Genre – Rock – American Blues Rock

The Doors – Strange Days

More of The Doors

xxxxx

  • An outstanding copy of the band’s sophomore release, with solid Double Plus (A++) sound from first note to last
  • This vintage pressing is well balanced, yet big and lively, with such wonderful clarity in the mids and highs as well as deep punchy bass and a big open and spacious soundfield
  • Demo Quality sound for so many classics: When The Music’s Over, Moonlight Drive, Love Me Two Times and more
  • “… if The Beatles had Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club and The Beach Boys had Pet Sounds, then The Doors’ answer was Strange Days… It’s the perfect introduction to a perfectly strange album.”

CONDITION NOTES:

  • On side one, a mark makes 5 moderately loud pops, followed by 15 moderately light and 5 light stitches. Another mark makes 4 light ticks, followed by 3 very light ticks during track 3, Love Me Two Times.

If you’re looking to demonstrate just how good 1967 All Tube Analog sound can be, this copy will can do just that.

It’s spacious, sweet and positively dripping with ambience. Talk about Tubey Magic, the liquidity of the sound here is positively uncanny. This is vintage analog at its best, so full-bodied and relaxed you’ll wonder how anyone seriously contemplated trying to improve it. (more…)

ZZ Top – Fandango

More ZZ Top

xxxxx

  • A superb pressing with nearly Triple Plus (A++ to A+++) sound from top to bottom – just shy of our Shootout Winner – exceptionally quiet vinyl too
  • From first note to last, the sound works for this music — tonally right, lively and plenty of top end extension
  • This is some of the grungiest guitar rock we’ve heard in a while and we were lovin’ every minute of it
  • “… they were a kick-ass live band… these are really good live cuts — and “Backdoor Medley” and “Jailhouse Rock” were fine interpretations, making familiar songs sound utterly comfortable in their signature sound — and Fandango! remains one of their better albums…”

(more…)

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

More Janis Joplin

More Blues Rock Albums

xxxxx

  • 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…)

The Allman Brothers – Brothers and Sisters

More The Allman Brothers

xxxxx 

  • Off the charts Shootout Winning Triple Plus (A+++) sound or close to it on both sides of this classic Allman Brothers album – nothing could touch the superior sonics of this copy on either side
  • Of course it won our shootout – you won’t believe how lively, full-bodied, clear and HUGE it is compared to anything you’ve heard; super quiet vinyl too!
  • 4 stars on Allmusic and the band’s commercial peak
  • “The Allman Brothers Band’s first new studio album in two years shows off a leaner brand of musicianship, which, coupled with a pair of serious crowd-pleasers, ‘Ramblin’ Man’ and ‘Jessica,’ helped drive it to the top of the charts for a month and a half and to platinum record sales.”

*NOTE: On side one, a mark makes 4 very light dull ticks at the end of track 2, Ramblin’ Man.

One of the keys to the Allman’s sound is obviously the guitars and the way they blend with one another. Most pressings are dry, congested, and grainy, which hurts the effect of the multiple harmonizing leads. When you get a copy with smoother, more Tubey Magical, more open sound, you really understand what sound the band was after. It’s wonderful when it works, and no one ever did it better than these guys. (more…)

The Allman Brothers – Idlewild South

xxxxx

  • A STUNNING ‘Triple Triple’ (A+++) copy with the kind of energy, body and punch this music needs
  • Easily the group’s best sounding studio recording and especially impressive on a copy like this
  • Cue up Midnight Rider or In Memory Of Elizabeth Read to hear the Allman Brothers magic in these grooves
  • 5 stars “The best studio album in the group’s history, electric blues with an acoustic texture, virtuoso lead, slide, and organ playing, and a killer selection of songs, including “Midnight Rider,” “Revival,” “Don’t Keep Me Wonderin’,” and “In Memory of Elizabeth Reed”…”

Drop the needle on Midnight Rider or In Memory Of Elizabeth Read to hear what this copy can do. You get lots of extension both up top and down low that make the overall sound far more engaging and musical than what you’d hear on most copies. (more…)

ZZ Top – Deguello

xxxxx

  • A STUNNING early pressing of Deguello with Shootout Winning Triple Plus (A+++) sound or very close to it from first note to last – exceptionally quiet vinyl too
  • Forget whatever dead-as-a-doornail Heavy Vinyl record they’re making these days – if you want to hear Cheap Sunglasses sounding big, bold and lively, this is the copy for you
  • A surprisingly good recording – here is exactly the kind of hard-rockin’ energy you want from these three guys
  • Excellent songs including Hi Fi Mama, Cheap Sunglasses (an all-time classic), She Loves My Automobile, and more
  • 4 1/2 stars: “ZZ Top returned after an extended layoff in late 1979 with Degüello, their best album since 1973’s Tres Hombres… The trio is in fine shape here, knocking out a great set of rockers and sounding stylish all the time.”

The sound is big and full-bodied with excellent separation and real punch down low. You get real clarity and impressive immediacy. Turn this one up and let ‘er loose!

It’s not easy to find great sounding pressings for this band, which is why so few have ever made it to the site with Hot Stamper sound.

