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White Hot Stamper

Led Zeppelin II
Led Zeppelin II

  (Item #: ledze2_1907_10) 

Our Price: $799.99

  • A stunning copy that is absolutely guaranteed to rock your world like no other; QUADRUPLE Plus (A++++) on side one and nearly Triple Plus (A++ to A+++) on side two
  • This is freakishly good sound - we created a Top Ten list just to put this album on it
  • With clean copies selling for up to $1000+ on ebay, we're having to pay a fortune for the album these days
  • Not the quietest copy we've ever heard (they never are these days) but luckily there's plenty of EXCELLENT LOUD music to obscure the noise; no Inner Groove Distortion either
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Nearly White Hot Stamper

Led Zeppelin II
Led Zeppelin II

  (Item #: ledze2_1908) 

Our Price: $749.99

  • A stunning copy that is absolutely guaranteed to rock your world; nearly Triple Plus (A++ to A+++) from start to finish, just shy of our Shootout Winner
  • This is freakishly good sound - we created a Top Ten list just to put this album on it
  • With clean copies selling for up to $1000+ on ebay, we're having to pay a fortune for the album these days
  • As quiet as copy as we can find -- Mint Minus Minus throughout
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White Hot Stamper

The Beatles
Magical Mystery Tour

  (Item #: beatlmagic_1909_1) 

Our Price: $699.99

  • 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
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White Hot Stamper

Jimi Hendrix
Electric Ladyland

  (Item #: hendrelect_1908_11) 

Our Price: $649.99

  • With 10.5 pluses out of a possible 12, this is one of the best copies from our recent shootout
  • Insanely good Shootout Winning Triple Plus (A+++) sound or very close to it on sides one, three and four and solid Double Plus (A++) sound on the second side
  • Probably the best-recorded of Hendrix's studio albums - huge studio space and Tubey Magical richness are key to the shootout winners like this one
  • 5 stars: "...not only one of the best rock albums of the era, but also Hendrix's original musical vision at its absolute apex."
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White Hot Stamper

Led Zeppelin
Houses of the Holy

  (Item #: ledzehouse_1907_9) 

Our Price: $599.99

  • A stunning sounding copy that brings this album to an entirely different level, shootout winning Triple Plus (A+++) sound or close to it throughout
  • Wall to wall, floor to ceiling Led Zeppelin power -- this copy delivers in a way you will not believe
  • A Better Records Top 100 album (along with 4 other Zep titles), 5 Stars in AMG and a True Zeppelin Must Own Classic
  • "Jimmy Page's riffs rely on ringing, folky hooks as much as they do on thundering blues-rock, giving the album a lighter, more open atmosphere..."
See all of Led Zeppelin albums in stock


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White Hot Stamper

Traffic
Mr. Fantasy

  (Item #: traffmrfan_1908_10) 

Our Price: $399.99

  • This early Pink Label import pressing boasts Shootout Winning Triple Plus (A+++) sound or close to it on both sides, making this one of the best copies to hit the site in many years, if not THE best
  • We used to think that The Best of Traffic had better sound, but in a head to head comparison with this very copy, we were proved WRONG
  • Big, full-bodied and lively, with huge amounts of space and off the charts Tubey Magic, the sound here is Hard to Fault - thanks Eddie and Jimmy!
  • "Winwood is simply incredible. He has a top group of musicians with him and they have made an album which is one of the best from any contemporary group." - Rolling Stone, 1968
More Steve Winwood / More Dave Mason


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White Hot Stamper

David Bowie
Young Americans

  (Item #: bowieyoung_1910) 

Our Price: $349.99

  • An outstanding copy of Bowie's one and only soul album with Triple Plus (A+++) sound on both sides - exceptionally quiet vinyl too
  • This vintage pressing was simply bigger and fuller than the competition, with massive amounts of energy and three-dimensional studio space like you will not believe
  • On an exceptionally transparent copy such as this one, it's much easier to pick out all the background vocalists in the relatively dense mixes that Bowie favored here, and that's the kind of sound that wins shootouts
  • One of our favorites by The Man, with so many killer tracks: Young Americans, Win, Fascination, Somebody Up There Likes Me, Across the Universe and, of course, Fame
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Super Hot Stamper (Quiet Vinyl)

Led Zeppelin
Led Zeppelin III

  (Item #: ledze3_1908x) 

Our Price: $249.99

  • Outstanding sound throughout with each side earning solid Double Plus (A++) grades - exceptionally quiet vinyl too
  • Huge, Tubey Magical and lively, with solid weight down low and lots of space around all the instruments, this copy is guaranteed to rock like nothing you have ever heard
  • Since I've Been Loving You, Gallows Pole, Tangerine and That's the Way are just a few of the tracks that have truly Demo Disc sound
  • "On their first two albums, Led Zeppelin unleashed a relentless barrage of heavy blues and rockabilly riffs, but Led Zeppelin III provided the band with the necessary room to grow musically. While there are still a handful of metallic rockers, III is built on a folky, acoustic foundation that gives the music extra depth."
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Super Hot Stamper

