Labels We Love – RSO

Bee Gees – Spirits Having Flown – Our Shootout Winner from 2012

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

We sat down with a big stack of pressings recently and only found a few that really had their mojo workin’. This copy was one of the best we heard, earning an A+++ grade on side one — where the best songs are found — and performing quite well on side two also (A+ to A++). The energy factor is off the charts on side one, and that’s exactly what this music needs to really come to life. You are going to be surprised how rich and full-bodied this album can sound when you have a great copy like this.

Variety is the spice of life, and since we can’t play Neil Young records every week we decided to take this disco classic for a spin. We were very impressed with the better pressings, but most copies we played bored us to tears. Most copies are just too thin and dry to take seriously, and even the richer and fuller ones usually lacked too much in the way of life or immediacy. (more…)

Bee Gees et al. – Saturday Night Fever

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  • Double Plus (A++) sound, or close to it, on all four of these outstanding sides
  • There’s real Bee Gees vocal magic here – exceptionally quiet vinyl too
  • Stayin’ Alive, How Deep Is Your Love, More Than a Woman, Jive Talkin’, and even A Fifth of Beethoven all sound great
  • It’s no walk in the park to find a copy with sound this good and exceptionally quiet vinyl, but here it is
  • 5 stars: “Saturday Night Fever is virtually indispensable as a Bee Gees album, not just for the presence of an array of songs that were hits in their own right but because it offered the Gibb brothers as composers as well as artists…”

This copy of the Saturday Night Fever Soundtrack has wonderful sound throughout, and that ain’t no jive talkin’! We collected a bunch of these and after putting them through the shootout process we were delighted to find out that some of the material on here can sound amazingly good on the best pressings.

Like any compilation, some songs are going to sound better than others. The good news here is that most of the tracks you’d hope to be impressive actually are: Stayin’ Alive, How Deep Is Your Love and Disco Inferno are among the better sounding songs on the album, and there are plenty more where those came from. (more…)

Eric Clapton – E.C. Was Here

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E.C. Was Here

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  • Superb sound for this UK import pressing with both sides earning Nearly Triple Plus (A++ to A+++) grades, which means that this LP had some of the best sound for the album we heard in our shootout all day
  • Forget the dubby domestic pressings – here is the energy, the dynamic power, the low end whomp, and the Clapton-live-in-your-listening-room presence you’ve never experienced on the album before, guaranteed
  • “E.C. Was Here makes it clear that Clapton was and always would be a blues man. The opening cut, “Have You Ever Loved a Woman,” clearly illustrates this, and underlines the fact that Clapton had a firm grasp on his blues guitar ability, with some sterling, emotionally charged and sustained lines and riffs… [the album] remains an excellent document of the period.”

*NOTE: A mark makes 3 moderate pops at the beginning of track 2, Presence of the Lord.

These Nearly White Hot Stamper pressings have top quality sound that’s often surprisingly close to our White Hots, but they sell at substantial discounts to our Shootout Winners, making them a relative bargain in the world of Hot Stampers (“relative” being relative considering the prices we charge). We feel you get what you pay for here at Better Records, and if ever you don’t agree, please feel free to return the record for a full refund, no questions asked.

Two Very Special Tracks

Check out Clapton’s superb arrangements and performances of two of the best songs from his short-lived Blind Faith period: Presence of the Lord and Can’t Find My Way Home. They’re two of the highpoints on an album filled with good material that does not seem to get the credit it is due. I bought this album when it came out in 1975 and never really got into it. Of course I had an inferior domestic pressing and a stereo that couldn’t have done the album justice anyway, but in my defense I would have to say that there really wasn’t any such stereo system on the face of the earth; we still had a long way to go. (more…)

Eric Clapton – 461 Ocean Boulevard – Our Shootout Winner from 2012

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

AN AMAZING A+++ SIDE ONE backed with an EXCELLENT A++ SIDE TWO! This is the best sounding pressing of this album to ever hit our site. It is insanely tough to find copies that aren’t murky, overly smooth and/or lifeless, but after years of struggling with this title we finally landed a big one.

If you’re a fan of this music and want to hear it come to life, this copy can do it!

