Compilation Albums with the Potential for Very Good Sound

Fleetwood Mac – The Pious Bird Of Good Omen

More of the Music of Fleetwood Mac

More of the Early Fleetwood Mac with Peter Green

  • An original UK Blue Horizon pressing that is doing practically everything right, with killer Nearly Triple Plus (A++ to A+++) sound from first note to last – just shy of our Shootout Winner
  • The early pressings take the cake on this one, but try to find one in audiophile playing condition – it takes us many years to get one of these shootouts going
  • Both of these sides are amazingly big and rich, with correct tonality, punchy energy and exceptionally breathy vocals – this is the way early Fleetwood Mac is supposed to sound
  • One of the top Fleetwood Mac compilations – I have it on CD and have never tired of the music
  • 4 1/2 stars: “…makes for a terrific laid-back stroll through some of the best British blues music ever made.”

If you’re a fan of Peter Green era Fleetwood Mac — and who in his right mind wouldn’t be? — then you can’t go wrong with this record. “Need Your Love So Bad,” “Albratross” and “Black Magic Woman” are all featured here.

Speaking of “Black Magic Woman,” the better copies of Pious Bird reproduce the bass-heavy drumming on that track much better than the Greatest Hits album we also recommend. It’s very unlikely that you can find better sound for that classic than right here on this very copy.


Gabor Szabo – The Best of Gabor Szabo

More Gabor Szabo 

More Jazz Recordings Featuring the Guitar

  • This Impulse pressing boasts superb Double Plus (A++) sound from start to finish
  • Clean, clear, full-bodied and present with tons of Tubey Magic and right-on-the-money instrumental timbres, the originals may be a bit better sounding, but both are they expensive these days and rarely can be found in audiophile playing condition
  • For some reason, the guitar sound from this era of recording seems to have died out with the times – it can only be found on the better copies of these vintage pressings


Earth Wind & Fire / An Audiophile-Oriented Band

  • This original pressing was doing everything right, earning INSANELY GOOD Shootout Winning Triple Plus (A+++) grades throughout – exceptionally quiet vinyl too
  • Both of these sides boast unrivaled sound and pop soul energy that is BIGGER and RICHER than anything you’ve ever heard
  • Tubey Magical, rich, smooth, sweet – everything that we listen for in a great record is on display for everyone to hear (everyone with audiophile equipment that is)
  • With a big speaker system turned up good and loud, the first track is simply mind-boggling
  • 5 stars: “The Best of Earth, Wind & Fire, Vol. 1 still ranks as a strong encapsulation of EWF the funk innovators. The singles gathered here constitute some of the richest, most sophisticated music the funk movement ever produced…”
  • This is a personal favorite of yours truly, and a Must Own Rock and Pop album from 1978, which, in hindsight, turned out to be a surprisingly good year for music

The first track on the album is “Got To Get You Into My Life” and it sounds incredible on this copy.

What a song. And it’s not on any other EWF album. Three points to make here:

  1. It’s from the real master tape;
  2. It happens to have Demo Disc quality sound, which means:
  3. You need this record in your collection.

Since this is a best of, every song is a hit and every one of them will have you singin’ yourself hoarse. If you like pop soul music at all, you have to like these guys. And these songs. Every one is a gem of popcraft, with arrangements as tight as the sequined white suits the band members wore.


Traffic – The Best of Traffic

More Traffic

More of the Most Tubey Magical Rock Recordings of All Time

For those who wish to find their own Hot Stamper pressings of the album, we say more power to you. Our helpful advice can be found at the bottom of the listing,

  • Best of Traffic finally returns to the site on this original Pink Label Island pressing with STUNNING Shootout Winning Triple Plus (A+++) grades or close to them on both sides – exceptionally quiet vinyl too
  • To find a Pink Label UK pressing that plays this quietly came as quite a shock — the superb sound we expected, but vinyl this quiet from 50 years ago? Amazing
  • Here are the full-bodied mids, punchy lows and clear, open, extended highs that let this 1969 release come alive
  • This amazing compilation boasts superb sound, often better than the very same tracks on many of the original British releases
  • Top 100 and 4 stars: “The entire second side of the LP, comprising ‘Medicated Goo,’ ‘Forty Thousand Headmen,’ ‘Feelin’ Alright,’ ‘Shanghai Noodle Factory,’ and ‘Dear Mr. Fantasy,’ was the kind of progressive rock that would define Traffic and give it its place in the rock pantheon.”


