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White Hot Stamper

The Rolling Stones
Exile On Main Street

  (Item #: rolliexile_1905x) 

Our Price: $599.99

  • A KILLER copy with Triple Plus (A+++) sound or close to it on sides one, two and three and superb Double Plus (A++) sound on the fourth side
  • This is Exile raw and real the way it should be - full-bodied and punchy with great presence and energy
  • Exceptionally QUIET vinyl for this Stones album - here is a copy that plays Mint Minus to Mint Minus Minus on all four sides
  • 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."
See all of our Rolling Stones albums in stock


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White Hot Stamper

Michael Jackson
Thriller

  (Item #: jacksthril_1907) 

Our Price: $499.99

  • These INCREDIBLE sides are guaranteed to make this by far the best sounding Thriller you have ever heard - Triple Plus (A+++) sound throughout - exceptionally quiet vinyl too
  • The sound is HUGE - wide, deep, and open, with a solid bottom end and relentless rhythmic energy to spare
  • Billie Jean and Beat It sound 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."
See all of our Michael Jackson albums in stock


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White Hot Stamper

The Doors
The Soft Parade

  (Item #: doorssoftp_1906x) 

Our Price: $499.99

  • 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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White Hot Stamper

Steely Dan
Countdown to Ecstasy

  (Item #: steelcount_1812_1907) 

Our Price: $399.99

  • This shootout winning copy has stunning Triple Plus (A+++) sound from start to finish - exceptionally quiet vinyl too!
  • Show Biz Kids, My Old School, Pearl of the Quarter and King of the World are As Good As It Gets on this pressing
  • The richest and clearest we played all day - this is the sound that lets the only real rock album this band ever made actually ROCK
  • 5 Stars: "...its eight songs are rich with either musical or lyrical detail that their album rock or art rock contemporaries couldn't hope to match."
See all of our Steely Dan albums in stock


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White Hot Stamper

Joni Mitchell
Court and Spark

  (Item #: mitchcourt_1906) 

Our Price: $349.99

  • A stunning copy with Shootout Winning Triple Plus (A+++) sound from start to finish
  • The sound is rich, warm and natural with wonderful transparency, ambience and loads of Tubey Magic
  • One of our very favorite Joni albums here at Better Records, and probably her Best Sounding Album
  • 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."
More Court and Spark / More Joni Mitchell


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White Hot Stamper

Talking Heads
Remain In Light

  (Item #: talkiremai_1906) 

Our Price: $349.99

  • This Talking Heads classic has STUNNING Shootout Winning Triple Plus (A+++) sound or close to it from first note to last - exceptionally quiet vinyl too
  • We're huge fans of late '70s / early '80s art-rock and new wave music and we'd be hard-pressed to name another act from the era who put out so many good records
  • 5 stars: "Even without a single, Remain in Light was a hit, indicating that Talking Heads were connecting with an audience ready to follow their musical evolution and the album was so inventive and influential, it was no wonder."
More Talking Heads / More Brian Eno


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White Hot Stamper

The Rolling Stones
Some Girls

  (Item #: rollisomeg_1906) 

Our Price: $349.99

  • 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 on Allmusic: "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."
More Some Girls / More Rolling Stones


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Super Hot Stamper

Burt Bacharach
Casino Royale

  (Item #: bachacasin_1906) 

Our Price: $299.99

  • A superb original stereo copy with solid Double Plus (A++) sound or BETTER from start to finish - exceptionally QUIET vinyl for this album too
  • A record that has its share of problems, but if you've got the system for it (huge, heavily tweaked, fast, free from obvious colorations and capable of tremendous resolution), this copy is sure to impress
  • A TAS List favorite that sounds amazing on a the right early pressing and dramatically better than any Heavy Vinyl reissue that's we know of
  • "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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Super Hot Stamper

George Harrison
All Things Must Pass

  (Item #: harriallth_1905_1907) 

Our Price: $299.99

  • 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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White Hot Stamper

Blood, Sweat & Tears
Child is Father to the Man

  (Item #: bloodchild_1906) 

Our Price: $299.99

  • Absolutely amazing sound throughout, with both sides earning our highest sonic grade of Triple Plus (A+++) or close to it
  • This copy will show you just how big, full-bodied, lively and POWERFUL this music can be on the right pressing
  • Not many records on this site are harder to find with top quality sound and reasonably quiet surfaces
  • 5 stars: "Child Is Father to the Man is keyboard player/singer/arranger Al Kooper's finest work, an album on which he moves the folk-blues-rock amalgamation of the Blues Project into even wider pastures... One of the great albums of the eclectic post-Sgt. Pepper era of the late '60s."
See all of our Blood, Sweat & Tears albums in stock


