Top Artists – The Rolling Stones

The Rolling Stones – Their Satanic Majesties Request

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  • This elusive Rolling Stones classic boasts KILLER Shootout Winning Triple Plus (A+++) sound from start to finish
  • Before the raging bluesy rock of Beggars Banquet and Let It Bleed, with loads of psychedelic madness, this is some crazy Stones music, and a lot of fun on a pressing that sounds as good as this one
  • Exceptionally quiet for a vintage Decca Stones album, this one plays Mint Minus to Mint Minus Minus, as quiet as any copy we have ever played
  • 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…)

The Rolling Stones – Get Yer Ya-Ya’s Out!

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  • You’ll find outstanding Double Plus (A++) sound or BETTER on both sides of this Decca UK pressing – fairly quiet vinyl too
  • With rock and roll energy and you-are-there presence, turn this one up good and loud and you will find yourself at the Stones concert of a lifetime
  • The live performances of Sympathy For The Devil, Midnight Rambler, and Honky Tonk Woman are MAGICAL from these shows – the Stones in 1970 were taking their music to a whole new level
  • 4 1/2 stars: “Recorded during their American tour in late 1969, and centered around live versions of material from the Beggars Banquet-Let It Bleed era… Often acclaimed as one of the top live rock albums of all time…

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The Rolling Stones – Beggars Banquet

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  • An outstanding vintage British pressing of this exceptionally well-recorded Stones album from 1968, with solid Double Plus (A++) sound or close to it on both sides
  • The long lost Tubey Magic of these early pressings has them sounding better than we ever thought possible back in the day
  • This is the way Beggar’s Banquet should sound and it doesn’t take a pair of golden ears to hear it
  • One of a select group of Rolling Stones Must Own titles we prize above all others – Sticky Fingers and Let It Bleed round out the trio
  • 5 stars: “Basic rock & roll was not forgotten, however: ‘Street Fighting Man’… was one of their most innovative singles, and ‘Sympathy for the Devil’… was an image-defining epic.

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The Rolling Stones on Mobile Fidelity – Audiophile Ineptitude Incarnate

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Sonic Grade: F

A Hall of Shame pressing and a Half-Speed Mastered Disaster if there ever was one.

The MoFi pressing of this album is a joke. It’s so compressed, lifeless, and lacking in bottom end punch that it would hardly interfere with even the most polite conversation at a wine tasting. I consider it one of the worst sounding versions of the album ever made.

It’s an Audiophile Record in the worst sense of the word. (more…)

Rolling Stones – Steel Wheels

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  • With two Shootout Winning Triple Plus (A+++) sides, we would be very surprised if you’ve ever heard Steel Wheels sound remotely as good as it does on this pressing
  • We guarantee there is dramatically more space, richness, vocal presence, and performance energy on this copy than others you’ve heard
  • 4 1/2 stars in Rolling Stone: “All the ambivalence, recriminations, attempted rapprochement and psychological one-upmanship evident on Steel Wheels testify that the Stones are right in the element that has historically spawned their best music – a murky, dangerously charged environment in which nothing is merely what it seems. Against all odds, and at this late date, the Stones have once again generated an album that will have the world dancing to deeply troubling, unresolved emotions.”

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The Rolling Stones – Some Girls – Our Shootout Winner from 2008

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

Side one is an absolute knockout — we’ve never heard one like it and we don’t expect to find a better one. Our standard top grade of A+++ only begins to tell the story here. No other copy we played had bass this deep and meaty, or drums so full and punchy.You aren’t going to believe how hard it rocks, with all the WHOMP and ENERGY we hoped for when we began shooting out this title. The sax solo in Miss You sounds incredible — it actually has some balls, something you just don’t get with the typical pressing. The hi-hats sound incredibly natural and clear, and the vocals are Right On The Money (ROTM).

HARD ROCKIN’ STONES MAGIC! We’ve always loved the music on this album, but we sure didn’t know it could sound like this. Side one has MASTER TAPE QUALITY A+++ SOUND and side two is just a step behind at A++. When you drop the needle on Miss You you are going to FREAK OUT. 

This is probably the Stones’ last truly great album, IMHO. All Music Guide gives it the same 5 star rating that they awarded Beggars Banquet, Let It Bleed, and Sticky Fingers, and with hits like Miss You, Shattered, and Beast Of Burden on here, it’s easy to see why.

