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Philip A.Cohen (Bay Harbor Islands, Florida United States)
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1979 - 1999 (Box Set)
1979 - 1999 (Box Set)
Price: £104.99

5 of 11 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Manufacturer is aware of the problem with "The Isle of View" DVD, 19 Feb. 2015
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This review is from: 1979 - 1999 (Box Set) (Audio CD)
My Pretenders boxed set is presently in route from amazon.co.uk, and will arrive here in the U.S.A. in a few weeks, and I will write a more extensive review when it arrives. I was very saddened and frustrated to read the first review of this set on amazon.co.uk, and reports of a serious audio fault on the DVD in the "The Isle of View" reissue. I contacted the Edsel label via e-mail, and, to their credit, they replied the next morning. They are aware of the problem, and they say "We are investigating this issue with our authors and manufacturers". For me, the faulty DVD is not a big problem, because I already have the original Rhino/Warner U.S.A. DVD of the programme, and the audio is perfect on that release. But to consumers buying this programme for the first time via Edsel's CD+DVD set, or in this 22-disc boxed set, these people deserve to get the programme with good audio quality, without sound drop-outs.
Hopefully, the Edsel label will put things right for consumers. As for whether the audio quality (on the many CD's in this 22-disc box) is better, worse or the same versus previous CD releases, that is, to a certain extent a subjective thing, and I won't be able to report my findings until the boxed set arrived. Until then, I won't worry.
UPDATE: THE RECORD COMPANY IS DENYING THERE IS A PROBLEM WITH THE AUDIO IN THE "THE ISLE OF VIEW" DVD, SO THEY'RE NOT GOING TO PUT THINGS RIGHT. I HAVE NO SYMPATHY FOR THE MUSIC INDUSTRY AND ITS SO-CALLED "PROBLEMS"
Comment Comments (10) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Feb 28, 2015 4:17 PM GMT


Live In 1970
Live In 1970
Price: £19.75

7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Good performances, some with poor sound quality, 15 July 2014
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This review is from: Live In 1970 (Audio CD)
Although I was aware that this 4-CD set re-packages two already-released 1970 Soft Machine performances, these were probably the only officially released archival projects by this group that weren't already in my collection. I was wary because of reports of poor sound quality. The reports are correct.

The problem in these recordings are not in the quality of the group's performances. One features the Dean/Hopper/Ratledge/Wyatt line-up, and the other features the Dean/Hopper/Ratledge/Wyatt/Dobson line-up.

These are soundboard recordings, but apparently made on a poor quality cassette or reel deck. The entirety of "Disc one"(the first half of the performance at Ronnie Scott's Club) is marred throughout by a loud, swishing, phasey hissing noise. Whether it is because of azimuth problems(mistracking) on the tape machine used to record the performance, or whether it is a faulty tape echo unit used during the performance, the noise is annoying. Oddly, it nearly disappears at 2:04 into Disc Two. From then on, the recording is a listenable, but amateur recording.

As for Discs 3 & 4(recorded in Breda, Holland), I'm listening to Disc Three as I type this. The noise is present during the first minute or two of this performance, then it disappears, leaving a generally acceptable,listenable amateur recording.

You may want this release if you are an absolute completist, but be cautioned that the recordings(particularly Discs 1 & 2) are like that of a fair to middling bootleg.


Brain Salad Surgery
Brain Salad Surgery
Price: £48.44

39 of 40 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A review of the 2014 boxed set., 20 May 2014
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This review is from: Brain Salad Surgery (Audio CD)
If you are considering purchasing this boxed set, then obviously you are familiar with the album, the group's 5th, and most popular, featuring the lengthy progressive rock epic "Karn Evil 9", plus four shorter selections.

A general summary of the boxed set's contents: CD 1: the original 1973 mix. CD2: outtakes, alternate mixes & non-L.P. B-sides. CD3:A new 2014 stereo mix by engineer Jacko Jakcsyk. DVD-audio: The original 1973 stereo mix, the 2014 stereo mix and a 2014 surround sound mix engineered by Jakcsyk. DVD-Video: The Manticore special. Disc 6: a vinyl L.P. containing the original 1973 mix. If you're not equipped to play the high-resolution(better than CD sound quality) DVD-Audio, don't worry, because the DVD-Audio disc also contains lossy DTS & Dolby Digital versions that will play on any DVD player.

