Top Artists – Eric Clapton, Cream, Blind Faith, etc.

Derek and the Dominos – Layla

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  • Some of our favorite Clapton songs are here: Bell Bottom Blues, Tell The Truth, Little Wing, Layla and Have You Ever Loved A Woman?
  • One of the most difficult albums to find audiophile sound for, but a lot easier for us now that we know what pressings can actually sound good
  • Clapton’s greatest album: “But what really makes Layla such a powerful record is that Clapton, ignoring the traditions that occasionally painted him into a corner, simply tears through these songs with burning, intense emotion.”

Outstanding sound for all four sides of this classic album. Unless you plan on playing a very big pile of copies you will be hard-pressed to find a copy with sound like this. (more…)

Letter of the Week – “I recently changed my entire system and now all of my Better Records are sounding spectacular.”

More of the Music of Eric Clapton

More Reviews and Commentaries for the Music of Eric Clapton

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

Hey Tom, 

I just listened to the Eric Clapton Unplugged White Hot Stamper I purchased from you.

All I can say is AMAZING. I’ve been a customer of yours going back about 15 years ago. I recently changed my entire system and now all of my Better Records are sounding spectacular.

I can’t wait to hear the Crosby, Stills, Nash White Hot stamper I just purchased from you.

Thanks

Dave

David,

We could not be happier to hear that news!

The better your equipment, the better our records sound, that is just a fact.

Hope you like that CSN album, it’s a bitch to find a copy that sounds like the ones we sell. It’s no demo disc but is real and correct in a way that not one out of a hundred copies are.

Best, TP

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Eric Clapton – Journeyman

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  • A superb import copy with Double Plus (A++) sound on both sides
  • Forget the commonly dry-sounding domestic copies – the pressings mastered in Germany and the UK were the only ones good enough for us to put in a shootout
  • Rich, lively, spacious – the right pressings are surprisingly good-sounding for a recording from 1989
  • The big hit was “Pretending,” but “Bad Love” (both went to Number One) won the Grammy for Best Male Rock Vocal
  • 4 1/2 stars: “… a laid-back and thoroughly engaging display of Clapton’s virtuosity. On the whole, it’s the best studio album he’s released since Slowhand.”

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Eric Clapton – Self-Titled

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More Debut Albums of Interest

  • Excellent Double Plus (A++) sound from start to finish on this early UK Polydor pressing – exceptionally quiet vinyl too
  • Man, what a revelation to hear this old favorite sound so rich and open – you’ll have a VERY difficult time finding one that sounds this good lying around in your local record store’s bins, that’s for sure
  • Spaciousness, richness and freedom from grit and grain are key to the best pressings, and here you will find all three
  • 4 1/2 stars: “Throughout the album, Clapton turns out concise solos that de-emphasize his status as guitar god, even when they display astonishing musicality and technique.”

This is not your usual Clapton album, and that’s a good thing because most Clapton albums are full of filler. Not so here — almost every song is good, and many are superb.

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Cream / Fresh Cream – Yes, It Can Actually Sound Quite Good on Atco

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More British Blues Rock

  • Fresh Cream returns to the site with excellent Double Plus (A++) sound or very close to it on both sides of this Plum and Tan Atco stereo original
  • The band’s debut album has much better sound than most of those that followed – it’s surprisingly Tubey Magical, with tons of studio space and lovely vocal presence
  • If all you know is the DCC pressing, or any other Heavy Vinyl pressing, you are in for quite a treat with this domestic Hot Stamper
  • The Atco pressings never win our shootouts, but they can still have sound that is quite a bit better than 90% of the pressings audiophiles seem to like
  • 4 1/2 Stars: “Fresh Cream represents so many different firsts, it’s difficult to keep count. Cream, of course, was the first supergroup, but their first album not only gave birth to the power trio, it also was instrumental in the birth of heavy metal and the birth of jam rock…”
  • If you’re a fan of the band, this title from 1966 is clearly one of their best, and one of their best sounding
  • The complete list of titles from 1966 that we’ve reviewed to date can be found here.

Vintage covers for this album are hard to find in exceptionally clean shape. Most of the will have at least some amount of ringwear, seam wear and edge wear. We guarantee that the cover we supply with this Hot Stamper is at least VG


We recently finished a shootout for this band’s hard-rockin’ debut album and were once again delighted to hear how good this music can sound when you get a pressing that sounds as good as this one does. Nothing the band did in the studio was as well-recorded as their first album.

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Cream – Wheels Of Fire

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  • Cream ROCKS on this insanely good UK import with KILLER Shoutout Winning Triple Plus (A+++) sound on sides three and four
  • The power and energy of the live sides is off the charts, since off the charts is the kind of sound that wins shootouts — punchy, open, and spacious with bass and whomp you have never experienced for this music, guaranteed
  • Everything you’d want sonically from a live Cream recording is present on sides three and four – big-time presence, tons of life, tonal correctness, and loads of tubey magic
  • 4 stars: “…Clapton is at a peak here, whether he’s tearing off solos on a 17-minute “Spoonful” or goosing “White Room” toward the heights of madness. But it’s the architect of “White Room,” bassist Jack Bruce, who, along with his collaborator Peter Brown, reaches a peak as a songwriter…. [I]n many ways Wheels of Fire is indeed filled with Cream’s very best work, since it also captures the fury and invention (and indulgence) of the band at its peak on the stage and in the studio, but as it tries to find a delicate balance between these three titanic egos, it doesn’t quite add up to something greater than the sum of its parts. But taken alone, those individual parts are often quite tremendous.
  • If you’re a fan of Clapton and the band, this RSO UK import from 1968 belongs in your collection.
  • The complete list of titles from 1968 that we’ve reviewed to date can be found here.

