Top Artists – Traffic

Traffic – Self-Titled

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  • An incredible sounding Island pink label pressing and the first to hit the site in many years — Shootout Winning Triple Plus (A+++) sound or very close to it on both sides
  • Both of these sides are rich, full-bodied and Tubey Magical yet still incredibly open and spacious; there’s tons of bottom end weight too!
  • “As Mason’s simpler, more direct performances alternate with the more complex Winwood tunes, the album is well-balanced… their second consecutive Top Ten ranking in the U.K.; the album also reached the Top 20 in the U.S.” – All Music, 5 Stars

This vintage Island pink label 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…)

Hot Stamper Sharing Can’t Get Off the Ground, I Wonder Why?

In 2014 somebody on the Hoffman forum tried to get a Hot Stamper thread going under this heading:

Cheap_Hot_Stampers – Revealed

If you have a “hot stamper” record – one that smokes and takes no prisoners, I mean a BADASS pressing, show it here with matrix info, label or other identifying features so we can all hunt with a bit of a head-start.

I know these records are out there, just looking for a place to show off their analog glory.

Here is a recent find that fits the bill and then some: Traffic: Best Of Traffic UK. Matrix # ILPS 9112 A-1/B-1

We know the record well. If it sounds the way the copies we played over the years have sounded, we would say it can be good, not great, and if it qualified for Hot Stamper status, it might — might — earn a plus and a half or so.

We don’t even bother to pick them up for cheap nowadays, if that tells you anything.

He got very little support in his endeavor. The thread closed after a while with practically nothing in it.

Could it be that the folks on the Hoffman forum have a poor grasp of the amount of effort, time and money it takes to find Hot Stampers and, having committed to neither the effort, the time nor the money, find that they have nothing of any value to contribute to this list?  

Yes, that could be. That definitely could be. Thank god it doesn’t keep them from criticizing those of us who, working in concert with a staff of ten or so, have devoted ourselves to the task and found them by the thousands.

By the way, we know that Traffic title ver well. The Pink Label original is by far the best pressing in our experience. No copy we have ever heard on the label promoted by this poster would qualify as much more than a bargain Hot Stamper in comparison to the Pink Label and Pink Rim label pressings that we sell, although of course not having heard his copy we can’t say it’s not fabulous.  It’s just not very likely to be fabulous. If you want fabulous click on these two links:

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Traffic – The Best of Traffic

More Steve Winwood

More Traffic

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or those who wish to find their own Hot Stamper pressings of the album, we say more power to you. Our helpful advice can be found at the bottom of the listing,

  • Best of Traffic finally returns to the site with Nearly Triple Plus (A++ to A+++) sound on this Pink Label Island pressing – just shy of our Shootout Winner
  • Here are the full-bodied mids, punchy lows and clear, open, extended highs that let this 1969 release come alive
  • This amazing compilation boasts superb sound, often better than the very same tracks on many of the original British releases
  • Top 100 and 4 stars: “The entire second side of the LP, comprising ‘Medicated Goo,’ ‘Forty Thousand Headmen,’ ‘Feelin’ Alright,’ ‘Shanghai Noodle Factory,’ and ‘Dear Mr. Fantasy,’ was the kind of progressive rock that would define Traffic and give it its place in the rock pantheon.”

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Traffic – Welcome to the Canteen

More Traffic

More Steve Winwood

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  • You’ll find outstanding Double Plus (A++) sound or close to it on this UK copy of the band’s first live album
  • Forget the dubby domestic pressings and whatever crappy Heavy Vinyl record they’re making these days – these imports are the only way to fly
  • 4 stars: “… the playing was exemplary, and the set list was an excellent mixture of old Traffic songs and recent Mason favorites. “Dear Mr. Fantasy” got an extended workout, and the capper was a rearranged version of Steve Winwood’s old Spencer Davis Group hit “Gimme Some Lovin’.” …Welcome to the Canteen’s status as only a semi-legitimate offering was emphasized by the release of The Low Spark of High Heeled Boys. But that doesn’t make it any less appealing as a summing up of the Winwood/Mason/Traffic musical world.”