The packaging: The set is housed in a package identical in construction to the 2013 35th anniversary edition of "Fleetwood Mac-Rumours". You get a sturdy 12" x 12" slipcase containing the vinyl L.P. in a gatefold sleeve. The L.P. fits into the left side of the sleeve, the 5 optical discs are in cardboard mini-sleeves and the right inside of the gatefold has pockets to hold 4 of the 5 optical discs. Apparently, it was a last minute decision to include the video documentary, so that DVD-video & its sleeve are included, free-floating inside the left side of the sleeve. Perhaps this oversight can be addressed if there is a second production run of this set. As with the Fleetwood Mac set, there is a 12" x 12" 19-page booklet of liner notes and photos, and additionally, this set includes a 6-panel insert of photos and lyrics(it's identical to the one included with the original 1973 L.P.). Fans will bemoan that the L.P. sleeve does not reproduce the fabrication of the original L.P. sleeve, where the front of the sleeve had two pieces that folded out from the centre.

The sound quality, music and mixes. Disc One is a remastering of the original 1973 mixes. the remastering(by Andy Pearce) was used on a previous Sony CD of the album. The remastering sounds fine, so there was no reason to change it.

Disc Two contains all of the same alternate mixes, B-sides and backing tracks that were included on Disc two of the Universal/Sanctuary 3-disc set of the album(issued in 2008), plus two previously unreleased tracks; an instrumental mix of the (originally) non-L.P. single "Brain Salad Surgery", and a significantly different early backing track arrangement for "Karn Evil 9, 3rd Impression"

Disc Three is a new 2014 stereo mix of the album. It is faithful to the original production, and uses the correct vocal and instrumental takes.

Disc Four: DVD-Audio. High resolution presentations of the 1973 & 2014 stereo mixes, plus a 5.1 surround mix by Jacko Jakcsyk. As fans are no doubt aware, there had already been a previous surround sound mix of the album(by engineer John Kellogg) that had been released on a 2001 Rhino Records DVD-Audio disc, and on an SACD that was included with the 2008 Universal/Sanctuary 3-disc set that was issued in the UK in 2008. In the Uk, the Castle label issued a CD containing a stereo fold-down from this surround mix in 2001. Fans immediately noticed that the vocals of "Jerusalem" & "Still....You Turn Me On" were alternate takes, and there were differences in the instrumental "Toccata". But, otherwise, Kellogg's mix was crisp, clear, and faithful to the textures and vocal to instruments and instrument to instrument balances of the original production. As for the alternate vocals on the two songs, this may have been a case where a group had gone back to the multitracks (after the original mixes had been finalized) to try to improve upon the original performances....only to decide that the performances on the original mixes were best, after all. (some examples of that include Deep Purple's "Machine Head" & The Beach Boys' "Pet Sounds"). In those instances, later remixes inherently must include the revised performances, because that's what on the multi tracks today. I had often wondered if that was the reason why the 2001 surround sound mix of this ELP album contained some alternate vocals and instrumental parts.....but perhaps not. Jacko Jakcsyk's 2014 stereo mix of "Brain Salad Surgery" has all of the correct vocal takes......but AGAIN, the new surround mix has the alternate vocals of "Jerusalem" & "Still.....You Turn Me On". WHY????

Because John Kellogg had been, in his 5.1 remix (otherwise) highly faithful to the original stereo album's overall sound, perhaps Jacko Jakcsyk felt that he could(and should) take drastic liberties with the album's overall vocal to instrumental balances, and, as a result Mr.Jakcsyk's mix is disappointing, with intentionally buried parts now brought out front, and the drums now being flat & undynamic (sometimes sounding like cardboard boxes) sometimes being mixed down too low.

Disc Five is the "Manticore Special" a documentary showing the group on and off stage. This video programme had already been released on the original Castle/Sanctuary edition of the group's boxed set "From The Beginning", only to be omitted when Sony reissued the boxed set. The source is still the only one that the group's management has: a videotape copy of a very poor, blurry multi-generation copy film print. The audio is muffled mono film stripe sound. The only difference in this release, is that this time the Dvd is in the NTSC format(the DVD with the Castle/Sanctuary "In The Beginning" box was PAL format.). The new DVD adds a 2 minute photo gallery, accompanied by the instrumental mix of the song "Brain Salad Surgery"

The sixth disc is a vinyl L.P. of the original 1973 mix of the "Brain Salad Surgery" album. It is a high quality, likely German pressing. The surfaces are quiet and on-centre. Audiophiles will be pleased that the overall sound is less bright than many original 1970's pressings were.(in the 1970's, as a teenager, I had the Atlantic Records U.S.A. pressing, which was very bright sounding.)

