- The Young Rascals’ self-titled debut LP hits the site for the first time ever with STUNNING Shootout Winning Triple Plus (A+++) grades from start to finish
- We chanced upon an amazing sounding stereo original about ten years ago, and only ten years later (!) we finally have enough clean copies to do a proper shootout
- This shootout-winning bad boy was a long time coming, but we hope the lucky buyer will agree with us that it was worth the wait
- We often say that the average copy of Album X is no great shakes — here’s a title where almost no copies sound any good and the average pressing is awful
- Big, rich, energetic, with tons of Analog Tubey Magic, this Blue and Green Atlantic Stereo pressing has exactly the right sound for this music
- 4 1/2 stars: “The Young Rascals is that rare example of a genuinely great album that got heard and played, and sold and sold. [It] couples a raw garage band sound with compelling white soul more successfully than just about any record since the Beatles’ Please Please Me.”
- This early pressing boasts two excellent Double Plus (A++) or BETTER sides – fairly quiet vinyl too
- An authentic Green and Blue Atlantic stereo pressing, the only version of the album that has the potential for Hot Stamper sound, which explains why this is one of the few copies to have hit the site since 2011
- If this price seems high, keep in mind that the top copy from our most recent shootout went for $1000, and the vinyl was about as quiet
- Our last shootout was in 2018, would should tell you when to expect us to find another copy of this quality: 2028!
- “This is one of the most highly underrated entries in Coltrane’s voluminous catalog. Although the same overwhelming attention bestowed upon My Favorite Things was not given to Coltrane’s Sound upon its initial release, both were actually recorded during the same three-day period in the fall of 1960… these recordings remain among Trane’s finest.”
- Coltrane’s Sound, recorded in 1960 but not released until four years later, is a Must Own Jazz Album from 1964
This is yet another superb Tom Dowd recording of Coltrane in his prime, with support from the brilliant McCoy Tyner and Elvin Jones.
Forget the later Red and Green Atlantic pressings. Every one we’ve ever played was flat, dry, and thin. They sound like the cheap reissues that Atlantic churned out in the ’70s. Don’t get me wrong; there are some good sounding records on the Red and Green label, but you really have to know what you are doing — or be really lucky — to find them.
We’ve played them by the score, and found relatively few winners among a slough of losers. If you want to take your chances on some, knock yourself out, more power to you, but expect to come up with nothing to show for your time and money almost every time. That’s been our experience anyway.
And be very thankful if you happen to run into one of these early Atlantic stereo pressings, especially if it plays as quietly as this one does. Few Classic Coltrane albums survived the jazz lovers of the day and their awful turntables.
- Boasting two superb Double Plus (A++) sides, this vintage Stereo Atlantic pressing of Mingus’s brilliant Oh Yeah will be very hard to beat
- Tubey Magical, lively and clear, with three-dimensionality that will fill your listening room from wall to wall
- Phil Iehle and Tom Dowd made up the engineering team for these sessions, which explains why the better copies of the album sound so damn good
- A raucous (and rockin’) deviation from traditional jazz, this compilation incorporates R&B and soul influences – Mingus even lends his rich vocal stylings to a few songs
- 5 stars: “Oh Yeah is probably the most offbeat Mingus album ever, and that’s what makes it so vital.”
- It’s hard to imagine that any list of the Best Jazz Albums of 1962 would not have this record on it
- Both sides of this vintage UK copy were giving us the big and bold sound we were looking for, earning outstanding Double Plus (A++) grades – fairly quiet vinyl too
- You aren’t going to believe how hard this copy rocks, with all the WHOMP and ENERGY you never knew was there
- Classics like “Strange Brew,” “Sunshine Of Your Love” and “Tales of Brave Ulysses” make this Cream album a Must Own
- 4 1/2 stars: “…the imagination of the arrangements, the strength of the compositions, and especially the force of the musicianship make this album transcend its time.”
- It’s hard to conceive of any list of the Best Rock and Pop Albums of 1967 that would not have this record on it
This superb copy has the kind of smooth, analog sound you need for this music — warm, rich, smooth, and pretty much free of the nasty grain that gets in the way on most pressings. There’s good extension up top, and the bottom end is meaty and well-defined.
The lesson we’ve learned over the years is that when the extremes are properly transferred to the vinyl, the middle will take care of itself. Since the extremes seem to be the hardest thing to get right, at least on this record, that might explain why so many copies don’t really sound the way they should.
- This insanely good copy of Coltrane’s brilliant sixth studio album boasts Shootout Winning Triple Plus (A+++) sound on the first side and solid Double Plus (A++) sound on the second
- This pressing captures the classic Coltrane sound that Tom Dowd and Phil Iehle achieved in the studio in 1961, with plenty of the Tubey Magic that makes a vintage jazz album like this one such a special listening experience
- It’s the rare pressing that isn’t mediocre if not outright awful – it took us a long time to find the right stampers for this one
- It’s trial and error, no more, no less, a process that has worked for plenty of other hard-to-find-good-sound-for-Coltrane albums too
- 4 1/2 stars: “The first album to hit the shelves after Giant Steps… While not the groundbreaker that Giant Steps was, Coltrane Jazz was a good consolidation of his gains as he prepared to launch into his peak years of the 1960s.”
For us audiophiles both the sound and the music here are wonderful. If you’re looking to demonstrate just how good 1961 All Tube Analog sound can be, this killer copy will do the trick.
This pressing is super spacious, sweet and positively dripping with ambience. Talk about Tubey Magic, the liquidity of the sound here is positively uncanny. This is vintage analog at its best, so full-bodied and relaxed you’ll wonder how it ever came to be that anyone seriously contemplated trying to improve it.
