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White Hot Stamper

John Coltrane
My Favorite Things

  (Item #: coltrmyfav_1806) 

Our Price: $499.99

  • Insanely good throughout: Triple Plus (A+++) sound from start to finish
  • Dramatically more richness, fullness and presence than any copy you have ever heard, guaranteed
  • An exceptionally difficult album to find with top quality sound and decent surfaces
  • "The unforced, practically casual soloing styles of the assembled quartet allow for tastefully executed passages a la the Miles Davis Quintet, a trait Coltrane no doubt honed during his tenure in that band." - 5 Stars
See all of our John Coltrane albums in stock


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Super Hot Stamper

Cat Stevens
Tea for the Tillerman

  (Item #: steveteafo_1806_1) 

Our Price: $399.99

  • This outstanding Island import copy of TFTT - The Pinnacle of British Folk Rock from 1970 - earned very strong Double Plus (A++) grades on both sides and played pretty darn quiet too!
  • The emotional power of the songs is communicated completely - we can assure you the experience will be like playing the album for the first time
  • This pressing is ALIVE with musical energy and Tubey Magical Analog sound the likes of which you may never have experienced
  • 5 Stars on Allmusic, a stunning Demo Disc, and a permanent member of the Better Records Top 100
More Cat Stevens / More Hippie Folk Rock


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White Hot Stamper

U2
Boy

  (Item #: u2___boy_1806) 

Our Price: $349.99

  • For the first time ever, we have an incredible sounding copy of Boy with Triple Plus (A+++) sound from start to finish
  • Both sides here are out of this world -- incredibly big, full and lively with lots of energy and a massive punchy bottom end
  • Relatively quiet vinyl, with each side playing Mint Minus to Mint Minus Minus
  • "... all of its emotions are on the surface, delivered with optimistic, youthful self-belief, yet the unusual, distinctive guitar textures give it an unexpected tension that makes it an exhilarating debut." - All Music
See all of our U2 albums in stock


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Super Hot Stamper

The Grateful Dead
American Beauty

  (Item #: grateameri_1803_1805) 

Our Price: $299.99

  • An outstanding original Green Label copy with solid Double Plus (A++) grades on both sides - this is the way American Beauty is supposed to sound
  • Man, quiet copies of this album - like this one - are getting hard to find, and pricey too, and they sure don't sound as good as this very often
  • This is one of Stephen Barncard's greatest recording achievements - the richness and clarity are really something here
  • 5 Stars, a Top 100 album, and a true Must Own Album - "American Beauty remains the Dead's studio masterpiece."
See all of our Grateful Dead albums in stock


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Super Hot Stamper

Cat Stevens
Mona Bone Jakon

  (Item #: stevemonab_1805) 

Our Price: $249.99

  • You'll find outstanding Double Plus (A++) sound on this original copy of Cat Stevens' brilliant third album
  • The sound is so transparent, open, and spacious that nuances and subtleties that escaped you before are now front and center
  • When you hear I Wish I Wish and I Think I See The Light here you will understand why we say that this is one of the greatest popular recordings in the history of the world
  • The original A&M LPs we like are nearly impossible to find with good sound and quiet vinyl - this copy plays quieter than any we currently have in stock
  • "Mona Bone Jakon is a delight, and because it never achieved the Top 40 radio ubiquity of later albums, it sounds fresh and distinct."
See all of our Cat Stevens albums in stock


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Super Hot Stamper

Traffic
The Best of Traffic

  (Item #: traffbesto_1803x) 

Our Price: $249.99

  • With a nearly Triple Plus (A++ to A+++) side one and a solid Double Plus (A++) side two, this Pink Island LP is guaranteed to blow the doors off any other Traffic Hits LP you've ever heard
  • This amazing compilation boasts superb sound, often better than the very same tracks on the original British releases
  • Quiet vinyl, Mint Minus to Mint Minus Minus on both sides - Island didn't make them any quieter in 1969
  • Top 100 - "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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White Hot Stamper

Bryan Ferry
These Foolish Things

  (Item #: ferrythese_1803_1805) 

Our Price: $249.99

  • One of the best copies to ever hit the site, with Shootout Winning Triple Plus (A+++) grades or close to it on both sides
  • This original UK Island pressing is bigger, richer, more Tubey Magical, clearer, and with better bass - it knocked us out
  • Outside of the first three Roxy albums, there is simply no recording by the band that as good as the first three Bryan Ferry solo projects
  • "Ferry for the most part looked to America, touching on everything from Motown to the early jazz standard that gave the collection its name... Wrapping up with a grand take on "These Foolish Things" itself, this album is one of the best of its kind by any artist." - All Music
See all of our Bryan Ferry albums in stock


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White Hot Stamper

Steve Winwood
Back In The High Life

  (Item #: winwobacki_1804) 

Our Price: $249.99

  • One of the best copies to ever hit the site -- Triple Plus (A+++) sound on the second side, Double Plus (A++) on the first
  • The sound of this early British pressing is guaranteed to be dramatically bigger, richer, fuller and smoother than anything you've heard
  • Higher Love sounds great here. You won't believe it! And there's really not a bad track on the album
  • "The first undeniably superb record of an almost decade-long solo career ... the passion long smoldering in his finest work explodes in the album-opening duet with Chaka Khan, Higher Love..." -- Rolling Stone
See all of our Steve Winwood albums in stock


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White Hot Stamper

U2
October

  (Item #: u2___octob_1712_1806) 

Our Price: $249.99

  • For the first time ever, we have an incredible sounding copy of October with both sides rating a Triple Plus (A+++) or close to it
  • Both sides here are out of this world -- incredibly big, full and lively with lots of energy and a massive punchy bottom end
  • Relatively quiet vinyl, with each side playing Mint Minus to Mint Minus Minus
  • "... when U2 do marry the message, melody, and sound together, as on "Gloria," "I Threw a Brick Through a Window," and "I Fall Down," the results are thoroughly impressive."
See all of our U2 albums in stock


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Super Hot Stamper

Cat Stevens
Teaser & The Firecat

  (Item #: stevetease_1805) 

Our Price: $199.99

  • This timeless Classic Folk Rock recording on the original A&M label offers superb Demo Disc Quality sound on both sides
  • These Double Plus (A++) sides will rock your world with their amazing richness, clarity, transparency and ENERGY
  • AMG 5 Stars and a Top 100 album - it just may be the Best Sounding record Cat Stevens ever made
  • Tuesday’s Dead, Morning Has Broken, Bitterblue, Moonshadow, Peace Train - and that's just side two! What side of any album has five songs of such quality?
See all of our Cat Stevens albums in stock


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Super Hot Stamper

John Coltrane
My Favorite Things

  (Item #: coltrmyfav_1804) 

