Well recorded records ... what are your picks?

I just finished listening to some records. No surprises, just some usuals. But, I was thinking the whole time about how well some of these records were engineered and recorded. I thought I would write about them and ask for your favorites.

I finished with Thomas Dolby -- Aliens Ate My Buick. It is so well recorded! I am drawn in and must listen to the whole album. I lose myself in this one! Rickie Lee Jones -- Pop Pop. Spin her version of "Up From the Skies" and you will know what I am talking about. Pure recorded bliss. It is magical. I had to listen to the rest of the album and was not disappointed! Dire Straits -- Love Over Gold. Title track -- unbelievable. This album is so well recorded; no wonder I have known more than a few audiophiles who have recommended it. I listened to the whole damned wonderful album! Rickie Lee Jones -- Rickie Lee Jones. How can you miss with this one. If you need to test your set-up, go with this one. It is perfect. Oh, also, I listened to "Sunday in the Park with George" tonight. It is so well recorded with depth and width. I also enjoy the music. I also spun Dire Straits -- Communique. It is not as well recorded as Love Over Gold, but that is only by a "smidgen." It is truly a gem. I love the music, and it is very well recorded.

These are my picks for tonight. More to come, of course. I am wondering what are your favorites and why? This could be a nice exchange of information on well engineered and recorded records for all of us. And, we could all discover albums and their characteristics through each other's information.

For tonight, Telarc's 1812 by Tchaikovsky,(these are digital, by the way), and Eric Burden's Soul of a Man. Wide disparity in genres, but I am selling my all-time favorite loudspeakers tomorrow, so these two are sounding sooo good. Got to go listen some more, so bye now.

Here's "several +" that come to mind as sounding exceptional on my systems.
- Jennifer Warnes - Famous Blue Raincoat
- Allman Brothers - Live At Fillmore East, Eat A Peach
- Jeff Beck - Blow by Blow
- Cars - Cars
- Al Stewart - Time Passages, Year of the Cat
- Paul Simon - Graceland
- Quincy Jones - Walking in Space
- Billy Cobham - Spectrum
- David Bowie - Pinups, Lodger
- David & David - Boomtown
- Sting - Dream of the Blue Turtles
- Dire Straits - Dire Straits
- Alan Parsons - I Robot, Eve
- Joni Mitchel - Heijira
- Pretenders - Learning to Crawl
- Talking Heads - Remain in Light, Little Creatures
- Adrian Belew - Lone Rhino, Twang Bar King
- Albert Collins, Robert Cray, Johnny Copeland - Showdown
- Sonny Boy Williamson - Let's Keep it to Ourselves
- Bill Bruford - One of a Kind
- Peter Gabriel - Peter Gabriel('80 release), Security
- Buddy Guy / Junior Wells - Going Back to Acoustics
- Earl Klugh / Bob James - Two of a Kind
- Bob James - Hands Down
- Style Council - Confessions of a Pop Group
- Robin Trower - Bridge of Sighs
- David Ackles - American Gothic
- Toots Thielmans - Live
- Albert King with Stevie Ray Vaughan - In Session
- Steely Dan - Gaucho

I could keep going since I've found a lot of good vinyl out there.
"A Meeting by the River," Cooder/Bhatt - Water Lily APW 29 (on vinyl by Analogue Productions)
Great input everyone! Thanks for the suggestions!

I have a number of these records and will re-visit them.
Sit ---

Which Toots Thielmans "Live"

i found

Live Takes

live in France
Live in Netherlands
Live in New Orleans

,,,abd there were a few others with the word Live in the title...

I have to admit ..so far just listening to the samples i like most of these.. just wondering about your recording recommendation
Les Brown goes Direct to Disc...this sounds so natural and dynamic. I've got to get more direct to disc recordings!

03-21-09: Tricon_dave
Les Brown goes Direct to Disc...this sounds so natural and dynamic. I've got to get more direct to disc recordings!
Yeah, baby! Commercially impractical though D2D LPs may be, they are the best-sounding home audio format.

I'm a big band nut, and have two Sheffield Harry James D2Ds and two American Grammophon Buddy Rich D2Ds. Harry James' "The King James Version" may be the best-sounding album in my whole collection. Of my two Buddy Rich D2Ds, one features Mel Torme on vocals. I also have the Sheffield D2D, "Tower of Power: Direct." Not a big band per se, but a great horn band doing the best funk evah!

