Labels We Love – Mercury (Non-Classical)

Rod Stewart – Never A Dull Moment

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More British Blues Rock

  • You’ll find excellent Double Plus (A++) sound on both sides of this early Mercury pressing of Stewart’s fourth solo album
  • Extremely well-recorded, full of great songs – Rod Stewart was on top of the world when he followed up the brilliant Every Picture Tells A Story with this album in 1972
  • The music comes alive on this vintage domestic pressing (the only ones that have the potential for Hot Stampers in our experience), assuming you have your volume up good and loud
  • Marks in the vinyl are sometimes the nature of the beast with these Classic Rock records – there simply is no way around them if the superior sound of vintage analog is important to you
  • 5 stars in AMG, and simply “… a masterful record … He never got quite this good ever again.”

Listen to the percussion on Angel — you can really hear all the transients and the sound of the drum skins. The meaty guitar in the left channel sounds mind-blowingly good. The bass is deep and well-defined, and the sound of the drums is awesome in every way. Who has a better drum sound than Rod Stewart on his two best albums?

Along with Every Picture Tells A Story this is one of the two Must Own Rod Stewart albums. Practically every song here is a classic, with not a dog in the bunch. Rod Stewart did what few artists have ever managed to do: release his two best albums back to back.

And this Hot Stamper, not to overstate the obvious, is clearly the way to hear it. (more…)

10cc / Sheet Music – Their Brilliant Second Album

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More Art Rock

  • This original UK import pressing of Sheet Music boasts outstanding Double Plus (A++) sound from top to bottom – exceptionally quiet vinyl too
  • Rich, full-bodied, with sound that just jumps out of the speakers, this is a Truly Amazing Demo Disc on the order of Crime of the Century or Dark Side of the Moon
  • If you don’t know 10cc’s music well, this is probably the best place to start – you just might find yourself as big a fan as we are here at Better Records
  • Bassist Graham Gouldman calls it “the definitive 10cc album” and he’s probably right about that (although we love The Original Soundtrack that came out a year later)
  • “Three hit singles spun off the record, and most of the other tracks could have followed suit; it says much for Sheet Music’s staying power that, no matter how many times the album is reissued, it has never lost its power to delight, excite, and set alight a lousy day.”
  • 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,” with an accent on the joy these amazing audiophile-quality recordings can bring to your life. Sheet Music is a good example of a record many audiophiles may not know well but would be well advised to get to know better.

Sheet Music is, in our opinion, the most consistently well-written and produced 10cc album, with every track performed with heart and recorded with exquisite attention to detail. Each song flows into the next and there is simply not a dull moment to be found. Sheet Music is arguably the best record they ever made, although I’m such a fan, I think they’re all great. (The first five albums anyway.)

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Sarah Vaughan – Sings George Gershwin, Volume One

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  • Sarah Vaughan’s 1957 release returns to the site for only the second time with excellent Double Plus (A++) sound throughout this early Black Label Mercury stereo pressing
  • This copy has more richness, space, clarity, dynamics and, most especially, vocal intimacy than most of what we played
  • Hard to imagine we would ever run into a quieter copy than this one – Mint Minus Minus with no marks that play and no groove damage makes this a very special copy indeed
  • Hal Mooney brilliantly handles the arrangements, letting Sarah stretch and bend Gershwin’s notes to her heart’s content

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New York Dolls – Too Much Too Soon

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More 5 Star Albums

  • The New York Dolls ROCK onto the site for the first time with KILLER Nearly Triple Plus (A++ to A+++) sound throughout, just shy of our Shootout Winner – exceptionally quiet vinyl too
  • These sides have plenty going on down low, real meat on the bones, and tons of life and energy in the grooves – pretty much everything that the average copy was missing to some degree
  • Marks in the vinyl are sometimes the nature of the beast with these early pressings – there simply is no way around them if the superior sound of vintage analog is important to you
  • 5 stars: “After the clatter of their first album failed to bring them a wide audience, the New York Dolls hired producer Shadow Morton to work on the follow-up, Too Much Too Soon. The differences are apparent right from the start of the ferocious opener, “Babylon.” Not only are the guitars cleaner, but the mix is dominated by waves of studio sound effects and female backing vocals. Ironically, instead of making the Dolls sound safer, all the added frills emphasize their gleeful sleaziness and reckless sound.”

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Rush – A Farewell To Kings

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  • This outstanding pressing boasts solid Double Plus (A++) sound or close to it on both sides
  • We guarantee there is dramatically more richness, fullness and presence on this copy than anything else around, and that’s especially true for whatever godawful Heavy Vinyl pressing is currently being foisted on an unsuspecting record buying public
  • 4 stars: “On 1977’s A Farewell to Kings it quickly becomes apparent that Rush had improved their songwriting and strengthened their focus and musical approach… [it] successfully built on the promise of their breakthrough 2112, and helped broaden Rush’s audience on both sides of the Atlantic Ocean.”

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Rod Stewart – A Milestone Listening Experience

More of the Music of Rod Stewart

More Milestone Events in the History of Better Records

In the listing for our 2010 Shootout Winner, we noted:

Having made a number of serious improvements to our system in the last few months, I can state categorically and without reservation that this copy of Never a Dull Moment achieved the best stereo sound I have ever heard in my life (outside of the live event of course). I’m still recovering from it. [In 2022, of course this statement strikes me as way over the top. But I must have believed it when I wrote it.]

The credit must go to the engineering of MIKE BOBAK for the DEMO DISC sound. We just finished our most comprehensive shootout ever for the album, culling the best sounding dozen from about twenty five entrants, and this copy just plain kicked all their butts, earning our highest grade on side one (A+++).

