Mono or Stereo? Stereo!

Sam Cooke – Hits of the 50’s in Living Stereo

  • Hits of the 50s returns to the site for the first time in many years, here with STUNNING Shootout Winning Triple Plus (A+++) Living Stereo sound or close to it on both sides of original RCA pressing
  • If you want to hear one of the great vocalists from the 50s, in his prime, with top quality audiophile sound, this is the album that will do the trick!
  • This is the way it must have sounded in 1960, in the New York studios where it was recorded, with legendary RCA engineer Bob Simpson behind the board
  • This is not the typically radio-EQ’d singing-out-of-tin-can sound of so many male vocal albums from the era – Cooke’s voice is warm and rich here
  • “…constitutes [Cooke] reaching full pop maturity from his gospel beginnings. These are hit tunes of the 50s…and he handles them in straight, ungimmicked style, to the accompaniment of tasteful, small group scorings by Glenn Osser” – Billboard Magazine


Charles Mingus – Mingus Plays Piano

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More Jazz Recordings Featuring the Piano

  • With solid Double Plus (A++) grades or BETTER throughout, you’ll have a hard time finding a copy that sounds remotely as good as this vintage Impulse reissue pressing
  • Once again Rudy Van Gelder delivers the sound that audiophiles and jazz fans alike thrill to
  • These sides are lively, dynamic and full-bodied, and there’s real weight to the piano, a key quality we look for on all the piano recordings we play
  • Marks in the vinyl are sometimes the nature of the beast with these vintage LPs – there simply is no way around them if the superior sound of vintage analog is important to you
  • 4 stars: “This album is unique in Mingus’ enormous catalog. As the title indicates, the famous bassist takes to the ivories solo to give life to his dazzling improvisational art. At first it seems odd to hear Mingus without one of his trademark interactive and exploratory ensembles. But the sensibility that he brings to this collection of piano pieces bears all the signs of the composer’s genius.”


Edmundo Ros – Rhythms of the South

More Exotica Recordings of Interest 

Hot Stamper Imports on Decca & London

  • Rhythms of the South makes its Hot Stamper debut on this original London Stereo pressing with solid Double Plus (A++) sound or BETTER from first start to finish – exceptionally quiet vinyl too
  • Side one was very close in sound to our Shootout Winner – you will be amazed at how big and lively and tubey the sound is
  • This copy is super spacious, sweet and positively dripping with ambience — talk about Tubey Magic, the liquidity of the sound here is positively uncanny
  • These sides are simply bigger, clearer, richer, more dynamic, transparent and energetic than most of what we played

It’s unfortunate that Edmundo Ros and his orchestra command so little respect these days from the record buying public. As for audiophiles, it’s doubtful that many even know who he or they is/are. We at Better Records are doing our best to change all that.


Prokofiev – Violin Concerti Nos. 1 and 2 / Ricci / Ansermet

More of the music of Sergei Prokofiev (1891-1953)

More Classical Recordings Featuring the Violin

  • This early London Stereo pressing of Ricci and Ansermet’s performance of Prokofiev’s Violin Concerti Nos. 1 and 2 is doing just about everything right, with solid Double Plus (A++) grades from start to finish
  • Ricci is a fiery player – this pressing will allow you to hear the subtleties of his bowing in a coherent, natural and realistic way
  • The sound of the orchestra is dramatically richer and sweeter than you will hear on practically all other pressings – what else would you expect from Decca‘s engineers and the Suisse Romande?


John Coltrane – Expression

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More Jazz Recordings Featuring the Saxophone

  • Boasting two solid Double Plus (A++) or BETTER sides, this Impulse Stereo reissue pressing is guaranteed to blow the doors off any other Expression you’ve heard
  • Huge space, size and clarity, with Tubey Magical richness befitting the 1967 recording dates of these sessions at Van Gelder Studios
  • That Tubey Magic is surely long gone by now, so those of you looking for this kind of sound on a modern pressing should face it: that ship has sailed
  • 4 stars: “Recorded at two sessions in early 1967, Expression represents John Coltrane’s final recording sessions just months before his death. It’s remarkable that [the album] is not some world-weary harbinger of death and sickness, but an endlessly jubilant affair. Even in what must have been a time of tremendous pain and darkness, Coltrane’s single-minded quest for understanding and transcendence took him to places of new exploration and light.”