It’s a great album for these three guys, with excellent songs including Hi Fi Mama, Cheap Sunglasses, She Loves My Automobile and more. We aren’t going to claim to be the world’s foremost ZZ Top experts, but we know a great sounding rock record when we hear one, and this one impressed the heck outta us. (more…)

Bonnie Raitt – Nick Of Time

xxx

xxx

  • An insanely good pressing with Shootout Winning Triple Plus (A+++) sound or close to it from the first note to the last – exceptionally quiet vinyl too
  • These sides are rich and full-bodied with a nice extended top end and tight, note-like bass – Have A Heart is a Demo Quality track
  • Some of the sweetest, richest, most ANALOG sound we’ve heard from any record Don Was produced
  • 4 1/2 stars: “Producer Don Was used Raitt’s classic early-’70s records as a blueprint, choosing to update the sound with a smooth, professional production and a batch of excellent contemporary songs. In this context, Raitt flourishes; she never rocks too hard, but there is grit to her singing and playing, even when the surfaces are clean and inviting. A great comeback album that made for a great story.”

(more…)

ZZ Top – Deguello – Our Shootout Winner from 2015

xxxxx

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

A killer Top Copy, Double Plus (A++) for the first side and Triple Plus (A+++) for the second. Up there with the very best ZZ Top sound we’ve ever heard or expect to hear. Most copies aren’t BIG, punchy, lively and present like this one is.

A truly excellent sounding record with the kind of rock energy and size you want from a ZZ Top record. It is not easy to find great pressings for this band, which is why we’ve only ever had a handful on the site. And this one is especially hard to beat, since this is an EXCELLENT recording brought to life with wonderful Robert Ludwig mastering.

It’s also a great album for these guys, with excellent songs including Hi Fi Mama, Cheap Sunglasses, She Loves My Automobile and more. We aren’t going to claim to be the world’s foremost ZZ Top experts, but we know a great sounding rock record when we hear one, and this one impressed the heck outta us.

Side one earned an A++ grade. The sound is big and full-bodied with excellent separation and real punch down low. Side two is even better, earning our top grade of A+++ with superb clarity and impressive immediacy. Turn this one up and let ‘er loose! (more…)

ZZ Top – Fandango – Our Shootout Winner from 2015

xxxxx

One of the qualities that we don’t talk about on the site nearly enough is the SIZE of the record’s presentation. Some copies of the album just sound small — they don’t extend all the way to the outside edges of the speakers, and they don’t seem to take up all the space from the floor to the ceiling. They are often recessed as well, lacking presence and immediacy.

Other copies — my notes for these copies often read “BIG and BOLD” — create a huge soundfield, with the music positively jumping out of the speakers. They’re not brighter, they’re not more aggressive, they’re not hyped-up in any way, they’re just bigger and clearer.

And most of the time those very special pressings just plain rock harder. When you hear a copy that does all that, it’s an entirely different listening experience. (more…)

Bonnie Raitt – Nick Of Time – Our Shootout Winner for 2009

xxx

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

This Minty Capitol LP has an UNBELIEVABLE White Hot Stamper As Good As It Gets (AGAIG) Side Two backed by a Side One that was nearly its equal! The original grade for side one was in fact A+++, but after hearing a copy that was even better we had to lower the grade to A Double Plus. Hey, that’s how we roll here at Better Records. Side one will blow your mind, but if we hear something better, we lower the grade on the nearly White Hot copy, no matter how good it is. 

We expect that, as good as side one is, when you drop the needle on side two you will hear EVEN BETTER sound.

Prepare to have your mind blown, because this album sure sounds a whole lot better than I remember it. And that’s a good thing. I have a new respect for this album (along with Don Was’ somewhat heavy-handed production).

Both sides are POWERFULLY BIG AND BOLD, with meaty, deep bass (such a big part of the rockers here, Thing Called Love being a prime example) and the sweetest, richest, most ANALOG sound we’ve heard from any record Don Was has been involved with. When you hear it like this — something probably pretty close to what he heard during the control room playback for the final mix — it actually makes sense. It works. It’s not exactly “natural”, but natural is not what they were going for, now is it?

Missing Too Much

The no-longer-surprising thing about these Hot Stamper pressings is how completely they MURDER the DCC LP. Folks, it’s really no contest. Yes, the DCC is tonally balanced and can sound very good, but it can’t compete with the best original pressings. It’s missing too much of the presence, intimacy, immediacy and transparency that we’ve discovered on these hot copies.

Like practically every Heavy Vinyl record pressed at RTI, there is a suffocating loss of ambience throughout, a kind of sterility to the sound. These remastered records just do not BREATHE like the real thing. Good EQ or Bad EQ, they all suffer to one degree or another from a kind of audio enervation. Where is the life of the music? You can turn up the volume on these remastered LPs all you want but they just never seem to want to come to life. We play albums like this VERY LOUD. I’ve seen Bonnie Raitt live a number of times and although I can’t begin to get her to play as loud in my livingroom as she did on stage, I can try. To do less is to do her a great disservice. (more…)