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Super Hot Stamper

Airto
Fingers

  (Item #: airtofinge_1909) 

Our Price: $99.99

  • Excellent from first note to last - Double Plus sound (A++) on both sides - exceptionally quiet vinyl too
  • Incredibly impressive funky Brazilian jazz sound with HUGE lifelike percussion - thanks RVG!
  • "Produced by Taylor and recorded at Rudy Van Gelder's famous New Jersey studio, this LP demonstrates just how exciting and creative 1970s fusion could be. When Moreira and his colleagues blend jazz with Brazilian music, rock and funk on such cuts as "Wind Chant," "Tombo in 7/4" and "Romance of Death," the results are consistently enriching. Fingers is an album to savor."
More Airto


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Airto - Fingers

Truly a Desert Island Disc

  (Item #: airtofinge_obsess) 



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

Fingers is one of our all time favorite records, a Desert Island disc to be sure. I've been playing this album for more than thirty years and it just keeps getting better and better. Truthfully it's the only Airto record I like. I can't stand Dafos, and most of the other Airto titles leave me cold. I think a lot of the credit for the brilliance of this album has to go to the Fattoruso brothers, who play keyboards, drums, and take part in the large vocal groupings that sing along with Airto.

More Airto


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Ambrosia's First Album

Right at the Top of Our Difficulty of Reproduction Scale

  (Item #: ambroambro_setup) 



You can play hard-to-reproduce records all day long if your system is tuned up and working fine. Ours has to be, all day, every day. The shootouts we do require that everything is working properly or we simply couldn't do them.

But you can't play this record on such a system without retesting everything, because this is the Single Most Difficult to Reproduce Recording I know of, bar none.

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Ambrosia and Its Elusive Hot Stampers

"Press on" - Sage Advice from Calvin Coolidge

  (Item #: ambrosomew_mistake_2014) 



“Nothing in this world can take the place of persistence. Talent will not; nothing is more common than unsuccessful people with talent. Genius will not; unrewarded genius is almost a proverb. Education will not; the world is full of educated derelicts. Persistence and determination alone are omnipotent. The slogan "press on" has solved and always will solve the problems of the human race.”

Calvin Coolidge

If you substitute "finding Hot Stamper pressings" for the words "the human race" you will surely appreciate the point of this commentary.

More Ambrosia


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White Hot Stamper

Burt Bacharach
Casino Royale

  (Item #: bachacasin_2002) 

Our Price: $499.99

  • With a Triple Plus (A+++) shootout winning side one and a better than Double Plus (A++ to A+++) side two, this copy is practically as good as it gets
  • A record that has its share of problems, but if you've got the system for it (huge, heavily tweaked, fast, undistorted, highly resolving and free from obvious colorations), this pressing is guaranteed to handily beat all comers
  • A TAS List favorite - The Look of Love with Shootout Winning warmth, richness and immediacy? Here is the sound you never thought you'd hear
  • "The more recognizable and certainly more straightforward side of Bacharach is here, too, on the Dusty Springfield smash 'The Look of Love.' This is one of Bacharach's best soundtracks..."
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Burt Bacharach - Casino Royale

Our Shootout Winner from 2008

  (Item #: bachacasin_2008) 



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

TWO STUNNING SIDES! With sound like this, I now understand why this has been such a highly regarded long-term resident of the TAS Superdisc List. A copy like this IS a TRUE SUPERDISC -- but the average copy of this album is anything but. Who could take such harsh, grainy, thin, veiled, compressed sound seriously? What was Harry smokin’?

I can honestly and truthfully say that until we discovered the Hot Stampers for this album, I never thought this record deserved the praise Harry heaped upon it. Now I do. I once was blind but now I see, or something like that.

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The Beach Boys - Pet Sounds

Our Shootout Winner from 2014

  (Item #: beachpetso_2014) 



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

We've obviously been at this Hot Stamper business for a long, long time. Well folks, today is the day that an amazing A+++ copy of Pet Sounds finally makes it onto the site (we've found a few before, but they always sold before they got a chance to be listed!). I'm not sure if you want to hear the story of how we finally found these good pressings or just snap this one up before the next man does -- I think we all know this record isn't going to last long here!

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Super Hot Stamper

The Beatles
Magical Mystery Tour

  (Item #: beatlmagic_1909_01) 

Our Price: $199.99

  • This vintage German pressing earned outstanding Plus (A++) sonic grades on both sides - exceptionally quiet vinyl too
  • Some of the best Beatles sound money can buy - Geoff Emerick, Eddie Kramer and Ken Scott all deserve kudos for their fine work here
  • Wonderfully Tubey Magical sound for I Am The Walrus, Strawberry Fields Forever, The Fool On The Hill, Baby You're A Rich Man, Penny Lane and more
  • Until you play one of these True Stereo German pressings, you can't have heard MMT sound as big and lively as this LP - we guarantee it
  • A Top 100 album and Psych Masterpiece that still knocks us out to this day
More Magical Mystery Tour / More by The Beatles


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White Hot Stamper

The Beatles
Magical Mystery Tour

  (Item #: beatlmagic_1909_12_02) 

Our Price: $599.99

  • Incredible Shootout Winning Triple Plus (A+++) sound or very close to it from beginning to end, this copy is guaranteed to blow your mind - exceptionally quiet vinyl too
  • A stunning copy with some of the best Beatles sound money can buy - superb work from Ken Scott here
  • Demo Quality Sound for I Am The Walrus, Strawberry Fields Forever, Baby You're A Rich Man and more
  • You won't believe how powerful the sound is - it's big, rich, open and lively beyond any expectations you may have had
  • A longtime Top 100 album and Psych Masterpiece that knocks us out every time we do the shootout for it
More Magical Mystery Tour / More by The Beatles


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The Beatles - Magical Mystery Tour

Listening In Depth

  (Item #: beatlmagic_depth) 



Another in our series of Home Audio Exercises with advice on What to Listen For (WTLF) as you critically evaluate your copy of the Magical Mystery Tour.

We discuss in detail what we're listening for and what the best copies seem to do so well that the run-of-the-mill copies simply do not. If you own a copy of the German MMT plays yours and listen for what we're listening for. It's all laid out in the track commentary.

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The Beatles - Magical Mystery Tour

An Album We Are Clearly Obsessed With

  (Item #: beatlmagic_obsess) 



MAGICAL MYSTERY TOUR is an album we admit to being obsessed with -- just look at the number of commentaries we've written about it.

We love the album and we hope you do too. If you have some time on your hands -- maybe a bit too much time on your hands -- please feel free to check out our commentaries.

This link will take you to all of our other BEATLES albums.


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White Hot Stamper

The Beatles
The White Album

  (Item #: beatlwhite_2001_5) 

Our Price: $649.99

  • 11 pluses out of a possible 12?! Folks, this Triple Plus (A+++) White Hot White Album is just plain UNBEATABLE
  • This copy of the Beatles' double album masterpiece is going to thrill and delight the lucky person who snags it
  • Some of the most powerful and immersive Beatles sound you will ever hear - we guarantee you will be KNOCKED OUT
  • "If there is still any doubt that Lennon and McCartney are the greatest song writers since Schubert, then next Friday - with the publication of the new Beatles double LP - should surely see the last vestiges of cultural snobbery and bourgeois prejudice swept away in a deluge of joyful music making..." Right On!
More of The White Album


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Nearly White Hot Stamper

The Beatles
The White Album

  (Item #: beatlwhite_2005) 

Our Price: $349.99

  • You'll find crazy good sound throughout this British pressing, with a Triple Plus (A+++) side two, and sides three and four coming in just shy of our Shootout Winner at Nearly Triple Plus (A++ to A+++) -- exceptionally quiet vinyl too
  • Shootout Winning sound for some of the best songs on the album: Martha My Dear; I’m So Tired; Blackbird; Rocky Raccoon; Piggies; Don’t Pass Me By; Why Don’t We Do It in the Road?; I Will and Julia
  • "If there is still any doubt that Lennon and McCartney are the greatest song writers since Schubert, then next Friday - with the publication of the new Beatles double LP - should surely see the last vestiges of cultural snobbery and bourgeois prejudice swept away in a deluge of joyful music making..." Right On!
More of The White Album


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The Beatles - The White Album

Listening in Depth

  (Item #: beatlwhite_depth) 



Another in our series of Home Audio Exercises with plenty of What to Listen For (WTLF) tips.

