- This superb pressing of Rainbow Bridge boasts Nearly Triple Plus (A++ to A+++) sound from top to bottom – just shy of our Shootout Winner
- Rich, full tonality and good presence and energy throughout
- A surprisingly good sounding album, one of the best of his posthumous releases
- “‘Dolly Dagger’ is arguably one of the great pop songs of Hendrix’s career. Written towards the very end of his life, the song sounds like it was written years earlier, and it certainly has the same feel as many of the compositions on Hendrix’s debut, Are You Experienced?. Of course, Hendrix’s guitar work is inspired, but it doesn’t draw attention away from what is essentially a brilliantly crafted song.”
- An outstanding copy of Electric Ladyland with solid Double Plus (A++) sound or close to it on all FOUR sides
- Big, clear, tubey, sweet ANALOG sound – we played it good and loud and it was ROCKIN’!
- Probably the best-recorded of Hendrix’s studio albums – huge studio space and Tubey Magical richness are key to the best sound
- 5 stars: “…not only one of the best rock albums of the era, but also Hendrix’s original musical vision at its absolute apex.”
*NOTE: On side four, a mark makes 10 moderate to loud pops at the beginning of Track 1, Still Raining, Still Dreaming.
Some of Jimi’s best songs can be found here, including Crosstown Traffic, Voodoo Child (Slight Return) and his incendiary cover of Dylan’s All Along The Watchtower. All four sides have truly killer sound, big and full-bodied with a MUCH better low end than you’ll find on most. You get enough energy and weight to make the rock songs really ROCK, and enough clarity and transparency to bring out the more spacey, psychedelic elements that Jimi and Eddie Kramer worked so hard on.
Ready to go on a trip? You’ve come to the right place. While the sound is not Demo Quality on every track, the acid-drenched soundscapes created by Jimi and producer Eddie Kramer are certainly going to be exciting to the kind of audiophile who still digs Classic Rock. Unfortunately, most copies are missing a lot of the magic — the space, the tubes, the ambience, the size, the weight. (more…)
- SUPERB! An insanely good copy with Shootout Winning Triple Plus (A+++) sound or close to it on both sides — this one will blow you away!
- The sound is dramatically bigger, cleaner, livelier and more present than you’ll hear on any other copy
- Incredible sound for Purple Haze, Hey Joe, The Wind Cries Mary, Fire and Foxy Lady
- No matter what version you’ve been playing, we guarantee you’ll be blown away by the energy and punch on this import
- “One of the most stunning debuts in rock history, and one of the definitive albums of the psychedelic era.” 5 stars
It is no easy task trying to find good copies of this album (or any Hendrix album, really). This one is absolutely killer. The bottom end is big and weighty, the top is open and transparent, and there’s plenty of rich, full tubey magic. Good luck finding this kind of sound for Are You Experienced on your own — it took us DECADES! (more…)
- With stunning Triple Plus (A+++) sound or close to it on both sides, this British Polydor pressing was rockin’ like crazy
- This is a fun live album with stellar performances by Jimi – the best of his many posthumous releases
- The awesome version of Little Wing is just killer on this copy – it’s Jimi’s best performance of the song
- “Hendrix in the West is a collection of extremely good live Hendrix performances between 1968-1970. Three different concerts are sampled on this 1972 release, one of the few official live Hendrix releases following his death.”
*NOTE: A mark plays very lightly five times at the end of side one track three, Blue Suede Shoes. On side two a mark makes four light thumps at the start of track three, Red House.
We’re still surprised at how well recorded the album is. It takes a pressing like this to really show you the live Jimi Hendrix magic Eddie Kramer got onto tape. Drop the needle on Little Wing and you are going to be FLOORED.
The size and space here are really something, miles beyond most. The resolution and clarity of the open live sound of this copy bring out all the instrumental textures and details of the recording like few we played. More importantly, the extended top keeps the highs from getting hard or harsh the way they do on so many pressings we’ve played.
As these performances are culled from different concerts the sound varies a bit from track to track, but every track on here sounds good and the best tracks sound amazing.
Sonic Grade: F
One of the worst things the dummies at Classic ever did. Flat and dry with no Tubey Magic whatsoever. It positively screams “CHEAP REISSUE.” That description reminds me of this record, although to be fair the sound is quite a bit worse on the Hendrix.
MORE CLASSIC RECORDS REVIEWS
and here is the most important section of them all, one that might help you avoid wasting lots of money on audiophile records that don’t sound good:
- You’ll find superb Double Plus (A++) from first note to last on this Hendrix classic – exceptionally quite vinyl for the most part too
- The material here is unusually well-recorded – the sound is competitive with – maybe even better than – Hendrix’s “real” albums
- Features top-tier Hendrix rarities such as Izabella, Highway Chile, Bleeding Heart and Stepping Stone
- “One of the few consistent compilations of unreleased Hendrix.” — Allmusic
Drop the needle at the start of either side and prepare to be floored. You won’t believe the big-time presence, the mindblowing energy, or the massive WHOMP factor. Here’s a copy with the kind of big, three-dimensional sound we wish we heard on more Hendrix records. You’ll know what I’m talking about as soon as the needle hits the groove.
The vocals are full-bodied and present with lots of body and breath. The bottom end is tight and punchy with more weight than we heard on other copies. You could play a good-sized stack of copies and you’d probably still not find one as open, spacious, and transparent as either of these sides.
The guitar — obviously a key element of any Hendrix recording — absolutely FLIES out of the speakers here. The bottom end is strong and solid, and the overall sound is big, rich and open.
