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12 of 12 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars "So What" - finally released in remastered form - but only in Japan!, 23 Dec 2004
By 
Mark Barry "Mark Barry" - See all my reviews
(TOP 50 REVIEWER)    (HALL OF FAME REVIEWER)    (VINE VOICE)   
This review is from: So What (Audio CD)
The CD reviewed above is superb music-wise, but sound-wise, it's an ok-only mid 90's non-remastered bog standard US issue with a crap slip inlay. And for an audiophile's dream of an album (beautifully produced by Walsh himself) is a huge let down. That is until now.

In Oct 2004 in Japan, they re-issued "Barnstorm" (1972, his debut solo LP), "The Smoker You Drink, The Player You Get" (1973, his 2nd album) and "So What" (1974, his 3rd and last studio album for ABC) on CD in 24-bit remastered form (says so on the booklets). And better still, they are full US REPRO MINI LP SLEEVES - complete with So What's embossed outer and inner sleeves - and both Smoker & Barnstorm in their hard card gatefolds - very tastefully done. I finally got all three and fans should know that the sound on all is fabulous - especially Smoker & So What. If you're a lover of these 70's classics, you must own them!

"So What" has guest appearances from Randy Meisner, Don Henley and Glenn Frey of The Eagles with J.D. Souther and Dan Fogelberg contributing too (so sad to hear of his recent loss). "Turn To Stone", "Time Out". "Help Me Through The Night" and the gorgeous melodic rock of "County Fair" are just some of the highlights.

As Japanese imports, "So What" and the other 2 titles are not cheap for sure and you'll have to root them out to buy them (eBay/Amazon USA), but they're worth every penny. Joe Walsh and Eagles fans have been waiting for these for years.

Come on Geffen! Re-issue the great man's catalogue in the UK! And do it properly! Why do we have to look abroad for decent issues??

PS - MARCH 2009 FOOTNOTE: The Japanese-only 2004 24-bit CD Remasters of Joe Walsh's first 3 albums "Barnstorm", "The Smoker You Drink, The Player You Get" and "So What" complete with vinyl LP repro sleeves and inners have now become hugely expensive collector's items. Someone in Japan seems to have noticed this, because the 3 are being 'reissued' on 22 April 2009 in Japan again - but this time along with the missing 4th title - the live set "You Can't Argue With A Sick Mind". They are availble for pre-order from the 2 excellent Japanese mail-order sites "cdjapan" and "mundojapan".

PPS: SEPTEMBER 2009 FOOTNOTE: see also review for the SHM-CD release of "So What"
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars 1974, 11 Dec 2006
By 
G. G. Saunders "Rock Dr." (West Sussex .UK) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
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This review is from: So What (Audio CD)
Most of us know that Joe walsh joined the Eagles and rocked em up. Did you also know that most of the eagles are on this album in a backing kinda way. So return the favour and Hotel california is born . anyway this'So what' album is a J W classic. I still love Welcome to the club, Turn to stone a special song that Joe keeps recording altering and this is still the Best version.!and the beautiful haunting interplay of drums and guitar on country fair. Shame there are no outakes to add as a bonus, never mind.The ideas this man has in his head will keep him going for decades!
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Joe rocks, 6 Dec 2006
By 
D. J. H. Thorn "davethorn13" (Hull, UK) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: So What (Audio CD)
Much of Joe Walsh's solo output is quite laid back, but his follow up to the formidable 'The Smoker You Drink...' recalls his time with The James Gang. Critically overshadowed by its predecessor, 'So What' deserves rather more attention. The outstanding rocker, 'Turn To Stone' is a regular feature in Walsh compilations, but 'Time Out' is almost as good, reminiscent in feel to gems such as 'Walk Away'. Opening track, 'Welcome To The Club', is in similar vein and is characteristically droll.