It's exceedingly difficult to find audiophile quality sound on The White Album. The Beatles were breaking apart, often recording independently of each other, with their own favorite engineers as enablers, and George Martin nowhere to be found most of the time. They were also experimenting more and more with sound itself, which resulted in wonderful songs and interesting effects. However, these new approaches and added complexity often result in a loss of sonic "purity."

More of The White Album


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Super Hot Stamper

The Beatles
Yellow Submarine

  (Item #: beatlyello_1909_) 

Our Price: $74.99

  • This outstanding copy of Yellow Submarine boasts solid Double Plus (A++) sound or BETTER from first note to last
  • With a Nearly Triple Plus (A++ to A+++) side one, this gives you the actual songs from the film in top quality sound
  • The only place to find the All-Time Classic Hey Bulldog, as well as All Together Now and It's All Too Much
  • "All You Need Is Love" debuted in a true stereo mix on LP for this album. Only four new Beatles songs appeared on the album, and two were recorded specifically for the film: "All Together Now" and "Hey Bulldog."
More Yellow Submarine / More by The Beatles


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White Hot Stamper

The Beatles
Yellow Submarine

  (Item #: beatlyello_1909_12_4) 

Our Price: $299.99

  • For the first time in over a year, a KILLER sounding copy of Yellow Submarine with Shootout Winning Triple Plus (A+++) sound throughout
  • This pressing is clean, clear, solid and energetic - just the right sound for this classic Beatles music
  • The only place to find the All-Time Classic Hey Bulldog, as well as All Together Now and It's All Too Much
  • "All You Need Is Love" debuted in a true stereo mix on LP for this album. Only four new Beatles songs appeared on the album, and two were recorded specifically for the film: "All Together Now" and "Hey Bulldog."
More Yellow Submarine / More by The Beatles


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Advances in Playback Technology

More Than Blind Faith

  (Item #: blindblind_advances) 



In a 2007 commentary for the Hot Stamper pressing of Blind Faith we noted that

When it finally all comes together for such a famously compromised recording, it’s nothing less than a THRILL. More than anything else, the sound is RIGHT. Like Layla or Surrealistic Pillow, this is no demo disc by any stretch of the imagination, but that should hardly keep us from enjoying the music. And now we have the record that lets us do it.

More on Progress in Audio


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Super Hot Stamper

Blood, Sweat & Tears
Blood, Sweat & Tears

  (Item #: bloodblood_2004) 

Our Price: $149.99

  • Both sides of this outstanding original 360 pressing earned solid Double Plus (A++) grades for sound and play reasonably quietly, all things considered
  • The only versions of the album we sell are the 360 originals, but most of the dozens plus stamper numbers we know cannot hold a candle to this pressing
  • The sound is HUGE, rich, dynamic and POWERFUL - BS&T is a permanent member of our Top 100 and a Demo Disc par excellence
  • This is surely Roy Halee's engineering masterpiece, and here's the kind of pressing that, given the right equipment, room, and setup, can really make our case
  • 4 1/2 stars: "Their finest moment and a testimony to the best of the jazz/rock movement ... The album is bold, brassy and adventurous."
More Blood, Sweat & Tears


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Super Hot Stamper

Blood, Sweat & Tears
Blood, Sweat & Tears

  (Item #: bloodblood_2005) 

Our Price: $149.99

  • Both sides of this outstanding original 360 pressing earned solid Double Plus (A++) grades for sound and play reasonably quietly, all things considered
  • The only versions of the album we sell are the 360 originals, but most of the dozens plus stamper numbers we know cannot hold a candle to this pressing
  • The sound is HUGE, rich, dynamic and POWERFUL - BS&T is a permanent member of our Top 100 and a Demo Disc par excellence
  • This is surely Roy Halee's engineering masterpiece, and here's the kind of pressing that, given the right equipment, room, and setup, can really make our case
  • 4 1/2 stars: "Their finest moment and a testimony to the best of the jazz/rock movement ... The album is bold, brassy and adventurous."
More Blood, Sweat & Tears


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Blood, Sweat and Tears

Listening in Depth

  (Item #: bloodblood_2016) 



Another in our series of Home Audio Exercises.

In my opinion this is the BEST SOUNDING rock record ever made. Played on a BIG SPEAKER SYSTEM, a top Hot Stamper pressing is nothing less than a thrill, the ultimate Demo Disc.

Credit must go to the amazing engineering skills of ROY HALEE. He may not be very consistent (Graceland, Still Crazy After All These Years) but on this album he knocked it out of the park. With the right copy playing on the right stereo, the album has the potential to sound like LIVE MUSIC.

More Blood, Sweat & Tears


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Blood, Sweat & Tears - Child is Father to the Man

Our 2011 Shootout Winner for Side One

  (Item #: bloodchild_2011) 



A QUIET White Hot Stamper on side one for BS and T’s debut, one of my favorite albums of all time. Why do we so rarely list amazing copies of this album? Let me ask you this: have you played one recently? The average copy of this record is a sonic MESS. Even the best copies have problems.

We present here a FREAKISHLY GOOD SOUNDING SIDE ONE. This copy blew the doors off the competition, earning our highest grade of A Triple Plus and giving us a whole new appreciation for what this record can really sound like! Who knew? The brass has power on this copy like we almost never hear for this album. The bass was bigger and bolder than any other; finally, here is the kind of rock sound we are always looking for on the album but is so elusive.

More Blood, Sweat & Tears


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Bob and Ray - Throw a Stereo Spectacular

Our Favorite Record for Cartridge Setup

  (Item #: bobanthrow_setup) 



Bob and Ray Throw a Stereo Spectacular just happens to be our favorite Test Disc, eclipsing all others in the areas of naturalness and difficulty of reproduction. Any tweak or new room treatment -- we seem to do them almost weekly these days -- has to pass one test and one test only -- the Bob and Ray Test.

This record has the power to help you get to the next level in audio like no other. Six words hold the key to better sound: The Song of the Volga Boatman.

More Setup Advice / More Audio Advice


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Our DOR (Difficulty of Reproduction) Scale

  (Item #: brewedowni_dors) 



We’ve mentioned how difficult some records are to reproduce: how the Revolutions in Audio of the last decade or two have profoundly changed the ability of the seriously dedicated audiophile to get records that never sounded good before to come to life musically in a way previously understood to be impossible.

This is one of those records. But you have to have done your homework if you want to play a record like this, as the commentary below explains.

See more records that rank high up on our Difficulty of Reproduction Scale


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Brewer & Shipley - Tarkio

Listening in Depth

  (Item #: brewetarki_depth) 



Presenting another entry in our extensive Listening in Depth series with advice on what to listen for as you critically evaluate your copy of Tarkio.

This Bay Area Hippie Folk Rock has a lot in common with The Grateful Dead circa Workingman's Dead and American Beauty (the latter recorded by the same engineer, Stephen Barncard), and like those superbly well-recorded albums, it lives or dies by the reproduction of its acoustic guitars and vocal harmonies.

More Brewer and Shipley


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Copland / Billy the Kid / Morton Gould

Our Shootout Winner from 2011

  (Item #: coplabilly_2011) 



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

Super Hot Stamper sound on BOTH sides, with side one so energetic and exciting it would easily qualify as a Demo Disc. This title is almost impossible to find in anything but beat up condition. Records like these got played over and over and few survived the ten grams of stylus pressure and mis-aligned cartridges of the day.

More of the music of Aaron Copland (1900-1990)


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Super Hot Stamper

Creedence Clearwater Revival
Bayou Country

  (Item #: creedbayou_2004) 

Our Price: $99.99

  • With two seriously good Double Plus (A++) sides, this copy is guaranteed to blow the doors off any other Bayou Country you've heard
  • Proud Mary and Good Golly Miss Molly are two of the better sounding tracks found on the album - you can be sure that this pressing has them swamp rockin' like crazy
  • Our pick for the best sounding CCR recording, but only if you have a copy with sonics like these
  • "All the songs add up to a superb statement of purpose, a record that captures Creedence Clearwater Revival's muscular, spare, deceptively simple sound as an evocative portrait of America."
More Creedence Clearwater


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White Hot Stamper

Creedence Clearwater Revival
Creedence Clearwater...

