Older Reviews – Rock, Pop, Folk, Soul, Blues, etc.

Love – Revisited

More Love

More Psych Rock

This is a very old review. The sound of this “greatest hits” compilation, on even the best copies, is unlikely to be good enough to qualify for Hot Stamper status these days. We will never really know of course, as we no longer buy these pressings or take the time to clean and play them. Love is a very well recorded band, one that deserves to be heard on top quality vintage pressings.

Our review from way back when:

This album was made from dub tapes and has some of that dubby sound (smeary, veiled, lacking in space), but in its defense we can say that it was very well mastered from those copy tapes and for the casual fan of the band is worth picking up if the price is right.

We had a chance to shootout a handful of copies recently and didn’t hear any others that could compete with this Elektra Original Pressing. We are HUGE fans of Love and this copy will show you why.

Both sides are lively and full-bodied and the bottom end is KILLER throughout. In short, it’s EXACTLY the sound you want for this music. Give it a chance and you’ll hear for yourself!

Compared to some other copies, this one had more impact, more power and more energy. The vocals are full-bodied and rich with excellent presence. Most copies we heard were pretty blurry down low, but you can actually make sense of the bass on this one. (more…)

Got Old Records? Played ‘Em Lately? What Did You Think of the Sound?

New to the Blog? Start Here

Basic Concepts and Realities Explained 

It’s not that most copies of Lee Michaels’ 5th sound bad; it’s that most of them just sound like old records — thick, dull, opaque, smeary, closed-in, two-dimensional, lifeless and uninspired.

You know that sound. It’s on a lot of the records we play, and no doubt on a lot of the records you own, especially the records you haven’t cleaned and played in a while (it’s there; you just aren’t aware of it).

Pull out your old copy of 5th. Back in the day it sounded just fine, but if you’ve been listening to mostly better records lately (assuming you haven’t fallen into the Heavy Vinyl trap), doubtlessly on much improved equipment than you had 40 years ago, your old A&M copy probably doesn’t sound as good as you remember it.

The records may not have changed, but your stereo and your standards should have.

Couple that with improved listening skills and before long the average old record starts to sound a lot more average than you wish it did. Even today’s better pot can’t fix the problems of most vintage pressings (or the Heavy Vinyl and CD reissues, which have to be seen for what they are: two of the biggest jokes ever played on the audiophile public).

But we can fix the problems — well, not really: we’re just finding the copies that managed to be mastered and pressed without the problems, and then giving them a good cleaning — and our Hot Stampers are 100% legal to boot. (more…)

Andrew Gold – What’s Wrong With This Picture?

Hot Stamper Pressings on the Asylum Label Available Now

More Records on Asylum – A Label We Love

The best copies of Gold’s sophomore release are incredibly rich, sweet and Tubey Magical. They also have tons of deep punchy bass and wonderfully breathy vocals.

If you own many Asylum records, you know this title is yet another example of classic Asylum Analog. Think of the sound of the Eagles first album and you won’t be far off.

Andrew Gold is another talented popster who got little respect from the critics, or the public for that matter. His music has a lot of the same qualities as Buddy Holly’s: simple catchy tunes about love, with clever lyrics and tons of hooks. He covers one of Holly’s songs on this very album.

But the best song he ever did is right here on side two: One of Them Is Me. Everybody has been the guy telling this story at one time or another; it’s a heavy song if you make the effort to listen to the lyrics.

More importantly, from an audiophile recording point of view, the song builds and surges to a stirring, dynamically powerful climax, then drops down to the noise floor with just an electric piano playing softly. This is what being a studio wizard is all about, and Gold is definitely a wizard. Any Super Hot or better pressing will demonstrate to you that this is one helluva well recorded album.

(more…)

John Baldry / Everything Stops For Tea – We Liked a Domestic Pressing in 2006

This is a Near Mint Warner Brothers Green Label Original LP with No Bar Code. I played side one of this record all the way through today (5/15/06) and enjoyed it immensely. I would be very surprised to hear a better sounding pressing of this music — it sounds just right. Another outstanding green label Warner Brothers LP — rich, smooth and natural. We love them here at Better Records!

[I would be surprised in 2019 if the British pressings were not quite a bit better. It’s a title we cannot afford to do due to lack of demand, but Brit pressings are the first ones I would go after for a shootout.]