It’s exceptionally difficult to find even decent sounding copies of this album. We’ve played SCORES of original domestic copies, original imports, and all kinds of reissues over the years, and it’s very rare to find a copy that sounds this good on all four sides. (more…)

Eric Clapton’s Debut Album – A Classic of Classic Rock

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More Reviews and Commentaries for the Music of Eric Clapton

We had a killer pressing a few years back which sounded a whole lot better than I ever thought the album could sound. Man, what a revelation to hear an old favorite sound so amazingly spacious and sweet.

I’ve been playing this album since 1970, the year it came out. Back then my collection was made up of albums by The Beatles, The Doors, Buffalo Springfield, Crosby Stills and Nash, America, Rod Stewart, Led Zeppelin, Elton John, Chicago, James Taylor, Spirit, The Band, Loggins and Messina, Blind Faith, Bread, The Who …

This was the music of my youth, and although many other artists and styles of music have been added to the playlist in the ensuing decades, Classic Rock still makes up a substantial portion of the music I play and enjoy today. (more…)

Eric Clapton – Unplugged

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  • The sound of this superb import is rich, full-bodied, lively, and warm, with solid bass and breathy, clear vocals
  • 4 1/2 stars: “Unplugged is the concert and album that established the MTV program as a classy, tony showcase for artists eager to redefine themselves via reexamination of their catalogs, which is what Clapton cannily did here.”

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Cream – Live Cream

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More Live Recordings of Interest

  • An outstanding copy of Live Cream, with solid Double Plus (A++) sound throughout – exceptionally quiet vinyl too
  • Super lively and clear with the kind of bass that most pressings simply don’t have in our experience
  • 4 stars: “Foreground and background seem to dissolve as all three musicians take charge, using the full range of their instruments. And where Bruce goes with his bass, especially on ‘Sweet Wine,’ is every bit as rewarding as the places that Clapton’s guitar takes us; and Ginger Baker’s playing is a trip all its own. Performances like this single-handedly raised the stakes of musicianship in rock.”
  • If you’re a Cream fan, this live classic from 1970 belongs in your collection.
  • The complete list of titles from 1970 that we’ve reviewed to date can be found here.

Cream were certainly no slouches in the musicianship department, and this live performance captures them at the peak of their powers.

When you get a good copy of this album you’re sure to hear what we heard — that this is truly one of the great live rock albums (with a bit of studio material on side two as well). This has the Big Rock Sound that we go crazy for at Better Records. The best pressings, the ones that are full-bodied and smooth, let you crank the levels and reproduce the album good and loud the way it was meant to be heard.

When it’s all working, you’re front and center for a fiery Cream concert with these guys delivering one heckuva performance. And where else are you gonna get that these days?

Over the last 18 years that we’ve been doing our Hot Stamper thing we’ve heard scores of Cream albums; we know their music well, and they are hard to beat when playing live. (more…)

Blind Faith – Self-Titled

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Reviews and Commentaries for Blind Faith

  • From the moment we dropped the needle and heard all that fluffy, correct-sounding tape hiss, we knew we were in for a treat – the sound on both sides is punchy, open, spacious, big, bold, and ALIVE!
  • If you doubt this record can sound as good as you remember from back in the day, assuming you are an old goat like me, this pressing will be a revelation
  • 4 stars: “Blind Faith’s first and last album, more than 30 years old and counting [we are up to 52 now], remains one of the jewels of the Eric Clapton, Steve Winwood, and Ginger Baker catalogs. . . it merges the soulful blues of the former with the heavy riffing and outsized song lengths of the latter for a very compelling sound unique to this band.”
  • If you’re a Classic Rock fan, this band’s debut from 1969 is an absolute Must Own, especially when it sounds as good as this copy does
  • The complete list of titles from 1969 that we’ve reviewed to date can be found here.

Here is the Blind Faith you’ve been waiting for: Tubey Magical, Transparent, full of Life and Energy — dear friends, it’s all here. And the vinyl is some of the quietest we’ve ever heard for this album.

Sick of buying one harsh, thin, distorted, veiled, closed-in, smeary LP after another in a vain attempt to find a copy that reminds you of why you LOVED this record so much when it came out back in 1969?

(Assuming you’re as old as I am; we had the 8 track tape that could play in the car and the house — music was so convenient back then. Of course I had the domestic original vinyl – I was 15 years old, I had never seen an import record in my life.)

This is no audiophile made-from-the-master-tape snake oil. This is the real thing. This copy is guaranteed to blow the bad memories of all those other versions you’ve owned in the past right out of your memory banks. A short list: the MoFi LP and Gold CD, Simply Vinyl LP, the new Heavy Vinyl version if there is one, and anything else that comes out from here until the end of time.

Face it: It’s all JUNK compared to a record like this.

Why mince words? We’ve played all those records (except for the bad ones that have yet to be pressed of course). (more…)