  (Item #: creedcreed_1905_7_9_12) 

Our Price: $249.99

  • Wow - Shootout Winning Triple Plus (A+++) sound from start to finish - fairly quiet vinyl too
  • These sides are exceptionally low-distortion, solid, dynamic, with the neutral tonality completely missing from the current spate of reissues
  • Featuring classics such as I Put a Spell on You, the extended-length jam Susie Q (8:37, perfect for Underground Radio), The Working Man, Porterville and more
  • 4 stars: "CCR's self-titled debut album was gloriously out-of-step with the times, teeming with John Fogerty's Americana fascinations. ... the band's sound is vibrant, with gutsy arrangements that borrow equally from Sun, Stax, and the swamp."
More of CCR's Debut


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White Hot Stamper

Creedence Clearwater Revival
Willy and the Poor Boys

  (Item #: creedwilly_2004) 

Our Price: $349.99

  • Both sides earned Triple Plus (A+++) grades, a huge step up over every other copy in our shootout - exceptionally quiet vinyl too
  • Whatever you do, don't waste your money on the awful Heavy Vinyl remasters of CCR's albums that Acoustic Sounds commissioned - they are so wrong it makes our head ache
  • Features Down On The Corner, Fortunate Son, Midnight Special and more
  • 5 stars: "[A] fun record, perhaps the breeziest album CCR ever made. Fogerty's rage remains, blazing to the forefront on "Fortunate Son," a working-class protest song that cuts harder than any of the explicit Vietnam protest songs of the era, one of the reasons that it hasn't aged where its peers have. Also, there's that unbridled vocal from Fogerty and the ferocious playing on CCR..."
More Creedence


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Super Hot Stamper

Miles Davis
Bitches Brew

  (Item #: davisbitch_2003) 

Our Price: $99.99

  • These vintage Columbia pressings earned outstanding Double Plus (A++) grades for sound or close to them on all four sides - fairly quiet vinyl too
  • The sound is spacious and real, a noticeable step up from most of what we played
  • Miles is joined by a litany of greats including Wayne Shorter, Chick Corea, Billy Cobham, Joe Zawinul, John McLaughlin, et al., all of whom would go on to pursue this style of jazz for decades to come
  • 5 stars: "Thought by many to be the most revolutionary album in jazz history, having virtually created the genre known as jazz-rock fusion..."
More Miles Davis


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White Hot Stamper (With Issues)

Miles Davis
Sketches Of Spain

  (Item #: davissketc_1911) 

Our Price: $74.99

  • Triple Plus (A+++) sound on first side and Double Plus (A++) on the second, making this a truly killer copy!
  • Tons of ambience and Tubey Magic - this 30th Street recording shows just how good Columbia's engineers were back then
  • This copy gives Davis's horn breath and bite, revealing the sound of the real instrument as only the best pressings can
  • 5 stars on Allmusic: "The most luxuriant and stridently romantic recording Davis ever made"
See all of our Miles Davis albums in stock


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Super Hot Stamper

Miles Davis
Sketches Of Spain

  (Item #: davissketc_2003) 

Our Price: $99.99

  • This vintage Columbia pressing offers excellent Double Plus (A++) sound throughout - exceptionally quiet vinyl too
  • The good copies capture the realistic sound of Davis's horn, the body, the breath and the bite (and not a little of the squawk as well)
  • Balanced, clear and undistorted, this 30th Street recording shows just how good Columbia's engineers were back then
  • 5 stars: "Sketches of Spain is the most luxuriant and stridently romantic recording Davis ever made. To listen to it in the 21st century is still a spine-tingling experience..."
More Miles Davis


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Super Hot Stamper (Quiet Vinyl)

Derek and the Dominos
Layla

  (Item #: dereklayla_2002) 

Our Price: $199.99

  • With a Shootout Winning Triple Plus (A+++) side one and outstanding Double Plus (A++) sides two, three and four, this copy delivers top quality sound for this famously difficult recording - exceptionally quiet vinyl too!
  • Some of our favorite Clapton songs are here: Bell Bottom Blues, Tell The Truth, Little Wing, Layla and Have You Ever Loved A Woman?
  • One of the most difficult albums to find audiophile sound for, but a lot easier for us now that we know what pressings can actually sound good
  • Clapton's greatest album: "But what really makes Layla such a powerful record is that Clapton, ignoring the traditions that occasionally painted him into a corner, simply tears through these songs with burning, intense emotion."
See all of our Eric Clapton albums in stock


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White Hot Stamper

Derek and the Dominos
Layla

  (Item #: dereklayla_2002_1) 

Our Price: $399.99

  • Absolutely KILLER with all four sides earning Shootout Winning Triple Plus (A+++) grades or very close to them - exceptionally quiet vinyl too
  • We guarantee there is dramatically more richness, fullness, vocal presence, and performance energy on this copy than others you've heard, and that's especially true if you own whatever Heavy Vinyl pressing is currently on the market, made from who-knows-what tapes
  • One of the most difficult albums to find great sound for, but the music makes it worth all the time and trouble we spent finding this pressing
  • 5 stars: "What really makes Layla such a powerful record is that Clapton, ignoring the traditions that occasionally painted him into a corner, simply tears through these songs with burning, intense emotion."
More Eric Clapton


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Derek and The Dominos - Layla

Listening in Depth

  (Item #: dereklayla_listen) 



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

The best copies of Layla are Tubey Magical, energetic, and tonally balanced. Most importantly, they sound CORRECT; you get the sense that you are hearing the music exactly as the band intended. The best sounding tracks have presence, clarity, and transparency like you have never heard -- that is, unless you've gone through a pile of copies the way we do.

More Eric Clapton and Cream


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Super Hot Stamper

Dire Straits
Brothers In Arms

  (Item #: diresbroth_2003) 

Our Price: $99.99

  • With seriously good Double Plus (A++) sound or BETTER on both sides, this copy is guaranteed to blow the doors off any other Brothers in Arms you've heard
  • Tonally correct from top to bottom, with a solid bottom end and fairly natural vocals (for the recording), this is the sound they were going for in the studio
  • Drop the needle on So Far Away -- it's airy, open, and spacious, yet still rich and full-bodied
  • "One of their most focused and accomplished albums ... Dire Straits had never been so concise or pop-oriented, and it wore well on them."
More Brothers in Arms / More Dire Straits


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White Hot Stamper

The Doors
The Soft Parade

  (Item #: doorssoftp_1906_10_12_02) 

Our Price: $349.99

  • With Shootout Winning Triple Plus (A+++) sound or very close to it throughout, this copy will be all but impossible to beat!
  • The sound is incredibly powerful from start to finish -- big, rich, full-bodied, present and lively -- thanks Bruce Botnick, where would The Doors be without you?
  • Full of great songs: Touch Me, Runnin' Blue, Wild Child, Wishful Sinful and the amazingly trippy Soft Parade extended suite (with Triple Plus sound no less)
  • "Much like a true “parade” of an English fugue, the song morphs from Morrison’s a capella sermon-like intro to a Baroque ballad to a show tune-like section to the long rock outro, the music masterfully following the flowing, stream of consciousness lyric." Hell yeah!
See all of our Doors albums in stock


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Super Hot Stamper

The Doors
The Soft Parade

  (Item #: doorssoftp_2004) 

Our Price: $199.99

  • With outstanding Double Plus (A++) sound and fairly quiet vinyl on both sides, this copy will be very hard to beat
  • The sound is rich and lively, with solid brass and punchy drums - thanks Bruce Botnick, where would The Doors be without you?
  • Full of great songs: Touch Me, Runnin' Blue, Wild Child, Wishful Sinful and the amazingly trippy Soft Parade extended suite
  • "Much like a true “parade” of an English fugue, the song morphs from Morrison’s a capella sermon-like intro to a Baroque ballad to a show tune-like section to the long rock outro, the music masterfully following the flowing, stream of consciousness lyric." Hell yeah!
More of The Doors


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The Doors - The Soft Parade

Our Shootout Winner from 2007

  (Item #: doorssoftp_2007) 



A distinguished member of the Better Records Rock Hall of Fame and another in the long list of recordings that really comes alive when you Turn Up Your Volume.