If you are an Emerson,Lake & Palmer completist, you'll have to own this, but, for most people, I would recommend tracking down the (now-deleted) 2008 Universal/Sanctuary 2-CD + SACD edition. You'll get all but two of the rarities from the 2014 box, and an undoubtedly superior 5.1 surround mix.

Would the 2014 surround mix have turned out better if Steven Wilson hadn't decided not to work with ELP again? Perhaps, but he spared himself from having to explain the alternate take vocals that seem to be inherent in remixing this album for surround. Maybe Sony should ask John Kellogg to do their future ELP surround mixes.
Comment Comments (10) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Jan 11, 2015 11:43 AM GMT


Here Come The Nice
Here Come The Nice

10 of 14 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Good boxed set marred by marketing games & product shortages, 14 Feb. 2014
This review is from: Here Come The Nice (Audio CD)
The Small Faces "Here Come The Nice" boxed set is a music + memorabilia box, not unlike The Beach Boys' "The Smile Sessions" box, but perhaps with even more emphasis on memorabilia. As such, the U.S.A. selling price was within reason, but the territorial restrictions & dealer exclusives in the UK caused the Uk selling price to be appallingly high.

Just so nobody accuses me of being unreasonably biased, I should note that some people on the internet claim that I have "an ax to grind" against compiler Rob Caiger. I've never met the man, but I had a few unpleasant e-mail encounters with him some years ago. I compiled several "Immediate Years" boxed sets for Charly Records in the 1990's, and while I'm certainly disappointed that I wasn't selected to compile "Immediate" recordings in the 21st century, I'm not especially embittered. With those things out of the way, I'll now review the new boxed set.

You've already seen the complete listing of all of the memorabilia items enclosed in the boxed set, so there's no need to list them all. I'll note that the printing and manufacturing quality of all the books and printed items is excellent, and that the hardback/hardcover book is superb, that it was initially intended (during the development of this project) that a sessionography would be included....but it isn't included. The book does tell the story of how Charly Records came to obtain nearly 100 reels of Olympic Studios multitrack tapes related to "Immediate Records" artists, even if it doesn't tell the story correctly. But that's trivia to most fans.

Disc One features the Small Faces' "Immediate Records" singles A's and B's, and (with the exception of "I'm Only Dreaming") delivers them with unprecidented, superb quality.

The fun(for completists) begins on Disc Two(and continues on Disc Three). You get loads of session excerpts, studio dialogue and alternate takes, mostly newly mixed from original multitrack tapes. Despite presenting numerous songs under working titles, be advised that this group only released four albums while together(and one of those was either unauthorized or a contractual obligation, depending upon your viewpoint), so there were never many unreleased songs, and nearly all of them were issued shortly after the group's disbandment on the 2-L.P. set "The Autumn Stone". "Mind The Doors, Please", the one bonafide unreleased "song" included here is essentially a drum solo, with bass guitar providing sound effects. Still, you get a very thorough look into the development of the songs from the group's first "immediate" album, and the songs which debuted on "The Autumn Stone". Unfortunately, it would seem that(with the exception of one song) that the multitracks for "Ogden's Nut Gone Flake" no longer exist. Rob Caiger(and his engineer) have also taken the opportunity to freshly remix songs which had already been mixed down in the 1990's by Germany's "Repertoire" label, so that Caiger could present mixes approved by Kenney Jones & Ian McLagan. These mixes are not radically different to the Repertoire mixes, though some of the new mixes run longer(I.E. to their full unfaded endings)

Disc Four provides a selection of Sound quality upgrades, rarities and further unreleased takes. It contains the stereo mixes of "Itchycoo Park", "Here Comes The Nice", "I Feel Much Better" & "I'm Only Dreaming"(as on the U.S.A. album "There Are But Four Small Faces") that are each a phenomenal upgrade in sound quality over any previous release. The Five "Live at Newcastle City Hall" tracks are presented from a newly discovered, speed-corrected source that has the screaming audience mixed down lower. The Italian language version of "Green Circles" appears in a previously unreleased(albeit inferior) mix, with Kenney Jones' drums substantially mixed down. The single edit of "Afterglow(Of Your Love)" intentionally sped up for the single, appears here at its correct speed, and a number of rarities & alternate mixes(though not all of them) that Rob Caiger overlooked when compiling the expanded editions of the group's two "Immediate" albums, have found a home in this new boxed set. Also, "Me, You & Us Too"(an early version of "Wham Bam, Thank You Ma'am" with different lyrics) appears with substantially better sound versus the shrill sounding "Repertoire" label release. This rarity exists only in mono sound. Following the group's rejection of this take, the group themselves erased and re-used the multitrack session tape.

