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Super Hot Stamper - Judy Collins - In My Life

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

Super Hot Stamper

Judy Collins
In My Life

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Sonic Grade

Side One:

Side Two:

Vinyl Grade

Side One: Mint Minus Minus

Side Two: Mint Minus Minus

  • With outstanding Double Plus (A++) sound from first note to last, this Elektra Gold Label stereo pressing will be very hard to beat
  • Exceptionally quiet for an original stereo pressing too, with no audible marks - not many survived in this kind of audiophile playing condition
  • Here's the midrange magic that’s missing from the reissues and whatever 180g pressing has been made from the tapes (or, to be clear, a modern digital master copied from who-knows-what-tapes)
  • 4 1/2 stars: "The material was well chosen; the arrangements showed it off to perfection; and Collins' vocals were alternately soothing and stirring, but always clear and well articulated, as well as carefully pitched to the tone of the material. "
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This vintage Elektra Gold Label 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 outstanding sides such as these 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 1966
  • 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.

What We're Listening For on In My Life

  • 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.

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 originals.

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

Just Like Tom Thumb's Blues
Hard Lovin' Loser
Pirate Jenny
La Colombe

Side Two

I Think It's Going To Rain Today
Sunny Goodge Street
Liverpool Lullaby
Dress Rehearsal Rag
In My Life

AMG 4 1/2 Star Review

... on In My Life, [Collins] drew from the off-Broadway musical theater for such songs as "Pirate Jenny," from The Threepenny Opera, and a suite assembled from Marat/Sade; she also looked internationally, to France for Jacques Brel's "La Colombe" and to Canada for the first songs by poet/novelist Leonard Cohen, "Suzanne" and "Dress Rehearsal Rag."

Then, she decamped to England with arranger/conductor Joshua Rifkin, who orchestrated the tracks in imaginative chamber pop settings. The result might have been pretentious or silly, but thankfully Collins, who had classical music training, knew what she was doing. The material was well chosen; the arrangements showed it off to perfection; and Collins' vocals were alternately soothing and stirring, but always clear and well articulated, as well as carefully pitched to the tone of the material.

All of this made In My Life a breakthrough, artistically and commercially (the album eventually went gold). It also helped launch Cohen, who had never recorded or performed his music publicly at the time of its release, as a musical artist.