Of the many articles and reviews that Harry Pearson wrote for The Absolute Sound, his annual Super LP List (aka SuperDisc List) may have been the most eagerly anticipated. The issue in which it was published was the one that everyone had to buy, borrow, or copy. Why? Because whether you were rich or poor, active in the high-end audio market or just kicking tires, it was the one issue of TAS you could make daily practical use of—it was your road map to the absolute sound.
Back in the day, hundreds of guys like me carried that list with them to record stores, garage sales, estate sales, library sales, rummage sales, the basements of unsuspecting neighbors. With HP’s recommendations in hand we pawed at musty cardboard boxes and peach bins full of vinyl, rifling through stack after stack of fifty-cent LPs stinking of mildew and cat piss in search of the titles Harry deemed worthiest.
Who didn’t lust for that 1s/1s Pines of Rome? Who wouldn’t have sold his soul for—or cheated a widow and an orphan out of—that black-label Weavers Reunion at Carnegie Hall? Almost single-handedly HP created a market so important, voracious, and enduring that, even now, used-record dealers demand a premium for mint copies of his favorites, while select titles from his Super LP List continue to be re-issued by companies the world over.
It is our aim here to preserve and expand upon what Harry created. While it may not ignite the frenzy that it once did, TAS’ new Super LP List contains every LP that HP recommended when the list was last published by him. It also contains hundreds of titles that JV and the TAS staff have deemed worthy of adding.
In keeping with Harry’s practice, each entry new to this latest version of the list is bolded and marked with a red dagger symbol (†), and those recordings that are still available new or re-issued are marked with a double dagger (‡). LPs with particularly natural, as opposed to hi-fi spectacular sound have been awarded an asterisk (*).
This probably goes without saying, but be aware that a few of the most recent pop entries contain “adult” lyrics. JV
BEST OF THE BUNCH: Classical
- Arnold: English, Scottish, & Cornish Dances. Lyrita SRCS-109
- Brahms/Debussy/Bartók: Sonatas/Abel, Steinberg. Wilson Audiophile/Analogue Productions 8722*‡
- Brahms: Symphonien 1–4/Rattle, Berlin Phil. Berlin Philharmonic Recordings BPHR 160041*‡
- Gerhard: The Plague. Decca Head 6
- Gershwin: Porgy & Bess complete/Maazel. Decca SET 609-11*
- Herold-Lanchbery: La Fille Mal Gardée. Decca/ORG 0109-45 (45rpm)*‡
- Hi-Fi a la Española. Mercury/Classic SR-90144*
- Holst: The Planets/Mehta, LA. Decca/ORG 122-45 (45rpm)*‡
- Mahler: Ninth Symphony/Barbirolli, Berlin Phil. ERC/EMI ASD 596/597*‡
- Prokofiev: Scythian Suite. Mercury/ORG 118-45 (45rpm)*‡
- Rachmaninoff: Piano Concerto No. 3. Mercury/Speakers Corner SR-90283*‡
- Ravel: La Valse/Paray. Mercury/Classic SR-90313*‡
- Respighi: Feste Romane/Maazel. Decca SXL-6822
- Stravinsky: The Firebird/Dorati. Mercury/Classic SR-90226*‡
- Widor: Symphony No. 6, Allegro. Mercury SR-90169
BEST OF THE BUNCH: Popular
- Bachrach: Casino Royale. Colgems/Classic Records 5005Q‡
- Balalaika Favorites. Mercury/Classic Records SR90310-45 (45rpm)‡
- Belafonte At Carnegie Hall: The Complete Concert. RCA/Analogue Productions LSP/AAPF-6006 (45rpm) *‡
- Ellington: For Duke. M & K Realtime UMK&K101*
- Ralph Hunter Choir: The Wild, Wild West. RCA LSP-l968*
- Dean Martin: Dream with Dean. Reprise/Analogue Productions 076-45 (45rpm)*‡
- Music for Bang, Ba-room and Harp. RCA/Analogue Productions LSP-1866‡
- Peter, Paul & Mary: In the Wind. Warner Bros./ORG 071 (45rpm)*‡
- Pink Floyd: Dark Side of the Moon. EMI Harvest SHVL-804‡
- The Sheffield Track Record. Sheffield Lab-20*
- Don Shirley: Water Boy. Columbia CS-9196*
- The Weavers Reunion at Carnegie Hall, 1963. Vanguard/Analogue Productions 005*‡
- Winds of War and Peace/Graham. Wilson Audiophile/Analogue Productions 8823‡