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Super Hot Stamper - Tom Petty & The Heartbreakers - Pack Up The Plantation

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

Super Hot Stamper (Quiet Vinyl)

Tom Petty & The Heartbreakers
Pack Up The Plantation

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Sonic Grade

Side One:

Side Two:

Side Three:

Side Four:

Vinyl Grade

Side One: Mint Minus to Mint Minus Minus

Side Two: Mint Minus to Mint Minus Minus

Side Three: Mint Minus to Mint Minus Minus

Side Four: Mint Minus to Mint Minus Minus

  • A superb copy of Petty's live album, with a Shootout Winning Triple Plus (A+++) side three, mated with outstanding Double Plus (A++) grades or BETTER on the remaining three sides - exceptionally quiet vinyl too
  • This album gives you the "naked" sound of the real thing - the real voices, the real guitars, the real everything else
  • These sides are big, full-bodied, present and lively, just the way we like 'em
  • "The performances by the Heartbreakers are genuine and crisp, and there's enough sing-along and banter to the audience to identify this as a true classic rock concert recording. Petty and the Heartbreakers tear it up on hits like Refugee, American Girl, and Rockin' Around With You, and it's good to hear Stevie Nicks' appearance on the wonderful 'Insider.'"
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This vintage MCA pressing has the kind of Tubey Magical Midrange that modern records rarely even 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 Pack Up The Plantation - Live! 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 even as late as 1985
  • 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 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 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.

What are the criteria by which a record like this 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, harmonic textures (freedom from smear is key), rhythmic drive, tonal correctness, fullness, richness, and on and on down through the list.

What We're Listening For on Pack Up The Plantation - Live!

  • 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 for the guitars and drums, not the smear and thickness common to most LPs.
  • Tight, note-like bass with clear fingering -- which ties in with good transient information, as well as 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 players.
  • Then: presence and immediacy. The vocals aren't "back there" somewhere, way behind the speakers. They're front and center where any recording engineer worth his salt would have put them.
  • 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 that is a key part of the appeal 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

So You Want To Be A Rock & Roll Star
Needles And Pins
The Waiting

Side Two

American Girl
It Ain't Nothin' To Me
Rockin' Around (With You)

Side Three

I Need To Know
Southern Accents

Side Four

Don't Bring Me Down
You Got Lucky
Stories We Could Tell

Amazon Review

After the stunningly sleek, slick and polished studio album "Southern Accents" left a lot of Tom Petty/Heartbreakers fans yearning for the more straight-ahead rock and roll approach on the group's first era of classic albums, the in-concert "Pack up the Plantation" seemed like a compromise. There are still elements of 80s production here, even for a live album, but the [album] is still packed with a punch heavy enough to satisfy fans who prefer the band's more blatant rock sound.

The exciting cover of The Byrds' "So You Want To Be a Rock n' Roll Star" opens up the album, and a few other decent covers are found, including "Needles and Pins" and the Isely Brothers' "Shout." The performances by the Heartbreakers are genuine and crisp, and there's enough sing-along and banter to the audience to identify this as a true classic rock concert recording. The three songs from "Southern Accents" that are performed obviously sound much more raw than their studio counterparts, and though they're not better versions, they don't suffer either. It's probably a blessing that "Don't Come Around Here No More" wasn't performed for this album, due to its complexity in the studio. But not withstanding, Petty and the Heartbreakers tear it up on hits like "Refugee," "American Girl," and "Rockin' Around With You," and it's good to hear Stevie Nicks' appearance on the wonderful "Insider" (originally from the "Hard Promises" album).

This album is a great addition to any Petty fan's collection.

--Bud Sturguess
January, 2010