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Super Hot Stamper

Cat Stevens
Tea for the Tillerman

  (Item #: steveteafo_1702) 

Our Price: $299.99

  • This outstanding pressing - The Pinnacle of Folk Rock from 1970 - earned very strong Double Plus (A++) grades on both sides
  • The emotional power of the songs is communicated completely - we can assure you the experience will be like playing the album for the first time
  • This pressing is ALIVE with musical energy and Tubey Magical Analog sound the likes of which you may never have experienced
  • 5 Stars on Allmusic, a stunning Demo Disc, and a permanent member of the Better Records Top 100
  • This LP plays exceptionally well, Mint Minus to Mint Minus Minus, about as quiet as any we've heard in a very long time
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Super Hot Stamper

Cat Stevens
Teaser & The Firecat

  (Item #: stevetease_1701_1) 

Our Price: $179.99

  • This timeless Classic Folk Rock recording on the original A&M label offers superb Demo Disc Quality sound on both sides
  • These Double Plus (A++) sides will rock your world with their amazing richness, clarity, transparency and ENERGY
  • AMG 5 Stars and a Top 100 album - it just may be the Best Sounding record Cat Stevens ever made
  • Tuesday’s Dead, Morning Has Broken, Bitterblue, Moonshadow, Peace Train - and that's just side two! What side of any album has five songs of such quality?
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Super Hot Stamper

Cat Stevens
Izitso

  (Item #: steveizits_1612) 

Our Price: $169.99

  • Two killer sides, with Double Plus (A++) sound or better - big and rockin'
  • Really energetic and spacious with great presence and detail
  • Relatively quiet vinyl, Mint Minus to Mint Minus Minus throughout
  • Cat Steven's last Top Ten album
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Super Hot Stamper

Cat Stevens
Catch Bull At Four

  (Item #: stevecatch_1702_1) 

Our Price: $119.99

  • With outstanding Double Plus (A++) sound on both sides you won't believe the size and weight
  • The better domestic pressings are the only ones with the sweeter, tubier Midrange Magic that we love about Cat Stevens recordings
  • Bigger, more dynamic, more lively, more present and just plain more EXCITING than anything you've heard before
  • Many of Cat's best songs are here: Can't Keep It In, Angelsea, 18th Avenue, Freezing Steel and more
See all of our Cat Stevens albums in stock


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Bad MoFi Mastering - Part One

Cat Stevens and His Sparkling Acoustic Guitars?

  (Item #: steveteafo_sparkle) 



In the commentary for America’s first album we noted that:

The guitars on this record are a true test of stereo fidelity. ... most of the pressings of this record do not get the guitars to sound right. ... on a copy with a bit too much top end they will have an unnatural hi-fi-ish sparkle.

This kind of sparkle can be heard on practically every record Mobile Fidelity made in the ’70s and ’80s. Tea for the Tillerman, Sundown, Year of the Cat, Finger Paintings, Byrd at the Gate, Quarter Moon in a 10 Cent Town -- the list of sparkling MoFis would be very long indeed, and these are just the records with prominent acoustic guitars!

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Cat Stevens & TAS List Thoughts

Harry Pearson Is Losing It

  (Item #: stevemonab_tas) 



In an issue of The Absolute Sound from a few years back Harry revisited some of his favorite records from the old days. This was one of the ones mentioned, and he made the point that only the British originals sound any good. At one time there were four Cat Stevens albums on the TAS List, all British pressings EXCEPT for Mona Bone. Why? Because Mona Bone never sounds good on import vinyl, at least not on the dozen or so early imports I’ve come across.
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Cat Stevens - 200 Grams of Tea for the Tillerman

This Is Your Idea of Analog?

  (Item #: steveteafo_200_2014) 



Dear Record Loving Audiophiles of Earth,

I'm afraid we have some bad news to report. We regret to inform you that the 2011 edition of Tea for the Tillerman pressed by Analogue Productions on Heavy Vinyl doesn't sound very good. We know you were all hoping for the best. We also know that you must be very disappointed to hear this unwelcome news.

