porky-pecko

Led Zeppelin – Led Zeppelin IV

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A Member of the Prestigious “None Rocks Harder” Club

  • Insane Rock and Roll ENERGY like nothing you have ever heard – the sound is exceptionally full-bodied, smooth and solid, making it possible to get the volume up good and high where it belongs
  • Here are the Rock and Roll Classics that reign supreme to this very day – Black Dog, Rock & Roll, Stairway to Heaven, When the Levee Breaks, every one sounding better than you’ve ever heard them or your money back
  • 5 stars: “Encompassing heavy metal, folk, pure rock & roll, and blues, Led Zeppelin’s untitled fourth album is a monolithic record, defining not only Led Zeppelin but the sound and style of ’70s hard rock.”
  • If you’re a fan of the band, this title from 1971 is clearly one of their best, and one of their best sounding
  • The complete list of titles from 1971 that we’ve reviewed to date can be found here.

It is a positive THRILL to hear this record rock the way it was meant to. If you have big speakers and the power to drive them, your neighbors are going to be very upset with you when you play this copy at the listening levels it was meant to be heard at.

You’d better be ready to rock, because this copy has the ENERGY and WHOMP that will make you want to. Zep IV demands loud levels, but practically any copy will punish you mercilessly if you try to play it at anything even approaching live levels.

I never met John Bonham, and it’s probably too late now, but I imagine he would feel more than a little disrespected if he found out people were playing his music at the polite listening levels many audiophiles prefer. The term “hi-fidelity” loses its meaning if the instruments are playing at impossibly low levels. If the instruments could never be heard that way live, where exactly is the fidelity?

How on earth is a speaker system like this one going to reproduce the 22 inch (or more!) kick drum of John Bonham?

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Badfinger / Straight Up – Porky Not So Prime Cut

Nope. It’s just another Record Myth.

We had an original British pressing in our shootout, unbeknownst to me as it was playing of course. And guess where it finished: dead last. The most thick, congested, crude, distorted, compressed sound of ALL the copies we played. We love the work of Porky, Pecko, et al. in general, but once again this is a case where a British Band recorded in England sounds best on domestic vinyl. (McCartney’s first album on Apple is the same way.)

Just saw this today (11/29/2021)

On November 18, 2019, a fellow on Discogs who goes by the name of Dodgerman had this to say referencing the original UK pressing of Straight Up, SAPCOR 19:

So Happy, to have a first UK press, of this lost gem. Porky/Pecko

Like many record collectors, he is happy to have a mediocre-at-best, dubby-sounding original pressing, poorly mastered by a famous mastering engineer, George Peckham, a man we know from extensive experience is responsible for cutting some of the best sounding records we’ve ever played.

Is this fellow an audiophile? He could be! Many audiophiles employ this kind of bad audiophile thinking, believing that a British band’s albums must sound their best on British vinyl for some reason, possibly a cosmic one.

Those of us who actually play lots of records and listen to them critically know that that is simply not true and never has been.

How do we know that?

By Conducting Experiments to Find Out.

We don’t guess. We don’t assume.

We just play lots and lots of records and find out which ones sound better and which ones sound worse.

To be fair, we have played exactly one copy of the album with Porky/Pecko stampers. Did we get a bad one and the gentleman quoted above got a good one? Nobody knows, because nobody can know with a great deal more evidence to make the case one way or the other. Would we buy another Porky pressing? If we found one for cheap, sure. But that is not very likely to happen. Those kinds of records are not cheap these days.

If you have a great sounding UK copy, we would love to hear it. Until then we remain skeptical.

Not close minded to the possibility of course, that would be foolish.

But not in any hurry to throw good money after bad in the hopes that Dodgerman actually knows much, or cares in the least, about sound quality.

Assuming that Dodgerman does care about sound quality, he is engaging in another kind of magical thinking by assuming that the original is going to be the best sounding pressing of the album.

Sometimes it is.

Sometimes it isn’t.

A public service from your friends at Better Records.