Jimi Hendrix
Axis: Bold As Love

  (Item #: hendraxisb_1906_9) 

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


  • This outstanding import pressing of Hendrix's Axis: Bold As Love boasts solid Double Plus (A++) sound or BETTER from first note to last
  • Huge and present, rich and full, with the kind of weight and electrified energy this problematical album almost never has
  • On Axis you need rich, full tonality and plenty of space up top if the music is going to work, and on those counts this copy delivers like nothing you've heard
  • 5 stars: "...a solid collection of great tunes and great interactive playing between himself, Noel Redding, Mitch Mitchell, and the recording studio itself. "
See all our Jimi Hendrix albums in stock


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Super Hot Stamper

The Beatles
Magical Mystery Tour

  (Item #: beatlmagic_1909_2) 

Our Price: $249.99

  • 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
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Super Hot Stamper

Jimi Hendrix
Band of Gypsys

  (Item #: hendrbando_1909) 

Our Price: $199.99

  • Outstanding sound for this Robert Ludwig mastered Capitol Green Label pressing with each side rating a solid Double Plus (A++) or BETTER
  • Tons of bass, smooth vocals, and an overall freedom from distortion characterize the sound of both sides, and that's unusual because most copies of this record are just plain dreadful
  • Trust me on this one -- you're going to have a difficult and expensive adventure trying to find a great sounding copy of this one on your own
  • 4 1/2 stars: "Although he could be an erratic live performer, for these shows, Hendrix was on — perhaps his finest performances... not only an important part of the Hendrix legacy, but one of the greatest live albums ever."
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Super Hot Stamper

Led Zeppelin
Houses of the Holy

  (Item #: ledzehouse_1907_3) 

Our Price: $199.99

  • Two SUPERB Tubey Magical sides, with outstanding Double Plus (A++) sound from first note to last
  • The sound here is big, lively, transparent (check out The Rain Song) and energetic (The Song Remains the Same is really rockin')
  • A Better Records Top 100 album (along with 4 other Zep titles), 5 Stars in AMG and a True Zeppelin Must Own Classic
  • "Jimmy Page's riffs rely on ringing, folky hooks as much as they do on thundering blues-rock, giving the album a lighter, more open atmosphere..."
See all of Led Zeppelin albums in stock


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Super Hot Stamper

Led Zeppelin
Led Zeppelin III

  (Item #: ledze3_1906_10) 

Our Price: $199.99

  • Outstanding sound throughout with each side earning solid Double Plus (A++) grades or BETTER
  • Huge, Tubey Magical and lively, with solid weight down low and lots of space around all the instruments, this copy is guaranteed to rock like nothing you have ever heard
  • Since I've Been Loving You, Gallows Pole, Tangerine and That's the Way are just a few of the tracks that have truly Demo Disc sound
  • "On their first two albums, Led Zeppelin unleashed a relentless barrage of heavy blues and rockabilly riffs, but Led Zeppelin III provided the band with the necessary room to grow musically. While there are still a handful of metallic rockers, III is built on a folky, acoustic foundation that gives the music extra depth."
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Super Hot Stamper

Traffic
Mr. Fantasy

  (Item #: traffmrfan_1908_2) 

Our Price: $199.99

  • This Island import pressing boasts excellent Double Plus (A++) sound from start to finish
  • These sides are big, full-bodied and lively with plenty of extension on both ends - thanks Eddie!
  • Relatively quiet vinyl throughout, Mint Minus to Minus Minus - few copies will play remotely this well
  • "Winwood is simply incredible. He has a top group of musicians with him and they have made an album which is one of the best from any contemporary group." - Rolling Stone, 1968
More Steve Winwood / More Dave Mason


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Super Hot Stamper

David Bowie
Young Americans

  (Item #: bowieyoung_1910_2) 

Our Price: $169.99

  • This superb copy of Bowie's one and only soul album boasts solid Double Plus (A++) sound or BETTER on both sides - exceptionally quiet vinyl too
  • One of the five or ten best Bowie songs of all time is on this very album: Somebody up There Likes Me, with David Sanborn for more than six minutes soulfully blowing his brains out on the sax
  • On an exceptionally transparent copy such as this one, it's much easier to pick out all the background vocalists in the relatively dense mixes that Bowie favored here, and that's the kind of sound that wins shootouts
  • One of our favorites by The Man, with so many killer tracks: Young Americans, Win, Fascination, Across the Universe and, of course, Fame
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Super Hot Stamper (Quiet)

Humble Pie
Performance - Rockin' The Fillmore

  (Item #: humblperfo_1904_9) 

Our Price: $149.99
Sale Price: $129.00 (You save $20.99 / 14%)


  • With nearly Triple Plus (A++ to A+++) grades on three sides, and outstanding Double Plus (A++) sound on the fourth, this original pressing on the custom A&M label is ROCKIN' all right - exceptionally quiet vinyl too
  • Performance is one of the best sounding - perhaps even THE best sounding - Hard Rock concert albums we've ever heard
  • Engineered by the legendary Eddie Kramer, what other live rock record sounds this good?
  • "There was a time where this kind of self-congratulatory improvisation was not only accepted but expected and Performance not only captures that point in time, but in its exacting detail it illustrates how this self-satisfied instrumental exploration could be a very good thing."
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Super Hot Stamper

