Labels We Love – ABC/MCA

Tom Petty – Full Moon Fever

More Tom Petty

  • Full Moon Fever returns to the site on this original UK pressing that boasts a STUNNING Shootout Winning Triple (A+++) side two mated to an excellent Double Plus (A++) side one
  • Big, full-bodied, clean, clear and spacious with a huge bottom end and tons of big rock energy
  • Forget the dry, flat domestic LPs – these UK pressings are the only ones with the Tubey Magical richness the music needs
  • 4 1/2 stars: “.…the real reason Full Moon Fever became Petty’s biggest hit is that it boasted a selection of songs that rivaled Damn the Torpedoes. Full Moon Fever didn’t have a weak track… [it] might have been meant as an off-the-cuff detour, but it turned into a minor masterpiece.”

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Steppenwolf – Self-Titled

More Steppenwolf

More Debut Albums of Interest

  • An outstanding copy of Steppenwolf’s debut with Double Plus (A++) sound or BETTER throughout – we guarantee you have never heard these songs sound remotely as good as they do here (or your money back)
  • Rich, clear and dynamic, this copy has the bass these rockers need – this is undeniably the right sound for this bluesy, hard-chargin’ music
  • Includes killer hits “Born To Be Wild” and “The Pusher,” both featured in the 1969 movie Easy Rider
  • 4 stars: “…a surprisingly strong debut album from a tight hard rock outfit… The playing is about as loud and powerful as anything being put out by a major record label in 1968…”
  • If you’re a fan of the band, this vintage pressing of their 1968 classic belongs in your collection
  • The complete list of titles from 1968 that we’ve reviewed to date can be found here.
  • And it appears to be the case that we will never tire of linking to this guy who liked one of the worst sounding audiophile records we have ever played, made by probably the worst audiophile label of all time, Analogue Productions

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Listening in Depth to Aja (Includes Free Cisco Debunking Tool)

More of the Music of Steely Dan

Reviews and Commentaries for Aja

Another in our series of Home Audio Exercises with specific advice on What to Listen For (WTLF) as you critically evaluate your copy of Aja.

Our track commentary for the song Home at Last makes it easy to spot an obvious problem with Cisco’s remastered Aja: This is the toughest song to get right on side two.

Nine out of ten copies have grainy, irritating vocals; the deep bass is often missing too. Home at Last can sometimes be just plain unpleasant, which is why it’s such a great test track.

Get this one right and it’s pretty much smooth sailing from there on out.

If you own the Cisco pressing, focus on Victor Feldman’s piano at the beginning of the song. It lacks body, weight and ambience on the new pressing, but any of our better Hot Stamper copies will show you a piano with those qualities in spades on every track. It’s some of my favorite work by the Steely Dan vibesman.

The thin piano on the Cisco release must be recognized for what it is: a major error on the part of the mastering engineers.

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Lynyrd Skynyrd – Street Survivors

More Lynyrd Skynyrd

More Southern Rock

  • An outstanding copy of the band’ fifth studio album with solid Double Plus (A++) sound from first note to last
  • Forget whatever dead-on-arrival Heavy Vinyl record they’re making these days – if you want to hear the Tubey Magic, size and Southern Rock Energy of this surprisingly well recorded album from 1977, this is only the way to go
  • 4 1/2 stars: “… it’s a hell of an album. The band springs back to life with the addition of guitarist Steve Gaines, and Van Zant used the time off the road to write a strong set of songs… If the original band was fated to leave after this record, at least they left with a record that serves as a testament to Skynyrd’s unique greatness.”
  • If you’re a Southern Rock fan, this undeniable classic from 1977 is surely a Must Own
  • The complete list of titles from 1977 that we’ve reviewed to date can be found here

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Lynyrd Skynyrd – Pronounced ‘Lĕh-‘nérd ‘Skin-‘nérd

More Lynyrd Skynyrd

More Southern Rock

  • Lynyrd Skynyrd’s debut LP returns on this vintage MCA pressing with seriously good Double Plus (A++) sound from start to finish
  • Both sides are big, full-bodied and spacious, with a punchy bottom end and plenty of Southern Rock energy
  • It’s the rare copy that’s this lively, solid and rich – drop the needle on any track and you’ll see what we mean, and if that track is Free Bird, so much the better!
  • 5 stars: “The Allman Brothers came first, but Lynyrd Skynyrd epitomized Southern rock… Produced by Al Kooper, there are few records that sound this raw and uncompromising, especially records by debut bands… the band rocks like a motherf*cker. It’s the birth of a great band that birthed an entire genre with this album.”