This incredibly rare, exceptionally quiet Elektra Gold Label LP sounds AMAZING, As Good As It Gets (AGAIG)! The sound is BIG, RICH, and FULL-BODIED, exactly the way it should be. As good as the Hot Stamper Big Red E Label copies can be, and that's very good indeed, the right first pressing is still The King. It just can't be beat.

More of The Doors


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Super Hot Stamper (Quiet UK Vinyl)

Emerson, Lake & Palmer
Emerson...

  (Item #: emersemers_1911_02_) 

Our Price: $249.99

  • This vintage Island Pink Rim import pressing boasts outstanding Double Plus (A++) sound from start to finish - exceptionally QUIET vinyl too
  • Spacious, rich and dynamic, with especially smooth, present vocals - this is what we love about Eddie Offord's work here
  • ANALOG at its Tubey Magical finest - you'll never play a CD that sounds this good as long as you live
  • Lucky Man and Take A Pebble on this copy have Demo Disc Quality Sound like you won't believe
  • 4 1/2 stars: "Lively, ambitious, almost entirely successful debut album... [which] showcased the group at its least pretentious and most musicianly ...there isn't much excess, and there is a lot of impressive musicianship here."
More Emerson, Lake and Palmer


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White Hot Stamper

Donald Fagen
The Nightfly

  (Item #: fagennight_2005) 

Our Price: $399.99

  • A Shootout Winning copy, Triple Plus (A+++) sound from first note to last and vinyl that plays about as quiet as any copy ever will
  • The best copies of The Nightfly sound the way the best copies of most '70s Classic Rock records sound - very ANALOG
  • Here you will find sound that is tonally correct, rich, clear, smooth, present, lively, spacious and Tubey Magical - whew!
  • "The Nightfly is a wonderfully evocative reminiscence of Kennedy-era American life ... some of his most personal and least obtuse material to date."
More Donald Fagen / More Steely Dan


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Fagen's The Nightfly & Digital Sound

Do All the Pressings Have to Sound Like CDs?

  (Item #: fagennight_digital) 



The average copy of this digitally recorded, mixed and mastered LP sounds just the way you would expect it to: like a CD. It's anemic, two-dimensional, opaque, thin, bright, harsh, with little extreme top and the kind of bass that's all "note" with no real weight, solidity or harmonic structure. Sounds like a CD, right? (That's the way most of my CDs sound, which is why I no longer listen to them except in the car)

But what if I told you that the best copies of The Nightfly can actually sound like a real honest-to-goodness ANALOG recording, with practically none of the nasty shortcomings listed above? You may not believe it, but it's true.

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Super Hot Stamper

Peter Gabriel
Security

  (Item #: gabrisecur_2001) 

Our Price: $74.99

  • A wonderful pressing of Gabriel's 1982 release, with outstanding Double Plus (A++) sound throughout
  • We guarantee there is dramatically more richness, fullness and presence on this copy than others you've heard, and that's especially true for whatever godawful Heavy Vinyl pressing is currently being foisted on an undiscerning record buying public
  • One of the most important records in the Peter Gabriel canon, original and influential on so many levels
  • "Security remains a powerful listen, one of the better records in Gabriel's catalog, proving that he is becoming a master of tone, style, and substance..."
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White Hot Stamper

Peter Gabriel
Security

  (Item #: gabrisecur_2004) 

Our Price: $249.99

  • A Stunning copy of Security, with Shootout Winning Triple Plus (A+++) sound or close to it from start to finish
  • One of the most important records in the Peter Gabriel canon, original and influential on so many levels
  • With the benefit of today's technology, on a copy this good you hear into the soundfield in a way never possible before, picking out all the drummers and counting all the layers of multi-tracked choruses
  • "Security remains a powerful listen, one of the better records in Gabriel's catalog, proving that he is becoming a master of tone, style, and substance..."
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White Hot Stamper

Peter Gabriel
So

  (Item #: gabriso_2003_1) 

Our Price: $349.99

  • This insanely good copy of Gabriel's breakthrough album boasts Shootout Winning Triple Plus (A++) sound on the first side and solid Double Plus (A++) sound on the second
  • It's the impossibly rare copy that's this lively, solid and rich... drop the needle on the title track and you'll see what we mean; exceptionally quiet vinyl too!
  • Great songs including Don't Give Up, Sledgehammer, Big Time, Mercy Street, Red Rain, In Your Eyes and more
  • "Excellent albums followed, but the breathtaking So is the best introduction to a dazzling discography." -- Bruno MacDonald
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Super Hot Stamper

Peter Gabriel
So

  (Item #: gabriso_2005) 

Our Price: $149.99

  • Two outstanding Double Plus (A++) sides on exceptionally quiet vinyl - many consider this to be Peter Gabriel's best album and who are we to argue? - exceptionally quiet vinyl too
  • It's a Modern Classic no matter how you slice it, with so many songs you know well: Don't Give Up, Sledgehammer, Big Time, Mercy Street, Red Rain, In Your Eyes and more
  • You may be surprised how ANALOG this music can sound on the best copies - we guarantee you've never heard the album sound better
  • "Excellent albums followed, but the breathtaking So is the best introduction to a dazzling discography." Bruno MacDonald
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Peter Gabriel - So

Our Shootout Winner from 2010

  (Item #: gabriso_2010) 



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

TWO A+++ SIDES give you AMAZINGLY ANALOG SOUND for this digital recording! I don't think you could find another copy of this album that sounds this good no matter what you do! We recently finished another big shootout for So, and we can tell you that the majority of copies -- even the ones with the right stamper numbers -- tend to be fairly harsh, edgy, and altogether unpleasant. When you find a copy like this, though, it's worth all the trouble.

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Peter Gabriel - So

Listening in Depth

  (Item #: gabriso_depth) 



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

With a digital recording such as this, the margin for mastering error is very slim. Most copies just aren't worth the vinyl they're pressed on. They can sound harsh, gritty, grainy, edgy, and thin. We love this music and we know there are great copies out there, so we keep picking these up. More often than not, we're left cold.

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Super Hot Stamper (Quiet Vinyl)

George Harrison
All Things Must Pass

  (Item #: harriallth_1905_7_10_4) 

Our Price: $199.99

  • With superb Double Plus (A++) grades or BETTER across all six sides, this early British box set of All Things Must Pass has sound that will be tough to beat - very quiet vinyl for this album too
  • It's rich and Tubey Magical, yet still clean and (fairly) clear with lovely studio space and a solid bottom end
  • If you've struggled with domestic pressings and later imports or Heavy Vinyl reissues, your troubles are over - here is the sound you were looking for
  • "Without a doubt, Harrison's first solo recording is his best. Drawing on his backlog of unused compositions from the late Beatles era, Harrison crafted material that managed the rare feat of conveying spiritual mysticism without sacrificing his gifts for melody and grand, sweeping arrangements."
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Super Hot Stamper

George Harrison
All Things Must Pass

  (Item #: harriallth_1912_03) 

Our Price: $169.99

  • With superb Double Plus (A++) grades across all six sides, this early British box set of All Things Must Pass has sound that will be very hard to beat
  • If you've struggled with dubby domestic pressings, lifeless later imports, imports from the wrong countries (any one but the UK), or the veiled and opaque Heavy Vinyl reissue, your troubles are over - here is the sound you've been looking for all these years
  • "Drawing on his backlog of unused compositions from the late Beatles era, Harrison crafted material that managed the rare feat of conveying spiritual mysticism without sacrificing his gifts for melody and grand, sweeping arrangements."
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George Harrison - All Things Must Pass

Our Shootout Winner from 2018

  (Item #: harriallth_2018) 



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

To say that this one has been a long time coming would be an understatement! FINALLY, an incredible sounding copy of All Things Must Pass. Stunning shootout winning Triple Plus (A+++) sound on all six sides (!).

