Labels We Love – Capitol

Bonnie Raitt – Luck of the Draw – Our Shootout Winner from 2012

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Luck of the Draw

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

Here’s the first (Super) Hot Stamper copy of Luck Of The Draw to ever hit the site! What took us so long? It’s simple, most copies out there just plain don’t deliver, and for a long time we weren’t sure we’d ever have a copy that would be a clear enough winner over the DCC pressing to merit Hot Stamper status.

Well folks, it may have taken YEARS but we’ve finally found a Hot Copy — this one rates A++ on side one and A+ to A++ on side two. We think you’ll have a very hard time finding a better sounding pressing of this album no matter what you do, and of course we guarantee it will handily beat the pants off the DCC or your money back. (more…)

Nat “King” Cole’s – Love Is The Thing

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Love Is The Thing

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  • A lovely pressing of this audiophile favorite, with Double Plus (A++) sound and fairly quiet vinyl on both sides to rival the best pop vocal recordings we know of
  • Nat himself sounds especially immediate and real, and the strings are much less of a problem here than they are on most pressings
  • If all you know of this album is the weirdly unnatural remix DCC did (on Analogue Productions vinyl too) this pressing will be nothing less than a revelation
  • 4 1/2 stars: “Nat King Cole’s collaborations with Gordon Jenkins rank among the finest from either artist or arranger. 1957’s Love Is the Thing remains the epitome of the pair’s undeniable compatibility, and it topped the album charts for eight weeks.”

Love Is The Thing has always been one of the better Nat “King” Cole recordings we play. The music is sublime, and on the right copy the sound can be superb. Armed with a much larger variety of pressings to play, including some interesting “finds” among them, our recent shootout convinced us that it actually is The Best. We have never heard the man sound better than he does on the best copies of this very recording.

One of the key elements we noticed on the best of the best was the quality of relaxation in Nat’s performance. He sings so effortlessly on the good sounding pressings. On some pressings that casual quality is not nearly as noticeable. (more…)

Lou Rawls – Bring It On Home

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Bring It On Home

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  • This is a great sounding Lou Rawls album, and this copy is guaranteed to knock you out with its Shootout Winning Triple Plus sound 
  • This early Stereo Capitol LP brought Sam Cooke’s most famous songs to life, with the kind of vocal presence and tubey richness that no other copy could offer
  • There are a lot of bad sounding Lou Rawls records out there, but this hidden gem is not one of them – not only is the sound superb, but Lou’s done his old pal Sam proud with wonderfully heartfelt versions of some of his best songs
  • It’s incredibly difficult to find big, bold, lively sound like this for any Lou Rawls title, but here it is!

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George Shearing Quintet – Latin Rendezvous

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Latin Rendezvous

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  • Latin Rendezvous makes its Hot Stamper debut with Shootout Winning Triple Plus (A+++) sound or close to it on both sides – exceptionally quiet vinyl too
  • Clean, clear and dynamic, this copy has huge amounts of bass and tremendous space around the keyboards and percussion
  • A wonderful Latin jazz collection, with the unbeatable combination of the quintet’s “celebrated piano-vibes, liltingly embellished by Latin percussion and occasional flute”
  • “In this collection, you’ll find Latin at its most alluring, as a musical language interpreted by Shearing.”

If you’re a fan of the kind of music Cal Tjader was making in the ’60s, this album should be right up your alley. Plenty of Latin Percussion, with vibes and flutes to add color to the proceedings, all anchored by Shearing on the piano. It’s lounge music but it’s fun lounge music — and it sounds like a very well recorded album from Capitol in 1963 should sound: big and rich.  (more…)

Paul McCartney & Wings – Venus and Mars

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  • Superb sound for this Capitol import pressing with both sides rating a solid Double Plus (A++) — exceptionally quiet vinyl too 
  • The overall sound here is rich, full-bodied and spacious with plenty of bottom end weight
  • A tough nut to crack, this is the first Hot Stamper copy to ever hit the site!
  • Venus and Mars is an interesting mix of musical styles, punctuated by Paul McCartney’s unerring sense of melody and hooky songs.” – Oldies.com

This vintage Capitol import pressing has the kind of Tubey Magical Midrange that modern records can barely 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…)

Nat King Cole – This Is Nat “King” Cole – Our Shootout Winner from 2017

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

The presence and immediacy here of Nat King Cole’s vocals are ’50s Capitol Recording Magic at its best. Set the volume right and Nat is right between your speakers, putting on the performance of a lifetime. The selection of material and the contributions of all involved (Nelson Riddle among them) are hard to fault.

Here it is – only the second Hot Stamper copy of Nat’s classic 1957 release to ever hit the site, and what a pressing it is! It’s taken us a long time to pull together enough clean copies to make the shootout happen. Boy, was it worth all the trouble.

The sound is big, open, rich and full, with loads of Tubey Magic. The highs are extended and silky sweet.

Midrange Magic to Die For

This early Capitol mono LP also has the MIDRANGE MAGIC that’s no doubt missing from the modern reissues. Nat’s voice is sounds so right — not necessarily natural, but correct for the vocal style of the era — you immediately find yourself lost in the music, because there’s really nothing to distract you.

If you’re like me, this copy sounds the way you want it to sound. (more…)

Junior Mance – Get Ready, Set, Jump!!!

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Get Ready, Set, Jump!!!

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  • This outstanding copy of Mance’s 1964 release boasts Shootout Winning Triple Plus (A+++) sound from start to finish
  • Wonderfully big, rich and LIVELY, with boatloads of Tubey Magic and three-dimensional space
  • This vintage stereo pressing boasts exceptionally natural piano sound and the live-in-the-studio energy of a swingin’ group of veteran horn players
  • 4 stars: “Mance is joined by some of the cream of the West Coast studio and jazz players for a session that features Mance doing his blues thing on piano while the band swings at various tempi… resembling somewhat the style of the Count Basie Orchestra.”

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The Band – Moondog Matinee

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

Some great music is to be found here, and quite respectable sound on the “hotter” copies. ’Ain’t Got No Home’ and ’A Change Is Gonna Come’ are two personal favorites of the ten tracks here.

Both sides are tonally balanced from top to bottom, with more energy and space than others. The bass is huge, the brass rich, the all analog sound smooth and natural. It’s no demo disc; it just sounds bigger, clearer, and more right than the other sides we played.

Listen to how Tubey Magical the organ on The Great Pretender sounds. The top extends and the bass is punchy. (more…)

The Beach Boys – Little Deuce Coup (2007)

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

This Capitol reissue LP has STUNNINGLY GOOD SOUND. The Beach Boys’ voices are as clear and as sweet as you could ever wish for. I’d be really surprised if original pressings of this album are even remotely as good sounding. This album sounds like somebody threaded up the master tape and started up the record cutting lathe.

June Christy – The Misty Miss Christy – Our Shootout Winner from 2006

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

This very nice looking Capitol LP has SUPERB SOUND. It’s RICH, SWEET and full of TUBEY MAGIC. It could use a bit more top end but other than that it’s hard to imagine June sounding much better than she does here. (more…)