never-again

Elvis Costello – Get Happy

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More Titles Only Offered on Import LP

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  • An incredibly good UK pressing – only the second Shootout Winner to hit the site in many years, with Triple Plus (A+++) sound on both sides
  • Big, lively and dynamic, with huge amounts of bass (Elvis’s trademark sound) and New Wave energy that’s off the charts
  • Get Happy, coming right before the brilliant Trust, contains Elvis classics like I Can’t Stand Up (for Falling Down) & Motel Matches
  • The AMG Five Star rating “…a 20-song blue-eyed soul tour-de-force…” and killer recording quality make this a Must Own for Elvis fans

Two amazing Triple Plus (A+++) sides for this rip-roarin’, twenty song, five star rated Elvis Costello extravaganza!

This is the record that came right after Armed Forces, which is a huge favorite around these parts, and the venerable All Music Guide gives both albums five big stars. I’m not sure I’d go quite that far, but it’s certainly full of good material. Out of the twenty songs on here, exactly one clocks in at over three minutes. (more…)

Little Feat – Dixie Chicken – Hard to Find on the Green Label

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TWO AMAZING WHITE HOT SIDES for one of Little Feat’s best-loved albums! This music is tons of fun, but the typical pressing is so flat and lifeless that the music is basically ruined. When you find a copy that’s been properly mastered, like this one, it’s a whole ‘nother story. Richer and fuller, clearer and more transparent, this Green Label will absolutely DESTROY any later pressing!

This album may never be a Demo Disc, but it certainly doesn’t need to sound like a piece of cardboard, and this copy is the proof! As soon as we dropped the needle, there was no doubt in our minds that this was the winner of our shootout. It’s a huge step up in every way.

Most copies of this album sound like cardboard, especially the later pressings on the palm tree and tan labels. To get the best sound you need originals of this album, and Warner Brothers green label originals are getting pretty darn hard to find as more and more collectors and audiophiles are coming to the realization that the unending stream of heavy vinyl reissues flooding the market leaves a lot to be desired. (Our desire for them is at zero as we no longer bother to order the stuff.) (more…)

Mark-Almond – Mark-Almond

A Record We May Never Shootout

Some records were just too much work to find, too expensive to buy.

This is one such album. The link above will take you to many more.

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This is a very nice original Harvest Green Label British Import LP of the band’s first album, which was released in America with additional tracks and no doubt mastered from a dub. This has that lovely Master Tape sound – smooth and sweet and totally grain free in the best tradition of British record making. If you like this band, this is a wonderfully relaxing way to enjoy their music. (more…)

Fairport Convention – What We Did On Our Holidays

More Titles Only Offered on Import

All the Titles that Potentially Sound Best on Import

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  • An outstanding UK copy with solid Double Plus (A++) sound or close to it, and the first copy to hit the site in years – exceptionally quiet vinyl too
  • Bigger and bolder, with more bass, more energy, and more of that “you-are-there-immediacy” of ANALOG that set the best vintage pressings apart from reissues, CDs, and whatever else you care to name
  • 4 1/2 stars: “… more than simply being a collection of good songs, it allowed Fairport to achieve its greatest internal balance, and indeed one of the finest balances of any major folk-rock group.”

The “haunting, ethereal” vocals of the lovely Sandy Denny (or Alexandra Elene McLean Denny as she’s listed on the sleeve) are sublime here. Some of you may recognize her voice from a ditty called ‘Battle of Evermore’, found on a grayish ’70s rock album that no one even bothered to give a name. Wonder what ever became of that group? No doubt by now their story is lost to the sands of time. I have to say I thought the music was pretty good though.

This vintage Island pressing has the kind of Tubey Magical Midrange that modern records can barely BEGIN to reproduce. Folks, that sound is gone and it sure isn’t showing signs of coming back. If you love hearing INTO a recording, actually being able to “see” the performers, and feeling as if you are sitting in the studio with the band, this is the record for you. It’s what vintage all analog recordings are known for — this sound. (more…)

Ray Brown – And The All-Stars Band – Cannonball Adderley

Yet Another Record We’ve Discovered with (Potentially) Excellent Sound

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These two sides offer bigger brass, more transparency and more presence than any other sides we played! This may become one of your favorite big band albums to demo or test with. Or you can just enjoy the hell out of it if you prefer. So transparent and tonally correct, this is a killer sounding copy. We put this one right up there with the best of the Verve jazz titles we’ve done to date.

