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Ian Shepherd (Ickford , Aylesbury, Bucks United Kingdom)

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40 Golden Greats
40 Golden Greats
Price: £7.10

21 of 22 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Proper mono and proper stereo - all original versions as well!!!, 30 Dec. 2010
This review is from: 40 Golden Greats (Audio CD)
I finally purchased this double CD after owning a vinyl copy for over 30 years, just to see what versions of the tracks I would get.

I was delighted, therefore, to find that: -

1) With one exception (The Young Ones), those tracks only ever mixed in mono (Living Doll, Move It etc.) are also presented here in proper mono, and not mono reprocessed to stereo. This is a big plus over the vinyl version which gave us the mono mixes overlaid with stereo effects that made Cliff and The Shads sound like they'd recorded their tracks in a shower booth. (Even some of the true early 60s stereo tracks on the vinyl version seemed to suffer from the "shower booth" effect.)

2) Some of the early tracks found on the vinyl release in mono reprocessed to stereo (Theme For A Dream, Do You Want To Dance, etc.) are now available in true stereo, i.e. they've used the genuine stereo masters for this release.

3) The real biggie for me is that this is the only Cliff CD compilation that I've found that uses the right take of "Bachelor Boy." It's presented here in discrete stereo, suggesting that it was mixed down onto two tracks prior to producing the mono mix. The vinyl version of 40 Golden Greats, the Singles Collection CD box set and The Whole Story double-CD all use a different take wherein Cliff gives us a meant-to-be-rousing "Yeeeeaaah" before he launches into the final chorus. This "Yeeeeaaah" wasn't there on the original single. The only other non-vinyl-single release that I have with the correct version on is a stereo vinyl re-issue of the "Summer Holiday" soundtrack LP.

On the downside, some of the masters used are a bit rough in quality, lacking in both the bass and the treble departments. I'll forgive this, however, because the upsides make the purchase so worthwhile and get right a load of things that even "The Singles Collection" gets so wrong.
Comment Comments (5) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Oct 25, 2014 6:53 PM BST


The Motown Anthology
The Motown Anthology
Price: £5.99

13 of 16 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A great collection and well worth the wait., 20 Mar. 2010
This review is from: The Motown Anthology (Audio CD)
I think that this is a great set and well worth five stars.

CD1
I can live with the mastering. It isn't the absolute best but it's very acceptable. Remember that this is CD, and all mastering for CD involves trade offs in one way or another. Also, the quality of the original UK mono LP of "This Old Heart Of Mine" was much worse than this; so for me this CD is a real improvement upon what has gone before.

Regarding the unexpected stereo mixes found on CD1 ("This Old Heart Of Mine", "There's No Love Left" and "Seek And You Shall Find"), it turns out that the first two songs ARE in their original "mono" versions and that what was done for these two tracks was that special and unique stereo mixes were created back in the mid 60s, probably before the TOHOM album had even been conceived (they turned up as the A and B sides of the original TOHOM single) and then folded into mono for single and later mono album release. Why is not clear, but these are not the normal stereo mixes that are available elsewhere. Pressing the mono button on these tracks (if you have a mono button on your sound system) brings you the mono versions that you thought that you hadn't got. As for "Seek And You Shall Find", this is the one let down, but I can live with it as the differences aren't killing and the track is still a killer.

One other track on the "TOHOM" album ("Who Could Ever Doubt My Love") has always sounded like stereo folded into mono, even on the original LP release. All of the other tracks on the two featured original albums are the original mono tracks. I have original mono albums and can vouch for this. For instance, the slightly wobbly pitch of the flute and piano during the intro of "Behind A Painted Smile" was there on the original mono album. The stereo mix - available elsewhere - has a much steadier pitch.

If you want stereo versions of the two albums found on CD1, then they can also be purchased on a separate twofer, so no problems there.

CD2
The whole purpose of CD2 was to release in original mono for the very first time a load of tracks that had previously only been available in stereo, and to supplement these with other rarely-previously-available material. As such it works very well and does it for me. For instance, we get the single-only mix of "Guess I'll Always Love You" with added background vocals (possibly by The Andantes) and we also get the long version of "Tell Me It's Just A Rumour". "Smile" is an "ear opener" and it's clear that Jimmy Ruffin got the better deal here.

