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1955

One of the Toughest Years to Find Top Quality Recordings on Quiet Vinyl

  (Item #: 1955) 



1955 may have been a wonderful year for music, but it sure is hard to find records from that era in audiophile playing condition, which explains why we have so few on the site. More's the pity!

Click HERE to see the records currently on the site that were recorded or released in 1955. You can probably count them on the fingers of one hand.

And HERE to see the records from 1955 that we've reviewed to date, a not especially large group but at least the quality is high.


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JS Bach / Sonatas & Partitas For Solo Violin / Martzy

Reviewed in 2012

  (Item #: bach_sonat_2012) 



This Minty British "Sitting Angel" pressing has Super Hot Stamper sound on side two, reproducing accurately the sound of a solo violin in what sounds to us like a fairly lively and resonant rehearsal hall. Perhaps accurately is not the right word, since obviously none of us have ever set foot in whatever room the music was recorded in. "Realistic" might be a better choice in that regard, since the sound is believable for what we would expect that room might have contributed to the sound we hear on the pressing in hand.

Interestingly, the sound on side two is a tad better than side one -- the violin is more present and warm, the room less resonant (in a good way).

More of the music of Johann Sebastian Bach


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Super Hot Stamper

June Christy
Something Cool

  (Item #: chrissomet_1702) 

Our Price: $139.99

  • Miss Christy's Must Own Masterpiece returns to the site, this time with superb Double Plus (A++) Mono Hot Stamper sound
  • Need a refresher course in Tubey Magic after playing too many remastered records? This 1955 original Capitol turquoise pressing is overflowing with it
  • One of our favorite Cool School vocalists - we just wish we could find more clean copies of her albums
  • Allmusic 5 Stars: "Christy established herself as an artist who strove for the very best in song selection, arrangements, and notably intelligent interpretation. There were perhaps other vocalists with greater vocal equipment, but few could match June Christy's artistic integrity."
See all of our June Christy albums in stock


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June Christy - Something Cool

Our Shootout Winner from 2016

  (Item #: chrissomet_2016) 



A distinguished member of the Better Records Rock and Pop Hall of Fame.

We are HUGE fans of this album at Better Records, but it's taken us a long time to pull together enough clean copies to make this shootout happen. Boy, was it worth all the trouble!

The presence and immediacy here are staggering. Get the volume just right and June will be standing between your speakers and putting on the performance of a lifetime. This is one of our three or four favorite female vocal albums (along with Clap Hands, Julie Is her Name and not many others!) and this amazingly good copy will show you why -- the sound and music are As Good As It Gets.

More June Christy


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June Christy - Something Cool

Cisco Reviewed

  (Item #: chrissomet_cisco) 



Sonic Grade: C-

This is a decent Cisco LP, which has now long out of print. Audiophiles who love female vocal albums and pass on this one are missing the boat, because finding a better sounding original in clean enough condition to play is practically impossible these days. Of course if you already have a clean original you sure don't need to waste your money on this LP.

More June Christy


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Benny Goodman - The Benny Goodman Story

Our Shootout Winner from 2010

  (Item #: goodmbenny_2010) 



A distinguished member of the Better Records Jazz Hall of Fame.

This is a SUPERB SOUNDING Benny Goodman Mono album from 1955, here reissued with, in some ways, even better sound. Benny Goodman still had it in 1955, and he and his band really punch some life into this music that they had been playing for 20 years. The Capitol engineers really capture the power of his band, with correct tonality throughout. The originals (which are very hard to find) have a little more midrange magic but less punch. Each is good in its own way. This may be a reissue but it's a damn fine one.

More Benny Goodman


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Hot Stamper

Billie Holiday
Music For Torching

  (Item #: holidmusic_1611x) 

Our Price: $99.99
Sale Price: $79.00 (You save $20.99 / 21%)


  • These Hot Stamper sides are both musical and Tubey Magical, with especially breathy vocals
  • A superb recording of jazz standards with a wonderful lineup and Billie in top form
  • Great versions (and lovely sound) for It Had to Be You, Come Rain or Come Shine, A Fine Romance and more
  • "The overall feeling on this 1955 recording is strictly after-hours: the party is long over but a few close friends remain for nightcaps and, is that the sun peeking through the windows?"
See all of our Billie Holiday albums in stock


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Super Hot Stamper

Billie Holiday
Music For Torching

  (Item #: holidmusic_1701_1) 

Our Price: $199.99

  • Nearly Triple Plus (A++ to A+++) on side two, mated to a solid Double Plus side one, making this a killer copy of one of Billie's best
  • A superb recording of jazz standards with a great lineup and Billie in top form - Tubey Magical sound, with especially breathy vocals
  • Great versions (and lovely sound) for It Had to Be You, Come Rain or Come Shine, A Fine Romance and more
  • "The overall feeling on this 1955 recording is strictly after-hours: the party is long over but a few close friends remain for nightcaps and, is that the sun peeking through the windows?"
See all of our Billie Holiday albums in stock


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Billie Holiday - Music For Torching

Our Shootout Winner from 2015

  (Item #: holidmusic_2015) 



A distinguished member of the Better Records Rock and Pop Hall of Fame.

