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White Hot Stamper

Jennifer Warnes
Famous Blue Raincoat

  (Item #: warnefamou_2001) 

Our Price: $349.99

  • A Demo Disc quality pressing of this longtime audiophile favorite, with stunning Shootout Winning Triple Plus (A+++) sound on side two - exceptionally quiet vinyl too, as quiet as we can find them
  • Turn this one 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: "The high point may have been the Warnes-Cohen duet on "Joan of Arc," but the album was consistently impressive."
More Jennifer Warnes


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White Hot Stamper

Joni Mitchell
Court and Spark

  (Item #: mitchcourt_1912_02) 

Our Price: $249.99
Sale Price: $199.99 (You save $50.00 / 20%)


  • 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
  • Court and Spark recently joined Blue on our updated Top 100 Rock and Pop List for 2019
  • 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

Joni Mitchell
Miles of Aisles

  (Item #: mitchmiles_1911) 

Our Price: $249.99

  • This Joni Mitchell classic boasts STUNNING Triple Plus (A+++) sound or very close to it on all four sides
  • Henry Lewy brings the analog richness, smoothness and clarity he achieved on Court and Spark to the recording - it's some of the best live sound we've ever heard
  • Joni reworks some of her best-loved songs for this concert, with five tracks from Blue alone (!), and the new arrangements show us just how vital her early '70s work has turned out to be
  • "It's a strong album of her best songs performed mostly informally... Much of the material here is beautiful, replete with the patented Mitchell tension. And a word for engineer Henry Lewy—the sound is terrific, the best reproduced concert album I've heard." Rolling Stone
More Joni Mitchell


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White Hot Stamper

Sergio Mendes & Brasil ’66
Fool on the Hill

  (Item #: mendefoolo_2002) 

Our Price: $249.99

  • Insanely good sound on both sides with each earning Shootout Winning Triple Plus (A+++) grades
  • Sergio's unique rearrangement of two songs in particular here make this a Must Own album: Scarborough Fair and The Fool On The Hill
  • Top engineers for A&M, Henry Lewy and Larry Levine, capture the natural, breathy intimacy in the voices of these wonderful female leads - Lani Hall, Karen Philipp and Gracinha Leporace
  • 4 1/2 Stars: "Even though he had become thoroughly embedded in the consciousness of mainstream America, Mendes still managed to have it three ways, exposing first-class tunes from little-known Brazilian talent, garnering commercial hits, and also making some fine records."
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White Hot Stamper

Joni Mitchell
For The Roses

  (Item #: mitchforth_1902_7_10_02) 

Our Price: $199.99

  • This outstanding copy of Joni Mitchell's fifth studio album boasts Shootout Winning Triple Plus (A+++) sound from start to finish
  • Incredibly rich, warm and natural with real immediacy to Joni's vocals, and Tubey Magic for days, this pressing was doing it all right
  • One of the best sounding Joni records, on a par with Court and Spark and Blue - fine company indeed
  • 4 1/2 stars: "The lyrics here are among Mitchell's best, continuing in the vein of gripping honesty and heartfelt depth exhibited on Blue.... More than a bridge between great albums, this excellent disc is a top-notch listen in its own right."
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Nearly White Hot Stamper

Jennifer Warnes
Famous Blue Raincoat

  (Item #: warnefamou_1906_10_12ex) 

Our Price: $169.99

  • 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 for the most part 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: "The high point may have been the Warnes-Cohen duet on "Joan of Arc," but the album was consistently impressive."
More Jennifer Warnes


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Super Hot Stamper (With an Issue)

Joni Mitchell
Blue

  (Item #: mitchblue_1910) 

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

Jennifer Warnes
Famous Blue Raincoat

  (Item #: warnefamou_1910) 

Our Price: $149.99

  • An absolutely magical copy, with outstanding Double Plus (A++) sound on both sides - exceptionally quiet vinyl too, as quiet as we can find them
  • Turn this one 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: "The high point may have been the Warnes-Cohen duet on "Joan of Arc," but the album was consistently impressive."
More Jennifer Warnes


