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Steve McQueen

Steve McQueen

17 Oct 2005
5.0 out of 5 stars 70 customer reviews

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Steve McQueen
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11
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Disc 2
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3:57
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Product details

  • Original Release Date: 17 Oct. 2005
  • Release Date: 17 Oct. 2005
  • Number of Discs: 2
  • Label: Columbia
  • Record Company Required Metadata: Music file metadata contains unique purchase identifier. Learn more.
  • Total Length: 1:19:44
  • Genres:
  • ASIN: B004QNH4TM
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars 70 customer reviews
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 66,594 in Albums (See Top 100 in Albums)
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Format: Audio CD
How do you improve on perfection? The original release of Steve McQueen was the crowning achievement of both Paddy McAloon (the Sprouts' resident genius) and producer Thomas Dolby. The fact that the album is remastered to an immaculate finish is enough to thrill any fan. It's a masterpiece that reveals just how powerful great composition can be when coupled with exquisite production. But the "expanded" segment of this release is what will overwhelm listeners. Paddy, in stark solo acoustic performances, manages to reinvent eight of the 11 songs on the original album.

Now, I must admit, I didn't have high expectations when I heard Paddy's long awaited next project was an acoustic rehash of old material. It has been long reported that Paddy is hoarding a cache of songs (maybe a dozen albums or more). For much too long, those compositions have remained cellared like aging wine, leaving fans to wait in tortured anticipation of their release. The eight remakes in this expanded edition of "Steve McQueen," however, are so radically reconceived that it's like hearing new material.

The acoustic performances highlight not only the clarity of Paddy's vocal cadences, they isolate Mac's precise chording and his mastery of guitar. The mix is so intimate, the sound so warm, you can almost feel Paddy's breath on your ears. The stripped down sound of Prefab Sprout's "The Gunman" album is pretty much duplicated here.

So drastically are these songs rearranged that they seem to take on entirely new meanings and dimensions. "Appetite," surveying the pitfalls of sexual desire, is less harsh in acoustic form. Without the whip-like percussion of "Faron Young," in its original incarnation, the song takes on a more serene edge with dollops of richly enchanting calliope sounds.
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Format: Audio CD
Steve McQueen is an album I've been hoping to be re-mastered for years, along with Prefab's other great album, Jordan: The Comeback. Jordan was an incredible album packed with great songs diverse both musically and lyrically. SM was, however, more ethereal in its production with a sound that really has not been duplicated, ever. Most people who listened to their first record, Swoon, are aware that Thomas Dolby, the producer, had an enormous influence on the outcome of SM. Not only is the production different but the structure of the songs is better crafted. Having at first listened to SM as a record, I always felt that the CD version lacked depth. It must be added that the CD version I am used to is the American version of SM (called Two Wheels Good because the estate objected to the title). That version included a fantastic extended version of Faron Young, a great county cover of He'll Have To Go and one more track. When Love Breaks Down is also in an inferior state on Two Wheels Good, being slightly edited and mixed

Now, more than 20 years after its initial release the album has been re-released, re-mastered by Thomas Dolby himself. The extra tracks from Two Wheels Good are nowhere to be found. That is understandable since Dolby had nothing to do with that production and they were also not really part of the original Steve McQueen release. On a brighter note, the better version of When Love Breaks Down is intact.

Although some recent re-mastered versions have improved the sound quality significantly, often it is simply because the transfer to the CD was initially incredibly sloppy. Despite not being satisfied with the sound quality of Two Wheels Good, I cannot say that it was bad.
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Format: Audio CD
Well, I was there back in 1985 when this album was a must-have and was played in student halls of residence up and down the country. It was just about perfect then, and still is.

The revelation is the bonus disc of acoustic versions: this on its own would qualify as one of the best albums of 2007, a 're-release' or not.

It doesn't matter if you're not a Sprouts fan: if you appreciate quality music of the sensitive singer-songwriter variety, I can't imagine how anyone wouldn't love this acoustic material. As a huge fan of Elliott Smith and The Blue Nile, this is now one of those indispensable albums of staggering beauty and subtlety.

Still some of the best lyrics every written:

"The sunlight makes a fence out of the forest

But here I am with head inside the bonnet ...

I've lost just what it takes to be honest."

Paddy's voice is exceptional, light and intimate in tone, hitting some rare and beautiful low notes here for a change. The multi-layered acoustic guitars create a detailed fabric of warm sound which, even without a vocal, would be worth a listen on its own.

It's very rare I get this enthusiastic about 'new' music, but this is exceptional. The kind of record you want to tell all your friends about. Makes you want to say God Bless Paddy, and without a trace of irony. Makes you want to swoon ... a lot!
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Format: Audio CD Verified Purchase
When answering the eternal question "what is your favourite album of all time?",the usual suspects come to mind...Revolver,Aja,It's too late to stop now......However it is this album'Steve McQueen'that wins out each time.It is quite simply superb;from the country parody of Faron Young to When the Angels,each track creeps up on you and stays forever.Having originally owned the vinyl version,I must admit that side 2 was neglected for some time due to the strength of side 1.However this only delayed the pleasure of discovering the gems on this side.I cannot recommend this album highly enough.
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