Our Price: $199.99

  • You'll find excellent Double Plus (A++) sound on both sides of this 1961 Coltrane classic
  • You'll also find dramatically more richness, fullness and presence than most copies have to offer
  • An exceptionally difficult album to find with top quality sound and decent surfaces, but here one is!
  • 5 stars: "The unforced, practically casual soloing styles of the assembled quartet allow for tastefully executed passages a la the Miles Davis Quintet, a trait Coltrane no doubt honed during his tenure in that band."
See all of our John Coltrane albums in stock


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Super Hot Stamper

Traffic
John Barleycorn Must Die

  (Item #: traffjohnb_1804_1806) 

Our Price: $199.99

  • An outstanding copy of this Traffic Classic with solid Double Plus (A++) sound or BETTER from first note to last
  • Both sides have the vintage analog sound we love - rich and smooth, with plenty of Tubey Magic and studio space
  • Unusually quiet vinyl for a copy of this album - Mint Minus to Mint Minus Minus - they don't come quieter
  • Arguably their best album, certainly their most groundbreaking, original and involving - Low Spark would rank a close second
  • "...the band sounds utterly grounded. As the grooves percolate effortlessly along, it becomes clear that unity, not any technical skill, is what makes the music levitate."
See all of our Traffic albums in stock


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White Hot Stamper

Bryan Ferry
Let's Stick Together

  (Item #: ferryletss_1705_1804) 

Our Price: $199.99

  • Our shootout winner for side two (which is the stronger of the two sides musically) - Triple Plus (A+++) on side two, Double Plus (A++) on one
  • For material and sound I consider this to be the best of Bryan Ferrry's solo albums - it's a blast from start to finish
  • The energy, presence, bass, and dynamic power (love that horn section!) place it well above his other side projects
  • 4 Stars: "The title track itself scored Ferry a deserved British hit single, with great sax work from Chris Mercer and Mel Collins and a driving, full band performance. Ferry's delivery is one of his best, right down to the yelps, and the whole thing chugs with post-glam power."
More Roxy Music


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Super Hot Stamper

Traffic
The Low Spark of High Heeled Boys

  (Item #: trafflowsp_1804_1) 

Our Price: $169.99

  • An outstanding early pressing offering spacious, Tubey Magical Double Plus (A++) sound from start to finish
  • Low Spark is clearly one of the best sounding Proggy/Arty Rock records ever made - the space it recreates in your listening room is huge
  • A Better Records Top 100 album and a real Demo Disc on a pressing that sounds as good as this one does
  • 4 1/2 stars: "The commercial and artistic apex of the second coming of Traffic... The standout was the 12-minute title track, with its distinctive piano riff and its lyrics of weary disillusionment with the music business. "
See all of our Traffic albums in stock


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Super Hot Stamper

Peter Gabriel
Peter Gabriel (3)

  (Item #: gabrigabr3_1801) 

Our Price: $149.99

  • An excellent pressing of Peter Gabriel's third release, with strong Double Plus (A++) grades on both sides
  • A Must Own for Gabriel fans, this album is widely considered his breakthrough work as a solo artist
  • Listen closely and you'll recognize Phil Collins' signature drum sound on several of the tracks, including "Intruder"
  • 5 stars: "Generally regarded as Peter Gabriel's finest record, his third eponymous album finds him coming into his own, crafting an album that's artier, stronger, more song oriented than before."
See all Peter Gabriel albums in stock


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Super Hot Stamper

Roxy Music
Siren

  (Item #: roxymsiren_1805) 

Our Price: $149.99

  • An outstanding early pressing of this Art Rock classic, rating Double Plus (A++) for sound on both sides
  • The sound is richer and fuller than on most copies, with a particularly strong, solid bottom end
  • Some of Ferry's strongest songwriting: Love Is The Drug, End of the Line, Sentimental Fool and more
  • 5 stars: "Abandoning the intoxicating blend of art rock and glam-pop that distinguished Stranded and Country Life, Roxy Music concentrates on Bryan Ferry's suave, charming crooner persona for the elegantly modern Siren."
More Roxy Music / More Bryan Ferry


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Super Hot Stamper

Steve Winwood
Back In The High Life

  (Item #: winwobacki_1802) 

Our Price: $149.99

  • Both sides of this UK copy of Steve Winwood's Solo Masterpiece earned outstanding Double Plus (A++) grades for sound
  • The sound of this early British pressing is big, rich, full and smooth - you'd be hard-pressed to find another copy this good!
  • Higher Love with excellent Double Plus sound? You're gonna love it! And there's really not a bad track on the album
  • "The first undeniably superb record of an almost decade-long solo career ... the passion long smoldering in his finest work explodes in the album-opening duet with Chaka Khan, Higher Love..." -- Rolling Stone
See all of our Steve Winwood albums in stock


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Super Hot Stamper

The Pretenders
Get Close

  (Item #: pretegetcl_1803) 

Our Price: $149.99

  • Excellent Double Plus (A++) sound on side two with a side one that's nearly as good - this copy is rockin' from start to finish
  • Side one alone has three of this band's best tracks: My Baby, When I Change My Life and Tradition of Love
  • If you like your Pretenders with a Big Beat then this is the album for you - it's a real rocker, especially when it sounds this good
  • The best copies are not the ones you might expect, and it took us a long time to figure out which copies had the real Get Close magic
See all of our Pretenders albums in stock


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Super Hot Stamper

Traffic
Mr. Fantasy

  (Item #: traffmrfan_1711) 

Our Price: $149.99

  • This Traffic classic boasts Double Plus (A++) sound, or close to it, from first note to last
  • Both sides are big, full and lively with huge amounts of space and Tubey Magic - thanks Eddie!
  • Relatively quiet vinyl throughout, Mint Minus to Minus Minus - few copies will play remotely this well
  • 4 stars: "Mason's more pop-oriented contributions remain winning, as do more light-hearted efforts"
More Steve Winwood / More Dave Mason


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White Hot Stamper

Steve Miller Band
Book Of Dreams

  (Item #: millebooko_1707x) 

Our Price: $149.99

  • A stunning copy, Triple Plus (A+++) on the second side and Double Plus (A++) on the first
  • The sound is incredibly big and full with excellent clarity, a huge bottom end and tons of energy
  • Jungle Love sounds fantastic here on the Triple Plus (A+++) side two
  • 4 stars: "A highlight of the '70s classic rock era and one of Miller's finest releases."
See all of our Steve Miller albums in stock


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Super Hot Stamper

Bryan Ferry
These Foolish Things

  (Item #: ferrythese_1805x) 

Our Price: $129.99

  • You'll find outstanding Double Plus (A++) sound on both sides of this early UK pressing of Bryan Ferry's debut solo album
  • This pressing is a real treat for the audiophile - lively, clear, and full, with good balance and tons of British Tubey Magic
  • Pretty darn quiet on both sides - Mint Minus to Mint Minus Minus
  • "Wrapping up with a grand take on 'These Foolish Things' itself, this album is one of the best of its kind by any artist." - Allmusic
See all of our Bryan Ferry albums in stock


