Top positive review
12 of 14 people found this helpful
A great collection and well worth the wait.
on 20 March 2010
I think that this is a great set and well worth five stars.
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.
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.