A KILLER copy of Northern Lights with Shootout Winning Triple Plus (A+++) sound from start to finish
These sides are bigger, more natural, more warm and more solid than those of any other copy you’ve heard or your money back
This is The Band’s undiscovered gem, containing the most powerful tearjerker they ever wrote: “It Makes No Difference”
4 stars: “…the Band’s finest since their self-titled sophomore effort … “Acadian Driftwood” stands out as one of Robertson’s finest compositions, the equal to anything else the Band ever recorded.”
Thankfully both sides here are rich and full-bodied. This pressing is not nearly as dry and flat as the vast majority of pressings we run across. Both sides have a nicely extended top end to go along with the weighty bottom. The guitars and keyboards are Tubey Magical as well, a quality we we focused on, and one that we believe is essential if the album is to sound its best.(more…)
B.B. King’s superb 1975 release finally arrives on the site with Shootout Winning Triple Plus (A+++) sound or close to it from first note to last – exceptionally quiet vinyl too
Unusually rich, full-bodied, lively and present sound which brings out the best in this music
“I’m always impressed by how crafted the music sounds on this album while still managing to feel spontaneous and natural. This is exactly what this sort of jazz/blues music should sound like. The percussion, the horns, the guitar solos, the vocals. Everything just sounds so right in a low-key but effective way. All the parts fit together perfectly. …Energy, passion and emotion flow through this album; B. B. King and company make it all sound effortless.”
An exceptional copy with Nearly Triple Plus (A++ to A+++) sound from first note to last
These sides are doing pretty much everything right — they’re clean, clear and open with lots of space around the players, and plenty of rich, bottom end weight
4 1/2 Stars: “Blow by Blow signaled a new creative peak for Beck, and it proved to be a difficult act to follow. It is a testament to the power of effective collaboration and, given the circumstances, Beck clearly rose to the occasion. In addition to being a personal milestone, Blow by Blow ranks as one of the premiere recordings in the canon of instrumental rock music.” — All Music
Our pick for the best Dan album of them all, a Masterpiece of Jazzy Swing Pop that is sure to reward hundreds of plays in the decades to come
Take it from The Dan: “The sound created by musicians and singers is reproduced as faithfully as possible, and special care is taken to preserve the band-width and transient response of each performance.”
5 stars: “Each song is given a glossy sheen, one that accentuates not only the stronger pop hooks, but also the precise technical skill of the professional musicians drafted to play the solos.”
The covers for these original Katy Lied pressings on ABC always have at least some edge, seam or ringwear. We will of course do our best to find you a cover with the fewest problems, but none of them will be perfect, or even all that close to it. It is by far the hardest Steely Dan album to find good covers for.
This copy has the all-important rock energy we look for, although rocking is not quite what Steely Dan are up to here. Cameron Crowe calls it “…absolutely impeccable swing-pop”, a four word description that gets to the heart of the music far better than any combination of adjectives and nouns containing the word “rock.” (more…)
With solid Double Plus (A++) sound or BETTER on both sides, this is an outstanding Blood on the Tracks from start to finish
For tonally-correct, un-hyped acoustic guitars and vocals, the sound of this album is tough to beat in Dylan’s catalog
The better copies are rich, warm, tubey and full-bodied – in other words, they are exactly what’s good about the vintage analog pressings we offer to the discriminating audiophiles who appreciates the difference
5 stars: “…it’s an affecting, unbearably poignant record, not because it’s a glimpse into his soul, but because the songs are remarkably clear-eyed and sentimental, lovely and melancholy at once. Dylan made albums more influential than this, but he never made one better.”
This is an outstanding recording but it takes a special pressing to bring it to life. It’s nice when the copy in hand has all the transparency, space, layered depth and three-dimensionality that makes listening to records such a fundamentally different experience than listening to digitally-sourced material, but it’s not nearly as important as having a rich, relaxed quality. A touch of smear and a slight lack of resolution is not the end of the world on this album. Brightness, along with too much grain and grit, can be.
