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Cooder, Ry - Show Time - Super Hot Stamper (With Issues)

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

Super Hot Stamper

Ry Cooder
Show Time

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Sonic Grade

Side One:

Side Two:

Vinyl Grade

Side One: Mint Minus Minus

Side Two: Mint Minus Minus to EX++

  • An original Palm Tree pressing of Cooder's 1977 live album with solid Double Plus (A++) grades or close to them from top to bottom
  • The sound on this side two is big, lively, open and clear with Tubey Magical richness that only these good vintage pressings can show you, and side one is not far behind in all those areas
  • Of course the main attributes that set the better copies apart from the also-rans are size, energy, weight, vocal presence and an overall freedom from grit and grain, and we guarantee that this copy will do better in all of these areas than any you have ever heard (particularly on side two)
  • Problems in the vinyl are sometimes the nature of the beast with these vintage LPs - there simply is no way around them if the superior sound of vintage analog is important to you
  • "...it's the Negro spiritual, 'Jesus on the Mainline,' stripped down to just four voices and Cooder's remarkable bottleneck, that's the real showstopper here."

More Ry Cooder / More Roots Rock

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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 Show Time 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.

Pop and Rock Shootouts

What are the sonic qualities by which a Pop or Rock record -- any Pop or Rock record -- should be judged?

Pretty much the ones we discuss in most of our Hot Stamper listings: energy, vocal presence, frequency extension (on both ends), transparency, spaciousness, harmonic textures (freedom from smear is key), rhythmic drive, tonal correctness, fullness, richness, three-dimensionality, and on and on down the list.

When we can get a number of these qualities to come together on the side we’re playing, we provisionally give it a ballpark Hot Stamper grade, a grade that is often revised during the shootout as we hear what the other copies are doing, both good and bad.

Once we’ve been through all the side ones, we play the best of the best against each other and arrive at a winner for that side. Other copies from earlier in the shootout will frequently have their grades raised or lowered based on how they sounded compared to the eventual shootout winner. If we’re not sure about any pressing, perhaps because we played it early on in the shootout before we had learned what to listen for, we take the time to play it again.

Repeat the process for side two and the shootout is officially over. All that’s left is to see how the sides of each pressing match up.

It may not be rocket science, but it’s a science of a kind, one with strict protocols that we’ve developed over the course of many years to insure that the results we arrive at are as accurate as we can make them.

The result of all our work speaks for itself, on this very record in fact. We guarantee you have never heard this music sound better than it does on our Hot Stamper pressing -- or your money back.

What We're Listening For On Show Time

  • 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 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

  • School Is Out
  • Alimony
  • Jesus On The Mainline
  • The Dark End Of The Street

Side Two

  • Viva Sequin / Do Re Mi
  • Volver, Volver
  • How Can A Poor Man Stand Such Times And Live
  • Smack Dab In The Middle

AMG Review

Following the odd, but entertaining Hawaiian, southwestern mix of Chicken Skin Music, Ry Cooder hit the road with a group of Tex-Mex musicians led by the great accordionist Flaco Jiminez. To make things even more interesting, he also included three soul- and gospel-based backup singers in the lineup (two of whom had appeared on Chicken Skin Music). Recorded in December of 1976, over a span of two nights in San Francisco, Show Time documents these shows by Cooder and his "Chicken Skin Revue."

And while Cooder's guitar -- along with his usual eclectic assortment of songs -- is the star of the show, each of the principles has his chance to shine throughout the evening. Terry Evans, Bobby King, and Eldridge King's soulful rendition of "The Dark End of the Street," as well as the lovely "Volver, Volver," which features Jiminez, are a couple of the highlights.

Cooder's selection of material here is as eclectic as ever, but Jiminez and the band stay with him every step of the way. They seem equally at home with the R&B of "Smack Dab in the Middle" as they do with the Jiminez instrumental "Viva Seguin," which leads into a Tex-Mex reworking of Woody Guthrie's "Do Re Mi."

Still, as good as the fit may be between leader and band, it's the Negro spiritual, "Jesus on the Mainline," stripped down to just four voices and Cooder's remarkable bottleneck, that's the real showstopper here. Cooder is not usually one to stray too far outside the confines of the song on record, but in this setting he gets a chance to really stretch.