Of the four vinyl singles included, only one of them features any unreleased material. That single is the replica of the acetate for "Mystery"(an early version of "Something I Want to Tell You"). The other vinyl singles include one which has a promotional advertisement, including excerpts from the group's first Immediate album(this promotional "Sampler" has appeared on CD as part of Castle Communications' 2002 2-CD set of "Small Faces" first "Immediate" album. The remaining 2 vinyl records are replicas of two France E.P.'s which have nothing rare to offer, excepting a very slightly sped up mix of "Here Come The Nice'. The vinyl records are fairly pointless, and while the surfaces are quiet, they are pressed on vinyl that is simply too thin. Like many people, I got a set in which the records were warped(3 of the 4 singles in my set were warped, for the "Sampler" single, so severely warped that the steadiness of the music's pitch was affected. I'm astonished that my turntable was able to successfully play it.)

But I'm appalled by the marketing games and contrived product shortages surrounding this boxed set. First it was going to be released in May 2013, then September 2013, then December 2013, then January 27,2014....then a Uk release January 27,2014 and U.S.A. release February 4,2014......then amazon.com sent ominous and worrisome e-mails to customers saying (in effect) "We'll let you know when there is a release date"......then the February 4th release date was back "on", but the extremely stressful ordeal for customers continued until the very moment that the boxed set arrived at our doors.

There are many other "Immediate" artists that Rob Caiger would like to compile, but if he continues to take two and a half years per project(from announcement to finished, released product), then none of us original 1960's fans will live long enough to hear the completion of Caiger's work. Please Mr.Caiger, from now on, focus solely on the music(as opposed to elaborate memorabilia boxes), and deliver reasonably priced CD products, manufactured in adequate quantities, on a reasonable schedule, with a minimum of marketing games, contractual hassles, release postponements and contrived product shortages. The decision to not provide adequate quantities of this boxed set means that more people will obtain this music from illegal downloads than by purchasing this (somewhat) overblown, scarce boxed set. That does no favors for Charly Records, Snapper Music or the two surviving "Small Faces" musicians.
Comment Comments (7) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Dec 20, 2014 11:33 PM GMT


Let It Be [VINYL]
Let It Be [VINYL]
Price: £21.72

4.0 out of 5 stars The Group's farewell, 15 Dec. 2013
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
This review is from: Let It Be [VINYL] (Vinyl)
"Let It Be" was the final album released by The Beatles(even though the recording sessions predated "Abbey Road"). Though there's some undeniable classic songs included("Get Back", "Let It Be", "The Long and Winding Road" & "Across The Universe") the remaining songs, while good by anyone else's standards, are second rate songs by Beatles standards.

Contrary to some opinions, Phil Spector's reworking and embellishments of the tapes improved what were otherwise quite bland sounding productions.

I bought the vinyl edition. The EU pressing is a vast improvement over the American pressing that I got in my U.S.A. Beatles vinyl box.


Perfect Strangers Live [2lps + 2cds + Dvd]
Perfect Strangers Live [2lps + 2cds + Dvd]
Price: £36.83

6 of 7 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Good reunion show, 29 Oct. 2013
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I am reviewing the CD/DVD/L.P. edition. This set features a 1984 live in Australia show on DVD, 2-CD set and 2-L.P. set. The song contents are the same in each format. The reunited "Mark 2" line-up(Ian Gillan/Ritchie Blackmore/Jon Lord/Roger Glover/Ian Paice) was touring behind their reunion album "Perfect Strangers"(5 of the songs from the album were performed in this show) plus a selection of 1970-1972 hits. The group was not exactly picking up where they left off(where the group was when they split acrimoniously in mid-1973). Because of the need to fit more songs into this 2 hour show, songs would no longer be played at 15 to 20 minute length(mid-1980's audiences might not have had the attention span for such prolonged jamming, anyhow). There would also be no more exchanging solos(duels) between guitarist Ritchie Blackmore & keyboardist Jon Lord. The sound mix seems to underscore this change, because whenever Jon Lord isn't soloing, his keyboards are mixed down near inaudibility, then they become audible for solos. Ian Gillan's voice is already not quite what it was between 1969-1973. Certainly his normal vocal range is unaffected, but his high scream range is somewhat hoarse, less well controlled and with a reduced note range. Gillan takes some time to warm up(the vocal on "Nobody Home" is somewhat ragged) then he sings generally O.K., giving his all on Deep Purple classics such as "Child in Time", "Lazy" and the group's signature song "Smoke on The Water". The performance is a good one, if not quite up to the brilliance of a show that I saw in Florida in that same tour.