Toots recorded on April 10, 1975 in Laren, Holland.

Here's a surprize. I revisited my old Grand Funk Railroad "On Time" lp and found perhaps the best recorded performance of a rock'n roll drum solo I ever heard in the selection titled "T.N.U.C.". Don Brewer on drums.

Crank it up. Be prepared for hearing how wonderfully Brewer's incredible performance was captured. What's more amazing, it's the LAST TRACK on side one and still sounds heart-poundingly live.
Bicycle Man:

I do agree with you about the quality of the recording of some records. Not all records sound good. And that is why I am always separating the good from the bad recorded records in my growing collection, as soon as I return from the Goodwill Store or the used record shop. I have listened to the Dire Straits LP that you mentioned and its great. Another good Dire Straits LP is "Brother in Arms" one of my favorite. To prevent me from wasting time cleaning up the the bad sounding albums, I usually do a pre-listening of the tracks to separate the records quickly, then I clean the good ones on my Nitty Gritty with my home brewed cleaners. Its really amazing to listen to some good sounding recordings in your preferred genre.
T.Rex-Electric Warrior and Traffic-Low Spark of High Heeled Boys are two recent surprising finds for me. His Band and Street Choir and The Kinks-Misfits are also standouts. I also really enjoy many of Harry Nilsson's albums. Nilsson Schmilson on the orange dynaflex label has yet to disappoint. Pretty much anything with Sterling, Masterdisc, or TML in the deadwax are worth checking out(Esp. with the initials RL included-Robert Ludwig worked at both Sterling and Masterdisc).
Hi Almandog, right on! Actually, I kick myself for not picking up a copy of Brothers in Arms when lp's were cheap and plentiful! The title track alone is excellent and I think must sound great on lp. I only have the cd, unfortunately.

Thanks for the pre-clean, then clean-the-good-ones suggestion; makes sense. What is your cleaner formula? Did you get it from an MSDS, or from audio folk lore?

I listened to a couple of Pat Metheny albums tonight, as well as Jackson Brown -- The Pretender, and Jimmy Buffet -- Son of a Son of a Sailor. They were all worthy of cleaning, and collecting. The Jackson Brown was somewhat disappointing in the first track. I love the song so much, but the recording was a bit flat (although, I must say it was satisfying). But then the rest of the album kicked into gear and the recording was very good. This Jimmy Buffet album is very well recorded. It is three-dimensional, and has a reasonably wide soundstage. The separation is very good on it! And, of course, I really enjoy the music on it.
Joe Jackson - "Body and Soul" - one of the best sounding pop recordings I've heard. Lots of varied instrumentation, including a well-recorded horn section. Good dynamics. A natural-sounding recording.
Popular Music

AC/DC ( Bon Scott ) High voltage
Armstrong, Louis Satchmo Plays King Oliver
Atkins, Chet Down Home
Baez, Joan Farewell, Angelina
Baez, Joan The First 10 Years
Baez, Joan Diamonds & Rust
Barber, Chris Come Friday
Bassey, Shirley 25th Anniversary Album
Beatles St. Pepper
Belafonte, Harry At Carnegie Hall
Belafonte, Harry Returns To Carnegie Hall
Belafonte, Harry Streets I Have Walked
Big Daddy 45 RPM Single
Brubeck, Dave Time Out
Cash, Jonny American Recordings
Clapton, Eric Unplugged
Clapton, Eric Just One Night
Clapton, Eric Behind the Sun
Collins, Phil Face Value
Coltrane, John Blue Train
Cooke, Sam Night Beat
Creedance Clearwater Cosmo's Factory
Creedance Clearwater Willy And the Poorboys
Davis, Miles Live Around The World
Deep Purple Made In Japan
DeVille, Mink Where Angels Fear To Thread
DeVille, Willy Victory Mixture
Diamond, Neil Hot August Night
Dire Straits Dire Straits
Dire Straits Love Over Gold
Dylan, Bob Oh Mercy
Dylan, Bob The Freewheelin'
Eagles Hell Freezes Over
Getz / Gilberto Getz / Gilberto
Grönemeyer, Herbert Unplugged
Hall, Bob Left Hand Roller
Henderson, Bill Live At The Times
Hooker, John Lee The Healer
Hooker, John Lee That's My Story
Jethro Tull Aqualung
Kansas Power
Led Zeppelin Led Zeppelin
MacLeod, Doug Come To Find
Mason, Rod Jazz Band Stars Fell On Alabama
Morrison & The Chieftains Irish Heartbeat
Morrison, Van Enlightenment
Morrison, Van Avalon Sunset
Mostel, Zero Fiddler On The Roof
Nelson, Willy Always On My Mind
Ofarim, Esther Esther
Presley, Elvis Elvis Is Back
Presley, Elvis 24 Karat Hits
Rainbow Down to Earth
Scruggs, Earl Nashville's Rock
Simon And Garfunkel Bridge Over Troubled Water
Sniff'n'the Tears Fickle Heart
Southside Johnny & the As.J. Hearts of Stone
Springfield, Dusty Casino Royale
Stevens, Cat Teaser And The Firecat
Steward, Rod Unplugged
Wassermann, Rob Duets
Waters, Muddy Folk Singer
Watson, Doc Southbound
Watson, Doc Home again !
Weavers At Carnegie Hall
Williamson, Sonny Boy Keep It To Ourselves
What about current albums? Anyone here have picks that are relatively current (or back 5+ years)?

