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Super Hot Stamper

Dean Martin
Dream With Dean

  (Item #: martidream_1910) 

Our Price: $299.99

  • This hard-to-find Dean Martin Classic finally returns to the site with outstanding Double Plus (A++) sound or BETTER from first note to last - exceptionally quiet vinyl for this title too
  • One of our all-time favorite male vocal LPs - the sound on both sides is both warm and natural, with excellent presence and transparency
  • These are almost impossible to find in playable condition these days and this pressing is one of the quietest we've ever heard
  • "It sounds as if they tracked the album in one afternoon, and it is not only a very pleasant listening experience, it shows what a tremendous vocalist Dean Martin truly was."
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White Hot Stamper

Joni Mitchell
Miles of Aisles

  (Item #: mitchmiles_1911) 

Our Price: $299.99

  • This Joni Mitchell classic boasts STUNNING Triple Plus (A+++) sound or very close to it on all four sides
  • The sound is incredibly rich, warm and Tubey Magical with huge amounts of space and breathy presence on her vocals
  • Joni reworks all her material here, giving the songs new arrangements and making them fresh again - it's got a cool Court and Spark vibe
  • "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
See all of our Joni Mitchell albums in stock


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White Hot Stamper

Joni Mitchell
Clouds

  (Item #: mitchcloud_1906_9_11) 

Our Price: $249.99

  • Triple Triple! A stunning copy with Triple Plus (A+++) sound from start to finish- this is As Good As It Gets, folks!
  • Check out the clear transients on Joni's 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. Guitar alone is used in accompaniment, and the variety of playing approaches and sounds gotten here is most impressive."
See all of our Joni Mitchell albums in stock


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White Hot Stamper

Joni Mitchell
Court and Spark

  (Item #: mitchcourt_1906_1910) 

Our Price: $249.99

  • 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
  • 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
For The Roses

  (Item #: mitchforth_1902_7_10) 

Our Price: $249.99

  • 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."
See all our Joni Mitchell albums in stock


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White Hot Stamper

Joni Mitchell
Song To A Seagull

  (Item #: mitchsongt_1908) 

Our Price: $249.99

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


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Super Hot Stamper

Billie Holiday
All Or Nothing At All

  (Item #: holidallor_1908) 

Our Price: $199.99

  • An outstanding original pressing of Holiday's 1958 release, with solid Double Plus (A++) sound from first note to last
  • This vintage pressing is well balanced, yet big and lively, with such wonderful clarity in the mids and highs as well as deep punchy bass and a big open and spacious soundfield
  • It's one of the better sounding Billie Holiday records we've heard, any guaranteed to beat any Heavy Vinyl reissue you've wasted your money on
  • 4 1/2 stars: "... features some of Billie Holiday's top Verve performances from the mid-'50s... she runs the emotional gamut from summery optimism to pathos-rich musings. Befitting her perennial after-hours mood, the majority of songs here feature Holiday in a low-down mood of the highest order."
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White Hot Stamper (Quiet Vinyl)

Joni Mitchell
Court and Spark

  (Item #: mitchcourt_1910) 

Our Price: $199.99

  • Superb sound, with a Triple Plus (A+++) side one and a Double Plus (A++) side two - exceptionally quiet vinyl too (except for a couple of marks that play lightly)
  • What's good about ANALOG is what's good about this album - the sound is rich, warm and natural, with boatloads of Tubey Magic
  • Musically this is one of our two or three favorite Joni albums, and it's unlikely the sound of the best copies can be beat either, thanks to the brilliant engineering of Henry Lewy!
  • 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

Blue Mitchell
Blue's Moods

  (Item #: mitchblues_1905_10) 

Our Price: $169.99

  • A superb copy with solid Double Plus (A++) sound from start to finish - xceptionally quiet vinyl throughout
  • Yet another remarkable disc from the Golden Age of Vacuum Tube Recording, with the added benefit of mastering using the more modern cutting equipment of the '70s and '80s
  • (We are of course here referring to the good modern mastering of 35+ years ago, not the generally opaque, veiled and lifeless mastering so common today)
  • "Of trumpeter Blue Mitchell's seven Riverside recordings, only this set -- along with three numbers on Blue Soul -- feature Mitchell as the only horn. Joined by pianist Wynton Kelly, bassist Sam Jones, and drummer Roy Brooks, the trumpeter is typically distinctive, swinging, and inventive within the hard bop genre."
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Super Hot Stamper