David Bowie
David Live

  (Item #: bowiedavid_1905_1907) 

Our Price: $149.99

  • You'll find outstanding Double Plus (A++) grades or BETTER on all four sides of this Bowie classic -- exceptionally quiet vinyl too!
  • One of our favorite live recordings - a great overview of Bowie's career through 1974
  • 1984, Rebel Rebel, Sweet Thing and Rock & Roll With Me come ALIVE in performance like you have never heard before
  • A-List players of the day deliver sonic treats, including multiple horn players, multiple percussionists, all-male chorus background vocals, the searing fuzzed-out guitar leads of Earl Slick, piano and Mellotron by Mike Garson, and the amazing Herbie Flowers on bass
See all of our David Bowie albums in stock


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Super Hot Stamper

Joe Cocker
Mad Dogs And Englishmen

  (Item #: cockemaddo_1911) 

Our Price: $149.99

  • An outstanding copy with all four sides earning Double Plus (A++) grades and playing about as quietly as these good, clean originals ever do
  • The sound is rich and tubey, with driving energy and the top end and clarity that was simply missing from far too many of the copies we had to wade through in order to find this one
  • 4 1/2 stars: "Unlike a lot of other "coffee table"-type rock releases of the era, such as Woodstock and The Concert for Bangladesh, people actually listened to Mad Dogs & Englishmen -- most of its content was exciting, and its sound, a veritable definition of big-band rock with three dozen players working behind the singer, was unique."
See all of our Joe Cocker albums in stock


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Super Hot Stamper

Peter Frampton
Frampton Comes Alive

  (Item #: frampframpton_comes_1909) 

Our Price: $149.99

  • All four sides of this double album earned Double Plus (A++) grades or close to it for their Big, Bold Live Rock sound - exceptionally quiet vinyl too, a true Mint Minus on two sides
  • Mixed and mastered so that the guitar solos soar the way they do in live music -- what a thrill it is to hear them finally sounding the way they should
  • A killer copy like this one is a potent reminder of why we all went so crazy for this album back in the '70s - I did anyway
  • Allmusic agrees with us that many tracks here are "much more inspired, confident, and hard-hitting than the studio versions."
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Super Hot Stamper

The Rolling Stones
Beggars Banquet

  (Item #: rollibegga_1907_9) 

Our Price: $149.99

  • A killer vintage copy of this exceptionally well-recorded Stones album from '68, with superb Double Plus (A++) sound or BETTER throughout
  • The long lost Tubey Magic of these early pressings has them sounding clear, rich and lively throughout
  • This is the way Beggar's Banquet should sound and it doesn't take a pair of golden ears to hear it
  • One of a select group of Rolling Stones Must Own titles we prize above all others - Sticky Fingers and Let It Bleed round out the trio
  • 5 stars: "Basic rock & roll was not forgotten, however: 'Street Fighting Man'... was one of their most innovative singles, and 'Sympathy for the Devil'... was an image-defining epic."
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Nearly White Hot Stamper

Jimi Hendrix
Hendrix In The West

  (Item #: hendrinthe_1901_6_10) 

Our Price: $129.99

  • With stunning Nearly Triple Plus (A++ to A+++) sound on both sides, this British Polydor pressing was rockin' like crazy - exceptionally quiet vinyl too
  • This is a fun live album with stellar performances by Jimi - the best of his many posthumous releases
  • The awesome version of Little Wing is just killer on this copy - it's Jimi's best performance of the song
  • "Hendrix in the West is a collection of extremely good live Hendrix performances between 1968-1970. Standouts include "Red House" and "Voodoo Chile," a great rendition of "Blue Suede Shoes," and the brief but entertaining coupling of "God Save the Queen" and "Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band"."
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Super Hot Stamper (With an Issue)

The Rolling Stones
Beggars Banquet

  (Item #: rollibegga_1911ex) 

Our Price: $129.99

  • A killer vintage copy of this exceptionally well-recorded Stones album from '69, with superb Double Plus (A++) sound from first note to last - exceptionally quiet vinyl for the most part
  • Clear, rich and lively throughout - the Tubey Magic of the best pressings is what has them sounding the way they should
  • One of a select group of Rolling Stones Must Own records which we prize above all others - Sticky Fingers and Let It Bleed round out the trio
  • 5 stars: "Basic rock & roll was not forgotten, however: 'Street Fighting Man'... was one of their most innovative singles, and 'Sympathy for the Devil'... was an image-defining epic."
See all of our Rolling Stones albums in stock


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Super Hot Stamper

John Mayall
The Turning Point

  (Item #: mayalturni_1905_11) 