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Super Hot Stamper

Joni Mitchell
Clouds

  (Item #: mitchcloud_1906_10_01) 

Our Price: $149.99
Sale Price: $99.99 (You save $50.00 / 33%)


  • A lovely vintage pressing of Clouds, with outstanding Double Plus (A++) sound on both sides - fairly quiet vinyl too
  • Check out the clear transients on the acoustic guitar -- you can really hear her moving her hands around the fretboard and pulling on the strings
  • It's tough to find this album in clean shape with this kind of warm, natural sound (something the new reissue is no doubt profoundly lacking)
  • 4 1/2 stars: "Clouds is a stark stunner, a great leap forward for Joni Mitchell. Vocals here are more forthright and assured than on her debut and exhibit a remarkable level of subtle expressiveness... This essential release is a must-listen."
See all of our Joni Mitchell albums in stock


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White Hot Stamper

Leonard Cohen
Recent Songs

  (Item #: cohenrecen_1809_6_10) 

Our Price: $149.99

  • Insanely good Shootout Winning Triple Plus (A+++) sound on both sides AND fairly quiet vinyl - the best copy to ever hit the site bar none
  • Unbeatable richness and freedom from artificiality in the midrange allowed this one to tower over the rest of the field
  • "... a return to Cohen's acoustic folk music after the Phil Spector experimentation of Death of a Ladies' Man, but now with many jazz and Oriental influences."
  • 4 stars: "The first thing Leonard Cohen's music fans noticed about his sixth new studio album, given the typically open-ended title Recent Songs, was that, musically, it marked a return to the gypsy folk sound of his early records..."
See all of our Leonard Cohen albums in stock


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Super Hot Stamper

Joni Mitchell
For The Roses

  (Item #: mitchforth_1906_10_01) 

Our Price: $129.99

  • With two outstanding Double Plus (A++) sides, this White Label Asylum pressing was one of the best we played in our recent shootout - fairly quiet vinyl too
  • The sound is especially rich, warm and natural, with exceptional immediacy to Joni's vocals and Tubey Magic for days
  • One of the best sounding Joni records, on a par with Court and Spark and Blue - fine company indeed
  • 4 1/2 stars: "The lyrics here are among Mitchell's best, continuing in the vein of gripping honesty and heartfelt depth exhibited on Blue.... More than a bridge between great albums, this excellent disc is a top-notch listen in its own right."
See all our Joni Mitchell albums in stock


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Super Hot Stamper (Quiet Vinyl)

Joni Mitchell
Court and Spark

  (Item #: mitchcourt_1903_8_11) 

Our Price: $99.99

  • 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

Joni Mitchell
Miles of Aisles

  (Item #: mitchmiles_1907_11) 

Our Price: $99.99

  • This Joni Mitchell classic boasts excellent Double Plus (A++) sound or BETTER on all four sides - exceptionally quiet vinyl too
  • Henry Lewy brings the analog richness, smoothness and clarity he achieved on Court and Spark to the recording - it's some of the best live sound we've ever heard
  • Joni reworks some of her best-loved songs for this concert, with five tracks from Blue alone (!), and the new arrangements show us just how vital her early '70s work has turned out to be
  • "It's a strong album of her best songs performed mostly informally... Much of the material here is beautiful, replete with the patented Mitchell tension. And a word for engineer Henry Lewy—the sound is terrific, the best reproduced concert album I've heard." Rolling Stone
More Joni Mitchell


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Super Hot Stamper

Joni Mitchell
Court and Spark

  (Item #: mitchcourt_1912_2) 

Our Price: $74.99

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


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Super Hot Stamper

Joni Mitchell
Mingus

  (Item #: mitchmingu_1904) 

Our Price: $74.99

  • An outstanding copy of this wonderful collaboration from 1979 with solid Double Plus (A++) sound from start to finish
  • Rich, dynamic and natural sounding with low end weight, midrange smoothness and powerful, punchy bass
  • If you're a fan of Joni's more adventurous work you'll find a lot to like here
  • Features "luminaries" including Herbie Hancock and some of Weather Report, who join Mingus in helping Joni bring these jazzy works to life
  • "... Mitchell could not have chosen any finer musicians than the sextet she ultimately incorporated into this work."
See all of our Joni Mitchell albums in stock


