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.  


When it comes to reissues, it is sometimes quite hard to say whether the reissue is better or worse than the original--opinions may vary greatly.  When Classic Records reissued some Led Zeppelin albums, I bought them and a friend and I compared them to the original albums.  To me, the reissues sounded richer and nicer than the originals, but, my friend thought they were stripped of the rough, raw sound that made the albums great.  i could see his point, but, I still liked the reissues.  He got rid of his reissue albums.  I should have bought them because some of these albums go for crazy money these days.  

The mention of Nonesuch vinyl makes me think of how good my vinyl copy of Yankee Hotel Foxtrot sounds. I’m pretty sure it’s a reissue but it sounds brilliant.

The original YHF had a beautiful, textured paper jacket.  I liked the recording quality of that album too.  This is good reminder for me to pull it out and give it a spin.  Thanks for the reminder.

Another good sounding album issued during the age of the CD is Lou Reed's "Magic and Loss."  I bought the CD when it first came out and took it with me when I went to the Consumer Electric Show in Las Vegas.  When I asked one exhibitor if he could play it on his system, he pointed his nose in the air and declared that the LP version was MUCH better than the CD, but that there were only five copies of the LP in the USA and he owned two of them.  When I got back from the show, I asked my local used record dealer to keep an eye out for it.  Of course, in time, copies became available in this country.  A few years later, my dealer found a sealed copy; because he knew I wanted it badly, he just gave it to me, free of charge.

I am relatively new to this hobby and only have a very modest set-up. When freinds come over, there are few albums that I like to spin that make my rig sound much better than it actually is.

Gene Clark - White Light (Intervention Records)

Lee Hazlewood - Requiem For An Almost Lady (LITA)

Jerry Garcia / David Grisman - Jerry Garcia / David Grisman (Mo-Fi)

Willie Nelson -  Stardust (Mo-Fi)

DMA's - DMA's (MTV Unplugged Melbourne) 

K.D. Lang - Ingenue (Nonesuch)

Soul Media - Funky Stuff ( Deep Jazz Reality)

@paulietunes - Thanks for staring the thread. I hope you get to chase some new vinyl and have hours of great listening with your wife. I know I will (with my wife).