But the record is what it is, and what it is is not very good. Its specific shortcomings are many and will be considered in at length in our review below.

See more commentaries as well as our in-stock copies of Tea for the Tillerman


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Cat Stevens - Mona Bone Jakon

Listening in Depth

  (Item #: stevemonab_depth) 



Another in our series of Home Audio Exercises with advice on What to Listen For (WTLF) as you critically evaluate your copy of Mona Bone Jakon.

When you hear I Wish I Wish and I Think I See The Light on a Hot Stamper copy you will be convinced, as I am, that this is one of the greatest popular recordings in the history of the world. I don't know of ANY other album that has more LIFE and MUSICAL ENERGY than this one.

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Cat Stevens - Mona Bone Jakon

Live and Learn

  (Item #: stevemonab_wrong) 



When we said this album was not the sonic equal of Teaser and the Firecat or Tea for the Tillerman, boy, We Was Wrong and then some. Read all about it in this White Hot Stamper copy review below.

It’s been about a year since we last found Hot Stampers of this album, and having made a number of improvements to the stereo over that time, I'm here to report that this album got a WHOLE LOT BETTER, better than I ever imagined it could get. Mona Bone Jakon now ranks as a DEMO DISC of the highest order, every bit the equal of Teaser and Tea.

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Cat Stevens - Mona Bone Jakon

Notes from an Early Shootout (2007)

  (Item #: stevemonab_0807) 



This album is one of Cat's top four titles both musically and sonically. Tea and Teaser are in a league of their own, but this album and Catch Bull At Four are close behind. The music is WONDERFUL -- the best tracks (including I Wish I Wish and I Think I See The Light) rank right up there with anything from his catalog. Sonically, it's not an epic recording on the scale of Tea or Teaser [WRONG] but with Paul Samwell-Smith at the helm you can be sure it's an excellent sounding album -- on the right pressing.

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Cat Stevens - Tea for the Tillerman

Live and Learn

  (Item #: steveteafo_wrong) 



A blast from the past from 2006.

I have to admit that I was dead wrong when I said that the best copies of this album were the Brown Label A&M pressings. I see now how I made this error. We played four pink label copies and our best A&M LP is only better than three of them.

But it sure isn't better than this one! I've heard a good dozen or so Pink Labels and this is the first one that ever blew my mind. I thought I knew this record, but this copy changes everything.

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Cat Stevens - Tea For The Tillerman

MoFi (UHQR too) Debunked

  (Item #: steveteafo_debunk) 



Sonic Grade: MoFi Regular LP: D / UHQR: F

This is, I hope it goes without saying, one of the greatest rock records of all time, music that belongs in any collection. I’ve been playing this album for 30 years and I can honestly say I’ve never once been tired of hearing it. I do get tired of hearing bad copies. I become absolutely incensed when I have to play the Mobile Fidelity version of this album, because what they did to this record is a travesty. If you want to know what the guitars on this album are NOT supposed to sound like, play the MOFI. And if you want to hear an even worse version, play the UHQR.

See more commentaries as well as our in-stock copies of Tea for the Tillerman


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Cat Stevens - Tea for the Tillerman

A Hall of Fame Pressing from 2004!

  (Item #: steveteafo_2004) 



This is a superb sounding original Brown Label A&M pressing. If you didn’t know better you might think you were listening to a Pink Label copy: it’s that good! In fact, having just played a Pink label Island 3U/3U original, I’m going to say that this pressing actually sounds better on side one than that famous import. This will no doubt shock many of you. But I have known of a better sounding brown label domestic pressing for close to 10 years.
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Cat Stevens - Tea for the Tillerman

Making Progress in Audio

  (Item #: steveteafo_progress) 



The following comments were written in 2004.

Hard Headed Woman is a song that has evolved dramatically over the last 20 years. If you've been making regular upgrades to your equipment and taking advantage of all the new technologies available at the front end, such as: vibration control, electromagnetic stabilization, better arms, better cartridges, better phono stages, better motors, fly wheels, Synchronous Drive Systems, better power cords, better power conditioning, to name just a few, you are no doubt able to reproduce this song much better than you were in the old days.