The sound quality of the recording is generally quite good(excepting the questionable decision to mix Jon Lord down when he's not soloing). Ritchie Blackmore, Ian Paice & Roger Glover give fiery performances with abilities and passion undiminished by the years. I assume that the only audio source in existence is direct to stereo audio captured by the video crew, and that the recording does not exist in a remixable format. The surround sound on the DVD seems to be a simulated "upmix" from stereo. The picture quality of the DVD (which is NTSC) is generally excellent, however, the supplemental 22 minute documentary, in which all of the group members (excepting the notoriously un-talkative Ritchie Blackmore) are interviewed, is of fuzzy, less than VHS quality. The 2-CD set sounds fine(it contains the same stereo mix as the DVD). As for the 2-L.P. set, the records are flat, and the pressing is admirably quiet. The "Side Two" grooves were very, very slightly off-centre, but not enough to be audible.

As for the 12" x 12" 3-panel gatefold L.P sleeve(which contains both vinyl records, the DVD & the 2-CD set), of all the vinyl L.P.'s I've ever received via mail, this L.P. sleeve was the most severely creased and damaged. I dreaded taking the vinyl records out of the sleeve, expecting that, surely, they would be shattered. Luckily the records arrived intact. Amazon.co.uk did a superb job packing the product(with no visible external damage to Amazon's carton), which means that the product was already damaged before Amazon.co.uk ever sent it. It had been damaged either at the factory, at the record company's warehouse or at Amazon.co.uk's warehouse. But the point I'm making is this: If Amazon warehouse/packaging facility workers see that a product is already quite visibly damaged, THEN DON'T DESPATCH IT to the customer. The cost of mailing the damaged set back from the U.S.A. to the UK would be prohibitive, and a replacement might be no better. Yes, the L.P.'s, DVD & CD's play fine, but the the badly damaged sleeve annoys the collector in me. The version with the vinyl records is exclusive to the UK, whereas the CD/DVD version is offered worldwide. I've been collecting Deep Purple group and solo recordings since 1970(when I was 14), and I have a large CD, DVD & L.P. collection of Deep Purple and Purple-related recordings, so the condition of the product DOES matter to me.


No Title Available

17 of 18 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Complete? Yes. Definitive? No., 7 Sept. 2013
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
Yes, this unauthorized 3-CD set has the entirety of Jimi Hendrix's two sets at Berkeley, California plus the soundcheck rehearsals.(By contrast, the official Hendrix label "Experience Hendrix" has offered the 2nd show complete, but only 3 songs from the first show, and one song from the soundcheck) . This 3-CD set is mostly from soundboard sources, but using audience recordings to fill in the MC's stage announcements, and parts of "Star Spangled Banner" & "Foxy Lady" from the first set, and the transitions between the audience-recorded sources and the professional recordings have been skillfully done.

The problem with this set is the overall sound quality of the soundboard sources. They sound like very low bit rate MP3's. This particularly apparent in the sound of Mitch Mitchell's drums.

The folks at Experience Hendrix can breathe a sigh of relief at the sonic shortcomings of this 3-CD set. Now they should do the right thing and offer a complete Berkeley 3-CD set of their own. Such a set would neutralize any further unofficial releases.

The 1990's bootleg 2-CD set from the "Whoopy Cat" label may not have been as complete as this set, but the overall sound quality was vastly better.
Comment Comment (1) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Dec 16, 2013 10:48 PM GMT


Quatermass
Quatermass
Price: £13.34

5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Remixed with Mixed Success, 26 Aug. 2013
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
This review is from: Quatermass (Audio CD)
I have owned and loved this album by the short-lived trio since its original vinyl release on EMI/Harvest 42 years ago, and I've owned this album through two previous CD editions, both of them enhanced with the non-L.P.(Germany-only) single "One Blind Mice" b/w "Punting", and those two bonus tracks appear in this edition, plus two previously unreleased tracks.