Gabor Szabo – The Best of Gabor Szabo

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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


Dean Martin – Winter Romance

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More Pop and Jazz Vocal Recordings

  • This vintage 60s Stereo LP boasts INCREDIBLE Shootout Winning Triple Plus (A+++) sound or close to it from first note to last
  • With a voice that is relaxed, smooth and warm, Dino is the perfect guy to sing these songs
  • The sound of this reissue is far better than any of the originals we played, which just goes to prove (once again) the old canard in the world of vinyl that original-is-best
  • Rich, sweet, full of ambience, dead on correct tonality, and exceptionally breathy vocals – everything that we listen for in a great record is here
  • 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
  • “…with its lush strings, well-scrubbed vocal choruses, and buoyant mood, this collection has an appropriately festive feel.”

Having done this for so long, we understand and appreciate that rich, full, solid, Tubey Magical sound is key to the presentation of this primarily vocal music. We rate these qualities higher than others we might be listening for (e.g., bass definition, soundstage, depth, etc.). The music is not so much about the details in the recording, but rather in trying to recreate a solid, palpable, real Dean Martin singing live in your listening room. The better copies have an uncanny way of doing just that.


Miles Davis – Someday My Prince Will Come

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More Vintage Columbia Hot Stamper Pressings

  • An outstanding copy of this Miles Davis classic, with a KILLER Shootout Winning Triple Plus (A+++) side one mated to a solid Double Plus (A++) side two
  • This original Columbia 6-Eye stereo LP is full-bodied, high-rez and spacious, with Miles’ horn uncannily present, a sound you just cannot find on Heavy Vinyl no matter who makes it
  • If you have the big system and dedicated room a record of this quality demands, you can put Miles right in the room with you with a Hot Stamper pressing as good as this
  • Vintage pressings that play this reasonably quiet and are free of scratches (minor noted issue below notwithstanding) and groove damage are few and far between, but here’s one, perfect for even the most demanding audiophile
  • Another engineering triumph for Fred Plaut at Columbia’s legendary 30th Street Studios – the man is a genius
  • Musically this is one of our very favorite Miles albums, and the sound is Demo Disc Quality on the better copies
  • If you’re a jazz fan, this Must Own Title from 1961 belongs in your collection


The Beatles / A Collection of Beatles Oldies

More of the Music of The Beatles

More Reviews and Commentaries for the Music of The Beatles

  • You’ll find superb Double Plus (A++) sound or close to it on both sides of this vintage British pressing
  • An excellent source for many of the Beatles’ greatest hits up to 1966 – with 8 songs per side you are geting a lot for your money with this one
  • Several tracks, including “I Want to Hold Your Hand,” “Day Tripper,” “We Can Work It Out,” and “Paperback Writer” were given their first stereo mixes for this very album
  • Outstanding sound for “From Me to You,” “We Can Work It Out,” “Yesterday,” “I Feel Fine,” and the list goes on
  • Although the hard-to-find UK first label originals will always win our shootouts, the early UK reissues on the Parlaphone Two Box label can sound quite good on the right pressing.
  • Whatever you do, don’t boy this awful compilation on vinyl – the album suffers from digital remastering at its worst

As is usually the case with compilations like this, there is some variation between tracks — what works well for a track from 1963 may not quite suit a song from 1966 — but from start to finish on both sides this record strikes a MUCH better balance than others.

And the the choice of songs is outstanding, with just the right mix — almost as if you had compiled the thing yourself from all the best tunes from that era of The Beatles. They’re almost all favorites of mine, and I hope yours too.

This collection has a number of songs that are not on the original British LPs: the first three on side one for starters; also Can’t Buy Me Love, I Feel Fine; Bad Boy; Paperback Writer and I Want To Hold Your Hand. (more…)

Chico Hamilton – El Chico

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More Jazz Recordings of Interest

  • El Chico makes its Hot Stamper debut with solid Double Plus (A++) sound or BETTER throughout this original Impulse Stereo pressing – exceptionally QUIET vinyl, the kind we would not expect to find on Impulse in 1965
  • These sides, recorded brilliantly by one of our favorite engineers, Bob Simpson, are big, full-bodied and present, with plenty of Tubey Magic and set on a huge, three-dimensional soundstage
  • The record features the amazing Gabor Szabo, Japanese altoist Sadao Watanabe, bassist Al Stinson, guest trombonist Jimmy Cheatham, and the Latin percussion of Willie Bobo and Victor Pantoja