There are a couple of short novelty items, Ravel's straitlaced classical piece, 'Pavanne', as performed on moog, and the comedy track, 'All Night Laundry Mat Blues'. The other tracks are in a more familiar, gentle style, bolstered by lush harmonies. Special mention, however, should be made of 'County Fair', a swirling, smouldering, slowburner that combines eerie effects and mesmeric guitar playing across its six minutes.

Walsh's old mates, Passarelli and Vitale, add their usual expertise, together with a loose aggregation of top quality musicians, including future colleagues from The Eagles. 'So What' is a solid, satisfying album with some outstanding moments.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars "...Open My Eyes Again..." (SHM-CD Japan, 2009 and 2011 Issues), 25 Oct 2009
By 
Mark Barry "Mark Barry" - See all my reviews
(TOP 50 REVIEWER)    (HALL OF FAME REVIEWER)    (VINE VOICE)   
This review is from: So What (Audio CD)
*** THIS REVIEW IS FOR THE APRIL 2009 JAPAN-ONLY 'SHM-CD' (and February 2011 reissue) OF "SO WHAT by JOE WALSH ****

There are now 3 Japanese variants of this album on CD and I'd like to clear up what's what...

1st - on the 21st of October 2004, Joe Walsh's first three solo LPs were finally reissued in remastered CD form, but only in Japan. "Barnstorm" (his 1972 debut) on Universal UICY-9477, "The Smoker You Drink, The Player You Get" (1973) on UICY-9478 and "So What" on UICY-9479. In detailed mini-LP repro sleeves (complete with hard-card gatefolds for the first two and "So What's embossed inner sleeve) they were 24-bit remastered by HITOSHI TAKIGUCHI in Universal's Mastering Studios. Not surprisingly, they sold out almost immediately and across the next few years (with no equivalent domestic releases), they quickly became very expensive collector's items.

2nd - on 22 April 2009 all 3 of the above were reissued on the SUPER HIGH MATERIALS format (SHM-CD) - "Barnstorm" on Universal UICY-94062, "The Smoker You Get, The Player You Get." on UICY-94063 and "So What" on UICY-94064. There is also an additional title not in the original list - his 4th album - the 1976 live set "You Can't Always Argue With A Sick Mind" which is on UICY-94065 (with 2009 Remastering and Card Outer/Inner Sleeves). The repro artwork (including lyric booklets) for each of the original three is exactly the same as the 2004 issues - as is the mastering - the ONLY difference is that the CD itself is a higher spec SHM-CD.

3rd issue is the first 3 of the above 2009 SHM-CDs reissued on 23 February 2011 (again in Japan only - same artwork - ltd editions) with a different catalogue number (Universal UICY-75007 for "So What"). I've bought one and it's exactly the same as the 2009 issue. The sound quality is fantastic. ("Barnstorm" and "Smoker" are newly reissued also). But what does this new SHM-CD format offer?

The blurb surrounding SHM tells us that the manufacturing process is of the very highest quality and therefore in playback this somehow allows more nuances of the music to come out. Remember - SHM is NOT a new format that requires an encoded specialist player - it's just a better form of CD - and it therefore plays on ALL players. So is "So What" any better on this new format - the infuriating answer is yes and no...

I thought the 2004 remasters were very good - not exactly blistering - but far better than what we'd had before. Now - on this SHM issue - I 'can' hear bass and drum parts more - particularly on "Help Me Through The Night" (lyrics above) and "County Fair" - they're far better. "Turn To Stone" has more muscle in it too, which is fabulous news. The synths on the Maurice Ravel excerpt "Pavane Of The Sleeping Beauty" are razor-sharp too. But the rocking "Time Out" and the Don Henley penned "Falling Down" however, sound pretty much the same to me.

If I was to sum up the good points of this SHM release, it would be that like a quality DVD or a great BLU RAY player - it holds the picture better - steadier - and that's what this new CD format does. Somehow, it does sound clearer and more defined on many of the tracks. The bad news is that you'd be hard pressed to spot any difference on some of the others. If anything - on "Welcome To The Club" and the messily recorded but lovely album-closer "Song For Emma" - the hiss levels are amplified and not lessened. Such a shame, because in my opinion, it does get in the way of enjoying this beautiful song.

