Genre – Rock – Singer / Songwriter

Paul Simon – One-Trick Pony

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Singer Songwriter Albums

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  • One-Trick Pony makes its Hot Stamper debut here with STUNNING Shootout Winning Triple Plus (A+++) sound throughout – exceptionally quiet vinyl too
  • Notably richer and livelier than every other pressing we played, with plenty of Tubey Magic and good weight down low
  • We guarantee there is dramatically more richness, presence and energy on this copy than anything else around, and that’s especially true for whatever godawful Heavy Vinyl pressing is currently being foisted on an unsuspecting record buying public
  • “Tasty licks abound from the fretwork of Eric Gale, Hiram Bullock, and Hugh McCracken, and the rhythm section of Steve Gadd, Tony Levin, and Richard Tee is equally in the groove. This is the closest thing to a band album Simon ever made, and it contains some of his most rhythmic and energetic singing. . .”

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Jackson Browne – For Everyman

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  • A KILLER copy of JB’s sophomore effort with Shootout Winning Triple Plus (A+++) sound or very close to it on both sides
  • David Lindley joins the band, and talented helpers include Bonnie Raitt, Glen Frey, David Crosby, Elton John and Joni Mitchell
  • “His work is a unique fusion of West Coast casualness and East Coast paranoia, easygoing slang and painstaking precision, child’s-eye romanticizing and adult’s-eye acceptance… Brilliantly conceived, incomparably immediate, For Everyman truly earns its title.” – Rolling Stone

The average copy of this record is MUD, but this pressing will show you that the master tape of For Everyman is a whole lot better than most music lovers and audiophiles might suspect. (The first album is the same way.)

Want a quick test for transparency? Listen to the piano on I Thought I Was a Child. On most copies you can’t really hear the attack of the hammers hitting the strings, but here you can. If the tonal balance is correct — and it is on this copy — then you know you are getting a pressing of very high quality.

Note that the first track on side one almost never sounds as good as those that follow. (more…)

Rickie Lee Jones – Girl At Her Volcano

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  • An outstanding copy of Rickie Lee’s EP, Girl At Her Volcano, with solid Double Plus (A++) sound or BETTER from start to finish
  • A superb pressing – rich, warm and full-bodied with excellent presence and exceptionally dynamic vocals
  • The piano sounds tonally correct, with real weight to the keys
  • Under the Boardwalk is killer on this album, one of the best reasons to own it
  • “With such a quirky little voice, awesome dynamic shifts and the way she attacks the piano, moving between powerful and delicate, ranks this record as one of my standard demo recordings.”

We’re big fans of RLJ’s self-titled debut, a longtime member of our Top 100 list. I think this one is probably the next best thing she’s done. It may only be an EP but it’s a consistently good EP in which every track is good and some are amazing.

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Leonard Cohen – Songs Of Leonard Cohen

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  • A KILLER sounding original 360 copy with Shootout Winning Triple Plus (A+++) sound from start to finish – reasonably quiet vinyl too  
  • Bigger, richer and clearer than any other copy we played – the wonderfully intimate, breathy vocals are the key to these amazing sounding pressings
  • Sometimes the conventional wisdom is true, and this record makes the case as well as any we play – the right original Columbia pressings are in a league of their own
  • 5 stars: “A breathtaking and perfect debut, Songs of Leonard Cohen marked the emergence of one of the most enduring, unique, and brilliant voices in popular music… A masterpiece of perversity and pain.”

Get ready for some serious goosebumps! If this copy of Songs Of Leonard Cohen doesn’t give you chills, I don’t know what will.

We’ve played a ton of 360s and Red Labels, and copies that sound as good as this one are clearly the exception and not the rule.

The Red Label pressings from the ’70s can be quite good if you know which are the good stampers and which to avoid, information that the average audiophile record lover would have a hard time coming by on his own.

For those who wish to find their own Hot Stamper pressings of the album, we say more power to you. Our helpful advice can be found here.