Our Price: $129.99

  • An outstanding copy with solid Double Plus (A++) sound from start to finish
  • This is a superb recording, something that cannot be said for most of Mayall's output from this period (and none of his later albums in our experience)
  • More importantly, this is some of the best music we have ever heard by the man - this is a uniquely special group effort
  • 4 1/2 Stars: "This album also signifies a distinct departure from the decibel-drowning electrified offerings of his previous efforts, providing instead an exceedingly more folk- and roots-based confab... [Jon] Mark's precision and tasteful improvisational skills [on acoustic guitar] place this incarnation into heady spaces."
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Super Hot Stamper

Led Zeppelin
Physical Graffiti

  (Item #: ledzephysi_1910_1) 

Our Price: $129.99

  • This copy is outstanding on every side, earning solid Double Plus (A++) grades or close to them and rockin' like crazy
  • Songs such as Kashmir, In My Time Of Dying, The Rover, Houses Of The Holy, and Ten Years Gone sound truly superb here
  • Here's the energy, presence, and sheer rock and roll power that lets this music come to life like you've never heard before
  • 5 stars: "Captures the whole experience of Led Zeppelin at the top of their game better than any of their other albums."
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Super Hot Stamper

Traffic
The Best of Traffic

  (Item #: traffbesto_1901_1907) 

Our Price: $119.99

  • You'll find outstanding Double Plus (A++) sound on both sides of this British Pink Label Island pressing
  • Here are the full-bodied mids, punchy lows and clear, open, extended highs that let this 1969 release come alive
  • This amazing compilation boasts superb sound, often better than the very same tracks on many of the original British releases
  • Top 100 and 4 stars: "The entire second side of the LP, comprising 'Medicated Goo,' 'Forty Thousand Headmen,' 'Feelin' Alright,' 'Shanghai Noodle Factory,' and 'Dear Mr. Fantasy,' was the kind of progressive rock that would define Traffic and give it its place in the rock pantheon."
See all of our Traffic albums in stock


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Super Hot Stamper

Humble Pie
Performance - Rockin' The Fillmore

  (Item #: humblperfo_1901_1906) 

Our Price: $99.99

  • With outstanding Double Plus (A++) grades or better on all four sides, this original pressing on the custom A&M label is ROCKIN' all right
  • Performance is one of the best sounding - perhaps even THE best sounding - Hard Rock concert albums we've ever heard
  • Engineered by the legendary Eddie Kramer, what other live rock record sounds this good?
  • "... [O]ne of the classic double-live albums of the '70s: a two-LP set from a band that were earning a reputation as in-concert monsters, grinding out a living on a circuit that brought them from coast to coast in America. It was, by design, the opposite of what Steve Marriott experienced as the leader of the Small Faces: this was heavy, improvised blues rock where live moments trumped the studio... "
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Super Hot Stamper

Carly Simon
Carly Simon

  (Item #: simoncarly_1905) 

Our Price: $74.99

  • Both sides of this original Elektra LP earned excellent Double Plus (A++) grades for their sound and play exceptionally quietly
  • Legendary producer and engineer Eddie Kramer lends his talent to this album and knows how to get the best sound
  • That's The Way I've Always Heard It Should Be is the killer track here and it sounds fantastic on this copy
  • Can you believe that the producer and engineer of Carly's 1971 debut here is none other than Eddie Kramer!?
See all of our Carly Simon albums in stock


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Super Hot Stamper

Jimi Hendrix
War Heroes

  (Item #: hendrwarhe_1909_1) 

Our Price: $74.99

  • You'll find superb Double Plus (A++) from first note to last on this Hendrix classic
  • The material here is surprisingly well recorded - the sound is certainly competitive with - and maybe even better than - most of Hendrix's "real" albums
  • Features top-tier Hendrix rarities such as Izabella, Highway Chile, Bleeding Heart and Stepping Stone
  • "One of the few consistent compilations of unreleased Hendrix."
See all of our Jimi Hendrix albums in stock


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Bad Company - Run With The Pack

Our Shootout Winner from 2013

  (Item #: badcorunwi_2013) 



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

SUPERB SOUND on Hot Stamper 2-pack! This is not an easy album to find with audiophile sound, and since our best sides were less impressive on their flipsides, we paired up these two copies to give you incredible sound for the album from first note to last.

Side two of the second record is the real deal, with BIG, RICH and ROCKIN' White Hot Stamper sound. Side one of the first record is nearly as good (A++ to A+++), boasting exceptional transparency, excellent balance and something we didn't hear on most copies: ENERGY.

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Carly Simon - Carly Simon

Our Shootout Winner from 2015

  (Item #: simoncarly_2015) 



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

Two Shootout Winning sides bundled together to give you top sound for the whole album. We just finished our first shootout for this, Carly's debut, and found a lot to like about both the sound and the music.

That's not to say that we'd put this recording on the same level as an audiophile knockout like Dark Side of the Moon, but the richness and the sweetness of the midrange on the best copies is exactly what you'd want to hear.

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Carly Simon - Carly Simon

What to Listen For

  (Item #: simoncarly_wtlf) 



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.