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Super Hot Stamper

Steve Miller Band
Fly Like An Eagle

  (Item #: milleflyli_1804) 

Our Price: $129.99

  • This is a killer copy of Steve Miller's 1977 classic, with superb Double Plus (A++) sound or BETTER from start to finish
  • The sound is big and full with great space, critical to reproducing the recording's spacey (and pretty cool) effects
  • The title track and Take The Money and Run both sound amazing, as does everything else
  • "The key is focus, even on an album as stylishly, self-consciously trippy as this, since the focus brings about his strongest set of songs (both originals and covers), plus a detailed atmospheric production where everything fits." - 4 1/2 stars
See all of our Steve Miller Band albums in stock


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Hot Stamper

Traffic
The Best of Traffic

  (Item #: traffbesto_1711_1806) 

Our Price: $119.99
Sale Price: $99.00 (You save $20.99 / 17%)


  • With very good Hot Stamper grades throughout, this Traffic Hits LP on British vinyl has much to recommend it
  • The sound on this amazing compilation often trumps the very same tracks on the original British releases
  • Mint Minus to Mint Minus Minus vinyl playgrades on both sides - Island didn't make them any quieter in 1969
  • Top 100 - "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

Cat Stevens
Catch Bull At Four

  (Item #: stevecatch_1709s) 

Our Price: $119.99

  • Excellent Double Plus (A++) sound from start to finish, this UK pressing will be tough to beat
  • Rich, full, plenty of bottom end weight, more present and just plain more EXCITING than anything you've heard before
  • This one can show you the sweeter, tubier Midrange Magic that we love about Cat Stevens recordings
  • Many of Cat's best songs are here: Can't Keep It In, Angelsea, 18th Avenue, Freezing Steel and more
  • "Celebrated and adored for his sanguine lyrics and irresistible hooks, Cat Stevens was one of the rare singer-songwriters capable of composing genuinely optimistic songs that didn't leave a sappy residue in listeners' ears."
See all of our Cat Stevens albums in stock


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Hot Stamper

Cat Stevens
Teaser & The Firecat

  (Item #: stevetease_1801) 

Our Price: $99.99

  • This timeless Classic Folk Rock recording on the original A&M label offers very good sound on both sides
  • These Hot Stamper sides will rock your world with their richness, clarity, transparency and energy
  • AMG 5 Stars and a Top 100 album - it just may be the Best Sounding record Cat Stevens ever made
  • Tuesday’s Dead, Morning Has Broken, Bitterblue, Moonshadow, Peace Train - and that's just side two! What side of any album has five songs of such quality?
See all of our Cat Stevens albums in stock


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Super Hot Stamper

Bryan Ferry
Let's Stick Together

  (Item #: ferryletss_1710_1806) 

Our Price: $99.99

  • With two seriously good Double Plus (A++) sides, this UK pressing is one of the better copies from our most recent shootout
  • In terms of material (the reworked early Roxy tracks are especially good) AND sound quality this is the best of all of Ferry's solo albums
  • The vocal presence, rich bass, and punchy dynamics put this copy well above the competition
  • 4 Stars: "The title track scored Ferry a deserved British hit single, with great sax work from Chris Mercer and Mel Collins and a driving, full band performance. Ferry's delivery is one of his best, and the whole thing chugs with post-glam power."
More Roxy Music / More Bryan Ferry


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Super Hot Stamper

Harry Nilsson
Nilsson Sings Newman

  (Item #: nilssnilss_1612x) 

Our Price: $99.99

  • Two excellent sides with each rating a Double Plus (A++) or close to it, on reasonably quiet vinyl
  • Nilsson's vocals are tonally right on the money, and Randy Newman's songwriting is as sharp as ever
  • We at Better Records are huge Harry Nilsson fans - it warms our hearts that many of our customers seem to be as well
  • Allmusic 4 1/2 stars: "... a masterpiece is what this is, albeit a subtle, graceful masterpiece where the pleasure is in the grace notes, small gestures, and in-jokes."
See all of our Harry Nilsson albums in stock


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Super Hot Stamper

Steve Miller Band
Book Of Dreams

  (Item #: millebooko_1701x) 

Our Price: $99.99

  • Outstanding Double Plus (A++) sound on both sides and fairly quiet vinyl make this a Must Own
  • Present and lively with full-bodied tonality, only the right originals give you this kind of sound
  • Jet Airliner, Swingtown, Jungle Love and Sacrifice all sound the way they should - ROCKIN'
  • 4 stars in Allmusic: "...this is a highlight of the '70s classic rock era and one of Miller's finest releases."
See all of our Steve Miller albums in stock


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Hot Stamper

Roxy Music
Siren

  (Item #: roxymsiren_1803) 

Our Price: $79.99

  • This very good early pressing of this Art Rock classic earned Hot Stamper grades on both sides
  • The best copies are fairly transparent and mostly grain-free, with full-bodied vocals and lively sound
  • Some of Ferry's strongest songwriting: Love Is The Drug, End of the Line, Sentimental Fool and more
  • 5 stars: "Roxy embraces dance and unabashed pop on Siren, weaving them into their sleek, arty sound."
More Roxy Music / More Bryan Ferry


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Hot Stamper

Traffic
John Barleycorn Must Die

  (Item #: traffjohnb_1711_1) 

Our Price: $79.99

  • You'll find very good Hot Stamper grades on both sides of this Traffic classic
  • Arguably their best album in our opinion, certainly the most groundbreaking, original and involving
  • "...the band sounds utterly grounded. As the grooves percolate effortlessly along, it becomes clear that unity, not any technical skill, is what makes the music levitate."
See all of our Traffic albums in stock


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Hot Stamper

Traffic
The Low Spark of High Heeled Boys

  (Item #: trafflowsp_1711x_) 

Our Price: $79.99

  • You'll find very good Hot Stamper sound from start to finish on this 1971 Traffic pressing
  • A Classic Traffic album that belongs in any serious collection
  • A Better Records Top 100 album and real Demo Disc
  • 4 1/2 Stars: "The commercial and artistic apex of the second coming of Traffic"
See all of our Traffic albums in stock


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Hot Stamper

Steve Miller Band
Fly Like An Eagle

  (Item #: milleflyli_1801) 

Our Price: $69.99

  • You'll find very good Hot Stamper sound on both sides of this copy of Steve Miller's 1977 classic
  • This copy plays on relatively quiet vinyl, Mint Minus to Mint Minus Minus throughout
  • The title track and Take The Money and Run both sound amazing, as does everything else
  • "The key is focus, even on an album as stylishly, self-consciously trippy as this, since the focus brings about his strongest set of songs (both originals and covers), plus a detailed atmospheric production where everything fits." - 4 1/2 stars
See all of our Steve Miller Band albums in stock