All in all a great double CD and well worth five stars.
Comment Comments (2) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Oct 13, 2011 6:36 PM BST


Rolling Back The Years - The 70s
Rolling Back The Years - The 70s
Offered by best_value_entertainment
Price: £3.99

15 of 16 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Buyer Beware, 12 Aug. 2007
There are very few hits from the Screaming Seventies here because it's primarily a collection of very poor studio remakes and poorly recorded live performances.

If you want to know what happened to 70s stars "after they were famous", it seems that some of them were reduced to remaking inferior versions of their old hits for money.

How sad for those performers and how shameful that Amazon stocks this kind of rubbish.

(This gets one star because Amazon won't allow me to give it zero stars.)
Comment Comments (2) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Feb 20, 2011 2:08 PM GMT


Cliff Richard: The Singles Collection, All 127 Solo Singles
Cliff Richard: The Singles Collection, All 127 Solo Singles
Offered by sierrabogart
Price: £100.00

33 of 34 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Great collection, but could have been (slightly) greater!, 10 Jan. 2003
As someone faced with an hour-long commute every morning and evening, this 6-CD collection slipped perfectly into the magazine of my in-car CD player and kept me entertained for a whole week.
From the first track, which was flipped to give Cliff his first hit with "Move It", (It's amazing how many hits have started out as B-sides, such as "Girl Don't Come" by Sandie Shaw, "Maggie May" by Rod Stewart, "My Cherie Amour" by Stevie Wonder, and "Rock and Roll Part Two" by Gary Glitter. Do record industry people really know what they are doing? Don't answer that!) to the last, we see Cliff move through a series of cycles, going from Rock and Roll to Pop to "naff" and then back to Rock and Roll and to Pop again.
Initial highlights include most of disc 1 and up to track 17 on disc 2, "All My Love".
After this Cliff bobs up and down (mainly down), alternating many examples of the naff, such as "Congratulations", "Good Times" and "Flying Machine", with a few examples of the good, such as "Silvery Rain," and one or two examples of the profound, such as "With The Eyes Of A Child." This last track set a style that he has followed on occasions throughout his remaining career. Cliff also demonstrates an excellent affinity with Country and Western through "(You Keep Me) Hanging On" and "Honky Tonk Angel."
In 1976 Cliff's star rises dramatically with "Miss You Nights" and remains in the ascendant with a long string of strong rock, pop and ballads, which extends right up to the start of the new millennium with "The Millennium Prayer".
1997 sees Cliff exhibiting voice problems in "Can't Keep This Feeling In" - he is, after all, mere flesh and blood - and 2001 sees the awful "Somewhere Over The Rainbow/What A Wonderful World" medley, pushed into the charts on the back of a shamelessly promotional and self-congratulatory TV special.
Thank heavens Cliff released "Let Me Be The One" afterwards and therefore didn't end this collection on a seriously bum note!
As a compilation for the avid Cliff follower this deserves five stars for breadth and depth, but I will only give it four. Why?
Well, I have two gripes: -
Firstly the wrong version of "Bachelor Boy" is included. This version appeared in stereo form on "40 Golden Greats" and in mono-reprocessed-for-stereo form on "The Whole Story", but is not the version that topped the charts in December 1962. It is most likely an alternative take from the original session.
Secondly, a number of the early tracks are in their original mono mixes but, for some unknown reason, re-processed to give a very bad stereo effect with a kind of "beat" or "shimmer" that occasionally upsets the ears and makes Cliff sound like he is singing in the bathroom rather than in the studio. In the last few years, and after 30 years or more (sigh), companies such as Motown have discovered that people are not actually fixated on stereo and that an authentic, un-doctored mono mix is often worth ten times a poor stereo mix, both in terms of musical impact and nostalgia value. In Cliff's case there are good mono and stereo mixes available of many of the affected tracks, so why go to the trouble of making sure that we get neither?
Comment Comments (3) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Aug 16, 2015 12:10 PM BST


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