Great sounding/recorded albums

I'm tired of all the electronic fake drums and other music I'm hearing on so many albums. 

What are some excellently recorded albums/songs that actually sound like the instruments you're hearing and not a synth?

I am 2 channel only right now and primarily listen through Tidal.
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If you're hearing a lot of fake electronic drums my guess is not a lot of Davis, Mingus, or even Coltrane playing at your place. So what kind of music are you looking for anyway? 
Ok let me rephrase. 

I'd like stuff that's dynamic and not overly "produced".  Kinda like really good sounding live albums.

Or "big" sounding symphonic albums that don't sound too thin with good bottom end.

Stuff that I can show off my system to friends and they go "wow".
My answer would be a vinyl playback system. Is that part of your rig? I could then provide some good vinyl choices.

btw: One of my favorite live albums for sonics is Neil Young: Live at Massey Hall 1971 (it even sounds pretty good via Tidal ;-))
Mark Knopfler's Tracker. Mostly traditional music, real instruments, well produced. Really shows off a system.

I'm not sure what you mean by "over produced" but if you want to show off your system Steely Dan's Aja is hard to beat. Their Two Against Nature might just beat it though. Some have referred to Steely Dan's work as "over produced" but they are  mistaking it for "perfectly produced".
I have heard that Steely Dan used a drum machine on one of their albums. It was not Aja which features Steve Gadd and the legendary Bernard Purdie. I think Jeff Porcaro played drums on Gaucho.
@n80 thanks!  I actually listened to Aja today..

You're right, it is very well produced.  Clear, sounds "real", great separation and all the other goods..  I don't particularly love Steely Dan's music, it does sound good and well recorded.  

One example I can think of that I would call great is Flight of the Cosmic Hippo even though I get tired of ALL that bass after a minute or two.  I love finding deep bass that's NOT in hip hop or rap.

Steely Dan's Aja is hard to beat. Their Two Against Nature might just beat it though. Some have referred to Steely Dan's work as "over produced" but they are mistaking it for "perfectly produced".

I don't particularly love Steely Dan's music, it does sound good and well recorded.  
What?  Steely Dan is my favorite band of all time, so kinda biased here.

Here is the infamous tas Superdisc List:

@mofimadness I need to broaden my flavors to Steely Dan then.  They've just not been on my radar.  They strike me as a bit boring and eh. But many of the things I love now, i had the same opinion of before I gave them a good shot.  It's clear I need to do the same for Steely Dan.
Eric Clapton Unplugged 

Nirvana Unplugged

Alice in Chains Unplugged

Judy Garland: Judy in Love

CASH: American Recordings

Anything Dire Straits

Just about anything Steely Dan

Diana Krall albums (puke)

Elton John's Madman Across the Water

Sam Cooke: Night Beat

@dtximages...there are others that share the same feeling about Steely Dan.  Everyone has a favorite band or group.  Not expecting everyone to love them.

Becker and Fagen were perfectionists.  Not only with their music, but their production and sound quality emphasis's were second to none.

As roberjerman suggests, a direct-to-disk LP. Once you've heard one, everything else sounds veiled, compressed, and lifeless. Sheffield made a bunch of them, both Pop and Classical. There are other d-2-d labels, but the Sheffields are easier to find and cheaper to buy. You may not like the music much, but for sound they are unmatched.

For albums made with a recorder, the releases on the Water Lily label possess instrumental timbres as natural and sonics as transparent as have ever been recorded onto tape. I suggest "A Meeting By The River", acoustic guitar by Ry Cooder. 

Sometimes choosing a certain label will ensure a good recording. ECM and Chesky come to mind but there are others. On Tidal, look for albums by Keith Jarrett, Jan Garbarek, and produced by Manfred Eicher.  These are in the jazz genre but are well produced.  The ECM label usually means a good production. You may not like the genre but you'll appreciate the quality of the recording.  

The Bright Mississippi by Allen Toussaint is the best recording in my 2000 cd collection
Show off? The Mobile Fidelity 45 RPM of Dire Straits Brothers in Arms
...if you can get a good copy.

Really well recorded drums? Dave Brubeck Time Out

A Meeting By The River is indeed impressive. If you can get into it. Which is a very important point. You really want to create a favorable impression, you play well recorded music that the listener likes.

Excuse me: loves.

Only audiophiles are impressed by technically accurate reproduction. What impresses everyone else is hearing the music they love sound better than they ever dreamed.
Only audiophiles are impressed by technically accurate reproduction.
Not so sure if that's true, but

What impresses everyone else is hearing the music they love sound better than they ever dreamed.
That's very true!
As good as any Steely Dan album is The Nightfly by Donald Fagen. Which I just happen to be listening to right now. 
As good as any Steely Dan album is The Nightfly by Donald Fagen.

+1  Yeah, baby!
Depends on whom you're trying to impress, after all. Impressing a non-audiophile doesn't take much ;-) . Give 'em a buncha bass at concert-level SPL and they'll cream their jeans. 
Check out the Reference Recording label. Great recordings in multiple genres and great for demonstrating any system.
Acoustic sounds recording Weepin Willie , Jamie Lee Robinson and more...yup Kind of blue is classic bought to 45 rpm ... Lyn Stanley’s do have excellent recording...
Here's what I've been using for a long time: Weather Report's I Sing The Body Electric and Sweet Nighter. Columbia Records LPs. The songs respectively are: The Unknown Soldier and Boogie Woogie Waltz. Joe Zawinul, Wayne Shorter and crew show how to really do jazz-fusion!
Or "big" sounding symphonic albums that don't sound too thin with good bottom end.