- With four superb sides, all boasting Double Plus (A++) sound, these vintage Pink Label pressings are guaranteed to blow the doors off any other copy of …At Fillmore East you’ve heard
- This is one of the all-time great live albums, and with a copy like this one YOU ARE THERE at the Fillmore
- The WHOMP factor here kicks up the excitement – here is the low end foundation that lets the extended guitar jams work their magic
- Marks in the vinyl are sometimes the nature of the beast with these vintage LPs – there simply is no way around them if the superior sound of vintage analog is important to you
- 5 stars: “At Fillmore East is like a great live jazz session, where the pleasure comes
When the music sounds this good, with this kind of rich, musical tonality and big, open soundstage, it just WORKS.
We’ve been looking for great copies of this one forever, but most of them are trashed and don’t sound all that good. A transparent, lively copy like this one really lets everything that’s great about this music come through. You can easily pick out each of the musicians and follow their contributions over the course of the songs.
The huge WHOMP factor throughout kicks up the excitement and sets the necessary foundation for the crazy guitar jams to sound correct. The top end has the kind of extension that brings out the ambience and spaciousness of the recording.
You can really hear the extension on the top end when you listen to the drumming. The cymbals are clear and silky sweet. In fact, the drums on this album are some of the most well-recorded drums I have EVER heard on a live rock record. (more…)
- Herbie Mann’s 1963 release makes its Hot Stamper debut on this early Atlantic Blue & Green label pressing with phenomenal you-are-there sound
- You won’t believe how good the Live Jazz Club sound captured on this album is, but a White Hot Stamper pressing like this one is guaranteed to make the case
- This is an exceptionally well recorded jazz flute album, and if you want to hear this kind of sound, you going to need an early ’60s pressing, because none of the reissues we played even came close to our good stereo originals
- “By 1961, flutist Herbie Mann was really starting to catch on with the general public. This release, a follow-up to his hit At the Village Gate…features Mann in an ideal group with either Hagood Hardy or Dave Pike on vibes, Ahmed Abdul-Malik or Nabil Totah on bass, drummer Rudy Collins and two percussionists. Mann really cooks on four of his own originals, plus ‘Bags’ Groove,’ blending in the influence of African, Afro-Cuban and even Brazilian jazz.”
- A Jazz Classic from 1963 that should appeal to any fan of Bossa Nova music
- This vintage UK pressing boasts incredible Nearly Triple Plus (A++ to A+++) sound from start to finish, just shy of our Shootout Winner – fairly quiet vinyl too
- Big and full-bodied with exceptionally breathy vocals, strong rhythmic energy and virtually none of the smear that plagues so many copies
- As good as the best domestic pressings can be, these British LPs simply capture quite a bit more of the 461 Midrange Magic than they do
- 4 1/2 stars: “…the pop concessions on the album don’t detract from the rootsy origins of the material, whether it’s Johnny Otis’ ‘Willie and the Hand Jive,’ the traditional blues ‘Motherless Children,’ Bob Marley’s ‘I Shot the Sheriff,’ or Clapton’s emotional original ‘Let It Grow.'”
- If you’re a Clapton fan, and what audiophile wouldn’t be?, this return to form released in 1974 is clearly a Must Own, a title it shares with two of his other top albums: Unplugged and Just One Night.
- His debut solo album is a longtime personal favorite, but I’m not sure it would quite make the cut for our Core Rock Collection
Tom Dowd recorded this album at Criteria in Miami, where Layla was recorded. I’d say the sound here is substantially better than what you typically get on that album, keeping in mind the sonic variations from track to track on Layla, which can be fairly dramatic.
- Boasting excellent Double Plus (A++) grades on all FOUR sides, this copy was doing just about everything right – reasonably quiet vinyl too for an early Capricorn pressing
- These superb sides have the immediacy that will put these wild and crazy southern rockers right in your living room
- The heartfelt radio-friendly songs such as “Melissa” and “Little Martha” keep up the energy and add to the enjoyment factor
- 5 stars: “The record showcases the Allmans at their peak, and it’s hard not to feel sad as the acoustic guitars of ‘Little Martha’ conclude the record, since this tribute isn’t just heartfelt, it offers proof of Duane Allman’s immense talents and contribution to the band.”
- If you’re a fan of the band, this title from 1972 is clearly one of their best
- The complete list of titles from 1972 that we’ve reviewed to date can be found here.
What do high grades give you for this album? Unbelievably Tubey Magical guitars, huge whomp factor on the bottom end, incredible dynamics and life, shocking transparency and clarity, and the kind of immediacy that puts these crazy southern rockers right in your very own living room. The overall sound is impressively BIG, BOLD, and POWERFUL.
This and Live At Fillmore East are the two monumental albums these guys put out, and they have a lot in common. You know what you’re gonna get with the Allmans: dueling electric guitars, sweet acoustic guitars, energetic drumming, and full-bodied vocals throughout. There’s obviously a lot of exploration — two complete sides are dedicated to the song Mountain Jam — but the heartfelt radio-friendly songs such as Melissa and Little Martha keep up the energy and provide maximum enjoyment factor.
The Three Keys: Transparency, Energy, and WHOMP
A great copy like this one really lets everything that’s great about this music come through. You can easily pick out each of the musicians and follow their contributions over the course of the songs. The huge WHOMP factor throughout kicks up the excitement factor and sets the foundation for the extended guitar jams to work their Southern bluesy magic. The top end extends beautifully to bring out all the ambience and spaciousness of the Fillmore. (more…)