Side One

A+++, As Good As It Gets (AGAIG)! Big, lively and present, this is a far cry from the typical dull, dead copy. The soundfield is deep and transparent, and all the instruments are textured and detailed. It’s hard to imagine this music sounding any better than this! (more…)

Eric Clapton – There’s One In Every Crowd

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There’s One In Every Crowd

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

Clapton’s third solo studio album returns to the site for the first time in almost a year, with outstanding Double Plus (A++) sound from start to finish. Balanced, musical and full throughout – this pressing is a big step up from many of the other copies we played. The sound and music here are very similar to 461 Ocean Boulevard, so if you’re a fan of that title, you’ll find much to like here.  (more…)

Eric Clapton – Just One Night

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Just One Night

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  • One of the best copies to ever hit the site: Triple Plus (A+++) sound or very close to it on ALL FOUR sides – exceptionally quiet vinyl too! 
  • This one is doing everything right– it’s bigger, bolder, richer and more clean, clear and open than anything else we played
  • Sure to be the best live Clapton sound you’ll hear on vinyl — and the music is wonderful as well
  • 4 1/2 stars: “The most notable difference between Just One Night and Clapton’s other live albums is his backing band. Led by guitarist Albert Lee, the group is a collective of accomplished professionals who have managed to keep some grit in their playing. They help push Clapton along, forcing him to spit out crackling solos throughout the album.”

With so many bad sounding Clapton albums from the mid- to late ’70s out there in the bins, it’s refreshing to hear this material sounding lively and clear for a change. The performances seem to hold up as well. If you like the “Tulsa Time” era, this record is going to be hard to beat. (more…)

Eric Clapton – Another Ticket

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  • With two seriously good Double Plus (A++) sides, this was one of the better copies we played in our recent shootout
  • Both sides here are clean, clear and super spacious with a punchy bottom end and lots of big rock energy
  • Exceptionally quiet vinyl throughout with both sides playing Mint Minus to Mint Minus Minus
  • “The first and last Clapton studio album to feature his all-British band of the early ’80s, it gave considerable prominence to second guitarist Albert Lee and especially to keyboard player/singer Gary Brooker (formerly leader of Procol Harum), and they gave it more of a blues-rock feel than the country-funk brewed up by the Tulsa shuffle crew Clapton had used throughout the 1970s.”

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Eric Clapton – Backless

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  • One of the better sounding copies to hit the site in a while – this British original earned Double Plus (A++) grades on both sides
  • Rich, smooth, clear sound throughout – listen to the grungy guitars on Walk Out In The Rain – that’s the way they should sound all right
  • Clapton comes to life on the traditional blues Early In The Morning – it also has the best sound on the album
  • “Backless is a seductive record, if you’re attracted to the interplay of Clapton’s dolorous voice and Marcy Levy’s raspy backup vocals, George Terry’s slide guitar and Glyn Johns’ pristine production.” Rolling Stone

The true test for side two was the second track, the old blues song Early In The Morning. It’s by far the best sounding track on the album, with huge space, rich bass, a fat snare and Tubey Magic to die for. This is the kind of sound that only the likes of Glyn Johns can get down on tape, live in the studio no doubt, and it made it easy to do the shootout for side two. The bigger, the richer, the tubier, the more transparent the better. It’s THE track to demo with.  (more…)

Eric Clapton’s 461 Ocean Boulevard – Stick with the UK Pressings

 


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  • One of the best copies to eve hit the site with an amazing Triple Plus (A+++) side one and and excellent Double Plus (A++) side two
  • Big and full-bodied with wonderfully breathy vocals, tons of energy and none of the smear that plagues so many copies
  • As good as the best domestic pressings can be, these early British LPs seem to capture more of the 461 magic
  • “…the pop concessions on the album don’t detract from the rootsy origins of the material, whether it’s Johnny Otis’ “Willie and the Hand Jive,” the traditional blues “Motherless Children,” Bob Marley’s “I Shot the Sheriff,” or Clapton’s emotional original “Let It Grow.” ” – All Music

See all of our Clapton, Bluesbreakers, Cream, Blind Faith and Derek and the Dominoes albums in stock

It is insanely tough to find copies that aren’t murky, overly smooth and/or lifeless. If you’re a fan of this music and want to hear it come to life, this pressing should be just the ticket.

This album has some of Clapton’s best material, including Motherless Children and the famous cover of Bob Marley’s I Shot The Sheriff.

Tom Dowd recorded this album at Criteria in Miami, which is where Layla was recorded. I’d say the sound here is substantially better than what you get on that album, for the most part. Even when you find a great pressing of Layla, it’s still pretty much a diamond in the rough, but the sound on this album is consistently good — smooth, rich and natural. (more…)