I would have to admit that a person's judgement can easily be coloured. After 35 years of listening to this album that I love so much, I'm consciously aware of 'wanting' to hear stuff on this rather pricey little import - I am. But my honest appraisal is that it does sound better. Unfortunately, for a rabid nutjob fan like me (and I bet the buggers who make these things know this), if it sounds in 'any' way better - I'm going to have to own it.

Summing up - as it stands, I'd still say that the 2004 remaster on this 2009/2011 SHM-CD format is worth the purchase...

I'm off to stroke the embossed inner sleeve again - and concede that I may need to get out more...
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars "...Open My Eyes Again..." - So What by JOE WALSH (Japanese CD Remasters/Reissue History), 28 Jan 2008
By 
Mark Barry "Mark Barry" - See all my reviews
(TOP 50 REVIEWER)    (HALL OF FAME REVIEWER)    (VINE VOICE)   
This review is from: So What (Audio CD)
There are now 3 Japanese variants of this album on CD and I'd like to clear up what's what...

1st - on the 21st of October 2004, Joe Walsh's first three solo LPs were finally reissued in remastered CD form, but only in Japan. "Barnstorm" (his 1972 debut) on Universal UICY-9477, "The Smoker You Drink, The Player You Get" (1973) on UICY-9478 and "So What" on UICY-9479. In detailed mini-LP repro sleeves (complete with hard-card gatefolds for the first two and "So What's embossed inner sleeve) they were 24-bit remastered by HITOSHI TAKIGUCHI in Universal's Mastering Studios. Not surprisingly, they sold out almost immediately and across the next few years (with no equivalent domestic releases), they quickly became very expensive collector's items.

2nd - on 22 April 2009 all 3 of the above were reissued on the SUPER HIGH MATERIALS format (SHM-CD) - "Barnstorm" on Universal UICY-94062, "The Smoker You Get, The Player You Get." on UICY-94063 and "So What" on UICY-94064. There is also an additional title not in the original list - his 4th album - the 1976 live set "You Can't Always Argue With A Sick Mind" which is on UICY-94065 (with 2009 Remastering and Card Outer/Inner Sleeves). The repro artwork (including lyric booklets) for each of the original three is exactly the same as the 2004 issues - as is the mastering - the ONLY difference is that the CD itself is a higher spec SHM-CD.

3rd issue is the first 3 of the above 2009 SHM-CDs reissued on 23 February 2011 (again in Japan only - same artwork - ltd editions) with a different catalogue number (Universal UICY-75007 for "So What"). I've bought one and it's exactly the same as the 2009 issue. The sound quality is fantastic. ("Barnstorm" and "Smoker" are newly reissued also). But what does this new SHM-CD format offer?

The blurb surrounding SHM tells us that the manufacturing process is of the very highest quality and therefore in playback this somehow allows more nuances of the music to come out. Remember - SHM is NOT a new format that requires an encoded specialist player - it's just a better form of CD - and it therefore plays on ALL players. So is "So What" any better on this new format - the infuriating answer is yes and no...

I thought the 2004 remasters were very good - not exactly blistering - but far better than what we'd had before. Now - on this SHM issue - I 'can' hear bass and drum parts more - particularly on "Help Me Through The Night" (lyrics above) and "County Fair" - they're far better. "Turn To Stone" has more muscle in it too, which is fabulous news. The synths on the Maurice Ravel excerpt "Pavane Of The Sleeping Beauty" are razor-sharp too. But the rocking "Time Out" and the Don Henley penned "Falling Down" however, sound pretty much the same to me.

If I was to sum up the good points of this SHM release, it would be that like a quality DVD or a great BLU RAY player - it holds the picture better - steadier - and that's what this new CD format does. Somehow, it does sound clearer and more defined on many of the tracks. The bad news is that you'd be hard pressed to spot any difference on some of the others. If anything - on "Welcome To The Club" and the messily recorded but lovely album-closer "Song For Emma" - the hiss levels are amplified and not lessened. Such a shame, because in my opinion, it does get in the way of enjoying this beautiful song.