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Cat Stevens - Tea for the Tillerman

Reviews, Testimonials and Commentaries

  (Item #: steveteafo_overview) 



There are quite a number of Reviews, Testimonials and Commentaries associated with Tea for the Tillerman which may be of interest to you.
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Cat Stevens - Tea, Teaser & Mona Bone

180g Universal Debunked

  (Item #: stevetea_debunk) 



Sonic Grades: F/F/F

Three Hall of Shame Pressings

Around 2000 Universal did the three most famous Cat Stevens titles, and they have to be three of the worst sounding records I have ever heard in my life. Many audiophile record dealers carry them. Have YOU been ripped off by one of these dealers? If so, we can help. We would never promote garbage like that.

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Cat Stevens - Teaser & The Firecat

25th Anniversary Island LP Debunked

  (Item #: stevetease_25th) 



Sonic Grade: F

A Hall of Shame pressing.

I remember years ago (1986 to be exact) when Acoustic Sounds was selling the then in-print 25th Anniversary Island pressing (10U, as I recall) for $15, claiming that it was a TAS List Super Disc. If you've ever heard that pressing, you know it has no business going anywhere near a Super Disc List. It's mediocre at best and has virtually none of the magic of the good original pressings. I refused to sell it back in those days, for no other reason than it's far from a Better Record. I don't like misrepresenting records and I don't like ripping off my customers. That pressing was a fraud and I was having none of it.

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Cat Stevens - Teaser & The Firecat

MoFi Debunked

  (Item #: stevetease_debunk) 



Sonic Grade: F

A Hall of Shame pressing and another MoFi LP debunked.

In case you don’t already know, one of the worst sounding, if not THE WORST SOUNDING VERSION OF ALL TIME, is the Mobile Fidelity Anadisq pressing that came out in the ’90s. If you own that record, you really owe it to yourself to pull it out and play it. It’s just a mess and it should sound like a mess, whether you have anything else to compare it to or not.

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Cat Stevens - Teaser & The Firecat

One of Our Very First Hot Stampers - 2006

  (Item #: stevetease_2006) 



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

Before we start discussing this record, let’s talk about the price for a moment. I have never put a used rock record on this site at this price. I’ve sold other records directly to my best customers for this kind of money, but this is the first $500 rock record of its kind to go on this website. This is the result of three factors. First, it's the best sounding copy of this record I have ever heard (on side two anyway). Second, this is Teaser and the Firecat, one of the most important recordings in the history of popular music. Third, it's amazingly quiet. The confluence of these three factors makes this copy practically unique.

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Cat Stevens - Teaser & The Firecat

Overview of the Reissues

  (Item #: stevetease_reissues_2014) 



It is my contention that there is no audiophile pressing on the face of the Earth that can compete with the best sounding originals of Teaser and the Firecat. Of ANY music. The best copies of Teaser have a sound I have never experienced with any modern-mastered record. There is a magic in its grooves that may simply be impossible to capture with the cutting equipment currently in use. Perhaps one day I'll be proven wrong, but that day is clearly not yet upon us.
See more commentaries as well as our in-stock copies of Teaser and the Firecat


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Cat Stevens - Teaser & The Firecat

Light, Medium or Heavy on the Congas?

  (Item #: stevetease_congamania) 



Another in our series of Home Audio Exercises, in this case, a study in Congamania!

During the shootout for this record a while back we made a very important discovery, a seemingly obvious one but one that nevertheless had eluded us for the past twenty plus years (so how obvious could it have been?). It became clear, for the first time, what accounts for the wide disparity in ENERGY and DRIVE from one copy to the next. We can sum it up for you in one five letter word, and that word is conga.

