1986

The Fabulous Thunderbirds- Tuff Enuff

More of The Fabulous Thunderbirds

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  • The band’s 1986 release makes its Hot Stamper debut here with Shootout Winning Triple Plus (A+++) sound or close to it throughout – exceptionally quiet vinyl too
  • Rich, full and balanced with Blues-Rock energy to spare, this is a killer copy of a fun album
  • “Their breakthrough success. The title track and soul covers point the band in a new, more mainstream direction.”

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Talking Heads – True Stories

More Talking Heads

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  • You’ll find Shootout Winning Triple Plus (A+++) sound or close to it on both sides of this superb pressing
  • Here’s the midrange magic that’s surely missing from whatever 180g reissue has been made from the tapes (or, to be clear, a modern digital master copied from who-knows-what-tapes)
  • This is that rare copy with top quality sound and exceptionally quiet vinyl – it plays Mint Minus to Mint Minus Minus, as quiet as they ever do
  • “Despite its perfunctory nature, however, True Stories is not without its charms… ‘Dream Operator’ is one of the most affecting tunes Talking Heads ever recorded; the closing-credits theme ‘City of Dreams’ is similarly touching.”

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Bob Seger and The Silver Bullet Band – Like A Rock

More Bob Seger

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  • A superb copy of Like A Rock with Nearly Triple Plus (A++ to A+++) sound on both sides — just shy of our Shootout Winner
  • We guarantee there is dramatically more space, richness, vocal presence, and performance energy on this copy than others you’ve heard, and that’s especially true if you made the mistake of buying whatever Heavy Vinyl pressing is currently on the market
  • Features an A-list of rock and rollers, including Don Henley, Timothy B. Schmit, and Pete Carr, just to name a few
  • Per Seger, Like A Rock “expresses my feeling that the best years of your life are in your late teens when you have no special commitments and no career. It’s your last blast of fun before heading into the cruel world.”

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Crowded House – Crowded House

Reviews and Commentaries for Crowded House

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  • A stunning sounding copy with Shootout Winning Triple Plus (A+++) sound from start to finish
  • Both sides here are super punchy, musical, clean and clear with a solid bottom end – what album from 1986 sounds as good as this one?
  • The best sounding Crowded House album ever recorded? It gets our vote!
  • Great songs like Don’t Dream It’s Over, Something So Strong and World Where You Live
  • “… the record was blessed by good timing, and the majestic ballad “Don’t Dream It’s Over” became an international hit, while its follow-up, the breezy “Something So Strong,” also turned into a hit. Both revealed different sides of Finn’s talents, with the first being lyrical and the second being effervescent…” – All Music

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Bonnie Raitt – Nine Lives – An Early Shootout Winning Copy of Her Underrated Album from 1986

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Reviews and Commentaries for Bonnie Raitt’s Albums

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I did a little shootout today (7/3/06) with a few copies of this album and this one was CLEARLY SUPERIOR. The others were a bit smeared and thick sounding. This copy has the LIFE of the recording preserved in the grooves. With George Massenburg involved, there’s no way this record could sound “natural”. This copy does sound the way it’s supposed to and that’s the most we can hope for. If you have an aggressive or thin sounding stereo this is not the record for you.  

Side One COOKS from start to finish, with some of her best work — far better (IMHO) than anything she did for Capitol.

Of course the rest of the world disagreed with me about that, as after this album the label dropped her, and her first album for Capitol outsold all the records she ever made put together. But that’s sales. I’m talking about musical quality. Her Capitol albums are much too mellow for my taste. I discovered Bonnie with Home Plate and saw her live numerous times, where she proved she can rock with the best of them (like on this album).

Mellow isn’t the Bonnie I like. If you want an album with more energy, try this one. If you want something to play in the background while you sip wine and engage in polite conversation, both the DCC titles are perfect for that.

Actually that’s not fair: they have much to offer the serious listener whose tastes run more to Norah Jonesy middle of the road fare. I like that kind of material too, but Bonnie Raitt can do both, and I prefer her this way.