This vintage original Sounds of the South/MCA yellow label 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…)

Jim Croce – Life and Times

More Jim Croce

More Singer-Songwriter Albums

  • This copy of Croce’s superb 4th studio album boasts superb sound from start to finish
  • We guarantee there is dramatically more space, richness, and vocal presence on this copy than others you’ve heard
  • “Released at the height of the singer-songwriter era, Life And Times put Jim Croce up there with the best of them. Containing the upbeat top forty songs such as “One Less Set Of Footsteps” and “Bad Bad Leroy Brown” along with such ballads as “These Dreams,” and “Alabama Rain.” High rollicking fun for anyone who likes enjoyable music.”

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Steely Dan – Aja

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Reviews and Commentaries for Aja

  • Presenting a STUNNING copy of Steely Dan’s magnificent Jazzy Pop breakthrough album
  • Punchy, full and smooth, with the kind of rhythmic energy that brings out the jazzy funk in the music
  • A Better Records Rock and Pop Top 100 album and a true Demo Disc on an exceptional pressing like this
  • 4 1/2 stars: “With Aja, Walter Becker and Donald Fagen’s obsession with sonic detail and fascination with composition reached new heights. A coolly textured and immaculately produced collection of sophisticated jazz-rock, Aja has none of the overt cynicism or self-consciously challenging music that distinguished previous Steely Dan records … a shining example of jazz-rock at its finest. “

Folks, there’s not much I can tell you about this copy of Aja that’s going to make you want this record, other than to say this: If you’re in the market for a superb pressing of what’s gotta be the most beloved Steely Dan record they made, look no further. It’s right here. (more…)

Jimmy Witherspoon – Handbags and Gladrags

More Jimmy Witherspoon

  • An outstanding copy with Shootout Winning Triple Plus (A+++) sound or very close to it from start to finish
  • Both sides here are super big, rich and lively with tons of extension on both ends
  • Exceptionally quiet vinyl throughout with both sides playing Mint Minus to Mint Minus Minus

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Ray Charles – Have a Smile With Me

More of the Music of Ray Charles

More Soul, Blues, and Rhythm and Blues

  • Have A Smile With Me returns to the site after more than a year with superb Shootout Winning Triple Plus (A+++) sound on side two mated to an excellent sounding Double Plus (A++) side one
  • The richness in Ray’s vocals and the wonderfully Tubey Magical sound overall makes this killer copy especially impressive
  • It’s not easy to find a Ray Charles stereo pressing from the Sixties that plays this quietly, but marks in the vinyl are the nature of the beast with these early LPs – there simply is no way around them if the superior sound of vintage analog is important to you
  • “…[Charles] elevates the material with soulful vocals and good arrangements, particularly when the Raeletts back him up (as they do on half the tracks).”

We search high and low for Ray’s records and have played them by the score over the years. We hope to keep a good supply on to the site in the coming years, so keep a close eye on the New Arrivals section.

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Lynyrd Skynyrd – Second Helping

More Lynyrd Skynyrd

More Rock Classics

  • This original Sounds Of The South pressing offers outstanding Double Plus (A++) sound from start to finish
  • We guarantee there is dramatically more space, richness, vocal presence, and performance energy on this copy than others you’ve heard, and that’s especially true if you made the mistake of buying whatever Heavy Vinyl pressing is currently on the market
  • A tough nut to crack – most copies are in horrible shape, which is why so few have ever hit the site
  • We lucked out with this one though – reasonably quiet surfaces and top quality sound all rolled up i one fabulous vintage vinyl LP
  • 5 stars: “… the group turned out a record that replicated all the strengths of the original, but was a little tighter and a little more professional… they were a great band, but they were indelible because that was married to great writing. And nowhere was that more evident than on Second Helping.”

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