Top Artists – Jennifer Warnes

Letter of the Week – “I really thought that was a nice repress until I heard yours.”

More of the Music of Jennifer Warnes

More of the Music of Leonard Cohen

Reviews and Commentaries for Famous Blue Raincoat

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

  Hey Tom,   

So that Jennifer Warnes blew the repress away, absolutely wiped the floor with it. I couldn’t believe the difference, sigh. I really thought that was a nice repress until I heard yours.

Bloody Hell. Lol.  

Thanks as always.

T.

T.,

Some Heavy Vinyl records sound good enough to fool you. Up against a truly Hot Stamper, the differences become very obvious. That’s why we say that the only way to find a Hot Stamper pressing is through the shootout process. Any record can sound good, but up against five or ten others? That’s a test that only the best pressings can pass.

Thanks for your letter,

TP


FURTHER READING

New to the Blog? Start Here

Important Lessons We Learned from Record Experiments 

More Hot Stamper Testimonial Letters

More Letters Comparing Hot Stamper Pressings to Their Half-Speed Mastered Counterparts

More Letters Comparing Hot Stamper Pressings to Their Heavy Vinyl Counterparts

Rob Wasserman – Duets

More Rob Wasserman

  • This rare and wonderful album from 1988 on the original MCA label offers outstanding Double Plus (A++) sound throughout 
  • In-the-room vocal presence (Jennifer Warnes is stunning on Leonard Cohen’s Ballad Of The Runaway Horse) and tight, note-like bass are key to the best pressings
  • Exceptionally quiet vinyl throughout – Mint Minus to Mint Minus Minus – they don’t come quieter in our experience
  • 4 1/2 stars: “Some amazing duets and a great lineup that includes Aaron Neville (v), Stephane Grappelli (violin), Dan Hicks (v, g), and so on. The jazz community missed this one.” [But the audiophile community loved it.)

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Jennifer Warnes / The Hunter – Awful on Import Vinyl (and Any Other Way)

Sonic Grade: F

A Hall of Shame Pressing on import vinyl from 1992. Years ago we wrote:

This is a SUPER RARE Private Music German Import LP. The last two copies of this record listed on eBay went for over $600! 

All of which was true. We left out, however, what an awful record The Hunter is in every way.

If you like your Big Production Pop to sound as phony as possible, this is the album for you. Not one instrument sounds remotely like it should, and that is surely an insult to audiophiles of every stripe.

The problem was that most self-identified audiophiles failed to notice how execrable the sound was. 

Oh, but it was on vinyl! That should solve all the problems with the recording.

Yes, the CD was bad, but the vinyl was no better. I had them both and couldn’t stand either of them.


The only album we like of Ms Warnes is Famous Blue Raincoat

It is her masterpiece, a Core Collection record, and a clear case of One and Done.

When you have a good copy of Famous Blue Raincoat, you have all the Jennifer Warnes you will ever need.

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Listening in Depth to Famous Blue Raincoat

More of the Music of Jennifer Warnes

More of the Music of Leonard Cohen

Reviews and Commentaries for Famous Blue Raincoat

I’m a huge fan of this music. It’s the only album Jennifer Warnes ever made that I would consider a Must Own record or a Desert Island Disc.

In my humble opinion it’s clearly her MASTERPIECE.

Key Test for Side One

Listen to the snare drum on Bird on a Wire. On most copies it sound thin and bright, not very much like a real snare. Let’s face it: most copies of this record are thin and bright, and that’s just not our sound here at Better Records. If the snare on Bird sounds solid and meaty, at the very least you have a copy that is probably not too bright, and on this album that puts it well ahead of the pack.

While you’re listening for the sound of that snare, notice the amazing drum work of Vinnie Colaiuta, session drummer extraordinaire. The guy’s work on this track — especially with the high hat — is GENIUS.

Key Test for Side Two

Listen to the sound of the piano on Song of Bernadette. If it’s rich and full-bodied with the weight of a real piano, you might just have yourself a winner. At the very least you won’t have to suffer through the anemically thin sound of the average copy.

In-Depth Track Commentary

Side One

First We Take Manhattan

Don’t expect this song to ever be tonally correct. It runs the gamut from bright to too bright to excrutiatingly bright. Steve Hoffman told me that he took out something like 6 DB at 6K, and I’m guessing that that’s the minimum that would need to come out. It’s made to be a hit single, and like so many hit single wannabes, it’s mixed bright. (more…)

Jennifer Warnes – Shot Through The Heart

  • Shot Through The Heart makes its Hot Stamper debut here with KILLER Shootout Winning Triple Plus (A+++) sound from start to finish
  • You get clean, clear, full-bodied, lively and musical ANALOG sound from first note to last
  • 4 stars: ” Jennifer Warnes took charge of the recording of [this] her second Arista album, co-producing it and writing three songs, including the title track… On her own, her taste was impeccable… She proved an adept producer, achieving a smooth pop/rock sound… With session stars like Andrew Gold aboard, Warnes succeeded in making what sounded like the great lost Linda Ronstadt album.”

