Labels We Love – RCA

Lou Reed – Transformer

More of Our Favorite Artists’ Best Sounding Albums

Records We Only Sell on Import Vinyl

  • Excellent sound for Lou Reed’s Glam Rock Classic, Transformer, engineered to sound as Tubey Magical as Ziggy Stardust by none other than Ken Scott
  • Here is an import pressing with the kind of Tubey Magical Midrange that modern records cannot BEGIN to reproduce
  • A side one this good means Walk on the Wild Side is a Demonstration Quality track that will have your audiophile friends turning green with envy
  • Transformer is an absolute tour de force of ’70s Glam Rock / Classic Rock / Alternative Rock
  • “… Bowie and Ronson gave their hero a new lease on life — and a solid album in the bargain.” 
  • Transformer is his Masterpiece, a Core Collection title, and possibly a case of One and Done since it’s the only Lou Reed album we sell. (You, of course, may feel differently.)

Transformer is an absolute tour de force of ’70s Glam Rock / Classic Rock / Alternative Rock. You’ve got Lou Reed teamed up with David Bowie (in the producer’s chair!), Mick Ronson, Herbie Flowers and Klaus Voorman, and on top of that the album was recorded at Trident and mixed by the great Ken Scott.

Throw in the fact that this is the best set of post-Velvets material Lou would ever write and it is a recipe for success. There are so many good songs on here I won’t bother to list them one by one. Satellite Of Love is especially good though, if you ask me. If you agree, and you’ve never heard the VU demo version, make sure to seek it out. It’s completely different and good fun.

(more…)

Chopin / Scherzo No. 2 / Auer – Direct to Disc

More of the music of Frederic Chopin (1810-1849)

More Direct-to-Disc Recordings with Hot Stampers

This is an IMMACULATE RCA Direct-to-Disc LP with SUPERB SOUND! This recording is every bit as good as the famous RCA Beethoven Direct Disc and ten times as rare. You will have a very hard time finding a better sounding solo piano recording.  [Or so we thought in 2008.]


FURTHER READING

New to the Blog? Start Here

(more…)

David Bowie – Lodger

More David Bowie

More Art Rock Records

  • A seriously good UK pressing with Double Plus (A++) grades on both sides, making this one of the better copies from our most recent shootout – exceptionally quiet vinyl too
  • We shot out a number of other imports and this one had the presence, bass, and dynamics that were missing from most of the other copies we played
  • The sound is big and rich – you will not believe all the space and ambience on these sides
  • 4 1/2 stars: “Lodger has an edgier, more minimalistic bent than its two predecessors, which makes it more accessible for rock fans, as well as giving it a more immediate, emotional impact.”
  • If you have Low (1977) and Heroes (1978), this is the album that will complete Bowie’s Berlin Trilogy with Eno and Visconti

(more…)

Annie Lennox – Diva

More Annie Lennox

More Debut Albums of Interest

  • This vintage import offers outstanding Double Plus (A++) sound for both sides of this Annie Lennox classic from 1992
  • Dramatically bigger, richer, smoother, more transparent and just more ANALOG sounding than any other copy you’ve heard, guaranteed or your money back
  • “State-of-the-art soul pop, Annie Lennox’s solo debut is sonically gorgeous…” – Rolling Stone
  • “Diva glides with a rich, feminine dignity that stands tall in pop history.” – Slant
  • If you’re a fan of the Ms Lennox, this debut solo album from 1992 surely belongs in your collection.
  • The complete list of titles from 1992 that we’ve reviewed to date can be found here.

By 1992 records like this were only released on import vinyl and typically went out of print soon after they started their descent down the pop charts. I used to sell them back in the day and supplies were extremely limited and unpredictable. And once they were gone they were virtually never reissued. All of those factors conspire to make the cost of acquiring the mintiest pressings from overseas fairly high, and of course the main reason you have never seen the album on our site before.

Be that as it may, we have this copy available and it is not only wonderful sounding but the music is every bit as good as I remember it. (more…)

Hall and Oates – H2O

More Hall and Oates

  • A stunning copy of this Hall and Oates classic from 1982 with a Shootout Winning Triple Plus (A+++) side two, mated with solid Double Plus (A++) sound on side one – mostly quiet vinyl too
  • It’s lively, open, and natural – the voices of the two leads sound especially full-bodied, real and tonally correct from top to bottom, which is pretty much all you need to earn top grades in a shootout
  • Much more consistent than most of their releases, this one boasts three killer hits including Maneater, Family Man and my All Time Favorite by the band, One on One
  • 4 stars: “Private Eyes solidified Hall & Oates’ status as one of the most popular acts in America in the early ’80s, and…… with 1982’s H2O, they capitalized on its success, delivering an album that turned out to bigger than its predecessor, as it climbed higher on the charts and launched three Top Ten singles…”

(more…)

Beethoven – Piano Sonata No. 23 (“Appassionata”) / Kamiya – (45 RPM)

More of the music of Ludwig van Beethoven (1770-1827)

More TAS List Super Discs

  • This rare TAS-approved Japanese import LP boasts INSANELY GOOD Shootout Winning Triple Plus (A+++) DEMO DISC sound on both sides
  • You will have a hard time finding a better recording of the piano than this – it’s one of the all time great Direct-to-Discs
  • It’s simply bigger, more transparent, less distorted, more three-dimensional and more REAL than all of the other copies we played
  • A famous resident of the TAS list, this album offers excellent music, performed with feeling, and recorded properly, the best of all possible worlds for us audiophiles
  • A friend of ours tells me that Kamiya plays this piece exactly the way Horowitz did, and that’s probably a good thing – good luck finding a Horowitz recording that sounds like this!

