- The Tubes’ self-titled debut returns to the site with KILLER Nearly Triple Plus (A++ to A+++) sound from start to finish – just shy of our Shootout Winner
- This copy is simply bigger, richer, fuller, and livelier than practically all others we played
- Their music is definitely not for everyone – I saw them live many years ago and they did put on one helluva show, but you have to be a fan of eccentric pop or none of it will make any sense
- “Produced by Al Kooper, this debut by the notorious San Francisco group is best known for the blazing anthem ‘White Punks on Dope.’ Although the Tubes’ raison d’être was their shock-rock stage dynamic, Bill Spooner, Fee Waybill, and company could, on occasion, deliver some offbeat pop splendor.”
- This UK pressing will show you a Diamond Dogs you had no idea existed, yet here it is – exceptionally quiet vinyl too
- We shot out a number of other imports and the presence, bass, and dynamics on this incredible copy placed it head and shoulders above the competition
- It’s ridiculously tough to find even passable sound for this album – we guarantee you have never heard better than these two killer sides
- Great songs including the title track, “Rebel Rebel,” “1984,” “Sweet Thing,” “Big Brother,” “Rock & Roll With Me” and more
The sound on this UK pressing is Tubey Magical yet still clean, clear and spacious — you’ll need a lot of luck and a good-sized pile of records to find a copy that sounds like this one.
“1984” (a favorite of ours on David Live) sounds great here. In addition to singing, the man handles sax, Mellotron, and Moog duties on the album, and, most surprisingly, plays practically all of the electric guitar parts.
Bowie was one of the handful of artists to produce an immensely enjoyable and meaningful body of work throughout the ’70s and into the ’80s, music that holds up to this day. The music on his albums, often groundbreaking and always multi-layered, will surely reward the listener who takes the time to dive deep into the complex sounds he recorded.
Repeated plays are the order of the day. The more critically you listen, the more you will discover within the exceedingly dense mixes favored by the man, his producers (Tony Visconti among them) and engineers (our favorite being Ken Scott). And the better your stereo gets the more you can appreciate the care and effort that went into the production of his recordings.
- Queen’s debut returns to the site on this original UK pressing with KILLER Nearly Triple Plus Plus (A++ to A+++) sound throughout – just shy of our Shootout Winner
- Both sides here are big, full-bodied, super clear and spacious with a huge bottom end and tons of rock energy
- Marks in the vinyl are sometimes the nature of the beast with these early pressings – there simply is no way around them if the superior sound of vintage analog is important to you
- “Almost every one of Queen’s signatures are already present, from Freddie Mercury’s operatic harmonies to Brian May’s rich, orchestral guitar overdubs and the suite-like structures of ‘Great King Rat’… It showcases the band in all their ornate splendor yet it’s strangely lean and hard, revealing just how good the band was in their early days as a hard rock band.”
- This UK import copy of the band’s fifth studio album has outstanding Double Plus (A++) sound from start to finish
- Forget the domestic pressings — they may be cut at Sterling, but they never sound like these shockingly good British LPs
- We guarantee there is dramatically more richness, fullness, vocal presence, and performance energy on this copy than others you’ve heard, and that’s especially true if you made the mistake of buying whatever Heavy Vinyl pressing is currently on the market
- Problems in the vinyl is sometimes the nature of the beast with these early pressings – there simply is no way around it if the superior sound of vintage analog is important to you
- “A Day at the Races is a bit tighter than its predecessor… its sleek, streamlined finish is the biggest indication that Queen has entered a new phase, where they’re globe-conquering titans instead of underdogs on the make.”
- With two seriously good Double Plus (A++) or BETTER sides, this UK copy was one of the best we played in our recent shootout
- Roxy and their engineers and producers manage to capture a keyboard sound on their first two albums few bands in the history of the world can lay claim to
- We’ve been working on this shootout for over ten years – here is one of the better copies we have to show for our effort
- 5 Stars: “… another extraordinary record from Roxy Music, one that demonstrates even more clearly than the debut how avant-garde ideas can flourish in a pop setting.”
