Top Artists – The Rolling Stones

The Rolling Stones – Stripped

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  • Insanely good sound throughout for this Virgin import pressing with all four sides earning Shootout Winning Triple Plus (A+++) sound or very close to it
  • These sides are clean, clear, full-bodied and present with tons of energy and a solid bottom end
  • One of the best records from The Rolling Stones in the last 25 years!
  • Compiled from live performances at The Paradisco Club, Amsterdman, Holland; The Olympia Theatre, Paris, France; and rehearsals in Tokyo, Japan, Lisbon and Portugal
  • “Patched together from an embroidery of tour rehearsals and live club dates in Paris and Amsterdam, the project was an extension of acoustic sets the group introduced on the North American leg of the Voodoo Lounge tour. The concept offered an invigorating opportunity to dust off some rough gems from the past that no longer felt at home on sloping stadium stages.”

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Letter of the Week – Exile on Main Street “When I think of all the money I’ve spent on those sites…”

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

Hey Tom, 

I just wanted to thank you for the expedited shipping for The Stones Exile on Main Street that I recently purchased (UPS delivered on time for once!).

I look forward to my next purchase from you, especially since I never buy from Acoustic Sounds, Music Direct, or eBay anymore. When I think of all the money I’ve spent on those sites…

Cordially,
Christopher

Christopher,

Happy to get you the record quickly, glad UPS is doing its job.

As for the other record dealers you mention, it is indeed sad that so much money is being wasted on so much bad vinyl.

But whose fault is that, really? How many audiophiles have heard of us and yet never tried one of our Hot Stampers. At least 95% would be my guess.

Mediocrity is the operating principle by which the world is governed. Most folks will never go beyond the average, and as far as I can tell, that’s just fine by them.

Some come to know better, and it’s good that you are one of those lucky few. Hearing is believing, and once you’ve heard the difference, buying Heavy Vinyl pressings from the hacks who sell them would be like taking a giant step backward in your audio journey. Almost like starting over.

The audiophiles who can’t or won’t put in the work to get their stereos and their ears working right deserve the sound they’ve settled for. It’s no more complicated than that.

We can save a few — here are some that have written us letters thanking us for doing so — but most will simply never find out how mediocre most of the records in their collections are.

And now you have a killer copy of Exile on Main Street. What could be better?

Best, TP

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Reviews and Commentaries for Exile on Main Street

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FURTHER READING

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Letter of the Week – Their Satanic Majesties Request “You guys aren’t kidding… blew me away.”

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

Hey Tom, 

Just played Their Satanic Majesties Request that I received from you. You guys aren’t kidding. The copy is excellent – blew me away. It replaces my original copy (with the 3D photo). I have a pretty good system, and it really stood out – lots of detail and quite a few surprises.

Thanks for curating such great vinyl.

Rodney

Rodney,

Thanks for your letter. The originals we’ve played are simply not competitive with the best sounding reissues, which is why we sell the best sounding reissues for more money than the originals.

Anybody can buy an original. Only somebody who does rigorous shootouts of multiple pressings from different eras can know which are the best sounding pressings of any given album (keeping in mind that the results from any given shootout, like any scientific finding, are provisional.)

You came to the right place for the best sound and you got it.

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Reviews and Commentaries for Their Satanic Majesties Request

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FURTHER READING

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The Rolling Stones / Goats Head Soup – A Valuable Lesson We Learned in 2011

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More Lessons Learned from Record Experiments 

This is a classic case of Live and Learn.

We would agree with very little of what we had to say about Goat’s Head Soup as a recording when we wrote about it back in 2011 — and for the previous 35+ years since I first played a domestic original.

Having done a big shootout for the album in 2016, we now know that there most certainly are great sounding pressings to be found, because we found some. The data are in, and now we know just how wrong we were. In our defense, let me just ask one question: Did anybody else know this record was well recorded? I can find no evidence to support anyone having ever taken such a contrarian position.

But we’re taking that position now. All it takes is one great sounding copy to show you the error of your ways, and we had more than one. (more…)

The Rolling Stones – Black and Blue

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  • Glyn Johns engineered, and the better pressings are full-bodied and lively, with solid and present vocals, as well as excellent clarity all around
  • A copy this good lets you appreciate Billy Preston’s contributions on the keys – he’s all over the album, a very good thing indeed
  • “Melody ought to be a tentative experiment with Billy Preston’s jazzy keyboard sound. Instead, it’s a triumph, Jagger’s voice swooping and snaking around Preston’s piano and harmonies.”

This is in fact one of the better sounding “later period” (1976) Stones records we’ve played, that’s if we’re talking about the better copies of course, like this one. The best pressings are big, open, dynamic and full-bodied, with exceptionally lively percussion. As always, credit goes to the recording engineers, Glyn Johns et al., as well as Lee Hulko at Sterling, the original mastering engineer (who’s cut about as many good sounding records as anyone we can think of). (more…)

The Rolling Stones / Their Satanic Majesties Request – How Good Is the Original Unboxed Decca?

Good, but not as good as the right later pressings with the Decca in a Box label, the ones that were produced from about 1970 on.

As of 2021, this album sounds better to us this way:

On the Right Import Pressing 

On the Right Reissue Pressing

If you are interested, click on the link below for:

More Moderately Helpful Title Specific Advice


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Reviews and Commentaries for Their Satanic Majesties Request

This is the Stones at their most experimental, so there are plenty of strange effects and trippy arrangements. Only the best copies manage to make sense of it, but when you find one this music is a lot of fun.