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White Hot Stamper

Spirit
Twelve Dreams of Dr. Sardonicus

  (Item #: spiritwelv_1907) 

Our Price: $299.99

  • A stunning Shootout Winning copy of Spirit's 1970 Trippy Masterpiece with Triple Plus (A+++) sound or very close to it on both sides - exceptionally quiet vinyl too
  • Huge, lively and dynamic - this legendary Psych album creates a wall to wall, three-dimensional psychedelic world all its own
  • Nature's Way, Animal Zoo and Mr. Skin all sound amazing on this copy - there's really not a bad track to be found
  • "Spirit's crowning moment and one of the era's great underrated albums ... enriched by meaty horn arrangements, imaginative vocal harmonies, and a structured approach to psychedelic studio trickery such as stereo panning and tapes run backward."
See all of our Spirit albums in stock


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Nearly White Hot Stamper

Jennifer Warnes
Famous Blue Raincoat

  (Item #: warnefamou_1906) 

Our Price: $249.99

  • An absolutely amazing copy of this longtime audiophile favorite, with stunning nearly Triple Plus (A++ to A+++) sound on both sides, just shy of our Shootout Winner; exceptionally quiet vinyl too!
  • Turn this copy up good and loud (which you can do when the sound is right) and you'll have a living, breathing Jennifer Warnes standing right between your speakers
  • The space, resolution, and clarity here are wonderful - for evidence just look to the rosiny texture on the string arrangement of the Song of Bernadette
  • 4 1/2 stars on Allmusic: "The high point may have been the Warnes-Cohen duet on "Joan of Arc," but the album was consistently impressive."
See all our Jennifer Warnes albums in stock


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Nearly White Hot Stamper

The Beatles
The White Album

  (Item #: beatlwhite_1906) 

Our Price: $249.99

  • You'll find crazy good sound throughout this British pressing, with sides two, three and four coming in just shy of our Shootout Winner at Nearly Triple Plus (A++ to A+++) -- exceptionally quiet vinyl too
  • 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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Super Hot Stamper (Quiet Vinyl)

Derek and the Dominos
Layla

  (Item #: dereklayla_1901_1904) 

Our Price: $249.99

  • 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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Super Hot Stamper (Quiet Vinyl)

The Rolling Stones
Exile On Main Street

  (Item #: rolliexile_1905) 

Our Price: $249.99

  • Superb sound throughout with all four sides earning Double Plus (A++) grades or BETTER - exceptionally quiet vinyl too
  • 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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Super Hot Stamper

Led Zeppelin
Led Zeppelin IV

  (Item #: ledze4_1904) 

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."
See all of our Led Zeppelin albums in stock


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White Hot Stamper

Bernard Herrmann / Citizen Kane & Other Classic Film Scores

  (Item #: herrmcitiz_1902_1906) 

Our Price: $249.99
Sale Price: $199.00 (You save $50.99 / 20%)


  • 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

Tears For Fears
The Seeds Of Love

  (Item #: tearsseeds_1905) 

Our Price: $249.99

  • A true Demo Disc, this British original pressing boasts insanely good Triple Plus (A+++) sound from start to finish
  • The Seeds Of Love is the band's masterpiece, and hearing it sound this big and lively is nothing short of a THRILL
  • Both sides here have smooth, sweet, analog richness and spaciousness you may not have known were possible on this record
  • 4 stars: "Along with Songs from the Big Chair, The Seeds of Love was part of a one-two artistic punch in the late '80s that situated Tears for Fears as one of the decade's more ambitious pop groups."
See all of our Tears for Fears albums in stock


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Nearly White Hot Stamper

Simon & Garfunkel
Bookends

  (Item #: simonbooke_1903_1906) 

Our Price: $199.99

  • An excellent 360 stereo pressing earning Nearly Triple Plus (A++ to A+++) grades throughout, just shy of our Shootout Winner - exceptionally quiet vinyl too!
  • Our hottest copies have lovely midrange magic on the guitars and voices as well as plenty of studio ambience on most tracks, especially the simpler, more folky ones
  • An album that has become much tougher to come by, especially ones that play this well
  • Top 100, Five Stars - side two alone has four classics: Fakin' It, Mrs. Robinson, A Hazy Shade of Winter and At the Zoo
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Super Hot Stamper

Blood, Sweat & Tears
Blood, Sweat & Tears

  (Item #: bloodblood_1812_1907) 

