Top Engineers – Val Valentin

Ella Fitzgerald – Clap Hands, Here Comes Charlie – Our Favorite Female Vocal Album of All Time

More Ella Fitzgerald

More Clap Hands, Here Comes Charlie

xxxxx

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

The first “Triple Triple” MONO copy to ever hit the site — A+++ from start to finish. Our knockout mono pressing here was fuller, more natural and more involving than any copy we heard in our shootout. with immediacy to put Ella practically in the room with you, it’s her performance that really comes to life. It’s our single Favorite Female Vocal album here at Better Records, one that gets better with each passing year.

Check out what the lucky owner of this copy had to say about it.

PR Writes

As you probably know, I own superb copies of the stereo. They both fade into pastel in comparison with this mono. (more…)

Johnny Hodges & Wild Bill Davis – Blue Rabbit from 1964

More Johnny Hodges

xxxxx

  • This KILLER jazz pressing boasts shootout winning Triple Plus (A+++) sound from first note to last
  • The sound here is Tubey Magical, lively and clear, with three-dimensionality that goes deep and fills the listening room from wall to wall
  • This copy plays on relatively quiet vinyl, Mint Minus to Mint Minus Minus throughout
  • “One of altoist Johnny Hodges’ many solo records in the 1960s… Tasty and swinging music.” – Allmusic

For us audiophiles both the sound and the music here are wonderful. If you’re looking to demonstrate just how good 1963-64 All Tube Analog sound can be, this killer copy will do the trick. (more…)

Harry Edison & Eddie “Lockjaw” Davis – Simply Sweets Is Simply Wonderful

More Harry “Sweets” Edison

More Simply Sweets

xxxxx

  • With stunning Triple Plus (A+++) sound from first note to last, this copy of Simply Sweets simply blew away every other pressing in our recent shootout
  • This is one of the best sounding small group Pablo recordings we have played in quite a while – the sound of this superb jazz quintet is lively and real like you will not believe
  • The legendary engineer Val Valentin put this one on tape, brilliantly – he’s the man behind some of our All Time Pablo favorites
  • “Trumpeter Harry ‘Sweets’ Edison and tenor saxophonist Eddie “Lockjaw” Davis always made a potent pair. They both possessed immediately identifiable sounds, were veterans of Count Basie’s Orchestra and never had any difficulty swinging.” — Allmusic

Both sides of this very special pressing — it looks the same as every other copy we played but it sure doesn’t sound like them — are huge, rich, tubey and clear. As soon as the group got going we knew that this copy was going to be exceptional, and the longer it played the better it got and the more we liked it. There was no other copy in our shootout that could touch it, in any area of reproduction. (more…)

Harry Edison & Eddie “Lockjaw” Davis – Simply Sweets – A Sleeper from Pablo

More Harry “Sweets” Edison

More Simply Sweets

xxxxx

  • This outstanding copy of Simply Sweets boasts solid Double Plus (A++) sound on both sides and relatively quiet vinyl too 
  • The sound of this superb jazz quintet is big, lively, open and clear with Tubey Magical richness
  • The legendary engineer Val Valentin put this one on tape, brilliantly – he’s the man behind some of our All Time Pablo favorites
  • “Trumpeter Harry ‘Sweets’ Edison and tenor saxophonist Eddie “Lockjaw” Davis always made a potent pair. They both possessed immediately identifiable sounds, were veterans of Count Basie’s Orchestra and never had any difficulty swinging.” — Allmusic

Both sides of this outstanding pressing are big, rich, tubey and clear. Few other copies in our shootout held this kind of sound.

Titles such as this one are the reason we put so much time and money into hunting down and auditioning every Pablo jazz record we can get our hands on — because some of them sound like this one. Who else was recording jazz this good in the late ’70s and well into the ’80s?

And don’t say Concord. There are maybe five great sounding records on that label. Pablo has ten or twenty times that many, and that’s a conservative estimate. We owe a tremendous debt of gratitude to Norman Granz for starting the Pablo label and keeping the quality as high as he did. (more…)

Ella Fitzgerald Sings The Johnny Mercer Song Book

More Ella Fitzgerald

More The Johnny Mercer Song Book

xxxxx
xxxxx

  • You’ll find outstanding Double Plus (A++) sound on both sides of this superb Verve stereo original LP 
  • The huge, rich orchestral sound captured so beautifully by Val Valentin is always one of the highlights of these songbooks
  • By the time this one came out in 1964 Ella had already recorded 18 LPs of songbooks – this was the last, going out on a high note
  • Some of the Mercer Classics here are Too Marvelous For Words, Day In-Day Out, Laura, Skylark, Midnight Sun, I Remember You
  • AMG raves “this is one of the best of Ella Fitzgerald’s songbooks. Fitzgerald’s assured and elegant voice is a perfect match for Mercer’s urbane lyrics and Nelson Riddle’s supple arrangements…”

When you are lucky enough to find a album that sounds as good as this one, full of standards from the Great American Songbook, you cannot help but recognize that this era for Ella will never be equaled, by her or anyone else.

