Ella’s 1959 release finally arrives on the site with STUNNING Shootout Winning Triple Plus (A+++) Mono sound from first note to last
The sound is relaxed, full-bodied and lively, with Tubey Magical richness befitting the 1957 and 1959 recording dates of these sessions
Skip the stereo pressing on this title – none of the copies we played could hold a candle to this killer mono LP
“The album focuses on well-known songs not included in Fitzgerald’s epic Songbooks project, and several of the songs are tunes that she had recently recorded in duet with Louis Armstrong.”
4 stars: “A fine gem among the diamonds of Ella Fitzgerald’s late-’50s period with Verve… Wrapped in the strings of Frank DeVol’s orchestra, Fitzgerald is a bewitching presence singing these dreamy standards…”
With a shootout winning Triple Plus (A+++) side two and a Double Plus (A++) side one, this early stereo pressing is a knockout – exceptionally quiet vinyl too
Ella is rich, Tubey Magical and breathy – this is the way she should sound, and that makes this copy a true Demo Disc
To get the vocals AND the brass to sound right on the same copy is the trick, and these two sides pulled it off
4 1/2 Stars: “…this 1963 LP was the first time (other than a couple songs) that Ella Fitzgerald and Count Basie recorded together. The match-up was so logical that it would be repeated many times over the next 20 years.”
Take it from an Ella fan, you can’t go wrong with this one. The sound is rich and full-bodied, in the proud tradition of a classic vintage jazz vocal album with big band backup. You could easily demonstrate your stereo with a record this good, but what you would really be demonstrating is music that the listener probably isn’t familiar with, and that’s the best reason to put on an old record.
The space is HUGE and the sound so rich. Prodigious amounts of Tubey Magic as well, which is key to the best sounding copies. The sound needs weight, warmth and tubes or you might as well be playing a CD.(more…)
Stunning sound on this early Verve Mono LP with both sides rating a Triple Plus (A+++) and playing reasonably quietly
As Good As It Gets – no modern pressing can hope to put Ella and Louis right in the room with you the way this one from 1956 can
One of the greatest duet albums of all time, if not THE GREATEST – a Desert Island Disc to beat them all
4 1/2 stars: “Ella and Louis is an inspired collaboration, masterminded by producer Norman Granz… Gentle and sincere, this is deserving of a place in every home.”
Click and pop counters might want to give this one a miss. It’s not as quiet as a modern pressing would be, but it’s as quiet as this title can be found on vintage ’50s Verve vinyl. If you have a top quality, heavily tweaked front end and a quiet cartridge, you might be good to go, but if you are picky about your surfaces, we recommend you give this one a miss.
Those of you looking for a cheaper, quieter alternative to spending hundreds of dollars on one of our Hot Stampers should look into the original Speakers Corner pressing or the CD, both of which we’ve played and both of which are quite good.(more…)
This killer 2-Pack offers Shootout Winning Triple Plus (A+++) sound or very close to it from start to finish – fairly quiet vinyl too for a stereo pressing of this vintage
Exceptionally lovely All Tube sound from 1961, with a huge, rich orchestra conducted by the legendary Nelson Riddle
Ella’s way with this material won her the Grammy Award for Best Vocal Performance, her 7th Grammy
“The singer has rarely sounded better than during this period. Fitzgerald sticks mostly to familiar standards and is particularly memorable on ‘Don’t Be That Way,’ ‘What Am I Here For,’ ‘I’m Gonna Go Fishin,’ ‘ and ‘I Won’t Dance.'”
Take it from an Ella fan, you can’t go wrong with this one. This is about as quiet as we can find them – this is one of the lucky few that play this well.
The sound is rich and full-bodied in the best tradition of a classic vintage jazz vocal album. You could easily demonstrate your stereo with a record this good! The space is HUGE and the sound so rich.
Prodigious amounts of Tubey Magic as well, which is key to the best sounding copies. The sound needs weight, warmth and tubes or you might as well be playing a CD.(more…)
A superb pressing of Ella’s wonderful 1967 release with nearly Triple Plus (A++ to A+++) sound from start to finish – just shy of our Shootout Winner
This one is doing everything right– it’s bigger, bolder, richer and more clean, clear and open than nearly almost everything else we played
Superb engineering from the man behind so many great sounding Verve records, Val Valentin
4 stars: “Whoever decided to put pianist Marty Paich and Ella Fitzgerald together in the studio in 1966 deserves a bit of credit for the great music on Whisper Not. Together, Fitzgerald and Paich deliver a dozen beautifully sung, carefully arranged standards.”
This Mono pressing boasts solid Double Plus (A++) sound or close to it from start to finish
We have a devil of a time finding copies that sound good, play quietly, and have no audible marks or wear
The vocal naturalness and immediacy of this early pressing will put Ella in the room with you – more than anything else, it lets her performance come to life
Our single Favorite Female Vocal album here at Better Records, one that gets better with each passing year
“Another typically wonderful LP of Ella Fitzgerald in her prime…this is an excellent (and somewhat underrated) set.”
Folks, if you’re in the market for one of the most magical female vocal recordings ever made, today is your lucky day.
We’re absolutely crazy about this album, and here’s a copy that more than justifies our enthusiasm. You will have a very hard time finding better sound than we are offering here.
Longtime customers know that I have been raving about this album for more than two decades, ever since I first heard it back around 1995. I consider it the finest female vocal album in the history of the world. I could go on for pages about this record. Suffice it to say this record belongs in every right-thinking Music Lover’s collection.
Our last shootout was early 2019. Fans of The First Lady of Song are encouraged to give this one a very hard look. It’s not cheap but this kind of quality never is.(more…)
Fitzgerald’s second Songbook release finally arrives on the site with stunning Shootout Winning Triple Plus (A+++) sound or close to it on all four of these wonderful mono sides
There’s real Tubey Magic on this album, along with breathy vocals, in-your-listening-room midrange presence and no shortage of swingin’ energy
We would love to find you a quiet, amazing sounding copy, but that just does not seem to be in the cards
5 stars: “The second of Ella Fitzgerald’s famed Songbook series features her singing 34 of the best songs co-written by Richard Rodgers and Lorenz Hart. The arrangements by Buddy Bregman for the string orchestra and big band only border on jazz but she manages to swing the medium-tempo numbers and give sensitivity to the ballads. “
A superb copy with outstanding Double Plus (A++) sound from first note to last – exceptionally quiet vinyl for a pressing of this vintage
The 1956 recording quality is excellent, with orchestral space and midrange richness that puts this pressing well above most of what we played
5 stars: “The arrangements by Buddy Bregman for the string orchestra and big band only border on jazz but she manages to swing the medium-tempo numbers and give sensitivity to the ballads. With such songs as “You Took Advantage of Me,” “The Lady Is a Tramp,” “It Never Entered My Mind,” “Where or When,” “My Funny Valentine,” and “Blue Moon,” it is not too surprising that these recordings were so popular.”
This ’50s LP has the kind of Tubey Magical Midrange that modern pressings barely BEGIN to reproduce. Folks, that sound is gone and it sure isn’t showing any sign of coming back.(more…)