Too many copies we played erred on the hi-fi side, with not enough warmth. The copies that sound incredibly clean and clear just didn't do much for us; they weren't able to convey the intimacy and emotion of the music. I'm sure you've had a similar experience playing CDs of some of your old favorites. You keep wondering why you liked the music in the first place. Don't blame the music. Blame those crappy CDs.

See all of our Carly Simon albums in stock


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David Bowie - David Live

Our Shootout Winner from 2010

  (Item #: bowiedavid_2010) 



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

The best copies have Live Rock and Roll Energy like you will not believe. The band is ON FIRE. These are the A List players of the day and they gell like a band that's been together for years. The sonic treats include multiple horn players (David Sanborn KILLS on almost every track, and the baritone sax and oboe are rendered beautifully ) and multiple percussionists, all-male chorus background vocals, the seering fuzzed-out guitar leads of Earl Slick, piano and Mellotron by Mike Garson, the amazing Herbie Flowers on bass -- the list goes on.

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David Bowie - Young Americans

Listening in Depth

  (Item #: bowieyoung_depth) 



Presenting another entry in our extensive Listening in Depth series.

This is one of my favorite Bowie albums. Nobody seems to care about it anymore. They dismiss it as disco junk, but it actually has some of his best music on it. I especially like the song Win. David Sanborn's saxophone sounds like it's coming from 60 feet behind Bowie, a nice effect.

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David Bowie - Young Americans

Our Shootout Winner from 2007

  (Item #: bowieyoung_2007) 



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

THE BEST SOUND I HAVE EVER HEARD FOR THIS ALBUM! We’ve been playing this album for years, but we’ve sure never heard it sound like this. Both sides have BIG, FULL-BODIED SOUND that takes this soulful music to an entirely new level.

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David Bowie - Young Americans

What to Listen For

  (Item #: bowieyoung_listen) 



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 average RCA copy of this album is bright, grainy and hard to some degree, like most RCA pressings I come across. If you've been stuck with an average copy, you're not going to believe how smooth and sweet the best ones sound.

This is one of my favorite Bowie albums. Nobody seems to care about it anymore. They dismiss it as disco junk, but it actually has some of his best music on it. I especially like the song Win. David Sanborn's saxophone sounds like it's coming from 60 feet behind Bowie, a nice effect.

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Donovan - The Hurdy Gurdy Man

Our Shootout Winner from 2013

  (Item #: donovhurdy_2013) 



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

The 1968 sound here is GLORIOUS — rich, sweet, Tubey Magical and very, very Analog.

Side one is where you will find The Hurdy Gurdy Man and it is crazy good sounding here. No wonder: Hurdy Gurdy was engineered by Eddie Kramer and produced by none other than John Paul Jones.

More Donovan / More Hippie Folk Rock


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Eddie Kramer

One of Our Favorite Engineers

  (Item #: alleddie_kramer) 



EDDIE KRAMER is one of our favorite recording and mixing engineers. Check out our supply of Eddie Kramer engineered or produced albums, along with plenty of our famous commentaries.
Eddie Kramer Engineered Albums with Hot Stampers

Eddie Kramer Engineered Albums We've Reviewed



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Humble Pie - Performance - Rockin' The Fillmore

None Rocks Harder

  (Item #: humblperfo_2015) 



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

One of the best -- if not THE best -- rock concert albums we have ever heard. Can you imagine if Frampton Comes Alive sounded like this? If you want to hear some smokin’ Peter Frampton guitar work from the days when he was with Humble Pie this album captures that sound better than any of their studio releases, and far better than Comes Alive on even the best copies.

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Jimi Hendrix - Are You Experienced

Our Shootout Winner from 2014

  (Item #: hendrareyo_2014) 



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

STUNNING SOUND ON BOTH SIDES! It is no easy task trying to find good copies of this album (or any Hendrix album, really). This one is absolutely killer. The bottom end is big and weighty, the top is open and transparent, and there's plenty of rich, full tubey magic. It's going to be incredibly hard to find a pressing that comes anywhere close to this one.

No matter what version you've been playing, we guarantee you'll be blown away by the energy and punch on this one.

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Jimi Hendrix - Axis: Bold As Love

Classic Records Mono Debunked

  (Item #: hendraxisb_classic_records) 



Sonic Grade: F

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

One of the worst things the dummies at Classic ever did. Flat and dry with no tubey magic whatsoever. It positively screams "CHEAP REISSUE."

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Jimi Hendrix - Axis: Bold As Love

Our Shootout Winner from 2016

  (Item #: hendraxisb_2016) 



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

What a copy! Super rich and full-bodied with a wide, tall soundstage and plenty of punch, this is exactly the right sound for this music. It sure ain't easy to find good-sounding Hendrix records, and most copies of Axis are positively painful. You need rich, full tonality and plenty of space up top if this album is going to work, and on those counts this copy certainly delivers!

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Jimi Hendrix - Electric Ladyland

Our Shootout Winner from 2014

  (Item #: hendrelect_2014) 



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.

Sides three and four of this bad boy are OFF THE CHARTS, earning our top grade of A+++. Side three manages to combine superb transparency and presence with rich Tubey Magic and a strong, rockin' low end -- not an easy balance to strike! The guitars here, obviously one of the main draws on a Hendrix album, sound phenomenal.