It's also worth mentioning that this is one of the nicer boxes we've come across for this title. It's the thicker box which has stood the test of time a little better than the narrower version. Those are usually in pretty poor shape and we should know because we have a bunch of problematical boxes sitting right here.

More George Harrison / More Beatles


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White Hot Stamper

Bernard Herrmann / Citizen Kane & Other Classic Film Scores

  (Item #: herrmcitiz_1902_6_11) 

Our Price: $199.99

  • Amazing Triple Plus (A+++) sound on the first side for the Citizen Kane Suite!) and Double Plus (A++) on the second; one of the best copies to hit the site in many years
  • The brass is huge on Citizen Kane, with accurate timbre - side two offers rich strings and a powerful, weighty piano for the Concerto Macabre
  • By far the single best Bernard Herrmann disc we know of - A Must Own for any serious audiophile
  • After playing records for 50+ years this is still some of the most emotionally moving music I've ever heard
See all of our Bernard Herrmann albums in stock


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White Hot Stamper

Bernard Herrmann / Citizen Kane & Other Classic Film Scores

  (Item #: herrmcitiz_2005) 

Our Price: $129.99

  • Amazing Nearly Triple Plus (A++ to A+++) sound on side two - exceptionally quiet vinyl too
  • Side two offers rich strings and a powerful, weighty piano for the Concerto Macabre
  • By far the single best Bernard Herrmann disc we know of - A Must Own for any serious audiophile
  • After playing records for 50+ years this is still some of the most emotionally moving music I've ever heard
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Bernard Herrmann / Citizen Kane & Other Classic Film Scores

Our Shootout Winner from 2013

  (Item #: herrmcitiz_2013) 



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

The Citizen Kane Suite on this album is to die for -- a real desert island disc for me. (The CD by the way is actually quite good. I have it in the car and play it often.)

The Concerto Macabre for Piano and Orchestra (from "Hangover Square") is superbly well recorded and a brilliant piece of music as well.

More of the music of Bernard Herrmann


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Bernard Herrmann - Conducts Psycho and Other Film Scores

Our Shootout Winner from 2010

  (Item #: herrmcondu_2010) 



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

This very nice looking London Phase 4 LP has SUPERB SOUND for some of these pieces. Especially noteworthy is the ’Psycho Narrative For Orchestra’, at 14 minutes the longest piece here. Written purely for string orchestra, the tonality is Right On The Money (ROTM), with cellos that growl like the real thing.

In fact, so much of this sounds so good, and is such a brilliant showcase for one of the great orchestral colorists, Bernard Herrmann, that you’ll be asking yourself why more classical music doesn’t sound like this.

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Bernard Herrmann - The Fantasy Film World of...

Our Shootout Winner from 2008

  (Item #: herrmfanta_2008) 



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

Two AMAZING SOUNDING DEMO DISC LPS for the price of one! We’ve mated the HOTTEST SIDE ONE of one copy with the HOTTEST SIDE TWO of another to produce the best sounding complete Fantasy Film World we have ever heard. A+++ sound, with the kind of orchestral power that few recordings in the history of the world can lay claim to. There's a reason this record is on the TAS Superdisc list -- if any LP should be called a Superdisc, this one should. (With Phase Four sound you might even call it a Super-Duper-Disc.)

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Super Hot Stamper

INXS
Kick

  (Item #: inxs_kick_1912) 

Our Price: $99.99

  • INXS's one true Masterpiece comes to the site with two excellent sides, rating Double Plus (A++) grades for sound or close to them - exceptionally quiet vinyl too
  • Surprisingly rich and full-bodied, the best copies really ROCK with big bass and punchy drums.
  • The Big Rock sound comes courtesy of Chris Thomas' production and Bob Clearmountain's mix
  • "Kick is an impeccably crafted pop tour de force, the band succeeding at everything they try. Every track has at least a subtly different feel from what came before it; INXS freely incorporates tense guitar riffs, rock & roll anthems, swing-tinged pop/rock, string-laden balladry, danceable pop-funk, horn-driven '60s soul, '80s R&B, and even a bit of the new wave-ish sound they'd started out with."
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White Hot Stamper

INXS
Kick

  (Item #: inxs_kick_2002_1) 

Our Price: $299.99

  • INXS's one true Masterpiece album comes to the site with a Triple Plus (A+++) side two and a Double Plus (A++) side one - exceptionally quiet vinyl too
  • Surprisingly rich and full-bodied for 1987 - the best copies like this one really ROCK, with huge amounts of bass and gut-punching drums, courtesy of Chris Thomas' production and Bob Clearmountain's mix
  • "Kick is an impeccably crafted pop tour de force, the band succeeding at everything they try. Every track has at least a subtly different feel from what came before it; INXS freely incorporates tense guitar riffs, rock & roll anthems, swing-tinged pop/rock, string-laden balladry, danceable pop-funk, horn-driven '60s soul, '80s R&B, and even a bit of the new wave-ish sound they'd started out with."
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INXS - Kick

Our Shootout Winner from 2017

  (Item #: inxs_kick_2017) 



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

For a recording from 1987 there is a surprising amount of Tubey Magical Analog sound to be found here. There is almost always a trace of hardness in the loudest vocal parts; that's where the 1987 recording technology raises its head, but the better copies such as this one keep it to a bare minimum.

The copies that were the richest and had the biggest bottom end, without being smeary or dark from a lack of top tended to do the best in our shootout. The copies that lacked weight or lower midrange fullness were most often rejected; rhythmically driven Funk Rock simply doesn't work without plenty of richness and bass.

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Joe Jackson's Jumpin’ Jive

Get Rid of Grit and Grain The Right Way

  (Item #: jacksjumpi_advice) 



Jumpin' Jive is one of the clearest examples of an album where it is CRITICALLY IMPORTANT to make sure your stereo is running on good electricity before you make any attempt to play it. This is the kind of recording -- bright, full of energy -- that will bring most stereo systems to their knees. Of course, when you play a good copy and it really sounds good, it's a record that rewards all the time and effort you've put into your system.

So much of the aggressiveness, grit and grain that we hear in immediate, high-energy recordings such as this are really the fault of the electricity feeding the stereo, not the fault of the record or even the equipment used to play it.

More Audio Advice


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White Hot Stamper

Michael Jackson
Thriller

  (Item #: jacksthril_2001_5) 

Our Price: $299.99

  • With a Shootout Winning Triple Plus (A+++) side one, a seriously good Double Plus (A++) side two, and exceptionally quiet vinyl on both, we guarantee this will be by far the best sounding Thriller you've ever heard -
  • The sound is HUGE - wide, deep, and open, with a solid bottom end and relentless rhythmic energy to spare
  • Shootout Winning sound for Wanna Be Startin' Somethin' and Thriller - they are out of this world, but that's not fair, since every track on this copy is good enough to blow your mind
  • 5 stars: "This was a record that had something for everybody, building on the basic blueprint of Off the Wall by adding harder funk, hard rock, softer ballads, and smoother soul — expanding the approach to have something for every audience."
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Super Hot Stamper

Michael Jackson
Thriller

  (Item #: jacksthril_2005) 

Our Price: $119.99

  • With outstanding Double Plus (A++) sonic grades on both sides, we guarantee this pressing will be very hard to beat - fairly quiet vinyl too
  • The sound is huge - big, wide, deep, and open, with a punchy bottom end and rhythmic energy to spare
  • Billie Jean and Beat It sound out of this world, but that's not fair, since most every track does
  • A Top 100 and 5 Stars on AMG: "This was a record that had something for everybody, building on the basic blueprint of Off the Wall by adding harder funk, hard rock, softer ballads, and smoother soul — expanding the approach to have something for every audience."
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Michael Jackson - Thriller

Thoughts on Thriller, Circa 2006

  (Item #: jacksthril_2006) 



Another in our series of Home Audio Exercises with advice on What to Listen For as you critically evaluate your copy of the album.

This pressing has a side two that is so amazing sounding that it COMPLETELY CHANGED my understanding and appreciation of this album. The average copy is a nice pop record. This copy is a MASTERPIECE of production and engineering.