I would have to admit that a person's judgement can easily be coloured. After 35 years of listening to this album that I love so much, I'm consciously aware of 'wanting' to hear stuff on this rather pricey little import - I am. But my honest appraisal is that it does sound better. Unfortunately, for a rabid nutjob fan like me (and I bet the buggers who make these things know this), if it sounds in 'any' way better - I'm going to have to own it.

Summing up - as it stands, I'd still say that the 2004 remaster on this 2009/2011 SHM-CD format is worth the purchase...

I'm off to stroke the embossed inner sleeve again - and concede that I may need to get out more...

PS: if you want these SHM-CD reissues I'd advise buying them offsite (it's impossible to determine which issue is which on the Amazon site anyway).
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Don't be put off by the sleeve!, 29 Mar 2008
By 
P. B. Koeb (Aljezur, Portugal) - See all my reviews
This review is from: So What (Audio CD)
In spite of its relatively ridiculous sleeve, this is another top-drawer release from our Joe. "So What" has some truly seminal JW moments, but is just a little let down by a couple of lapses in quality control.

On the upside, things get off to a terrific start with the monolithic "Welcome To The Club", which has to be one of my favourite Joe Walsh tracks. Starts off slowly, and almost plods along, before a really great guitar solo and fade-out. "Falling Down" is altogether more mellow and Eaglesy in style, but keeps things moving nicely. "Pavane" is a bit pretentious and rather out of place, but "Time Out" gets things right back on track. Joe's playfulness lets him down on "All Night Laundry Mat Blues". Just a minute of goofiness, and do yourself a favour by hitting the skip button.

Better, by far, to move on to the DEFINITIVE version of "Turn To Stone", which got the original side two of the LP off to a great start. Up next is the soothing "Help Me Through The Night", which features some nice backing harmonies. Then comes the brilliant "County Fair", which is another fabulous slow-burner of a number. Just love the extended guitar solo on this one. The album is brought to an end by the sad "Song For Emma", which has a string arrangement by a certain "James Bond".

Not quite the equal of Joe Walsh's definitive recordings, perhaps, but i feel that "So What" is maybe just a track away from being a killer five-star item. And this is a must-have Joe Walsh album, with no shadow of a doubt.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars So What!!!!!!, 15 Feb 2008
This review is from: So What (Audio CD)
Yep...Bought the t-shirt..or at least wore it back in the day..no doubt when no one had a clue what I was on about!!!
Joe is "THE" master of rock and classics...he combines so many styles with superb ease he can't fail...I'm now into him big style again after all these years and his music is even better than before....Self depreciating and aware he delivers time(out) and again!!!
If you love intelligent rock then "Welcome to the Club"...!!!

Sodium Phosphate.......sorry got him on the head-phones right now!!!!
So bright he should have a constellation named after him!!!!
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5.0 out of 5 stars A favourite from the 70's, 12 May 2014
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This review is from: So What (Audio CD)
Hearing these tracks round again simply confirms it for me. Terrific guitar rifs, Clever lyrics, fun feel. For me it's Joe Walsh's best work. Turn the bass up for some very skillful drumming.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Joe in a sober tone, apart from laundry mat!, 31 Mar 2014
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This review is from: So What (Audio CD)
Great album before Joe went downhill, the next great album is Analogue Man. Those that I've heard recorded in between probably reflect his well known dark period. Hear him on the latest Eagles CDs and Blu-ray videos, better then ever!

Joe had the guts to publicly admit his problems, and is a shining example of coming back to his self after re-hab.

Dave
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5.0 out of 5 stars Great Album, 13 Mar 2014
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This review is from: So What (Audio CD)
Finally got around to replacing my vinyl copy with a CD, and it was like visiting old friends again. Lovely
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So what (US, 1974) / Vinyl record [Vinyl-LP]
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