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Jimi Hendrix - Hendrix In The West

Our Shootout Winner from 2013

  (Item #: hendrinthe_2013) 



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

We're still surprised at how well recorded the album is, and a pressing like this allows you to really hear the live Jimi Guitar God Magic.

Rock and roll Legend EDDIE KRAMER, the man who engineered these live recordings, really knocked it out of the park. Drop the needle on Little Wing and you are going to be FLOORED.

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Jimi Hendrix - Rainbow Bridge

Our Shootout Winner from 2009

  (Item #: hendrrainb_2009) 



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

THE NEW ALL-TIME CHAMPION FOR SIDE ONE! We played over a dozen copies this week, split evenly between domestics and Brit imports -- and this bad boy absolutely MURDERED the competition.

Drop the needle on Dolly Dagger or Pali Gap and prepare to be floored! You won’t believe the big-time presence, the mindblowing energy, or the massive WHOMP factor! This copy has the tightest bass we’ve ever heard for this album, plus an unbelievable amount of Tubey Magic.

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Jimi Hendrix - The Cry of Love

Our Shootout Winner from 2016

  (Item #: hendrcryof_2016) 



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

With Eddie Kramer and Robert Ludwig on the payroll, doesn't this record have to be spectacular?

Good, yes, but spectacular? Not really. Some copies just don't rock, and those copies lose a huge number of points for that shortcoming on a Monster Rock record such as this. Some are leaned out, some have no real top end -- as Murphy's Law makes clear, if something can go wrong it will go wrong.

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Joe Cocker - Mad Dogs and Englishmen

Our Shootout Winner from 2012

  (Item #: cockemaddo_2012) 



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

This original A&M 2 LP pressing has FOUR EXCELLENT SIDES, including a shootout-winning A+++ SIDE TWO!

We did not give out a lot of top grades on this record -- Super Hot is WAY better than most of what we heard (which to be honest was just not very good, a subject we discuss below). Overall this is the best copy to ever hit the site, boasting plenty of soulful rock and roll energy.

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John Mayall - Empty Rooms

Our Shootout Winner from 2015

  (Item #: mayalempty_2015) 



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

With only keyboards, guitars, saxes and flutes -- the absence of a drummer is especially noteworthy -- the group creates a mystical, low-key atmosphere in the studio within which JM tells his stories. In other words, it's different. When it comes to John Mayall's recorded works, that's not a bad thing.

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Led Zeppelin - Coda

Our Shootout Winner from 2010

  (Item #: ledzecode_2010) 



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.

TWO GREAT SIDES and QUIET VINYL on this Swan Song pressing, one of the few good sounding copies we've ever played. We just sat down with the dozen-plus copies of Coda that made it through our preliminary round and only found a few that were worth writing home around. Most copies are too dry, grainy, and/or dull to get excited about, but this one is a MONSTER.

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Led Zeppelin - Houses of the Holy

Classic Records Debunked

  (Item #: ledzehouse_classic_records) 



Sonic Grade: F

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

We can describe the sound in two words: ridiculously bright. Honestly, what more need be said?

Over the years we have done many Led Zeppelin shootouts, often including the Classic Heavy Vinyl Pressings for comparison purposes. After all, these Classic LPs are what many -- perhaps most -- audiophiles consider superior to other pressings.

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Led Zeppelin - Houses of the Holy

Listening in Depth

  (Item #: ledzehouse_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 Led Zeppelin's momentous 1973 release, Houses of the Holy.

You really get an understanding of just how much of a production genius Jimmy Page was when you listen to a copy of Houses with the kind of resolution and transparency found on our best copies. To take just one example, just listen to how clearly the multi-tracked guitars can be heard in the different layers and areas of the soundstage. On some songs you will have no trouble picking out three, four and even more guitars playing, each with its own unique character.

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Led Zeppelin - Houses of the Holy

Our Shootout Winner from 2010

  (Item #: ledzehouse_2010) 



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.

A TRULY STUNNING COPY of this classic album! Both sides here are rich, warm and full-bodied with tons of energy and presence. It just doesn't get much better than this, folks! We gave side two a Four Plus grade -- note that we don't even have a graphic for that! -- and side one was also very strong.

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Led Zeppelin - II

Classic Records Debunked

  (Item #: ledze2_classic_debunk) 



Sonic Grade: F

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

An absolute DISASTER -- ridiculously bright, ridiculously crude, in short, a completely unlistenable piece of garbage.

Over the years we have done many Led Zeppelin shootouts, often including the Classic Heavy Vinyl Pressings as a "reference". After all, the Classic pressings are considered by many -- if not most -- audiophiles to be superior to other pressings. If you don't believe me go to the forums and read for yourself.

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Led Zeppelin - Led Zeppelin II

Our Shootout Winner from 2017

  (Item #: ledze2_2017) 



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

This pressing just knocked us out from beginning to end -- this is the Zep II sound you want.

