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Little Feat - Time Loves A Hero - Super Hot Stamper

The copy we are selling is similar to the one pictured above.

Super Hot Stamper

Little Feat
Time Loves A Hero

Regular price
$179.99
Regular price
Sale price
$179.99
Unit price
per 
Availability
Sold out

Sonic Grade

Side One:

Side Two:

Vinyl Grade

Side One: Mint Minus Minus

Side Two: Mint Minus Minus

  • Time Loves A Hero is back on the site for only the second time in years, here with seriously good Double Plus (A++) grades throughout this vintage pressing
  • Credit Donn Landee (and Ted Templeman too) with the rich, smooth, oh-so-analog sound found on the better sides
  • You get lovely extension up top, good weight down low, as well as remarkable transparency in the midrange, all qualities that were much less evident on the average copy we played
  • The blog has plenty of commentary on the Nautilus pressing, a record I admit to liking way back when, but no Hot Stamper would ever be as anemic and thin as that remastered record is, not when played back on the high-quality equipment we run today
  • "'Old Folks Boogie' beats anything on the last two albums...and "Rocket in My Pocket" is a Lowell George readymade like you didn't think he had in him anymore." - Robert Christgau

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This vintage Warner Bros. pressing has the kind of Tubey Magical Midrange that modern records can barely BEGIN to reproduce. Folks, that sound is gone and it sure isn't showing signs of coming back. If you love hearing INTO a recording, actually being able to "see" the performers, and feeling as if you are sitting in the studio with the band, this is the record for you. It's what vintage all analog recordings are known for -- this sound.

If you exclusively play modern repressings of vintage recordings, I can say without fear of contradiction that you have never heard this kind of sound on vinyl. Old records have it -- not often, and certainly not always -- but maybe one out of a hundred new records do, and those are some pretty long odds.

What The Best Sides Of Time Loves A Hero Have To Offer Is Not Hard To Hear

  • The biggest, most immediate staging in the largest acoustic space
  • The most Tubey Magic, without which you have almost nothing. CDs give you clean and clear. Only the best vintage vinyl pressings offer the kind of Tubey Magic that was on the tapes in 1977
  • Tight, note-like, rich, full-bodied bass, with the correct amount of weight down low
  • Natural tonality in the midrange -- with all the instruments having the correct timbre
  • Transparency and resolution, critical to hearing into the three-dimensional studio space

No doubt there's more but we hope that should do for now. Playing the record is the only way to hear all of the qualities we discuss above, and playing the best pressings against a pile of other copies under rigorously controlled conditions is the only way to find a pressing that sounds as good as this one does.

Learning the Record

For our shootout for Time Loves A Hero, we had at our disposal a variety of pressings that had the potential for Hot Stamper sound. We cleaned them carefully, then unplugged everything in the house we could, warmed up the system, Talisman'd it, found the right VTA for our Triplanar arm (by ear of course) and proceeded to spend the next hour or so playing copy after copy on side one, after which we repeated the process for side two.

If you have five or more copies of a record and play them over and over against each other, the process itself teaches you what's right and what's wrong with the sound of the album. Once your ears are completely tuned to what the best pressings do well that the other pressings do not do as well, using a few carefully chosen passages of music, it quickly becomes obvious how well a given copy can reproduce those passages. You'll hear what's better and worse -- right and wrong would be another way of putting it -- about the sound.

This approach is simplicity itself. First, you go deep into the sound. There you find a critically important passage in the music, one which most copies struggle -- or fail -- to reproduce as well as the best. Now, with the hard-won knowledge of precisely what to listen for, you are perfectly positioned to critique any and all pressings that come your way.

It may be a lot of work but it sure ain't rocket science, and we've never pretended otherwise. Just the opposite: from day one we've explained step by step precisely how to go about finding the Hot Stampers in your own collection. Not the good sounding pressings you happen to own -- those may or may not have Hot Stampers -- but the records you actually cleaned, shot out, and declared victorious.

What We're Listening For On Time Loves A Hero

In our listing for Livin’ on the Fault Line we discussed some of the qualities we look for in a good Doobie Brothers record. Little Feat and the Doobies have something in common, two things in fact: the same producer, Ted Templeman, and the same engineer, Donn Landee.

You might imagine that their recordings have many similarities, and of course they do. We’re looking for most of the same qualities in the sound of both bands’ albums, which include:

  • Energy for starters. What could be more important than the life of the music?
  • Then: presence and immediacy. The vocals aren't "back there" somewhere, lost in the mix. They're front and center where any recording engineer worth his salt would put them.
  • The Big Sound comes next -- wall to wall, lots of depth, huge space, three-dimensionality, all that sort of thing.
  • Then transient information -- fast, clear, sharp attacks, not the smear and thickness so common to these LPs.
  • Tight punchy bass -- which ties in with good transient information, also the issue of frequency extension further down.
  • Next: transparency -- the quality that allows you to hear deep into the soundfield, showing you the space and air around all the instruments.
  • Extend the top and bottom and voila, you have The Real Thing -- an honest to goodness Hot Stamper.

Track Commentary

The Tracklist tab above will take you to a select song breakdown for each side, with plenty of What to Listen For advice.

Other records with track breakdowns can be found here.

Vinyl Condition

Mint Minus Minus and maybe a bit better is about as quiet as any vintage pressing will play, and since only the right vintage pressings have any hope of sounding good on this album, that will most often be the playing condition of the copies we sell. (The copies that are even a bit noisier get listed on the site are seriously reduced prices or traded back in to the local record stores we shop at.)

Those of you looking for quiet vinyl will have to settle for the sound of other pressings and Heavy Vinyl reissues, purchased elsewhere of course as we have no interest in selling records that don't have the vintage analog magic of these wonderful recordings.

If you want to make the trade-off between bad sound and quiet surfaces with whatever Heavy Vinyl pressing might be available, well, that's certainly your prerogative, but we can't imagine losing what's good about this music -- the size, the energy, the presence, the clarity, the weight -- just to hear it with less background noise.

Side One

  • Hi Roller
  • Time Loves A Hero
  • On the better copies, the title track has Demo Disc sound – the soundstage is huge and the multi-tracked vocal parts are energetic, clear and free from congestion and distortion. If your copy doesn’t blow your mind on this song, try one of ours.
  • Rocket In My Pocket
  • This kicks off with a big, fat drum sound that’s present and punchy on the better copies
  • Day At The Dog Races
  • The controversial jazz-rock fusion track, a song the band used to open their live act with in order to get in the groove. If the band wants to stretch out a bit, we don’t have a problem with it.

Side Two

  • Old Folks Boogie
  • This one rocks with the best of them; it’s a must for any Greatest Hits compilation.
  • Red Streamliner
  • Listen for the strong Doobies vibe, which can be good or bad depending on how you feel about that band. (We’re big fans.)
  • New Delhi Freight Train
  • Keepin' Up With The Joneses
  • Some good funky Feat music
  • Missin' You
  • A mellow but still strong finish for the last good Little Feat album (save for the often amazing sounding compilation Hoy Hoy).