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Mayorga, Lincoln - and Distinguished Colleagues (S9) - White Hot Stamper (With Issues)

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

White Hot Stamper (With Issues)

Lincoln Mayorga and Distinguished Colleagues
Volume 1 (S9)

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Sonic Grade

Side One:

Side Two:

Vinyl Grade

Side One: Mint Minus Minus (closer to M-- to EX++ in parts)*

Side Two: Mint Minus Minus (closer to M-- to EX++ in parts)*

  • An original pressing of this rare and sought-after direct to disc recording (the first to hit the site in twelve months) with two INSANELY GOOD Shootout Winning Triple Plus (A+++) sides
  • Here are just a few of the things we had to say about this amazing copy in our notes: "deep, rich bass"...huge extension top to bottom"..."very detailed and transparent, just jumping out and huge bass and weight"..."more realistic all around" (side one)..."top detail" (side two)..."silky and spacious"...."great weight and dynamics"
  • This copy could not be beat for sound - get your VTA right and the bottom end on this LP will turn into a Bass Demo Disc like nothing you've heard
  • It's very difficult to find this album in clean condition, and even more difficult to find one that sounds as good as this one does, but marks 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
  • One of the rarest Hot Stamper records bar none - only a handful have ever made it to the site

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*NOTE: There is a mark that plays at a light to moderate level and intermittently about 20 times in total throughout the first 1/2 of the last track on side 2, "All The Things You Are."

*NOTE: This record was not noisy enough to rate our M-- to EX++ grade, but it's not quite up to our standards for Mint Minus Minus either. If you're looking for quiet vinyl, this is probably not the best copy for you.

This is a stunning copy of "The Big One" -- Lincoln Mayorga and Distinguished Colleagues' first Sheffield Direct-to-Disc LP aka S9. We've been comparing and contrasting pressings of this album for more than twenty years and this is one of the best copies we've stumbled upon. The sound is big, rich and full of energy.

Both sides have prodigious amounts of bottom end. It is a thrill to hear the power of the bass on this recording. The kick drum is huge.

Both sides have about as much Tubey Magic as can be found on the album, although Tubey Magic is clearly not what the engineers were going for with this recording. It's a sound that many copies reproduce less than ideally, being somewhat dry.

We are big fans of Mayorga's music for Sheffield from back in the day; all three of the Distinguished Colleagues records are fun and boast amazing sound when you get the right pressing.

Doug Sax, the man who single-handedly revived the direct to disc recording, passed away late in 2015. If you were an audiophile in the 70s you no doubt played a lot of his records and were surely knocked out by some. I know I was. Rest in Peace.

What The Best Sides Of S9 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 1971
  • 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.

Turn It Up

S9 is surely one of the best examples of a recording that ONLY comes to life when you turn up your volume.

There's not much ambience to be found in this somewhat dead sounding studio, and very little high frequency boost to any instrument in the soundfield, which means at moderate levels this record sounds flat and lifeless. (You could say it has that in common with most Heavy Vinyl pressings these days, but those records never sound good even at good loud levels in our experience.)

But turn this pressing up and, man, the sound really starts jumpin' out of the speakers and sounding much more natural.

What We're Listening For On S9

  • Energy for starters. What could be more important than the life of the music?
  • 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.

Testing for Energy and Whomp

Play the record at normal levels and pick out any instrument -- snare, toms, sax, bass -- anything you like. Now turn it up a notch and see if the timbre of that instrument isn't more correct. Add another click of volume and listen again. I think you will see that with each increase in volume, assuming your system can handle it, the tonality of each and every instrument you hear will continue to get better.

This record would sound right at live levels, of that I have no doubt.

It gives you the life and energy of the music -- the tonality of the instruments is correct (although admittedly some tracks can sound a bit dark. That's not actually a pressing issue, it's more of a mixing and mic'ing issue.) and the whomp factor is fully intact. This is what made the album such a Demo Disc in its day. It's got real power and impact from the deepest bass up through the lower midrange, that range that small speakers and screens have so much trouble with. (The Legacy Focus we use for our shootouts has three twelve inch woofers and loves records with this kind of WHOMP.)

Above the bottom you will find wonderfully transparent and sweet mids and highs. This is the kind of sound that brings out the breathy, reedy quality of the saxes that play on so many of the tunes here (alto, tenor and baritone, pretty much the full complement).