I'd pick Keep it Hid by Dan Auerbach (of The Black Keys)-2009. I think it is very well recorded. I am new to vinyl, so my collection is very small. I know that the mastering is not on par with that of a few decades back but there must be some great ones out there.

Though varied, I listen to indie rock, electronica, R&B, rock, and blues, so it would be great to see some picks in those genres. List of my music

cheers, ed
RE: My post above:

I meant "in general" that recording/mastering in not on par with the genius of vinyl heyday. I wasn't referring to Keep It Hid. I think it is very good.
WOW I could list alot and I believe any of the early recorded blues to be great even with all the pops and hisses. Listen to some Muddy and imagine how great he would have sounded if recorded in better situations. Here are just a few as now I will have to listen for weeks to come up with more. LOL
Herb Alpert's Tijuana Brass/Whipped Cream & Other Delights
Bob James Trio/Straight Up
Spyro Gyra/Point of View
The Lonnie Smith Trio/Afro Blues
Fourplay/Between The Sheets
Bill Evans/Montreaux Jazz Festival
Duke Ellington/London Concerts
Paul Desmond/Desmond Blue
Eric Clapton/From the Cradle
Canadian Brass/Take the A Train
George Benson/Love Remembered
Jeff Beck/Blow By Blow
Beatles/Red, White, and Blue albums

Will have to listen to pick the best but must mention Ella Fitzgerald and Billie Holiday both of whos voices will blow you away. imo
Now that I re-read the orignal thread I see that the responses are lacking because few have stated why they thought they were the best sounding so it will be intresting to view everyones opinions so I will start it out with my #1 pick Herb Alperts Tijuana Brass Band.

Maybe not the BEST recording but who can say what is. I happen to think it is a kick *** recording!

IT IS A MATTER OR PERSONAL TASTE!!!! I happen to like it becasue that is the first music I can recall as a kid and I still enjoy it. Music is and should be an ongoing journey not only to the past but to the present and future.
That album started my journey as it is the first one I recall and after 47 years it continues to forge my future. I will always remember sitting in the corner of the room at two years old with these oversize headphones on listening to that lp on my dads system. It was the ONLY way they could settle me down. I was a wild child but put on the tunes and I was an angle. We may all have out favorites, argue about it, discuss it, but whatever music touches you is the best. Bottom line! Music should touch you,shake you, freeze you, make you remember those you love who have died and soothe you for the ones you wish had not. It should make you remember who you loved and why but most importantly it should do for you what you allow it. It is what you let it be and if you are smart it will let you know what it needs to be. Sooooo, it is in the eyes of the beholder and I have my favorites and you may not like them but who cares. THEY ARE MINE and if you really care I might choose to share them with you....or not
Bicycle Man:

I got my home brewed formula from the Internet.It consist of one pint isoprophyl alcohol, two tablespoon dish washing liquid, a few drops of Kodak otoflo, and one gallon distilled water. I came across a thred at audioasylum where some folks were using white vinigar, dishwashing liquid, and distilled water. I also tried this mixture as the very first step along with steam cleaning, followed with my original home brewed fluid on my nitty gritty RCM, but the finger prints are still present on the record. I am going to get some ultra pure water to use as the final rinse.
A number of releases from Reference Recordings are fantastic. Buy the sampler(s) . I went out and bought 6 cd's after listening to it. Some of the best sound available.
Bondmanp, you are absolutely write about Body and Soul! I particularly like "Heart of Ice." I love how it builds up from a whisper into a melodic, dynamic crescendo.