Our Price: $199.99
Sale Price: $149.00 (You save $50.99 / 25%)


  • Both sides of this outstanding original 360 pressing earned solid Double Plus (A++) grades for sound
  • This is surely Roy Halee's engineering masterpiece, and here's the kind of pressing that makes our case
  • The sound is HUGE, rich, dynamic and POWERFUL - a permanent member of our Top 100 and a Demo Disc par excellence
  • 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."
See all of our Blood, Sweat & Tears albums in stock


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Super Hot Stamper

Jethro Tull
Aqualung

  (Item #: jethraqual_1901_1_1906) 

Our Price: $199.99

  • This wonderful copy of Jethro Tull's fourth studio album earned oustanding Double Plus (A++) grades on both sides
  • 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."
See all of our Jethro Tull albums in stock


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Super Hot Stamper

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

  (Item #: monkepisce_1905) 

Our Price: $199.99

  • 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."
See all of our The Monkees albums in stock


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White Hot Stamper

Joni Mitchell
Song To A Seagull

  (Item #: mitchsongt_1907) 

Our Price: $199.99

  • This stunning copy boasts Shootout Winning Triple Plus (A+++) sound on the first side and solid Double Plus (A++) sound on the second
  • 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... "
See all of our Joni Mitchell albums in stock


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Super Hot Stamper (Quiet Vinyl)

The Doors
The Soft Parade

  (Item #: doorssoftp_1905_1) 

Our Price: $179.99

  • With seriously good Double Plus (A++) grades or close to them on both sides AND exceptionally quiet vinyl, 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!
See all of our Doors albums in stock


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Super Hot Stamper

Ambrosia
Ambrosia

  (Item #: ambroambro_1907) 

Our Price: $169.99

  • Spectacular Prog Rock sound explodes on this copy of the band's phenomenally well-recorded debut album, mixed by none other than Alan Parsons - exceptionally quiet vinyl too
  • With seriously good Double Plus (A++) grades or BETTER, this copy has the sound we look for on Ambrosia's Masterpiece
  • Big Whomp Factor here - the bottom end is huge and punchy on this copy, like nothing you've heard
  • A Better Records All-Time Favorite & Top 100 Demo Disc: "Its songs skillfully blend strong melodic hooks and smooth vocal harmonies with music of an almost symphonic density."
See all of our Ambrosia albums in stock


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Super Hot Stamper

Paul Simon
Graceland

  (Item #: simongrace_1906x) 

Our Price: $169.99

  • An outstanding copy of Paul Simon's 1986 release with solid Double Plus (A++) sound from the first note to the last, rich, smooth and clear in precisely the way so few copies are - exceptionally quiet vinyl too
  • Guaranteed to TROUNCE the well-reviewed but nevertheless awful Heavy Vinyl LP in every way, or your money back and the shipping is on us
  • There's a delicate, extended top end on this pressing that simply does not exist on most of the copies we played
  • 5 stars: "An enormously successful record, Graceland became the standard against which subsequent musical experiments by major artists were measured."
See all of our Paul Simon albums in stock


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Super Hot Stamper

The Beatles
Magical Mystery Tour

  (Item #: beatlmagic_1901_1907) 

Our Price: $169.99

  • This vintage German pressing earned outstanding Plus (A++) sonic grades on both sides - it's pressed on exceptionally quiet vinyl to boot
  • 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 knocks us out every time we do the shootout for it
More Magical Mystery Tour / More by The Beatles


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Super Hot Stamper (Quiet Vinyl)

Tears For Fears
The Seeds Of Love

  (Item #: tearsseeds_1905_3) 

Our Price: $149.99

  • This early import pressing boasts outstanding Double Plus (A++) sound from start to finish - exceptionally quiet vinyl too
  • The Seeds Of Love is the band's masterpiece, and hearing it sound this big and lively is nothing short of a THRILL
  • Both sides here have smooth, sweet, analog richness and spaciousness you may not have known were possible on this record
  • 4 stars: "Along with Songs from the Big Chair, The Seeds of Love was part of a one-two artistic punch in the late '80s that situated Tears for Fears as one of the decade's more ambitious pop groups."
See all of our Tears for Fears albums in stock


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Super Hot Stamper (Quiet Vinyl)

Yes
Close To The Edge

  (Item #: yes__close_1902_1905) 

