Genre – Rock – British Blues Rock

The Rolling Stones – Stripped

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  • Insanely good sound throughout for this Virgin import pressing with all four sides earning Shootout Winning Triple Plus (A+++) sound or very close to it
  • These sides are clean, clear, full-bodied and present with tons of energy and a solid bottom end
  • One of the best records from The Rolling Stones in the last 25 years!
  • Compiled from live performances at The Paradisco Club, Amsterdman, Holland; The Olympia Theatre, Paris, France; and rehearsals in Tokyo, Japan, Lisbon and Portugal
  • “Patched together from an embroidery of tour rehearsals and live club dates in Paris and Amsterdam, the project was an extension of acoustic sets the group introduced on the North American leg of the Voodoo Lounge tour. The concept offered an invigorating opportunity to dust off some rough gems from the past that no longer felt at home on sloping stadium stages.”

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Cream – Wheels Of Fire

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  • The power and energy of the studio sides is OFF THE CHARTS – punchy, open, and spacious with astonishing amounts of transparency
  • Everything you’d want sonically from a live Cream recording is present on sides three and four – big-time presence, tons of life, tonal correctness, and loads of tubey magic
  • 4 stars: “…Clapton is at a peak here, whether he’s tearing off solos on a 17-minute “Spoonful” or goosing “White Room” toward the heights of madness. But it’s the architect of “White Room,” bassist Jack Bruce, who, along with his collaborator Peter Brown, reaches a peak as a songwriter…. [I]n many ways Wheels of Fire is indeed filled with Cream’s very best work, since it also captures the fury and invention (and indulgence) of the band at its peak on the stage and in the studio, but as it tries to find a delicate balance between these three titanic egos, it doesn’t quite add up to something greater than the sum of its parts. But taken alone, those individual parts are often quite tremendous.
  • If you’re a fan of Clapton and the band, this RSO UK import from 1968 belongs in your collection.
  • The complete list of titles from 1968 that we’ve reviewed to date can be found here.

It’s exceptionally difficult to find even decent sounding copies of this album. We’ve played SCORES of original domestic copies, original imports, and all kinds of reissues over the years, and it’s very rare to find a copy that sounds this good on all four sides. (more…)

Deep Purple / Made In Japan – UK Vinyl But Mastered in the States?

To our surprise we discovered that some of the stampers for some of the sides on some of the British import pressings are actually sourced from a well known American cutting house. When those sides did poorly in the shootout, naturally we wanted to know more about them in order to avoid buying any more pressings with those markings.

We had no idea the British would “import” the metalwork from here, but they did, and the results were not good, at least not for us audiophiles. I hope it goes without saying that we will not be selling any versions of the album that are not cut in England.

This is what you learn when you have lots of copies of the same album and play them against each other.

We constantly Experiment with Different Record Pressings this way and we recommend you do the same.

Carry out as many experiments as you can find time for. The quality of your collection — at least the sonic quality of your collection — will improve immensely.

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Reviews and Commentaries for Made In Japan

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Joe Cocker / With a Little Help From My Friends – A Masterpiece of Blue Eyed Soul

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We just finished our first shootout in over FIVE [2012 or so] years for the album and were SHOCKED by how amazing the best copies can sound, even better than we remember them from last time around. Turn this one up good and loud and you’ll have Joe Cocker in all his raspy glory belting out With A Little Help From My Friends right in your very own listening room! (more…)

The Faces – A Nod Is As Good As A Wink

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  • Two excellent Warner Brothers Green Label sides – The Faces are rockin’ their asses off on this copy
  • Punchy, solid and rich all the way through, with driving energy like nothing you’ve ever heard from the band – comes with the POSTER too!
  • Fairly quiet vinyl for a Green Label original – good luck finding one that plays this well (and sounds anything like this)
  • 5 stars: “[It] doesn’t feel cobbled together and it serves up tremendous song after tremendous song… It’s another classic — and when you consider that the band also had Long Player to their credit and had their hands all over Every Picture in 1971, it’s hard to imagine another band or singer having a year more extraordinary as this.”