“Everything Stops For Tea comes from a 1930’s English vaudeville play and is quite fun and easy to sing along to! Long John does a blistering version of Willie Dixon’s You Can’t Judge A Book By Its Cover which actually would make a good title for John’s biography which will be written over the next couple of years. Many people have been quick to judge John based on his ballad period or other things. Mother Ain’t Dead is a great acoustic folk song that Long John and Rod Stewart duet on.” – longjohnbaldry.com


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 up against a number of other pressings, awarded sonic grades, and eventually 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.

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…)

76 Pieces of Explosive Percussion / Direct to Disc

A poor man’s Bang-Baaroom with a stage full of percussionists playing a variety of instruments.

This LP presents a realistic, three-dimensional soundstage and an amazing array of percussion.

There’s also some incredibly deep bass drum work.  


The complete list of titles from 1978 that we’ve reviewed to date can be found here.

Reviews and Commentaries for Direct to Disc Recordings

Amazing Percussion Recordings We’ve Reviewed

(more…)

Led Zeppelin – In Through The Out Door

More Led Zeppelin

  • You’ll find solid excellent sound on both sides of this outstanding copy of Zep’s final release
  • It’s all here: huge amounts of rock-solid bass, grungy guitars, breathy, natural vocals, and jump out of the speakers presence and energy
  • Fool In The Rain and All My Love are two of the best, and best sounding, tracks on the album
  • “The album’s opening number, ‘In the Evening,’ with its stomping rhythms and heavy, staggered riffs, suggests that Zeppelin haven’t deviated from their course, but by the time the rolling shuffle of ‘South Bound Suarez’ kicks into gear, it’s apparent that they’ve regained their sense of humor.”
  • If you’re a Zep fan, this title from 1979 is surely a Must Own
  • The complete list of titles from 1980 that we’ve reviewed to date can be found here.

This may not be Zep’s best album, but there are some great songs here, and the music really works when the sound is this good. (more…)

Al Stewart – Year Of The Cat

More Al Stewart

  • Boasting Double Plus (A++) sound throughout, this pressing is guaranteed to blow the doors off any other copy of Year of the Cat you’ve heard
  • With engineering by Alan Parsons, the top pressings are every bit the Audiophile Demo Discs you remember
  • The best sides have Tubey Magical acoustic guitars, sweet vocals, huge amounts of space, breathtaking transparency, and so much more
  • 4 1/2 stars: “A tremendous example of how good self-conscious progressive pop can be, given the right producer and songwriter — and if you’re a fan of either prog or pop and haven’t given Al Stewart much thought, prepare to be enchanted.”

(more…)

Lincoln Mayorga – Listen for Strained and Blary Brass

More Direct-to-Disc Recordings with Hot Stampers

Reviews and Commentaries for Direct to Disc Recordings

What do Hot Stampers give you for this album? It’s very simple. Most copies of this album are slightly thin and slightly bright. They give the impression of being very clear and clean, but some of the louder brass passages start to get strained and blary, or glary if you like. This copy is rich and full. The sound is balanced from top to bottom. You can play it all the way through without fatigue.

Trumpets, trombones, tubas, tambourines, big bass, drums — everything has the true tonality and the vibrancy of the real thing. The reason this record was such a big hit in its day is because the recording engineers were able to capture that sound better than anybody else around (or so we thought). That’s also the reason this is a Must Own record today — the sound holds up!

Just listen to that amazing brass choir on Oh Lord, I’m On My Way. It just doesn’t get any better than that. If ever there was a Demo Disc, this is one! (more…)

Are All MoFis Created Equal? A Pair of Pink Floyd LPs Proved They Aren’t

Pink Floyd Hot Stamper Pressings Available Now

Reviews and Commentaries for Dark Side of the Moon

[This commentary was written more than ten years ago. Still true though.]

Many audiophiles are still under the misapprehension that Mobile Fidelity, with their strict “quality control”, managed to eliminate pressing variations of the kind we discuss endlessly on the site.

Such is simply not the case, and it’s child’s play to demonstrate how false this way of thinking is, assuming you have these four things: good cleaning fluids and a machine, multiple copies of the same record, a reasonably revealing stereo, and two working ears.

With all four the reality of pressing variations for ALL pressings is both obvious and incontrovertible.

The discussion below of a Hot Stamper Pair of Dark Sides may shed light on some of the issues involved.

Remember Classic Records Comparison Packages?

This is our first Hot Stamper Comparison Package.

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