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

  • Grand Boulevard
  • Good Vibrations
  • Anyone Who Had A Heart
  • I'll Be Back
  • Learning To Be Kind

Side Two

  • Up, Up and Away
  • Mercy, Mercy
  • She's Leaving Home
  • Don't Think Twice
  • All The Things You Are

Lincoln Mayorga

Lincoln Mayorga (March 28, 1937 – July 3, 2023) was an American pianist, arranger, conductor and composer who worked in rock and roll, pop, jazz and classical music.

In the 1970s he helped establish the audiophile record company Sheffield Lab, and set up his own label, TownHall Records, which specializes in historical reissues and comprehensive collections of jazz and classical music and is "dedicated to the concept that recordings should preserve permanently the important musical art of our time." In the late 1970s he recorded an album with Lou Busch (aka Joe "Fingers" Carr) on the Sheffield label, The Brinkerhoff Piano Company Salutes the Sentimental Sixties. Singer/songwriter Amanda McBroom teamed up with Mayorga to record two well-received albums on Sheffield, Growing Up in Hollywood Town and West of Oz. In addition he recorded the Irving Berlin Century with vocalist Margie Gibson under the Sheffield banner.

A little known fact, Mayorga also recorded a classical album with Trumpeter Jimmy Valves. The album is rare but was very well received and a pleasant listen if found. It is called The Virtuoso Trumpet and was recorded at Gold Star Studio in Hollywood, CA.

Mayorga relocated to Columbia County in New York in the mid-1980s, and has increasingly worked as a concert pianist. He has also continued to perform in concert in recent years with Bruce Belland, lead singer of the Four Preps, and has released a series of classical and heritage albums on the TownHall label.

The Moscow Philharmonic invited him to perform George Gershwin's Rhapsody In Blue and "I Got Rhythm" Variations, on their first concert devoted to American music. He has toured extensively in North America and Europe, and has collaborated with such musicians as Itzhak Perlman, Richard Stoltzman, Michael Tilson Thomas, Gerard Schwarz, and others. Mayorga has written a piano concerto, Angels' Flight, a tribute to the city of Los Angeles and the music of the cinema, which he has performed with the Henry Mancini Institute Orchestra.


Direct-to-Disc Recording

Direct-to-disc recording refers to sound recording methods that bypass the use of magnetic tape recording and record audio directly onto analog disc masters.

Most sound recordings for records before the 1950s were made by cutting directly to a master disc. Recording via magnetic tape became the industry standard around the time of the creation of the LP format in 1948, and these two technological advances are often seen as being joined, although 78 rpm records cut from tape masters continued to be manufactured for another decade.

The first commercial release of Direct-to-disc microgroove LP records was from the Nippon Columbia label, in 1969 - the series entitled "Columbia 45rpm Direct Cutting Series." And in the mid-late 1970s, a small number of albums recorded direct-to-disc began to appear again on the market and were marketed as "audiophile" editions, promising superior sound quality compared with recordings made using the more common multi-track tape recording methods. A small number of direct-to-disc albums continue to be recorded and released in the 2020s.

To make a direct-to-disc recording, musicians would typically play one 15-minute "live" set in a recording studio per LP side using professional audio equipment. The recording was made without multitrack recording and without overdubs. The performance was carefully engineered and mixed live in stereophonic sound. During the performance, the analog disc cutting head engages the master lacquer from which sides of an LP record are ultimately derived and is not stopped until the entire side is complete.

Such a direct-to-disc recording was often simultaneously recorded onto a two-track master tape for subsequent pressing in the traditional manner. Although such tapes were often made to preserve the recordings in case the direct-to-disc process failed or the master disc became damaged before the final product could be produced, direct-to-disc albums were almost never re-issued as standard albums made from tape masters. One exception to this was Sheffield Lab's 1976 direct-to-disc LP release of Dave Grusin's Discovered Again! which was re-released a few years later as a conventional LP mastered from the tapes recorded as a backup during the recording sessions for the album.

Technically, direct-to-disc recording is believed to result in a more accurate, less noisy recording through the elimination of up to four generations of master tapes, overdubs, and mix downs from multi-tracked masters. The method bypasses problems inherent in analog recording tape such as tape hiss.

Although the spontaneity of performance is preserved, no overdubbing or editing is possible. It becomes more challenging for the musicians, engineers and producers, whose performances will be captured "warts and all." In the event of aborted sides, expensive lacquers are wasted and cannot be used again. According to Robert Auld of the Audio Engineering Society: "It was a notoriously difficult way to record; the musicians and all concerned had to record a complete LP side without any serious musical or technical mistakes."

Some artists maintain that musical instruments may drift out of tune: It is not possible to keep instruments in tune for the length of the LP side. Which is why many professional musicians have always had to tune up their instruments themselves during live shows and often even in the middle of a song.