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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Yesssssssssssssssss,
At last! A record label that knows how to do justice to a re-released CD. I paid over £10 for this 2 disc set and feel it was worth every single penny. Beautifully and sympathetically remastered. The sleeve notes by Gary and Eddy are great and to the point and an informative introduction by the re-release coordinator make for a very interesting history of the album. Too often when a CD is re-released there is always something missed off second time around (the lyrics for example on the Alan Parsons Project remasters a few years back) but not in this case. It's all there. The bonus tracks also on the second disc too shed a lot of light on how the whole album was 'constructed' back in the late eighties. Absolutely full marks to Cherry Red Records for giving a new lease of life to an already wonderful album. You know what's next - Yep, the previous 4 China Crisis Virgin albums.
7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Now this is how reissues should be done!,
This review is from: Diary of Hollow Horse (Audio CD)
Most reissues stick to a the tried and tested formula of remastered sound (if you are lucky) plus throwing in the contemporaneous singles and b-sides. Occasionally there may be the odd unreleased gem added as an extra bonus to entice the fans.
This reissue manages to deliver something that is genuinely interesting and worthwhile.
I've been a fan of China Crisis since their first album and followed their career as their sound evolved and matured. They are not my favourite band BUT I can say that they never delivered a bad (or even mediocre) album in my opinion.
'Dairy...' isn't even my favourite album of theirs (that award goes to 'Working with Fire and Steel') but it is a strong album featuring fine musicianship and great songs. I've listened to and enjoyed this album since the day of its release.
What makes this reissue so worth having is hearing the album is as it was originally intended to be released. I did know that Walter Becker had not produced all the tracks on the original release but what I didn't know was that he produced versions of the 'other' songs. Hearing the album with the Becker tracks reinstated makes for a much more coherent and satisfying listen. The Thorne tracks are great (I've grown up with them) but the Becker versions sit much better with the sound and feel of the album.
Another revelation is hearing the original band demos. I'm a sucker for demos as they really show what the artist had in mind before the producer, record company, studio engineers etc got involved. With the 'Diary...' demos it's interesting to hear how close to the final songs the demos actually are. However you can also hear where the studio versions improve on the demos (the final songs swing more and have tighter arrangements - definitely the sorts of things that Producers can help bring out).
Of course you get some singles and the Mike Thorne mixes thrown in as a bonus which just helps to round out an already great package.
Well worth picking up - if only all reissues were done this way.
In terms of ratings the album itself gets 4 stars ('Working...' and 'Flaunt...' would get 5) but the reissue gets 5 stars. I'd love to see more China Crisis albums get this level of reissue treatment.
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent re-issue full of new extras,
Not one of China Crisis's best known or perhaps even best loved albums, but the band obviously felt the need to put the record (pun intended) straight on this one and have restored it to it's original condition with a full Walter Becker produced tracks line-up. After laying down all the album with Becker in Hawaii, Virgin felt that three of the tracks had to be re-done for single release and so were re-produced in the UK by Mike Thorne, and slotted into the album release.
It is of course interesting to hear the album in its original form, although that said this particular fan still prefers the Thorne version of All My Prayers, which in any case never made it as single.
The big bonus for this release however is the inclusion of demo tracks for most of the songs which finally made the album. Some extended versions and a couple of 'live versions' complete the package.
A timely re-discovery of a great almost forgotten late-80s album.
More of the same for your other great albums please chaps!
3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent reissue,
A great album just got better crammed with unreleased mixes and demo versions and the sound quality is excellent. Please Cherry Red do the same for the rest of their back catalogue.
5.0 out of 5 stars Stranger by Nature,
I always felt that this album was China Crisis’ least accessible, partly because of the lack of instrumental hooks that graced their other albums and a religious vibe in the lyrics, which can be alienating for a non-religious listener.
However, for a fan, this is a great package and really interesting to compare different productions. The Walter Becker Becker productions of the singles are clear, crisp and unfussy, with that laid-back Steely Dan vibe, and I much prefer them.
The demo versions of the album tracks are also really good – check out the “Stranger by Nature” demo which is totally different from the original, and would have worked well on ‘Flaunt the Imperfection’. I never really took to the more heavyweight Mike Thorne singles productions, but here they are, along with the 12” mixes.
Look forward to collectors editions of the other CC albums, and their (gasp) long-awaited new album!
