Top Engineers – Andy Johns

Leon Russell and the Shelter People – His Best Sounding Album?

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More Leon Russell and the Shelter People

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  • You’ll find excellent Double Plus (A++) from first note to last on this original British pressing 
  • Engineered by Andy and Glyn Johns, this is his best sounding album, especially on a copy that sounds as good as this one does
  • No other Leon Russell album has the richness, the sweetness, and the Tubey Magic of this, his second album from 1971
  • “Russell practically invented what might as well be called Okie rock — with that shit-kicker Gospel sound, heavy on Baptist-revival piano and chorus [a template Elton John found more than a little useful for his first ten albums or so] – and it gets as good on this album as you’ll ever hear.”

Stranger in a Strange Land, which leads off side one, might just be the best song the man ever wrote. What a joy it is to hear it sound so big and powerful.

Domestic Vs. Import

The domestic pressings of Leon Russell and the Shelter People that we’d auditioned over the years always seemed flat, dry, and closed-in. We know that sound well; it’s the sound you hear on records that have been made from dubbed tapes (and it’s the hallmark of the modern Heavy Vinyl reissue, truth be told). It bores us to tears, and had us questioning what we could possibly have seen in the album in the first place. What happened to the glorious sound of early ’70s analog we were expecting to find? (more…)

Led Zeppelin II on Classic Records – What Could Be Sadder?

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Led Zeppelin – II on Classic Records

Sonic Grade: F

A Hall of Shame pressing and another Classic Records LP debunked.

An absolute DISASTER — ridiculously bright, ridiculously crude, in short, a completely unlistenable piece of garbage.

Over the years we have done many Led Zeppelin shootouts, often including the Classic Heavy Vinyl Pressings as a “reference.” After all, the Classic pressings are considered by many — if not most — audiophiles as superior to other pressings. What could be sadder?

In fact. you will find very few critics of the Classic Zep LPs outside of those who write for this very website, and even we used to recommend three of the Zep titles on Classic: Led Zeppelin I, IV and Presence.

Wrong on all counts.

Since then we’ve made it a point to create debunking commentaries for some of the Classic Zeps, a public service of Better Records. We don’t actually like any of them now, although the first album is still by far the best of the bunch.

See more commentaries as well as our in-stock Led Zeppelin albums

 

Andy Johns Is One of Our Favorite Engineers

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More of Our Favorite Engineers

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ANDY JOHNS is one of our favorite recording and mixing engineers. Click on the link to find our in-stock Andy Johns engineered or produced albums, along with plenty of our famous commentaries. 

Many can be found in our Rock and Pop Top 100 List of Best Sounding Albums with the Best Music (limited to titles that we can actually find sufficient copies of with which to do our Hot Stamper shootouts).

Andy Johns Engineered Albums with Hot Stampers

Andy Johns Engineered Albums We’ve Reviewed

Partial Discography

Stand Up – Jethro Tull (1969)

Town and Country -Humble Pie (1969)

Living in the Past – Jethro Tull (1972)

Disposable – The Deviants (1968)

Spooky Two – Spooky Tooth (1969)

Songs for a Tailor – Jack Bruce (1969)

Ssssh -Ten Years After (1969)

The Clouds Scrapbook – Clouds (1969)

Up Above our Heads – Clouds (1969)

Blind Faith – Blind Faith (1969)

Led Zeppelin II – Led Zeppelin (1969)

Led Zeppelin III – Led Zeppelin (1970)

Highway – Free (1970)

Led Zeppelin IV – Led Zeppelin (1971)

Sticky Fingers – Rolling Stones (1971)

Brain Capers – Mott the Hoople (1971)

Sailor’s Delight – Sky (1971)

Exile on Main St. – Rolling Stones (1972)

Goats Head Soup – Rolling Stones (1973)

Houses of the Holy – Led Zeppelin (1973)

It’s Only Rock ‘n’ Roll – The Rolling Stones (1974)

Physical Graffiti – Led Zeppelin (1975)

In Another Land – Larry Norman (1976)

“Eddie Money” – Eddie Money (1977)

Welcome to Paradise – Randy Stonehill (1976)

Sky – Sky (1979)

Ghost Town Parade – Les Dudek (1978)

DFK – Dudek, Finnigan, & Krueger (1979)

Shadows and Light – Joni Mitchell (1980)

Coda – Led Zeppelin (1982)

Jethro Tull – Stand Up – A True Tull Classic




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  • A stunning Island Pink Label Import LP with Triple Plus (A+++) sound or very close to it on both sides
  • This is a True Tull Classic, and a VERY tough record to come by with this kind of sound
  • Both British sides give you richness, Tubey Magic, clarity and resolution few copies can touch – and what’s more, IT ROCKS
  • Their best album? It gets my vote, and this copy will really make the case if you turn it up good and loud

See all our Jethro Tull albums in stock

We just finished a big shootout for Stand Up with a variety of Brit pressings and a few domestics (which most of the time are awful but occasionally you run across one that’s pretty good on one side or another).

The following are some older notes that apply to the album in general.   (more…)

Today’s Heavy Vinyl Mediocrity Is… Zep IV

More on Zep IV

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The Classic 200 Gram Pressing — Dead as a Doornail

It wasn’t that long ago that I thought the Classic 200 gram pressing was the king on this title. In late 2006 I wrote: “You can hear how much cleaner and more correct the mastering is right away…” Folks, I must have been out of my mind.

I wasn’t out of my mind. I just hadn’t gotten my system to the place where it needed to be to allow the better original pressings to sound their best. (more…)