Labels We Love – Mercury (Non-Classical)

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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Rod Stewart – Never A Dull Moment

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More British Blues Rock

  • 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 pressing, assuming you have your volume up good and loud
  • 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 – How Dare You!

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Reviews and Commentaries for 10cc

 

  • You’ll find solid Double Plus (A++) sound on both sides of this outstanding early UK pressing of 10cc’s fourth album, How Dare You! – exceptionally quiet vinyl too
  • 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’s Brilliant Second Album – Sheet Music

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Yet Another Well Recorded Album that Should Be More Popular with Audiophiles

  • Rich, full and balanced with plenty of deep bass and Arty Rock energy, this is a Truly Amazing Demo Disc
  • 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.”

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.) (more…)

Def Leppard – Pyromania

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Hot Stamper Albums with Huge Choruses

  • Finding a copy of this album that gets big and loud but stays rich and clear doing it is no small feat, but for all you fans of Glam and Metal, here’s one
  • 5 stars: “While Def Leppard had obviously wanted to write big-sounding anthems on their previous records, Pyromania was where the band’s vision coalesced and gelled into something more. Leppard’s quest for huge, transcendent hard rock perfection on Pyromania was surprisingly successful; their reach never exceeded their grasp, which makes the album an enduring (and massively influential) classic.”

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City Boy – Young Men Gone West

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More Albums from 1977

  • Super Hot Stamper or better sound on both sides of this Arty Glam Rock album
  • Produced by Robert John “Mutt” Lange before he hit it big with Foreigner and Def Leppard
  • As far as I know Mr Lange never produced an album that sounds this good
  • Plenty of Tubey Magical richness, which only the UK Vertigo pressings seem to have

Like many of my personal favorites, this is a band that never caught on in the states. I saw them live back in the late ’70s and thought they were killer — they reminded me of a more accessible version of 10cc. They write amusingly witty, clever lyrics and mate them to catchy melodies with lots of pop hooks, all produced with meticulous care and engineered with top audiophile sound.

They might fit in the general category of Glam Rock, owing, as they do, so much to Supertramp, Badfinger, Queen, 10cc, Ziggy-period Bowie and the like, but even as I write that it seems unfair to the band, which had a unique style all its own, worthy of the respect and admiration due any of these artists (well, maybe not all the respect, but some of it anyway). Fortunately for us record lovers, this is their best album. (more…)

Rush – Signals

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  • Astonishing Triple Triple (A+++) sonic grades clearly make this one of the best copies to ever hit the site
  • Huge synths and prodigious bass have both of these sides rockin’ like you will not believe
  • Individual notes aren’t smeared, they have body and attack, and there’s no shortage of energy to the complex playing
  • 4 stars: “Rush didn’t forget how to rock out — “The Analog Kid” and “Digital Man” were some of their most up-tempo compositions in years.”

If you’re a fan of the band, you know what these guys are about — big-time technical prowess, dizzying effects, powerful solos and so forth. Many copies we played didn’t let you hear just how hard these guys are shredding… and then what’s the point? If the musicianship gets lost in the mastering, why bother with this band at all? We were looking for copies that didn’t let us forget who we were listening to.

Only the better pressings like this one give you the sound this music demands: rich and full-bodied with serious punch to the bottom end; an open, extended top; size and space, wonderful clarity and transparency; and most importantly of all, ENERGY. The life of the music is the number one quality we look for in rock, prog rock, art rock, folk rock and every other kind of rock we play. That will never change.

The drums and cymbals sound just right, which is essential on a Rush album — as just about everyone knows, Neil Peart’s drumming is a major highlight of anything the band does. (more…)

Various Composers – Balalaika Favorites

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More TAS Super Disc Recordings

  • This delightful collection, a longstanding member of the TAS Super Disc List, finally makes its Hot Stamper debut here with outstanding Double Plus (A++) sound from start to finish
  • Both sides here are wonderful — clean, clear and present with tons of energy and lots of space around all of the players
  • “For what it is, it doesn’t get any better than this. What it is, of course, is a collection of Russian folk music played with astonishing artistry by the Ossipov State Russian Folk Orchestra…”

What do you hear on this pressing that you don’t hear on others? It’s very simple: the Balalaikas are delicate and sweet. There’s air all around them.

They have the kind of midrange magic that you hear on the best pop guitar records, the Tea For The Tillerman’s and the After The Gold Rush’s of this world. When you hear that sound there’s no mistaking it. It’s what we audiophiles live for. (more…)

Sarah Vaughan – Sings George Gershwin, Volume One

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  • No other copy could touch this original Black Label Stereo Mercury pressing for warmth, richness, and, most especially, in-the-room presence and intimacy
  • If all you know are Heavy Vinyl reissues of The Divine One’s album, our Shootout Winner here should be a sonic treat the likes of which you may never have experienced before
  • An original Mercury pressing that has no audible marks and plays as quietly as this one does is a rare find indeed – it seems to be the quietest copy from our shootout, and even better, no other copy earned higher grades
  • 4 stars: “Since these 15 selections are fairly concise, the emphasis is on the melody and the original lyrics… Vaughan, who had a wondrous voice, is in excellent form on the superior material.

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The Ramsey Lewis Trio – Down To Earth

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More Jazz Recordings Featuring the Piano

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  • Down To Earth finally makes it to the site with STUNNING Shootout Winning Triple Plus (A+++) sound from start to finish
  • A truly superb recording with huge, spacious, dynamic, lively sound – Tubey Magical richness is a big plus too
  • As soon as the needle hit the groove on a copy we had picked up locally we knew the sound was top notch – the excellent music was a plus as well (!)
  • 4 stars: “Their concise interpretations (only two songs are longer than 3:15) feature swinging solos by Lewis and respect for the melodies. The music is quite accessible while still being jazz oriented. Worth picking up.”

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