Top Artists – Richard Thompson (also Linda Thompson)

Richard and Linda Thompson – Hokey Pokey

More Richard Thompson

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  • Excellent sound for this classic Richard and Linda Thompson album with both sides earning seriously good grades of Double Plus (A++) or BETTER – exceptionally quiet vinyl too
  • Clearly one of the better copies in our shootout – much more body, punchier bass and more detail than most pressings
  • Everything you want in the sound of a good British Folk Rock album is here in abundance – enjoy!
  • Allmusic 4 Stars: “The Thompsons, from the opening Irish fiddle derivation of a Chuck Berry riff, through Linda’s exquisite performance of “A Heart Needs a Home,” to their cover of Mike Waterson’s “Mole in a Hole” which closes the record, once again create a timeless amalgam of folk and rock…”

This is one of Richard and Linda Thompson’s better releases, their second in fact, following the luminous I Want to See the Bright Lights Shine from a year earlier. Rich and full-bodied, with big bass and gobs of studio ambience, this pressing presents the music the way it was meant to be heard (more…)

Richard & Linda Thompsonn – Shoot Out The Lights

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More Demo Discs for Bass

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  • You’ll find superb Nearly Triple Plus (A++ to A+++) sound on both sides of this copy of the Thompsons’ final album – just shy of our Shootout Winner
  • Without a doubt this is the best record Richard and Linda Thompson ever made – for sound and music
  • DYNAMIC, huge, lively, powerful and musical – a real Demo Disk – both sides here are guaranteed to rock your world
  • A Top 100 album, and clearly Thompson’s Masterpiece of Grungy Guitar Rock
  • 5 stars: “Shoot Out The Lights found them rallying their strengths to the bitter end; it’s often been cited as Richard Thompson’s greatest work, and it’s difficult for anyone who has heard his body of work to argue the point.”

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Fairport Convention – What We Did On Our Holidays

More Titles Only Offered on Import

All the Titles that Potentially Sound Best on Import

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  • An outstanding UK copy with solid Double Plus (A++) sound or close to it, and the first copy to hit the site in years – exceptionally quiet vinyl too
  • Bigger and bolder, with more bass, more energy, and more of that “you-are-there-immediacy” of ANALOG that set the best vintage pressings apart from reissues, CDs, and whatever else you care to name
  • 4 1/2 stars: “… more than simply being a collection of good songs, it allowed Fairport to achieve its greatest internal balance, and indeed one of the finest balances of any major folk-rock group.”

The “haunting, ethereal” vocals of the lovely Sandy Denny (or Alexandra Elene McLean Denny as she’s listed on the sleeve) are sublime here. Some of you may recognize her voice from a ditty called ‘Battle of Evermore’, found on a grayish ’70s rock album that no one even bothered to give a name. Wonder what ever became of that group? No doubt by now their story is lost to the sands of time. I have to say I thought the music was pretty good though.

This vintage Island 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. (more…)

Richard & Linda Thompson – Shoot Out The Lights – Loud Versus Live

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Yet another recording that really comes alive when you Turn Up Your Volume.

I’ve seen Richard Thompson on a number of occasions over the years, and as loud as my stereo will play, which is pretty darn loud, I’ve never been able to make his guitar solos 20 dB louder than everything else, because they’re simply not on the record that way. That’s why live music can’t be reproduced faithfully in the home: the dynamic contrasts are much too great for the typical listener, or his stereo. 

Having said that, when you actually do turn this record up, way up, you get the feeling of hearing live music, and that’s not easy to do.

Only the best recordings, in my experience, can begin to give you that feeling. (And of course it helps to have big dynamic speakers.)

On the best copies the sound is very dynamic, the soundstage HUGE. The overall presentation in terms of size and weight just makes you want to turn your stereo up as loud as it will go. In that sense, it has some of the qualities of “live” music, because live music is loud.

We do shootouts for this Top 100 title on a regular basis. To see what we might have in stock, please click here. (more…)

Richard Thompson – Strict Tempo!

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  • Richard Thompson’s superb instrumental album makes its Hot Stamper debut here with Shootout Winning Triple Plus (A+++) sound or close to it on both sides
  • The sound is anchored by an exceptionally fat, rich, punchy low end on the best copies, and this pressing shows you just how big and punchy it can get
  • An original Elixer pressing, Thompson’s own label
  • “… on Strict Tempo! Thompson lets loose on an instrumental collection of traditional British and Celtic jigs and reels, with a swinging Duke Ellington cover thrown in for variety and one new original offered as the finale… it shows one of the finest guitarists on Earth showing just how well he can play, and that’s always a pleasure to hear.”

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Richard & Linda Thompson – Sunnyvista – Our Shootout Winner from 2012

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A distinguished member of the Better Records Rock and Pop Hall of Fame.

It took two copies, each with a single White Hot Stamper side, to create the All Time Best Sounding version of Sunnyvista, an album AMG calls “…the wittiest and most joyous album Richard & Linda made together.”