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Super Hot Stamper

Cat Stevens
Izitso

  (Item #: steveizits_1612s_1802) 

Our Price: $59.99

  • Two killer sides, with Double Plus (A++) sound or better - big and rockin', the right sound for this music
  • The bottom end has the kind of WHOMP that brings a song like Old Schoolyard to life
  • Relatively quiet vinyl, Mint Minus to Mint Minus Minus - they don't really come quieter than this
  • Rolling Stone praised the album for blending together elements of folk rock and electronic music, "often in apparent opposition to each other", with "the diversity and the maturity to match this seeming incongruity."
See all of our Cat Stevens albums in stock


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Advances in Playback Technology

More Than Blind Faith

  (Item #: blindblind_advances) 



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

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

More Blind Faith


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Bad MoFi Mastering - Part One

Cat Stevens and His Sparkling Acoustic Guitars?

  (Item #: steveteafo_sparkle) 



In the commentary for America’s first album we noted that:

The guitars on this record are a true test of stereo fidelity. ... most of the pressings of this record do not get the guitars to sound right. ... on a copy with a bit too much top end they will have an unnatural hi-fi-ish sparkle.

This kind of sparkle can be heard on practically every record Mobile Fidelity made in the ’70s and ’80s. Tea for the Tillerman, Sundown, Year of the Cat, Finger Paintings, Byrd at the Gate, Quarter Moon in a 10 Cent Town -- the list of sparkling MoFis would be very long indeed, and these are just the records with prominent acoustic guitars!

See more commentaries as well as our in-stock copies of Tea for the Tillerman


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Blind Faith - Blind Faith

Our Shootout Winner from 2010

  (Item #: blindblind_2010) 



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

This early British pressing SLAUGHTERED all the other pressings we played it against! It's the Blind Faith you’ve been waiting for: Tubey Magical, Transparent, full of Life and Energy -- dear friends, it’s all here! And the vinyl is some of the quietest we've ever heard for this album.

Sick of buying one harsh, thin, distorted, murky LP after another in a vain attempt to find a copy that reminds you of why you LOVED this record so much when it came out back in 1969?

More Blind Faith


 
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Blind Faith - Blind Faith

MoFi Debunked

  (Item #: blindblind_debunk) 



Sonic Grade: C-

Our latest shootout this time around (07/09) left us with a fairly large serving of egg on our face concerning the commentary we had written for the MoFi pressing of Blind Faith, a textbook example of We Was Wrong.

It’s rich and sweet with SHOCKINGLY GOOD SOUND. MFSL did a masterful job with this one, I’d put it in the top 10 MOFIs of all-time!
I regret to say none of that is true.
More Blind Faith


 
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Bryan Ferry - Let's Stick Together

Our Shootout Winner from 2012

  (Item #: ferryletss_2012) 



This 2-pack gives you A+++ sound and quiet vinyl for both sides of one of my all time favorite albums. In terms of material and sound, I consider this to be the best of Bryan Ferrry's solo albums. From a sonics standpoint, the two A+++ sides you get here are unbeatable. We shot out a number of other imports and domestic pressings and the killer sides here were As Good As It Gets. The presence, bass, and dynamics make it sound head and shoulders above the competition. It has that master tape sound.
More Bryan Ferry and Roxy Music


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Cat Stevens & TAS List Thoughts

Harry Pearson Is Losing It

  (Item #: stevemonab_tas) 



In an issue of The Absolute Sound from a few years back Harry revisited some of his favorite records from the old days. This was one of the ones mentioned, and he made the point that only the British originals sound any good. At one time there were four Cat Stevens albums on the TAS List, all British pressings EXCEPT for Mona Bone. Why? Because Mona Bone never sounds good on import vinyl, at least not on the dozen or so early imports I’ve come across.
More Mona Bone Jakon


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Cat Stevens - 200 Grams of Tea for the Tillerman

This Is Your Idea of Analog?

  (Item #: steveteafo_200_2014) 



Dear Record Loving Audiophiles of Earth,

I'm afraid we have some bad news to report. We regret to inform you that the 2011 edition of Tea for the Tillerman pressed by Analogue Productions on Heavy Vinyl doesn't sound very good. We know you were all hoping for the best. We also know that you must be very disappointed to hear this unwelcome news.

But the record is what it is, and what it is is not very good. Its specific shortcomings are many and will be considered in at length in our review below.

See more commentaries as well as our in-stock copies of Tea for the Tillerman


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Cat Stevens - Catch Bull At Four

Our Shootout Winner from 2016

  (Item #: stevecatch_2016) 



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

If you're familiar with what the best Hot Stamper pressings of Tea for the Tillerman, Teaser and the Firecat or Mona Bone Jakon can sound like -- amazing is the word that comes to mind -- then you should easily be able to imagine how good this killer copy of Catch Bull at Four sounds.

All the ingredients for a Classic Cat Stevens album were in place for this release which came out in 1972, about a year after Teaser and the Firecat. His brilliant guitar player Alun Davies is still in the band, and Paul Samwell-Smith is still producing as brilliantly as ever.

More Catch Bull at Four


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Cat Stevens - Izitso

Our Shootout Winner from 2008

  (Item #: steveizits_2008) 



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

TWO AMAZING SIDES, including THE BEST SIDE TWO WE’VE EVER HEARD! We just finished our first shootout for Izitso, and this was the overall champion with an A++ side one backed with an AGAIG A+++ side two. It’s no Teaser and the Firecat, but there’s enough Cat Stevens magic here to satisy casual fans and die-hards alike.

More Cat Stevens


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Cat Stevens - Mona Bone Jakon

Listening in Depth

  (Item #: stevemonab_depth) 



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

When you hear I Wish I Wish and I Think I See The Light on a Hot Stamper copy you will be convinced, as I am, that this is one of the greatest popular recordings in the history of the world. I don't know of ANY other album that has more LIFE and MUSICAL ENERGY than this one.

More Mona Bone Jakon


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Cat Stevens - Mona Bone Jakon

Live and Learn

  (Item #: stevemonab_wrong) 



When we said this album was not the sonic equal of Teaser and the Firecat or Tea for the Tillerman, boy, We Was Wrong and then some. Read all about it in this White Hot Stamper copy review below.

It’s been about a year since we last found Hot Stampers of this album, and having made a number of improvements to the stereo over that time, I'm here to report that this album got a WHOLE LOT BETTER, better than I ever imagined it could get. Mona Bone Jakon now ranks as a DEMO DISC of the highest order, every bit the equal of Teaser and Tea.