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Super Hot Stamper

Joni Mitchell
The Hissing of Summer Lawns

  (Item #: mitchhissi_2001) 

Our Price: $74.99

  • An outstanding pressing, with both sides earning outstanding Double Plus (A++) grades or close to them
  • Lots of Tubey Magic, textured synths, big bass and breathy vocals - this copy brings Joni's jazzy folky fusion to life
  • Check out the big bottom end on The Jungle Line, which features the Drummers Of Burundi
  • Who made a more original, forward looking and interesting album in 1975 than this? I can't think of anyone, can you?
  • 4 1/2 stars: "Joni Mitchell evolved from the smooth jazz-pop of Court and Spark to the radical Hissing of Summer Lawns, an adventurous work that remains among her most difficult records [as difficult as it is brilliant] … a strange and beautiful fusion of jazz and shimmering avant pop."
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Super Hot Stamper

Leonard Cohen
Recent Songs

  (Item #: cohenrecen_1908_) 

Our Price: $74.99

  • An outstanding copy of Cohen's 1979 return to form, with solid Double Plus (A++) sonic grades on both sides
  • This vintage pressing has the MIDRANGE MAGIC that’s surely missing from whatever 180g reissue has been made from the 40 year old tapes (or, to be clear, a modern digital master copied from those tapes)
  • Our Hot Stamper pressings, of this and Cohen's other albums as well, offer dramatically more warmth, richness and smoothness than any other copy you have heard, guaranteed
  • "The first thing Leonard Cohen's music fans noticed about his sixth new studio album, given the typically open-ended title Recent Songs, was that, musically, it marked a return to the gypsy folk sound of his early records..."
See all of our Leonard Cohen albums in stock


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Burt Bacharach - Reach Out

What to Listen For

  (Item #: bachareach_wtlf) 



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

What to listen for? Brightness, Blare, Lifelessness, Smear.

We played a good-sized stack of these recently, but not many of them sounded like this one. The majority of copies had a tendency to be bright, which is MURDER when the horns start blaring at the levels we like to play our records at.

In addition there are plenty of copies out there that lack energy, while others suffer from transient smearing, clearly audible on the brass.

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Crazy Horse - Crazy Horse

Our Shootout Winner from 2012

  (Item #: crazycrazy_2012) 



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

This Reprise Super Hot Stamper LP has TWO EXCELLENT SIDES with each rating an A++ or better. Side one is the better of the two sides here. It's rich, full and tonally correct from top to bottom. Side two is a small step down but still sounds great. It's big and bold with more presence than the average copy.

Side note: Drop the needle on 'Gone Dead Train' and tell me it doesn't remind you of 'Waiting for the End of the World' by Elvis!


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David Crosby - If I Could Only Remember My Name...

Classic Records Debunked

  (Item #: crosbifico_classic_records) 



Sonic Grade: C-

Another Classic Records LP reviewed.

What do you get with Hot Stampers compared to the Classic Heavy Vinyl reissue? Dramatically more warmth, sweetness, delicacy, transparency, space, energy, size, naturalness (no boost on the top end or the bottom, a notable failing of the Classic); in other words, the kind of difference you almost ALWAYS get comparing the best vintage pressings with their modern remastered counterparts, in our experience anyway. The Classic is a nice record, a Hot Stamper is a MAGICAL one.

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David Crosby - If I Could Only Remember My Name...

Our Shootout Winner from 2008

  (Item #: crosbifico_2008) 



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

THE ULTIMATE PSYCH ROCK DEMO DISC! Both sides are shockingly transparent with tight bass, silky highs, full-bodied vocals and TONS of Tubey Magic.

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David Crosby - If I Could Only Remember My Name...

Our Shootout Winner from 2016

  (Item #: crosbifico_2016) 



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

BEYOND TRIPLE TRIPLE! This Top Copy had a side one that blew us away enough to earn FOUR Pluses!

