Labels We Love – Chrysalis

Blondie – Parallel Lines – Our Four Plus Shootout Winner from 2016

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

Can this kind of music get any better? This album is a MASTERPIECE of Pure Pop, ranking right up there with The Cars first album. I can’t think of many albums from the era with the perfect blend of writing, production and musicianship Blondie achieved with Parallel Lines.

As expected, if you clean and play enough copies of a standard domestic major label album like this one, sooner or later you will stumble upon The One, and boy did we ever. This side two had OFF THE CHARTS with presence, breathy vocals, and punchy drums. It was positively swimming in studio ambience, with every instrument occupying its own space in the mix and surrounded by air. There was not a trace of grain, just the silky sweet highs we’ve come to expect from analog done right.  (more…)

Peter Gabriel Names a Third Record After Himself

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  • An excellent pressing of Peter Gabriel’s third release, with strong Double Plus (A++) grades on both sides
  • A Must Own for Gabriel fans, this album is widely considered his breakthrough work as a solo artist
  • Listen closely and you’ll recognize Phil Collins’ signature drum sound on several of the tracks, including “Intruder”
  • 5 stars: “Generally regarded as Peter Gabriel’s finest record, his third eponymous album finds him coming into his own, crafting an album that’s artier, stronger, more song oriented than before.”

With this, his third release, Gabriel established himself as a true force in the rock world. (more…)

Jethro Tull – Forget the Pink Island Originals

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    • Triple Plus (A+++) on side two and nearly as good on side one – this is one of the best copies to EVER hit the site
    • We haven’t had any copies of this album at all up since 2013, and no White Hot copies since 2008 – it’s that tough to find
    • Guaranteed to MURDER any Pink Label Island original you have ever heard – these are the Hot Stampers
    • Melody Maker thoroughly recommended the album in 1968 for being “full of excitement and emotion” and described the band as a blues ensemble “influenced by jazz music” capable of setting “the audience on fire”. Wikipedia

Folks, this is the best copy we are going to have on the site for a very long time. It took years and hundreds upon hundreds of dollars to get this shootout going and this killer copy is the result. (more…)

Peter Gabriel – This Is Our Favorite of His First Four Releases




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  • A KILLER shootout winning UK copy with Triple Plus (A+++) sound on both sides, on quiet vinyl too
  • The overall sound here is incredibly big and full, with punchy bass and energy that’s off the charts
  • Probably his most consistent recording, with the estimable Robert Fripp on guitar – some of his most innovative mainstream music
  • A 4 1/2 star: “…stunning slices of modern rock circa 1978, bubbling with synths, insistent rhythms, and polished processed guitars, all enclosed in a streamlined production that nevertheless sounds as large as a stadium.”

See all of our Peter Gabriel albums in stock

This is one of our favorite Peter Gabriel albums around here, and may well be the best recording he ever made. The typical copy, though, barely hints at just how good this album can sound. Only the best early British pressings have any hope of sounding this good.

Thankfully the second PG album does not suffer from the digital spit, grit and hash of So and Security. It’s arguably his best recording overall with superb dynamics and a clean, punchy rock sound that perfectly fits the music. Some of the cymbal crashes on the hot copies of this album really CRASH.

This is The Peter Gabriel Rock and Roll Album. To my knowledge he never made another. (more…)

Peter Gabriel – The First Album – Our White Hot Shootout Winner


Our White Hot Shootout Winner for 2018

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  • A stunning sounding copy with shootout winning Triple Plus (A+++) sound from start to finish
  • Killer throughout – bigger, bolder, more bass, more energy and presence, and the list goes on
  • Clearly the hardest of the first five PG records to find with good sound and decent vinyl, which is why these rarely make the site
  • “…much of the record teems with invigorating energy (as on Slowburn, or the orchestral-disco pulse of Down the Dolce Vita), and the closer “Here Comes the Flood” burns with an anthemic intensity that would later become his signature in the ’80s.”

See all of our Peter Gabriel albums in stock

Tubey Magical Richness and breathy vocals are the hallmarks of a good British PG 1.

Unlike any that follow, the sound varies greatly from track to track on the first PG album, as does the music. You know you have a good copy when the best sounding tracks sound their best. That may seem like a tautology but is in fact the only way to judge a side when the songs sound this different from one another.

What to Listen For (WTLF)

On side one the fourth track, Excuse Me, with its barbershop quartet harmonies, has (potentially — it depends on how good your copy is) Demo Disc Quality Sound.

On side two of the best copies Waiting for the Big One will indeed be big, as well as powerful and above all dynamic.

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Robin Black’s Two Engineering Masterpieces

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Thick As A Brick is quite possibly the BEST SOUNDING ALBUM Jethro Tull ever made. It’s dynamic; has really solid, deep punchy bass; transparency and sweetness in the midrange; tubey-magical acoustic guitars and flutes; in other words, the record has EVERYTHING that we go crazy for here at Better Records. I can guarantee you there is no CD on the planet that could ever do this recording justice. The Hot Stamper pressings have a kind of MAGIC that just can’t be captured on one of them there silvery discs.

We play quite a few original British and domestic copies of this record when we do these shootouts and let me tell you, the sound and the music are so good I can’t get enough of it. Until about 2007 this was the undiscovered gem (by me, anyway) in the Tull catalog. The pressings I had heard up until then were nothing special, and of course the average pressing of this album is exactly that: no great shakes. But with the advent of better record cleaning fluids and much better tables, phono stages and the like, some copies of Thick As A Brick have shown themselves to be AMAZINGLY GOOD SOUNDING. Even the All Music Guide could hear how well-engineered it was.

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Maybe the Best Sounding Album Geoff Emerick Ever Recorded

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Bridge of Sighs

We’ve been wandering around in the dark for more than a decade with Bridge of Sighs — that is, until we found a clean early UK Chrysalis pressing. Now we know just how good this album can sound, and that means ASTOUNDINGLY good. Off the top of my head I can’t think of any Geoff Emerick album that sounds as big and clear as this one. The three dimensional space is really something else on the better UK copies.

There is a substantial amount of Tubey Magic and liquidity on the tape, recalling the kind of hi-rez vintage analog sound that makes the luminous A Space in Time such a mind-expanding experience. Recorded a few years earlier, both albums have the kind of High Production Value sound that we go crazy for here at Better Records. You can find many of our favorites in our Rock and Pop Top 100, and if we can find more of this title, it will surely be on the list as well. (more…)