See all of our Cat Stevens albums in stock


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Cat Stevens - Teaser & The Firecat

Time Capsule of Commentaries

  (Item #: stevetease_2002) 



This Hot Stamper listing from 2006 is a Time Capsule of Commentaries of sorts; it contains write-ups from 2006, 2005 and 2002, all rolled into one. Out of sheer laziness we used to leave the old commentary in the listings, sort of like building the new city on the ruins of the old. For those who don't mind excavating through the Hot Stamper thoughts of the past, please read on.
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Cat Stevens Albums - Lee Hulko Cut Them All

Good, Bad and Otherwise

  (Item #: steveteafo_hulko) 



Is the Pink Label Island original pressing THE way to go? That’s what Harry Pearson -- not to mention most audiophile record dealers -- would have you believe.

But it’s just not true. And that’s good news for you, Dear (Record Loving Audiophile) Reader.

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Cat Stevens Catch Bull at Four

Congestion? What Congestion?

  (Item #: stevecatch_progress) 



The story of our latest shootout is what real Progress in Audio is all about. Many copies were gritty, some were congested in the louder sections, some never got big, some were thin and lacking the lovely analog richness of the best -- we heard plenty of copies whose faults were obvious when played against two top sides such as these.

Speaking of congestion, it had previously been our experience that every copy of the record had at least some congestion in the loudest parts, typically the later parts of songs where Cat is singing at the top of his lungs, the acoustic guitars are strumming like crazy, and big drums are pounding away are jumping out of both speakers.

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Cat Stevens Catch Bull at Four

Listening in Depth

  (Item #: stevecatch_depth) 



Presenting another entry in our extensive Listening in Depth series.

If you're familiar with what the best Hot Stamper pressings of Tea for the Tillerman, Teaser and the Firecat or Mona Bone Jakon can sound like -- amazing is the word that comes to mind -- then you should easily be able to imagine how good this killer copy of Catch Bull at Four sounds.

All the ingredients for a Classic Cat Stevens album were in place for this release which came out in 1972, about a year after Teaser and the Firecat. His amazing guitar player Alun Davies is still in the band, and Paul Samwell-Smith is still producing as brilliantly as ever.

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Cat Stevens Teaser & Tea on CD

So, How Do They Sound, Anyway?

  (Item #: stevetease_cd) 


This letter from our good customer Gary references the Hot Stampers he bought from us and subsequently played for a CD-only audiophile friend with a megabuck stereo. This is his story, followed by my commentary about the sound of Cat Stevens’ music on disc.

The Cat Stevens Hot Stampers are just amazing. The dynamic range is almost shocking on my rig. It’s like a car with the ability to go from 0 to 60 in 2 seconds… It is so cool to turn up the music really loud and still converse with people if you want. The quiet is dead quiet. That is the sign of a good record.



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Cat Stevens Teaser Testimonial

... So Much More Alive and Dynamic ...

  (Item #: stevetease_testimonial) 



Roger here likes doing his own shootouts, having acquired many of the so-called audiophile recommended pressings over the years. Like us, he knows firsthand that those recommended records have little hope of standing up to the real thing, the real thing of course being an old record we charged him a lot of money for, or, to put it another way, a Super Hot Stamper. Can it possibly be worth the three hundred clams it cost him? Let’s hear from Roger on that subject.
Hi Tom:

Just the usual note to let you know of my latest LP shootout: Cat Stevens Teaser and the Firecat. Since you recommend this recording so highly, I was looking forward to comparing your Super Hot Stamper (SHS) to a British Sunray pressing I had and my Mobile Fidelity Anadisq. Since I had previously found, as you have, that the MFSLversion was thin and bright, I bought a UK pressing, finding it much more full, warm, and dynamic, and my recent .

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Cat Stevens Testimonial

I Wouldn’t Believe It If I Weren’t Hearing It!

  (Item #: stevemonab_testimonial) 



Our good customer Joel not only loved our slightly noisy but amazing sounding Mona Bone Hot Stamper, he found it to be pretty darn quiet to boot! He says it’s the Best $180 he's ever spent on an LP. Seems like a lot of money for one record but when the music and sound are this good who wants to argue with a happy man?
Hi Tom

I just spun the bargain tics and pops A+++ Mona Bone Jakon. I listened to this record hundreds of times growing up, but never like this! Silky smooth voices and guitars, so lifelike! Nice bass extension also... I have to laugh, because I think that the condition of this record is excellent!