This vintage Island import 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…)

Traffic – The Best of Traffic

More Traffic

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  • You’ll find outstanding Double Plus (A++) sound on both sides of this British Pink Label Island pressing
  • Here are the full-bodied mids, punchy lows and clear, open, extended highs that let this 1969 release come alive
  • This amazing compilation boasts superb sound, often better than the very same tracks on many of the original British releases
  • Top 100 and 4 stars: “The entire second side of the LP, comprising ‘Medicated Goo,’ ‘Forty Thousand Headmen,’ ‘Feelin’ Alright,’ ‘Shanghai Noodle Factory,’ and ‘Dear Mr. Fantasy,’ was the kind of progressive rock that would define Traffic and give it its place in the rock pantheon.”

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Traffic – Mr. Fantasy

More Steve Winwood

More Traffic

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  • This early Pink Label import pressing boasts Shootout Winning Triple Plus (A+++) sound or close to it on both sides, making this one of the best copies to hit the site in many years, if not THE best
  • We used to think that The Best of Traffic had better sound, but in a head to head comparison with this very copy, we were proved WRONG
  • Big, full-bodied and lively, with huge amounts of space and off the charts Tubey Magic, the sound here is Hard to Fault – thanks Eddie and Jimmy!
  • “Winwood is simply incredible. He has a top group of musicians with him and they have made an album which is one of the best from any contemporary group.” – Rolling Stone, 1968

This is one of the best sounding Traffic records ever made. Musically it’s hit or miss, but so is every other Traffic record, including my favorite, John Barleycorn. The best songs here are Heaven Is In Your Mind, Dear Mr. Fantasy, and Coloured Rain. The first of these is worth the price of the album alone, in my opinion. It’s a wonderful example of late ’60s British psychedelic rock. (more…)

Traffic – The Low Spark Of High Heeled Boys – Another Disgraceful MoFi Anadisq Release

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Sonic Grade: F

Another MoFi LP debunked.

Of course our Hot Stamper pressings are going to be better than the Anadisq LP from the mid ’90s. How much better? Words fail me. The MoFi was an out and out disaster. Perhaps some of the MoFi collectors didn’t notice because they had nothing to compare it to. God forbid they would ever lower themselves to buy a “common” pressing such as one of our domestic Islands.

Had they done so what they would have heard is huge amounts of musical information that is simply missing from the MoFi pressing. (more…)

Traffic / Mr. Fantasy – 25th Anniversary British Pressing

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This Minty looking Island 25th Anniversary British Import LP has SURPRISINGLY GOOD SOUND! I’d have to say it’s the best sounding record from this series I’ve ever heard. (Note that this is the British version and not the Italian one.)

I can’t vouch for other copies of this record — they may not sound as good as this one — but this one has the bass that’s missing from some of the Pink Label copies and is overall tonally Right On The Money (ROTM), with almost none of the transistory grain that you find on domestic pressings. If you don’t want to spend the big bucks for a Hot Stamper, this is probably the next best way to go.

Letter of the Week – Countdown to Ecstasy, Katy Lied and John Barleycorn

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

Hey Tom, 

Guys, seriously, all three copies, completely out of control !! Unbelievable difference in sound, outstanding!!!!

Thank you.

Alonso,

It was our pleasure! Now you know what Hot Stampers are all about — the sound you can’t find any other way.

Best, TP


Countdown to Ecstasy


Katy Lied


John Barleycorn Must Die

Traffic – The Low Spark of High Heeled Boys

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

HOLY COW! Side one of this British Island Sunray pressing BLEW THE DOORS off the competition in our big shootout. It took the music to an entirely new level for us, so we awarded it the very rare grade of A++++ — that’s four pluses, my man!

You are not going to believe how tubey magical this side one is. I guarantee you have never heard this band sound this amazing on record or your money back.

Side two lacks a little extension up top, but it’s still rich, warm, sweet, and above all, NATURAL. It’s open and transparent with three-dimensionality to the soundfield. We rate it A+ – A++, which means it delivers a good deal of magic. (more…)