Genre – Rock – British Blues Rock

Led Zeppelin – Presence

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  • With two Shootout Winning Triple Plus (A+++) sides, we guarantee you’ve never heard anything like the massive amounts of Zeppelin Rock and Roll energy that are on this copy
  • 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…)

Led Zeppelin – The Song Remains The Same

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  • Superb sound for this soundtrack album with outstanding Double Plus (A++) sound or close to it on all four sides
  • Clean, clear and open with a strong bass foundation and plenty of live rock and roll energy
  • An incredibly tough album to find with the right sound and surfaces
  • Packed with Zep classics, including The Song Remains The Same, Dazed and Confused, Stairway to Heaven, and more

*NOTE: On side one, a mark makes 30 light to moderate intermittent pops during the first half of Track 4, Rain Song. On side four, a mark makes 6 light ticks, followed by 7 moderate pops near the middle of Track 2, Whole Lotta Love.

It’s rare that we come across a copy that sounds this good. Most of the copies we’ve played sound like bad, second-generation bootleg cassettes. We still pick them up every time we see them — hey, it’s Zep, man — but we weren’t sure we’d ever hear a decent copy. We dropped the needle on this one and were pretty darn impressed with how hard it rocked.

It’s got the big sound that you look for on a Zep LP — great bass, huge drums, and immediacy to the vocals. The sound is silky up top, punchy down low, and very transparent.

Turn this one way up and you might just find yourself right in the middle of a killer live Zep concert.

The only song here that didn’t totally blow our minds was the version of Dazed and Confused, which sounded a bit compressed during the big jam. Other than that, all the big hits (Rock And Roll, The Rain Song, No Quarter, Stairway, etc.) sound Right On The Money. (more…)

Humble Pie – Humble Pie

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  • Incredible sound for this classic Humble Pie album from 1970 with both sides earning Shootout Winning Triple Plus (A+++) grades
  • A classic Glyn Johns British Blues Rock recording from 1970 – man, he was really on a roll back then
  • “Alternating hard-driving blues-rockers with country-folk numbers, Humble Pie neatly showcases the two sides of this band’s personality on their first release for a major American label and third album overall.”

This, their third album and first for A&M (which probably explains the master tape sound on domestic vinyl), is one of the few Humble Pie titles we’ve found that can offer honest-to-goodness Hot Stamper sound. Performance – Rockin’ The Fillmore is one of the best sounding live rock albums we have played, and Rock On can also be quite good, but after that it’s slim pickins for audiophiles.

The great sound is no mystery in this case; it comes courtesy of none other than Glyn Johns. He knows Heavy British Rock like nobody else on the planet, or did at the time anyway. If you want fat, meaty drums and grungy guitars — think Who’s Next, Sticky Fingers or A Nod Is As Good As A Wink — Glyn is your man.

Listen to how big and how far forward the drums are in the mix on the first track. That is a sound one rarely hears on a studio recording, and that’s a shame because the drum sound on this record is awesome. (more…)

The Yardbirds – Roger The Engineer – Awful on this Early Pressing

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Sonic Grade: F

Hall of Shame pressing. Don’t buy into that record collecting / audiophile canard that the originals are always better sounding.

The original British pressing — true, we only had the one, so take it for what it’s worth — was a poor imitation of what was surely on the master tape, as revealed by the Edsel reissues. Maybe you have a good sounding one, can’t say you don’t. But we would be very unlikely to spend much money on an original import pressing after hearing this one. And the domestic records we’ve played were clearly made from dub tapes, so they’re a bust too.

The Rolling Stones – No. 2

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

The best word I could use to sum up both the sound and the music on this record is HONEST. If you want to hear how early Rolling Stones records sound when they sound right, this is the ticket. This is the real sound of the early, early Stones.

Probably what any modern engineer would want to do to the album would only end up making it worse. It is what it is and that’s good enough for us.

Some tracks do sound quite a bit better than others, recorded as they were in three different locations (including Chess studios) by two different engineers (Ron Malo and Dave Hassinger). (more…)

Savoy Brown – Getting To The Point – Awesome Bell Sound Pressing

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I am not usually a fan of Bell Sound cuttings but this one seems hard to fault. I would be surprised if the British import pressings are any better; this sounds like the real master tape to me. The original Parrot vinyl is going to be hard to find any quieter. 

Some sides of some copies were leaner and drier than we would have liked and we marked them down accordingly. The big, rich, Tubey Magical sound of Classic British Rock is critical to the success of this music, and our Hot Stamper pressings are guaranteed to deliver plenty of that sound.

Side One

Jumpin’ out of the speakers, side one of this copy was nearly White Hot. Lively clear and present — it works for this side!

Side Two

This side is full, rich and tubey, a bit too much in some ways, but this is still the right sound for this music. It’s dynamic and if you turn it up it will really come to life! (That’s of course what we did.) (more…)

The Rolling Stones – Let It Bleed

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

This is, IMHO, the second or third best record the Stones ever made. (Sticky Fingers is Number One, and either this or Beggar’s Banquet comes in a strong second.) With this pressing we can now hear the power and the beauty of this superb recording.

Love In Vain on a copy like this is one of the best sounding Rolling Stones songs of all time. In previous listings I’ve mentioned how good this song sounds — thanks to Glyn Johns, of course — but on these amazing Hot Stamper copies it is OUT OF THIS WORLD.

This is, IMHO, the second or third best record the Stones ever made. (Sticky Fingers is Number One, and either this or Beggar’s Banquet comes in a strong second.) With this pressing we can now hear the power and the beauty of this superb recording.

Love In Vain on a copy like this is one of the best sounding Rolling Stones songs of all time. In previous listings I’ve mentioned how good this song sounds — thanks to Glyn Johns, of course — but on these amazing Hot Stamper copies it is OUT OF THIS WORLD. This vintage London Stereo pressing has the kind of Tubey Magical Midrange that modern records rarely even BEGIN to reproduce. Folks, that sound is gone and it sure isn’t showing signs of coming back. If you love hearing INTO a recording, actually being able to “see” the performers, and feeling as if you are sitting in the studio with the band, this is the record for you. It’s what vintage all analog recordings are known for — this sound. (more…)

Ten Years After – Cricklewood Green – Reviewed in 2010

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

This very nice looking original Deram British Import LP has that good old Heavy British Rock sound. It’s lively if a bit crude, but that’s pretty much the way these bands were recorded. The sound varies quite a bit from track to track, with some sounding noticeably better than others. Not much new there.

’Me and My Baby’ is a particularly good sounding song here. It sounds like it was recorded live in the studio, and it probably was!   (more…)

Led Zeppelin – Presence – Our Shootout Winner from 2012

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A distinguished member of the Better Records Rock Hall of Fame and another in the long list of recordings that really comes alive when you Turn Up Your Volume.

A STUNNING side two (where Nobody’s Fault But Mine can be found, one of the best Zep rockers of all time and the best reason to own this album), with MASSIVE room-filling size and rock ENERGY like you will not believe. How did they manage to get such rock and roll power into these grooves, the way they did on Zep II and IV? We can’t even imagine, but it’s there all right.

We heard it for ourselves. (Yes, we had the volume cranked and yes, it was a THRILL.)

We just finished a big 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 all KILLER on a White Hot copy like this one. This copy has TONS of energy, surprising dynamics, lots of WHOMP down low and big punchy drums throughout. That’s EXACTLY the kind of sound we love here at Better Records. (more…)