Labels We Love – Geffen

Wild Things Run Fast – A Personal Favorite

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Hot Stamper Pressings of Personal Favorites Available Now

One of our favorite Joni Mitchell albums. A Desert Island disc for me & one of the few good reasons to listen to new music in the ’80s. 

My personal Must Own Joni Mitchell list includes:

  1. 1968 Song to a Seagull
  2. 1971 Blue
  3. 1974 Court and Spark
  4. 1982 Wild Things Run Fast

WTRF is a TAS list Super Disc with many good qualities, but you’d never know it from the typically lean, bass-shy pressing you might find on your turntable.

Also, since this record can be a little cold sounding — it’s a modern recording after all, and 1982 is sadly nothing like 1972  — filling it out and warming it up is just what the doctor ordered.

John Golden (JG) mastered the originals. The best of them prove that he did a great job at least some of the time. (To find “the best of them,” aka Hot Stampers, read on.)

You can count on the fact that our Hot Stamper pressings will be unusually rich and full-bodied, with lovely warmth and presence. (more…)

Joni Mitchell – Wild Things Run Fast

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  • This copy has Joni rockin’ like you will not believe, with stunning Nearly Triple Plus (A++ to A+++) grades on both sides – just shy of our Shootout Winner
  • Her last great record – fortunately for us audiophiles, it’s spacious, open and powerful with present vocals and solid bass
  • “On her first new studio album of original material in five years, Joni Mitchell achieved more of a balance between her pop abilities and her jazz aspirations, meanwhile rediscovering a more direct, emotional lyric approach. The result was her best album since the mid-’70s.”

Wild Things Run Fast checks off a number of boxes for us here at Better Records:

Both sides are lively, dynamic, and tonally Right On The Money. The vocal clarity is excellent, allowing you to appreciate every last nuance of Joni’s performance. The bottom end is wonderful with punchy drums and lots of deep bass. The overall sound is smooth, sweet, rich, and full-bodied with a lovely, silky top end.

Wild Things Run Fast is a TAS list Super Disc with many good qualities, but you’d never know it from the typically lean, bass-shy pressing. Since this record can be a little cold sounding — it’s a modern recording after all — filling it out and warming it up a little is just what the doctor ordered.

Another Masterpiece?

I absolutely love the album. I think it’s one of Joni’s best, one of her many masterpieces if I may be so bold. One is only supposed to be allotted one masterpiece, but considering all the stylistic changes she’s been through, Joni has clearly earned the right to have as many as she likes. I count at least three so far and perhaps there will be more coming down the road, although I very much doubt it.


Peter Gabriel / Security

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  • One of the most important records in the Peter Gabriel canon, original and influential on so many levels
  • With the benefit of today’s technology, on a copy this good you hear into the soundfield in a way never possible before, picking out all the drummers and counting all the layers of multi-tracked choruses
  • “Security remains a powerful listen, one of the better records in Gabriel’s catalog, proving that he is becoming a master of tone, style, and substance…”
  • If you’re a Peter Gabriel fan, and what audiophile wouldn’t be?, this title from 1982 is surely a Must Own
  • The complete list of titles from 1982 that we’ve reviewed to date can be found here.
  • We’ve recently compiled a list of records we think every audiophile should get to know better, along the lines of “the 1001 records you need to hear before you die,” but with less of an accent on morbidity and more on the joy these amazing audiophile-quality recordings can bring to your life. Security is a good example of a record most audiophiles don’t know well but should.

Man, does this album sound better than I remember it from back in the ’80s when I first played it. Stereos have come a long way since then, along with a host of other things that help records sound better, such as cleaning fluids, room treatments and all the rest.

Now you can really hear INTO the soundfield in a way that simply was never possible before, picking out all the drummers and counting all the layers of PG’s multi-tracked choruses.

On the best pressings, both sides are huge, and the music jumps out of the speakers. The balance is perfection. (more…)

Neil Young – Old Ways

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  • This superb pressing of Old Ways boasts superb sound from start to finish
  • Big, full-bodied and energetic, with wonderfully present vocals – shocking for a recording from 1985
  • Neil’s unabashed country album is guaranteed to make your MoFI pressing sound like the bad joke it was in ’96
  • “… this turns out to be his most carefully crafted album since Comes a Time… Pretty amazing.” – Rolling Stone
  • “Old Ways [is]…cut in the style of Harvest and Comes a Time, but with a stronger country leaning. Young depends heavily on friends, especially for vocals – Waylon Jennings sings harmony…

This is Neil heading out to the sticks with his buddies, authentic country greats such as Willie Nelson, Waylon Jennings and others (nice friends to have), doing what Neil loves to do — making the music that HE wants to make, not the music that anyone else wants him to, including David Geffen and his lawyers. Old friend Ben Keith (a huge part behind the sound of Harvest) shows up with his pedal steel guitar on a couple of tracks.