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Cat Stevens - Mona Bone Jakon

Notes from an Early Shootout (2007)

  (Item #: stevemonab_2007) 



This album is one of Cat's top four titles both musically and sonically. Tea and Teaser are in a league of their own, but this album and Catch Bull At Four are close behind. The music is WONDERFUL -- the best tracks (including I Wish I Wish and I Think I See The Light) rank right up there with anything from his catalog. Sonically, it's not an epic recording on the scale of Tea or Teaser [WRONG] but with Paul Samwell-Smith at the helm you can be sure it's an excellent sounding album -- on the right pressing.

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Cat Stevens - Tea for the Tillerman

Live and Learn

  (Item #: steveteafo_wrong) 



A blast from the past from 2006.

I have to admit that I was dead wrong when I said that the best copies of this album were the Brown Label A&M pressings. I see now how I made this error. We played four pink label copies and our best A&M LP is only better than three of them.

But it sure isn't better than this one! I've heard a good dozen or so Pink Labels and this is the first one that ever blew my mind. I thought I knew this record, but this copy changes everything.

More Tea for the Tillerman


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Cat Stevens - Tea For The Tillerman

MoFi (UHQR too) Debunked

  (Item #: steveteafo_debunk) 



Sonic Grade: MoFi Regular LP: D / UHQR: F

This is, I hope it goes without saying, one of the greatest rock records of all time, music that belongs in any collection. I’ve been playing this album for 30 years and I can honestly say I’ve never once been tired of hearing it. I do get tired of hearing bad copies. I become absolutely incensed when I have to play the Mobile Fidelity version of this album, because what they did to this record is a travesty. If you want to know what the guitars on this album are NOT supposed to sound like, play the MOFI. And if you want to hear an even worse version, play the UHQR.

See more commentaries as well as our in-stock copies of Tea for the Tillerman


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Cat Stevens - Tea for the Tillerman

A Hall of Fame Pressing from 2004!

  (Item #: steveteafo_2004) 



This is a superb sounding original Brown Label A&M pressing. If you didn’t know better you might think you were listening to a Pink Label copy: it’s that good! In fact, having just played a Pink label Island 3U/3U original, I’m going to say that this pressing actually sounds better on side one than that famous import. This will no doubt shock many of you. But I have known of a better sounding brown label domestic pressing for close to 10 years.
More Tea for the Tillerman


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Cat Stevens - Tea for the Tillerman

An Album We Are Clearly Obsessed With

  (Item #: steveteafo_overview) 



TEA FOR THE TILLERMAN 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 CAT STEVENS albums.


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Cat Stevens - Tea for the Tillerman

Making Progress in Audio

  (Item #: steveteafo_progress) 



The following comments were written in 2004.

Hard Headed Woman is a song that has evolved dramatically over the last 20 years. If you've been making regular upgrades to your equipment and taking advantage of all the new technologies available at the front end, such as: vibration control, electromagnetic stabilization, better arms, better cartridges, better phono stages, better motors, fly wheels, Synchronous Drive Systems, better power cords, better power conditioning, to name just a few, you are no doubt able to reproduce this song much better than you were in the old days.

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Cat Stevens - Tea, Teaser & Mona Bone

180g Universal Debunked

  (Item #: stevetea_debunk) 



Sonic Grades: F/F/F

Three Hall of Shame Pressings

Around 2000 Universal did the three most famous Cat Stevens titles, and they have to be three of the worst sounding records I have ever heard in my life. Many audiophile record dealers carry them. Have YOU been ripped off by one of these dealers? If so, we can help. We would never promote garbage like that.

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Cat Stevens - Teaser & The Firecat

25th Anniversary Island LP Debunked

  (Item #: stevetease_25th) 



Sonic Grade: F

A Hall of Shame pressing.

I remember years ago (1986 to be exact) when Acoustic Sounds was selling the then in-print 25th Anniversary Island pressing (10U, as I recall) for $15, claiming that it was a TAS List Super Disc. If you've ever heard that pressing, you know it has no business going anywhere near a Super Disc List. It's mediocre at best and has virtually none of the magic of the good original pressings. I refused to sell it back in those days, for no other reason than it's far from a Better Record. I don't like misrepresenting records and I don't like ripping off my customers. That pressing was a fraud and I was having none of it.

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Cat Stevens - Teaser & The Firecat

MoFi Debunked

  (Item #: stevetease_debunk) 



Sonic Grade: F

A Hall of Shame pressing and another MoFi LP debunked.

In case you don’t already know, one of the worst sounding, if not THE WORST SOUNDING VERSION OF ALL TIME, is the Mobile Fidelity Anadisq pressing that came out in the ’90s. If you own that record, you really owe it to yourself to pull it out and play it. It’s just a mess and it should sound like a mess, whether you have anything else to compare it to or not.

See more copies of Teaser and the Firecat


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Cat Stevens - Teaser & The Firecat

One of Our Very First Hot Stampers - 2006

  (Item #: stevetease_2006) 



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

Before we start discussing this record, let’s talk about the price for a moment. I have never put a used rock record on this site at this price. I’ve sold other records directly to my best customers for this kind of money, but this is the first $500 rock record of its kind to go on this website. This is the result of three factors. First, it's the best sounding copy of this record I have ever heard (on side two anyway). Second, this is Teaser and the Firecat, one of the most important recordings in the history of popular music. Third, it's amazingly quiet. The confluence of these three factors makes this copy practically unique.

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Cat Stevens - Teaser & The Firecat

Overview of the Reissues

  (Item #: stevetease_reissues_2014) 



It is my contention that there is no audiophile pressing on the face of the Earth that can compete with the best sounding originals of Teaser and the Firecat. Of ANY music. The best copies of Teaser have a sound I have never experienced with any modern-mastered record. There is a magic in its grooves that may simply be impossible to capture with the cutting equipment currently in use. Perhaps one day I'll be proven wrong, but that day is clearly not yet upon us.
See more commentaries as well as our in-stock copies of Teaser and the Firecat


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Cat Stevens - Teaser & The Firecat

Light, Medium or Heavy on the Congas?

  (Item #: stevetease_congamania) 



Another in our series of Home Audio Exercises, in this case, a study in Congamania!

During the shootout for this record a while back we made a very important discovery, a seemingly obvious one but one that nevertheless had eluded us for the past twenty plus years (so how obvious could it have been?). It became clear, for the first time, what accounts for the wide disparity in ENERGY and DRIVE from one copy to the next. We can sum it up for you in one five letter word, and that word is conga.

