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White Hot Stamper - Elvis Costello - Get Happy

White Hot Stamper

Elvis Costello
Get Happy

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$149.99
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Sonic Grade

Side One:

Side Two:

Vinyl Grade

Side One: Mint Minus Minus*

Side Two: Mint Minus Minus*

  • An incredibly good UK pressing - only the second Shootout Winner to hit the site in many years, with Triple Plus (A+++) sound on both sides
  • Big, lively and dynamic, with huge amounts of bass (Elvis's trademark sound) and New Wave energy that's off the charts
  • Get Happy, coming right before the brilliant Trust, contains Elvis classics like I Can't Stand Up (for Falling Down) & Motel Matches
  • The AMG Five Star rating "...a 20-song blue-eyed soul tour-de-force..." and killer recording quality make this a Must Own for Elvis fans
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NOTE: On side one, there is a mark that plays lightly to moderately at the end of track eight. On side two, there is a mark that plays mostly lightly three times at the end of track six.

Sometimes the copy with the best sound is not the copy with the quietest vinyl. The best sounding copy is always going to win the shootout, the condition of its vinyl notwithstanding. If you can tolerate the problems on this pressing you are in for some amazing Elvis music and sound. If for any reason you are not happy with the sound or condition of the album we are of course happy to take it back for a full refund, including the domestic return postage.

Two amazing Triple Plus (A+++) sides for this rip-roarin', twenty song, five star rated Elvis Costello extravaganza!

This is the record that came right after Armed Forces, which is a huge favorite around these parts, and the venerable All Music Guide gives both albums five big stars. I'm not sure I'd go quite that far, but it's certainly full of good material. Out of the twenty songs on here, exactly one clocks in at over three minutes.

Blue Eyed Soul

What the best sides of this classic Elvis Costello album 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 1980
  • Tight, note-like, rich, full-bodied bass, with the correct amount of weight down low
  • Natural tonality in the midrange -- with all the multi-tracked vocals, guitars, piano, keyboards, drums and other instruments having the correct sound for this recording
  • Transparency and resolution, critical to hearing into the three-dimensional space of the studio
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 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.

There's not a lot of top end on this recording. The mistake the American mastering engineers made when Columbia released their version was to brighten up the sound, which does nothing but make it aggressive and transistory. This is the way Get Happy is supposed to sound and trying to change it only makes it worse.

Most of the copies we played were veiled, smeary, and thick, but this one presents the music with the kind of clarity and energy these songs need to work their under-three-minute magic.

What We Listen For on Get Happy!

  • 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 later 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

I Can't Stand Up (for Falling Down)
Black & White World
5ive Gears in Reverse
B Movie
Motel Matches
Human Touch
Beaten to the Punch
Temptation
I Stand Accused
Riot Act

Side Two

Love for Tender
Opportunity
The Imposter
Secondary Modern
King Horse
Possession
Men Called Uncle
Clowntime Is Over
New Amsterdam
High Fidelity

AMG Review

Get Happy!! was born as much from sincere love for soul as it was for Elvis Costello's desire to distance himself from an unfortunate verbal faux pas where he insulted Ray Charles in an attempt to get Stephen Stills' goat. Either way, it resulted in a 20-song blue-eyed soul tour-de-force...

As it furiously flits through 20 songs, Costello's cynicisms, rage, humor, and misanthropic sensibility gel remarkably well.