6 of 7 people found the following review helpful
I've already reviewed the 1st disc reissued for Sam Moore and Dave Prater in this Edsel series - "Hold On, I'm Coming/Double Dynamite" - which covers their first and second albums on Stax in 1966 (and some singles surrounding those releases). This 2nd reissue gives us their 3rd and 4th albums on Stax and Atlantic and is just as stunning in every way – sound, presentation and (despite it being a 2CD set) value-for-money price. Here are the finite details…
UK released 26 March 2012 (10 April 2012 USA) - Edsel EDSD 2131 (Barcode 740155213138) is a 2CD reissue/remaster and breaks down as follows:
Disc 1 (35:14 minutes):
1. Soul Man
2. May I Baby
3. Broke Down Piece Of Man
4. Let It Be Me
5. Hold It Baby
6. I’m With You
7. Don’t Knock It
8. Just Keep Holding On
9. The Good Runs The Bad Away
10. Rich Kind Of Poverty
11. I’ve Seen What Loneliness Can Do
Tracks 1 to 11 are the album "Soul Men" – released October 1967 in the USA on Stax Records ST-725 [Mono] and STS-725 [Stereo]. The STEREO mix is used.
Tracks 13 and 12 are "Soothe Me (Recorded Live In London, England)" and "I Can't Stand Up For Falling Down" – see Singles List below
Disc 2 (53:48 minutes):
1. I Thank You
2. Everybody Got To Believe In Somebody
3. These Arms Of Mine
4. Wrap It Up
5. If I Didn’t Have A Girl Like You
6. You Don’t Know What You Mean To Me
7. Don’t Turn Your Heater On
8. Talk To The Man
9. Love Is After Me
10. Ain’t That A Lot Of Love
11. Don’t Waste That Love
12. That Lucky Old Sun
Tracks 1 to 12 are the album "I Thank You" – released November 1968 on Atlantic Records SD-8205 [Stereo]
Track 13 is "This Is Your World" – non-album - see Singles List below
Tracks 14 and 15 are "Can't You Find Another Way (Of Doing It)" and "Still Is The Night" – non-album - see Singles List below
Tracks 16 and 17 are "Soul Sister, Brown Sugar" and "Come On In" – non-album - see Singles List below
Tracks 18 and 19 are "Born Again" and "Get It" – non-album - see Singles List below
This 22-track 2CD set will also allow fans to sequence the following US Stax and Atlantic 7" singles surrounding the two albums [13/1 = Track 13/Disc1 etc]:
1. Soothe Me (Recorded Live In London, England) [13/1] b/w I Can’t Stand Up For Falling Down [12/1] – Stax 45-218 (June 1967)
2. Soul Man [1/1] b/w May I Baby [2/1] – Stax 45-231 (September 1967)
3. I Thank You [1/2] b/w Wrap It Up [4/2] – Stax 45-242 (February 1968)
4. You Don’t Know What You Mean To Me [6/2] b/w This Is Your World [13/2] – Atlantic 45-2517 (May 1968)
5. Can’t You Find Another Way (Of Doing It) [14/2] b/w Still Is The Night [15/2] – Atlantic 45-2540 (August 1968)
6. Everybody Got To Believe In Somebody [2/2] b/w If I Didn’t Have A Girl Like You [5/2] – Atlantic45-2568 (October 1968)
7. Soul Sister, Brown Sugar [16/2] b/w Come On In [17/2] – Atlantic 45-2590 (December 1968)
8. Born Again [18/2] b/w Get It [19/2] – Atlantic 45-2608 (March 1969)
[Note: the 'studio' version of "Soothe Me" rather than the 'live' cut was used as a UK 7" single on Stax 601004 in March 1967 with "Sweet Pains" as its B-side – both songs s are on the "Double Dynamite" album – available on the 1st CD by Edsel mentioned above (Tracks 20 and 22)]
PHIL KINRADE at Alchemy Studios in London has done the mastering and it's a fantastic job – muscular and pounding out of your speakers like those old 45's used to do. Being 60's Soul and recorded with indecent haste in less than audiophile conditions - there's hiss on occasion and some muddiness to the bass every now and then – but mostly this remaster sounds 'so' clear to me – the brass, drum whacks and guitar - much better than the early Nineties Rhino discs I've had for years now. And as a sucker for those 45's and their double-shots of brilliance – I also love the fact that this release allows me to line up those songs for play – and in top sound quality too.
The 20-page full-colour booklet featuring a 4000-word essay by noted Soul expect and aficionado TONY ROUNCE is superlative. Rounce has had a long-time association with both Edsel and Ace Records of the UK and their Philadelphia and Chess CD reissues - and his work here is typically indepth, knowledgeable and enthusiastic in a way that only British Soul nuts can be. Pages 12 and 16 have gorgeous full colour plates of each album sleeve and the rest of the text is peppered with insert photos of the Florida (Sam) and Georgia (Dave) boys in various live shows. There's a track-by-track Discography at the rear and it even reproduces the original liner notes that graced the back of each American LP sleeve. Rounce’s liner notes also extend to their later years (aged 76, Sam Moore is still with us and singing). In other words Edsel could have taken the easy way out and put in a foldout 3-page filler that would have sufficed – but they haven’t – and they're to be praised for this.