See all of our Cat Stevens albums in stock


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Cat Stevens - Teaser & The Firecat

Time Capsule of Commentaries

  (Item #: stevetease_2002) 



This Hot Stamper listing from 2006 is a Time Capsule of Commentaries of sorts; it contains write-ups from 2006, 2005 and 2002, all rolled into one. Out of sheer laziness we used to leave the old commentary in the listings, sort of like building the new city on the ruins of the old. For those who don't mind excavating through the Hot Stamper thoughts of the past, please read on.
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Cat Stevens Albums - Lee Hulko Cut Them All

Good, Bad and Otherwise

  (Item #: steveteafo_hulko) 



Is the Pink Label Island original pressing THE way to go? That’s what Harry Pearson -- not to mention most audiophile record dealers -- would have you believe.

But it’s just not true. And that’s good news for you, Dear (Record Loving Audiophile) Reader.

See all of our Cat Stevens albums in stock


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Cat Stevens Catch Bull at Four

Congestion? What Congestion?

  (Item #: stevecatch_progress) 



The story of our latest shootout is what real Progress in Audio is all about. Many copies were gritty, some were congested in the louder sections, some never got big, some were thin and lacking the lovely analog richness of the best -- we heard plenty of copies whose faults were obvious when played against two top sides such as these.

Speaking of congestion, it had previously been our experience that every copy of the record had at least some congestion in the loudest parts, typically the later parts of songs where Cat is singing at the top of his lungs, the acoustic guitars are strumming like crazy, and big drums are pounding away are jumping out of both speakers.

More Catch Bull at Four


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Cat Stevens Catch Bull at Four

Listening in Depth

  (Item #: stevecatch_depth) 



Presenting another entry in our extensive Listening in Depth series.

If you're familiar with what the best Hot Stamper pressings of Tea for the Tillerman, Teaser and the Firecat or Mona Bone Jakon can sound like -- amazing is the word that comes to mind -- then you should easily be able to imagine how good this killer copy of Catch Bull at Four sounds.

All the ingredients for a Classic Cat Stevens album were in place for this release which came out in 1972, about a year after Teaser and the Firecat. His amazing guitar player Alun Davies is still in the band, and Paul Samwell-Smith is still producing as brilliantly as ever.

More Catch Bull at Four


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Cat Stevens Teaser & Tea on CD

So, How Do They Sound, Anyway?

  (Item #: stevetease_cd) 


This letter from our good customer Gary references the Hot Stampers he bought from us and subsequently played for a CD-only audiophile friend with a megabuck stereo. This is his story, followed by my commentary about the sound of Cat Stevens’ music on disc.

The Cat Stevens Hot Stampers are just amazing. The dynamic range is almost shocking on my rig. It’s like a car with the ability to go from 0 to 60 in 2 seconds… It is so cool to turn up the music really loud and still converse with people if you want. The quiet is dead quiet. That is the sign of a good record.



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Cat Stevens Teaser Testimonial

... So Much More Alive and Dynamic ...

  (Item #: stevetease_testimonial) 



Roger here likes doing his own shootouts, having acquired many of the so-called audiophile recommended pressings over the years. Like us, he knows firsthand that those recommended records have little hope of standing up to the real thing, the real thing of course being an old record we charged him a lot of money for, or, to put it another way, a Super Hot Stamper. Can it possibly be worth the three hundred clams it cost him? Let’s hear from Roger on that subject.
Hi Tom:

Just the usual note to let you know of my latest LP shootout: Cat Stevens Teaser and the Firecat. Since you recommend this recording so highly, I was looking forward to comparing your Super Hot Stamper (SHS) to a British Sunray pressing I had and my Mobile Fidelity Anadisq.

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Cat Stevens Testimonial

I Wouldn’t Believe It If I Weren’t Hearing It!

  (Item #: stevemonab_testimonial) 



Our good customer Joel not only loved our slightly noisy but amazing sounding Mona Bone Hot Stamper, he found it to be pretty darn quiet to boot! He says it’s the Best $180 he's ever spent on an LP. Seems like a lot of money for one record but when the music and sound are this good who wants to argue with a happy man?
Hi Tom

I just spun the bargain tics and pops A+++ Mona Bone Jakon. I listened to this record hundreds of times growing up, but never like this! Silky smooth voices and guitars, so lifelike! Nice bass extension also... I have to laugh, because I think that the condition of this record is excellent!

Now I know how the other half lives! Listening to this hot stamper reminds me of my image of the rich man, eating only the center of the watermelon. These hot stampers are amazing, I wouldn’t believe it if I weren’t hearing it! Best $180 I’ve ever spent on an LP...

Joel


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Cat Stevens Testimonial

A $100 Hot Stamper Is Now My Reference Album!

  (Item #: steveteafo_testimonial) 



One of our best customers, Gerardo, who has to have his Hot Stampers shipped all the way to the Phillipines where he lives, asked recently about Tea for the Tillerman. He wanted to know if we had something that would beat the MoFi pressing. Having recently played one (for condition; we already know how bad the sound is) we said HELL YEAH!

In fact, about the cheapest clean plain old American copy we can dig up for you will beat the pants off the MoFi. So we charged him $100 and sent it on out. Not having heard back, we followed up with this email:

Hi Gerardo,

We were just wondering if you ever got to have the Tea For The Tillerman Hot Stamper vs. MoFi / UHQR shootout. Hope it went well!

His reply can be seen below.


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Cat Stevens Testimonial

One of the Best Recordings in My 10K LP Collection

  (Item #: steveteafo_testimonial_200) 



Roger is up to his old tricks again, doing shootouts with our Hot Stampers and all the great pressings he already owns, in this case putting our humble Brown Label A&M domestic LP up against the legendary Pink Label Island British Import and a couple of MoFis. We’ll let Roger tell his own story, since by now we all know he does it as well as anyone.

Hi Tom,

Just a note on another hot stamper shootout I recently did, this time on Cat Stevens Tea for the Tillerman. It was interesting comparing itto the regular MFSL half-speed, the MFSL UHQR pressing, and a UK Pink Island 3U pressing, which was my all-time champ.

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Chet Baker - She Was Too Good To Me

Our Shootout Winner from 2017

  (Item #: bakershewa_2017) 



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

We guarantee you have never heard this album -- or any later Chet Baker album -- sound as good as this one does.

There's so much life in these grooves. The sound jumps out of the speakers right into your lap. This kind of warm, rich, Tubey Magical analog sound is gone forever. You have to go back to 1974 to find it!

See all of our Chet Baker albums in stock


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George Benson - Bad Benson

Our Shootout Winner from 2012

  (Item #: bensobadbe_2012) 



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

White Hot Stamper sound on side two, which means this copy has the power to show you just how well-recorded the album really is, and how much energy and drive there is to both the sound and the music. No other side of any copy earned the full Three Plus White Hot grade, so this is a very special side indeed.

We didn't run into any awful CTI originals the way we do with the typical rock record from the '70s, but it's the rare copy that has a real top end, or much in the way of transparency, or freedom from smear. This copy has all three, without any sacrifice in richness or Tubey Magic.

