Labels We Love – ABC/MCA

Steppenwolf – Gold: Their Great Hits

More Steppenwolf

Gold: Their Great Hits

xxxxx

  • An outstanding copy of the band’s first greatest hits album with solid Double Plus (A++) sound or close to it from first note to last – exceptionally quiet vinyl too
  • Both sides here are rockin’ like crazy, with mostly ull-bodied, natural, smooth, tonally correct sound
  • This surprisingly good sounding greatest hits album is packed with hits, including Born To Be Wild, Magic Carpet Ride, The Pusher, and more
  • 4 stars: “The term heavy metal was rightfully named for this band. Steppenwolf fused traditional rock and R&B with late ’60s contemporary heaviness. “Born to Be Wild,” their signature tune, has aged amazingly well. Aside from the song’s power and performance, its engineering and production is stellar. This goes for most of Steppenwolf’s catalog as well.”

(more…)

Steppenwolf – Steppenwolf

More Steppenwolf

Steppenwolf – Steppenwolf

xxxxx

  • This outstanding copy of Steppenwolf’s debut album boasts solid Double Plus (A++) sound from first note to last
  • Both sides here are really rockin’ — big and full-bodied with tight punchy bass and lots of energy
  • Condition is often an issue with extremely popular rock records from this era, but this one is scratch free and fairly quiet throughout
  • Includes killer hits “Born To Be Wild” and “The Pusher,” both featured in the 1969 movie Easy Rider
  • 4 stars: “…a surprisingly strong debut album from a tight hard rock outfit… The playing is about as loud and powerful as anything being put out by a major record label in 1968…”

(more…)

Ray Charles – Love Country Style – Rave Reviewed in 2007

More Ray Charles

More Love Country Style

xxxxx

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

This ABC White Label Promo LP is one of the BEST SOUNDING Ray Charles records we have ever heard! This is analog at its best: rich, warm and sweet with tons of TUBEY MAGIC. (more…)

B.B. King – Midnight Believer

More B.B. King

Midnight Believer

xxxxx

  • An outstanding copy of Midnight Believer with solid Double Plus (A++) sound or close to it from start to finish
  • Rich and full-bodied, clean, and clear, while the bass is big and punchy, and the energy level is off the charts
  • B.B. is backed by members of The Crusaders here, and on a copy like this one you can really get a sense of just how much they contribute to this music
  • “Another collaboration that worked a lot better than one might have expected. King and the Crusaders blended in a marginally funky, contemporary style for the buoyant ‘Never Make Your Move Too Soon’ and an uplifting ‘When It All Comes Down.'”

B.B. is backed by members of The Crusaders here, and on a copy like this one you can really get a sense of just how much they contribute to this music. The best sides have the kind of rich, full tonality and extended low end we just don’t hear often enough!

You can be sure this will beat the pants off the Direct Disc Labs Half-Speed Mastered pressing, or your money back. It’s no wonder they wanted to do an audiophile pressing of the album — it’s a superb recording. But mastering it at half-speed is not the answer. Finding one like this that has the LIFE of that master tape pressed into its grooves is the only way to be sure you will get real audiophile sound, not that pseudo kind we bash all over the site. (Sorry, we just can’t help it.) (more…)

B.B. King – In London

More B.B. King

In London

xxxxx

  • With two nearly Triple Plus (A++ to A+++) sides, this copy is close to the BEST we have ever heard
  • This is one of the better sounding B.B. King albums we’ve played lately – both sides are big, full-bodied and spacious with plenty of Olympic Studios + Record Plant Tubey Magic
  • Ringo, Peter Green, Klaus Voorman, Steve Winwood, Alexis Korner, Gary Wright and Dr. John are just a few of the artists featured on this record behind B.B. – quite a cast of luminaries
  • “… all 9 tracks are top notch fusion between US Legend and awe inspired younger British bluesmen. A must have!”

(more…)

B.B. King – Lucille

More B.B. King

Lucille

xxxxx

  • Lucille (the album, not the guitar) finally comes to the site with solid Double Plus (A++) sound or very close to it throughout 
  • An exceptionally hard album to find with good sound, but here it is – clean, clear and spacious with a solid bottom end – qualities that bring out the best in B.B.’s Blues
  • It has taken us years to find clean copies with the right stampers for Lucille, but finally our efforts have paid off with this Hot Stamper copy
  • “Lucille is an album alive and pulsing with a beautifully thick blues soul that is showcased everywhere, from Mr. King’s roaring vocals to the blazing brass in the background.”

Lucille is by far the toughest ’60s B.B. King record to find nowadays in audiophile playing condition. Most copies are just beat, and the ones that aren’t tend to be rare and pricey. The reason for all of the above is simple enough: it’s one of the man’s most consistently enjoyable, best sounding albums. Who can blame people for playing it to death when the music is so good?

