Genre – Folk

Peter, Paul & Mary / In The Wind

More Peter, Paul and Mary

Hot Stamper Pressings of TAS List Super Disc LPs in Stock

  • An original Gold Label stereo pressing of this TAS-approved Super Disc that was doing just about everything right, with both sides earning solid Double Plus (A++) grades
  • Exceptionally quiet vintage vinyl too – Gold Label pressings are almost never this quiet in our experience
  • The sound is big, open, rich and full, with the performers front and center (as well as left and right)
  • Very few folk records offer the kind of realistic, lifelike sound you get from this pressing
  • “Their third recording was one of the group’s stronger outings… In particular, this record was essential to boosting the profile of Bob Dylan, including their huge hit cover of ‘Blowin’ in the Wind,’ their Top Ten version of ‘Don’t Think Twice, It’s All Right,’ and the bluesy ‘Quit Your Lowdown Ways’…”

Warners pressings are all over the map. When you find a good one, you can be pretty sure it’s the exception, not the rule. That’s been our experience anyway. This copy gives you more life and energy than others by a long shot. The highs are extended and silky sweet and the bass is tight and punchy.


Listening in Depth to Sounds of Silence

More of the Music of Simon and Garfunkel

Reviews and Commentaries for the Music of Paul Simon (and Art Garfunkel)

Presenting another entry in our extensive Listening in Depth series with advice on what to listen for as you critically evaluate your copy of Sounds of Silence. Here are some albums currently on our site with similar Track by Track breakdowns.

Sounds of Silence is made from a second generation tape, as we explain below. Since we listen to all the records we sell, we like to point out such things so our customers know what they are getting.

This album is the proverbial tough nut to crack, a mix of folkie tracks and ambitious big production numbers, all recorded on a four track machine and bounced down maybe just a few too many times along the way. Some got handed a troublesome case of Top 40 EQ — hey, this is 1965, it’s the way they thought pop records should sound.

But many of the best tracks survived just fine. They can sound wonderful, it’s just that they rarely do. This is precisely where we come into the picture.

The key to good sounding pressings of this record is to look for the ones with a top end. Now of course you can’t see the top end when you buy the record. But most of the copies of this album you pick up are going to sound like cassettes. There won’t be much over 8K, and that means hard, harsh, transistor radio sound. You need extended highs to balance out the upper midrange.

Although the rock tracks certainly come to life and really do sound good on the hottest of the hot copies, the folkie tracks are the real reason to buy these early pressings. They have the Tubey Magic that’s missing from virtually any reissue or digital format version.

Best and Worst Tracks

For the best sounding tracks try Leaves That Are Green on side one, and April Come She Will on side two. 

Keep in mind that the big hit ”Sounds of Silence” will never sound much better than it does in the car. It’s basically the track from their previous album with rock instrumentation added, meaning an electric guitar, a second generation of tape and some extra distortion for good measure.

But on a superb copy, that track can still be surprisingly enjoyable. Not Demo Disc quality, just enjoyable.

Below you will find our moderately helpful advice for finding the best sounding pressings of Sounds of Silence.

In our experience the album sounds best this way:

Which simply means that the 360 label domestic stereo pressings win our shootouts, in this case without exception.


Simon and Garfunkel – Sounds of Silence

More Simon and Garfunkel

More Folk Rock

  • Boasting two excellent Double Plus (A++) or BETTER sides, this vintage 360 Stereo pressing was giving us the sound we were looking for on S&G’s sophomore release
  • Forget that critical listening stuff and just notice that these hot copies are simply more relaxed, musical and involving
  • Although the rock tracks come to life and really do sound good, the Tubey Magical folkie tracks are the real reason to play the album
  • “A work of finely expressed folk. It’s arguably the duo’s big breakout, a crossover success with some handsome hits.” — COS

The sound is big, open, rich and full, with the performers front and center. This 360 Stereo pressing also has the MIDRANGE MAGIC that’s no doubt missing from whatever 180g reissue has been made from the 50+ year old tapes. As good as that pressing may be, we guarantee that this one is dramatically more REAL SOUNDING. It gives you the sense that Simon and Garfunkel are right in the room with you. (more…)

Joan Baez – Vol. 2

More Joan Baez 

More Pure Folk Recordings

  • This vintage copy of Baez’s sophomore album boasts incredible Nearly Triple Plus (A++ to A+++) sound from first note to last – just shy of our Shootout Winner
  • Tonally correct, Tubey Magical, clear and present – here’s a copy that can put a living, breathing, 20-year-old Joan Baez right between your speakers
  • Richer, smoother yet still very clear and highly resolving in precisely the way so few copies are
  • 4 stars: “[Vol. 2] is a hearty helping of folk masterpieces that give ample evidence to exactly how she was established as a leader of the contemporary folk scene of the day.”


