Top Artists – Bob Dylan

Bob Dylan – Planet Waves – Our Shootout Winner from 2009

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A distinguished member of the Better Records Rock and Pop Hall of Fame.

This White Hot Stamper copy of Planet Waves boasts not only great Bob Dylan sound, but some of the best sound for The Band that you’ll ever hear! That’s right, Dylan is backed by Messrs. Robertson, Danko, Helm, Manuel and Hudson on this album, and I don’t know when we’ve ever heard such audiophile quality sound from that crew. It’s a real treat to hear their signature styles without the cardboard-y, compressed quality we usually find on their albums.

Lots of great material on this album, not sure why it doesn’t get more respect. On A Night Like This, Going Going Gone, Forever Young, You Angel You… these are wonderful, well-recorded songs. (more…)

Bob Dylan – Bob Dylan – Our Shootout Winner from 2013 in Mono

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A distinguished member of the Better Records Rock and Pop Hall of Fame.

TWO AMAZING SIDES RATING AT OR NEAR A+++ for this the MONO pressing! It’s beyond difficult to find copies of this album with good sound, but we managed to get a hold of a hot one here. This is a true solo album — guitar, vocals and harmonica — and it’s a lot of fun to hear a young (20!) Dylan playing the way he might have played in the coffee shops and folk clubs of Greenwich Village. 

The sound is richer and fuller than the average pressing; it’s also unusually lively and present. Above all the sound is natural and musical, the qualities that matter the most on a record like this.

And that’s not all! It’s also dynamic, lively, and tonally correct from top to bottom. The clarity is superb and even the harmonica sounds good. There’s tons of ambience — you can really hear the sound of the room around Dylan’s vocals. (more…)

Bob Dylan – Highway 61 Revisited – Our Shootout Winner from 2012

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A distinguished member of the Better Records Rock and Pop Hall of Fame.

This 360 Label pressing has a SUPERB A+++ SIDE ONE backed with a strong A++ side two. We had a big stack of 360s and Red Labels with good stampers to compare, and this copy had a side one that could not be beat. It’s got big time immediacy, tons of energy, loads of tubey magic and exceptional clarity. The bottom end is punchy with real weight and the soundfield is open, spacious and so transparent. 

Side two has amazing clarity and transparency as well. Compared to side one it’s just a bit dry — those of you with tubey systems will probably go crazy for this sound. This was the best side two we heard this time around, but since side one was clearly more impressive we topped off the grade for the second side at A++. (more…)

Bob Dylan – Another Side of Bob Dylan – Our Shootout Winner from 2009

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A distinguished member of the Better Records Rock and Pop Hall of Fame.

We played a bunch of these this week and only a very small handful of sides had enough magic to be considered Hot Stampers. The typical pressing loses its steam in (at least) one of two ways: honky mids and veiled vocals. The copies with the honk can be nearly unlistenable when Dylan starts blowing his harmonica, and the copies with veiled vocals and no real immediacy bored us to tears. 

This copy has the magic on side two. The sound is full-bodied, natural, and rich with excellent presence and real depth to the soundfield. (more…)

Bob Dylan & The Band – Before The Flood

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Before The Flood

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  • An outstanding copy with nearly Triple Plus (A++ to A+++) sound on sides one and four and Double Plus (A++) sound on the other two sides – exceptionally quiet vinyl too
  • Dylan and The Band team up for exuberant versions of many classics from each of their repertoires – a copy like this lets you appreciate just how wonderful the performances are  
  • “Dylan reworks, rearranges, reinterprets these songs in ways that are still disarming, years after its initial release… “
  • “Without qualification, this is the craziest and strongest rock and roll ever recorded. All analogous live albums fall flat.”

One of the great Live Classic Rock albums of all time in Hot Stamper form! We played a ton of these and found that most copies bored us to death. Some lacked energy, even more never opened up, and most of them were too thin-sounding. We had to play a HUGE stack of copies to come up with a few good ones, and on a double album like this, that’s a TON of work. (more…)

Bob Dylan – Blonde On Blonde – Our Shootout Winner from 2011

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A distinguished member of the Better Records Rock and Pop Hall of Fame.

AMAZING A+++ SOUND on the first three sides, giving you killer Master Tape Sound for every song except Sad Eyed Lady Of The Lowlands! We just finished a huge Blonde on Blonde shootout and this copy murdered the competition on sides one, two and three, earning our top grade for each. The sound is SUPERB — I don’t think I’ve ever heard this album sound any better! It’s rich, full-bodied, warm, natural and has the energy of live music in a way no other copy we played could compare to. The presence and immediacy are OFF THE CHARTS.  (more…)

Bob Dylan – Bob Dylan

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Bob Dylan – Bob Dylan

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  • An outstanding MONO copy of Bob Dylan’s self-titled debut (recorded in mono) with Double Plus (A++) sound from start to finish 
  • Both sides here have the immediacy, the warmth and the studio space the reissues fail to reproduce
  • “… a sterling effort, outclassing most, if not all, of what came before it…”

This is a true solo album — Dylan himself plays the guitar and harmonica — and it’s a lot of fun to hear a young (20!) Bob playing the way he might have played in the coffee shops and folk clubs of Greenwich Village.

This is clearly a recording that sounds best in mono. The stereo copies put the vocal, guitar and harmonica — you know, the sounds that the one skinny kid in the middle of the room is making all by himself — in separate locations widely spaced in the soundfield. This sound may have been cool when playing on the old consoles of the day, but on a modern system it’s just plain ludicrous. (more…)

Bob Dylan – Infidels

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A distinguished member of the Better Records Rock and Pop Hall of Fame.

This is one of the better sounding Dylan records from the ’80s. It’s not exactly Blood on the Tracks, the only Dylan album we think is qualified to be on our Top 100 Rock and Pop List, but it sounds good for a record from this era. 

Here are some things we specifically listen for on a record by Mr Bob Dylan – whether from 1963 or 1983, makes no difference to us. (more…)

Bob Dylan and The Band – The Basement Tapes – Our Shootout Winner from 2011

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A distinguished member of the Better Records Rock and Pop Hall of Fame.

This Columbia Double LP pressing has some of the very best sound we’ve heard for this album, with all four sides finishing strongly in a recent shootout. Of course, given the nature of these recordings, you don’t get stunning sonics along the line of, say, Magical Mystery Tour or Dark Side Of The Moon, but at least you get to hear these great songs sound the way they were intended to, without the complications of bad mastering and pressing getting in the way.  (more…)

Bob Dylan – Highway 61 Revisited

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Highway 61 Revisited

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  • A superb 360 Stereo pressing of Dylan’s 1965 release with Nearly Triple Plus (A++ to A+++) sound on both sides, right up there with our Shootout Winner
  • Live-in-Your-Listening-Room sound throughout – guaranteed miles beyond any copy you’ve ever heard 
  • In the same way Sgt. Pepper changed music a mere two years later, Highway 61 Revisited left all of Dylan’s contemporaries behind, scrambling to keep up with the standard it set
  • 5 stars: “Dylan had not only changed his sound, but his persona, trading the folk troubadour for a streetwise, cynical hipster … it proved that rock & roll needn’t be collegiate and tame in order to be literate, poetic, and complex.”

(more…)