The Pentangle / Pentangling

More Pentangle

More British Folk Rock

  • Boasting INCREDIBLE Shootout Winning Triple Plus (A+++) sound on the second side and solid Double Plus (A++) sound on the first, this vintage UK import pressing had close to the BEST sound we have heard for Pentangle’s shockingly well-recorded music
  • The unprocessed quality found throughout the album has its audiophile credentials fully in order, especially in the area of guitar harmonics, as well as drums that sound like real drums actually sound
  • The true foundation of the music is provided by two legendary guitar heavyweights, Bert Jansch and John Renbourn, with Jacqui McShee’s almost unbearably sweet vocals soaring above them
  • The best material from Pentangle’s amazing first six albums, with sound that’s full of British Analog Tubey Magic that no modern record can begin to reproduce
  • Not many compilation albums offer top quality sound, but this one does, and these are some others
  • This is a Personal Favorite of yours truly, and a Must Own Rock and Pop album from 1973

This album presents the classic 1969 lineup at its best, with superior sonics to boot.

When I was selling audio equipment back in the ’70s this was one of our Demo Discs. The song Pentangling has beautifully recorded drums and string bass. The first track, “I’ve Got A Feeling,” is lovely as well.

Notice how there is nothing — not one instrument or voice — that has a trace of hi-if-ishness. No grain, no sizzle, no zippy top, no bloated bottom, nothing that reminds you of the phony sound you hear on audiophile records at every turn. Silky sweet and Tubey Magical, this is the sound we love here at Better Records. (more…)

The Beach Boys – Endless Summer

More of The Beach Boys

More Sixties Pop

  • This 2-LP compilation set from 1974 boasts excellent Double Plus (A++) sound or close to it on all FOUR sides of these vintage Capitol pressings – fairly quiet vinyl too
  • A copy like this is a rare audiophile treat – here are The Beach Boys’ marvelous harmonies sounding as rich, warm, clear, natural and lively as you could ever hope to hear them (particularly on sides one, two, and four)
  • 5 stars: “Endless Summer, which was assembled in consultation with Mike Love, soared to number one and charted high over two subsequent summers (spending three years on the charts, the longest of any of the group’s albums).”

Like any compilation, some tracks sound better than others, but the best sounding tracks on here easily rank with any Beach Boys vinyl we’ve ever played. And the material on here is so good and so comprehensive that for most of you this and Pet Sounds should be all the Beach Boys you’ll ever need.

The sound here is big, open, rich and full, with the performers front and center (as well as left and right). The highs are extended and silky sweet. The bass is tight and punchy. And this copy gives you more life and energy than others by a long shot. Very few Beach Boys records offer the kind of realistic, lifelike sound you get from these pressings.

Fresh Tapes

These vintage LPs also have the Midrange Magic that’s no doubt missing from whatever 180g reissue has been made from the 50+ year old tapes. As good as that pressing may be, we guarantee that this one is dramatically more real sounding. It gives you the sense that all the boys (and the Wrecking Crew) are right in the room with you.

They’re no longer a representation — they’re living, breathing persons. We call that “the breath of life,” and this record has it in spades. Their voices are so rich, sweet, and free of any artificiality, you immediately find yourself lost in the music.

As any record collector knows all too well, Capitol pressings are all over the map. When you find a good one, you can be pretty sure it’s the exception, not the rule. That’s been our experience, and we’ve played them by the hundreds.


The Who / Meaty Beaty Big & Bouncy – Their Must Own Singles Compilation

More of The Who

More Compilation Albums with the Potential for Very Good Sound

  • Boasting two INSANELY GOOD Shootout Winning Plus (A+++) sides, this vintage UK Track pressing could not be beat
  • Features material not available on any of the band’s other albums, making it an absolute Must Own
  • The sound quality of the tracks varies quite a bit but that’s the nature of beast when it comes to these compilation LPs
  • Many tracks were left in mono and that is a big help when it comes to the sound of the early Who recordings
  • “I Can’t Explain” on side one is right on the money – rich and clear, with good top end extension, there aren’t many sides out there that get everything right like this one does
  • 5 stars: “Meaty Beaty Big and Bouncy has the distinction of being the first in a long line of Who compilations. It also has the distinction of being the best. The Who recorded their share of great albums during the ’60s, but condensing their highlights to just the singles is an electrifying experience.”