Fantastic pick!
I completely agree with you Ehaller!

Incidentally, I haven't listened to Jumping Jive in a while. The music is fun and great. I forgot how the recording is -- I'll listen soon and report. But if the recording is as good as the music, it is definitely a "keeper."
Joan Armatrading -- Me Myself I. Someone in my building was throwing it out. I picked it up. It is in excellent condition.

The music is great! The recording is great!

The quality of the recording supports my thought that the music industry recorded rock music very well until the early eighties. After that it seems to me that rock and other pop genres were not so well recorded. Of course, the exception is some artists who paid attention to how their albums were recorded, like Joe Jackson.
Supertramp Live, Paris. One of the best live albums I have heard! Beautifully recorded!

Get one, and listen to it. It is great!

Sit ! Bruford's One of a Kind, now that album is truly a masterpiece. Probably my top album ever always.
Current /newish Releases of interest:

Radiohead - In Rainbows (in particular the ltd edition release includes CD copy of album also, and it's a 45rpm LP)

The White Stripes - Ickey Thump (An all analog recording and the 1st ever LP to be mastered at Acoustech from 1inch tape)
Hi, following my 5 cents worth...

There are stacks of contemporary pop with a lot of these picks as I can see, that's fine, but how about some funked up jazz e.g. Hubert Laws: 'The Rite of Spring' with
Gene Bertoncini, Ron Carter, Jack DeJohnette, Dave Friedman, Bob James, Airto -- and of all things produced by Creed Taylor... (not everyone’s recommendation I guess)

Interesting here, since we talk about 'well recorded records', if I play this one with a more average type of pick-up it can sound plain weird --- now I heard it with an Orpheus and this particular album is something else completely, since all the tonal-colours come out, that freaky jazzy stuff starts to make sense all of the sudden. It is quite fantastic actually...

This brings up the second point, the quality of the pressings themselves. A mediocre pressing, and even Ricky Lee Jones, so well recorded, can sound just like -- well mediocre.

Last one, and everyone knows it for sure - Dark Side.. P.F.
Listening to a local SA pressing makes me realise why everyone in the early 80s thought CD was so marvellous.
Some of these pressings must have been pressed on stampers that had exceeded their natural life by more then 10x, but it sold anyhow with the lowly standard prevailing at the time. Yet another reason we got CDs up to our eyeballs... lousy LP quality.
Any jazz on pablo like basie jams 1-3 or 88 basie st amything by ted templeman doobies vh captn bheart clear spot montrose debut
Check out George Benson "White Rabbit". This album is great, I picked it up for $1.00 at the Goodwill store.
I'm surprised no one mentioned For Duke by M+K records. It is a direct to master recording and is fantastic music and as well as a fantastic recording. Each side of the record is a non-stop recording session because it is direct to master. I took me years to find a copy for myself. Until then I had to bum around with friends who had a copy to get a listen.
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Along with "For Duke", Duke Ellington's Symphony in Black and Other Works, by The Smithsonian Jazz Repertory Ensemble, is excellent.

I listened to Tears for Fears, Songs from the Big Chair last night. I forgot how wonderfully well recorded it is. I have been listening to some of the tracks from that album on their greatest hits cd. The sound -- fine, but not remarkable. The record, however, came alive and was truly captivating.

Jennifer Warnes - FBR (45rpm)
Jennifer Warnes - The Well (Cisco)
Dave Brubeck - Time Out (45rpm)
Ray Brown/Laurindo Almeida - Moonlight Serenade (Jeton)
Sting - Ten Summoner's Tales (Korean pressing)
Elvis Presley - Elvis Is Back (Speaker's Corner/RCA Living Stereo)
The Hissing of Summer Lawns -- Joni Mitchell. Wow! Appropriate for the thick of Summer in NYC. Fantastic album -- great music, great recording!

Tvad, I also think Thriller is an excellent album. I will listen to it again and pay attention to the recording quality. My memory is that it is high quality.

I picked up a 180g version of Rickie Lee Jones' original album. My original pressing has a fair amount of surface noise; still listenable, but after hearing the new pressing, I realized that my old pressing is, well, old. I really enjoy the new 180g pressing. It is a Rhino Vinyl manufacture under Warner Music Group. I found it for $25 online. Ms. Jones' voice is not veiled on this pressing.

