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King, B.B. - Lucille - Super Hot Stamper

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

Super Hot Stamper

B.B. King

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Sonic Grade

Side One:

Side Two:

Vinyl Grade

Side One: Mint Minus Minus (often quieter than this grade)

Side Two: Mint Minus Minus (often quieter than this grade)*

  • Boasting superb Double Plus (A++) grades or BETTER throughout, you'll have a hard time finding a Lucille (the album, not the guitar) that sounds remotely as good as this vintage Bluesway pressing - fairly quiet vinyl too
  • An exceptionally hard album to find with good sound, but here it is – clean, clear and spacious with a solid bottom end – qualities that bring out the best in B.B.’s Blues
  • It has taken us years to find clean copies with the right stampers for Lucille, but finally our efforts have paid off with this knockout Hot Stamper
  • "The soulful empowerment that comes from Lucille resonates vocally from Mr. King and the signature vibrato and trill of the guitar’s namesake. The album itself is a dedication to thick, yet airy blues filled with quirk and real-world relatives, staying thoroughly intimate through its production. At thirty-seven minutes, the nine-tracked record isn’t a lengthy export, but it's replay value is priceless."

More B.B. King / More Electric Blues

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*NOTE: There is a mark that plays 7 times very lightly at the start of track 3 on side 2, "I’m With You."

Vintage covers for this album are hard to find in exceptionally clean shape. Most of the will have at least some amount of ringwear, seam wear and edge wear. We guarantee that the cover we supply with this Hot Stamper is at least VG

Lucille is by far the toughest ’60s B.B. King record to find nowadays in audiophile playing condition. Most copies are just beat, and the ones that aren’t tend to be rare and pricey. The reason for all of the above is simple enough: it’s one of the man’s most consistently enjoyable, best sounding albums. Who can blame people for playing it to death when the music is so good?

Mobile Fidelity remastered the record in the ’90 for their consistently awful Anadisq series on Heavy Vinyl, and we used to sell it, albeit somewhat reluctantly. It’s not nearly as bad as most of their catalog from the period, but I would it goes without saying that our Hot Stamper pressing will show you a Lucille that a Heavy Vinyl pressing or Half-Speed can only hint at.

This vintage Bluesway 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 Lucille 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 1968
  • 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.

Best Practices

If you have five or ten 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 others do not do as well, using a few specific passages of music, it will quickly become obvious how well any given pressing reproduces those passages.

The process is simple enough. First you go deep into the sound. There you find something special, something you can’t find on most copies. 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.

What We're Listening For On Lucille

  • 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

  • Lucille
  • You Move Me So
  • Country Girl
  • No Money No Luck

Side Two

  • I Need Your Love
  • Rainin’ All The Time
  • I’m With You
  • Stop Putting The Hurt On Me
  • Watch Yourself

Sputnik Music Review

I’m not normally one to look back at music for the sole purpose of feeding nostalgia, but I’m also not one to dismiss that ‘everything had to come from somewhere’. Of all the albums I hear every year (consecutive to the next year...and the year after that, and the year... yeah, you get it) there are very few that I return to without the regret of missing music in the present. For that reason, Lucille holds an important place in shaping just “how” I listen to music today and specifically, B.B. King’s music brings together memorable family moments (even if it’s in a roundabout way), a love for guitar, for melody, and the melding of simple features into one of the sixties best studio recordings. For whatever reason, Lucille makes me think of home and the man who spawned me.

Now forgive me a little - I’m probably about to get a bit more personal than most of the guys reading this would care to read. I’ve heard this album for as long as I can remember, and parts of B.B. Kings’ music is engraved into my very being. These days I’m a grown man. A little reckless, considerably full of myself (I call this confidence in case you’re wondering) and still prone to occasional moments of doubt that come here and there without taking over completely. I’m not going to say I “got” my father while I was growing up. When he worked, he was gone before the sun rose and home a little after it fell, he drank a bit (just as much as any respectable Aussie worth his sweat would) and did not mind a moment or two to help himself wind down when he was home. But what I didn’t realize then (that I do now), is that my old man has a deep, but casual love for music. I’m not saying he was a genius composer, but he could modify most rock-radio lyrics into an amalgamation of crude, yet undeniably charming rhymes without missing a beat. He also couldn’t (and still doesn’t) play an instrument - whether it be a guitar, saxophone, trumpet or triangle… but when any given Talking Heads or U2 song popped up on his garage radio, the whole block listened too. Even more impressively, his singing is somehow always the louder. Put simply; he’s a fan of the music he likes.

Let me explain; through my eyes, my old man is a person of “moments”. He rarely thought too far forwards unless it was necessary and I can count the fingers on a single hand the amount of times I’ve seen him shed a tear (most too personal to be shared on an internet forum). But the joys of his life have been placed in front of him and in those moments, he enjoyed them to the nth (his first drink with his now legal-aged son, surprise tickets to his favourite band, or the first cuddles of his grandchildren), making the most of any situation. It’s now unavoidable that any time I hear a track from B.B. Kings 1968 effort, Lucille I hear my ol’ man belting U2’s “When Love Goes To Town” line-for-line. Music wasn’t embedded in me by any stage of learning at home, rather it was given to me for enjoyment, regardless of what was happening outside of the speakers blasting from the garage.

Now that I’m a father, in his shoes, yet socks of my own, I’ve come to understand my dad differently to how I knew him when I was younger. And yeah, thanks dad. I more-or-less get it now.

The soulful empowerment that comes from Lucille resonates vocally from Mr. King and the signature vibrato and trill of the guitar’s namesake. The album itself is a dedication to thick, yet airy blues filled with quirk and real-world relatives, staying thoroughly intimate through its production. At thirty-seven minutes, the nine-tracked record isn’t a lengthy export, but it's replay value is priceless.

The opening piece highlights the album’s main theme. Lush almost-spoken word tells a tale of how B.B. King’s famous guitar got its name. The title track wanders, but stays firmly rooted in the “how” things came to be. King states that ‘Lucille’ saved his life, and the music bleeds to that effect. Considering that the track itself teeters on ten minutes, “Lucille” is a pleasant affair with a perfect run-time, reveling in the glory of memory and well placed guitar licks. Moments of brass fill the gaps between King’s casual spoken word and his interaction with the band that backs the record. B.B. King’s music takes on a familiarity with the listeners, taking blues gold, some pomp and a lot of soul into every rendition on the album. Tracks like “Country Girl” combine relate-able context of relationship while the album’s closing piece, “Watch Yourself” flips the tale on its head, with King explaining the thoughts of a partner leaving him. Sure, the topic of love and heartbreak is a-typical of blues (King’s U2 collaboration is just another example of that), but here it is expertly used within the realms of pentatonic scaling and mid-paced swinging tempo.

When considered in its entirety, Lucille is not a perfect album. But its natural imperfections help identify the soul and realism of a premiere 60s blues record. Writing an album about a guitar, with the guitar may not be realistically compelling to listeners - but the ability to craft blues tropes into a legacy of lasting value stands well above it. B.B. King left behind a catalog of lush sounds developed from whatever was in front of him at the time, and it’s Lucille that speaks to generations past, present and future.

-Robert Garland