Contrary to some reports on the internet, the 5.1 surround mix(on the DVD included with this 2-disc set) is not all simulated surround sound. Much of it is real surround sound, but much of it from "stage two" multi tracks, after 8-track to 8-track, 8-track to 6-track, 8-track to 4-track or 8-track to 3-track reductions. Back in the days of 4-track & 8-track recording, if the artist wanted to add more overdubs(after all the tape tracks were filled), the engineer would mix the original first generation tracks down to 2 or 4 "reduced" tracks and record those onto a second 4-track or 8-track machine, opening up tracks(on that second tape machine) for further overdubs. For many of these songs, all that could be found were the "stage two" tapes(I.E. after the reductions).

What you get on the surround sound DVD is as follows:

One Blind Mice(from the original first generation 8-track tape. There were apparently no reduction mixes needed for this song.)
Entropy(simulated surround from the existing stereo mix)
Black Sheep of The Family(from an 8-track to 4-track reduction. For whatever reasons, this 4-track does not contain John Gustafson's harmony vocal. My guess is that it may have been added live during stereo mix down.)
Post-War Saturday Echo(from an 8-track to 3-track reduction. All of the previously recorded elements had, by this point, been mixed to stereo. Another track was used to add Moog synthesizer.)
Good Lord Knows(from the original 8-track tape)
Up On The Ground(From an 8-track to 6-track reduction, presumably an 8-track tape on which only 6 tracks had been used.)
Gemini(from an 8-track to 6-track reduction)
Make Up Your Mind/What Was That/Make Up Your Mind(Reprise)(Simulated Surround sound from the existing stereo mix)
Laughin' Tackle(from an 8-track to 8-track reduction)
Punting(simulated surround sound from the existing stereo mix)
Afraid Not(a rehearsal of a backing track for an unfinished song. Recorded in a rehearsal room direct to 2-track with a few microphones. No multitrack or professional recording ever existed. This is presented in simulated surround.)
Bluegaloo/Broken Chords/Scales(a 1974 stereo soundboard cassette live in Montreal 1974. Fortunately, the sound quality is excellent, and the recording is presented in simulated 3.1 sound. The rear channels are silent. This recording is more in a jazz-rock fusion style, and features a new line-up. Peter Robinson & John Gustafson are joined by a new drummer, a percussionist and a guitarist.)

My only complaint about the remixes(given what was available to mix from) is that Peter Robinson(who did the remix) strips away all the echo and reverb that had been used on John Gustafson's voice (in the original mix), and(on the tracks that are in genuine surround sound) presents Gustafson's voice totally "dry" and much further out in front of the instruments(versus the original mix)

The surround sound remix appears on the DVD in either Dolby Digital or DTS formats, and the DVD also presents a new stereo mix as lossless PCM. No word on whether the resolution and bit rate of this stereo mix are the same as on the CD(44.1Khz/16-bit) or something better. None of my disc players' displays revealed the information.

The original stereo mix(as offered on CD by the Repertoire label) remains the definitive mix, but its interesting to hear these alternatives....and two previously unreleased tracks.
Comment Comment (1) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Aug 27, 2013 4:43 AM BST


Peter And Gordon (1964)/In Touch With/Hurtin' 'N' Lovin'/Peter And Gordon (1966)
Peter And Gordon (1964)/In Touch With/Hurtin' 'N' Lovin'/Peter And Gordon (1966)
Price: £11.18

10 of 10 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Delighted that the albums are in stereo!!, 11 Jan. 2013
As you know, this 2-CD set presents Peter & Gordon's first through fourth UK albums, and in stereo(well, almost: "Colour Blue" is in mono & "Woman" is, regrettably in fake stereo). If you are well aquainted with the BGO label's previous releases you should know not to take the "stereo" or "mono" designations of reproduced original 1960's album artwork literally, because the artwork is supplied by the original record company, in this instance EMI. For example, when the BGO label recently released a 2-CD set containing 3 Capitol Records U.S.A. "Peter & Gordon" albums("Woman", "Sing & Play This Hits of Nashville" & "Hot Cold & Custard") the artwork showed the "stereo" album covers, but the actual CD set has 2 of the 3 albums presented(Needlessly) in mono sound.

I should note, that When Japan's Toshiba/EMI released(now deleted, rare and pricey) expanded, cardboard mini-album cover replica editions of these four UK albums, the artwork for those four CD's also used the "mono" album covers, though the CD's were mostly(excepting some tracks on "Peter & Gordon 66" and some bonus tracks) in stereo.

