Top Artists – Arlo Guthrie

Various Artists / Woodstock

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  • These original pressings boast seriously good Double Plus (A++) sound or BETTER on all SIX sides
  • With Mint Minus Minus vinyl and no marks that can be heard, you will have a very hard time finding a copy that plays this well
  • We guarantee there is dramatically more richness, fullness, vocal presence, and performance energy on this copy than others you’ve heard, and that’s especially true if you made the mistake of buying whatever Heavy Vinyl pressing is currently on the market
  • “As potent a musical time capsule as ever existed, it captures the three-day, 1969 concert event that united close to half a million members of what came to be known as the ‘Woodstock Generation.’ It topped the Billboard Charts for four weeks and sold two million copies.”

You will have a very hard time finding a quieter copy!

Folks, it was a struggle, let me tell you! Not as much of a struggle as putting on the concert itself to be sure, but a struggle for those of us charged with finding good sound on this famously badly recorded album.

First off there are six sides to play for every copy.

Secondly the sound is problematical at best; figuring out what the best copies do well that the run-of-the-mill copies don’t takes quite a bit of concentration, and one has to stay focused for a long time (most of the day in fact). After a while it can really start to wear on your nerves. (more…)

Arlo Guthrie – The Tri-Color Pressings Are Hard to Beat

More of the Music of Arlo Guthrie

More Hot Stamper Pressings of Classic Debut Albums

This two-tone Reprise stereo pressings of Arlo Guthrie’s classic debut often do well in our shootouts, but the Tri-Color originals are a step up in class, when and if they can be found with quiet enough surfaces.

The originals win the shootouts, but they need to be mastered and pressed right, and cleaned properly, to beat the best of the second pressings.

The originals tend to have exceptionally Tubey Magical Sound and it certainly doesn’t take a pair of golden ears to hear it.

The 18 minute plus title song sounds wonderful – natural, Tubey Magical, and tonally correct, as befits any top quality vintage pressing, especially one with Lee Herschberg handling the engineering duties.

As we never tire of saying:

This vintage pressing has the kind of Tubey Magical Midrange that modern records can barely 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.

If you exclusively play modern repressings of vintage recordings, I can say without fear of contradiction that you have never heard this kind of sound on vinyl. Old records have it — not often, and certainly not always — but maybe one out of a hundred new records do, and those are some pretty long odds.


Arlo Guthrie – Alice’s Restaurant

More Arlo Guthrie

  • This early Reprise stereo pressing of Arlo Guthrie’s classic debut boasts outstanding Double Plus (A++) sound throughout – unusually quiet vinyl too
  • These Two-Color pressings are practically impossible to find with surfaces this quiet, but we found this one, don’t ask me how
  • The 18 minute plus title song sounds wonderful here – natural, Tubey Magical, and tonally correct, as befits any top quality vintage pressing, especially one with Lee Herschberg handling the engineering duties
  • 4 stars: “… provide[s] an insight into his uniformly outstanding — yet astoundingly overlooked — early sides on Warner Bros.”


Various Artists – A Tribute To Steve Goodman (2 LPs)

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Reviews and Commentaries for Bonnie Raitt’s Albums

This is a famous record here at Better Records. I’ve been raving about this album for close to 15 years. There was a time when albums like this could be found sealed in my catalog for $15 or $20. Those were the days.  

This All-Star tribute to Steve Goodman has some wonderful music on it. The high point for me is the duet between Bonnie Rait and John Prine on Angel From Montgomery. It’s one of my favorite Bonnie Rait songs, and hearing it live with John Prine singing takes it to another level. It’s followed by John Prine singing My Old Man, which is also a classic. (more…)

Arlo Guthrie – Watch Out for Vocals that Are Too Forward

More of the Music of Arlo Guthrie

More Records with Specific Advice on What to Listen For

It’s not easy to find a copy of this album that sounds right.

Many of the copies we played suffer from a “forward” quality to the vocals, which make them positively unpleasant to listen to.

Others lacked of presence, which left them easy on the ears but ultimately boring.

Then there were the copies that got the vocals right but just didn’t have all the Tubey Magic you want for this kind of simple, folky music.

I’m not going to go out on a limb and say this is an album everyone needs in their collection, but it’s certainly enjoyable. For those of you who get a kick out of this slice of ’60s life, you’re going to have a very hard time finding a copy that sounds as good as this one.

It’s nice when the copy in hand has all the transparency, space, layered depth and three-dimensionality that makes listening to records such a fundamentally different experience than listening to digitally-sourced material, but it’s not nearly as important as having that rich, relaxed tonal balance.

A little smear and a subtle lack of resolution is not the end of the world on most of the records we sell, including this one.

Brightness and leanness, along with grit and grain on the vocals, can be.

If the average record sounded even close to right, nobody would need us to find good sounding copies for them. They’d be sitting in every record bin in town and we would have to find some other kinds of records to sell.

The records may indeed be in every bin in town — that’s where we found the copies that went into this shootout — but the sound sure isn’t.