- If you’re a Roxy fan, For Your Pleasure has to be considered a Must Own Title of theirs from 1973.
- The complete list of titles from 1973 that we’ve reviewed to date can be found here.
Spacious, dynamic, present, with HUGE MEATY BASS and tons of energy, the sound is every bit as good as the music. (At least on this copy it is. That’s precisely what Hot Stampers are all about.)
Strictly in terms of recording quality, For Your Pleasure is on the same plane as the other best sounding record the band ever made, their self-titled debut.
Siren, Avalon and Country Life are all musically sublime, but the first album and this one are the only two with the kind of dynamic, energetic, powerful sound that Roxy’s other records simply cannot show us (with the exception of Country Life, was is powerful but a bit too aggressive).
The super-tubey keyboards that anchor practically every song on the first two albums are only found there. If you want to know what Tubey Magic sounds like in 1972-73, play one of our better Hot Stamper Roxy albums.
Roxy and their engineers and producers manage to capture a keyboard sound on their first two albums that few bands in the history of the world can lay claim to. I love the band’s later albums, but none of them sound like these two. The closest one can get is Stranded, their third, but it’s still a bit of a step down. (more…)
- An excellent UK pressing of Roxy Music’s debut, with outstanding Double Plus (A++) grades on both sides – this is some of the most dynamic sound the band achieved
- Andy Hendriksen’s engineering (over the course of a week!) is superb in all respects – we think the best pressings of this first album reveal a recording that is superior to any other by the band
- A Top 100 album, Roxy’s Masterpiece, and a Must Own Desert Island Disc of Glamorous Arty Rock
- 4 1/2 stars: “Falling halfway between musical primitivism and art rock ambition, Roxy Music’s eponymous debut remains a startling redefinition of rock’s boundaries. Simultaneously embracing kitschy glamour and avant-pop, Roxy Music shimmers with seductive style and pulsates with disturbing synthetic textures.”
Folks, this is a true Demo Disc in the world of Art Rock. It’s rare to find a recording of popular music with DYNAMICS like these.
The guitar solo at the end of “Ladytron” rocks like you will not believe.
In both music and sound, this is arguably the best record the band ever made. Siren, Avalon and Country Life are all musically sublime, but the first album has the kind of dynamic, energetic, POWERFUL sound that their other records simply fail to show us. And we’ve played them by the dozens, so there’s a pretty good chance we will never find copies with the abundant richness and power we find here.
We hope you will agree with us that it was entirely worth the wait, as this album is a MASTERPIECE of Art Rock, Glam Rock and Bent Rock all rolled into one.
AMG calls Roxy Music the “most adventurous rock band of the early ’70s” and I’m inclined to agree with them. Roxy is certainly one of the most influential and important bands in my growth as a listener and audiophile, along with the likes of Supertramp, Ambrosia, 10cc, Steely Dan, Yes, Bowie and others, groups of musicians dedicated to exploring and exploding the conventions of popular music.
- 801 Live IS BACK and rocks harder than ever on this early Island import copy with excellent Double Plus (A++) sound from start to finish – exceptionally quiet vinyl too
- We shot out a number of other imports and this one had the presence, bass, and dynamics that were missing from most of the other copies we played, not to mention that LIVE ROCK and ROLL ENERGY that old records have and new records don’t
- Recorded at Queen Elisabeth Hall in September 1976 – one of only three gigs the group (a side project of Roxy Music’s Phil Manzanera) did over a two-month period
- 4 1/2 stars: “This album marks probably one of the last times that Eno rocked out in such an un-self-consciously fun fashion, but that’s not the only reason to buy it: 801 Live is a cohesive document of an unlikely crew who had fun and took chances. Listeners will never know what else they might have done if their schedules had been less crowded, but this album’s a good reminder.”