And I would make the case that Peter & Gordon's music is best heard in stereo. Unlike many EMI producers, Peter & Gordon's producers(Norman Newell & John Burgess) did not add vocals until after the instrumental tracks were completed, so Peter & Gordon's stereo mixes(while sometimes starkly separated) have a stable stereo image, whereas some other EMI producers(particularly between 1963 & 1965) attempted to have their artists sing live with the instrumentation, resulting in vocal leakage into the microphones on the instruments, resulting in an unsteady stereo image(as on certain early Beatles & Hollies tracks).

Excepting the fake stereo "Woman"(a true stereo mix was created in the mid-1990's for the American edition of "The Ultimate Peter & Gordon", no relation to the Uk CD of the same name, and that stereo mix was used on the Japan expanded edition of "Peter & Gordon 66"), these remasterings are definitive, with a rich deep sound and no artificially boosted mid or high frequencies. Apparently, it is the first-ever UK CD release for "Hurtin' & Lovin'" & "Peter & Gordon 66", and puts "Peter & Gordon"(debut album) & "In Touch with Peter & Gordon" back in print. I'm aware that there were (now-deleted) UK digipak releases containing the stereo & mono mixes of "Peter & Gordon"(debut) and "In Touch with Peter & Gordon", and while they certainly sounded acceptable, these new masterings(by Andrew Thompson) are vast improvements over the Peter Mew masterings on the deleted digipak editions. As far as I'm aware, the only previous CD's of "Hurtin' & "Lovin' & "Peter & Gordon 66" were the deleted Japan CD's. The new mastering of "Hurtin' & Lovin'" is every bit as good(maybe slightly better) than the Japan release, and the new mastering of "Peter & Gordon 66" is (mostly, excepting "Woman") a vast improvement over the Japan disc. No edition of the album was ever all-stereo, but this new edition has 12 of the 14 tracks in true stereo.

EMI/UK, their producers & the artists felt that it was a poor value to include all of the singles(which consumers had already purchased) on the L.P.'s. 3 of these 4 albums do each include one hit, but the other material was all-new(whereas Capitol Records in the U.S.A. felt compelled to recompile Peter & Gordon's music and to turn all of the group's single A & B sides into album tracks.....as they did for The Beatles music.

Peter & Gordon used widely varied styles of instrumental backdrops, from basic folk sound to beat group and even bombastic orchestral backing, and their choice of outside material(the duo wrote roughly one-third of the songs on each album) were quite eclectic choices ranging from traditional folk songs to tracks written by Buddy Holly, Burt Bacharach, Smokey Robinson, Carole King, Lennon/McCartney & Del Shannon, but the thing that weaves this all together into a cohesive whole is Peter & Gordon's vocals. The only track that really sounds out of place is Peter Asher's nod to his early love of Jazz on "Black, Brown & Gold"

Excepting the annoying fake stereo processing of "Woman", these albums have never sounded better. True, they lack the bonus tracks of the Japan CD's, so if you own those discs, you'll want to hold on to them. This new set reproduces the original liner notes, and adds some new retrospective notes. Hopefully, BGO will eventually bring the group's 5th UK album to CD. This fine 2-CD set didn't deserve to be given horrific one-star reviews. With the exception of "Woman", this 2-CD set sounds fabulous.
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Small Faces [Immediate] [Deluxe Edition]
Small Faces [Immediate] [Deluxe Edition]

11 of 12 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Great album, fair to middling Deluxe Edition, 6 Jun. 2012
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Small Faces' first album for the "Immediate" label l(which I consider to be the group's 3rd album, though the group disavows Decca's "From The Beginning", and considers the first "immediate" album to be the group's second album) is my favorite "Small Faces" album.