This is the kind of HUGE, RICH sound that Ray Hall engineered with tubes back in 1962, and it’s glorious to hear in 2017.

This album sounds like a big room full of musicians playing live, which it surely was. The Tubey Magical richness of the 1962 recording is breathtaking – no modern record can touch it.

The best copies recreate a live studio space the size of which you will not believe.

The Sound

Both sides are tonally correct, Tubey Magical and above all natural. The timbre of each and every instrument is right and it doesn’t take a pair of golden ears to hear it.

It’s also big, clear and balanced, with an especially sweet, rich, tubey sax for Cannonball’s solos — what a sound! So high-resolution too. The top extends beautifully on this copy, and that was not true for most of what we played.

If you love ’50s and ’60s jazz you cannot go wrong here. (more…)

Bud Shank – Windmills Of Your Mind

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  • Bud Shank’s 1969 release makes its Hot Stamper debut with a Shootout Winning Triple Plus (A+++) side two and outstanding Double Plus (A++) sound on side one
  • Fully extended from top to bottom with a wide-open soundstage – for this music this is the right sound
  • Features a collection of compositions by jazz great Michel Legrand, who lends his talents here on piano and harpsichord as well
  • “Every track is a French twist on the swinging ’60s, with superb arranging by Legrand and crisp playing by Bud and the orchestra.”

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Gary McFarland & Co./Clark Terry – Tijuana Jazz

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  • Tijuana Jazz finally arrives on the site with outstanding Double Plus (A++) sound from first note to last – mostly quiet vinyl too
  • The superb eclectic jazz sound here is big and rich, yet still clean, clear and open with good energy, space, and ambience
  • Terry and McFarland combine the Mexican milieu and jazz with warmth and whimsy – Toots Thielemans on harmonica is a nice addition to the festivities
  • “Marimbas, sexy rhythms, perfectly buffered horn arrangements cover this album, and the results are like sitting by a fire on a dark night, cold outside but comforted, completely snug, and watching the flames dance.”

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Strauss / Sinfonia Domestica / Mehta

More of the music of Richard Strauss (1864 – 1949)

Richard Strauss Records We’ve Reviewed

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This London Whiteback LP (CS 6663) is one of Mehta’s famous Royce Hall recordings from the early ’70s, here presented with Super Hot Stamper sound on both sides!

Side One

A++, perhaps a bit less, maybe A+ to A++ is more accurate but it’s either A++ or something very close to it.

The strings are rich and textured, especially considering this recording is a bit late for London. The sound starts heading south in the late ’60s and by the ’70s not many Londons have the sound we prize here at Better Records. Just play any Solti record from the ’70s to hear what I mean.

This one still has most of the analog magic we expect from London, with a wide, deep stage. The sound is lively, fairly transparent, but a bit dark.

Side Two

Side two has a bit more top end extension, somewhat more resolution, while still retaining the bass and dynamics of side one. A slightly stronger side two, still about A++. (more…)

Bola Sete – Tour De Force

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  • Bola Sete’s superb 1963 release makes its Hot Stamper debut here with Shootout Winning Triple Plus (A+++) sound from first note to last
  • Exceptionally spacious and three-dimensional, as well as relaxed and full-bodied sound that blew away every other copy we played
  • A distinguished member of the Better Records Jazz Hall of Fame and my favorite Latin jazz guitar record of all time
  • 4 1/2 stars: “[Tour de Force] tilts a little to the mellower, more sentimental side than more driving sessions such as the one he did the previous year for Bossa Nova. It’s still quality by-the-fire jazz bossa nova music, Sete’s playing a lesson in both skill and discreet economy.”

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Albert King – Born Under a Bad Sign – Where Are All the Clean Copies?

A Record We May Never Shootout Again

Some records were just too much work to find, too expensive to buy.

This is one such album. Our last shootout was in 2007!

The link above will take you to many more.

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This original Stax LP has AMAZING sound. You could not make this record sound any better. We really liked the Sundazed copy of this record until we heard this bad boy. It MURDERS the Sundazed! It has more life, energy and natural presence.

We always suspected that a good original pressing would be better than the Sundazed but we had no way of knowing since all the copies we ever saw were beat to death. This is the first clean copy of this record I’ve seen in 20 years.

The sound is RICH and FULL with lots of texture to the guitars. It’s very natural sounding and full-bodied.

Like many of these old Stax pressings this record would benefit from a bit more extension on the top end. If you can add a a click of treble the sound will be even more out of this world.

One of the all time great electric blues albums — a Must Own for fans of the genre (more…)