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Jennifer Warnes – Famous Blue Raincoat

More of the Music of Jennifer Warnes

More of the Music of Leonard Cohen

  • A Demo Disc quality pressing of this longtime audiophile favorite, with stunning Shootout Winning Triple Plus (A+++) sound on side two – exceptionally quiet vinyl too, as quiet as we can find them
  • Turn this one up good and loud (which you can do when the sound is right) and you’ll have a living, breathing Jennifer Warnes standing right between your speakers
  • The space, resolution, and clarity here are wonderful – for evidence just look to the rosiny texture on the string arrangement of the Song of Bernadette
  • 4 1/2 stars: “The high point may have been the Warnes-Cohen duet on “Joan of Arc,” but the album was consistently impressive.”

We’re big fans of this album here at Better Records. It’s the only thing Jennifer Warnes ever did that we would consider a Must Own recording or Desert Island Disc. In my humble opinion it’s both.

This copy showed us the Famous Blue Raincoat Magic we know and love. The drums are big and punchy with plenty of WHOMP and the sound of skins being THWACKED. Jennifer’s voice is clear and breathy. If you know the record well you will surely be amazed at just how good this music can sound on a pressing as hot as this one.

With a Shootout Winning side two, these songs are guaranteed to sound dramatically better than you ever imagined they would:

  • Ain’t No Cure for Love
  • Coming Back to You
  • Song of Bernadette
  • A Singer Must Die
  • Came So Far for Beauty

So well recorded you could demo your system with most of these tracks! (more…)

Jennifer Warnes / Famous Blue Raincoat – How Do the Heavy Vinyl Versions Sound?

More of the Music of Jennifer Warnes

More of the Music of Leonard Cohen

Reviews and Commentaries for Famous Blue Raincoat

What’s interesting about the Cypress LPs is that they come two very different ways. Most of them are ridiculously thin, bright, grainy and digital sounding. This explains why some audiophiles in the past have preferred the Canadian pressings: they are smoother and fuller.

However, compared to the good stamper domestic versions they are dull and lifeless.

The Classic 180 gram reissue that came out a number of years ago was somewhere in between the good stamper originals and the bad stamper originals. The better sounding Cypress pressings absolutely MURDER it.

As far as the new Cisco 45 RPM pressings are concerned, we’ve never bothered to crack one open and play it. It’s been quite a while since Bernie cut any record that we thought sounded good, and some of his recent work has been unbelievably bad (the Doors box comes readily to mind), so we’ve never felt motivated enough to make the effort.

He cut many versions of this record as you probably know, some of which have turned out to be Hot Stampers, but that was a long time ago.

Does the Audio World really need another Heavy Vinyl Debunking entry from us? If Heavy Vinyl pressings are giving you the sound you want, you sure don’t need to be on our site. Those sacred cows get slaughtered pretty regularly around here.

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Jennifer Warnes – Records Like This Make Audiophiles the Laughing Stocks of the Music-Loving World

More of the Music of Jennifer Warnes

Some of the worst sound I have ever heard in my life, worse than The Hunter even, and that’s saying something!

If this kind of crap is what audiophiles choose to play then they deserve all the derision heaped upon them.

We’re glad we no longer offer embarrassments such as The Well, although we did, many years ago. In our defense we would simply offer up this old maxim: de gustibus non est disputandum.

Our old slogan was Records for Audiophiles, Not Audiophile Records, but we also followed this business rule: Give the Customer What He Wants.

Letter of the Week – Love Over Gold, The Hunter (Ugh!) and One Flight Up

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

Hey Tom,  

Wow! Were you ever right when you said the Aurios MIBs are “Quite Possibly the Biggest Analog Upgrade Out There”. After listening with the MIBs in place for about 3 hours, there’s no doubt they make a huge difference. Every record/track I heard on LPs I know very well sounded more dynamic. I don’t want to use the worn phrase “on steroids”. The music had much better pace and sounded more real and natural. The contrasts from high to low across the bandwidth were more apparent. The timbre of the instruments also sounded more real and natural. Soundstage became more dimensional in all directions. I heard details that previously were not as audible or were not audible at all.

One thing that was most impressive is that the Aurios actually seem to enlarge the scale of the music; it sounder bigger. LPs I listened to: Love Over Gold (Dire Straits); Slow Train Coming (Bob Dylan); The Hunter (Jennifer Warnes); One Flight Up (Dexter Gordon). All of these sounded significantly better than I had ever heard before adding the MIBs. Love Over Gold was just incredible! It simply was not the same record without the Aurios MIBs. It blew me away. After listening to both sides, I had to listen again and asked my wife to join me. She was as impressed as I was. So your string of satisfied customers remains intact. I will not let these out of my sight!

John A.

Letter of the Week – “I had no idea it was this well recorded.”

More of the Music of Rob Wasserman

More Jazz Recordings

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

Hey Tom,  

By the way, this Duets has a focus and richness that belies the Digital norm. Your copy kills my Promo copy. I had no idea it was this well recorded. The bass here is not fatiguing like my other copy. Everything is balanced and integrated.

Best,
Phil