You'd think I'd be happy. After all these years, finally a reissue of this "lost" reunion album by those fantastic original Byrds. The music has always been under-rated because what could possibly compare to the classics Mr. Tambourine Man, Turn, Turn, Turn and 5th Dimension (I'd also include Younger Than Yesterday, though it was sans Gene Clark)? Those were perfect albums, great time capsules and timeless music. Nineteen seventy-three was NOT 1965, and they had sense enough to know that the magic of that time and place could not be recaptured, so they made the type of music that they thought was "relevant" in 1973. I think they did quite well. The album has always been lambasted by critics and Byrd fans; unfairly so, I now think. However, it's taken a lot of time to come to that conclusion. I was just as disappointed at the time it came out; I wanted the original Byrds to SOUND like the original Byrds. I even eventually gave my LP to the local public library in the 80s; at the time, I never thought I'd want to listen to it again.
But, as time passed, that hole in my collection nagged at me, and I started to want to hear the album again, to see what I'd think of it now. Finally, a couple of years ago I found the original LP, in "fair" condition, for around $[...] and I picked it up. Even through the occasional clicks and pops, it sounded glorious. Therefore, I was so excited when it finally was released domestically. Finally!...no more clicks and pops!...in glorious digital sound!
When I got this CD, however, there was one problem: it WASN'T glorious sound. It was flat and lacked definition. HMMMM...I thought maybe I was having a bad ear day and pulled out my CD recording of my old LP to do an A/B comparison. WOW! I wasn't having a bad ear day. The old LP sounded much brighter, deeper and better. So, another bad digital remaster...not the first one, and probably won't be the last. It's amazing that there have been so many inferior digital remasters. I have an old Phillips CD recorder, 9 years old, that I use to transfer my old LPs to CD. It captures every nuance that is present on the vinyl. How can access to the master tape, with no transfer loss, with all the advances in digital remastering, yeild something inferior to what I captured on an old, scratchy LP? Makes you think, doesn't it?
Also, when a classic of this calibre is finally re-released, I think it fitting that we get some sort of "package" with it. A bit of history, maybe some perspective from the surviving Byrds...SOMETHING!!!...besides a 10" X 5" sheet of paper folded in half that has the original album image, song titles and credits.
I know I seem like a whiner, but this is a really excellent album by one of the greatest musical groups of all time. One would think they (and their fans) would deserve somthing of better quality than this.