This was a “comeback” album for Dylan, one that completely reinvigorated his following in the mid-’70s. No recording of his with which we are familiar since then can compare to this one. Recording technology has gone backward at full speed, and, to be charitable, his voice has not exactly improved with time either. Drenching his voice in reverb on albums like Time Out of Mind makes his raspy croak sound worse, not better. (more…)
Two insanely good Shootout Winning Triple Plus (A+++) sides for one of James Taylor’s best softer rock albums
Soulful JT at his best, an underappreciated album by our man and one that belongs in your collection
Mexico, How Sweet It Is (To Be Loved By You) and I Was A Fool To Care are standouts – there are no weak tracks here
Rolling Stone notes, “With Gorilla, Taylor is well on his way to staking out new ground. What he’s hit upon is the unlikely mating of his familiar low-keyed, acoustic guitar-dominated style with L.A. harmony rock and the sweet, sexy school of rhythm and blues.”
*NOTE: On side one, a mark makes 12 light ticks at the beginning of Track 1, Mexico.
This is soft rock at its best, made up primarily of love songs, and helped immensely by the harmonically-gifted backing vocals of Graham Nash and David Crosby.
Rolling Stone notes that “With Gorilla, Taylor is well on his way to staking out new ground. What he’s hit upon is the unlikely mating of his familiar low-keyed, acoustic guitar-dominated style with L.A. harmony rock and the sweet, sexy school of rhythm and blues.”
To be honest, the recording of Gorilla itself cannot compete with the likes of Sweet Baby James or JT, both of which are Top 100 Titles. It can be a good sounding record, not a great one, certainly not in the same league as those two.(more…)
KILLER sound throughout with both sides earning Double Plus (A++) grades on both sides – exceptionally quiet vinyl too
Big, rich and full-bodied with lovely texture to the synths and relatively little grit – crucially important to the best copies
One of the few White Hot copies to hit the site in the last 5 years or so – pressings with this kind of sound are tougher to come by than you might imagine
4 Stars: “Backed with only drums and a wide assortment of keyboards, Gary Wright crafted instantly recognizable tunes such as the title cut and “Love Is Alive,” which caught on and remain staples of classic rock stations around the U.S. … Dream Weaver hasn’t lost any of its magic over time.”
With two seriously good Double Plus (A++) sides, this copy has a lot going for it – exceptionally quiet vinyl for the most part too
These sides are rich and full, with punchy bass and plenty of rockin’-down-the-highway Doobies energy – thanks Donn Landee, you da man
Contains contributions from such guest musicians as Maria Muldaur, Ry Cooder, and Curtis Mayfield
Allmusic 4 1/2 stars: “The Doobie Brothers’ rootsiest album to date, Stampede was virtuoso soulful countrified rock of a gritty nature, crossing over into blues as well as reaching back to a raw, traditional rock & roll sound…”
The average copy of this album is compressed and congested, recessed and veiled, grainy and thin; in other words, it sounds like an old Doobie Brothers album. It takes a copy like this one to show you just how good the Master Tape must be.
And if we hadn’t had plenty of copies to play with, we would never have found this one. (more…)
This Killer Island British import copy of Live! boasts Shootout Winning Triple Plus (A+++) sound or very close to it throughout
As you can imagine, any Reggae Island UK import is very hard to come by – not to mention expensive – with audiophile playing surfaces, but here’s one
You won’t believe how big and rich this music can sound (especially if all you know is domestic or modern pressings)
Recorded in 1975 and released between Natty Dread (1974) and Rastaman Vibration (1976), Marley was at the peak of his powers at the time
A real contender to make the next update of our Top 100 list – it’s that impressive
4 1/2 stars: “One of the most memorable concert recordings of the pop music era.”
This copy gives you EXCELLENT LIVE SOUND, not to mention KILLER PERFORMANCES of many of Bob Marley and the Wailers’ reggae classics. We were absolutely BLOWN AWAY by the sound of the better copies. The Hot Stamper pressings we found were so darn good that this title almost made our Rock and Pop Top 100 list.
Audiophiles don’t seem to be much into reggae, but we had a blast doing shootouts for some of the classic Marley albums. The music is wonderful (check out the All Music Guide review, where they call this “one of the most memorable concert recordings of the pop music era”) and the sound on the best pressings can be truly spectacular.
None of us here had any idea what an amazing live recording this album was until we threw a copy on the table just for kicks and heard an extremely well-recorded live reggae concert jumping out of the speakers.
The domestic pressings are not bad, but they are clearly made from copy tapes and can’t hold a candle to the better imports from across the pond. (more…)