More George Benson


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Grover Washington Jr. - Inner City Blues

Our Shootout Winner from 2012

  (Item #: washiinner_2012) 



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

TWO A+++ SIDES ON QUIET VINYL, making this the best copy of Inner City Blues we've found! This copy trounced the other ones we played, giving us the kind of open, transparent sound that brings out the best in this music. The overall sound is very clean and clear with lots of weight down low and extension up top. I don't think you could find a better sounding copy no matter what you did.

More Grover Washington


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John Coltrane - Coltrane Plays the Blues

Our Shootout Winner from 2009

  (Item #: coltrplays_2009) 



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

ONE OF THE VERY BEST COPIES WE'VE EVER HEARD of this phenomenal album! This is PURE GOLD for the jazz-loving audiophile. I can count the number of jazz records we've played this year in a league with this one both sonically and musically on one hand. Both sides here are AMAZINGLY GOOD -- exceptionally rich and full-bodied with superb transparency. Coltrane's sax sounds OUT OF THIS WORLD with the lots of that airy, breathy quaility that we just love here. The immediacy is OFF THE CHARTS!

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John Coltrane - My Favorite Things

Our Shootout Winner from 2015

  (Item #: coltrmyfav_2015) 



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

SUPERB SOUND FROM START TO FINISH! We played tons of these in our most recent shootout and both sides here were head and shoulders above the typical copies. Some were a bit squawky and some of them were a bit dull, but this one sounded excellent throughout. We have a tough time finding Hot Stamper pressings of this album -- most copies out there are very disappointing.

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John Klemmer - Straight from the Heart

Listening for the Tubey Magic

  (Item #: klemmstrai_wtlf) 



The best copies give you dynamics and immediacy like you have rarely heard outside of the live event. Hell, this record IS live; it's live in the studio. It's a direct to disc recording, what else could it be?

There is simply nothing in the way of the music. If you have the system for it, you can recreate the live sound of this session in a way that few other recordings would ever allow you to do.

This copy had one quality not heard on most of the others: Tubey Magic. The sound is rich and full-bodied, practically free of grit and grain - this is the kind of sound one hears occassionally on the best tube equipment and practically nowhere else. Of course this is an all-transistor affair, but tubey sound is what ended up on the record, so go figure.

More John Klemmer


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Michael Jackson - Thriller

Our Shootout Winner from 2010

  (Item #: jacksthril_2010) 



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

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

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Michael Jackson - Thriller

Thoughts on Thriller, Circa 2006

  (Item #: jacksthril_2006) 



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

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

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

More Thriller


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MoFi Cat Stevens & TAS List Thoughts

This Is Your Idea of a Super Disc?

  (Item #: stevetease_tas) 



We here at Better Records would like to give a shout out to The Man, Harry Pearson, for putting one of the worst MoFis of all time on his so-called Super Disc List, which, as we all know, is still the delight of nitwits around the world.

In case you don’t already know, one of the worst sounding, if not THE WORST SOUNDING VERSION OF ALL TIME, is the Mobile Fidelity Anadisq pressing that came out in the ’90s. If you own that record, you really owe it to yourself to pull it out and play it. It’s just a mess and it should sound like a mess, whether you have anything else to compare it to or not.

See more commentaries as well as our in-stock copies of Cat Stevens' albums


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Oliver Nelson / Steve Allen - Soulful Brass

Not Recommended

  (Item #: nelsosoulf) 



The copy we played of this Impulse Red and Black Label pressing had mediocre sound, and we're guessing most of them do.
See all of our Oliver Nelson albums in stock


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Peter Gabriel - Peter Gabriel (3rd)

Our Shootout Winner from 2010

  (Item #: gabrigabr3_2010) 



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

A+++ MASTER TAPE SOUND ON BOTH SIDES! This smokin' hot British pressing just couldn't be beat in our huge (and very enjoyable) shootout. The sound on this bad boy positively JUMPS out of the speakers and fills the room! Both sides are incredibly big and bold with superb clarity, amazing transparency, considerable dynamics and loads of energy. The sound is ridiculously full-bodied with texture and weight to all the various elements. If you're a fan of this album, widely regarded as Gabriel's masterpiece, your mind is going to be BLOWN.

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Roxy Music - Siren

Our Shootout Winner from 2016

  (Item #: roxymsiren_2016) 



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

Siren is one of our favorite Roxy albums, right up there with the first album and well ahead of the commercially appealing Avalon. After reading a rave review in Rolling Stone of the album back in 1975 I took the plunge, bought a copy at my local Tower Records and instantly fell in love with it. As is my wont, I then proceeded to work my way through their earlier catalog, which was quite an adventure. It takes scores of plays to understand where the band is coming from on the early albums and what it is they're trying to do. Now I listen to each of the first five releases on a regular basis.

More Roxy Music and Bryan Ferry


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Steve Miller - Fly Like An Eagle

Our Shootout Winner from 2013

  (Item #: milleflyli_2013) 



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

The hottest copy -- by far -- of Fly Like An Eagle to ever hit the site! We've been collecting these for years in hope of finding a knockout pressing, but shootout after shootout stalled. They pressed tons of copies of this album and most of them sound terrible -- grainy, dry and flat. We went into this shootout without high expectations this week, but we were BLOWN AWAY by the sound of the best copies. And here's one that just couldn't be beat, earning A+++ grades on BOTH SIDES. What a monster!

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Steve Miller Band - Book of Dreams

Our Shootout Winner from 2013

  (Item #: millebooko_2013) 



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

This White Hot pressing of Book Of Dreams -- the first to ever hit the site -- earned A+++ grades on both sides, giving you dramatically better sound than you might expect for this album. This is a ROUGH recording. We've played scores of copies over the years and most of them have been just plain awful. I'm pleased to report that this A+++ copy will bring this music to life in your listening room in a way that would never be possible with the average pressing.

More Steve Miller


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Steve Miller Band - Fly Like An Eagle

Capitol Debunked

  (Item #: milleflyli_debunk_) 



Sonic Grade: F

A Hall of Shame and another Heavy Vinyl LP debunked.

This Capitol Records Limited Edition 180 gram LP from the series that Robert Ludwig mastered is the worst sounding version of the album I have ever heard bar none. It was cut with the azimuth off, which makes all the high frequency transients sound smeared. How anybody could put up with that crappy sounding LP is beyond me, but I have never heard a single person complain about the bad sound.

More Steve Miller


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Steve Winwood - Back In The High Life

Our Shootout Winner from 2017

  (Item #: winwobacki_2017) 



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

On some of the copies we played richness and warmth seemed to have been sacrificed for the sake of greater clarity. That's never been our sound, one of the reasons we do relatively few albums from the '80s, and we noticed that on the copies with that tonal balance it was much more difficult to become involved in the music.

The richer, warmer, smoother, more balanced copies presented no such problem. Their sound transported us into the world of music Winwood had created in these songs.