Our Price: $149.99

  • Two killer earning seriously good Double Plus (A++) grades - these early pressings are the only ones that can make any sense of this challenging music
  • An incredibly complex recording, with huge organs, light-speed changes and an abundance of multi-tracked parts
  • And the really good news is that the vinyl on this killer copy is exceptionally quiet as well
  • 5 stars: "Close to the Edge comprised just three tracks, the epic "And You and I" and "Siberian Khatru," plus a side-long title track that represented the musical, lyrical, and sonic culmination of all that Yes had worked toward over the past five years."
More Close to the Edge / More Yes


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Super Hot Stamper

Blood, Sweat & Tears
Child is Father to the Man

  (Item #: bloodchild_1905) 

Our Price: $149.99

  • You'll find outstanding Double Plus (A++) sound from first note to last on this pressing of the band's debut album
  • This copy will show you just how big, full-bodied, lively and POWERFUL this music can be on the right pressing
  • Not many records on this site are harder to find with top quality sound and reasonably quiet surfaces
  • 5 stars: "Child Is Father to the Man is keyboard player/singer/arranger Al Kooper's finest work, an album on which he moves the folk-blues-rock amalgamation of the Blues Project into even wider pastures... One of the great albums of the eclectic post-Sgt. Pepper era of the late '60s."
See all of our Blood, Sweat & Tears albums in stock


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Super Hot Stamper

Jimmy Smith
Bashin'

  (Item #: smithbashi_1812_1904) 

Our Price: $149.99

  • One of the better copies from our most recent shootout of this Big Band Jazz classic led by Jimmy Smith's organ; Double Plus (A++) sound or BETTER throughout
  • If you choose to only own one Jimmy Smith album, make it this one - the first side swings like you will not believe
  • A Five Star album on Allmusic: "On the first half of the program, Smith was for the first time joined by a big band. Oliver Nelson provided the arrangements, trumpeter Joe Newman and altoist Phil Woods have a solo apiece, and "Walk on the Wild Side" became Smith's biggest hit up to that point."
More Jimmy Smith / More Oliver Nelson


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Super Hot Stamper

Joni Mitchell
Blue

  (Item #: mitchblue_1906) 

Our Price: $149.99

  • 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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Super Hot Stamper

Joni Mitchell
Court and Spark (Quiet Vinyl)

  (Item #: mitchcourt_1903) 

Our Price: $149.99

  • An outstanding early pressing with seriously good Double Plus (A++) grades for sound on both sides - exceptionally quiet vinyl too
  • 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."
More Court and Spark / More Joni Mitchell


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Super Hot Stamper

Level 42
World Machine

  (Item #: levelworld_1810_1904) 

Our Price: $149.99

  • 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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Super Hot Stamper

Roxy Music
Country Life

  (Item #: roxymcount_1904_1) 

Our Price: $149.99

  • This killer early British Island copy boasts outstanding Double Plus (A++) sound from start to finish - exceptionally quiet vinyl too
  • These side were doing everything right -- incredibly big, full-bodied and spacious with tons of big Roxy energy and a solid bottom end
  • Many of the best songs Bryan Ferry ever wrote and Roxy ever played are here
  • AMG raves that "...Country Life finds Roxy Music at the peak of their powers, alternating between majestic, unsettling art rock and glamorous, elegant pop/rock. Roxy Music rarely sounded as invigorating as they do here."
More Roxy Music / More Bryan Ferry


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Super Hot Stamper

Sergio Mendes
Stillness

  (Item #: mendestill_1806_1904) 

Our Price: $149.99
Sale Price: $129.99 (You save $20.00 / 13%)


  • With two seriously good Double Plus (A++) sides, this was one of the better copies we played in our recent shootout - exceptionally quiet vinyl too
  • If you are looking for killer sound, with music every bit as wonderful, look no further -- this is the record for you
  • Their Psych Masterpiece and a permanent member of our Top 100 list -- we're crazy about Sergio's Forgotten Psych Classic from 1970
  • "Stillness is the great sleeper album of Sergio Mendes' first A&M period." -- Allmusic
See all of our Sergio Mendes albums in stock


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Super Hot Stamper

Simon & Garfunkel
Bookends

  (Item #: simonbooke_1903_1907) 

Our Price: $149.99

  • An excellent 360 stereo pressing earning Double Plus grades throughout - exceptionally quiet vinyl too
  • Our hottest copies have lovely midrange magic on the guitars and voices as well as plenty of studio ambience on most tracks, especially the simpler, more folky ones
  • An album that has become much tougher to come by, especially ones that play this well
  • Top 100, Five Stars - side two alone has four classics: Fakin' It, Mrs. Robinson, A Hazy Shade of Winter and At the Zoo
More Bookends


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Super Hot Stamper

Spirit
Twelve Dreams of Dr. Sardonicus

  (Item #: spiritwelv_1904_4) 