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Van Morrison – Saint Dominic’s Preview

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  • With Shootout Winning Triple Plus (A+++) sound or very close to it, this original Green Label pressing is one of the BEST we have ever heard
  • It’s unusual (to say the least) to find copies of Moondance or Astral Weeks that sound anything like the better copies of Saint Dominic’s Preview (or His Band and Street Choir, an equally good recording)
  • One of the better sounding Van Morrison albums, thanks to the superb engineering skills of Donn Landee at Wally Heider’s and elsewhere
  • 5 Stars in Rolling Stone: “The coexistence of two styles on the same record turns out to be very refreshing; they complement each other by underscoring the remarkable versatility of Van’s musical imagination… the best-produced, most ambitious Van Morrison record yet released.”

We’ve been huge fans of this album for ages and don’t understand why it doesn’t get more respect. This is the album that comes right after Tupelo Honey and His Band And The Street Choir, so that should tell you something.

The piano has real weight, the bottom end is solid, and the brass sounds lively and rich, never squawky. (more…)

Carly Simon – Hotcakes

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  • A stunning side one, clocking in between Double and Triple Plus
  • Side two is excellent as well, earning One and a Half Pluses for its superb presence and transparency
  • Great sound for Mockingbird and Haven’t Got Time For The Pain
  • All Music Guide gives this Richard Perry production Four Big Stars

The grit and grain that plagues most copies is GONE here, replaced with the kind of space and transparency that really make sense of the recording. The bottom end has real weight and punch, and the whole thing is much richer and more natural than usual.

That Glossy Richard Perry Sound

Many copies of this album suffer from (at least) one of two problems: unnaturally hi-fi-ish sound or an excess of grit and grain. Both are in large part due to the processing-intensive production of Richard Perry.

The best copies make it easy to understand his choices: the sound is lovely. Unfortunately that rich, sweet sound he obviously got on to the master tape didn’t quite make it to the average vinyl pressing of this album. The effects used on Carly’s vocals turn her voice into a gritty, grainy mess on most copies — certainly not the kind of sound that audiophiles want to hear.

As is so often the case, it took a few exceptional copies to make us understand what Simon and Perry were going for. Compare this Hot Stamper to the typical copy and you’ll hear it for yourself right away. (more…)

Cat Stevens – Tea For The Tillerman on the UK Island Pink Label

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  • A STUNNING Pink Label Island Label UK pressing of TFTT – an album we consider the Pinnacle of British Folk Rock – with Shootout Winning Triple Plus (A+++) sound from start to finish
  • The emotional power of the songs is communicated completely – we can assure you the experience will be like playing the album for the first time
  • Here’s your chance to relive the experience of hearing this groundbreaking album for the first time, but with much better sound than you ever thought possible
  • 5 stars on Allmusic, a stunning Demo Disc, and a permanent member of the Better Records Top 100

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Bob Dylan – Infidels

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  • An outstanding copy of Infidels with solid Double Plus (A++) sound or BETTER throughout – exceptionally quiet vinyl too
  • Big and rich, with correct tonality from top to bottom, strong bass and plenty of space, this copy sounded just right to us
  • 4 stars: “… its writing is closer to Dylan’s peak of the mid-’70s, and some of the songs here… are minor classics, capturing him reviving his sense of social consciousness and his gift for poetic, elegant love songs.”

This is one of the better sounding Dylan records from the ’80s. It’s not exactly Blood on the Tracks, the only Dylan album we think is qualified to be on our Top 100 Rock and Pop List, but it sounds good for a record from this era. (more…)

Listening in Depth to Carly Simon’s No Secrets

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The immensely talented engineer ROBIN GEOFFREY CABLE worked his audio magic on this album. You may recall that he recorded a number of the greatest sounding rock records of all time, Elton John’s self-titled second album and Tumbleweed Connection, both in 1970, as well as this album and Nilsson Schmilsson in 1972, with Richard Perry producing.

One more note: having your VTA set just right is critical to getting the best out of this album. The loudest vocal parts can easily strain otherwise. Once you get your settings dialed in correctly, a copy like this will give you the kind of rich, sweet sound that brings out the best in this music.

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Janis Ian – Aftertones

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  • Janis Ian’s superb 1975 release returns with outstanding Double Plus (A++) sound from first note to last
  • 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
  • “… Ian’s advanced folk sensibilities are emotional progressions away from the weepy and introspective nature heard from her mid-’70s singer/songwriter contemporaries. Part of Ian’s enticement is the marriage between achingly beautiful melodies and thoroughly personalized lyrics. The album commences with the title track setting the tenor and sonic ambiance.”

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