More Steve Winwood


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The Grateful Dead - American Beauty

Our Shootout Winner from 2009

  (Item #: grateameri_2009) 



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

MASTER TAPE SOUND AND MOSTLY QUIET VINYL ON BOTH SIDES, BABY! We went through all of 2008 without finding a single Hot Stamper copy of this great album, but today I am pleased to report that American Beauty Hot Stampers are back in stock at Better Records! Drop the needle on any track on either side -- I guarantee you’ve never heard this band sound so good, or your money back.

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The Pretenders - Get Close

Our Shootout Winner from 2016

  (Item #: pretegetcl_2016) 



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

Get Close has long been a personal favorite of mine. Side one starts off with a bang with My Baby, one of the best tracks this band ever recorded. Of course at this point it's hard to call The Pretenders a band as it is pretty much Chrissie Hynde's show. She continues to mature as a songwriter, and the arrangements and production value are excellent as well, with heavy hitters such as Steve Lillywhite, Bob Clearmountain and Jimmy Iovine involved.

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Thinking About the Tubey Magical Acoustic Guitars

of Bread and Cat Stevens

  (Item #: breadmanna_thoughts) 



In many ways this recording is state-of-the-art. Listening to the Tubey Magical Acoustic Guitars on the best copies brings back memories of my first encounter with an original Pink Label Tea for the Tillerman. Rich, sweet, full-bodied, effortlessly dynamic-- that sound knocked me out twenty-odd years ago, and here it is again.

Of course I've always been a sucker for this kind of well-crafted pop. If you are too then a Hot Stamper copy of Manna will no doubt become a treasured demo disc in your home as well.

More Bread


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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 - John Barleycorn Must Die

Our Shootout Winner from 2012

  (Item #: traffjohnb_2012) 



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

This White Hot Stamper side one is OUT OF THIS WORLD -- the new KING for this album! We played a huge number of pressings -- Pink Labels, United Artists originals and reissues -- and this side one was completely UNMATCHED. What put it in a league of its own? BIG ENERGY for one thing. Side one of this copy was jumping out of the speakers in a way that took us completely by surprise. We had a dozen clean copies, that's 24 sides, and this was the only one that showed us just how lively and clear that side one master tape must be.

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Traffic - John Barleycorn Must Die

Listening in Depth

  (Item #: traffjohnb_depth) 



Another in our series of Home Audio Exercises with specific advice on What to Listen For as you critically evaluate your copy of John Barleycorn Must Die.

The toughest test on side two is the first track, Stranger to Himself. Getting the voices right is practically impossible. If the voices are full, smooth, yet breathy and clear, you have that rare copy that actually gets the midrange right. Not many do.

More Traffic / More Steve Winwood


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Traffic - Last Exit

Our Shootout Winner from 2010

  (Item #: trafflaste_2010) 



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

This QUIET British Import Island Sunray (Pink Rim) pressing has THE BEST SIDE TWO WE'VE EVER HEARD, which is where the two extended live cuts are found. We played a bunch of these recently (nothing but Brits, the only way to go for this album) and no side two could keep up with this one. It's got more extension up top, more weight down low, and more energy than we heard anywhere else.

More Traffic


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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.

More Traffic


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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 - Shoot Out At The Fantasy Factory

Our Shootout Winner from 2015

  (Item #: traffshoot_2015) 



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

Import versus domestic? You would be hard pressed to find better sound than on the best of these DOMESTIC pressings, and that includes Low Spark of High Heeled Boys!

We just finished a huge shootout for this album and didn't find a copy that could hold a candle to this one in the huge stack we played. This may not be the best Traffic album ever, but on a copy that sounds this good it's very enjoyable and certainly an impressive sonic spectacular.

See all of our Traffic albums in stock


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Traffic - The Low Spark Of High Heeled Boys

Our Shootout Winner from 2008

  (Item #: trafflowsp_2008) 



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

HOLY COW! Side one of this British Island Sunray pressing BLEW THE DOORS off the competition in our big shootout. It took the music to an entirely new level for us, so we awarded it the very rare grade of A++++ -- that’s four pluses, my man!

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Traffic - The Low Spark Of High Heeled Boys

MoFi Debunked

  (Item #: trafflowsp_debunk) 



Sonic Grade: F

A Hall of Shame pressing and another MoFi LP debunked.

Of course our Hot Stamper pressings are going to be better than the Anadisq LP from the mid '90s. How much better? Words fail me. The MoFi was an out and out disaster. Perhaps some of the MoFi collectors didn't notice because they had nothing to compare it to. God forbid they would ever lower themselves to buy a "common" pressing such as one of our domestic Islands.

More Traffic


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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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Traveling Back in Time with Cat Stevens on MoFi

To Hear It on Vintage Equipment

  (Item #: steveteafo_badstereo) 



Our good customer Roger wrote us a letter years ago about his MoFi Tea for the Tillerman, in which he remarked, "Sometimes I wish I kept my old crappy stereo to see if I could now tell what it was that made these audiophile pressings so attractive then."

It got me to thinking. Yes, that would be fun, and better yet, it could be done. There are actually plenty of those Old School systems still around. Just look at what many of the forum posters -- god bless 'em -- are running. They've got some awesome '70s Japanese turntables, some Monster Cable and some vintage tube gear and speakers going all the way back to the '50s.

See more commentaries as well as our in-stock copies of Tea for the Tillerman


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Various Artists - A Tribute To Steve Goodman (2 LPs)

  (Item #: goodmtribu) 



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

This is a famous record here at Better Records. I’ve been raving about this album for close to 15 years. There was a time when albums like this could be found sealed in my catalog for $15 or $20. Those were the days.

This All-Star tribute to Steve Goodman has some wonderful music on it. The high point for me is the duet between Bonnie Rait and John Prine on Angel From Montgomery. It's one of my favorite Bonnie Rait songs, and hearing it live with John Prine singing takes it to another level. It's followed by John Prine singing My Old Man, which is also a classic.

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XTC - Drums and Wires

Reviewed in 2010

  (Item #: xtc__drums_2010) 



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

This is an original Minty Virgin British Import LP with Little Sign of Play (LSOP) that includes a bonus 7-inch single. The record plays quiet and sounds EXCELLENT! The cover has some damage on the seams and corners and rates an 8 out of 10.

"The album that followed the lineup change, Drums and Wires, marks a turning point for the band, with a more subdued set of songs that reflect an increasing songwriting proficiency. The aimless energy of the first two albums is focused into a cohesive statement with a distinctive voice that retains their clever humor, quirky wordplay, and decidedly British flavor." - AMG


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Cat Stevens

  (Item #: _StevensCat) 


Cat Stevens albums in stock

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Steve Miller

  (Item #: _MillerSteve) 


Steve Miller Band albums in stock

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