Not only is it hard to find great copies of this album, it’s hard to play them when you do find them. You’re going to need a hi-res, super low distortion front end to play this properly, but if you’ve got the goods this is one hot record! Play this with a budget cart / table / arm and you’ll hear very little of the magic that we heard.

This is some crazy music! If you’re looking for the raging bluesy rock of Sticky Fingers and Let It Bleed, you’ll find some of that here but also a lot of psychedelic madness. You get some great rockers though — Citadel, 2000 Man, and 2000 Light Years From Home to name a few. She’s A Rainbow is the poppiest song here, and on this copy it sounds WONDERFUL.

AMG Review

Without a doubt, no Rolling Stones album – and, indeed, very few rock albums from any era – split critical opinion as much as the Rolling Stones’ psychedelic outing. Many dismiss the record as sub-Sgt. Pepper posturing; others confess, if only in private, to a fascination with the album’s inventive arrangements, which incorporated some African rhythms, Mellotrons, and full orchestration. Never before or since did the Stones take so many chances in the studio. […]

In 1968, the Stones would go back to the basics, and never wander down these paths again, making this all the more of a fascinating anomaly in the group’s discography.

TRACK LISTING

Side One

Sing This All Together
Citadel
In Another Land
2000 Man

Side Two

Sing This All Together (See What Happens)
She’s a Rainbow
The Lantern
Gomper
2000 Light Years from Home
On With the Show

 

Letter of the Week – “It is a raucous chaos of undigestible noise.”

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Reviews and Commentaries for Some Girls

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

  Hey Tom, 

I have recently purchased from you great copies of Aftermath, Beggars Banquet and Sticky Fingers, so I think is have some idea of how Stones records should sound when they are great. This copy of SOME GIRLS is virtually unlistenable. It is harsh, hard-sound, unmusical. It is a raucous chaos of undigestible noise. I don’t know if you personally play graded it, but someone in your group seriously missed the boat. I am returning it. 

Dear Sir,

I played that Triple Plus Shootout Winning copy myself. I like to think I know the album well, and I had never heard it sound so good in my life. It was really quite shocking to hear the record sound open and free from distortion, literally for the first time. Obviously we were hearing it differently.

But it is a very different recording from the three Stones albums you mention.

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The Rolling Stones / Exile On Main Street – A Good Test for Grit and Grain

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More Records that Are Good for Testing Grit and Grain

The best copies will tend to have the qualities detailed below, and the more abundant these qualities are on any given pressing, the higher its grade will be.

Yes, it is a science, an empirical one, which can only be carried out by the use of strict protocols and controls, but it sure ain’t rocket science. All you need is the system, the room, the records, the time and the will to do the painstaking critical listening required to carry out the task.

It can be done, but you could spend a lifetime meeting audiophiles of the vinyl persuasion and never run into a single one who has made the effort more than a handful of times.

To be honest, shootouts are a bitch. If you aren’t getting paid to do them the way we are, finding the motivation to devote the time and energy required to do them right — not to mention the piles of copies of each record you will need — is daunting to say the least.

So, back to the question: what to listen for? (more…)

The Rolling Stones – Out of Our Heads

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  • This is one of the best copies to ever hit the site — as good as we’ve ever heard with Shootout Winning Triple Plus (A+++) sound on both sides – fairly quiet vinyl too
  • These British sides impressed us with their Tubey Magical, fairly natural sound
  • With top engineers like Dave Hassinger and Glyn Johns one would hope for better sonics, but this is as good as it gets as far as we know
  • 4 1/2 stars: “In 1965, the Stones finally proved themselves capable of writing classic rock singles that mined their R&B/blues roots, but updated them into a more guitar-based, thoroughly contemporary context. The first enduring Jagger-Richards classics are here…”

Like the really good Decca version of Aftermath, this record has amazing transparency, rich bass and relatively little distortion compared to other versions we have played. Also, like Aftermath, some songs sound much better than others. That’s just the way old Stones record are. Part of this album was recorded in Hollywood and part of it was recorded in Chicago — that may explain some of the variation in the quality of the sound.

By the way, stick with true stereo on this album; the mono pressings — at least the ones we played — aren’t worth anybody’s time (scratch that: any audiophile’s time). (more…)

The Rolling Stones – Their Satanic Majesties Request

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Reviews and Commentaries for Their Satanic Majesties Request

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  • With a nearly Triple Plus (A++ to A+++) side one and a seriously good Double Plus (A++) side two, this British pressing will be very hard to beat – fairly quiet vinyl too
  • Released right before the raging bluesy rock of Beggars Banquet and Let It Bleed
  • This is some crazy Stones music, with loads of psychedelic madness and a number of catchy tunes
  • It’s a lot of fun on a pressing that sounds as good as this one, with the space, clarity and richness that only vintage vinyl can offer in such abundance
  • Every one of the original Decca stereo pressings we’ve played has come up short against these recuts from the Seventies
  • 4 stars: “Never before or since did the Stones take so many chances in the studio… a fascinating anomaly in the group’s discography”.

This is the Stones at their most experimental, so there are plenty of strange effects and trippy arrangements. Only the best copies manage to make sense of it, but when you find one this music is a lot of fun.

If you’re looking for the raging bluesy rock of Sticky Fingers and Let It Bleed, you’ll find some of that here but also a lot of psychedelia too. You do get some great rockers though — Citadel, 2000 Man, and 2000 Light Years From Home to name a few. She’s A Rainbow is the poppiest song here, and on this copy it sounds WONDERFUL. (more…)