After playing a bunch of these we noticed some recurring shortcomings on most of the pressings. Either they lacked extension on the top end or they lacked bass definition and weight, or both. When this copy hit the table, the first thing we noticed was that the top end was Right On The Money and the bottom end was also Right On The Money. Not surprisingly, the middle fell right into place.

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Michael Jackson - Thriller

Our Shootout Winner from 2010

  (Item #: jacksthril_2010) 



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

A KILLER THRILLER, with an A+++ side one that's going to knock you out! That gives you TOP SHELF SOUND for songs including Wanna Be Startin' Somethin' and the title track, which are going to BLOW YOU AWAY! So many copies of Thriller out there just don't deliver, but this side one does almost everything right.

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White Hot Stamper

James Gang
Thirds

  (Item #: jamesthird_2001ex) 

Our Price: $249.99

  • Off the charts "Triple Triple" (A+++) sound for this classic James Gang album - both sides earned our top grade of Triple Plus
  • BIGGER and RICHER than the competition, with by far the most Tubey Magic and energy, no other copy in our shootout could touch this bad boy for sound
  • A copy sure to make you a fan of Joe Walsh's grungy guitar artistry - turn up Walk Away on this side one and it will blow your mind
  • 4 Stars: "... Walsh was being hailed as a guitar hero to rank with the best rock had to offer... Thirds quickly earned a respectable chart position and eventually went gold..."
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Jellyfish's Bellybutton

Not a Perfect Recording, a Good One for Testing Though

  (Item #: jellybelly_test_2016) 



Now She Knows She's Wrong -- another in our series of Home Audio Exercises.

I spent quite a few hours tuning up the stereo with side two of the album, specifically the song Now She Knows She's Wrong, with its glockenspiel, loudly clanging tubular bells and yelling chorus at the end.

It's exceedingly hard to get everything right at the same time: the energy, the deepest bass, the extension at the very top of the top end, the greatest transparency, just to mention a few of the main ones. There are always trade-offs, and being able to balance the trade-offs against the gains in these areas and others is a real test of your critical listening skills.

See more records that rank high up on our Difficulty of Reproduction Scale


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Super Hot Stamper (quiet vinyl)

Jethro Tull
Aqualung

  (Item #: jethraqual_1909_01) 

Our Price: $199.99

  • This superb copy of Jethro Tull's fourth studio album boasts outstanding Double Plus (A++) grades or BETTER on both sides - exceptionally quiet vinyl too
  • The sound is excellent from start to finish - big, punchy, present, tubey and bursting with Rock and Roll energy
  • A Better Records Top 100 title that still floors us on the better copies, with sound that will jump right out of your speakers
  • 4 1/2 stars: "... one of the most astonishing progressions in rock history... the degree to which Tull upped the ante here is remarkable... Varied but cohesive, Aqualung is widely regarded as Tull's finest hour."
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Super Hot Stamper

Jethro Tull
Aqualung

  (Item #: jethraqual_2004) 

Our Price: $149.99

  • This superb copy of Jethro Tull's fourth studio album boasts outstanding Double Plus (A++) grades or BETTER from first note to last
  • The sound is excellent from start to finish - big, punchy, present, tubey and bursting with Rock and Roll energy
  • A Better Records Top 100 title that still floors us on the better copies, with sound that will jump right out of your speakers
  • 4 1/2 stars: "... one of the most astonishing progressions in rock history... the degree to which Tull upped the ante here is remarkable... Varied but cohesive, Aqualung is widely regarded as Tull's finest hour."
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Wire Testing

with Jethro Tull and His Friend Aqualung...

  (Item #: jethraqual_test_) 



... who seems to have a rather nasty bronchial condition...

Another in our series of Home Audio Exercises.

Like Heart's Little Queen album, Aqualung presents us with a Demo Disc / Test Disc that really puts a stereo through its paces, assuming it’s the kind of stereo that’s designed to play an album like Aqualung.

Not many audiophile systems I’ve run across over the years were capable of reproducing the Big Rock Sound this album requires, but perhaps you have one and would like to use the album to test some of your tweaks and components. I used it to show me how bad sounding some of the audiophile wire I was testing really was.

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Billy Joel - Songs in the Attic

Listening in Depth

  (Item #: joel_songs_depth) 



Presenting another entry in our extensive Listening in Depth series.

You know how you can tell when you have a Hot Stamper? It's the side you play through to the end. When the sound is right you want to hear more. Since the opening track of this record is one of the keys to knowing whether it's mastered and pressed properly, once you get past the sibilance hurdle on track one, the next step is to find out how the challenges presented by the rest of the tracks are handled on any given LP. Some advice follows.

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White Hot Stamper (With Issues)

Elton John
Elton John

  (Item #: john_elton_2005) 

Our Price: $249.99

  • Stunning DEMO DISC sound throughout - Shootout Winning Triple Plus (A+++) sound on the second side and close to that on the first
  • An original UK pressing with sound this good is a Must Own for all right thinking audiophile record lovers, not just Elton John fans
  • No modern record ever sounded like this - these sides are HUGE, with sound that positively jumps out of the speakers
  • Some of the most remarkable string arrangements (and Tubey Magical string sound) ever recorded for a pop album
  • 4 1/2 stars: "Even with the strings and choirs that dominate the sound of the album, John manages to rock out on a fair share of the record. ...Elton John remains one of his best records."
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Super Hot Stamper

Led Zeppelin
Led Zeppelin IV

  (Item #: ledze4_2004) 

Our Price: $249.99

  • A Hard Rockin' Zep IV, one that earned outstanding Double Plus (A++) sonic grades on both sides
  • Dramatically fuller and smoother than most, making it possible to get the volume up good and loud where it belongs
  • Here they are: Black Dog, Rock & Roll, Stairway, When the Levee Breaks, and more, sounding better than you've ever heard them
  • 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."
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Led Zeppelin - IV

Listening in Depth

  (Item #: ledze4_depth) 



Presenting another entry in our extensive Listening in Depth series.

We always have a great time doing Zep IV shootouts. It's one of those all-too-rare cases where amazing music and amazing sonics coexist on the same slab of vinyl. You just need to find the right slab, a proposition that turns out to be much harder than it sounds.

You probably know by now just how tough it is to find audiophile quality sonics on this album. Far too many copies just leave us cold, but the best pressings, whether British or domestic, are so good, and so much fun at the loud volumes we employ, that it ends up being worth all the time, trouble and expense it takes to wade through the vinyl dreck to find them.

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Super Hot Stamper

Level 42
World Machine

  (Item #: levelworld_1810_4_10) 

Our Price: $99.99

  • With two seriously good Double Plus (A++) sides, this UK pressing is guaranteed to blow the doors off any other Level 42 album you've ever heard - exceptionally quiet vinyl too
  • The sound is huge - richer, bigger, clearer and more open than most of the other copies we played
  • A Better Records favorite for more than thirty years, the rare '80s album that holds up today
  • The big hit Something About You ROCKS on this copy - only these British originals let you turn it up and hear it right
  • "World Machine pushes their newfound radio-friendly sound into the forefront, and the result is one of the finest pop albums of the mid-'80s. "Something About You" exemplifies Level 42's sound at the peak of its success."
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Level 42 - World Machine

Our Shootout Winner from 2014

  (Item #: levelworld_2014) 



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

This White Hot Stamper British Polydor original pressing of Level 42's BEST ALBUM makes a mockery of most of what's out there -- who knew the sound could be this good? Punchy bass, breathy vocals, snappy drums; it's all here and it reallyl comes JUMPIN' out of the speakers on this pressing.

World Machine has been a personal favorite of mine since I first played it way back in 1985. Of course in 1985 I had only a domestic pressing, and if you want to hear what happens when you use a dub of the British master tape and then brighten the hell out of it in the mastering process, I heartily recommend you find yourself a copy.