This new 2-CD Deluxe Edition has plenty of good material, but it could have been better with a bit more attention to detail. Disc One opens with the mono mix of the album. To me, the stereo version of the album is, despite its very wide separation, the best way to hear the album. But the mono mix is a collectors curio. When the mono mix of the album appeared on the Castle label's 2002 2-CD expanded edition, it was obvious that some of the tracks had been dubbed from vinyl, so there has been speculation on whether the mono mix, as it appears on this 2012 edition, has also been dubbed from vinyl. I listened closely through headphones, and didn't detect any obvious vinyl noise, but I will say this: the compiler of the 2012 Deluxe Edition has used two sources of very different quality; a very clean high quality source for the "Side 2" songs, and a markedly more distorted source for the "Side 1" songs. You'll note that some tracks in the mono mix seem to run slightly faster than their stereo counterparts. I have no doubt that that is the way the mono mix was.(There were also instances in the catalogues of The Beatles & The Bee Gees where mono mixes ran faster than their stereo counterparts). Disc One adds 5 mono singles mixes("Here Comes The Nice", "Itchycoo Park", "I'm Only Dreaming", "Tin Soldier" & "I Feel Much Better") & three previously unreleased alternate mixes["(Tell Me) Have You Ever Seen Me", "Eddie's Dreaming" & "Green Circles"] As for the 5 mono singles mixes, I am convinced that "I'm Only Dreaming"(likely supplied by Charly Records, who are credited in this 2-CD set's liner notes as a source for "masters") is a dub from vinyl, specifically the dub from vinyl that I did in 1994 when I compiled the 1995 4-CD box set "Small Faces-The Immediate Years". You'll note a subtle skip during the piano introduction at the 0:06 point. This is where my Charly Records engineer(ex-Decca engineer Peter Rynston) had to edit out a very loud vinyl "pop" which could not be concealed by noise reduction, hence the mild skip.

Disc Two opens with the stereo mix of the album. In common with a number of other 1960's rock group catalogues, even groups as diverse as "Jefferson Airplane" & "The Moody Blues", over the years, through various CD editions, engineers had brightened the sound in pursuit of more clarity, and a more "Hifi" sound, and the recordings had gone further and further away from how the artists intended the recordings to sound. The most recent remasters by all of these groups restore the sound intended by the artists; a sound that is somewhat darker than what we had grown accustomed to. My ears were accustomed to the "Repertoire" label expanded edition of this album, with its fantastic clarity, which has unique bonus tracks which have yet to reappear in Universal Music's "Small Faces" reissue programme. Certainly, the stereo mix of the album sounds good in this new 2-CD set, and the mastering has been approved by the two surviving "Small Faces" members.

Stereo mixes of "Just Passing","Itchycoo Park", Here Come The Nice" & "Don't Burst My Bubble" follow, and they sound fine, BUT, the omission of the stereo mixes of "I'm Only Dreaming" & "I Feel Much Better" simply glares at you. It is an unacceptable oversight. I should note that the stereo "I'm Only Dreaming" features a different vocal performance to the mono mix.

Disc two of this set adds an alternate mix of "Things Are Going to Get Better"(the mix which debuted on the Repertoire label 2-CD set "Small Faces-The Definitive Anthology"). Repertoire's stereo remix of "I Can't Make It" follows(and this may be the reason why the original 1960's stereo mix of the song was considered redundant for this set). The previously unreleased "Green Circles"(alternate take 2) follows, then the stereo mix of "Tin Soldier", and the set ends with the backing track for P.P. Arnold's version of "(If You Think You're) Groovy", on which "Small Faces" played( despite rumours that "Small Faces" recorded a version of the song, no tape has been found).

There are other potential bonus tracks that were overlooked, that certainly would have been relevant to this deluxe edition, including the Italian Language version of "Green Circles" & the slower "U.S.A. Mix" of "Green Circles". When I included the "U.S.A. Mix" on the 4-CD box "The Immediate Years", it was one of six songs in that box that I had to obtain from vinyl, though in the 18 years since then, Charly Records did obtain a tape source for that "U.S.A. mix", and I have a DAT dub from it in my collection.

The recent deal between Charly Records(owner of the non-Uk rights to the "Immediate Records" catalogue) & Universal Music(owner of the UK-only rights to the "Immediate Records" catalogue) was going to be(and still could be) a good thing for Charly and for the fans who collected "Immediate" recordings. Universal got access to Charly's 98 reels of Olympic Studios multitrack tapes by "Immediate" artists(though there's only a small quantity of "Small Faces" recordings in those tapes), and Charly(who had held the tapes since 2001) was spared the cost of mixing down those tapes. Universal & its compilers will do the remixing and compiling, and Charly gets to release the resulting expanded remasters, in territories where Charly has the rights. This deal between Charly & Universal permanently cut me out of the picture as a compiler of "Immediate" recordings. I'm not bitter, and wouldn't have cared if Universal Music's compiler (Rob Caiger) had done a fabulous job of expanding this album, but I'll be matter of fact: I could have done better.

Yes, buy this 2-CD set, but also hold onto the "Small Faces" Repertoire CD's and the Charly 4-CD "The Immediate Years" box.


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