This White Hot Stamper side one was HEAD AND SHOULDERS better than ANY side of ANY other copy we played. We are awarding it our very special “Four Plus” A++++grade; the sound goes beyond anything we’ve heard before. It’s also one of less than two dozen such records to ever hit the site.
At this point we’ve easily done more than a thousand Hot Stamper listings, so we are talking in the range of the top one or two percent for sound. Most audiophiles will go their whole lives without hearing a rock record sound this good, considering the tens of thousands of records we’ve had to buy, clean and play to find the handful of OFF THE CHARTS copies we’ve reviewed.(more…)
A superb sounding copy of Elvis Costello’s Last Really Good Album with Double Plus (A++) sound or BETTER throughout
This copy showed us a Spike we never knew existed — so much energy and presence to the sound, it came jumping out of the speakers and simply refused to mind its manners. Elvis should be proud. Why don’t more records sound like this?
This is one of the best batches of songs Elvis (and his buddy Paul McCartney) ever wrote!
A superb sounding vintage UK copy with Double Plus (A++) sound from start to finish
Big, lively and dynamic, with plenty of bass (Elvis’s trademark sound) and New Wave energy
This release, coming right before the brilliant Trust, contains Elvis classics like I Can’t Stand Up (for Falling Down) & Motel Matches
The AMG Five Star rating “…a 20-song blue-eyed soul tour-de-force…” and killer recording quality make this a Must Own for Elvis fans
Two excellent sides for this rip-roarin’, twenty song, five star rated Elvis Costello extravaganza!
This is the record that came right after Armed Forces, which is a huge favorite around these parts, and the venerable All Music Guide gives both albums five big stars. I’m not sure I’d go quite that far, but it’s certainly full of good material. Out of the twenty songs on here, exactly one clocks in at over three minutes.
What to Listen For (WTLF)
There’s not a lot of top end on this recording. The mistake the American mastering engineers made when Columbia released their version was to brighten up the sound, which does nothing but make it aggressive and transistory. This is the way Get Happy is supposed to sound and trying to change it only makes it worse.(more…)
I’m embarrassed to say we used to like the Rhino Heavy Vinyl version, and in our defense let me tell you why: it was (for the most part) tonally correct, fairly low distortion, and had tight punchy bass.
Boy, was we wrong. Now it sounds positively CRUDE and UNPLEASANT next to the real thing — if by “the real thing” you mean an honest to goodness Hot Stamper copy. The average copy of this record is aggressive and unpleasant. The British pressings are mud. You either have to work very hard to find a good one (which means buying, cleaning and playing lots and lots of them), or you have to luck into a good one by accident.
With a Triple Plus (A+++) shootout winning side two and a superb Double Plus (A++) side one, this copy will be very hard to beat – quiet vinyl too
This Green Label Radar Records UK pressing has the kind of Tubey Magical Midrange that modern records cannot even BEGIN to reproduce
The bass is right – the moment-to-moment rhythmic changes in the songs are clear and the band swings the way it’s supposed to
5 stars: “The most remarkable thing about the album is the sound — Costello and the Attractions never rocked this hard, or this vengefully, ever again.”
As we noted above, this original British pressing has the kind of Tubey Magical Midrange that modern records cannot even BEGIN to reproduce. Folks, that sound is gone and it sure isn’t showing signs of coming back. If you love hearing INTO a recording, actually being able to “see” the performers, and feeling as if you are sitting in the studio with the band, this is the record for you. It’s what vintage all analog recordings are known for — this sound.(more…)
Elvis’s brilliant 1986 release finally comes to the site with two Shootout Winning Triple Plus (A+++) sides
Both sides are incredibly clean, clear and lively with a huge bottom end and lots of space around all of the instruments
Nina Simone’s “Don’t Let Me Be Misunderstood” is only one highlight among many – these are some of his best songs
AMG raves: “Stripping away much of the excess that cluttered Punch the Clock and Goodbye Cruel World, Elvis Costello returned to his folk-rock and pub rock roots with King of America, creating one of his most affecting and personal records … one of his masterpieces.”