Blue Mitchell
Blue's Moods

  (Item #: mitchblues_1910) 

Our Price: $169.99

  • A superb copy of Blue Mitchell's 1960 Riverside classic with solid Double Plus (A++) sound from start to finish - exceptionally quiet vinyl too
  • Yet another remarkable disc from the Golden Age of Vacuum Tube Recording, with the added benefit of mastering using the more modern cutting equipment of the '70s and '80s
  • (We are of course here referring to the good modern mastering of 35+ years ago, not the generally opaque, veiled and lifeless mastering so common today)
  • "Of trumpeter Blue Mitchell's seven Riverside recordings, only this set -- along with three numbers on Blue Soul -- feature Mitchell as the only horn. Joined by pianist Wynton Kelly, bassist Sam Jones, and drummer Roy Brooks, the trumpeter is typically distinctive, swinging, and inventive within the hard bop genre."
More

 
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Super Hot Stamper (quiet)

Hampton Hawes
Everybody Likes Hampton Hawes...

  (Item #: hawesevery_volume_3_1910) 

Our Price: $149.99

  • Superb sound throughout for this Contemporary Yellow Label stereo pressing with both sides earning solid Double Plus (A++) grades or BETTER - exceptionally quiet vinyl too
  • Note how correct the sound of the instruments is on these sides - dead-on instrumental timbre is unquestionably the hallmark of any Contemporary recording, and this one is as right sounding as any we have ever played
  • "The third of three Hampton Hawes trio dates with bassist Red Mitchell and drummer Chuck Thompson is on the same high level as his first two... [he] comes up with consistently creative ideas throughout this swinging bop date."
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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

Hampton Hawes
Everybody Likes Hampton Hawes...

  (Item #: hawesevery_volume_3_1904_1) 

Our Price: $149.99

  • Superb sound throughout for this Contemporary Yellow Label stereo pressing with both sides earning solid Double Plus (A++) grades or BETTER
  • Note how correct the sound of the instruments is on these sides. Dead-on instrumental timbre is unquestionably the hallmark of any Contemporary recording, and this one is as right sounding as any we have ever played
  • "The third of three Hampton Hawes trio dates with bassist Red Mitchell and drummer Chuck Thompson is on the same high level as his first two... [he] comes up with consistently creative ideas throughout this swinging bop date." -- All Music
See all of our Hampton Hawes albums in stock


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Super Hot Stamper

Joni Mitchell
For The Roses

  (Item #: mitchforth_1906_10) 

Our Price: $149.99

  • 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

Joni Mitchell
Miles of Aisles

  (Item #: mitchmiles_1907_1) 

Our Price: $149.99

  • This Joni Mitchell classic boasts excellent Double Plus (A++) sound or BETTER on all four sides; super quiet vinyl too!
  • The sound is super clean, clear, and full-bodied with a lovely bottom end and plenty of space and breathy presence on her vocals
  • Joni reworks all her material here, giving the songs new arrangements and making them fresh again - it's got a cool Court and Spark vibe
  • "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
See all of our Joni Mitchell albums in stock


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White Hot Stamper

Shorty Rogers
Bossa Nova Exciting Jazz Samba Rhythms

  (Item #: rogerbossa_1910) 

Our Price: $149.99

  • Shorty's 1961 Bossa Nova exploration finally makes its Hot Stamper debut with STUNNING Shootout Winning Triple Plus (A+++) grades on both sides
  • Rich, smooth, sweet, and wonderfully natural, this is the sound we love here at Better Records
  • This is swingin’ West Coast jazz at its best - a highly recommended jazz album for those of you who care to explore artists out of the jazz mainstream
  • Rogers assembled a top-notch ensemble for this wonderful Bossa Nova album, including Bud Shank and Shelly Manne
More Shorty Rogers


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Super Hot Stamper

Joni Mitchell
Clouds

  (Item #: mitchcloud_1906_10) 

Our Price: $129.99

  • 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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Super Hot Stamper

Andre Previn & His Pals
Pal Joey

  (Item #: previpaljo_1902_1908) 