Joan Baez – In Concert, Part 2

More Joan Baez

  • This vintage Vanguard pressing of Joan’s 1963 live release boasts a KILLER Shootout Winning Triple Plus (A+++) side two mated to a superb Double Plus (A++) side one
  • You’d be hard-pressed to find a copy that’s this well balanced, big and lively, with Joan reproduced as solid and as real as only the better vintage vinyl pressings can present her
  • Marks and problems in the vinyl are sometimes the nature of the beast with these vintage LPs – there simply is no way around them if the superior sound of vintage analog is important to you
  • 4 stars: “Her repertoire was evolving from purely traditional folk to encompass significant work by contemporary folksinger/songwriters. Most prominent among those … was Bob Dylan, and In Concert, Pt. 2 features her first two Dylan covers, ‘With God on Our Side’ and ‘Don’t Think Twice, It’s All Right.’ For that alone, the album was notable, but there were other notable expansions into interesting new territory, like the country classic ‘Long Black Veil,’ Derroll Adams’ great melancholy ‘Portland Town,’ the civil rights anthem ‘We Shall Overcome,’ and bossa nova great Luiz Bonfá’s ‘Manha de Carnaval.'”
  • Fans of the early Folk stylings of Ms Baez will surely want to have this album from 1963 in their collection


Harry Belafonte – The Many Moods of Belafonte

More Harry Belafonte

  • This outstanding pressing boasts solid Double Plus (A++) sound from start to finish – exceptionally quiet vinyl too
  • Lively, balanced and vibrant, with a healthy dose of the Tubey Magical Living Stereo full-bodied sound these recordings need to work their magic – qualities which are rarely evident on the modern reissues made from whatever tapes they are using
  • Several crowd-pleasers were introduced on this album for the first time: the calypso “Zombie Jamboree,” which soon replaced “Matilda” as Belafonte’s epic audience participation song; and the showtune “Try to Remember,” from the off-Broadway show The Fantasticks.
  • If you’re a fan of Harry’s, this vintage record from 1962 belongs in your collection.
  • To see Living Stereo titles with Hot Stampers, click here. To see the 200+ Living Stereo titles we’ve reviewed, click here.


Doc Watson – Home Again

More Doc Watson

More Folk Revival Music

Want to find your own shootout winner? Scroll to the bottom to see our advice on doing just that.

  • This outstanding pressing boasts solid Double Plus (A++) sound from start to finish
  • Here is the in-the-room performance intimacy that will surely bring Doc’s music to life in a way you’ve never heard before
  • If you own the veiled, opaque, recessed, ambience-challenged Cisco remaster, you are in for a treat – our Hot Stamper is none of those things!
  • “[H]is most affecting folk-style record, with unexpectedly warm vocals matched to the quiet virtuosity of his playing. [The album] features Watson performing lively, achingly beautiful renditions of popular folk standards. All are played with very imposing dexterity by Watson, joined by his son Merle and Russ Savakus on upright bass.

This vintage Vanguard stereo pressing has the kind of Tubey Magical Midrange that modern records rarely begin to reproduce. Folks, that sound is gone and it sure isn’t showing any sign of coming back.

Having done this for so long, we understand and appreciate that rich, full, solid, tubey sound is key to the presentation of this primarily vocal music. We rate these qualities higher than others we might be listening for (e.g., bass definition, soundstage, depth, etc.). (more…)

Bob Dylan / The Times They Are A-Changin’ – A Sundazed Winner?

More of the Music of Bob Dylan

Reviews and Commentaries for the Music of Bob Dylan

This review was written in 2001, upon the release of the album. It has since be remastered and re-released on Sundazed in 2014. I would take our commentary below with a huge grain of salt.

In 2001 we still liked DCC’s Heavy Vinyl pressings, so we were definitely not where we needed to be in order to judge records properly, but we sure thought we were!

That said, this may be a very good sounding record, and if you can find one for cheap, and don’t have the money for one of our amazing Hot Stamper pressings, it might just be a good way to go. We simply have no way of knowing whether we were right or wrong about the sound of this pressing twenty years ago when we wrote our review.

You can read more about our many, many mistaken judgments from the old days here, under the heading: Live and Learn.

Our 2001 Review

Sundazed finally gets one REALLY right! The mono version here MOIDERS the competition. (It’s a mono recording with stereo echo added — how tough can it be?)

Considering Sundazed‘s dismal track record, I wouldn’t have thought they could do anything right.

[And I can’t even say that I have much confidence that they actually did make a good sounding record in this case!]

Bob Dylan / The Freewheelin’ Bob Dylan – We Preferred the Mono in 2016

More of the Music of Bob Dylan

Reviews and Commentaries for the Music of Bob Dylan

Back in 2016 we liked the Mono pressings of this album best. We wrote:

We greatly prefer the best Mono pressings to the best stereo copies, but they are very hard to come by.

This is our favorite of the early Dylan albums for both music and sound. We’re picking up both mono and stereo copies when we see them clean (which is rare) but the best mono copies truly take this music to a whole new level.

Now we like them both, and we like the stereo pressings maybe even a bit better.

Live and learn we say!

Mono, Stereo, Reprocessed Stereo, We’ve Played Them All!

On this Dylan album, the mono and stereo pressings both have the potential to sound amazingly good.

Other records that sound their best one way or the other can be found using the links below.


Donovan / Catch The Wind – Superb in Mono (and Pretty Good in Reprocessed Stereo)

Reviews and Commentaries for the Music of Donovan

The sound when summed to mono is natural, with a correct top end. This is some of the best of the early, folky Donovan from 1965.

We were less than impressed with the sound of this electronically reprocessed album in stereo, but were very pleasantly surprised when we hit the mono button on our EAR phono stage. The weird, phasey top end disappeared almost completely on side two, and Donovan’s voice and guitar sounded pretty darn right to us by the second track (the first track on side two is a mess).

If you do not have a mono switch on your phono stage or preamp, this is probably not the right record for you.

We see a few mono and stereo copies of the album in our travels about town but Donovan records from 1965 have a marked tendency to be scratched if not absolutely trashed.

Finding one that plays this quietly was completely unexpected. It might have been better in mono, but these days we have to be grateful for any early Donovan album on vinyl, especially one that sounds this good on side two.