One of the keys to getting this album to sound right is fullness. Many copies lack weight to the bottom end, which robs this funky music of its very foundation. Other copies suffer from lean, thin sounding vocals — do you think that’s the sound Mick Jagger was going for?

Side two is close behind at A++. It’s got the life and presence that bring this music to life. Beast Of Burden sounds amazing — warm, rich, and sweet with tons of ambience. The guitars and drums sound great and the overall sound is BIG and BOLD.

The Rolling Stones – Emotional Rescue

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  • This amazing copy of the Stones’ 1980 release boasts Shootout Winning Triple Plus (A+++) sound throughout  
  • Dance (Pt. 1) and She’s So Cold sound out of this world on this copy, and the title track, Emotional Rescue, is every bit as good
  • An underrated Stones album — too good to call a guilty pleasure — and very well-recorded by Chris Kimsey
  • Maybe it’s good because “Mick Jagger sounds like he’s having a great time…”

This amazing pressing delivers the kind of killer sound you surely did not expect from this underrated Stones album.

We had a great time shooting this one out — we had forgotten how good the music was and were pleasantly surprised by how good the best copies can sound. It’s tough to get great Stones sound, I’m sure most of you know that, but there’s lots of it here and a bunch of good songs. She’s So Cold, Summer Romance, Dance, the title track… not a bad line-up, and probably the last great album these guys put out.

As you might expect, we heard lots of dry, grainy, thinned-out sound on the copies that didn’t make the cut. When you get a Hot copy with a punchy bottom end and some richness, it’s an entirely different story. It lest a song like the leadoff track Dance come to life, giving you bigger, livelier, fuller sound than you ever expected to hear on this record. (more…)

The Rolling Stones – No. 2

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

The best word I could use to sum up both the sound and the music on this record is HONEST. If you want to hear how early Rolling Stones records sound when they sound right, this is the ticket. This is the real sound of the early, early Stones.

Probably what any modern engineer would want to do to the album would only end up making it worse. It is what it is and that’s good enough for us.

Some tracks do sound quite a bit better than others, recorded as they were in three different locations (including Chess studios) by two different engineers (Ron Malo and Dave Hassinger). (more…)

The Rolling Stones – Let It Bleed

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

This is, IMHO, the second or third best record the Stones ever made. (Sticky Fingers is Number One, and either this or Beggar’s Banquet comes in a strong second.) With this pressing we can now hear the power and the beauty of this superb recording.

Love In Vain on a copy like this is one of the best sounding Rolling Stones songs of all time. In previous listings I’ve mentioned how good this song sounds — thanks to Glyn Johns, of course — but on these amazing Hot Stamper copies it is OUT OF THIS WORLD.

This is, IMHO, the second or third best record the Stones ever made. (Sticky Fingers is Number One, and either this or Beggar’s Banquet comes in a strong second.) With this pressing we can now hear the power and the beauty of this superb recording.

Love In Vain on a copy like this is one of the best sounding Rolling Stones songs of all time. In previous listings I’ve mentioned how good this song sounds — thanks to Glyn Johns, of course — but on these amazing Hot Stamper copies it is OUT OF THIS WORLD. This vintage London Stereo pressing has the kind of Tubey Magical Midrange that modern records rarely even 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…)

The Rolling Stones – Exile On Main Street – Our Shootout Winner from 2010

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

Another HUGE double album conquered! This shootout was a MAJOR struggle, an uphill battle all the way. Stones fans and Hot Stamper die-hards are going to flip out over this one — here’s the Exile On Main Street you’ve been waiting for. You’d have to find, clean and play a ton of copies to come up with four sides that would come even close to the sound here.

Of course, Hot Stampers can only give you what’s on the tape. In this case, it’s some rude, crude, dirty rock & roll. That’s clearly what the Stones were going for here. In terms of audiophile appeal, Tea For The Tillerman this ain’t. This is no Demo Disc by any means; it may have some of The Rolling Stones best music on it, but those looking for the best sounding Stones album should look in the direction of Sticky Fingers or Let It Bleed. They’re better recordings.

But this album is no slouch. It can be a bit gritty and grainy at times, but you gotta believe that’s kind of the sound the Stones heard in the booth. (more…)