The recording is outstanding, with huge amounts of space and the kind of richness in the midrange that might just take your breath away. (more…)

Mel Torme – Swings Shubert Alley – Another Reissue that Kills the Original

More Mel Torme

More Swings Shubert Alley

xxxxx

xxxxx

  • Both sides of this Mel Torme vintage masterpiece boast Double Plus (A++) grades and play fairly quietly
  • One of our all-time favorite Male Vocal albums that’s just mindblowing on a copy like this
  • Big and spacious with amazing richness and warmth, this is Vocal Demo Disc like few others
  • 5 stars: “The overall mood… is unrestrained enthusiasm, and it makes for an excellent record.”

We are HUGE fans of this album at Better Records, but it’s taken us a long time to pull together enough clean copies to make this shootout happen. Boy, was it worth all the trouble!

The presence and immediacy here are really something. Turn it up and Mel is right between your speakers, putting on the performance of a lifetime. Swings Shubert Alley is one of our very favorite male vocal albums, and a great copy like this will show you why — the audiophile quality sound and swinging jazz vocal music are simply hard to beat.

1961 – It Was a Very Good Year (more…)

Getz Au Go Go and Its Live Jazz Club Sound

More Stan Getz

More Getz Au Go Go

xxxxx

  • Truly superb sound for this incredible recording, Triple Plus (A+++) on the second side and Double Plus (A++) on the first 
  • Amazingly present, immediate and REAL — musically and sonically, this is one of our favorite jazz albums
  • This is an incredibly tough album to find with the right sound and decent surfaces, which is the main reason it’s been years since we did the shootout
  • 4 stars on Allmusic: “Highly recommended for all dimensions of jazz enthusiasts.” [We would of course give it the full 5 Stars]

This Stan Getz record has the kind of LIVE JAZZ CLUB SOUND that audiophiles like us (you and me) dream of. More importantly, this ain’t no Jazz at Some Stupid Pawnshop — this is THE REAL THING. Stan Getz, Gary Burton, Kenny Burrell and the lovely Astrud Gilberto, the living embodiment of Cool Jazz, are coming to a listening room near you.

This is about as good a copy as has ever hit the site. Fans of cool jazz — in point of fact, some of the coolest jazz ever recorded — take note. (more…)

Ella Fitzgerald & Count Basie – On the Sunny Side of the Street on Heavy Vinyl

More Ella Fitzgerald

More Count Basie

More On the Sunny Side of the Street

xxxxx

Sonic Grade: D

A weak outing from Speakers Corner and a Hall of Shame pressing.

Their 180 gram copy suffers from the standard reissue MO — brighter is not necessarily better, and definitely not when you have a big band and a vocalist, as is the case here. 

 

 

The Rolling Stones – Get Yer Ya-Ya’s Out! – Our White Hot Shootout Winner for 2018


Our White Hot Shootout Winner for 2018

xxx

  • Triple Plus (A+++) or close to it for both sides of this stunningly good sounding copy
  • This shootout winning copy gives you superb energy and presence, plus full-bodied tonality and lots of punch down low
  • An essential Stones album — live rock and roll doesn’t get much more fun than this
  • Allusic 4 1/2 stars: “Often acclaimed as one of the top live rock albums of all time”

See all our Rolling Stones albums in stock

From the moment we dropped the needle on side one, we were SHOCKED by the presence, the clarity, and the energy — and that’s just talking about the sound of the audience! About a minute after the music got going, we had to collect our jaws off the floor. No other copy we had heard could have led us to believe we would hear this album sound THIS amazing. (more…)

Astrud Gilberto / Walter Wanderley – A Certain Sadness…

Some sections on our site are hard to find. Here’s one with lots of cool records in it:

Forgotten Vocal Classics

xxx

Astrud Gilberto / Walter Wanderley – A Certain Sadness…

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

LOVELY SOUND AND EXCELLENT MUSIC on this unusually quiet, exceptionally good sounding Verve T-Label LP. We compiled enough of these to do a shootout and this was one of the better copies, earning A++ grades for both sides. It’s full of energy with big time immediacy and wonderfully breathy female vocals. The organ sounds gorgeous!

More Astrud Gilberto

This is a very enjoyable album but the typical copy may leave you a bit cold. The vocals tend to be drenched in reverb and it takes an exceptionally lively copy to help the vocals break free. This one has all the warmth, all the transparency and all the top end extension you need to let these sweet, simple songs work their magic.