Our Price: $119.99

  • Superb Double Plus (A++) sound or BETTER on both sides - this copy is truly a knockout Piano Trio record
  • Our best Hot Stamper copies will show you just how good Fifties All Tube Analog can sound
  • Yet another Demo Disc for Contemporary, the brilliant work of the engineering team of Dunann and Holzer
  • One of Andre Previn's better jazz performances on record - his pals Manne and Mitchell are no slouches either
More Andre Previn / More Shelly Manne


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Super Hot Stamper

Hampton Hawes
All Night Session!, Vol. 3

  (Item #: hawesall_night_3_1903_1908) 

Our Price: $119.99

  • Hampton Hawes Quartet's third All Night Session! album finally arrives on the site with outstanding Double Plus (A++) sound or BETTER from first note to last
  • Clean, clear, spacious and present yet still super rich and full - just the right sound for this wonderful quartet
  • 4 1/2 Stars: "... more than two hours of exceptionally fine quartet jazz. "
  • "From gently swinging to more uptempo songs this group plays almost telepathically... When people speak of jazz -- this is what should come to mind."
  • See all of our Hampton Hawes albums in stock


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Super Hot Stamper

Hampton Hawes
Everybody Likes Hampton Hawes...

  (Item #: hawesevery_volume_3_1910_1) 

Our Price: $99.99

  • Superb sound throughout for this Contemporary Yellow Label stereo pressing with both sides earning solid Double Plus (A++) grades
  • Note how correct the sound of the instruments is on these sides - dead-on instrumental timbre is unquestionably the hallmark of any Contemporary recording, and this one is as right sounding as any we have ever played
  • "The third of three Hampton Hawes trio dates with bassist Red Mitchell and drummer Chuck Thompson is on the same high level as his first two... [he] comes up with consistently creative ideas throughout this swinging bop date."
More Hampton Hawes


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Super Hot Stamper

Joni Mitchell
Court and Spark (Quiet Vinyl)

  (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
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 and it plays about as quietly as any early pressing we can find
  • The vocals are breathy and clear - the overall sound is rich and full with lovely guitar transients
  • Our favorite early (pre-Blue) Joni Mitchell album by far - as good as her others are, this one has a special charm we can find on no other record, by Joni or anyone else
  • "What sets this release apart from those of other confession-style singer/songwriters of the time is the craft, subtlety, and evocative power of Mitchell's lyrics and harmonic style... "
See all of our Joni Mitchell albums in stock


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Super Hot Stamper

Joni Mitchell
Wild Things Run Fast

  (Item #: mitchwildt_1907) 

Our Price: $89.99

  • An outstanding copy of Joni's superb 1982 release, with solid Double Plus (A++) sound from start to finish - exceptionally quiet vinyl too
  • Her last great record and a personal favorite - fortunately for us audiophiles, this copy is spacious, open and much less "modern" sounding than most - great energy too
  • Famously included on the TAS Super Disc List and, on a wonderful copy like this one, you can hear exactly why it made the cut
  • "... Joni Mitchell achieved more of a balance between her pop abilities and her jazz aspirations, meanwhile rediscovering a more direct, emotional lyric approach. The result was her best album since the mid-'70s." [Hear hear!]
See all of our Joni Mitchell albums in stock


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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_1910) 

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

June Christy
Gone For The Day

  (Item #: chrisgonef_1805_1906) 

Our Price: $74.99

  • With a nearly Triple Plus (A++ to A+++) side one and a seriously good Double Plus (A++) side two, this Capitol Turquoise label original will be very hard to beat
  • This 1957 mono has all the TUBEY MAGIC these vintage Capitol pressings are famous for - fairly quiet vinyl too
  • It's balanced and natural, with the kind of rich, full-bodied sound that no one seems to know how to record anymore
  • Allmusic reviewers give it Four Stars and we would give it at least that many - we love the unique sound of June Christy's breathy, sweet voice
See all of our June Christy albums in stock


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Hot Stamper

June Christy
Gone For The Day

  (Item #: chrisgonef_1804_1807) 

Our Price: $69.99

  • This very good sounding original Turquoise Capitol pressing boasts Hot Stampers on both sides
  • Musically, this album is right up there with the best female vocal records we have ever played
  • The best of these original monos from 1957 have all the TUBEY MAGIC these vintage Capitol pressings are famous for
  • Allmusic reviewers give it Four Stars and we would give it at least that many
See all of our June Christy albums in stock


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Andre Previn & His Pals - Pal Joey

Our Shootout Winner from 2016

  (Item #: previpaljo_2016) 



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

The piano sounds uncannily lifelike right from the start, a beautiful instrument in a natural space, tonally correct from top to bottom. I can't think of many records off the top of my head that get a better piano sound than this one.

