Critics of Jon Landau's production on Back in the USA have always had to base their case
on this, the initial mastering. And let's face it, it sounds very tinny indeed. The Japanese SHM
version of the album, however, shows that the criticisms, while entirely justified of the record
as it was released (and I had the original vinyl) do not apply to the production and engineering.
The record sounds sensational, with the bass beautifully recorded and the whole thing packing
every bit as much punch as Kick Out the Jams. It's a good candidate for most exciting album
ever recorded, with such classics as Teenage Lust, Looking at You, American Ruse and the cryptic
Human Being Lawnmower. And since the task of the producer is not merely to supervise the sound,
but to get the best possible performance out of the band, Jon Landau has to be given an enormous
amount of credit.
In summary, the SHM version renders virtually all criticisms of the sound totally redundant.
(By the way, although the SHM Kick Out the Jams is almost unobtainable, certainly not for a realistic
price, the regular Japanese remastering is fantastic and costs 20 or 30 bucks: essential!)