Two of her best songs ever are on this album: the rocker “Who But a Fool (Thief Into Paradise)” and the ballad “Angel”, with some of the best slide guitar she ever played while the tape was running. If you don’t like those two songs, send this record back to me and I’ll give you your money back. (more…)

Stevie Ray Vaughan – Live Alive

More Stevie Ray Vaughan

More Electric Blues

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We just finished a big shootout for this bluesy live album, and this was one of just a handful of copies that impressed us from start to finish. Most copies we played were thick, murky, overly smooth and/or veiled, but this one almost never suffers in any of those areas. The sound is clean, clear, transparent and lively throughout.

This is one of Stevie Ray Vaughan’s better albums. We’ve heard reissues on both heavy and regular vinyl, but I guarantee this will KILL them all or your money back. (more…)

Prince And The Revolution – Parade

More Prince

More Soul, Blues, and Rhythm and Blues

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  • This stunning copy offers insanely good Shootout Winning Triple Plus (A+++) sound or close to it from start to finish 
  • Both of these sides are rich, full-bodied, Tubey Magical and wonderfully present with tons of bottom end weight
  • Exceptionally quiet vinyl throughout — Mint Minus to Mint Minus Minus
  • “Prince & the Revolution shift musical moods and textures from song to song… All of the group’s musical adventures, even the cabaret-pop of “Venus de Milo” and “Do U Lie?” do nothing to undercut the melodicism of the record, and the amount of ground they cover in 12 songs is truly remarkable…” – All Music

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Elvis Costello – King of America

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  • Elvis’s brilliant 1986 release finally comes to the site with two Shootout Winning Triple Plus (A+++) sides
  • Both sides are incredibly clean, clear and lively with a huge bottom end and lots of space around all of the instruments
  • Nina Simone’s “Don’t Let Me Be Misunderstood” is only one highlight among many – these are some of his best songs 
  • AMG raves: “Stripping away much of the excess that cluttered Punch the Clock and Goodbye Cruel World, Elvis Costello returned to his folk-rock and pub rock roots with King of America, creating one of his most affecting and personal records … one of his masterpieces.”

Even though the album was recorded right here in the states, the domestic copies are clearly made from dubs, sounding quite a bit more opaque, vague, closed-in, flat and dry than most of the British pressings we played. Like most Costello albums on domestic vinyl, they should be avoided. (more…)

1986 – Not a great year for recording quality!

1986 – Not the best year for recording quality

More Crowded House

This original domestic pressing offers two superb sides for Crowded House’s wonderful debut.

Note that this copy won our shootout on side one, and since side one has the best batch of songs here, that works out well for everyone who loves great sounding sophisticated pop music, a group that includes us to be sure.

Sonically Speaking

1986 – Not a great year for recording quality!

  • Exhibit A: Paul Simon’s Graceland.
  • Exhibit B: Peter Gabriel’s So.

I rest my case. Fortunately for us audiophiles, Crowded House’s debut here is big, rich, smooth, natural and, above all, ANALOG. (I really don’t know if it is actually is analog or not, but it sounds like analog, and that’s really all that matters.)

Musically Speaking

Musically side one is absolutely brilliant from first note to last. Crowded House may have wanted to be the New Beatles, but those are some pretty big shoes to fill. They fell a bit short — who can compete with The Beatles? — but in their heyday, 1985-1993, they were better at making intelligent, original, melody-driven pop than practically any other group I was listening to at the time.

(We love Squeeze’s albums from this period as well but the ’80s sound is just too processed and artificial on even the best pressings to be enjoyed on modern high-resolution audiophile equipment.)

When people ask me what kind of music I like, a common question from non-audiophiles seeing a house full of records and a custom sound room stuffed with equipment and room treatments, Crowded House is one band I’m happy to namecheck (10cc and Roxy Music and Little Feat being a bit too obscure for most people by now).

Sophisticated Pop Albums with Audiophile Quality Sound make up a large part of my record collection, with Crowded House taking its place up near the top, not on the same plane as The Beatles, say, but not that far below either. (Woodface is an album that I have played many hundreds of times over the course of the last twenty years and have yet to tire of.)

The first Crowded House album is a record that belongs no less in your collection than it does in mine. Their songs still get played on the radio and to these ears they’re holding up just fine. (more…)