5.0 out of 5 stars Well worth it,
If you are toying with buying this special edition , id say "go for it" as the alternative versions to the LP are well worth listening to . Ive always thought this was a great album and much underrated as it coincided with the Band's nosedive in terms of commercial success. In my view , it's CC's best after "Flaunt the Imperfection."
4.0 out of 5 stars Yep - it's better!,
Yep - got to admit - the Walter Becker produced version of St Saviour has a more "swingy" flavour and definitely improves on the version on the original album. In terms of the "digital remaster" debate, I have no problems here - the sound has been cleaned up and loses a bit of the flabbiness as a result. Some might interpret this as being a bit tinny but I'll accept that for a more cleaned-up sound. It's good that they have included both the Becker and Thorne versions. The demos are a plus but to be honest you'll listen to them once for comparison purposes and then disk one will be played again and again.
Let's hope they give the same treatment to the other albums!
5.0 out of 5 stars Really nice album stands the test of time.,
This review is from: Diary of a Hollow Horse (Audio CD)
I Highly rate this album, not quite as good as there best,but well worth adding to the collection. This sees them with a more mature approach, the production on the album is top notch, (Walter Becker produced a number of the tracks) as are the songs, stand out tracks for me are the stunning St. Saviours Square, Diary of a Hollow Horse,Singing the Praises of the Finer Things and Sweet Charity in Adoration. As has been said many times before China Crisis deserved far more credit and success than they achieved, having said that, there music still sounds so good today, in some ways more so than in its day, maybe they were ahead of there time? So if you have not got this album and like there other stuff, get yourself a copy you wont regret it however you are new to there music I would recommend the really good Ultimate Crisis, which has been remastered and is a superb introduction to there music.
2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A great album made better,
Well, I hope that I don't get slagged too much for my review and comments, but this is indeed a good purchase option if you never purchased it back when it was released in the late 80's, which is when I bought it, back when they still had Tower Record's stores here in California.
I was introduced to China Crisis by an old manager of mine, along with The Style Council and Lloyd Cole, these three were some formative artists from which my taste in music was heavily influenced.
Overall, I really liked the polished sound of the final produced and released version of this album. At this point I am sure plenty of Steely Dan/Walter Becker fans are cursing at me, but for the period in which this album was released, I think the synth influenced versions sound too much like Flaunt the Imperfection, Becker's first major outing with China Crisis. I believe that album was a smash hit in the UK among the fan base. But by the time this album was released in 1989, that sound had kind of gone by the waist side and the more crisp and clean sounds that rounded out the album were the just the thing and what I think made this a great album.
It, along with Arizona Sky, were possibly the two most accessible China Crisis for the average listener to listen too.
This album has the demo and Becker produced versions which I think offer a great context for what the album might have sounded like and as such makes an excellent purchase.
1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars An Album Of Two Halves,
This review is from: Diary of a Hollow Horse (Audio CD)
So, here we have it. 1989's Diary Of A Hollow Horse, the final album released on Virgin before they were cruelly dumped in a "I don't hear any hits here guys" kind of way.
The album isn't as cohesive as their earlier releases due mainly to having two different producers with tracks recorded respectively on both sides of the Atlantic. Tracks recorded in the UK were produced by Mike Thorne, best known for this production duties with Soft Cell, I would guess. Thorne's tracks were the lead single "Saint Saviour Square", it's follow-up "Red Letter Day" and "All My Prayers". While these are good tracks, they sound "muddy" and over loud, almost jarring. I don't think they sit well with the rest of the album and to me seem something of an afterthought. This is an album that would benefit from a remaster so that the volume between tracks could be more balanced.
Walter Becker was persuaded to return and he produced the rest of the tracks, which were recorded in Hawaii and which are very reminiscent of the excellent Flaunt The Imperfection. Standouts are the title track with the wonderful "people and property" line, "Singing The Praises...", "Stranger By Nature" and my personal favourite "Sweet Charity In Adoration". Again, it seemed that Walter knew exactly what was needed and the band raised their game accordingly.
Although personally I think some of the tracks are pretty disappointing, I've already mentioned "Red Letter" there are some really strong tracks on here, not just those I've mentioned but stuff like "Back Home" which was the b-side to "Saint Saviour".
All-in-all a good final effort from China Crisis, but ultimately one that could have been so much better. Frustrating really as some of the tracks were truly outstanding.
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