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Super Hot Stamper

Sergio Mendes & Brasil ’66
Fool on the Hill

  (Item #: mendefoolo_2003_1) 

Our Price: $99.99

  • With two seriously good Double Plus (A++) sides, this copy is guaranteed to blow the doors off any other Fool on the Hill you've heard
  • Sergio's unique rearrangement of two songs in particular here make this a Must Own album: Scarborough Fair and title trackl
  • Top engineers for A&M, Henry Lewy and Larry Levine, capture the natural, breathy intimacy in the voices of these wonderful female leads - Lani Hall, Karen Philipp and Gracinha Leporace
  • 4 1/2 Stars: "Even though he had become thoroughly embedded in the consciousness of mainstream America, Mendes still managed to have it three ways, exposing first-class tunes from little-known Brazilian talent, garnering commercial hits, and also making some fine records."
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Sergio Mendes & Brasil ’66 - Fool on the Hill

Our Shootout Winner from 2007

  (Item #: mendefoolo_2007) 



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

EXCELLENT SOUND ON BOTH SIDES! It’s rich, full-bodied, and sweet, with super-low distortion and breathtaking transparency. Side Two rates A+++, As Good As It Gets! The vocals on this copy were as sweet as we have ever heard for this record.

The average copy of this record is thin, aggressive and irritating. What separates the best copies like this one from the typical bad sounding copies is more extension on the top end to balance out the upper midrange and lower highs, as well as more weight on the bottom end, to anchor and balance out the sound.

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Sergio Mendes - Look Around

Then Listen for the Huge Room on Roda

  (Item #: mendelooka_listen_2014) 



Another in our series of Home Audio Exercises.

If you have a good copy of Look Around and a high-rez stereo/room and want to have some fun, play the second track on side one, Roda. In the left channel there is some double-tracked clapping (or two people, how could you tell the difference?) in a HUGE room. Actually although it sounds like a huge room it's probably a normal sized room with lots of reverb added. Either way it sounds awesome.

These hand claps drive the energy and rhythm of the song, and they are so well recorded you will think the back wall of your listening room just collapsed behind the left speaker. On the truly transparent copies the echo goes WAY back.

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Sergio Mendes - Stillness

Our Shootout Winner from 2013

  (Item #: mendestill_2013) 



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

TWO AMAZING SIDES, including a BETTER THAN WHITE HOT A++++ SIDE TWO! That's right folks, four pluses! This is an incredibly well-recorded album and a member of our Top 100, in fact. The soundfield itself has a three-dimensional quality that will absolutely blow you away. If you are looking for DEMO DISC QUALITY SOUND with music every bit as good, look no further - this record is for you.

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Sergio Mendes & Brasil '66 - Ye-Me-Le

Listening in Depth

  (Item #: mendeyemel_depth) 



Another in our series of Home Audio Exercises with advice on What to Listen For (WTLF) as you critically evaluate your copy of Ye-Me-Le.

The first three tracks on side 1 are the best reason to own this album, especially the first two (Wichita Lineman and Norwegian Wood), which are as good as anything the group ever did. I'm a big fan so that has to be seen as high praise indeed.

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Super Hot Stamper (With an Issue)

Joni Mitchell
Blue

  (Item #: mitchblue_1910_5ex) 

Our Price: $99.99

  • Outstanding sound throughout for arguably Joni's greatest album with both sides earning solid Double Plus (A++) grades
  • Full-bodied and balanced with the kind of smooth musicality that's not always easy to find for Blue
  • A Better Records Top 100 title that belongs in any audiophile music collection worthy of the name
  • 5 stars: "Sad, spare, and beautiful, Blue is the quintessential confessional singer/songwriter album. Forthright and poetic, Joni Mitchell's songs are raw nerves, tales of love and loss (two words with relative meaning here) etched with stunning complexity..."
More Blue / More Joni


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Joni Mitchell - Blue

Listening In Depth

  (Item #: mitchblue_wtlf) 



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

You’ve probably heard us say this before, but top quality copies of Blue are few and far between. It’s not just the toughest nut to crack in Joni’s catalog, it’s one of the most difficult albums in ALL OF POP MUSIC to get to sound right.

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Super Hot Stamper

Joni Mitchell
Court and Spark

  (Item #: mitchcourt_1912_2) 

Our Price: $69.99

  • An outstanding early pressing with seriously good Double Plus (A++) grades for sound on both sides
  • It's rich, warm and natural with wonderful transparency, loads of ambience and - this is key - Tubey Magic
  • One of our very favorite Joni albums here at Better Records, and probably The Best Sounding Record She Ever Made
  • "Playing behind her, musicians like Scott, guitarist Larry Carlton, drummer John Guerin and trumpeter Chuck Findley add colors and depth to songs that stretch melodies and vocal lines in surprising directions. And as always with Mitchell, the lyrics penetrate deftly to the painful core of feeling beneath the requisitely cool coupling of the early Seventies." Rolling Stone
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White Hot Stamper

Joni Mitchell
Court and Spark

  (Item #: mitchcourt_2003) 

Our Price: $199.99

  • A stunning copy with Shootout Winning Triple Plus (A+++) sound on the first side coupled with an outstanding Double Plus (A++) side two
  • The sound is rich, warm and natural, with wonderful transparency, ambience and loads of Tubey Magic
  • Musically this is one of our favorite Joni albums here at Better Records, and probably her Best Recording as well
  • Court and Spark recently joined Blue on our Top 100 Rock and Pop List for 2019 - yes, it's that good sounding when it's mastered and pressed as well as this copy is
  • 5 stars: "[A] remarkably deft fusion of folk, pop, and jazz ... the music is smart, smooth, and assured from the first note to the last."
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Super Hot Stamper (Quiet Vinyl)

Joni Mitchell
Court and Spark

  (Item #: mitchcourt_2004) 

Our Price: $149.99

  • An outstanding early pressing with seriously good Double Plus (A++) grades for sound on both sides - exceptionally quiet vinyl too
  • Of the ten or so copies that we have in stock with condition grades, this is the only one that played this quiet
  • It's rich, warm and natural with wonderful transparency, loads of ambience and - this is key - Tubey Magic
  • One of our very favorite Joni albums here at Better Records, and probably The Best Sounding Record She Ever Made
  • 5 stars: "A remarkably deft fusion of folk, pop, and jazz ... the music is smart, smooth, and assured from the first note to the last."
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Joni Mitchell - Court and Spark

Our Shootout Winner from 2018

  (Item #: mitchcourt_2018) 



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

Court and Spark deserves to be heard with all the clarity, beauty and power that only the best Hot Stamper pressings can convey.

What you hear is the sound of the real tape; every instrument has its own character because the mastering is correct and the vinyl -- against all odds -- managed to capture all (or almost all; who can know?) of the resolution that the tape had to offer.

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Turntable Set Up Advice

Using Court and Spark

  (Item #: mitchcourt_setup) 



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

There are loud vocal choruses on many tracks, and more often than not at their loudest they sound like they are either breaking up or threatening to do so. I always assumed it was compressor or board overload, which is easily heard on Down to You. On the best copies there is no breakup -- the voices get loud and they sound clean throughout.

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Super Hot Stamper

Joni Mitchell
Song To A Seagull

  (Item #: mitchsongt_1907_4) 

Our Price: $99.99

  • This outstanding copy boasts solid Double Plus (A++) sound from start to finish and it plays about as quietly as any early pressing we can find
  • The vocals are breathy and clear - the overall sound is rich and full with lovely guitar transients
  • Our favorite early (pre-Blue) Joni Mitchell album by far - as good as her others are, this one has a special charm we can find on no other record, by Joni or anyone else
  • "What sets this release apart from those of other confession-style singer/songwriters of the time is the craft, subtlety, and evocative power of Mitchell's lyrics and harmonic style... "
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White Hot Stamper

Joni Mitchell
Song To A Seagull

  (Item #: mitchsongt_1908_12) 

Our Price: $199.99

  • This stunning copy boasts Shootout Winning Triple Plus (A+++) sound on the second side and solid Double Plus (A++) sound on the first
  • The vocals are breathy and clear, and the overall sound is rich, full and Tubey Magical with especially lovely guitar tone
  • Our favorite early Joni Mitchell album by far - as good as her others are, this one has a special charm we can find on no other record, by Joni or anyone else
  • "What sets this release apart from those of other confession-style singer/songwriters of the time is the craft, subtlety, and evocative power of Mitchell's lyrics and harmonic style... "
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Joni Mitchell - Song To A Seagull

Our Shootout Winner from 2012

  (Item #: mitchsongt_2013) 



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

It took two records to make this White Hot Stamper 2-pack, with INCREDIBLE A+++ SOUND FROM START TO FINISH. The result? One of the best sounding, if not THE best sounding copy to ever hit the site. If you're a Joni fan this is one of her strongest records, and one that definitely belongs in your collection. If you own any other pressing we're confident that this copy will positively blow your mind.

