Top Artists – Shorty Rogers

Peggy Lee – Pass Me By

More of the Music of Miss Peggy Lee

If you’re a fan of vintage female vocals – the kind with no trace of digital reverb – you may get quite a kick out of this one. And unless I miss my guess you’ll be the first and only person on your block to own it! (That’s not a bad thing considering the average person’s taste in music and sound these days.)

Copies with rich lower mids and nice extension up top (to keep the big band arrangements by Shorty Rogers and Dave Grusin from becoming shrill) did the best in our shootout, assuming they weren’t veiled or smeary of course. So many things can go wrong on a record! We know, we heard them all. (more…)

Shorty Rogers Big Band / Jazz Waltz – Leave the Originals for the Jazz Collectors

For more on the subject of reissues that beat the originals, click here.

The original Reprise pressing, whether in mono or stereo, has never sounded very good to us. The mono is quite a bit worse than the stereo – no surprise there – but both must be considered poor reflections of the master tape.

We sold one many years ago, describing it this way: “Beautiful Original with decent sound — rich, smooth and sweet.”

Which it was, but from us that’s little more than damning with faint praise. The Discovery pressing you see below is so much bigger, clearer and livelier it’s almost hard to imagine it and the 1962 Reprise original were both made from the same tape. Something sure went wrong the first time around — I think it’s safe to say at least that much.

Original equals Better? Not for those of us who play records rather than just collect them. Leave the originals for the Jazz Guys.

The Hot Stamper reissues are for us Music Loving Audiophiles.

Don’t be put off by the title; these are not some sleepy old-fashioned waltzes. This is swingin’ West Coast jazz at its best. The arrangements may be done in waltz time but that sure doesn’t keep them from swingin’.

And the amazingly good sound? Credit BONES HOWE, a man who knows Tubey Magic like practically no one else in the world. The Association, The Mamas and the Papas, The Fifth Dimension, and even Tom Waits — all their brilliant recordings are the result of Bones Howe’s estimable talents as producer and engineer.

Hot Stamper Pressings that Sound Their Best on the Right Reissue

Records We’ve Reviewed that Sound Their Best on the Right Reissue

More of Our Favorite Recordings By Bones Howe

Recordings Engineered by Bones Howe Available Now

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Original Is Better? Sez Who?

Which albums sound better on the right vintage reissue pressing?

These do.

Don’t be put off by the title; these are not some sleepy old-fashioned waltzes. This is swingin’ West Coast jazz at its best. Of course, the arrangements are done in waltz time, but that doesn’t keep them from swingin’.

And the amazingly good sound? Credit Bones Howe, a man who knows Tubey Magic like practically no one else in the world. The Association, The Mamas and the Papas, The Fifth Dimension, and even Tom Waits — all their brilliant recordings are the result of Bones Howe’s estimable talents as producer and engineer.

Original Vs. Reissue

The original Reprise pressing, whether in mono or stereo, has never sounded very good to us. The mono is quite a bit worse than the stereo – no surprise there – but both must be considered poor reflections of the master tape.

We sold one many years ago, describing it this way: “Beautiful Original with decent sound — rich, smooth and sweet.” Which it was, but from us that’s little more than damning it with faint praise.

The Discovery pressing is so much bigger, clearer and livelier it’s almost hard to imagine it and the 1962 Reprise original were both made from the same tape.

Something sure went wrong the first time around — I think it’s safe to say at least that much.

Original equals Better? Not for those of us who play records rather than just collect them. Leave the originals for the Jazz Guys. The Hot Stamper reissues are perfect for us Music Loving Audiophiles.

June Christy – This Is June Christy

More June Christy

  • You’ll find superb nearly Triple Plus (A++ to A+++) Tubey Magical sound from 1958 on both sides of this Turquoise Capitol pressing – just shy of our Shootout Winner
  • Balanced, musical, present and full-bodied throughout – this pressing puts a living, breathing, big-as-life June Christy performing at the peak of her vocal powers right in your listening room
  • June Christy is one of our favorite Cool School vocalists – we just wish we could find more clean copies of her classic ’50s albums
  • The vinyl is relatively quiet and no marks play – how rare is that? In our experience very rare
  • All the top West Coast jazz guys are here: Shorty Rogers, Shelly Manne, Bud Shank, Bob Cooper, and swinging arrangements by Pete Rugolo

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Shorty Rogers – Bossa Nova Exciting Jazz Samba Rhythms


  • Shorty’s 1961 Bossa Nova exploration finally makes its Hot Stamper debut with STUNNING Shootout Winning Triple Plus (A+++) grades on both sides
  • Rich, smooth, sweet, and wonderfully natural, this is the sound we love here at Better Records
  • Rogers assembled a top-notch ensemble for this Bossa Nova album, including Bud Shank and Shelly Manne

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Shorty Rogers & His Giants – Bossa Nova – Reviewed in 2008

This QUIET Original Reprise LP has EXCELLENT sound — rich, smooth and sweet. It’s wonderfully natural, and that’s a sound we love here at Better Records.

This is swingin’ West Coast jazz at its best. A highly recommended jazz album for those of you who care to explore artists out of the jazz mainstream.   

Shorty Rogers – The Swingin’ Nutcracker

Reviews and Commentaries for The Nutcracker

More of the music of Peter Ilyich Tchaikovsky (1840-1893)

  • Insanely good Living Stereo sound throughout with both sides earning Shootout Winning Triple Plus (A+++) grades and playing reasonably quietly
  • Al Schmitt handled the engineering duties, brilliantly, with Shorty and dozens of his West Coast Pals contributing to the dates, the likes of Conte Candoli, Art Pepper, Bill Perkins, Bud Shank, Harold Land, Richie Kamuca and more
  • “The most remarkable aspect about the score is how boldly it re-imagines the original. The Swingin’ Nutcracker is contemporary from an American perspective without patronizing the European original.” – Marc Meyers, Jazz Wax

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Eartha Kitt – St. Louis Blues

Don’t expect to see another copy of this album on the site any time soon. Pressings of this album are extremely rare in any condition, and this one not only sounds great but plays surprisingly well for RCA in 1958.

For us audiophiles both the sound and the music here are enchanting. If you’re looking to demonstrate just how good 1958 All Tube Analog sound can be, this killer copy may be just the record for you!

This copy is super spacious, sweet and positively dripping with ambience. Talk about Tubey Magic, the liquidity of the sound here is positively uncanny. This is vintage analog at its best, so full-bodied and relaxed you’ll wonder how it ever came to be that anyone seriously contemplated trying to improve it.

What do we love about these LIVING STEREO Hot Stamper pressings?

The timbre of every instrument is Hi-Fi in the best sense of the word. Everything, including the Ms Kitt’s voice, is reproduced with remarkable fidelity.

Now that’s what we at Better Records mean by “Hi-Fi”, not the kind of Audiophile Phony BS Sound that passes for Hi-Fidelity these days. There’s no boosted top, there’s no bloated bottom, there’s no sucked-out midrange. There’s no added digital reverb (Patricia Barber, Diana Krall, et al.). The microphones are not fifty feet away from the musicians (Water Lily) nor are they inches away (Three Blind Mice).

This is Hi-Fidelity for those who recognize The Real Thing when they hear it. I’m pretty sure our customers do, and whoever picks this one up is guaranteed to get a real kick out of it.