Our Price: $149.99

  • An outstanding early pressing of Spirit's 1970 Trippy Masterpiece, with Double Plus (A++) sonic grades guaranteed to rock your world
  • Huge, lively and dynamic - this legendary Psych album creates a wall to wall, three dimensional psychedelic world of its own
  • Nature's Way, Animal Zoo and Mr. Skin all sound amazing on this copy - there's really not a bad track to be found
  • "Spirit's crowning moment and one of the era's great underrated albums ... enriched by meaty horn arrangements, imaginative vocal harmonies, and a structured approach to psychedelic studio trickery such as stereo panning and tapes run backward."
See all of our Spirit albums in stock


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Super Hot Stamper

Steely Dan
Countdown to Ecstasy

  (Item #: steelcount_1903_1907) 

Our Price: $149.99
Sale Price: $99.00 (You save $50.99 / 34%)


  • This Steely Dan favorite boasts excellent Double Plus (A++) sound on both sides and the vinyl is about as quiet as we can find it
  • Razor Boy (a personal favorite), Show Biz Kids, My Old School, Pearl of the Quarter and King of the World are superb here
  • Richer and clearer than most, with a more solid bottom end - this is the sound that lets the only real rock album this band ever made actually ROCK the way it should
  • 5 Stars: "...its eight songs are rich with either musical or lyrical detail that their album rock or art rock contemporaries couldn't hope to match."
See all of our Steely Dan albums in stock


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Super Hot Stamper

Steely Dan
Katy Lied

  (Item #: steelkatyl_1904) 

Our Price: $149.99

  • An outstanding original copy of Steely Dan's fourth album with solid Double Plus (A++) sound throughout
  • Take it from Steely Dan: "The sound created by musicians and singers is reproduced as faithfully as possible, and special care is taken to preserve the band-width and transient response of each performance."
  • Our pick for the best Dan album of them all, a Masterpiece of Jazzy Swing Pop that is sure to reward hundreds of plays
  • 5 stars: "Each song is given a glossy sheen, one that accentuates not only the stronger pop hooks, but also the precise technical skill of the professional musicians drafted to play the solos."
See all of our Steely Dan albums in stock


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Super Hot Stamper

Talking Heads
Remain In Light

  (Item #: talkiremai_1902_1906) 

Our Price: $149.99

  • One of the few copies to hit the site in years, this classic has excellent Double Plus (A++) sound from first note to last - exceptionally quiet vinyl too
  • We're huge fans of late '70s / early '80s art-rock and new wave music and we'd be hard-pressed to name another act from the era who put out so many good records
  • 4 1/2 stars: "Even without a single, Remain in Light was a hit, indicating that Talking Heads were connecting with an audience ready to follow their musical evolution and the album was so inventive and influential, it was no wonder."
More Talking Heads / More Brian Eno


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Super Hot Stamper

The Rolling Stones
Some Girls

  (Item #: rollisomeg_1804_1905) 

Our Price: $149.99

  • 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."
See all of our Rolling Stones albums in stock


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White Hot Stamper

Spirit
Twelve Dreams of Dr. Sardonicus

  (Item #: spiritwelv_1906) 

Our Price: $149.99

  • A stunning Shootout Winning copy of Spirit's 1970 Trippy Masterpiece with Triple Plus (A+++) sound or very close to it on both sides
  • Huge, lively and dynamic - this legendary Psych album creates a wall to wall, three-dimensional psychedelic world all its own
  • Nature's Way, Animal Zoo and Mr. Skin all sound amazing on this copy - there's really not a bad track to be found
  • "Spirit's crowning moment and one of the era's great underrated albums ... enriched by meaty horn arrangements, imaginative vocal harmonies, and a structured approach to psychedelic studio trickery such as stereo panning and tapes run backward."
See all of our Spirit albums in stock


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Super Hot Stamper

Michael Jackson
Thriller

  (Item #: jacksthril_1903_1) 

Our Price: $129.99

  • With excellent Double Plus (A++) grades or BETTER throughout, this pressing will be very hard to beat
  • The sound is huge - big, wide, deep, and open, with a punchy bottom end and rhythmic energy to spare; exceptionally quiet vinyl too
  • Billie Jean and Beat It sound out of this world, but that's not fair, since 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."
See all of our Michael Jackson albums in stock


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Super Hot Stamper

Neil Young
Everybody Knows This Is Nowhere

  (Item #: youngevery_1810_1907) 

