Labels We Love – Geffen

John Lennon & Yoko Ono – Double Fantasy

More John Lennon

More of The Beatles

  • 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

(more…)

Peter Gabriel / Security

More Peter Gabriel

More Art Rock Records

  • 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…)

Guns N’ Roses – Appetite For Destruction

More Guns N’ Roses

xxxxx

  • 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.”

(more…)

Guns N’ Roses – Use Your Illusion I

More Guns N’ Roses

xxxxx

  • 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…”

(more…)

Was (Not Was) – Born To Laugh At Tornadoes

xxxxx

This is a Very Nice Looking 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…)

Neil Young – Old Ways

More Neil Young

More Country and Country Rock

  • This superb pressing of Old Ways boasts Shootout Winning Triple Plus (A+++) 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 veiled or smeary of course. (more…)

Joni Mitchell / Wild Things Run Fast – A Desert Island Disc

More of the Music of Joni Mitchell

More Albums on the Asylum Label

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:

The First Album (side one only), Blue, Court & Spark and Wild Things Run Fast.

WTRF is a TAS list Super Disc with many good qualities, but you’d never know it from the typical 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. Our Hot Stamper pressings are usually rich and full-bodied with lovely warmth and presence. (more…)

Peter Gabriel / Security – Specific Strengths and Weaknesses

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 from the best. Still, this is 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.

(more…)

Joni Mitchell – Don Juan’s Reckless Daughter

More Joni Mitchell

Reviews and Commentaries for Joni Mitchell

don

  • With four sides that are either White Hot or close to it this copy murdered the competition
  • Rich, full-bodied, smooth, yet open and clear, this is about the best the album can sound 
  • Mastered by Bernie Grundman back when he was still cutting some of the best records around
  • Joni Mitchell meets Weather Report is the best way to describe much of the vibe here

We had trouble finding copies that played consistently quietly on all four sides. This copy has an issue with side four, but the second best sounding side four was noisier, so we feel that this is still the best way to go for the album. (more…)

Neil Young / Old Ways – After The Gold Rush This Ain’t

xxx

I may be stating the obvious here, but After The Gold Rush this ain’t. If you’re looking for a big and bold Neil Young rock record, this is not the one for you. This is Neil heading out to the sticks with friends including Willie Nelson, Waylon Jennings and other authentic country music figures, doing what Neil loves to do — making the music that HE wants to make, not the music that anyone else wants him to. Old friend Ben Keith (a huge part behind the sound of Harvest) shows up with his pedal steel guitar on a couple tracks. (more…)