At least 80% of the copies we buy these days -- for many hundreds of dollars each I might add -- go right back to the seller. The biggest problem we run into besides obvious scratches that play and worn out grooves is easy to spot: just play the song Thank You at the end of side one. Most of the time there is inner groove damage so bad that the track becomes virtually unlistenable.

See all of our Led Zeppelin albums in stock


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Led Zeppelin - Led Zeppelin II

MoFi Debunked

  (Item #: ledze2_mofi_debunk) 



Sonic Grade: F

A Hall of Shame pressing and another MoFi LP debunked.

This pressing has to be one of the worst audiophile remastering jobs in the history of the world. There is NOT ONE aspect of the sound that isn't wrong. Not one! The highs are boosted, the upper midrange is boosted, the mid-bass is boosted, the low bass is missing -- what part of the frequency spectrum is even close to correct on this pressing? The answer: none.

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Led Zeppelin - Led Zeppelin II

None Rocks Harder

  (Item #: ledze2_loud) 



It's official: we're inaugurating a Top Ten Best Sounding Rock / Pop Album List, and the first member to be inducted is none other than our old favorite, Led Zeppelin II.

It's also yet another in a very long line of records that really comes alive when you Turn Up Your Volume. We're convinced Zep II has to be the hardest rocking album of all time. The best copies -- often with the same stampers as the not-as-good copies by the way -- have a LIFE and a POWER to them that simply cannot be found on other records.

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Led Zeppelin - Physical Graffiti

Breaking Down the Engineers

  (Item #: ledzephysi_engineers) 



Four engineers worked on the various sessions for the tracks which would become Physical Graffiti. The songs for this sprawling double album were recorded over the course of five years (1970-1974) although the bulk of the work was done by Ron Nevison in January and February of 1974.

For a complete breakdown of who recorded what, see below.

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Led Zeppelin - Physical Graffiti

Our Shootout Winner from 2008

  (Item #: ledzephysi_2008) 



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.

Zep fans, rejoice -- PHYSICAL GRAFFITI HOT STAMPERS ARE HERE! We thought this day might never come. As you probably know by now, most copies of this album just plain suck!

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Led Zeppelin - Physical Graffiti

Classic Records Debunked

  (Item #: ledzephysi_classic_records) 



Sonic Grade: D

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

Tonally correct, which is one thing you can't say for most of the Zeps in this series, that's for sure. Those of you with crappy domestic copies, crappy imported reissues and crappy CDs, which is pretty much all there is of this recording, will not know what you're missing.

More Physical Graffiti / More Led Zeppelin


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Led Zeppelin - The Song Remains The Same

Our Shootout Winner from 2007

  (Item #: ledzesongr_2007) 



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

FREAKISHLY GOOD LIVE ZEP SOUND! This Swan Song LP is just full of the Zep Magic -- super lively and full-bodied with a whole lotta WHOMP. Bonzo’s drum sound is LARGER THAN LIFE on this copy. Three of the four sides here rate ABOVE A++.

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Peter Frampton - Frampton Comes Alive

Our Shootout Winner from 2015

  (Item #: frampframpton_comes_2015) 



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

What a monster -- this White Hot Stamper Frampton Comes Alive boasts KILLER A+++ sound on sides one, two, and four and very strong A++ sound on side three! If you're looking for a top-shelf pressing of THE iconic Classic Rock Double Live Album, don't let this one pass you by. If you grew up with this album it's going to be a thrill to hear this copy rockin' on a big audiophile system.

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Peter Frampton - Frampton Comes Alive

What to Listen For

  (Item #: frampframpton_comes_wtlf) 



Another in the long list of recordings that really comes alive when you Turn Up Your Volume.

What to listen for? Dynamic, soaring guitar solos!

On the best copies the guitar solos are the loudest parts of some songs, which, as everyone who's ever been to a rock concert knows, is exactly what happens in live rock music.

Not many live albums are mixed to allow the guitar solos to rock the way these do. Since Frampton is one of my favorite players, hearing his solos get loud on this album is nothing less than a thrill.

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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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The Beatles - Magical Mystery Tour

Are Your Cellists Digging In?

  (Item #: beatlmagic_walruscellos) 



Another in our series of Home Audio Exercises.

Over the last decade I Am The Walrus has evolved into a good test for side one, a fact that came as a complete surprise to me. As I was listening to the various copies in a shootout years ago I noted that the opening cellos and basses in the right channel were often tonally identical from copy to copy, but sounded quite a bit more lively and energetic on some pressings relative to others. Was it EQ? Level? Compression?

Why so much more passion from the players on some copies and not others?

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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

Our Shootout Winner from 2007

  (Item #: beatlmagic_2007) 



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

THE BEST SOUNDING MMT EVER! Hot Stamper copies of this album are a regular feature on this site, but we’ve NEVER heard one like this -- on EITHER side! We had no choice but to award this album the very rare grade of A++++ (Four Pluses!) on both sides.

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The Beatles - Magical Mystery Tour

We Was Wrong (Circa the '80s)

  (Item #: beatlmagic_wrong) 



This is a VERY old and somewhat embarrassing We Was Wrong from a few years back.