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Steeleye Span / Commoners Crown – A Masterpiece of English Folk Rock

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Hot Stamper Albums with Huge Choruses

  • Incredible sound for this early British pressing, with huge and dynamic Shootout Winning Triple Plus (A+++) sound throughout
  • The Tubey Magical Richness of this recording must be heard to be believed
  • Some of the best English Folk Rock Music ever recorded on analog tape and preserved on this lovely vinyl disc!
  • Allmusic gives it 4 1/2 stars: “Now a full-fledged rock group, competing with the likes of Jethro Tull and pumping out higher amperage than Fairport Convention, Steeleye engages in heavy riffing, savage attacks on their instruments, and generally kicks out the jams on this album.”

This original Porky/Pecko mastered British Chrysalis pressing has insanely good sound on both sides and, even more importantly, some of the best English Folk Rock Music ever recorded on analog tape (and preserved on this lovely vinyl disc!).

I grew to love this album back in the ’70s; the stereo store I worked at used it as a Demo Disc, so I heard it on a regular basis. Rather than getting sick of it, I actually bought a copy for my own collection to play at home. (Not sure if I managed to get an import, not sure if I would even have been able to hear the difference.)

Things have changed as we never tire of saying here at Better Records, but in a way you could say they have stayed the same. This used to be a Demo Disc, and now it’s REALLY a Demo Disc. You will have a very hard time finding a record with a richer, fuller, better-defined, dare I say “fatter” bottom.

Both sides have practically everything we look for in a Hot Stamper British Folk Rock Album — this copy is stunningly dynamic; has really solid bass; lovely transparency, incredible presence; tons of space and ambience; you name it, this copy has it. It does it all. (more…)

Genesis – The Lamb Lies Down On Broadway

  • This KILLER pressing boasts Shootout Winning Triple Plus (A+++) sound on ALL FOUR SIDES
  • An album that’s nearly impossible to find with good sound – this UK copy is guaranteed to kill any pressing you’ve ever heard or ever will hear
  • Considered by many the high point of Peter Gabriel’s tenure with the band
  • 5 stars: “In every way, it’s a considerable, lasting achievement and it’s little wonder that Peter Gabriel had to leave the band after this record: they had gone as far as they could go together, and could never top this extraordinary album.”

Stunning sound on all four sides! This album — and Genesis in general — can be difficult to find good sound for. Most copies struggle — or make you struggle — to get the sense of the material and what the band is trying to accomplish, but when you find a killer pressing such as this one, the complexity and theatricality of the music really WORKS.

Bigger and more present, richer and fuller, with more space and transparency, this copy is doing everything we want the album to do.

Certain tracks — particular the more rocking, guitar-heavy material — are often going to get a little hard in the midrange, but on a good copy the issue is much less apparent and doesn’t get in the way of the music. And the more open, spacious keyboard-based and acoustically driven songs which comprise the bulk of the album can sound really wonderful.

Latest Finding

We came across an original British pressing, Porky/Pecko and everything, that was a major letdown sonically. Yes, folks, some pressing that are supposed to be good just aren’t. You got to play them to which is which, and that’s where we come in.

We never assume anything about a record. We play it and find out for a fact how good it sounds. Any other approach will be too error prone to be of any real use, assuming you set high standards for the sound of your records. (more…)

Elvis Costello / My Aim Is True – Another Bad Porky/Pecko Cutting

Hot Stamper Pressings of Elvis’s Albums Available Now

Reviews and Commentaries for the Music of Elvis Costello

Letters and Commentaries for My Aim Is True

My notes for the one and only UK pressing I’ve played in many years, the one with Porky is the dead wax, note its many weaknesses:

Really loud and full

Too loud and hot vocal

Strains a lot

You know what the sound of this record reminds me of?

An old 45.

It’s not unusual for 45 RPM singles from back in the day to be very loud, very compressed, often with hot vocals that jump right into your lap.

Mono mixes sometimes have some of that same lowest-common-denominator sound. This mix is stereo but it sounds like it’s coming right out of a jukebox.

No doubt Mr. Peckham was told to make the record sound that way, and he did his job very well.

But audiophiles looking for good sound should heed my warning and avoid the UK LPs of the album. It’s a joke next to the domestic pressings with the right stampers. (The right stampers are hard to find but you will never hear a good sounding early pressing unless you have a copy with the stampers that sound right, a tautology to be sure but one worth noting.)

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