Top Artists – The Beach Boys

The Beach Boys – In Concert

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In Concert

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  • Wonderful Double Plus (A++) sound on all four sides – this is only the second copy to ever hit the site, and it’s a good one!
  • Fairly quiet on the fourth side – Mint Minus to Mint Minus Minus – the other three sides plays Mint Minus Minus
  • “Beach Boys in Concert was the final live album to be issued — excluding archival vault releases — capturing the seminal American combo as a viable, hard-working rock & roll band with timeless material instead of the parody that Mike Love so perfectly embodied during their final years. This is the way the Beach Boys deserve to be remembered.” – 4 Stars

We’ve raved about a number of live albums over the years. Some of the better sounding ones that come readily to mind (in alphabetical order) are Belafonte at Carnegie Hall, David Live, Johnny Cash At San Quentin, Donny Hathaway Live, The Jimi Hendrix Concerts, Performance – Rockin The Fillmore, Live Wire – Blues Power, Waiting For Columbus, Get Your Ya-Ya’s Out and Live at Leeds. I would be proud to have any of them in my collection.

The Beach Boys In Concert is unlikely to join that rarefied list, but the better copies are clearly giving us a picture of the band pleasing their fans in the early ’70s, right here in the good old U.S. of A. (more…)

The Beach Boys – Surfer Girl

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

Which means this is a reissue, but it’s one helluva reissue, with richness, Tubey Magic and freedom from distortion that belie the label of the album. There’s nothing dry, transistory, dubby or compressed about the sound here. Just the opposite in fact.

If you think only original pressings — of this or any other record — can sound good, this Hot Stamper should go a long way toward disabusing you of that notion. (more…)

The Beach Boys – Little Deuce Coup (2007)

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

This Capitol reissue LP has STUNNINGLY GOOD SOUND. The Beach Boys’ voices are as clear and as sweet as you could ever wish for. I’d be really surprised if original pressings of this album are even remotely as good sounding. This album sounds like somebody threaded up the master tape and started up the record cutting lathe.

The Beach Boys – Pet Sounds

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

We’ve obviously been at this Hot Stamper business for a long, long time. Well folks, today is the day that an amazing A+++ copy of Pet Sounds finally makes it onto the site (we’ve found a few before, but they always sold before they got a chance to be listed!). I’m not sure if you want to hear the story of how we finally found these good pressings or just snap this one up before the next man does — I think we all know this record isn’t going to last long here!

There have been a ton of Pet Sounds vinyl releases over the years and most of them are awful. I’m not going to give away what pressing this is, it took us a lot of work to figure out what the best ones are. So do not buy this with any assumption of what you might be getting, except for a great sounding Pet Sounds!

Perhaps one day we’ll do a long commentary about what the various pressings get right and wrong, which ones are worth a shot and which ones to avoid. Unfortunately, there’s no money in that for us and we are first and foremost a business here. Investing a couple of hours into telling the world what Pet Sounds versions to buy really doesn’t do us a lot of good. So for now, let’s just describe this one.

Pet Sounds in not a perfect recording and you can not expect “perfect” sound. But go ahead and play this copy against every other Pet Sounds in your collection — I think you’ll be more than impressed. Your satisfaction is of course guaranteed.

TRACK LISTING

Side One

Wouldn’t It Be Nice 
You Still Believe in Me 
That’s Not Me 
Don’t Talk (Put Your Head on My Shoulder) 
I’m Waiting for the Day 
Let’s Go Away for Awhile 
Sloop John B.

Side Two

God Only Knows 
I Know There’s an Answer 
Here Today 
I Just Wasn’t Made for These Times 
Pet Sounds 
Caroline, No

AMG Review

The best Beach Boys album, and one of the best of the 1960s. The group here reached a whole new level in terms of both composition and production, layering tracks upon tracks of vocals and instruments to create a richly symphonic sound. Conventional keyboards and guitars were combined with exotic touches of orchestrated strings, bicycle bells, buzzing organs, harpsichords, flutes, Theremin, Hawaiian-sounding string instruments, Coca-Cola cans, barking dogs, and more. It wouldn’t have been a classic without great songs, and this has some of the group’s most stunning melodies, as well as lyrical themes which evoke both the intensity of newly born love affairs and the disappointment of failed romance (add in some general statements about loss of innocence and modern-day confusion as well)… Massively influential upon its release (although it was a relatively low seller compared to their previous LPs), it immediately vaulted the band into the top level of rock innovators among the intelligentsia, especially in Britain, where it was a much bigger hit.

