Your Not-So-Obvious Best Fidelity LPs

I’ve spent over three years building up to the system I have now.  I’m really happy with it and my wife and I love sitting in our listening room spinning various vinyl most evenings.  Rather than researching and testing gear, I want to spend this year adding great recordings to our collection.

So what are the albums you have that every time you play it you're continually amazed at its fidelity?  You might have spent $80 on it or just $1 or maybe it was a hand-me-down decades ago.  Any genre really.

And if we can please avoid the most obvious choices (which are truly wonderful) such as Pink Floyd, The Eagles, Diana Krall, etc.  I’m looking for albums, (vinyl only please) that probably fly under the radar for most folks.

I'll start….

James Taylor - Dad Loves His Work - this was just given to me by a friend a couple of weeks ago as he had an extra copy.  I have plenty of JT albums but I didn’t have this one yet.  As soon as I put it on I could tell it was special.

Edie Brickell - Shooting Rubberbands at the Stars - My wife requested this one so I found a NM copy on Discogs for a reasonable price.  This kind of blew my socks off.  Sounds really wonderful and present and the music still holds up.

Counting Crows - August and Everything After - I surprised my wife with this one as it’s one of her favorite albums.  They really nailed the recording and pressing on this one.  It’s quite impressive. 

Ben Folds - What Matters Most - He’s one of our favorite songwriters but trying to find a copy of anything of his or Ben Folds Five for under $80 is nearly impossible.  This album was released just last year and they obviously paid special attention to the recording quality.  Sounds just phenomenal. 

Steely Dan - Northeast Corridor - Obviously everyone knows how amazing their studio recordings are but this album might be unknown to some as it came out just a few years ago.  I bought it on a whim knowing nothing about it.  It’s amazing.  As if they would release an album with less than stellar fidelity.  If you’re a Dan fan, this album is a no-brainer.

REM - Automatic for the People - Completely hypnotic.  Stunning recording.

OK, that’s enough from me.  



I agree with you on Journey to Love--also very good sound.  I was at Paul Heath Audio on N. Clark St. in Chicago and brought that album with about 1977.  One of the Bull's players (Johnson--6'11") came in and wanted to know who that album was.  We listened to the whole first side together and he loved it as much as I.  He was not a starter then and only was on the team a couple years.  It was pretty cool though.

The Eva Cassidy album is one of the greatest live albums ever recorded—beautiful sound and great performance.  I have the Toneff album and I agree about it being a great sounding album.  The My Funny Valentine and the Moon’s a Harsh Mistress tracks are particularly nice.

I really like "At Seventeen," and consider its good sound as a bonus.  Her "Breaking Silence" album is even better in recording quality, but I still prefer "At Seventeen."

More pop/rock albums with good sound:

Warren Zevon (self titled)

Chris Isaak "Heart Shaped World"

Thomas Dolby "Aliens Ate My Buick"

Kraftwerk "Electric Cafe"


Pink Floyd's "Dark Side of the Moon" is commonly cited as a great sounding album.  It has, to me anyway, great music and pretty good sound, but, it is not their best sounding album (there are also too many issues of the album to sort through, the one I like is a German quadriphonic version that I heard only playing in stereo, but it beat out the Mofi version and the original US release).  To me, "The Wall" is their best sounding album and "Wishing You are Here" is another great sounding album.

Paul Simon's "Graceland" is another often cited great sounding album, and I agree on the assessment.  

I know people have gone off the deep end criticizing MoFi One-Step records because they were made from digital masters.  I don't agree with the critics; every one of the One Steps I heard were good sounding regardless of the choice of masters.