Labels We Love – Capitol

Linda Ronstadt – Silk Purse – Reviewed in 2010

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

We played several copies of this album, and while it’s no demo disc by any means, this copy was far and away the best sounding of the group. We can’t quite bring ourselves to call it a Hot Stamper. Technically of course it is — it’s a pressing that’s superior to all the others we’ve played — but as the recording itself has some serious shortcomings we’ll just call it a Pretty Good Stamper. (more…)

The Knack – Get The Knack – Our Shootout Winner from 2009

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

This Monster Power Pop Debut by the Knack is an AMAZINGLY well-recorded album, with the kind of Wall to Wall Big Beat Live Rock Sound that rivals Back in Black and Nevermind — if you’re lucky enough to have a copy that sounds like this one! (If you’re not then it doesn’t.)

Side two here has White Hot Stamper sound, and let me be clear: this is a Rock Demo Disc that is very likely to lay waste to whatever rock demo disc you currently treasure. My Sharona is simply OUT OF THIS WORLD here. You just can’t record drums and bass any better!

And let’s not forget the song Lucinda on this side. It’s got exactly the same incredibly meaty, grungy, ballsy sound that Back in Black does, but it managed to do it in 1979, a year earlier!

Mike Chapman produced this album and he is a recording GENIUS. How much better could it get you ask? The answer is: None more better. (more…)

Richard Thompson – Action Packed: The Best of the Capitol Years – Reviewed in 2001

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

Another top outing on TWO clear vinyl LP’s from the master of modern electric folk music. It doesn’t get any better than this.

The sound is excellent and the music is some of the best Richard Thompson has ever made. If I had to choose one later Richard Thompson album, this would probably be it.

Almost every one of these is very slightly dished, but this should not have any effect on the sound, which is excellent. Thompson’s lovely duet with his son on Persuasion is worth the price of the album.

The Beach Boys – In Concert

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In Concert

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  • Wonderful Double Plus (A++) sound on all four sides – this is only the second copy to ever hit the site, and it’s a good one!
  • Fairly quiet on the fourth side – Mint Minus to Mint Minus Minus – the other three sides plays Mint Minus Minus
  • “Beach Boys in Concert was the final live album to be issued — excluding archival vault releases — capturing the seminal American combo as a viable, hard-working rock & roll band with timeless material instead of the parody that Mike Love so perfectly embodied during their final years. This is the way the Beach Boys deserve to be remembered.” – 4 Stars

We’ve raved about a number of live albums over the years. Some of the better sounding ones that come readily to mind (in alphabetical order) are Belafonte at Carnegie Hall, David Live, Johnny Cash At San Quentin, Donny Hathaway Live, The Jimi Hendrix Concerts, Performance – Rockin The Fillmore, Live Wire – Blues Power, Waiting For Columbus, Get Your Ya-Ya’s Out and Live at Leeds. I would be proud to have any of them in my collection.

The Beach Boys In Concert is unlikely to join that rarefied list, but the better copies are clearly giving us a picture of the band pleasing their fans in the early ’70s, right here in the good old U.S. of A. (more…)

June Christy – This Is June Christy

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This wonderful recording from 1958 is a distinguished member of the Better Records Rock and Pop Hall of Fame.

It’s very rare that a Shootout Winning copy of a June Christy album from the late ’50s would have vinyl this quiet. Can’t recall the last time that happened, or if it ever has.

Both sides of this ’50s All Tube Recorded and Mastered record are just as rich and relaxed as you would expect. The balance is correct, which means the top is there as well as the bottom, with good vocal presence throughout. (more…)

Miles Davis – Birth of the Cool

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

Birth Of The Cool in White Hot Stamper form! We’ve been trying to find copies of this classic music from 1949-1950 that really delivered in an audiophile sense, but as you might imagine it was one tough task. We checked out Mono and Stereo copies, Originals and Reissues… basically anything we could get our hands on. It wasn’t easy and it wasn’t cheap, but we managed to find a pressing here that delivers excellent sound throughout. (more…)

Paganini / Concerto No. 1 / Rabin / Goossens – Reviewed in 2011

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Concerto No. 1 / Rabin / Goossens

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A distinguished member of the Better Records Orchestral Music Hall of Fame

This is a rare and very nice looking Capitol LP with Very Little Sign of Play (VLSOP). The violin sounds rich and sweet, although the orchestral sound is a bit old school. (more…)

Frank Sinatra – Point of No Return

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  • This vintage stereo pressing of Sinatra’s 1962 release boasts outstanding Double Plus (A++) sound from first note to last
  • Both sides are big and full, with a nice extended top end and wonderfully present vocals
  • About as quiet as they come — Mint Minus Minus on both sides (with two issues, noted below)
  • “… someone persuaded the singer to make the album a special occasion by reuniting with Axel Stordahl, the arranger/conductor who helped Sinatra rise to stardom in the ’40s. Sinatra would never sing these standards with such detailed, ornate orchestrations, and, as such, the album has a feeling of an elegy.”

Check out the AMG review for the story behind the album, which teams Frank up with his former collaborator Axel Stordahl, who arranged and conducted the album. The results are wonderful.

We love doing the work that it takes to find Sinatra albums from his prime recording days that actually sound the way we want them to — lively and fun. This means slogging through lots of bad pressings in order to find gems like this one. But hey, that’s what we do. We love it when a record with music this good can be found with sound like this.

Believe me, these Capitol pressings don’t usually sound like this. From the very first notes you hear Billy May’s colorful arrangments come to life in a way you are very unlikely to have heard before. (more…)

Frank Sinatra – Come Dance With Me – Our Shootout Winner from 2015

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Come Dance With Me

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

Get ready to swing with the Chairman of the Board on this incredible White Hot Stamper pressing of this classic album from 1959! This is one of the more fun Sinatra albums we’ve had the pleasure of playing around here, and this is a copy that delivers BIG TIME. Billy May and his orchestra back Frank with wonderful arrangements here, and a copy like this lets you appreciate everyone’s hard work. The brass blasts on side two are to die for!

It’s tough to find good sounding copies of almost any Sinatra album, finding amazing copies of his most classic albums like this one with reasonably quiet surfaces is a ridiculously tough task. Even for us, the guys who do nothing but search for and audition records all day every day! So we were thrilled to play a copy like this one that did just what we wanted from music like this.

This pressing did it all — and on both sides — with incredible energy and exceptional immediacy. The brass blasts are OUT OF THIS WORLD. If you never thought you’d hear a Sinatra record sound as powerful as the man himself came across — this is the pressing that you’ve been looking for. Most copies were either smeary or edgy, but this one was wonderfully smooth with impressive clarity (more…)

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…)