Stuff that I can show off my system to friends and they go "wow".

If you are equipped to play CDs, try to find the recording of Dvorak's "New World" symphony (Symphony No. 9) on the Chesky label, identified as Chesky CD31, Jascha Horenstein conducting the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra.  It is out of print, but is probably findable in used condition on eBay and possibly at Amazon.

When your friends have raised their jaws back to the normal position after listening to it, they will fall again when you tell them that it was recorded in 1962!

-- Al

Not on any audiophiles radar, much less the vinyl crowd, but I just recently bought the Teskey Brother's Run Home Slow new album on vinyl. I don't know anything about vinyl and the vinyl part of my system is basic to say the least....old Sony direct drive, Grado Black, $50 phono pre....but this album sounds great. Better than some of my other tiny vinyl collection. I can't point to any specific feature of the SQ that stands out. It just sounds good. My attention drifts away from the system to the music. I have no idea how this album stacks up to other high end vinyl pressings but for $20 it is one of the better recordings I own. Smooth, warm, rich, natural.
A bit off thread, but any Steely Dan fan should get Fagen’s box set Cheap X-mas. It’s a must-have.  Also when is Becker’s “11 Tracks of Whack” gonna get on vinyl? 
Carly Simons Greatest Hits,  Aaron Nevile Bring it on Home, Linda Ronstadt Whats New, Harry James The King James edition Sheffield Labs
Get Van Morrison’s “ The Prophet Speaks”. Sound is amazing and performance is awesome!

Thanks for the reminder, Ray. I'm guilty of taking Van for granted, as he has been around for so long. He's one of my favorite singers of his generation, and I already thought so when I saw live him in Them in 1967. I love his duet with Richard Manuel on "4% Pantomime" on The Band's Cahoots album, and Van stole the show at The Last Waltz. He can be rather sullen and anti-social, but so can I ;-) .
Steely Dan's music is always technically perfect, often loved by musos but that's about it. Kind of the opposite to Springsteen which despite often dubious recording quality usually manages to connect on an emotional level.

His current album 'Western Stars' is a career highlight, even by sonic standards.
'Nebraska' is another, a real lo-fi back to basics classic.

As for 'Born to Run', one of the seminal 70s records, nothing will ever remove the endlessly overdubbed 'mud'.
The "Born To Run" mud was created via electronic reverb, intentionally. Bruce said he wanted the album to sound like Roy Orbison as produced by Phil Spector. He failed on both accounts. Ironically, Roy’s Monument label recordings possess incredible sound quality!
I would have to throw this one out there even though I am sure it will lead to some head scratching......

Blind Melon S/T.

Just perfect in every way imho, nothing was forward or over bearing, everything was just "right".

A new reference recording for myself.
Just get into the early stereo symphonic and jazz recordings from 1957 to 1965. Mono recordings, both classical and jazz, prior to the stereo age can sound great too. Try recordings from Westminister, RCA, London. For jazz try Pacific Jazz, Contemporary, Riverside ...and plenty more.

When Hell Freezes Over by the Eagles.
Vivaldi Guitar Concertos by the Romeros
That's why I'm Here by James Taylor
The King James Edition by Harry James

@bdp24, not having heard all of Roy’s Monument recordings (but plenty of his compilations) I can say that his 1986 re-recording of his hits (In Dreams) is my favourite.

Apparently Monument had threatened to destroy the original  master tapes over some legal dispute so Roy went back into the studio to deliver this ‘gift’ to his fans.

Tirelessly beautiful sound throughout - and all the hits. Perhaps not the goto disc for the purists or those who were there first time around, but a near perfect record nevertheless.

bdp24, I agree about Roy Orbison.  Some of his tracks remind me of the sound of Patsy Cline's recordings, which I think are excellent.

I can see that @tostadosunidos. Those Southerners have an unfair advantage ;-) . Have you heard Patsy’s very early recordings, before Owen Bradley began producing her? She was much more Hillbilly early on, almost Rockabilly (as were guys like George Jones and Johnny Horton, and the great Wanda Jackson, whose two recent albums were produced by Jack White!).

Another great early Rock ’n’ Roll act recorded in good sound were The Everly Brothers. Both their Cadence (late-1950’s) and early Warner Brothers’ albums (1960 onward) possess good recorded sound, especially on the Ace Records (UK) LP’s pressed in the 1980's.

I tend to agree with a number of respondents, trust the label. Reference Recordings, ECM, Stockfisch, stand out in particular, perhaps Chandos, Pentatone for Classical.

My two personal favourites are

  Sara K, "Waterfalls" on Stockfisch

  Mark Murphy, "Love is What it Says"

  Both you know you are in for a treat from the first bar.

Doobie Brothers - Takin’ it to the streets
Often my reference when I want to nail someone in the chair to 100db :-)

Nils Lofgen - Bass and drum intro (Live)
Daft Punk (naturally....)
Billy Joel - Live Shea Stadium 2008
Fleetwood Mac - The Chain (Rumours)
France Gall - Concert public concert privé
Avishai Cohen - acoustic bass playing
All remastered Beatles pretty good.

Awesome suggestions.  I would like add:

Most things from Hans Zimmer
Prince of Egypt soundtrack.. First track wow slammin bass and big sound.  Great choir/symphonic pieces throughout.