Here it is, folks... a TRUE ROCK DEMO DISC! A White Hot Stamper copy such as this will show you why we've long considered it one of the All Time Top Ten Rock Albums for Sound and Music. You will not believe how Tubey Magical and three-dimensional this album can be when you have a pressing with this kind of sound. The harmonic complexity and extension on the acoustic guitars are absolutely stunning!

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David Crosby - If I Could Only Remember My Name

What to Listen For

  (Item #: crosbifico_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.

Note how Crosby's voice is "chesty" -- some copies make him sound like he's all mouth and no diaphragm. When his voice is full-bodied and solid, that's when he sounds more like a real person and less like a pop recording of a person. Give credit where credit is due, to the brilliant engineering of Stephen Barncard and Henry Lewy.


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Jennifer Warnes - Famous Blue Raincoat

Listening in Depth

  (Item #: warnefamou_depth) 



Presenting another entry in our extensive Listening in Depth series.

I'm a huge fan of this music. It's the only album Jennifer Warnes ever made that I would consider a Must Own record or a Desert Island Disc.

In my humble opinion it's clearly her MASTERPIECE.

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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.

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Joe Cocker - Joe Cocker (1969)

Our Shootout Winner from 2016

  (Item #: cockejoeco_1969_2016) 



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

I put this album up against the best Cocker has ever made. He released both of his first two albums in 1969, strikingly reminiscent of another band we revere, Led Zeppelin. (Small world: Jimmy Page plays on Cocker's first release.)

The consistently high quality of the material is another reason this album has to be considered a Must Own. Did Cocker ever release an album with more good songs than these? On side one alone you'll find Dear Landlord; Bird on the Wire; She Came in Through the Bathroom Window; and Hitchcock Railway. On side two: Something; Delta Lady; Hello, Little Friend; and Darling Be Home Soon.

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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 - Blue

Our Shootout Winner from 2011

  (Item #: mitchblue_2011) 



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

ABSOLUTELY STUNNING TRIPLE PLUS SOUND ON SIDE TWO with a side one that's nearly as wonderful! You’ve probably heard us say this before, but it is ridiculously tough to find great copies of Blue. 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.

So when we find one like this, it’s a BIG DEAL. It’s got Off The Charts breathiness, delicacy, warmth and sweetness, and that’s just Joni’s voice. The sound of the ensemble throughout is amazingly natural, the recording so spacious.

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Joni Mitchell - Blue

Rhino / Warners Reviewed

  (Item #: mitchblue_debunk_2014) 



Sonic Grade: B-

In March of 2007 we remarked that we would not be carrying the new 180 gram Rhino pressing of Blue. We noted at the time:

Since Kevin and Steve are [perhaps erstwhile] friends of mine I won’t belabor its shortcomings. Let’s just say I think you can do better.
More on Joni Mitchell's Masterpiece, Blue


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Joni Mitchell - Court and Spark

Our Shootout Winner from 2018

  (Item #: mitchcourt_2018) 



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

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

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

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Joni Mitchell - For The Roses

Our Shootout Winner from 2011

  (Item #: mitchforth_2011) 



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

This is probably the most underrated Joni Mitchell album, both in terms of sonics and music. It seems that everyone wants a great copy of Blue or Court And Spark, but this album ranks right up there with them and does not deserve to be overlooked.

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Joni Mitchell - Ladies Of The Canyon

Our Shootout Winner from 2008

  (Item #: mitchladie_2008) 



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

This Ladies Of The Canyon absolutely BLEW US AWAY on side two, defeating a huge stack of originals! When we dropped the needle on this side two, we heard the kind of Joni Mitchell magic that is so hard to come by, even when armed with dozens and dozens of pressings.

Folks, this album comes to life on this side two in a way that is natural and musical, and never forced or phony. It's The Real Sound, plain and simple -- and very few copies have it.

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Joni Mitchell - Ladies Of The Canyon

What To Listen For

  (Item #: mitchladie_wtlf) 



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

The growl of the cello on Rainy Night House can clearly be heard behind Joni, with the wood of the instrument sounding real and correct. The kind of You Are There immediacy and transparency of the best copies has to be heard to be believed.

