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10 of 10 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars This box set is not for the casual fan!
Paul Simon's groundbreaking album gets a 25th anniversary deluxe treatment. This album, now a milestone in music history, should be in everybody's record collection. But do you need to buy this box set?

Hmm ... I would say no! This edition has two cd's and two DVD's. It's a strange decision to separate the bonus tracks from the original album for this box set...
Published on 10 Jun 2012 by Jurg

versus
262 of 271 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Great music, poor sound
When this album was originally released it very quickly became a classic. The fusion of African tribal and Western soft rock music works, and works well.

Unfortunately - and these comments apply solely to this remaster - the sound quality has suffered as a result of the current arms race between record labels to make their CDs as loud as possible. Whereas on...
Published on 18 Jan 2007 by Glenn Richards


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262 of 271 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Great music, poor sound, 18 Jan 2007
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When this album was originally released it very quickly became a classic. The fusion of African tribal and Western soft rock music works, and works well.

Unfortunately - and these comments apply solely to this remaster - the sound quality has suffered as a result of the current arms race between record labels to make their CDs as loud as possible. Whereas on the original CD release the opening track "The Boy In The Bubble" began with a soft accordian solo followed by a series of drum hits that sounded like firecrackers (and scared the life out of anyone that wasn't expecting it), here all the dynamics of this are lost in a muddy compressed version of what was once a great album.

Many other classic albums have been destroyed like this by record labels. Do yourself a favour and track down the original 1986 CD of this album on Marketplace.

For the record the original 1986 version of this is unquestionably a 5-star album.
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58 of 60 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Good Music, Bad Production, 4 Mar 2008
By 
Mr. G. V. Davison "sound eng" (Berkshire, UK) - See all my reviews
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I totally agree with Glen Richards. I have the original vinyl and CD so I bought this version as a re-mastered paper sleeve Japanese Mini LP(vinyl replica) thinking it would be an upgrade. The hiss level is overpowering on a good hi-fi system. You might as well play it as an MP3 recording. Very disappointing. Do yourself a favour, however, and try the "MINI LP/Vinyl Replica" remastered versions of "One Trick Pony", "Rhymin Simon", "Paul Simon", or "Still Crazy After All These Years". This is how it should be done.
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10 of 10 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars This box set is not for the casual fan!, 10 Jun 2012
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Paul Simon's groundbreaking album gets a 25th anniversary deluxe treatment. This album, now a milestone in music history, should be in everybody's record collection. But do you need to buy this box set?

Hmm ... I would say no! This edition has two cd's and two DVD's. It's a strange decision to separate the bonus tracks from the original album for this box set. They didn't do that on the other 25th anniversary editions. So you don't get more audio tracks (... I'm still waiting for the 12" versions). You will have one DVD more than the cd/DVD edition. But any big Paul Simon fan will already have the "Graceland: The African Concert" DVD.

On the other hand, the 80 - page book is fine. It has beautiful pictures, a Graceland history, interviews with Paul Simon and all the musicians, the lyrics of every song and the original liner notes. You also get a replica of the original Graceland poster and his handwritten lyrics pad (printed on yellow pages).

The remastering is done by Greg Calbi at Sterling Sound, New York 2011. And it sounds fantastic! Excellent job!

If you are not a very big fan I recommend the cd/DVD edition.
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48 of 51 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Paul Simon's finest hour: a victim of the loudness war, 8 July 2012
By 
The Guardian (UK) - See all my reviews
(VINE VOICE)    (TOP 50 REVIEWER)   
This Grammy Award-winning album from 1986 is usually considered to be Paul Simon's crowning achievement in a stellar career with many high-points. His peerless songwriting and poignant lyrics are fused with intelligent use of folk and brass instruments: Zulu Mbaqanga rhythms, the Ladysmith Black Mambazo choir showcasing their a capella style, plus the Zydeco creole music of Louisiana; the Everly Brothers, Linda Ronstadt and Los Lobos also feature in cameo performances. It's absolutely gorgeous and hasn't aged a day in 26 years.

The album works best when listened to as a whole experience, rather than sampled track by downloaded track - like having a full meal rather than just eating the beans one day, and the sauce on another occasion. Only when the whole is savoured and digested can the extraordinary blend of complimentary musical styles be appreciated, and the grand creation be enjoyed and fully understood.

Now the 1986 CD release was in every way superb, containing a dynamic range allowing for the subtleties of the unusual instrumentation and vocal combinations to shine, with plenty of light and shade. The 2004 `re-mastered' CD was overall `louder' than the earlier mix, lacked the depth and contrast of the original and was definitely not an improvement. Unfortunately this `25th anniversary remaster' (actually the 26th anniversary, not the 25th) CD is, if possible, even worse. It's another victim of the `loudness war' destroying the subtleties of thoughtful and complex music by compressing the dynamic range, resulting in little difference between loud and quiet sections, diminishing its emotional power and - compared to the 1986 original - making it a tiring experience for the listener. The dynamic range is so reduced by compression and clipping that the result is just loud: as with dance music, it's like being shouted at all the time. Greg Calbi, the engineer, has short-changed genuine music fans and diminished Paul Simon's masterpiece to a result that's just, well - DULL in comparison to what it should be.

