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Creedence Clearwater Revival - Mardi Gras - Nearly White Hot Stamper

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

Nearly White Hot Stamper

Creedence Clearwater Revival
Mardi Gras

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Sonic Grade

Side One:

Side Two:

Vinyl Grade

Side One: Mint Minus Minus

Side Two: Mint Minus Minus

  • CCR's final studio album makes its Hot Stamper debut with killer Nearly Triple Plus (A++ to A+++) sound on both sides of this original Fantasy pressing - just shy of our Shootout Winner
  • We shot out a number of copies and this one had better midrange presence, bass, and dynamics than practically any other we played
  • Analog at its Tubey Magical finest - you'll never play a CD (or any other digitally sourced material) that sounds as good as this record as long as you live
  • "Recorded after the departure of guitarist Tom Fogerty, it was the band's only studio album as a trio, and featured songs written, sung, and produced by each of the remaining members [Stu Cook and Doug Clifford], rather than just John Fogerty" - Wikipedia

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These Nearly White Hot Stamper pressings have top-quality sound that's often surprisingly close to our White Hots, but they sell at substantial discounts to our Shootout Winners, making them a relative bargain in the world of Hot Stampers ("relative" meaning relative considering the prices we charge). We feel you get what you pay for here at Better Records, and if ever you don't agree, please feel free to return the record for a full refund, no questions asked.

This vintage Fantasy 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 Mardi Gras 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 1972
  • 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 Mardi Gras, 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 Mardi Gras

  • 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.

A Tough Record To Play

Mardi Gras (like all CCR albums) is a difficult record to reproduce. Do not attempt to play it using anything other than the highest quality equipment.

Unless your system is firing on all cylinders, even our hottest Hot Stamper copies -- the Super Hot and White Hot pressings with the biggest, most dynamic, clearest, and least distorted sound -- can have problems. Your system should be thoroughly warmed up, your electricity should be clean and cooking, you've got to be using the right room treatments, and we also highly recommend using a demagnetizer such as the Walker Talisman on the record, your cables (power, interconnect and speaker) as well as the individual drivers of your speakers.

This is a record that's going to demand a lot from the listener, and we want to make sure that you feel you're up to the challenge. If you don't mind putting in a little hard work, here's a record that will reward your time and effort many times over, and probably teach you a thing or two about tweaking your gear in the process (especially your VTA adjustment, just to pick an obvious area many audiophiles neglect).

Side One

  • Lookin' For A Reason (Fogerty)
  • Take It Like A Friend (Cook)
  • Need Someone To Hold (Clifford)
  • Tearin' Up The Country (Clifford)
  • Someday Never Comes (Fogerty)

Side Two

  • What Are You Gonna Do (Clifford)
  • Sail Away (Cook)
  • Hello Mary Lou (Fogerty)
  • Door To Door (Cook)
  • Sweet Hitch-Hiker (Fogerty)

About the Album

Mardi Gras is the seventh and final studio album by American rock band Creedence Clearwater Revival, released on April 11, 1972 by Fantasy Records. Recorded after the departure of guitarist Tom Fogerty, it was the band's only studio album as a trio, and featured songs written, sung, and produced by each of the remaining members, rather than just John Fogerty.

Unlike previous albums, on Mardi Gras, Stu Cook and Doug Clifford shared songwriting and production duties with John Fogerty, and they also provided their own lead vocal contributions for the first time. On October 16, 1972, six months after the release of the album, CCR and its record label, Fantasy Records, released a statement announcing the official disbanding of the group.

Except for "Sweet Hitch-Hiker" and "Door to Door," which were recorded in the spring of 1971, Mardi Gras was recorded in January 1972. After Tom Fogerty, John's older brother, had departed the group in early 1971 following a dispute that was, in large part, caused by his desire to play a larger creative role and John's insistence on being the band's only singer/songwriter/business manager. John Fogerty only contributed three original songs to Mardi Gras and also sang lead on a fourth, a cover of the 1961 Ricky Nelson hit "Hello Mary Lou." According to Cook and Clifford, it was John Fogerty's idea for all of the remaining members to contribute an equal number of new songs, despite their reservations.

The album was a commercial success, peaking at number 12 on the Billboard Hot 100 and going gold, and contained two Top 40 singles: "Sweet Hitch-Hiker" and "Someday Never Comes" (both of which written and sung by Fogerty), but mounting financial and legal woes compounded the fragile situation within the band, and CCR disbanded on October 16, 1972, shortly after the Mardi Gras tour ended