Top Artists – Phil Collins

Genesis – Abacab

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  • Excellent sound throughout with both sides of this vintage UK pressing earning solid Double Plus (A++) grades or better
  • Forget the thin sounding domestic pressings – these British sides are rich, full-bodied and spacious with real bottom end weight
  • 4 1/2 stars: “Abacab was where this new incarnation of the band came into its own. Working with producer Hugh Padgham, the group escalated the innovations of Duke, increasing the pop hooks, working them seamlessly into the artiest rock here… as bright, bold, and jagged as the modernist artwork on the cover.”

know of. Tons of bass too. We also quite like the big drums and meaty guitars he was able to bring to XTC’s English Settlement (a record we just never see anymore; wonder where they all went?). (more…)

Letter of the Week – Hall and Oates, Love Over Gold and Face Value

One of our good customers had this to say about some Hot Stampers he purchased recently:

Hey Tom, 

I want to thank you once again.

Quite a few years ago now I contacted you and talked about this concept called “Hot Stampers”. It ended up both saving me a lot of misdirection and foolishly trying to rebuild my vinyl collection with new vinyl re-releases often called “audiophile” and “half-speed” issues.

After a few confirmations of what you said I quickly sold all those copies and began building a real world class collection of vinyl “original” Hot Stamper level records. A good number came from your business and I also made a hobby of trying to do what you do in finding “Hot Stampers”. Fortunately Philadelphia has a reasonable number of used record stores but unfortunately, as you well know, this is a rigorous and costly endeavor, but it can be rewarding at times and at other times requires that I rely on you.

So today I’m snowed in here and I fired up the rig and decided to do some small scale shoot outs and find the true great copies from my already culled collection. Put on several Hall and Oates and focused on “She’s Gone”. One was just clearly dynamic, clear and present. Then I put on several Dire Straits “Love Over Gold” and ended up with 3 killer copies (such a good lp). I then put on about 5 copies of Phil Collins “Face Value” with “If Leaving Me is Hard”. What a great love song, and narrowed it to 2. (more…)

Phil Collins – Face Value (2007)

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Face Value

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

This Minty British LP has two AMAZING SIDES! Song after song, Collins’ songwriting and musicianship shine with this breakout record. The sound on these Hot Stampers is VIBRANT! Side one has SUPERB extention on the top, PUNCHY BASS and excellent texture on the drums and percussion. Side two has BIG SOUND with really spacious strings and vocals. (more…)

Phil Collins – Face Value – Whomp Factor

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Another in our series of Home Audio Exercises with advice on what you should be listening for when critically evaluating your copy (or ours) of the album. 

Until we heard some of the better copies we were simply not able to appreciate just how important good bass definition and serious weight down low are to the sound of this record. When the bass is wooly or thin, as it is on so many copies — not clear, not deep, not full enough — it throws the rest of the mix off. When the bass is huge and powerful the music itself becomes huge and powerful.

The copies with the big bottom end are the only ones that really make you sit up and take notice of just how good these songs are. (more…)

Phil Collins – Face Value with Hugh Padgham’s Big Drum Sound

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  • Great sound throughout with both sides of this original UK pressing rating a solid Double Plus (A++) and playing quietly 
  • Hugh Padgham discovered an amazing drum sound on Peter Gabriel’s 3rd album, and he really went to town with it on this one, Collins’ debut (and Masterpiece)
  • His most consistent songwriting and many of his biggest hits – In The Air Tonight sounds amazing, but practically everything here does
  • 4 1/2 stars: “Collins proves himself a passionate singer with a gift for both deeply felt ballads and snarling rockers.”

Collins’ songwriting and musicianship shine on this breakout debut, the first and clearly the best of all his solo albums. We’ve tried to do some of his other albums but nothing we’ve played seems remotely as well recorded as this album from 1981.

There may be some hope for Hello, I Must Be Going! (1982), but Phil’s third album, 1985’s No Jacket Required, sounds digital and ridiculously processed. I suppose not many albums from 1985 weren’t, but it’s still an unfortunate development for us audiophile types who might’ve wanted to enjoy these albums but are just not able to get past the bad sound. (more…)