Our Price: $129.99

  • With an excellent Double Plus (A++) throughout, this copy of Neil's breakthrough second album ROCKS
  • VERY quiet vinyl for the most part, Mint Minus to Mint Minus Minus or close to it on both sides
  • Includes some of Neil's most beloved classics: "Cinnamon Girl," "Cowgirl in the Sand," and "Down by the River" just to name three
  • 5 stars: "Everybody Knows This Is Nowhere was breathtakingly different when it appeared in May 1969, both for Young and for rock in general, and it reversed his commercial fortunes...."
See all of our Neil Young albums in stock


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Super Hot Stamper

Yes
Fragile

  (Item #: yes__fragi_1907) 

Our Price: $129.99

  • Superb Double Plus (A++) sound on both sides - Roundabout and Long Distance Runaround are guaranteed tol blow your mind
  • Thanks to Eddie Offord's superb engineering, this is some of the best High Production Value Rock Music ever recorded
  • AMG 5 stars, a founding member of our Top 100, and the second of the band's three Must Own Prog Rock Masterpieces*
  • "Fragile was Yes' breakthrough album... it also marked the point where all of the elements of the music (and more) that would define their success for more than a decade fell into place fully formed."
See all of our Yes albums in stock


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Super Hot Stamper (Quiet Vinyl)

Steely Dan
Katy Lied

  (Item #: steelkatyl_1906) 

Our Price: $119.99

  • An outstanding original copy with Double Plus (A++) sound or close to it on both sides - exceptionally quiet vinyl too
  • Take it from Steely Dan: "The sound created by musicians and singers is reproduced as faithfully as possible, and special care is taken to preserve the band-width and transient response of each performance."
  • Our pick for the best Dan album of them all, a Masterpiece of Jazzy Swing Pop that is sure to reward hundreds of plays
  • 5 stars: "Each song is given a glossy sheen, one that accentuates not only the stronger pop hooks, but also the precise technical skill of the professional musicians drafted to play the solos."
See all of our Steely Dan albums in stock


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Super Hot Stamper

Steely Dan
The Royal Scam

  (Item #: steelroyal_1904) 

Our Price: $119.99

  • This early pressing earned outstanding Double Plus (A++) sonic grades - this is a Royal Scam with energy and drive
  • This copy of The Dan's hard-rockin' classic from 1976 has the right sound for this music - rich and meaty, with powerful rhythmic energy
  • "Drummer Bernard "Pretty" Purdie lashes out the rolling grooves on most of the nine tracks, establishing the album's anxious feel, and Larry Carlton's jaw-dropping guitar work provides a running commentary to Fagen's strangulated vocals... These are not the sort of Steely Dan songs favored by smooth-jazz stations."
More Royal Scam / More Steely Dan


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Super Hot Stamper (Quiet)

Bruce Springsteen
Darkness On The Edge Of Town

  (Item #: sprindarkn_1907) 

Our Price: $99.99

  • With a seriously good Double Plus (A++) side one and a side two that's close to it, this original pressing has the analog magic in its grooves - exceptionally quiet vinyl too
  • Forget whatever dead-as-a-doornail Heavy Vinyl record they're making these days - if you want to hear the size and energy of this classic from 1978, this is the only way to go
  • The piano is solid and weighty, and there's a fair amount of Tubey Magic considering the troubled history of the project
  • 4 1/2 stars: "Springsteen presented these hard truths in hard rock settings, the tracks paced by powerful drumming and searing guitar solos."
See all of our Bruce Springsteen albums in stock


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Super Hot Stamper

Joni Mitchell
Song To A Seagull

  (Item #: mitchsongt_1907_1) 

Our Price: $99.99

  • This outstanding copy boasts solid Double Plus (A++) sound from start to finish
  • The vocals are breathy and clear, and 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... "
See all of our Joni Mitchell albums in stock


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Super Hot Stamper

Roxy Music
Siren

  (Item #: roxymsiren_1904) 

Our Price: $99.99

  • You'll find solid Double Plus (A++) grades on both sides of this outstanding early pressing of Roxy's Art Rock classic from 1975
  • The sound is quite a bit richer and fuller than on most of the copies we played , with much less grain and much more Tubey Magic, two qualities that earn a lot of points in our shootouts
  • Some of Bryan Ferry's strongest and most consistent songwriting - Love Is The Drug, End of the Line, Sentimental Fool and more
  • 5 stars: "Abandoning the intoxicating blend of art rock and glam-pop that distinguished Stranded and Country Life, Roxy Music concentrates on Bryan Ferry's suave, charming crooner persona for the elegantly modern Siren."
See all of our Roxy Music albums in stock