This German pressing has dramatically different sound than that found on other Hot Stamper pressings of MMT we've had on the site. I used to be convinced that its sound was clearly superior to the regular German MMT LPs. Back in the late '80s and into the '90s this was the pressing that I was certain blew them all out of the water. We know better now. We call this version the "Too Hot Stamper" pressing -- the upper mids and top end are much hotter than they should be.

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The Jimi Hendrix Experience - War Heroes

Our Shootout Winner from 2010

  (Item #: hendrwarhe_2010) 



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

Hendrix fans, we have a very special record for you, with one very special quality that sets it well apart from other Hendrix records you may have heard in the past: THE BEST HENDRIX SOUND EVER. Side two of this copy beats any studio release we've ever heard, any postmortem release, any release we've ever had on our turntable. We love Hendrix, but finding good sounding pressings of his most famous albums is practically impossible. (Note that no Hot Stamper listing exists for Are You Experienced just to cite one example.)

See all of our Jimi Hendrix albums in stock


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The Rolling Stones - Beggars Banquet

Our Shootout Winner from 2014

  (Item #: rollibegga_2014) 



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

AN AMAZING, SHOOTOUT-WINNING A+++ SIDE TWO backed with an excellent A++ side one. It is not easy to find good copies of this album -- this kind of rich, full-bodied, MUSICAL sound is the exception, not the rule. And there's actual space and extension up top as well, something you certainly don't hear on the typical pressing! This is an amazing batch of songs, and a copy like this gives it the kind of sound it deserves.

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Traffic - Best Of Traffic

Our Shootout Winner from 2011

  (Item #: traffbesto_2011) 



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

This Island British Pink Label pressing has SOME OF THE BEST TRAFFIC SOUND YOU'LL EVER HEAR! We've been flipping out over Hot Stamper copies of this greatest hits comp for ages for a very simple, yet likely shocking, reason -- the sound on the best copies can be BETTER than the best original pressings! How can that be you ask, dumbfounded by the sheer ridiculousness of such a statement? Well, dear reader, I'll tell you. Follow me over the jump to find out.

More Steve Winwood / More Dave Mason


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Traffic - Mr. Fantasy

25th Anniversary British Pressing

  (Item #: traffmrfan) 



This Minty looking Island 25th Anniversary British Import LP has SURPRISINGLY GOOD SOUND! I’d have to say it’s the best sounding record from this series I’ve ever heard. (Note that this is the British version and not the Italian one.)

I can't vouch for other copies of this record -- they may not sound as good as this one -- but this one has the bass that's missing from some of the Pink Label copies and is overall tonally Right On The Money (ROTM), with almost none of the transistory grain that you find on domestic pressings. If you don't want to spend the big bucks for a Hot Stamper, this is probably the next best way to go.

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Traffic - Mr. Fantasy

Where's the Bass?

  (Item #: traffmrfan_pink) 



This Pink Label Original Island pressing has amazingly sweet, open, extended and transparent mids and highs. It has two major shortcomings: a lack of bass, and a fair amount of surface noise. If you can add a few dB around 50 cycles and can put up with some surface noise and scratches, you are guaranteed to hear some wonderful sound in the best tubey Island tradition.

Side two sounds better than side one; it has more bass and therefore is more tonally correct.

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Traffic - Traffic

Our Shootout Winner from 2010

  (Item #: trafftraff_2010) 



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

UNBELIEVABLE! Here's an Island Pink Label pressing of Traffic's self-titled second album that has a STUNNING side one, a GREAT side two, and plays close to Near Mint! It has been YEARS since we've had such a beautiful Pink Label copy, and I doubt we've ever heard a pressing on any label that could better this side one. The sound is as close to PERFECTION as we ever expect to hear for this music -- super tubey magical, unbelievably transparent and tonally correct from top to bottom.

More Steve Winwood / More Dave Mason


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Traffic- Mr. Fantasy

Our Shootout Winner from 2006

  (Item #: traffmrfan_2006) 



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

This British Sunray Label pressing has THE BEST SOUND I’VE EVER HEARD FOR THIS ALBUM! None of the Pink Label originals that we played had the deep, powerful, punchy bass that this pressing has, coupled with an extended, sweet top end.

This is one of the best sounding Traffic records ever made. Musically it’s hit or miss, but so is every other Traffic record, including my favorite, John Barleycorn. The best songs here are Heaven Is In Your Mind, Dear Mr. Fantasy, and Coloured Rain.

More Steve Winwood / More Dave Mason


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Traffic- Mr. Fantasy

Our Shootout Winner from 2019

  (Item #: traffmrfan_2019) 



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

This early Pink Label import pressing boasts Shootout Winning Triple Plus (A+++) sound or close to it on both sides, making this one of the best copies to hit the site in many years, if not THE best. We used to think that The Best of Traffic had better sound, but in a head to head comparison with this very copy, we were proved WRONG. Big, full-bodied and lively, with huge amounts of space and off the charts Tubey Magic, the sound here is Hard to Fault.

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