Mobile Fidelity remastered the record in the ’90 for their for their consistently awful Anadisq series on Heavy Vinyl, and we used to sell it, albeit somewhat reluctantly. It’s not nearly as bad as most of their catalog from the period, but I would it goes without saying that our Hot Stamper pressing will show you a Lucille that a Heavy Vinyl pressing or Half-Speed can only hint at. (more…)

B.B. King – Blues On Top Of Blues

More B.B. King

Blues On Top Of Blues

xxxxx

  • You’ll find outstanding Double Plus (A++) sound or close to it from first note to last on this 1968 pressing, BB King’s fourteenth studio album
  • This is the album he made right before Lucille, so the man was definitely on a roll and doing some great work in the late ’60s
  • 4 1/2 stars: “Featuring brassy arrangements by Johnny Pate, it presents King’s sound at its fullest without sacrificing any of his grit or sophisticated swing … the material is very strong throughout.”

Watch for more B. B. King albums coming to the site soon. Some of the Bluesway pressings we’ve auditioned recently have had exceptionally big, rich, lively sound, and that’s the way we like to hear our music. There are plenty of dogs in the King canon, especially in the ’70s, so you have to be a bit careful with the man’s recordings, but good titles in the ’60s with excellent sound can still be found if you’re willing to do the work (or you’re willing to let us do it for you). (more…)

Tom Petty – Hard Promises

More Tom Petty

Hard Promises

xxxxx
xxxxx

  • An impressive copy of this 1981 release, with KILLER nearly Triple Plus (A++ to A+++) sound on both sides – exceptionally quiet vinyl too
  • Recorded at Sound City, home to some of the greatest analog sound ever recorded
  • 4 1/2 stars: “…filled with great songwriting, something that’s as difficult to achieve as a distinctive sound… The Waiting became the best-known song on the record, but there’s no discounting A Woman in Love, Nightwatchman, Kings Road, and The Criminal Kind, album tracks that would become fan favorites… it has a tremendous set of songs and a unified sound that makes it one of Petty’s finest records.”

Two stunning sides for one of our favorite Petty records! This one is a huge step up from most, which tend to be bright, thin, edgy, pinched and gritty — radio friendly, maybe, but not especially audiophile friendly.

We hate that sound but we are happy to report that some copies manage to avoid it, and this is one of them. Is that richer, fuller sound the sound of what’s on the master tape or did the mastering engineer “fix” it? We’ll never know, now will we? What we can know is the sound of the pressings we actually have to play, and this one is killer.

Recorded by Shelly Yakus at Sound City, Van Nuys and at Cherokee Studios, Hollywood, CA. (more…)

John Lee Hooker – Never Get Out Of These Blues Alive

More John Lee Hooker

Never Get Out Of These Blues Alive

xxxxx

  • With KILLER Triple Plus (A+++) sound or close to it on both sides, this copy will show you just how insanely big and rich this record can be; super quiet vinyl too!
  • It’s one of the best sounding John Lee Hooker albums we’ve heard – exceptionally well recorded at Wally Heiders’ right here in L.A..  
  • Features a host of “the greats” lending a hand, including Van Morrison, Elvin Bishop, Charlie Musselwhite, and Steve Miller
  • “…this album continues his work with mostly younger musicians and predates similar projects The Healer and Mr. Lucky by about 20 years.”

With STUNNING sound from beginning to end on this pressing, Hooker is in the room with you, as he should be. The sound is big, rich and lively with a huge bottom end, lots of space, wonderful transparency and real immediacy.

You may have noticed that records like this rarely make it to the site. Many don’t sound good, and the ones that do usually have surfaces that most audiophiles would find unacceptable. This is an exceptionally nice copy of we’re glad to say it sounds as good as it looks. (more…)

Tom Petty – Full Moon Fever

More Tom Petty

Full Moon Fever

xxxxx

  • This original UK pressing offers excellent sound throughout with both sides earning solid Double Plus (A++) sonic grades
  • Big, full-bodied, clean, clear and spacious with a huge bottom end and tons of big rock energy!
  • Forget the dry, flat domestic LPs – these UK pressings are the only ones with the Tubey Magical richness the music needs
  • “… the real reason Full Moon Fever became Petty’s biggest hit is that it boasted a selection of songs that rivaled Damn the Torpedoes. Full Moon Fever didn’t have a weak track… [it] might have been meant as an off-the-cuff detour, but it turned into a minor masterpiece.” – All Music, 4 1/2 Stars

*NOTE: On side one a mark makes eight light ticks during the start of track one.

You have not begun to hear how good this record can sound until you play a good import, and this is a very good import indeed. (more…)