Now I know how the other half lives! Listening to this hot stamper reminds me of my image of the rich man, eating only the center of the watermelon. These hot stampers are amazing, I wouldn’t believe it if I weren’t hearing it! Best $180 I’ve ever spent on an LP...

Joel

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Cat Stevens Testimonial

A $100 Hot Stamper Is Now My Reference Album!

  (Item #: steveteafo_testimonial) 



One of our best customers, Gerardo, who has to have his Hot Stampers shipped all the way to the Phillipines where he lives, asked recently about Tea for the Tillerman. He wanted to know if we had something that would beat the MoFi pressing. Having recently played one (for condition; we already know how bad the sound is) we said HELL YEAH!

In fact, about the cheapest clean plain old American copy we can dig up for you will beat the pants off the MoFi. So we charged him $100 and sent it on out. Not having heard back, we followed up with this email:

Hi Gerardo,

We were just wondering if you ever got to have the Tea For The Tillerman Hot Stamper vs. MoFi / UHQR shootout. Hope it went well!

His reply can be seen below.


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Cat Stevens Testimonial

One of the Best Recordings in My 10K LP Collection

  (Item #: steveteafo_testimonial_200) 



Roger is up to his old tricks again, doing shootouts with our Hot Stampers and all the great pressings he already owns, in this case putting our humble Brown Label A&M domestic LP up against the legendary Pink Label Island British Import and a couple of MoFis. We’ll let Roger tell his own story, since by now we all know he does it as well as anyone.

Hi Tom,

Just a note on another hot stamper shootout I recently did, this time on Cat Stevens Tea for the Tillerman. It was interesting comparing itto the regular MFSL half-speed, the MFSL UHQR pressing, and a UK Pink Island 3U pressing, which was my all-time champ.

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MoFi Cat Stevens & TAS List Thoughts

This Is Your Idea of a Super Disc?

  (Item #: stevetease_tas) 



We here at Better Records would like to give a shout out to The Man, Harry Pearson, for putting one of the worst MoFis of all time on his so-called Super Disc List, which, as we all know, is still the delight of nitwits around the world.

In case you don’t already know, one of the worst sounding, if not THE WORST SOUNDING VERSION OF ALL TIME, is the Mobile Fidelity Anadisq pressing that came out in the ’90s. If you own that record, you really owe it to yourself to pull it out and play it. It’s just a mess and it should sound like a mess, whether you have anything else to compare it to or not.

See more commentaries as well as our in-stock copies of Cat Stevens' albums


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Thinking About the Tubey Magical Acoustic Guitars

of Bread and Cat Stevens

  (Item #: breadmanna_thoughts) 



In many ways this recording is state-of-the-art. Listening to the Tubey Magical Acoustic Guitars on the best copies brings back memories of my first encounter with an original Pink Label Tea for the Tillerman. Rich, sweet, full-bodied, effortlessly dynamic-- that sound knocked me out twenty-odd years ago, and here it is again.

Of course I've always been a sucker for this kind of well-crafted pop. If you are too then a Hot Stamper copy of Manna will no doubt become a treasured demo disc in your home as well.

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Traveling Back in Time with Cat Stevens on MoFi

To Hear It on Vintage Equipment

  (Item #: steveteafo_badstereo) 



Our good customer Roger wrote us a letter years ago about his MoFi Tea for the Tillerman, in which he remarked, "Sometimes I wish I kept my old crappy stereo to see if I could now tell what it was that made these audiophile pressings so attractive then."

It got me to thinking. Yes, that would be fun, and better yet, it could be done. There are actually plenty of those Old School systems still around. Just look at what many of the forum posters -- god bless 'em -- are running. They've got some awesome '70s Japanese turntables, some Monster Cable and some vintage tube gear and speakers going all the way back to the '50s.

See more commentaries as well as our in-stock copies of Tea for the Tillerman


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Cat Stevens

  (Item #: _StevensCat) 


Cat Stevens albums in stock

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