801 Live ranks near the top of the list of my All Time Favorite Albums — a Desert Island Disc if ever there was one.
I stumbled across it decades ago and have loved it ever since. (It started when a college buddy played me the wildly original “Tomorrow Never Knows” from the album and asked me to name the tune. Eno’s take is so different from The Beatles version that I confess it took me an embarrassingly long while to catch on.)
What’s especially interesting about this copy is that we went crazy for it even though it did not have the best bass of the copies we played, which, as you will see below, clearly contradicts what we had previously written. We thought that the copies with the best bass had the best everything else too, but that was not what we heard this time around.
THIS copy got the music to work its magic, and it did it with most, but not all, of the bass of the best. Not sure how to explain it. Rules were made to be broken maybe?
- An outstanding copy of These Foolish Things with solid Double Plus (A++) sound from start to finish – fairly quiet vinyl too
- This UK Island pressing is bigger, richer, more Tubey Magical, clearer, and with better bass – it knocked us out
- Outside of the first three Roxy albums, there is simply no recording by the band that’s as good as the first three Bryan Ferry solo projects
- 4 stars: “Ferry for the most part looked to America, touching on everything from Motown to the early jazz standard that gave the collection its name… Wrapping up with a grand take on ‘These Foolish Things’ itself, this album is one of the best of its kind by any artist.”
We had a nice stack of British copies to play and are happy to report that this one had an unbeatable Triple Plus (A+++) side two backed with a killer Double to Triple Plus (A++ to A+++) side one, both on very quiet vinyl. Anyone who digs Roxy Music or Bowie’s Pin-Ups is going to find a lot to like here. Check out the cool cover of A Hard Rain’s A-Gonna Fall that kicks off side one!
The sound positively JUMPS out of the speakers and fills the room. There’s loads of Tubey Magic, big punchy drums, and depth to the soundfield.
We continued to find copies with no real extension up top, but this one has nice, sweet highs on both sides. It’s also clean, clear and transparent with real weight down low. (more…)
There is a tendency in the recording to be a little “hot” tonally on the vocals and snare. The better copies like this one keep it under control, with the lesser copies getting much too lean and gritty to play loudly. What good is a raver like Fat Bottomed Girls if you can’t turn it up and really rock out with it?
Roy Thomas Baker is back on the scene here for Jazz, his first production with the band since 1975’s A Night at the Opera, and the last time he would work with Freddie and the boys.
On side one check out the low harmony vocal on the first track. The big kick drum is also a treat. RTB loves his bass, that’s for sure.
Both sides should have an open, extended top end and a solid, rich bottom. Our best copies were big and clear with plenty of rock bottom end and Whomp Factor.
We Love Dynamic Choruses, and These Are Amazing
This is one of the rare pop/rock albums that dramatically changes levels as it moves from the verses to the choruses of many its songs, especially the anthemic Fat Bottomed Girls. Mustapha, the first track on side one, has a huge finish as well. It can take a record like this to open your ears to how compressed practically every rock album you own is.
The sad fact of the matter is that most mixes for rock and pop recordings are just too safe. The engineers and producers believe that the mixes have to be safe for the average (read: crap) stereo to play the record.
We like it when music gets loud. It gets loud in live performance — why shouldn’t most of that wonderful energy make it to the record?
News of the World is incredibly dynamic and powerful in this respect, our pick for the best recording by the band, but Jazz on its best cuts is not very far behind it.
- Triple Plus (A+++) on side two, Double Plus (A++) on side one, this is one of the best copies to ever hit the site
- The British Island originals are the only way to go, and this one just plain trounced most of the others we played
- Tubey Magical, rich, smooth, sweet – everything that we listen for in a great record is on display for everyone to hear
- Allmusic: “Ferry and company, plus various brass and string sections, turn on the showiness enough to make it all fun.”
Both sides of this record are just as rich and relaxed as you would expect. The balance is correct, which means the top is there as well as the bottom, with good vocal presence throughout. (more…)