Best advice is to stick to the 1986 CD release, if you can get a good copy. It's the real deal.
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43 of 46 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars LATEST AND GREATEST, 15 Jun 2012
By 
H. C. Blackburn "bookrover" (London, England) - See all my reviews
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Although this was the third reincarnation of this album that I've bought ( I know what you're thinking,sucker!)', this is definately the best. Sound quality is much improved over the last 'remastered' offering. Why couldn't they have gotten it right the first time? The bonus tracks are also worth the inclusion, especially the insrumental demo of 'Crazy Love'. Love the sound of the guitaring. If you love the music of Paul Simon, and especially this album, then upgrading to this copy is a must!!
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54 of 58 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Re-mastered version, 16 Nov 2009
By 
D. Elliott (Ulverston, Cumbria) - See all my reviews
(TOP 500 REVIEWER)    (VINE VOICE)    (REAL NAME)   
As I listened to this re-mastered version of Paul Simon's classic `Graceland' CD I wondered how much better it would be than the original. It wasn't. Indeed it wasn't as good. Haunting softness and melodious depth had been usurped by what seemed crisper and louder - but the original was heard via the heart as well as the ear. The re-mastered version is still a great CD but it somehow lacks soul. Hence the drop from 5 to 4-star rating.
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29 of 31 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Just wonderful...., 5 Jun 2012
By 
Dad "Just a DAD" (Bristol) - See all my reviews
(TOP 500 REVIEWER)   
This is an amazing and exclusive two disc set featuring the remastered original album with five bonus tracks and audio documentary.

Also contains "Under African Skies" film with bonus features.

Three original music videos and "Saturday Night Live" performance of "Diamonds on the Soles of Her Shoes."

Its a must for for music lovers considering the original Graceland Album sold 14 million copies worlwide and won a Grammy in 1987

In the film, Simon provides a fresh and revelatory perspective on the album while gathering the record's original musicians for a transcendental Graceland concert reunion.

Just Wonderful
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37 of 40 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Landmark Well Covered, 7 Jun 2012
By 
Syriat - See all my reviews
(TOP 500 REVIEWER)   
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Graceland was the first ever album I bought (on tape actually), my first ever single is far more embarrassing. As a teenager I had never heard this type of music before and it led me on to many other things and gave me an awareness of Apartheid and its ugly forms. I have never bought this on CD until now and this package is an absolute must for me and anyone who has an interest in this album.

The package consists of the original CD (remastered and to these ears to good effect). On this CD are the bonus tracks including demo's, which are at times quite different to the final versions. The producers certainly did a lot to put this album together. There is a booklet that has a brief overview from the man himself and another essay on the album. The album itself is as good as it was. Lyrically evocative it contains so many great moments. Its a landmark album for so many reasons (of which more later) but the music itself is central to that and listening to it now it truly is a five star album.

The final part of this package is a DVD with the recently released Under African Skies documentary. This covers the whole creation and legacy of the album and the 25th anniversary reunion. It also contains the music video's various documentaries and also a few interviews (Ray Phiri's is the highlight here as his story is brief but moving). But the documentary is the the main event on the DVD. It shows the whole story and the aftermath and it throws light on the struggles and how this album caused as much trouble as it raised awareness. At times moving this really is a brilliant insight and worth the money alone. It shows Apartheid and the cultural boycott and the issues in making and touring this album.

This is a great package of an album which was huge at the time in so many ways. The DVD and CD really do it justice and its a powerful memorial of landmark album.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Paul Simon's finest hour, 25 Aug 2011
By 
The Guardian (UK) - See all my reviews
(VINE VOICE)    (TOP 50 REVIEWER)   
This Grammy Award-winning album from 1986 is usually considered to be Paul Simon's crowning achievement in a stellar career with many high-points. His peerless songwriting and poignant lyrics are fused with intelligent use of folk and brass instruments: Zulu Mbaqanga rhythms, the Ladysmith Black Mambazo choir showcasing their a capella style, plus the Zydeco creole music of Louisiana; the Everly Brothers, Linda Ronstadt and Los Lobos also feature in cameo performances. It's absolutely gorgeous and hasn't aged a day in 25 years.

The album works best when listened to as a whole experience, rather than sampled track by downloaded track - like having a full meal rather than just eating the beans one day, and the sauce on another occasion. Only when the whole is savoured and digested can the extraordinary blend of complimentary musical styles be appreciated, and the grand creation be enjoyed and fully understood.

The 1986 CD release is in every way superb, with depth and richness of sound allowing for the subtleties of the unusual instrumentation and vocal combinations to shine. The 2011 `re-master' is best avoided: like so many modern `re-masters' the result is not an improvement; it's harsher, less subtle than the earlier mix and lacks depth - though it's fine to play loud in a moving car.

Regardless, `Graceland' is a truly classic album which should be in any serious music collection.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A great package, but the remastering isn't an improvement, 11 July 2012
By 
Mark Arnott (London, England) - See all my reviews
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The package is great - beautifully presented, great DVD with docs and music videos - all of that is great.

So why remaster the album?... Again. Its not an improvement on the previous CD release. In fact it doesn't sound as good - just louder and harsher. As a recording artist myself, I am aware of the benefits of "cleaning" up older recordings and making use of newer technology to achieve a more transparent sound. This isn't the case here, though. My CD of Graceland from a few years back sounds much better - there is more depth to the production - more detail. The new version sounds very "tense" and too lou, - I guess to satisfy audiences listening on equipment with no bass and top end where older recordings can sound a bit dull and under energized. Its a shame.

However, the package is worth the money for the DVD and the unreleased tracks. I'll just stick with my previous CD for listening to the album.
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