The Beatles – Hey Jude

More of The Beatles

More Records We Only Sell on Import Vinyl

  • This vintage import pressing boasts an INCREDIBLE Shootout Winning Triple Plus (A+++) side one mated to a solid Double Plus (A++) side two – exceptionally quiet vinyl too
  • An amazing 10-song compilation from 1970 of some of the band’s biggest and best hits – “Can’t Buy Me Love,” “Paperback Writer,” “Lady Madonna,” and the iconic title track among them
  • Longtime customers know that we had never been able to offer this title up until 2022 – it took us twenty years to figure out what the right pressings are, and believe me, we had to go through a lot of crap to find them
  • If you know the album at all, you know how bad it sounds on the average copy, and my guess is you just gave up on the idea of finding good sound for these songs, which is more or less the way we felt too, but we finally found what we were looking for, and here it is
  • And Past Masters, referred to in the Allmusic review below, is not the answer they seem to think it is — it has some of the most abominably bright and aggressive digital mastering we have ever heard
  • Your one other option for some of this music with top quality sound is the 1967-1970 compilation album, the Hot Stamper pressings for which have only recently been found
  • “…showcases the Beatles’ versatility and growth, as they move from the exuberance of Beatlemania to the intense psychedelia of the mid-’60s and then settle into rich post-Pepper days…. Great songs all.”

If you love these songs as much as we do, you won’t believe how good they sound here.


Loggins and Messina – The Best of Friends

More Loggins and Messina

More Country and Country Rock

  • Boasting excellent Double Plus (A++) Master Tape sound or BETTER throughout, this vintage Columbia pressing rocks with all the energy that L&M’s super-tight band is capable of – fairly quiet vinyl too
  • Spaciousness, richness and freedom from grit and grain are key to the better pressings, and here you will find all three
  • These sides are bigger, more natural, warmer and more solid than those of any other copy you’ve heard or your money back
  • So many of the band’s best songs on one LP make this a Must-Own

The best news we have to report concerning this compilation is that it does not sound at all like a compilation, and by that we mean that the better copies don’t sound “dubby,” flat, small or compressed. The better copies, in fact, rock, with all the energy that the band is capable of producing, which, in the case of Loggins and Messina, is a great deal.

You may have noticed that we do very few Greatest Hits albums here at Better Records, for the simple reason that most greatest hits albums don’t sound very good. This is one of the few exceptions to that rule that we’ve come across in our record playing travels over the years.


The Beatles – 1967-1970

More of The Beatles 

More Records We Only Sell on Import Vinyl

  • This vintage import 2-LP compilation set boasts STUNNING Shootout Winning Triple Plus (A+++) sound or close to it on all FOUR sides – exceptionally quiet vinyl too
  • These pressings are rich, smooth and sweet, with plenty of Tubey Magic and little of the grain and grunge of most Brits (and don’t get us started on the domestics)
  • You get clean, clear, full-bodied, lively and musical ANALOG sound from first note to last
  • Twenty-seven (!) incredible songs, including “Penny Lane,” “Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band,” “Lucy In The Sky With Diamonds,” “All You Need Is Love” – and that’s just side one
  • Not many compilation albums offer top quality sound, but this one does, and here are some others

This is a wonderful sounding early import 2-LP set — pressed on exceptionally quiet vinyl to boot.

We are on record as finding the British pressings of 1967-1970 too bright; certainly most of them are anyway.

The original domestic pressings, as anyone who has ever played one can attest, mastered at Sterling no less, are absolutely godawful.

Like most compilations, some songs sound better than others, but “Don’t Let Me Down” and “Come Together” are two that really stand out here. For those of you out there who have never tried one of our Hot Stamper Beatles records, this may be the best sound you’ve ever heard from them. The CDs — even the new ones — sure don’t sound like this!