ROY DUNANN and HOWARD HOLZER in 1957 are hard to beat.

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Andre Previn & His Pals - West Side Story

Our Shootout Winner from 2016

  (Item #: previwests_2016) 



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

This superb sounding Black Label Stereo Contemporary pressing has close to Triple Plus (A++ to A+++) sound on side two. Side one earned a Double Plus, which makes this by far the best copy to ever hit the site and a great way to hear this classic piano trio swingin' in 1959. This is yet another Demo Disc for Contemporary, more brilliant work from house engineer Roy Dunann.

More Andre Previn / More Shelly Manne


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Andre Previn & His Pals - West Side Story

MoFi Reviewed

  (Item #: previwests_mofi) 



Sonic Grade: B-

Another MoFi LP reviewed.

I played this record a while back -- it's one of the Mobile Fidelity's I remember liking from the old days -- and sure enough it still sounds good. It does not have the phony boosted bottom and top that most MoFis do. Since it's such a well recorded album, the sound is very impressive. Also the music is great. This is one of Previn's best piano trio records. And Shelly Manne drums up a storm here.

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Art Pepper - Straight Life

Our Shootout Winner from 2018

  (Item #: peppestrai_2018) 



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

This Jazz Classic boasts solid Double Plus (A++) sound, or close to it, from first note to last. The two long ballads, "September Song" at over ten minutes, and "Nature Boy" at just under ten, give Art and the boys a chance to stretch out and take it to another level.

Art Pepper’s saxophone sound is just right - present, breathy and airy with clear leading edge transients. The lineup on this LP is truly stellar, especially for 1979, with the legendary Tommy Flanagan on piano, Billy Higgins on drums, and the great Red Mitchell on bass.

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Barney Kessel - Music to Listen to Barney Kessel By

Our Shootout Winner from 2008

  (Item #: kessemusic_2008) 



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

This Minty Original Black Label Contemporary Stereo LP from 1957 has DEMO DISC QUALITY SOUND! No other copy we played was in a class with this bad boy -- it does it ALL. For those of you who appreciate the sound that Roy DuNann (and Howard Holzer on other sessions) were able to achieve in the '50s at Contemporary Records, this LP is a Must-Own (unless you already have it, which is doubtful considering how hard it is to find a copy in clean condition).

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Barney Kessel - Music to Listen to Barney Kessel By

Our Shootout Winner from 2017

  (Item #: kessemusic_2017) 



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

This Triple Triple (A+++) mono pressing blew everything else out of the water - nothing could touch it! How can you beat a Roy DuNann recording of five reeds, piano, guitar and a rhythm section that includes Shelly Manne and Red Mitchell? The timbre of the instruments is so spot-on it makes all the hard work and money you've put into your stereo more than pay off.

The Demo Disc sound on this copy is really something to hear - all tube, live-to-two-track direct from the Contemporary studio.

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Barney Kessel - Vol. 3: To Swing Or Not To Swing

Our Shootout Winner from 2017

  (Item #: kessetoswi_2017) 



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

This Early Contemporary Yellow Label Mono LP sure has AMAZING SOUND!

Man, this music is a blast when it sounds this good. I don’t think there’s a whole lot you could do to make this music sound any better! It’s one of the best early mono Contemporary LP I’ve ever played. It's so tubey magical and Kessel's guitar sound is out of this world.

More Barney Kessel


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Bruch & Mozart / Violin Concertos / Laredo - Mitchell

Our Shootout Winner from 2010

  (Item #: bruchvioli_2010) 



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

Superb sound. The violin is wonderful on both sides. The Mozart is absolutely gorgeous; the best I''ve ever heard it.

The orchestra on the Bruch side gets a little congested in the louder passages, which is typical for records of this era.