The Beach Boys – Surf’s Up

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  • You’ll find outstanding Double Plus (A++) sound on both sides of this original Reprise pressing 
  • They revolutionized the popular music of their day with their genius for harmony, and this copy gets their voices right
  • Includes classics Don’t Go Near the Water, Long Promised Road, Till I Die, and of course the title smash hit, Surf’s up
  • 4 stars: “A masterpiece [which] defined the Beach Boys’ tumultuous career better than any other album … The album closer, ‘Surf’s Up,’ is a masterpiece of baroque psychedelia, probably the most compelling track from the Smile period.”

When it works, boy can this album sound AMAZING. Full of tubey magic, not to mention analog warmth and sweetness, this is clearly one of the band’s best albums of the 70s. (more…)

The Beach Boys – Endless Summer

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

Endless Summer in Hot Stamper form at last! We’ve been picking these up over the years and until now we hadn’t found copies with the kind of consistently good sound we’d want to give Hot Stamper grades too. This time around, that finally changed! We finally tracked down a handful of copies that really delivered. Like any compilation, there are some tracks that 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 (check the track listing tab above) that for most of you this and Pet Sounds should be all the Beach Boys you’ll ever need.

A lot of these have been pressed over the years, including a newer version on Heavy Vinyl. Let me tell you — most of the copies we’ve played are just awful. It’s beyond difficult to find a quiet one with four strong sides, so good luck if you want to take this one on yourself… you’ll need it!

TRACK LISTING

Side One

Surfin’ Safari 
Surfer Girl 
Catch a Wave 
The Warmth of the Sun 
Surfin’ U.S.A.

Side Two

Be True to Your School 
Little Deuce Coupe 
In My Room 
Shut Down 
Fun, Fun, Fun

Side Three

I Get Around 
The Girls on the Beach 
Wendy 
Let Him Run Wild 
Don”t Worry Baby

Side Four

California Girls 
Girl Don”t Tell Me 
Help Me, Rhonda 
You”re So Good to Me 
All Summer Long

AMG 5 Star Review

This was the album by which millions of sons of late baby boomers (and sons and daughters of the early ones) first really discovered the Beach Boys, beyond hearing the occasional oldie on the radio. It was the summer of 1974, and the Beach Boys were still trying to get themselves back on track commercially after a seven-year commercial dry spell, when this double LP of their 1963-1966 material (all but one cut predating Pet Sounds) came along and did the job. 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), and attracted the enthusiastic attention of millions of listeners too young to have bought their singles back when. The programming was a little thin, not even running an hour total, spread among two LPs, but most of the group’s best loved singles were represented — no notes, not a word of historical context, just a great collection of songs that proved irresistible to many shoppers. The packaging was nigh perfect, a simple, celebratory sun-lit graphic that spoke volumes about the music.

Today’s Mediocre LP – Pet Sounds on DCC

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Sonic Grade: C-

The no-longer-surprising thing about our Hot Stamper pressings of Pet Sounds is how completely they trounce the DCC LP. Folks, it’s really no contest. Yes, the DCC is tonally balanced and can sound decent enough but it can’t compete with the best “mystery” pressings that we sell. It’s missing too much of the presence, intimacy, immediacy and transparency that we’ve discovered on the better Capitol pressings.

As is the case with practically every record pressed on Heavy Vinyl over the last twenty years, there is a suffocating loss of ambience throughout, a pronounced sterility to the sound. Modern remastered records just do not BREATHE like the real thing. Good EQ or Bad EQ, they all suffer to one degree or another from a bad case of audio enervation. Where is the life of the music? You can try turning up the volume on these remastered LPs all you want; they simply refuse to come to life.