Side one here is OFF THE CHARTS! No other side one could touch it. It’s got all the elements needed to make this music REALLY ROCK — stunning presence; super-punchy drums; deep, tight bass; and tons of life and energy.

The Sound

So many copies tend to be dull, veiled, thick and congested, but on this one you can separate out the various parts with ease and hear right INTO the music.

It’s also surprisingly airy, open, and spacious — not quite what you’d expect from a bluesy British rock album like this, right? But the engineers here managed to pull it off.

One of them was Glyn Johns (mis-spelled in the credits Glynn Johns), who’s only responsible for the first track on side one, True Blue. Naturally that happens to be one of the best sounding tracks on the whole album.

Side Two — Almost As Good

We were thrilled when we dropped the needle on side two and heard BIG BASS and TONS of ENERGY just like this amazing side one.

Listen to the room around the drums on Angel — you can really hear the studio as well as the sound of the skins being beaten. On the same track, the meaty guitar in the left channel sounds mind-blowingly good. With a little more top end, the kind that makes the glockenspiel in the right channel clear and present and harmonically correct, this copy would have been hard to beat on side two as well. 

The story of our old shootout is what progress in audio in all about. As your stereo improves, some records should get better, some should get worse. It’s the nature of the beast for those of us who constantly make improvements to our playback and critically listen to records all day. And it all comes courtesy of Revolutions in Audio.

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10cc – How Dare You!

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Reviews and Commentaries for 10cc

 

  • You’ll find solid sound on both sides of this outstanding early UK pressing of 10cc’s fourth album, How Dare You! 
  • This wonderful LP will show you that 10cc’s commitment to Audiophile Recording Quality was – at the time – beyond reproach 
  • Forget the dubby domestic stuff and the no-doubt-awful Heavy Vinyl, this early British pressing is huge, spacious and rich, with prodigious amounts of bass, like no other copy you’ve heard
  • 4 stars: “…a well-crafted album that shows off 10cc’s eccentric humor and pop smarts in equal measure… it remains a solid album of witty pop songs that will satisfy anyone with a yen for 10cc.”
  • If like us you’re a fan of Arty Rock from the ’70s, this is a killer album from 1976 that belongs in your collection.
  • The complete list of titles from 1976 that we’ve reviewed to date can be found here.

With this superb British pressing, some of you who might consider yourselves more devoted fans of the band will finally be able to hear what a good recording this is. The typical domestic copy is a disaster as are some of the British originals and reissues; we should know, we cleaned them, played them and heard them for ourselves.

If you know anything about this band, you know their recordings are often amazing Demo Discs. We’ve done shootouts for all their most important titles and the sound on the best copies is OUT OF THIS WORLD.

If you’re looking for something off the beaten path, this is definitely one to check out. I don’t know of any other album like it.

Best sound on side one: “Lazy Ways.”

Best track on the album: “Rock ‘N Roll Lullaby.” (more…)

10cc – Is There a Better Sounding Record on the Site?

More of the Music of 10cc

Reviews and Commentaries for the Music of 10cc

Yet Another Record We’re Obsessed With

On any given day a White Hot side one of The Original Soundtrack could very well be the best sounding record we have on the site.

“On any given day” being a day when we don’t have a hot German copy of Dark Side of the Moon to offer, or a killer Eagles first album, or a top copy of the self-titled BS&T, or an RL Zep II, or a White Hot Teaser and the Firecat.

Most days we don’t have such records on the site, and on those days this 10cc album is a recording Tour De Force that would be bigger, bolder, more dynamic, and more powerful than anything we could throw against it.
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Charles Mingus – Pre Bird

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More Jazz Recordings

  • You’ll find INSANELY GOOD Shootout Winning Triple Plus (A+++) sound throughout this original Mercury Stereo LP, only the second time this pressing has made it to the site
  • We used to think the early Limelight pressing was impossible to beat, but this killer original Mercury showed us just how wrong we were – it takes the recording to another level
  • This copy sounds like a big room full of musicians (25 in all!) playing live, which is exactly what it was
  • The Tubey Magical richness of this 1960 recording (released in 1961, and again in 1965 as Mingus Revisited) is breathtaking – no modern record can touch it
  • Two tracks are contrapuntal arrangements of two swing era pieces, whereby “Take the “A” Train” (left channel) is paired with a simultaneous “Exactly Like You” (right channel), and likewise “Do Nothin’ Till You Hear From Me” with “I Let a Song Go Out of My Heart”.

The best copies recreate a live studio space the size of which you will not believe (assuming your room can do a good job of recreating their room). The sound is tonally correct, Tubey Magical and above all natural. The timbre of each and every instrument is right and it doesn’t take a pair of golden ears to hear it -so high-resolution too.

If you love ’50s and ’60s jazz you cannot go wrong here. Mingus was a genius and the original music on this record is just one more album’s worth of proof of the undeniability of that fact.

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Tears For Fears – The Seeds Of Love

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More Art Rock

  • A superb vintage UK copy of the band’s masterpiece – we guarantee the sound is dramatically bigger, richer, fuller, and livelier than any pressing you have ever heard, and on this record that is saying a LOT
  • A tough record to find in audiophile playing condition – copies without audible marks were not easy to come by
  • The band’s Magnum Opus, a Colossal Production to rival the greatest Prog, Psych and Art Rock recordings of all time (Whew!)
  • 4 stars: “Thanks to the duo’s uncompromising stubbornness, expansive creative vision, and Dave Bascombe’s final production, The Seeds of Love has dated better than either of its predecessors and is inarguably Tears for Fears’ masterpiece.”

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