You'd be hard pressed to find a female vocal album from the 1950s with sound comparable to this one. We just finished up a big shootout for the sublimely titled Music For Torching, and this lovely copy was clearly one of the better pressings we played. If you love smoky jazz vocals the way only Lady Day can sing them, we think you'll be absolutely blown away to hear her sound this warm, rich and present.

More Billie Holiday


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Super Hot Stamper

Barney Kessel
Vol. 3: To Swing Or Not To Swing

  (Item #: kessetoswi_1702) 

Our Price: $149.99

  • Great Double Plus (A++) sound on both sides and only the second copy to hit the site in many years
  • Clean, clear and lively with a big bottom end and lots of energy
  • Relatively quiet vinyl throughout -- Mint Minus to Mint Minus Minus
  • "Guitarist Barney Kessel's string of recordings for Contemporary in the 1950s included some of the finest work of his career ... highly recommended to fans of straight-ahead jazz." - All Music
See all of our Barney Kessel albums in stock


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Barney Kessel - Vol. 3: To Swing Or Not To Swing

Our Shootout Winner from 2017

  (Item #: kessetoswi_2017) 



A distinguished member of the Better Records Jazz Hall of Fame.

This Early Contemporary Yellow Label Mono LP sure has AMAZING SOUND!

Man, this music is a blast when it sounds this good. I don’t think there’s a whole lot you could do to make this music sound any better! It’s one of the best early mono Contemporary LP I’ve ever played. It's so tubey magical and Kessel's guitar sound is out of this world.

See all of our Barney Kessel albums in stock


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Lee Konitz - Lee Konitz With Warne Marsh

Our Shootout Winner from 2014

  (Item #: konitwithw_2014) 



A distinguished member of the Better Records Jazz Hall of Fame.

The 1955 mono sound by Tom Dowd on this White Hot 2-pack is DEMO DISC quality. The horns are breathy and clear, yet full and rich as can be. There may be a good reason that this pressing sounds as good as it does: it was remastered by one of the greatest mastering engineers of all time, George Piros.

Tom Dowd is the original recording engineer, and this one album should be all the proof you need that when it comes to jazz in mono, the guy is hard to beat. Rock in stereo, there the record is quite a bit more spotty (see, or better yet, listen to Cream, The Young Rascals, Delaney and Bonnie and too many others to list).

More albums engineered or produced by Tom Dowd


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Julie London - Julie Is Her Name

What a Record!

  (Item #: londojulieis_2016) 



A distinguished member of the Better Records Rock and Pop Hall of Fame.

We award this copy's side one our very special Four Plus A++++ grade, which is strictly limited to pressings (really, individual sides of pressings) that take a given recording to a level we've never experienced before and had no idea could even exist. We estimate that about one per cent of the Hot Stamper pressings we come across in our shootouts earn this grade. You can't get much more rare than that.

More Julie London


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Julie London - Julie Is Her Name

A Boxstar Bomb

  (Item #: londojulieis_debunk) 



Sonic Grade: F

A Hall of Shame pressing from Cisco / Impex / Boxstar.

One question: Where's the Tubey Magic?

We would never have pointed you in the direction of this awful Boxstar 45 of Julie Is Her Name, cut by Bernie Grundman, supposedly on tube equipment. I regret to say that we actually sold some copies, but in my defense I can honestly and truthfully claim that we never wrote a single nice thing about the sound of the record. That has to count for something, right?

See all of our Julie London albums in stock


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Julie London - Julie Is Her Name

What to Listen For

  (Item #: londojulieis_wtlf) 



Another in our series of Home Audio Exercises with advice on what you should be listening for when critically evaluating your copy (or ours) of the album.

On side one listen to how rich the bottom end is on Barney Kessel's guitar. The Tubey Magic on this side is off the charts. Some copies can be dry, but that is clearly not a problem on this one. The naturalness of the presentation puts this album right at the top of best sounding female vocal albums of all time.

More Julie London


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Paganini / Violin Concerto 1 & 2 / Ricci (LL 1215)

Reviewed in 2010

  (Item #: paganconce_2010) 



A distinguished member of the Better Records Orchestral Music Hall of Fame.

This is one of the MOST AMAZING VIOLIN RECORDINGS in the history of the world. For sheer violin virtuosity it doesn't get any better than this. Ricci and London in the early '50s cannot be beat! This is a true Demo Disc with music of the highest caliber, and I'm betting whoever takes this one home will be THRILLED.

Both sides are dynamic, full-bodied, lively and sweet. This is a vintage London mono recording of the '50s and consequently has some limitations in terms of bandwidth and of course soundstage, but the luscious midrange more than makes up for both. The violin is REAL in a way that few other recordings manage to make it.

More recordings featuring the violin


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Sonny Rollins - Rollins (2 LPs)

  (Item #: rollirolli_1008) 



A distinguished member of the Better Records Jazz Hall of Fame.