This probably wasn’t anyone’s favorite Neil Young album, but when it sounds like it does here it sure makes a lot more sense than it did when we heard it on the more mediocre pressings. The MoFi is a muckfest, as was to be expected from a record mastered during the Anadisq era, the darkest chapter in the dark and disgraceful history of Mobile Fidelity.

Copies with rich lower mids and nice extension up top (to keep the string arrangements from becoming shrill) did the best in our shootout, assuming they weren’t too veiled or smeary, of course. (more…)

Rickie Lee Jones – Pop Pop

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  • This import pressing is rich, smooth, sweet, full of ambience, dead on correct tonality, and wonderfully breathy vocals – everything that we listen for in a great record is here
  • If you like the sound of her first album, you are going to love Pop Pop
  • This album was only available on import vinyl in 1991, and only for a short time, which is why they are so hard to find (and expensive when you do find them)
  • I was importing these back in the day, and they never played any quieter than Mint Minus Minus – the vinyl of the day was just not that quiet, and they often showed up here in the states with scratches from grit inside the inner sleeve if you can believe that!
  • “Rickie Lee Jones cradles each of these songs with her pleading, gentle voice, backing them with subtle orchestration courtesy of notable performers including Robben Ford, Joe Henderson, and Charlie Haden.”


John Lennon & Yoko Ono – Double Fantasy

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  • This vintage pressing has the MIDRANGE MAGIC that’s surely missing from whatever 180g reissue has been made from the 40+ year old tapes (or, to be clear, a modern digital master copied from those tapes)
  • “John returned in the last days of 1980 with Yoko Ono at his side and a deeper understanding of life and all its complexities… The music of Double Fantasy is a testament to a man who’d conquered his demons and had the love of a good woman to carry him through, and some of it is beyond words and cannot be explained.” 
  • If you’re a John Lennon fan, this title from 1980 is surely a Must Own


Guns N’ Roses – Appetite For Destruction

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  • A KILLER copy of band’s debut with Shootout Winning Triple Plus (A+++) sound or very close to it on both sides – exceptionally quiet vinyl too
  • Hard rockin’ energy to spare, the kind you will be hard-pressed to find on any modern Heavy Vinyl reissue these days – Appetite for Destruction is big and bold and simply amazing here
  • Turn this one up – on a pressing this good, the louder you play it, the better it sounds
  • 5 stars: “. . . as good as Rose’s lyrics and screeching vocals are, they wouldn’t be nearly as effective without the twin-guitar interplay of Slash and Izzy Stradlin, who spit out riffs and solos better than any band since the Rolling Stones, and that’s what makes Appetite for Destruction the best metal record of the late ’80s.”


Guns N’ Roses – Use Your Illusion I

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  • This killer double album finally makes its Hot Stamper debut with outstanding Double Plus (A++) sound on all FOUR sides
  • The sound is big, lively and clear, with a healthy dose of the all important Tubey Magical richness that only the best vintage pressings can show you
  • So hard to find these days – where did they go?
  • 4 1/2 stars on Allmusic, and Rolling Stone called it “a titanic mix of gritty ragers, passionate rock-opera ballads and decadent screeds…”


Was (Not Was) – Born To Laugh At Tornadoes

This is an Original Geffen Promo LP of one of my favorite wacked out records! I’ve never heard anything like it. Every song sports a unique arrangement and almost all of them have different vocalists, including a magical performance by Mel Torme.

If you like offbeat records, this is one you might get a kick out of.

“The Was brothers provide a strange bunch of songs with irresistible dance beats, plus an array of guest singers that is, well, unusual to say the least: Mitch Ryder, Doug Fieger (of The Knack), Ozzy Osbourne, and, on the ballad “Zaz Turned Blue,” Mel Tormé.” — AMG (more…)

Peter Gabriel / Security – Specific Strengths and Weaknesses

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Reviews and Commentaries for the Music of Peter Gabriel

This copy on side one has right on the money tonality from top to bottom, with big drums and smooth, silky voices in the choruses. We took it down from our top grade because it lacked a little of the top end extension we heard on other copies.

Side two is even better at A++ to A+++, with everything going for it. We heard one copy with better transient information, so we docked it half a plus off our top grade.

Still, this turned out to be our best overall copy.

The Music

This is one of the most important records in the Peter Gabriel canon, groundbreaking and influential on so many levels. The entire album is a wonderful journey; anyone with a pop-prog bend will enjoy the ride. Just turn the volume up good and loud, turn off your mind, relax and float along with PG and the boys. You’re in good hands.

I take exception to the AMG review referring to the album as mood music. These are fully developed songs, any one of which would stand up well on its own against others in the PG canon. The more you listen to the album the more you will appreciate that every track here is at least good while many of them are nothing short of brilliant.