Labels We Love – Buddah

Brewer & Shipley – Tarkio – Our Four Plus Shootout Winner from 2012

More Brewer and Shipley

More Tarkio

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

This White Hot Stamper side one of our beloved Tarkio, Brewer and Shipley’s Folk Rock Masterpiece, is without a doubt the BEST SOUND we have ever heard on any pressing bar none. This side sets a standard that no other copy on any side could touch. True, we awarded a Triple Plus grade to an amazing side two copy, but this side one is still the better of the two. We could easily have called it Four Pluses but chose to go with the simpler A+++ and this explanation.

However you frame it, this side is OFF THE CHARTS in a big way. It’s amazingly rich, yet clear and transparent as any we played — what a combination!

This, like Dark Side and so many other White Hot Stamper records we offer to the discriminating audiophile, is ANALOG at its finest. To our knowledge there hasn’t been a single record mastered in the last thirty years with this kind of sound, and we know whereof we speak: we’ve played them by the hundreds.

A Desert Island Disc for me with wonderfully NATURAL sound. This copy had the ULTIMATE Side One (A+++) and a very competitive Side Two (A++), making it the King of our Shootout. If you love this record as much as you should, this is the copy to own. I would love to keep it for my desert island, but we know there is surely a deserving soul out there who will treasure it as much as I do, and probably play it a lot more often, so if you know the album at all this is your chance at greatness. (And I still haven’t found a desert island I’m all that partial to anyway.)

Not Really One Toke Over the Line

Please don’t assume that this album has much in the way of uptempo country rockers like One Toke Over the Line, Flying Burrito Brothers style. Nothing could be further from the truth. Practically every other song on the album is better, almost all of them are taken at a slower pace, with none of them having the “poppy” arrangement of that carefully calculated Top Forty hit. The rest of the music on the album, the music you probably don’t know, is much better than the music that you do know if what you know is that song. (more…)

The Blues… A Real Summit Meeting

More B.B. King / More Muddy Waters

The Blues… A Real Summit Meeting

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  • You’ll find outstanding Double Plus (A++) sound or BETTER on all four sides of this wonderful double album collection from 1973 
  • This copy is surprisingly spacious, full-bodied and natural, with a nice extended top end, plenty of space around the instruments and few of the problems that plagued most of the pressings we played
  • Features B.B. King, Muddy Waters, Eddie “Cleanhead” Vinson, Big Mama Thornton, Arthur “Big Boy” Crudup and more
  • Recorded live at Newport in New York, this is an OUTSTANDING blues album

This is an excellent sounding Buddah Brown & Pink Label Double LP. Listen to ’Big Mama’ Thorton’s voice on this record — it sounds like somebody forgot to put a limiter on her mic. It is without a doubt one of the most dynamic vocals I have ever heard on any record in my entire life. You feel like you are sitting front row center.

This record sounds JUST RIGHT to me. It doesn’t sound like there’s anything you could do to it to make it sound better. It’s tonally correct from top to bottom and very transparent. If you want a great introduction to the blues, I can’t think of a better one than this. (more…)

Listening in Depth to Brewer & Shipley – Tarkio

More Brewer and Shipley

Listening in Depth

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This Bay Area Hippie Folk Rock has a lot in common with The Grateful Dead circa Workingman’s Dead and American Beauty (the latter recorded by the same engineer, Stephen Barncard), and like those superbly well-recorded albums, it lives or dies by the reproduction of its acoustic guitars and vocal harmonies.

Analog richness, sweetness and Tubey Magic are elements absolutely indispensable to the sound of these recordings. Without them you might as well be playing a CD. (Some of the reissue pressings actually do sound like CDs and are not part of the shootouts for this album anymore. Who wants a record that sounds like a CD? They may be pressed on vinyl but they’re no less an embarrassment to analog for it. As you can imagine we feel the same way about most of the Heavy Vinyl records being made today. They’re just embarrassing.)
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John Sebastian Songbook – Somebody Sure Got Hold of Some Awfully Good Tapes

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Our Killer Shootout Winner for 2017

Great sound for some the biggest hits of The Lovin’ Spoonful, a band I wouldn’t have expected to hear sound good on vinyl if I lived to be a hundred, and yet, here it is. This is one of the rare cases where, in our experience, the hits compilation sounds BETTER than the original records. Why? Who knows? We don’t pretend to have all the answers. What we do have (that no one else has, if that’s not too obvious) are the records that back up the claims we make for them.

How they came to be that way is anyone’s guess. All we know for sure is that, judging by the best copies of this album, somebody got hold of some awfully good tapes and somebody mastered them with uncanny skill to what sounds to these ears like near perfection. (more…)