Columbia pressing boasts outstanding Double Plus (A++) sound or close to it on both sides – fairly quiet vinyl too
  • Notably richer and livelier than most, with plenty of Tubey Magic and good weight down low
  • A longtime favorite of ours, with unusually good sound for a blues recording, even one from as late as 1970
  • Features updated versions of many Dixon Classics: Spoonful, Hoochie Coochie Man, I Can’t Quit You Baby and more
  • “The material is superb, consisting of some of Willie Dixon’s best-known songs of the 1960s, and the production is smoothly professional…”

*NOTE: On side two, a mark makes 5 light ticks at the end of Track 3, (I’m Your) Hoochie Coochie Man.

The material here is TOP NOTCH — Dixon was one of the blues’ greatest songwriters, responsible for Spoonful, Hoochie Coochie Man, Little Red Rooster, Back Door Man and other songs you’ve probably heard your favorite classic rock band covering. A copy such as this gives you more detail and texture, more extension up top and real weight to the bottom end — absolutely crucial for this music. (more…)

John Lee Hooker – House of the Blues

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  • This outstanding pressing boasts solid Double Plus (A++) sound from start to finish – fairly quiet vinyl too
  • This early ’50s material has shockingly natural sound, no doubt the result of having been recorded, like most of John Lee Hooker’s albums, live in the studio
  • A masterful collection of songs recorded between 1951 and 1954, this album showcases the “King of the Boogie” in top form
  • 4 stars: “Some important titles here: an ominous ‘Leave My Wife Alone,’ and the stark ‘Sugar Mama’ and ‘Ramblin’ by Myself,’ and with Eddie Kirkland on second guitar, ‘Louise’ and ‘High Priced Woman.'”

*NOTE: On side two, a mark makes 4 moderate pops at the beginning of in Track 1, Sugar Mama.

My notes for the sound of the third track read “very real.” You get the feeling that whatever John Lee Hooker played and sang on that day in 1959 ended up on this record sounding just the way he performed it, live to one-track. (more…)

Jimmy Witherspoon – Blues For Easy Livers

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  • Blues for Easy Livers finally returns to the site with outstanding Double Plus (A++) stereo sound from start to finish
  • BIG and spacious with wonderful presence – the transparency of this vintage pressing is superb, and yet one more reminder of the sound modern records consistently fail to achieve
  • This is one of the better sounding Male Vocal LPs to hit our turntable in recent months and I bet the same will hold true for you if you take this copy home
  • “Witherspoon’s one of the masters of closing-time bluesy jazz, and he doesn’t let anyone down on that account on this relaxed (but not sleepy) session.”

You’ll find surprisingly natural sound on this great Jazz / Blues / Male Vocal album.

We’ve been picking these up when we find ’em clean — no mean feat, I assure you — and this copy had the sound we’ve been looking for. (more…)

Ella Fitzgerald – These Are The Blues – Another Top Ella Title

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  • An outstanding early Stereo copy with solid Double Plus (A++) sound from start to finish
  • Only the best vintage pressings like this one offer the kind of Tubey Magic that was on the tapes in 1963
  • Allmusic Users 4 1/2 stars: “Ella Fitzgerald was never thought of as a blues singer but she does a surprisingly effective job on the ten blues songs here, including “See See Rider,” “Trouble in Mind,” “St. Louis Blues,” and Bessie Smith’s “Jailhouse Blues.” She somehow sings more or less in the style of the classic blues vocalists of the 1920s and largely pulls it off. …organist Wild Bill Davis (with assistance from guitarist Herb Ellis, bassist Ray Brown, and drummer Gus Johnson) dominate the ensembles. It’s an interesting set.”blues

(more…)

Albert King – Born Under a Bad Sign on Mediocre Sundazed Vinyl

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Sonic Grade: C

Commenting about the first Hot Stamper pressing of this album ever to come our way, we noted:

This original Stax LP has AMAZING sound. You could not make this record sound any better. We really liked the  Sundazed copy of this record until we heard this bad boy. It MURDERS their pressing! It has far more life, energy and presence than the Heavy Vinyl pressing. We always suspected that a good original would be better but we had no way of knowing since all the copies we saw were beat to death.

Johnny Winter – Johnny Winter

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  • An outstanding 360 Columbia pressing of Johnny Winter’s sophomore release, with Double Plus (A++) sound from start to finish
  • This vintage pressing has the MIDRANGE MAGIC that’s surely missing from whatever 180g reissue has been made from the 50+ year old tapes (or, to be clear, a modern digital master copied from those tapes)
  • There is a surprisingly healthy dose of bottom end in this recording – it’s the right sound for this kind of heavy blues-rock
  • 4 1/2 stars: “Winter’s debut album for Columbia was also arguably his bluesiest and best… [his] playing and vocals have yet to become mannered or clichéd on this session, and if you’ve ever wondered what the fuss is all about, here’s the best place to check out his true legacy.”

Vintage covers for this album are hard to find in exceptionally clean shape. Most of them will have at least some amount of ringwear, seam wear and edge wear. We guarantee that the cover we supply with this Hot Stamper is at least VG, and it will probably be VG+. If you are picky about your covers please let us know in advance so that we can  be sure we have a nice cover for you.   

This Columbia 360 Stereo pressing has the kind of Tubey Magical Midrange that modern records can barely BEGIN to reproduce. Folks, that sound is gone and it sure isn’t showing signs of coming back. If you love hearing INTO a recording, actually being able to “see” the performers, and feeling as if you are sitting in the studio with the band, this is the record for you. It’s what vintage all analog recordings are known for — this sound. (more…)