Laredo plays these pieces beautifully. The Bruch is an especially romantic work and his violin sings sweetly and with deep emotion throughout. The Mozart is more spritely and he plays it with the light touch it requires. You will have a hard time finding a better violin concerto record. This ranks with the best of them.

More of the music of Max Bruch


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Dopey Record Theories

Putting Bad Ideas to the Test

  (Item #: mitchcourt_theory) 



In a recent listing for one of our Hot Stamper 2-packs we noted that side two of record one has Joni sounding thin, hard and veiled. If you look at the stampers you can see it's obviously cut by the same guy (no names please!), and we're pretty sure both sides were stamped out at the same time of day since it's impossible to do it any other way. What accounts for the amazing sound of one side and the mediocre sound of its reverse? If your theory can't account for these huge differences in sound, your theory must be seen for what it is: hopelessly, fundamentally flawed. Mistaken. Inadequate. "Dopey" works too.
More Court and Spark


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For Pete’s Sake, What’s Wrong With Blue?

Thoughts on "The Definitive Vinyl" Version

  (Item #: mitchblue_letter_2) 



In 2007 a customer took issue with our summary rejection of the new Blue.

Tom,

I find it curious you are not carrying the new Joni Mitchell Blue vinyl issue. Even to the point of saying you can do better... for 25 bucks? After clicking on the LP cover and reading the comments from over the years it makes me wonder what your agenda really is. I paid $250 for a wonderful WLP and this Rhino issue smokes it, even as good as it is. I even have a Cd cut from this mastering session off the analog FLAT, not Dolby tapes and this vinyl even beats it.... of course just my opinion.

More Blue


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Hampton Hawes - Everybody Likes Hampton Hawes

Reviewed in 2013

  (Item #: hawesevery_volume_3_2013) 



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

This hard-to-find '70s Contemporary reissue pressing of the 1956 mono recording has EXCELLENT sound, with both sides earning grades of A+ to A++. We don't run into Hawes' LPs the way we used to, so it was indeed a delight to find enough copies of this album to do a shootout.

Note how correct the sound of the instruments is on both sides. This is the unquestionably the hallmark of any Contemporary recording: correct instrumental timbre.

More Jazz on Contemporary


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Hampton Hawes - Four!

Our Shootout Winner from 2019

  (Item #: hawesfour_2019) 



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

Four! finally makes its Hot Stamper debut with stellar Shootout Winning Triple Plus (A+++) sound or close to it from first note to last. The timbre of the instruments in this brilliant jazz quartet is so spot-on it makes all the hard work and money you've put into your stereo more than pay off. Roy DuNann engineered some of the best sounding records we have ever heard - here's a textbook example of what the audiophiles at Contemporary were able to achieve in the studio.

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John Baldry - It Ain't Easy

Our Shootout Winner from 2017

  (Item #: baldritain_2017) 



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

A few years ago while I was working on the site I had music on youtube playing. The song "Flying" came on from the It Ain't Easy album, and when the chorus came in I could not believe how big, rich and powerful it sounded -- this, on computer speakers!

I tracked down my copy of the album, the domestic Green Label WB pressing with a different cover you no doubt have seen in your local record store bin and threw it on the table for a quick listen. In moments it was obvious that my domestic original was a big step down sonically from what I imagined the source for the youtube video sound would have been.

More Long John Baldry


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Joni and Blue

Hot Stamper Shootout Stalled 2005!

  (Item #: mitchblue_2005) 



Dateline 2005!

We are preparing to put some Hot Stamper copies of this record on the site. Because it’s so difficult to find a quiet, properly mastered, properly pressed LP of this music, it’s a project that has been going on for years.

More Joni Mitchell


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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.
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Joni Mitchell - Clouds

Our Shootout Winner from 2008

  (Item #: mitchcloud_2008) 



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

The clarity and transparency on this ALL-TIME CHAMPION for Clouds allow the raw emotion of Joni’s performances come through like never before.

The intimacy of the recording is simply breathtaking. You have not begun to hear these songs with this kind of realism and power unless, like us, you've cleaned and played scores and scores of copies and have lucked into that one freakishly good side one that sounds like you just threaded up the master tape and hit Play.