This Prestige Two-Fer Double LP boasts EXCELLENT SOUND, right up there with some the best sounding copies we’ve played. Three sides out of four sounded surprisingly good, which is three good sides more than the average copy can claim. Oddly enough, the stampers are identical. Sample to sample variation? Fresh off the stamper transparency? Who's to say? I can't explain it, but I know a better record when I play one. This copy is clearly more transparent, no pun intended. It's also been through our extensive cleaning process, which as you can imagine helps the sound immeasurably.

More Sonny Rollins


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Sonny Rollins - Taking Care of Business

Reviewed in 2010

  (Item #: rollitakin) 



A distinguished member of the Better Records Jazz Hall of Fame.

This is a Prestige Demo Two-Fer Double LP.

Big, full-bodied, MONO jazz sound at its BEST. This is what classic ’50s jazz is supposed to sound like! These transfers from 1978 by David Turner are in tune with the sound of these recordings. There's not a trace of phony EQ on this entire record, and the vinyl plays nice and quiet.

This Two-Fer includes all of Tenor Madness and most of Work Time and Tour De Force. Top jazz players such as Ray Bryant, John Coltrane, Red Garland, Kenny Drew, Max Roach and Paul Chambers can be heard on the album.

More Sonny Rollins


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Frank Sinatra - Look To Your Heart

Our Shootout Winner from 2016

  (Item #: sinatlookt_2016) 



A distinguished member of the Better Records Rock and Pop Hall of Fame.

Triple Plus (A+++) on side one, with a side two that is right up there with it - outstanding sound quality from first note to last. This copy was the fullest, richest and smoothest, with the best bass and most natural vocals of any we played. Recorded from 1953-1955, this mono collection of singles and such gives us Old Blue Eyes in his Capitol-period prime.

See all of our Frank Sinatra albums in stock


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Frank Sinatra - The Voice

Our Shootout Winner from 2007

  (Item #: sinatthevo_2007) 



A distinguished member of the Better Records Rock and Pop Hall of Fame from 1955.

This is a Six Eye Mono Original Columbia pressing. These originals have the midrange magic that is missing from the Classic Records heavy vinyl pressing.

More Frank Sinatra


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Frank Sinatra - The Voice

Classic Records Debunked

  (Item #: sinatthevo_debunk) 



Sonic Grade: D

A Hall of Shame pressing and another Classic Records LP debunked.

There is a boatload of TUBEY MAGIC to be heard on the original pressings, due no doubt to the fact that they are mastered with tube equipment, but not much on this Classic repress.

More Frank Sinatra


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Tchaikovsky / Symphony #6 / Monteux

Our Shootout Winner from 2011

  (Item #: tchaisymph6_1009_2011) 



A distinguished member of the Better Records Orchestral Music Hall of Fame.

This remastered Victrola version of the original Living Stereo pressing (LSC 1901) is guaranteed to KILL any and all originals -- Shaded Dogs, White Dogs, Red Seals -- you name it, this pressing will beat the pants off of it, guaranteed. I've played many copies of the earlier RCAs and I have surely never heard one sound like this, with so much LIFE and CLARITY. Where is all the old cutter head distortion, congestion and frequency limiting? It's sure not here!

See more entries in our Originals vs. Reissues series


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Tchaikovsky / Symphony #6 (Pathetique) / Monteux

Shaded Dog Originals Debunked

  (Item #: tchaisymph6_1901) 



Sonic Grade: F

A Hall of Shame pressing.

We've played at least three Shaded Dogs of LSC 1901 since 2011 and all three were AWFUL. A recent reissue showed us the light.

The size and scope of this recording is enormous, with the orchestral sections clearly staged wide and deep. Where is the old tube smear and compression and opacity? It must not be on the tape, because I hear no trace of it.

More of the music of Peter Ilyich Tchaikovsky (1840-1893)


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Tchaikovsky / Symphony #6 (Pathetique) / Monteux

Classic Records Debunked

  (Item #: tchaisymph6_1901_classic) 



Sonic Grade: D

A Hall of Shame pressing.

Both the '60s Victrola and the '70s Gold Seal pressings are clearly superior to this heavy vinyl mediocrity. RCA managed to cut this record amazingly well decades after the tape was first recorded (1955!), not for audiophiles, but for music lovers. Maybe that's the secret.

More of the music of Peter Ilyich Tchaikovsky (1840-1893)


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Tchaikovsky / Symphony #6 (Pathetique) / Monteux

Our Shootout Winner from 2012

  (Item #: tchaisymph6_2012) 



A distinguished member of the Better Records Orchestral Music Hall of Fame.

Presenting a first for Better Records: a White Hot Stamper copy of this CORRECTLY remastered version of LSC 1901, which just happens to be a recording from the earliest days of stereo, 1955! It's guaranteed to KILL any and all original Shaded Dogs, as well as the more common reissues; White Dogs, Red Seals, Gold Seals, Victrolas, Classic Heavy Vinyl, you name it, this pressing will beat the pants off of it and in the process show you precisely what is wrong with each and every one of them.

More of the music of Peter Ilyich Tchaikovsky (1840-1893)


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