I wonder if anyone has compared it with the MFSL pressing.

Another pick of mine of late '70's music -- Foreigner -- Head Games. For music I listened to when I was a child, it is well recorded. I found a great condition original pressing at an NYC used record shop in the early '90's for $1. I still like the music, although a bit bubble gummy for rock.

Speaking of bubble gum rock, around the same time I found Get the Knack in mint condition for $1 in the same shop. Still cool stuff for me. And, also well recorded.

Two albums from earlier in the '70's that are in my "desert island 10" are Joe Walsh -- The Smoker You Drink, The Player You Get, and Jackson Browne -- The Pretender. Both excellent recordings, and the music ... oh! ... takes me away! My apologies if I have already mentioned either of these records.

Also in my "desert island 10" is Chick Corea, either Return to Forever, or My Spanish Heart, varying from day-to-day. I don't want to put them both in because it is my hypothetical collection of 10 albums each from a different artist. Both great recordings. Again, the music is sublime on both albums. Tap Step by Chick Corea is fun, and a great recording, too!
john mayall, jazz/blues fusion. i heard it at my brother-in-laws and the recording was incredible. on the other hand, my copy sucks, likely because i played it to death in the 70's and 80's.
I dont know if these have already been mentioned:

Eric Clapton- Unplugged
Herbie Hancock-River, The Joni letters
Norah Jones-Come away with me
Suzanne Vega- Solitude standing

Try em, you'll like em.
I haven't listened to Solitude Standing in years! Great mention!!!

Avalon is fantastic; have you heard Siren lately? I think Avalon is better recorded, but I also love every track on Siren. And, the recording seems acceptable.

I listened to Hotel California and Fleetwood Mac's first album tonight. While I love Hotel California, Fleetwood Mac's debut kicked HC's butt in recording quality.

Great picks, all! Thanks!!! This thread is turning out nicely into what I wanted -- an on-line place where we can comment and compare notes on albums we think worthy of mention. It is easy to recommend audiophile albums; you can count on them being very well recorded, but the music is not always so great. I wanted to share my experiences of what I think are well recorded non-audiophile albums, especially ones that may very well be overlooked as quality recordings and enjoyable music.

A few not mentioned, and if you are tired of the same old same old:

Black Sabbath: Paranoid (I recommend the white label German or British Vertigo label). This LP will bring most stereos to their respective knees. You have to have wide bandwidth, wide dynamic range and impervious/impeccable tracking to play this one right- its a superb recording.

Steve Tibbetts: Safe Journey (ECM import) Safe Journey is Steve's most accessible work. The recording is demonstration quality- I always have this one with me at shows, and people **always** ask what it is. This is how I met albertporter BTW... Steve has a lot of albums- Big Map Idea is another excellent choice.

King Crimson: In the Wake of Poseidon -immaculate recording, if you can find the Pink Island pressing, that's where you really hear it happen. The original Atlantic is quite good though. Also check out Islands- make sure you get the version with the white cover if you get the American pressing (side 1 with 'A Sailor's Tale' is quite a treat- lots of natural, jazzy sounds).

Emerson Lake and Palmer- S/T -the Pink Island press is amazing sound. The Cotillon press is a distant 2nd.

The Wand of Youth, EMI ASD 2356 A demonstration of depth.

The best sounding Pink Floyd ever is actually a bootleg, issued under the name The Pink Screaming Abdabs (an alternate name PF used in the old days), 'The BBC Sessions', recorded before a Decca stereo tree with no overdubs or extra anything. Amazing.

Vangelis: 1492 Soundtrack (LP-rare!). Side 2 contains his best work ever.

Mike Oldfield: Songs of Distant Earth (LP-rare-1994) By far Mike Oldfield's best work.
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I recently picked up a mint "regular pressing" Sting: Dream of the Blue Turtles and after owning the CD for 20+ yrs, I was completely blown away. The 30th Anniversary of U2's "Joshua Tree" on 2-180g LP's. WOW!! Led Zep "Mothership" VERY GOOD!!

There's soooo many
Heart:Dreamboat Annie on the Mushroom label. Find a clean copy with Kendun in the deadwax. Whether you're a Heart fan or not, you likely will play this all the way through. Little Queen on the Portait label rivals this but may not quite be there.
These two Heart albums have to be some of the best mid-70's records made- both for the music and quality of recording. I remember Stereo stores back then liked to use those albums to demo equipment.