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Joni Mitchell - Miles Of Aisles

Our Shootout Winner from 2008

  (Item #: mitchmiles_2008) 



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

WONDERFUL LIVE SOUND AND GREAT MUSIC (of course) on this stunning double LP! We finally had a chance to do a big shootout for this album, and when you find one like this it is OUT OF THIS WORLD. Not too many live albums have this kind of stunning, "you are there" immediacy! Turn down the lights, crank up the volume, and you'll be right there in the crowd as Joni and the LA Express (Tom Scott, Robben Ford, and the crew) knock out wonderful versions of some of her best material.

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Joni Mitchell - Mingus

Our Shootout Winner from 2014

  (Item #: mitchmingu_2014) 



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

STUNNING A+++ SOUND FOR BOTH SIDES! Dynamic and very natural sounding with a huge three dimensional soundfield and way more energy than the typical copy, this is absoloutely as good as it gets.

Two of Joni's more famous late '70s songs are on here -- God Must Be A Boogie Man and The Wolf That Lives In Lindsey. If you like the more adventurous music that Joni produced at different stages of her career, this should make a wonderful addition to your collection.

See all of our Joni Mitchell albums in stock


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Joni Mitchell - Shadows and Light

Our Shootout Winner from 2011

  (Item #: mitchshado_2011) 



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

FOUR INCREDIBLE SIDES! We had a huge shootout for this famous double album and this copy blew our minds with a pair each of White Hot and Super Hot sides and quiet vinyl throughout. In the high-stakes game of Better Records Double Album Poker, that's a full house, my man! Sides one and three earned the A+++ grades while sides two and four were close behind at A++. This one gives you the kind of YOU ARE THERE immediacy and transparency that put you front and center for a late '70s jazzy Joni Mitchell show. Not too many copies will do that!

See all of our Joni Mitchell albums in stock


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Joni Mitchell - The Hissing of Summer Lawns

Our Shootout Winner from 2011

  (Item #: mitchhissi_2011) 



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

AMAZING SOUND ON BOTH SIDES of this Asylum LP, with each rating A++ - A+++ or better! We just finished a big shootout for this album and this copy was consistently excellent from the first song to the last. We had no idea this album could sound this good! We had pretty much given up on it after hearing a few copies that bored us to tears a while back, but once we found the Hot Stampers we started to really enjoy this music.

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Joni Mitchell - Wild Things Run Fast

Our Shootout Winner from 2013

  (Item #: mitchwildt_2013) 



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

One of our favorite Joni Mitchell albums. A Desert Island disc for me & one of the few good reasons to listen to new music in the '80s.

My personal Must Own Joni Mitchell list includes: The First Album (side one only), Blue, Court & Spark and Wild Things Run Fast.

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Joni Mitchell Blue

Play The Game, Not the Album

  (Item #: mitchblue_game_2007) 



Another in our series of Home Audio Exercises, one we created all the way back in 2007. If you want to learn more about doing your own shootouts this listing has lots of good advice.

In 2007 we mentioned to our customers that we would not be carrying the new 180 gram Rhino pressing of Blue.

Some people are already upset with us over this decision, actually going so far as to question our motives, if not our sanity. Without a doubt we feel this will end up being the single most controversial stance we've ever taken. I predict that a great number of audiophiles are going to get really upset over our criticism of this new pressing.

More on Joni Mitchell's Masterpiece, Blue


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Leonard Cohen - Recent Songs

Our Shootout Winner from 2013

  (Item #: cohenrecen_2013) 



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

This is easily the best copy of this album to ever hit the site, with a superb A+++ side one and an excellent A++ side two! This 1979 album marks Cohen's return to the simple folk arrangements of his early albums. The songs are as stunning as ever, but only the best pressings really do them justice. As you might expect, the key elements here are going to be vocals, acoustic guitars and Cohen's trademark female backup vocalists. This one really gets them all right, with the kind of big, spacious soundstage and full, rich tonality nothing else in our shootout could compete with.