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Super Hot Stamper

The Doors
The Soft Parade

  (Item #: doorssoftp_1905) 

Our Price: $99.99

  • With seriously good Double Plus (A++) grades 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!
See all of our Doors albums in stock


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Super Hot Stamper

Yes
Close To The Edge

  (Item #: yes__close_1906) 

Our Price: $99.99

  • Two killer earning seriously good Double Plus (A++) grades - these early pressings make sense of this challenging music
  • An incredibly complex recording, with huge organs, light-speed changes and an abundance of multi-tracked parts
  • A recording that will push even the highest quality, most heavily tweaked stereo to its limits - if you can play this record good and loud, you can play anything
  • 5 stars: "Close to the Edge represented the musical, lyrical, and sonic culmination of all that Yes had worked toward over the past five years. In 1972, Close to the Edge was a flawless masterpiece."
More Close to the Edge / More Yes


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Super Hot Stamper

Bruce Springsteen
Darkness On The Edge Of Town

  (Item #: sprindarkn_1905) 

Our Price: $49.99

  • An outstanding copy of this Springsteen classic - nearly Triple Plus (A++ to A+++) on side two, close behind on side one (A++)
  • Forget whatever dead-as-a-doornail Heavy Vinyl record they're making these days - if you want to hear the size and energy of this classic from 1978, this is the way to go
  • The piano is solid and weighty, and there's a fair amount of Tubey Magic considering the troubled history of the project
  • 4 1/2 stars: "Springsteen presented these hard truths in hard rock settings, the tracks paced by powerful drumming and searing guitar solos."
See all of our Bruce Springsteen albums in stock


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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 Blind Faith


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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 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.

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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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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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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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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.

More Billy Joel


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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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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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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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Carly Simon - Hotcakes

What to Listen For

  (Item #: simonhotca_wtlf) 



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

Many copies of this album suffer from (at least) one of two problems: unnatural hi-fi sound or considerable grit and grain. Both are in large part due to the processing-intensive production of Richard Perry. On the best copies it's easy to understand his choices as the sound is quite lovely. Unfortunately that rich, sweet sound he obviously got on to the master tape didn't quite make it to the average vinyl pressing of the album.

More Carly Simon


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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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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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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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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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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.

More INXS


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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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Jennifer Warnes - Famous Blue Raincoat

Our Shootout Winner from 2009

  (Item #: warnefamou_2009) 



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

This Cypress pressing has AMAZINGLY GOOD SOUND on side one! With a grade of A++ to A+++ it's the highest rated side of any copy we have to offer this go around -- none of our other pressings could touch it on any side.

Why such a high grade? Simple. It's ALIVE! It's super transparent with a big, bold bottom end. The drums here are as good as they get -- punchy and powerful with lots of WHOMP and the sound of the skins being THWACKED.

More Jennifer Warnes


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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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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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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.

More Joni Mitchell


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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.

More Led Zeppelin


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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.

More Level 42


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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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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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Mussorgsky et al. - Danse Infernale

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.

More of the music of Modest Mussorgsky (1839-1881)


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Neil Young - Everybody Knows This Is Nowhere

Live and Learn

  (Item #: youngevery_wrong) 



Below you will see our old Hot Stamper commentary from 2004 as part of the discussion of EKTIN in an older shootout (9-08), comments which we now renounce, disown, reject, repudiate and disavow with extreme prejudice. Huh? Here's part of our mea culpa.

Our latest shootout this time around left us with a fairly large serving of egg on our face concerning the commentary we had written for our previous shootout, a textbook example of We Was Wrong. We rarely try to make excuses for our mistakes, but give us a break, that last shootout was more than four years ago (September 2004)!

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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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Paul Simon - Graceland

Our Shootout Winner from 2019

  (Item #: simongrace_2019) 



A distinguished member of the Better Records Rock and Pop Hall of Fame and a record that ranks high on our recording ranks high on our Difficulty of Reproduction Scale.

Super transparent and hi-res with no attendant sacrifice in low end or fullness, this is about as tonally balanced as Graceland gets. The top end is more delicate and extended, which was not true for most of the copies we played.

There's a much more pleasant smoothness here, standing in sharp contrast to the typically grainy, spitty copy, with more weight down low and more presence to Simon's vocals.

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Prokofiev / Lt. Kije / Abbado (45 RPM)

Our Shootout Winner from 2012

  (Item #: prokoltkij_45_2012) 



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.

More of the music of Sergei Prokofiev (1891-1953)


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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.

More of the music of Sergei Prokofiev (1891-1953)


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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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Roxy Music - Siren

British Band, British Pressing, Right?