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Jethro Tull – This Was

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  • We’ve only had a handful of copies go up since 2013 – it’s tough to find these vintage UK pressings in clean condition with this kind of sound
  • Guaranteed to soundly trounce any Pink Label Island original you may have heard – these are the Hot Stampers and it doesn’t take a pair of golden ears to hear it
  • Melody Maker thoroughly recommended the album in 1968 for being “full of excitement and emotion” and described the band as a blues ensemble “influenced by jazz music” capable of setting “the audience on fire.” Wikipedia

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Jeff Beck – Truth

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  • Easily – and by a wide margin – the best sounding record Jeff Beck ever made – thanks Ken Scott! (And thank you, CBS, for the exceptionally quiet vinyl)
  • This pressing embodies the Big Rock Sound, the kind we go crazy for here at Better Records
  • Really fun music – it’s a blast to hear Rod Stewart fronting such a heavy rock band
  • AMG 5 Stars “…almost as groundbreaking and influential a record as the first Beatles, Rolling Stones, or Who albums.”

Vintage covers for this album are hard to find in 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 is a SHOCKINGLY good sounding pressing of Truth, Beck’s As-Heavy-As-I-Can-Make-It Rock debut, the kind of record that would define Classic Rock for the next forty plus years.

The soundstage is absolutely HUGE, while the presence and transparency of this copy go way beyond most pressings. Great rock and roll energy too of course — without that you have nothing on this album.

Note how spacious, big, full-bodied and DYNAMIC both sides are. That’s why they’re Super Hot. I am pleased to report that the whomp factor on these sides was nothing short of MASSIVE. With tons of bass these sides have what it takes to make the music ROCK. (more…)

Led Zeppelin – Presence

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  • This outstanding pressing boasts solid Double Plus (A++) sound on both sides – exceptionally quiet vinyl too
  • Here is a pressing with the power, the dynamic contrasts, the low end whomp, as well as the in-the-room midrange presence (pun only slightly intended) you’ve been waiting for
  • Featuring a stripped down, harder rock sound, Presence really benefits from the killer bottom end found on this early LP
  • “Presence has more majestic epics than its predecessor, opening with the surging, ten-minute Achilles Last Stand and closing with the meandering, nearly ten-minute Tea for One.”

We just finished a massive shootout for this album and were reminded just how HARD this album rocks. Achilles Last Stand, For Your Life and Nobody’s Fault But Mine are KILLER on a Hot Stamper pressing like this one. (more…)

Free / Tons Of Sobs – A Classic of British Blues

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  • Crazy good Triple Plus (A+++) sound or close it from start to finish, this was clearly the best copy from our shootout – reasonably quiet vinyl too
  • This early UK Island pressing gave us exactly what we were looking for from these British Blues Rockers – it’s smooth, weighty, and overflowing Tubey Magical richness
  • It’s tough to find these imports in audiophile condition, which is why they only hit the site at most every two years or so
  • 4 1/2 stars: “…a blistering combination of youth, ambition, and experience that, across the course of their debut album, did indeed lay the groundwork for all that Zeppelin would embrace. …Tons of Sobs has a density that makes Zeppelin and the rest of the era’s rocky contemporaries sound like flyweights by comparison.”

Here is just the kind of sound you want on an album like this — Big and Bold!

If you’ve got the full range dynamic speakers to play Tons of Sobs good and loud, you will discover, as we have, what a powerful British Blues Rock album this is. No hits, just heavy electric blues played with feeling, months before Zeppelin would come along and take the genre to a whole new level.

Years ago — in 2011 to be exact — we said the following in a listing for a very good sounding domestic pressing:

Solid bass, present vocals, plenty of energy — the only thing missing here is the Tubey Magical richness and sweetness that only the British originals (in our experience) have, and in spades by the way. But try to find one. Over the last two or three years I think we’ve managed to get hold of exactly one clean copy.

Fast forward a number of years and we’ve only had a couple more! I personally have seen the original British pressing of this album sell on the web for more than 1000 dollars, which explains why we rarely have them. (more…)

Thin Lizzy – Jailbreak

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  • Jailbreak makes its Hot Stamper debut here with superb Nearly Triple Plus (A++ to A+++) sound from first note to last – just shy of our Shootout Winner
  • This copy has real depth to the soundfield, full-bodied, present vocals, plenty of bottom end weight, and lovely analog warmth
  • 5 stars: “. . . this myth-making is married to an exceptional eye for details; when the boys are back in town, they don’t just come back to a local bar, they’re down at Dino’s, picking up girls and driving the old men crazy. This gives his lovingly florid songs, crammed with specifics and overflowing with life, a universality that’s hammered home by the vicious, primal, and precise attack of the band.”

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