These two sides have the kind of sound quality you probably never imagined would be possible -- but it is! We played it, we heard it for ourselves, and now we offer it to you, the Joni Mitchell (nee Roberta Joan Anderson) fans of the world.

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Super Hot Stamper

The Monkees
Pisces, Aquarius, Capricorn & Jones, Ltd.

  (Item #: monkepisce_1905_10_03) 

Our Price: $199.99
Sale Price: $169.99 (You save $30.00 / 15%)


  • This 1967 Stereo pressing boasts outstanding Double Plus (A++) sound from beginning to end
  • These two sides are exceptionally (for this album) smooth, rich, sweet, and clear - and the vinyl is crazy QUIET for a Monkees album
  • Forget the early albums, we've never heard any of them sound good - their fourth release is practically the only one with audiophile potential
  • 4 1/2 stars: "To think that both this album and Headquarters came out the same year! Most bands would be lucky to have two albums this good come out their entire career. Pisces, Aquarius, Capricorn & Jones Ltd. is a must-have for any fan of smart, fun, and exciting '60s pop. It doesn't get much better than this."
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White Hot Stamper

Mussorgsky et al. / Danse Infernale / Fiedler

  (Item #: mussodanse_2004) 

Our Price: $299.99

  • Shootout Winning Triple Plus (A+++) grades on both sides make this the consistently best sounding batch of Orchestral Showpieces we have ever played
  • After a two year hiatus, our favorite performance of Night on Bald Mountain is back, and it's guaranteed to blow your mind (and maybe a woofer or two)
  • Side one also boasts an excellent Danse Macabre, with a powerful finish that may remind you of the thrill of live orchestral music
  • Side two contains a wonderfully exciting Sorcerer's Apprentice
  • Both sides are clear and transparent, with huge hall space extending wall to wall and floor to ceiling
  • Watch your levels - this pressing is dramatically more DYNAMIC than most Golden Age recordings
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Mussorgsky et al. / Danse Infernale / Fiedler

Our Shootout Winner from 2009

  (Item #: mussodanse_2009) 



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

It took two copies -- one for side one, one for side two -- to find two sides this good. We love this album but most copies are unbelievably dreadful. (Actually, if you’ve played a fair number of DG recordings over the years you might not have any trouble believing how bad the average one is, so I take that back.)

This German Import has DEMONSTRATION QUALITY SOUND -- of a kind. Being a DG recording, one of the things you won’t be demonstrating with this record is natural string tone -- it’s just not part of the DG sound. But, this record is ALIVE.

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Nearly White Hot Stamper

Prince
1999

  (Item #: princ1999_1910_01) 

Our Price: $149.99

  • A superb copy of Prince's breakthrough album, with solid Double Plus (A++) sound on the first side and incredible nearly Triple Plus (A++ to A+++) sound on the remaining three sides, close to our Shootout Winner
  • This one is killer - it's lively and rich, with plenty of deep punchy bass, a nicely extended top and a huge three-dimensional soundfield
  • Packed with hits - Little Red Corvette, Delirious, 1999 - and they are all rockin' like crazy here
  • 5 stars: "Where his earlier albums had been a fusion of organic and electronic sounds, 1999 was constructed almost entirely on synthesizers by Prince himself... the result is a stunning display of raw talent..."
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Prokofiev / Lt. Kije / Abbado

Our Shootout Winner from 2011

  (Item #: prokoltkij_33_2011) 



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

This German 33 RPM White Hot Stamper pressing of our favorite recording of Prokofiev's wonderful Lt. Kije Suite has DEMONSTRATION QUALITY SOUND. For starters, there are very few records with dynamics comparable to those found here. As this is my favorite performance of all time, with this kind of Demo Disc sound I cannot recommend the record any more highly.

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Prokofiev / Lt. Kije / Abbado (45 RPM)

Our Four Plus Shootout Winner from 2015

  (Item #: prokoltkij_45_2015) 



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

This Japanese 45 RPM remastering of our favorite recording of Prokofiev's wonderful Lt. Kije Suite has DEMONSTRATION QUALITY SOUND. For starters, there are very few records with dynamics comparable to these. Since this is my favorite performance of all time, I can't recommend the record any more highly.

Most of what's "bad" about a DG recording from 1978 is ameliorated with this pressing. The bass drum (drums?) here must be heard to be believed. We know of no Golden Age recording with as believable a presentation of the instrument as this.

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Nearly White Hot Stamper

The Rolling Stones
Exile On Main Street

  (Item #: rolliexile_1909_11) 

Our Price: $249.99

  • Superb sound throughout with all four sides earning Nearly Triple Plus (A++ to A+++) grades - just shy of our Shootout Winner
  • This is Exile raw and real the way Glyn Johns and the band wanted it, the way that only the best Artisan pressings have any hope of sounding
  • 5 stars: "Few other albums, let alone double albums, have been so rich and masterful as Exile on Main St., and it stands not only as one of the Stones' best records, but sets a remarkably high standard for all of hard rock."
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Rolling Stones - Exile On Main Street

What to Listen For

  (Item #: rolliexile_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.

The best copies will tend to have the qualities detailed below, and the more abundant these qualities are on any given pressing, the higher its grade will be.

Yes, it is a science, an empirical one, which can only be carried out by the use of strict protocols and controls, but it sure ain't rocket science. All you need is the system, the room, the records, the time and the will to do the painstaking critical listening required to carry out the task.

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White Hot Stamper

The Rolling Stones
Some Girls

  (Item #: rollisomeg_1906_9_1_4) 

Our Price: $299.99

  • A KILLER copy of the Stones' last great album with Triple Plus (A+++) sound on the second side and solid Double Plus (A++) sound on the first
  • You aren't going to believe how hard this pressing rocks, with all the WHOMP and ENERGY you never knew was there
  • Tons of great songs - Miss You, Beast of Burden and Shattered, all sounding shockingly good on this White Hot copy
  • 5 Stars: "Opening with the disco-blues thump of "Miss You," Some Girls is a tough, focused, and exciting record, full of more hooks and energy than any Stones record since Exile on Main St. Even Their rockers sound harder and nastier than they have in years."
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Super Hot Stamper

The Rolling Stones
Some Girls

  (Item #: rollisomeg_1912) 

Our Price: $74.99

  • Outstanding Double Plus (A++) sound or BETTER on both sides of this copy of the Stones' landmark 1978 album
  • It's got everything you want - weight, punch, energy and fullness, qualities key to the best sounding pressings
  • Tons of great songs - Miss You, Beast of Burden and Shattered, all sounding shockingly good on this copy
  • 5 Stars: "Some Girls may not have the back-street aggression of their '60s records, or the majestic, drugged-out murk of their early-'70s work, but its brand of glitzy, decadent hard rock still makes it a definitive Stones album."
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Super Hot Stamper (Quiet Vinyl)

The Rolling Stones
Some Girls

  (Item #: rollisomeg_2004) 

Our Price: $149.99

  • Outstanding Double Plus (A++) sound on both sides of this copy of the Stones' landmark 1978 album - exceptionally QUIET vinyl too
  • It's got weight, punch, energy and fullness, qualities key to the best sounding pressings, and the vinyl is as quiet as we can find - there is no other copy on the site at the time of this writing that plays as well
  • Tons of great songs - Miss You, Beast of Burden and Shattered, all sounding shockingly good - thanks Chris Kimsey!
  • 5 stars: "Opening with the disco-blues thump of "Miss You," Some Girls is a tough, focused, and exciting record, full of more hooks and energy than any Stones record since Exile on Main St. Even Their rockers sound harder and nastier than they have in years."
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