None of the domestic copies we played were more than passable, and even worse, most of the Brit originals we played were almost as smeary, veiled and opaque. There was only one way to get top sound on both sides, and that was to make a Two Pack with the best two sides of the best two copies. The two good sides here just KILL the competition in every way.

They’re bigger, more present, more energetic and just plain more FUN than any other sides we played. If you’re a fan this is the only way we know of to hear this album sound the way it should.

Just in case you don’t care to take our word for how mediocre the average side is, play the “bad” sides of the two records, both of which earned a single plus grade (A+) — they were doing some things right, but for the most part left a lot to be desired. When you play them you will no doubt hear what we mean. (more…)

Richard & Linda Thompson – Pour Down Like Silver – Our Shootout Winner from 2015

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A distinguished member of the Better Records Rock and Pop Hall of Fame.

The biggest problems with this record would be obvious to even the casual listener: gritty, spitty vocals; lack of richness; lack of bass; no real space or transparency, etc. etc.

When we came across this copy we knew we had something special as it had very few of the problems above. 

The Carthage pressings did not do well in our shootout, no surprise as these early Island records were mastered at one of our favorite cutting houses here in the Southland. (more…)

Richard & Linda Thompson – Shoot Out The Lights – The Best Sounding Record of the Decade?

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Without a doubt this is the best record Richard and Linda Thompson ever made together, possibly the best record Thompson was ever involved with, but it also holds one other important distinction, one of great interest to us audiophiles: it’s the BEST SOUNDING record he (they) ever made as well.

As I was playing the finalists for side two (at ear-splitting levels I might add) an odd thought crossed my mind. Where had I heard this kind of monstrous, punchy bass and these soaring, perfectly distorted guitars, so big and so powerful, before? There was something about the sound – the awesome energy, the freedom from compression or spatial restraint of any kind – that was strangely familiar from another shootout.

After a minute’s deliberation the answer came to me: I was remembering the feeling I got from the White Hot Stamper of Led Zeppelin II we played not long ago.

Yes, that’s the album that it most closely resembles. As outlandish as it may seem, the rock power of Shoot Out the Lights has much more in common with the rock power of Zep II than any other record I can think of.

To be sure, the vast majority of people, including the vast majority of audiophiles, have never heard a top quality RL Zep II played at extremely loud levels on a big speaker system in a dedicated room. Nor in all probability will they ever have the chance.

But I sure have, quite a few in fact. If anyone knows that sound I do. I’ve dedicated the past forty years of my efforts in audio to reproducing records with the Big Rock Sound like Zep II. There’s really none bigger in my opinion. (more…)

Fairport Convention – Unhalfbricking

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  • The band’s very well-recorded third album is here, and this early British Island pressing is killing it, with stunning Nearly Triple Plus (A++ to A+++) sound throughout and reasonably quiet vinyl
  • A copy like this is a rare audiophile treat – here is the rich, warm, clear, natural and lively sound you want for Fairport Convention
  • A superb collection of songs, including two previously unreleased Bob Dylan tracks, as well as Sandy Denny’s first foray into songwriting, with the achingly powerful “Who Knows Where the Time Goes?”
  • 5 stars: “Unhalfbricking was a transitional album for the young Fairport Convention, in which the group shed its closest ties to its American folk-rock influences and started to edge toward a more traditional British folk-slanted sound.”

These Nearly White Hot Stamper pressings have top quality sound that’s often surprisingly close to our White Hots, but they sell at substantial discounts to our Shootout Winners, making them a relative bargain in the world of Hot Stampers (“relative” being relative considering the prices we charge). We feel you get what you pay for here at Better Records, and if ever you don’t agree, please feel free to return the record for a full refund, no questions asked.

Hot stamper fans of Fairport Convention, British Folk Rock, Richard Thompson and the like should not expect to see another copy of this album for years to come. It took us a couple of years to get hold of enough clean copies with which to do this shootout, and the only quiet one with top quality sound was this very pressing.

Forget the dubby domestic LPs on A&M and whatever dead-as-a-doornail Heavy Vinyl record they’re making these days – the early UK vinyl is the only way to fly on Unhalfbricking

The “haunting, ethereal” vocals of the lovely Sandy Denny are sublime here. Some of you may recognize her voice from a ditty called “Battle of Evermore,” found on a grayish ’70s rock album that no one even bothered to give a name. Wonder whatever became of that group? No doubt by now their story is lost to the sands of time. I have to say I thought the music was pretty good though. (more…)

Richard Thompson – Amnesia – Our Shootout Winner from 2007

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A distinguished member of the Better Records Rock and Pop Hall of Fame.

Original pressing. EXCELLENT SOUND — big and lively! With Mitchell Froom producing and Tchad Blake engineering this is to be expected.

The best songs here are Turning Of The Tide and Waltzing For Dreamers, but the others are lovely too. (more…)