  (Item #: roxymsiren_2015) 



Nope. It’s just another Record Myth.

Of all the Roxy albums (with the exception of Avalon) this is probably the best way "in" to the band's music. The earlier albums are more raucous, the later ones more rhythmically driven -- Siren catches them at their peak, with, as other reviewers have noted, all good songs and no bad ones.

More Roxy Music / More Bryan Ferry


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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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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.

More Sergio Mendes


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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.

More Sergio Mendes


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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.

More Sergio Mendes


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Set-up Discs, Part Two

Dialing in the Anti-Skate

  (Item #: setup_anti-skate) 



Another in our series of Home Audio Exercises.

I once adjusted my anti-skate while playing this very album, at the time dialing it in to a "T". Over the years I've found that the best test for fine anti-skate adjustment is massed strings, and not just at the end of a side but right at the beginning too.

When you have all the rosiny texture, the high-end harmonic extension, the least shrillness and the widest and deepest staging, you are there, assuming that tracking weight, azimuth and VTA are correct as well.

More Set-Up Advice / More Audio Advice


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Steely Dan - Katy Lied

Listening in Depth

  (Item #: steelkatyl_depth) 



Another in our series of Home Audio Exercises.

The trick with Katy Lied is to find the right balance between richness, sweetness and clarity.

Take three or four Katy Lied pressings, clean them up and play just one or two of the tracks we discuss below. You won't find any two copies that get those tracks to sound the same. We do our shootouts with dozens of copies at a time and no two sound the same to us.

More Katy Lied


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Steely Dan - The Royal Scam

Our $600 Shootout Winner from 2009

  (Item #: steelroyal_2009) 



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

Steely Dan fans, brace yourselves! This White Hot Stamper copy of The Royal Scam ROCKS HARDER than you’d ever imagine! We play dozens and dozens of these each year, and it’s a shame more of them don’t sound like this. All the elements necessary to really bring this music to life are here: tight, punchy bass; knockout energy; big time presence; shocking clarity and so forth. Everyone gets all hot and bothered about Aja (and with good reason) but there’s no denying how POWERFUL this material is after you’ve heard these songs sound like this!

More Steely Dan


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Steely Dan - The Royal Scam

Turning Aggressive Energy into Pure Excitement

  (Item #: steelroyal_wtlf) 



Presenting another entry in our extensive Listening in Depth series.

We really went overboard with the track commentary for this one. This should make it easy for you to compare what we say about the sound of these songs with what they sound like to you on your system, using the copy you own or, better yet, one of our Hot Stampers.

More Steely Dan


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Still Crazy About Records After All These Years

Why Not? They Keep Getting Better!

  (Item #: simonstill_better) 



Still Crazy is the perfect example of an album that now sounds far better than we thought would ever be possible, not in this life anyway, due mostly to changes to the stereo, the quality of the electricity that feeds it, and last but far from least, the listening room itself.
More Still Crazy After All These Years


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Supertramp - Crisis? What Crisis?

Our Shootout Winner from 2013

  (Item #: supercrisi_2013) 



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

TWO AMAZING SIDES, including an A+++ SIDE ONE! It's not the A&M Half Speed, and it's not a British pressing either. It's domestic folks, your standard plain-as-day A&M pressing, and we're as shocked as you are. Hearing this copy (as well as an amazing Brit; they can be every bit as good, in their own way of course) was a THRILL, a thrill that's a step up in "thrillingness" over our previous favorite pressing, the Half Speed.

The best of the best domestics and Brits are bigger, livelier, punchier, more clear and just more REAL than the audiophile pressing...

More Crisis? What Crisis?


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Talking Heads - Remain In Light

A Tough Title to Play

  (Item #: talkiremai_difficult) 



Another in our series of Home Audio Exercises.

This is a record that's going to demand a lot from the listener, and we want to make sure that you feel you're up to the challenge. If you don't mind putting in a little hard work, here's a record that will reward your time and effort many times over, and probably teach you a thing or two about tweaking your gear in the process (especially your VTA adjustment, just to pick an obvious area most audiophiles neglect).

More Talking Heads


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Talking Heads - Remain In Light

Our Shootout Winner from 2008

  (Item #: talkiremai_2008) 



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

HOT STAMPERS DISCOVERED AT LAST! We’ve been trying to find a great sounding copy of this album forever, and this is the week we finally succeeded. It takes an exceptional pressing to get all the elements correct -- the funky bottom end; the processed, multi-tracked vocals; the Brian Eno production weirdness and so on.

More Talking Heads


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