Even though the album was recorded right here in the states, the domestic copies are clearly made from dubs, sounding quite a bit more opaque, vague, closed-in, flat and dry than most of the British pressings we played. Like most Costello albums on domestic vinyl, they should be avoided.(more…)
With Triple Plus (A+++) sound or something close to it on both sides this is as good a copy as we have ever offered
Geoff Emerick engineered, creating a unique sound – a sound which only works if you have the right pressing
This dense, darkly serious album contains some of the best songs EC ever wrote – the last of his True Classics
Allmusic 5 Stars: “Essentially, the songs on Imperial Bedroom are an extension of Costello’s jazz and pop infatuations on Trust. Costello’s music is complex and intricate, yet it flows so smoothly, it’s easy to miss the bitter, brutal lyrics.”
Six of Elvis’s first seven albums received a Five Star rating from Allmusic, the exception being Almost Blue, and we generally would agree with that assessment (although Get Happy should probably get Four Stars also, not Five).
Which is to say that Elvis Costello is a brilliant artist whose albums work as albums, a fact that is in danger of being lost in a world of single song downloads and greatest hits packages. We record-playing audiophiles are inclined to start at the beginning of a side and let if flow through to the end, and that is clearly the best way to appreciate and enjoy the work of this very gifted man.
The British pressings are simply not competitive with the best domestics. No import, from any country, can touch a good Columbia pressing from the states. The most common stampers for the Columbia pressings have never sounded very good to these ears, but that doesn’t mean there aren’t some killer copies with different stampers sitting in the bins wearing the generic ’70s Red Columbia label. We’ve heard them. Wish we could find more of them but they are rare and only getting rarer. (more…)
We consider Armed Forces to be one of the best sounding rock records ever made, and a copy like this White Hot Shootout Winner is proof enough to back up our claim. The best copies are extremely transparent and silky sounding, but with unbelievably punchy, rock-solid bass and drums.
The sound of the rhythm section ranks with the best we’ve ever heard. Beyond that, the musical chops of this band at this time rank with the best in the history of rock. Steve, Bruce and Pete rarely get the credit they deserve for being one of the tightest, liveliest backing bands ever to walk into a studio or on to a stage.
The song Oliver’s Army on the first side is a perfect example of what we’re talking about. Rock music doesn’t get much livelier than that. Skip on down to Green Shirt for another track that’s as punchy as they come.
Triple Plus (A+++) sound from start to finish – this is far and away the best sounding copy to ever hit the site
Two Costello classics are found on side one: Everyday I Write the Book, and Shipbuilding, with a heartbreaking trumpet solo by none other than Chet Baker himself
The bass and the horn sound are the two key elements to getting the right sound on this record, and they’re both As Good As It Gets here (hence the Triple Plus)
“Elvis Costello … remains the most consistently interesting songwriter in rock & roll, and there is evidence that a new, more emotionally generous sensibility may soon be present in his work.” Rolling Stone
The drums have real body and resonance here, a far cry from the wimpy cardboard drums so many rock records have. Listen to the drum sound on Charm School. Man, those are some BIG FAT PUNCHY DRUMS — very reminiscent of Bowie’s Let’s Dance. The drum sound on that album is some of the best we’ve ever heard, bar none, and this copy was also OUTSTANDING in that regard.
On this copy you get the full-on bottom end WHOMP you paid for, with no loss in control. You can clearly follow Bruce Thomas’s bass lines throughout the songs, a real treat for any music lover. (He and Elvis don’t get along, hence the end of the Attractions as his backing band. I guess we should be thankful for the nine albums on which they were together; many of them are Desert Island Discs for me.)
There’s plenty of low-end on this record; regrettably most copies suffer from either a lack of bass or a lack of bass definition. I can’t tell you how much you’re missing when the bass isn’t right on this album. (Or if you have the typical bass-shy audiophile speaker, yuck.) When the bass is lacking or ill-defined, the music seems labored; the moment-to-moment rhythmic changes in the songs blur together, and the band just doesn’t swing the way it’s supposed to.(more…)