Bridge of Sighs
Note that the guitar sound on the first track of side two appears to have acted as the template for Robin Trower’s sound throughout his career. We love Robin Trower — wish we could find more copies of Bridge of Sighs that sound good — but his guitar sound was all over this album years before it was on any of his own.
It’s beyond difficult for us to find killer copies of Jimi’s first three or four albums, so I advise you Hendrix fans to give this one a chance. It’s the real deal. (more…)
One of our good customers had this to say about some Hot Stampers he purchased recently:
I’ve been a bit remiss in thanking you for the last record, Electric Lady Land so thanks! I bought this when I was twelve, listened to it on headphones and was blown away, but as I got older and ended up with tapes and then cd’s it all faded… until you play a fantastic hot stamper on a great stereo and suddenly it’s like being 12 again! I would have paid the same for just side three with Rainy day, dream away, 1983 and Moon turn the tides. Absolute bliss… and then there’s the other three sides! Forget the haters, I am so glad you guys do what you do Tom. (more…)
- A very good copy of this great Hendrix double live album, full of great songs and Hot Stamper sound or BETTER on all FOUR sides
- A great sounding live Hendrix album with outstanding material (most of his best tunes – check the track list!)
- 4 stars: “With top-notch performances, consistently inspired solos, and excellent sound, this is probably the best introduction to Hendrix’s live recordings.”
This live album, taken from concerts recorded from 1968 to 1970, is wonderful sounding on the best tracks. If you’re in the market for live Hendrix on a Hot Stamper, you’ll be hard-pressed to do any better.
The bass on this recording is huge, which is exactly what this kind of music needs most. At the levels we were playing this album, it really came to life. That’s the true test of a good live rock record — the louder you play it the better it sounds!
Stephen Cook writes “With top-notch performances, consistently inspired solos, and excellent sound, this is probably the best introduction to Hendrix’s live recordings.” We agree on all three points completely — but only when you hear it on the right pressing.
Sonically, this recording has the key elements that a good live album needs: correct tonality, powerful dynamics, and Rock and Roll ENERGY. (more…)
- Outstanding sound throughout for this fun live album, boasting solid Double Plus (A++) grades or BETTER on both sides of this early UK press – exceptionally quiet vinyl too
- We guarantee there is dramatically more space, richness, 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
- Allmusic: “Hendrix’s performances of Foxy Lady, Lover Man, Midnight Lightning, All Along the Watchtower, In from the Storm and Freedom are excellent and made Isle of Wight well worth the price of admission when it first came out in 1971.”
Superb live ROCK ’N ROLL sound. It’s so clean, clear and transparent with deep punchy bass. The guitars here sound excellent. And hey, let’s be honest, if the guitars don’t sound right on a Hendrix record. You’re in trouble!
Fortunately, that ain’t the case here. Everything sounds tonally right on the money. I can’t imagine this record sounding any better. It just sounds right. Just drop the needle on Freedom for a taste of that real Hendrix magic.
This vintage Polydor 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.
What the best sides of Isle of Wight have to offer is not hard to hear:
- The biggest, most immediate staging in the largest acoustic space
- The most Tubey Magic, without which you have almost nothing. CDs give you clean and clear. Only the best vintage vinyl pressings offer the kind of Tubey Magic that was on the tapes in 1971
- Tight, note-like, rich, full-bodied bass, with the correct amount of weight down low
- Natural tonality in the midrange — with all the instruments having the correct timbre
- Transparency and resolution, critical to hearing into the three-dimensional studio space
No doubt there’s more but we hope that should do for now. Playing the record is the only way to hear all of the qualities we discuss above, and playing the best pressings against a pile of other copies under rigorously controlled conditions is the only way to find a pressing that sounds as good as this one does.
What We’re Listening For on Isle of Wight
- Energy for starters. What could be more important than the life of the music?
- Then: presence and immediacy. The vocals aren’t “back there” somewhere, lost in the mix. They’re front and center where any recording engineer worth his salt would put them.
- The Big Sound comes next — wall to wall, lots of depth, huge space, three-dimensionality, all that sort of thing.
- Then transient information — fast, clear, sharp attacks, not the smear and thickness so common to these LPs.
- Tight punchy bass — which ties in with good transient information, also the issue of frequency extension further down.
- Next: transparency — the quality that allows you to hear deep into the soundfield, showing you the space and air around all the instruments.
- Extend the top and bottom and voila, you have The Real Thing — an honest to goodness Hot Stamper.
All Along The Watchtower
In From The Storm
Jimi Hendrix’s August 8, 1970 set at the Isle of Wight festival in England resulted in two types of posthumous LPs in the 1970s: illegal bootlegs from various underground labels, and legal releases from Polydor. One of the legal releases that Polydor put out in England was Isle of Wight, a single LP that is consistently exciting…
Hendrix’s performances of “Foxy Lady,” “Lover Man,” “Midnight Lightning,” “All Along the Watchtower,” “In from the Storm” and “Freedom” are excellent and made Isle of Wight well worth the price of admission when it first came out in 1971.
- Outstanding sound for this Robert Ludwig mastered Capitol Green Label pressing with each side rating a solid Double Plus (A++) or BETTER
- Tons of bass, smooth vocals, and an overall freedom from distortion characterize the sound of both sides, and that’s unusual because most copies of this record are just plain dreadful
- Trust me on this one – you’re going to have a difficult and expensive adventure trying to find a great sounding copy of this one on your own
- 4 1/2 stars: “Although he could be an erratic live performer, for these shows, Hendrix was on — perhaps his finest performances… not only an important part of the Hendrix legacy, but one of the greatest live albums ever.”