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Joni Mitchell - Court And Spark

Rating the DCC LP

  (Item #: mitchcourt_scorecard) 



Sonic Grade: B

The DCC -- Not Bad!

Steve's version is very musical; it's rich and natural sounding, which of course makes it very enjoyable. You can do a lot better but you sure can do a lot worse. Opaque, veiled, lifeless, dull sound is the norm for Court and Spark -- most copies are dead as a doornail. If they're not dead, they're likely to be thin and gritty. The DCC is a big improvement over the average domestic pressing. (The original Brit imports are fairly competitive with the DCC; the later Brits with the K catalog numbers suck as a rule.)

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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 2008

  (Item #: mitchforth_2008) 



A distinguished member of the Better Records Rock and Pop Hall of Fame that sold for $600 in 2008..

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. You may have noticed that there were no Joni records on our Top 100 List, but after hearing this wonderful LP on the original white label Asylum pressing we knew we had to add it to that very special list.

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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.

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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!

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Joni Mitchell - Song To A Seagull

Our Shootout Winner from 2012

  (Item #: mitchsongt_2013) 



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

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

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

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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.

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Joni Mitchell Discography

  (Item #: alljonimitchell) 



1968 Song to a Seagull*
1969 Clouds*
1970 Ladies of the Canyon*
1971 Blue* -- Top 100
1972 For the Roses* -- Some of her best sound
1974 Court and Spark
1974 Miles of Aisles*
1975 The Hissing of Summer Lawns*
1976 Hejira*
1977 Don Juan's Reckless Daughter*
1979 Mingus*
1980 Shadows and Light*
1982 Wild Things Run Fast* -- TAS List but shouldn't be
1985 Dog Eat Dog
1988 Chalk Mark in a Rain Storm
1991 Night Ride Home
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Julie London - Julie Is Her Name, Vol. 2

Our Shootout Winner from 2017

  (Item #: londojulie_is_2_2017) 



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

The notes I took during this shootout lay out just how impressed I was with the sound of this remarkable copy:

Wide stereo. Big Bass. Swingin'. Just the right amount of reverb. Tonal perfection. The stereo kills the mono (on this album, on the copies we played anyway).

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Red Mitchell Quartet - Red Mitchell Quartet

Our Shootout Winner from 2010

  (Item #: mitchredmi_2010) 



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

TWO SUPERB SIDES on quiet vinyl. This stunning copy of this Better Records fave has some of the best upright bass sound we've heard; it's welll-defined with texture and weight. It's also unbelievable dynamic and lively. The clarity and transparency are mindblowing here. We went crazy over the huge soundfield on this copy -- wall to wall, floor to ceiling, and then some.

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Shelly Manne & His Friends - Bells Are Ringing

Our Shootout Winner from 2016

  (Item #: mannebells_2016) 



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

Side One

Rich and Tubey Magical in the best way, because it's still clear and spacious.

Side Two

Tight, deep bass and an extended top, with a solid piano in between, this side is hard to fault.

Better Than a Dream, the second track on this side, has one of the best sounding jazz pianos I have ever heard. My notes say "you cannot record a piano any better" and I stand behind that statement one hundred percent.

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Shelly Manne & His Friends - Bells Are Ringing

What to Listen For

  (Item #: mannebells_wtlf) 



Another in our series of Home Audio Exercises.

I have a very long history with this album, dating back close to twenty years. My friend Robert Pincus first turned me on to the CD, which, happily for all concerned was mastered beautifully. We used it to test and tweak my stereo and many of those that were owned by friends.

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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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Why Spend Money on a Top Quality Turntable if You're Going to Play Mediocre Records?

  (Item #: bad180) 



This commentary was posted in 2007 and amended later with the statement that we would no longer be ordering new heavy vinyl titles starting in 2010. By 2011 we had eliminated them completely from our site. If you bought any Heavy Vinyl pressing from us, ever, now is the time to get rid of it and hear what a Hot Stamper can do for your musical enjoyment.

Three of the Top Five sellers this week (8/22/07) at Acoustic Sounds are records we found hard to like: Aja, Aqualung and Blue. Can you really defend the expense and hassle of analog LP playback with records that sound as mediocre as this Rhino pressing of Blue?


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Joni Mitchell

  (Item #: _Mitchell) 


Joni Mitchell albums in stock

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