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Neil Young - Greatest Hits

Classic Records Debunked

  (Item #: younggreat_debunk) 



Sonic Grade: F

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

MF loved it, we of course hated it, so what else is new? If you think this record sounds good, one thing is certain: you don't own many good sounding Neil Young records! You might not own any, but don't feel bad; not many audiophiles do, if the experience of my audiophile friends is any guide.

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Neil Young - Harvest

Listening in Depth

  (Item #: youngharve_depth) 



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

Many copies we played would work for the heavy songs and then fall short on the softer numbers. Others had gorgeous sound on the country-tinged numbers but couldn't deliever any whomp for the rockers. Only a select group of copies could hold their own in all of the styles and engage us from start to finish; we're pleased to present those exceptional pressings as the Hot Stamper copies of Harvest that so many of you have been begging for.

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Neil Young - Harvest

Nautilus Reviewed

  (Item #: youngharve_nautilus) 



Sonic Grade: B

Another Half Speed reviewed. We haven't played a copy of this record in more than a decade, but back in the day we liked it, so let's call it a "B" with the caveat that the older the review, the more likely we are to have changed our minds.

This is a SURPRISINGLY good sounding Nautilus Half-Speed mastered LP with AMAZING transparency. The sound here is DRAMATICALLY more natural than your average audiophile pressing.Just listen to the phoney top end found on most MOFIs to see what we mean. On this record you'll hear non of the hyped up highs that are MoFis claim to fame.

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Neil Young - Harvest

Our Shootout Winner in 2008

  (Item #: youngharve_2008) 



A distinguished member of the Better Records Rock and Pop Hall of Fame since 2008.

Harvest is undeniably one of the most beloved albums in all of classic rock. We get letters all the time from customers hoping to get their hands on Hot Stamper copies, but we'll never have the supply to keep up with the demand. It's a tough nut to crack, because a Hot Stamper Harvest has to get so many things right -- the lovely pedal steel guitar on Out On The Weekend, the LSO on A Man Needs A Maid and There's A World (engineered by Glyn Johns), Neil's grungy electric guitar on Alabama, and so much more.

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Neil Young - Harvest

Our Shootout Winner in 2018

  (Item #: youngharve_2018) 



A distinguished member of the Better Records Rock and Pop Hall of Fame since 2008.

Let's take a moment to acknowledge the string of superb studio albums Neil released from 1970 to 1976. Just look at these titles: After The Gold Rush, Harvest, On The Beach, Tonight's The Night, and Zuma.

I can't think of anyone else besides Zeppelin (first five titles) and The Beatles (you pick 'em!) who put out this many killer albums consecutively. We consider each of those albums a work of profound creativity, and we can proudly claim to have found copies of each with the sonic credentials to bring these masterpieces to life.

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Neil Young - Time Fades Away

Our Shootout Winner from 2013

  (Item #: youngtimef_2013) 



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

TWO AMAZING A+++ SIDES, making this the best copy ever to hit our site! Unlike most "live" albums this one was cut direct-to-disc with no fixes or overdubs. On a White Hot Stamper like this the sound is incredibly open and spacious, with a three-dimensional quality that puts you right there with the band!

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Sergio Mendes & Brasil ’66 - Fool on the Hill

Our Shootout Winner from 2007

  (Item #: mendefoolo_2007) 



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

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

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

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Sergio Mendes - Look Around

Our Shootout Winner from 2011

  (Item #: mendelooka_2011) 



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

Finally, Hot Stampers are here for this notoriously difficult to reproduce recording. This side one was KILLER, earning a grade of A++ to A+++! It’s big and bold, with dramatically less grit and grain than the average copy. The sound is punchy and lively with wonderful transparency. You can really hear the sound of the room around the musicians with this one. Some of the tracks on this side one are DEMO DISC quality.

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Sergio Mendes - Look Around

Speakers Corner Reviewed

  (Item #: mendelooka_speakers_corner) 



Sonic Grade: C

We were fairly impressed with the Speakers Corner pressing of this album when it came out on Heavy Vinyl years ago. Since then we have learned a lot. Their version is okay, not bad, but by no stretch of the imagination can it compete with any Hot Stamper pressing.

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Turntable Set Up Advice

Using Court and Spark

  (Item #: mitchcourt_setup) 



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

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

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