Top Artists – David Sanborn

David Bowie – David Live

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  • You’ll find incredible Nearly Triple Plus (A++ to A+++) sound on side one of this Bowie classic, and outstanding Double Plus (A++) sound or close to it on the other three – fairly quiet vinyl too
  • One of our favorite live recordings – a great overview of Bowie’s career through 1974
  • “1984,” “Rebel Rebel,” “Sweet Thing” and “Rock and Roll With Me” come ALIVE in performance like you have never heard before
  • A-List players of the day deliver sonic treats, including multiple horn players, multiple percussionists, all-male chorus background vocals, the searing fuzzed-out guitar leads of Earl Slick, piano and Mellotron by Mike Garson, and the amazing Herbie Flowers on bass
  • We’ve recently compiled a list of records we think every audiophile should get to know better, along the lines of “the 1001 records you need to hear before you die,” with an accent on the joy these amazing audiophile-quality recordings can bring to your life. David Live is a good example of a record audiophiles may not know well but we think might benefit from getting to know better

When you listen to an outstanding copy of this Bowie classic, you will have no trouble picturing yourself in the audience with a front row center seat. And the great thing about a record like this is that you can be in the front row of this very concert whenever you want!

The other top live album is, of course, Waiting For Columbus, and the two have much in common. Most importantly, the songs played live on both albums are consistently better than their studio versions. (This is especially true on the Little Feat album. Little Feat was not a studio band and their live arrangements — with the Tower of Power horns — just murder the studio ones.)

For us audiophiles, the other reason to own a Hot Copy of David Live or Waiting For Columbus is that the sound is much improved over most of the studio albums in which the material was originally found. Have you ever heard a good sounding “Diamond Dogs”?

But David Live is full of great sounding material from the album. “1984” is much better here than on the original album. “Rebel Rebel,” “Sweet Thing” and “Rock & Roll With Me” also come alive in performance. They rock!


The Paul Butterfield Blues Band – Keep On Moving

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  • A KILLER sounding copy with Shootout Winning Triple Plus (A+++) sound from start to finish
  • Forget whatever dead-as-a-doornail Heavy Vinyl record they’re making these days – if you want to hear the Tubey Magic, size and energy of this wonderful album, a vintage Elektra stereo pressing is the only way to go
  • “People who liked Butter long ago usually don’t like what he’s become. I’ve only dug him over the past two years and I think he just gets better and better. This record, vocally oriented and produced by Jerry Ragavoy, is his best yet, hard-driving and very tight. ” – Robert Christgau (A)

I would have never guessed this band’s records could sound so good! We’ve been trying to find good sound for the Butterfield Blues Band with no luck for years, but we lucked into a seriously hot Red Label Elektra pressing here. There’s serious weight down low, nice extension up top, tons of tubey magic and surprising transparency to be found. Good luck finding better sound for this kind of bluesy rock and roll!

My favorite thing about the sound here is how three-dimensional it is. You get real depth to the soundfield and lots of separation between the various parts. With so many musicians doing their thing, it’s essential to be able to make sense of what each guy is going. It really added to my appreciation of the music.


Michael Franks – The Art of Tea

  • Our first listing for Michael Franks “debut”, and with Triple Triple sonic grades it just does not get any better than this
  • This copy is bigger, richer and more extended up high and down low than any copy we have ever played – wow!
  • According to the liner notes this album was recorded live in the studio – top engineering too
  • 4 Stars: “This winning combination of players, styles, singing, and songwriting would be reshuffled and refined over the years, but perhaps with no finer results than on this official major label debut.”

No other copy in our shootout could hold a candle to the sound of this original pressing! (more…)

Classic Tracks: “How Sweet It Is (to Be Loved by You)”

Mixonline Classic Tracks


How sweet it is! The James Taylor track of that name with Carly Simon vocals and a David Sanborn sax solo went to Number 5 on the Billboard 100 in 1975, dominating radio and adding a sweet voice to the din of the turbulent mid-1970s.

The Russ Titelman/Lenny Waronker production of “How Sweet It Is (To Be Loved By You)” became the most successful version of the Holland-Dozier composition, originally recorded by Marvin Gaye in 1964. (more…)

The Paul Butterfield Blues Band – In My Own Dream

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  • An outstanding copy of the band’s 1968 release with solid Double Plus (A++) sonic grades on both sides
  • Like most of the group’s albums on these early pressings, the sound is full-bodied and smooth, with prodigious amounts of bottom end
  • Notable as the last Butterfield record with original members Mark Naftalin and Elvin Bishop who both moved on to solo ventures after its release
  • “More to the point, this album represented a new version of the band being born… there was a widely shared spotlight for the players, and more of a jazz influence on this record than had ever been heard before from the group…The playing is impressive…”


Bryan Ferry – Boys and Girls

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  • You’ll find excellent Double Plus (A++) sound on both sides of this classic Ferry album from 1985 
  • This copy was super big, full and lively with plenty of presence and bottom end weight
  • On this record, bigger bass and punchier drums make all the difference in the world
  • “Instead of ragged rock explosions, emotional extremes, and all that made his ’70s work so compelling in and out of Roxy, Ferry here is the suave, debonair if secretly moody and melancholic lover, with music to match…”

Excellent sound and quiet vinyl on both sides! If you’ve spent any time with this album, you will be blown away by how great both sides of this copy sound.


Bonnie Raitt / The Glow – Our Shootout Winner from 2012

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Reviews and Commentaries for Bonnie Raitt’s Albums


After a nearly two year hiatus, finally, a Top Copy makes it to the site. Side one here is nearly White Hot (A++ to A+++), which means it finished just a half step behind our shootout winner. It’s got that big, rich, solid ANALOG Val Garay (James Taylor, Linda Ronstadt) sound that we go crazy for here at Better Records (where the records are still made from analog tapes, even if it’s only because there aren’t any other kind to make them from!).

And side two is nearly as good, earning Two big Pluses for itself for Bonnie’s-in-the-room-with-you presence and huge Disappearing-Speaker-Effect presentation. It may not have all the space within the soundstage as the best we played. but it’s as wide and as tall as any. Either way, it certainly is impressive. On big speakers, you are there.

The Glow’s best material can be found in the deeper cuts — I would point potential listeners in the direction of Your Good Thing (Is About to End) on side one — with an amazing sax solo (he holds the patent in perpetuity) courtesy of David Sanborn, and (Goin’) Wild for You Baby at the end of side two. Once you get past the more radio-friendly lead-off tracks on both sides, the quality of the writing and performing improve markedly. (more…)

Listening in Depth to Young Americans

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Presenting another entry in our extensive Listening in Depth series with advice on what to listen for as you critically evaluate your copy of the album.

Here are some albums currently on our site with similar Track by Track breakdowns.

This is one of my favorite Bowie albums. Nobody seems to care about it anymore. They dismiss it as disco junk, but it actually has some of his best music on it. I especially like the song Win. David Sanborn’s saxophone sounds like it’s coming from 60 feet behind Bowie, a nice effect.

In-Depth Track Commentary

Side One

Young Americans  

My favorite track on the album, an undiscovered gem in the Bowie catalog. (more…)