(more…)

Elvis Presley / From Elvis in Memphis

More Elvis Presley

Reviews and Commentaries for the Music of Elvis Presley

Of the handful of Elvis albums to ever make it to the site, this is clearly the critics’ favorite, and one listen will tell you why. This is the album that single-handedly revived Elvis’ fortunes, setting the stage for his record-breaking series of shows in Las Vegas doing pretty much the type of music he had recorded for it.

The next year he would go on tour for the first time since 1957 (!).


This is an Older Review.

Most of the older reviews you see are for records that did not go through the shootout process, the revolutionary approach to finding better sounding pressings we developed starting in the early 2000s.

We found the records you see in these listings by cleaning and playing a pressing or two of the album, which we then described and priced according to how good the sound and surfaces were.

We were often wrong back in those days, something we have no reason to hide. Audio equipment and record cleaning technologies have come a long way since those darker days.

Currently, 99% (or more!) of the records we sell are cleaned, then auditioned under rigorously controlled conditions against a number of other pressings, awarded sonic grades, and then condition checked for surface noise.

As you may imagine, this approach requires a great deal of time, effort and skill, which is why we currently have a highly trained staff of about ten. No individual or business without the aid of such a committed group could possibly dig as deep into the sound of records as we have, and it is unlikely that anyone besides us would ever be able to do the kind of work we do.

Every record we offer is unique, and 100% guaranteed to satisfy or your money back.

(more…)

Herrmann – Citizen Kane (The Classic Film Scores of Bernard Herrmann)

More of the music of Bernard Herrman (1911–1975)

More Orchestral Spectaculars

  • This original RCA Red Seal pressing boast KILLER Shootout Winning Triple Plus (A+++) sound on the first side and solid Double Plus (A++) sound on the second
  • Tons of energy, loads of detail and texture, superb transparency and excellent clarity – the very definition of DEMO DISC sound
  • 5 Stars: “… the best of the entire series by conductor Charles Gerhardt and the National Philharmonic Orchestra… every track is worthwhile and memorably played.”
  • If you’re a Bernard Herrmann fan, and what audiophile wouldn’t be?, this title from 1974 is clearly one of his best
  • The complete list of titles from 1974 that we’ve reviewed to date can be found here.

The Citizen Kane Suite on this album is to die for — BIG, BOLD, DYNAMIC sound like few records you own. It’s a real desert island disc for me. (The CD, by the way, is actually quite good. I have it in the car and play it often.)

The Concerto Macabre for Piano and Orchestra (from “Hangover Square”) is superbly well-recorded and a brilliant piece of music as well.

(more…)

John Denver – Poems, Prayers and Promises

More John Denver

  • This early Orange Label RCA pressing earned Double Plus (A++) grades on both sides
  • We guarantee that it’s fuller, bigger and clearer than any copy you have ever heard or your money back
  • Superb engineering by Ray Hall— the recording is from 1971 but in some ways it sounds as good as if it had been made in 1961 — high praise in these parts!
  • “… this was at the beginning of a golden period for Denver when his songs would dominate the easy listening airwaves, especially his big hit singles.” – All Music

NOTE: The record has a noticeable dishwarp which we had no trouble playing perfectly.  If your rig struggles with dishwarped records, best to pass on this one. (more…)

Harry Nilsson – Pussy Cats

More Harry Nilsson

More John Lennon

  • Pussy Cats returns to the site on this vintage RCA Victor pressing with seriously good Double Plus (A++) sound throughout
  • Both of these sides are rich, full-bodied and Tubey Magical with lots of energy
  • Produced by John Lennon, Nilsson’s partner in crime, it’s a really fun album, with an appealingly ragged and spontaneous vibe
  • “It may not be as wild as the lost weekend itself, but it couldn’t have been recorded at any other time and remains a fascinating aural snapshot of the early days of 1974.”

The soundstage is huge and open, there’s some real richness and body to the vocals and, perhaps most importantly, you get all the energy and presence required to bring this wild album to life.

John Lennon and Harry Nilsson were notorious partiers during Lennon’s “lost weekend” away from Yoko, and the album basically plays like all that excess playing out in the studio. The vibe is loose and spontaneous, and Nilsson’s voice is at its most ragged. That looseness and raggedness results in some startlingly emotional peaks — “Many Rivers To Cross” and “Don’t Forget Me” are positively spine-tingling — and some good-natured romps through classic covers like “Subterranean Homesick Blues” and “Rock Around The Clock.” It’s a whole lot of fun — especially when you have a copy that sounds like this!

This album may not be a demo disc like A Little Touch of Schmilsson In The Night, but that’s really not the point here. This record is about the atmosphere, and this copy has the kind of big, open soundstage and smooth, musical tonality that really make the music work! It’s actually one of the best-sounding Nilsson albums, and the sound is perfectly matched to the material.

(more…)