To the music – the album "Soul Men" is considered by most to be their best album and it’s easy to hear why. Fast or slow – the song quality is tops. Lesser-heard album tracks like "Hold It Baby" and "I'm With You" are brilliant (lyrics above) – equal to any of the single releases. The torch ballads "May I Baby" and "I've Seen What Loneliness Can Do" are belters too. I have to say that I find the 'live' version of Sam Cooke's "Soothe Me" only ok – I much prefer the album cut on the "Double Dynamite" LP. But I can 'so' see why Elvis Costello covered the superb non-album B-side "I Can't Stand Up For Falling Down" – another slowy with Soul power. The title track is of course their most famous song - it hit the number 1 spot in many countries around the world and was quite rightly inducted into the US 'Grammy Hall Of Fame' in 1999.
"I Thank You" opens with the band sounding 'so' tight on the title track. But it's the gorgeous vibe of "Everybody Got To Believe In Somebody" that impresses even more. Penned by the inimitable duo of ISAAC HAYES and DAVID PORTER – it should have been a smash, but alas the 45 waned at the same time their career did. Other highlights include the piano/guitar ballad of "If I Didn’t Have A Girl Like You" and the building intensity of the holy-roller cover "That Lucky Old Sun" - which finishes the album in style. The singles are fab too – I especially like the quality B-sides "This Is Your World" and "Come On In". Scottish Soul Rockers DEACON BLUE did a lively B-side cover of the superb "Born Again" on their "Real Gone Kid" CD single in 1988. Like I say – it's an embarrassment of riches (even if some of MONO mixes aren't on here).
To sum up - presented well, sounding spiffing and cheaper than a soiled paper napkin in Buckingham Palace – this is a huge amount of top Sixties Stax Soul for peanuts money...
PS: Lovers of ATLANTIC, STAX and VOLT Records should note that as of October 2012 there is a massive reissue program of classic albums going on in Japan - 100+ titles to be exact (which includes Sam & Dave). They feature Fifties Blues and R'n'B, Sixties and Seventies Soul and Funk/Fusion. All are budget price (£7.50 per disc) and feature 2012 DSD remastering. Many of these titles are familiar - but a huge number are new to CD. For a full detailed list of these Japanese reissues - see the 'comment' section attached to this review...
7 of 11 people found the following review helpful
on 26 April 2012
Ok, to begin with, I am a huge fan of Sam & Dave. The music here is as good as it gets and deserves the 5 star rating; that's the good news.
The bad news is that those generally good people at Edsel have chosen to use the 1960's stereo mixes for most of this, (and it's sister - Hold on & Double Dynamite). What are you thinking Edsel's?
The one thing that made the 1960's southern soul releases from FAME, Atlantic & Stax so wonderful was the super punchy MONO mixes.
Now I'm no Ludite but the reason the stereo mixes lack the punch of the MONO ones is because the technology of the day didn't allow the stereo panning that you get nowadays.
That means that the vocals on these stereo releases are often off-centre or coming through the left AND right channels.
The left & right mixing isn't so bad when well balanced, as with some Don Covay and Sly Stone 60's mixes but these just don't cut it I'm afraid.
The golden rule with reissues is that you always choose the best mix and up until about 1968, that was always the MONO one.
There are other reasons for this that apply more so to these recordings though. In the 60's, the bass on the stereo mix would often make the needle jump, as opposed to the single track mono mix. This is part of the reason that the bass in 60's stereo mixes is so weak, it had to be toned down out of necessity.
Also, as the bass was usually recorded on the same track as the drums, not only did you lose power from the bass but the backbeat as well; which in these recordings is crazy because punch was the whole point. THIS IS MUSIC TO DANCE TO.
Additionally, with only 4 tracks to play with, many sounds and vocals were added during the MONO mixing stage, which you lose in the stereo master because they only exist on the MONO master. Glad to say that Edsel did use common sense for some of the tracks here.
I do agree with our friend at Reckless that this is the best stereo mix available thus far but the separation makes listning with headphones a real chore. I too have the old double Rhino set and yes, the MONO Edsel tracks do sound better, so why couldn't they have opted for MONO throughout.
Sad to say, I had to return my Edsel versions and am now scouring itunes and record stores to mop up those missing MONO songs that I still have on my old LPs.
So now to the begging and this goes out to all of the great reissue companies, (Sundazed, Ace, Edsel et al) please, please PLEASE, always use the MONO mix on these old classics or at least issue both together as Collectors Choice sometimes do. Give us the choice because I know that some listners prefer the stereo, (even if they lose vital overdubs).
I really don't want to harm great companies like Edsel, (I have been following them for years) but listning to this, I think that the time has come to vote with our wallets. Let's express our love of the music to make sure that it stays on catalogue but in the best way and with the most choice.
So, Dr. Edsel, please issue a complete collection of the MONO Sam & Dave. I would even buy an expensive limited edition, just to enjoy this wonderful music once again as it was intended to be heard. That said, 5 stars to Rhino for their Otis Redding album collection; great price and great MONO mixes all round.