Top critical review
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A classic - shame about the remastering.
on 14 May 2002
This album is one of the undisputed classics of its genre, indeed one of the finest albums ever recorded, by a band of incredible talent at the very peak of their form.
That said, I've always had a problem with the sound: on some tracks (Come All Ye, the opener, for instance), the mix sounds too 'packed', not giving the instruments enough room to breathe. Elsewhere, the production is a bit on the muddy side, with Ashley Hutchings' bass not as prominent as it needed to be. Therefore, I looked forward to a rematered editon appearing, on which these faults could be rectified.
Sadly, this has not been done: it says 'remastered' on the cover, but to these ears, this just sounds like an LP. Not a new LP, either: at the end of each of the original selections, you can clearly hear lots of hiss and crackle, prompting me to wonder whether this hasn't just been filtered down from an old vinyl copy of the album (it's been done before).
As it is, this is probably worth buying for the two bonus cuts: a transcendant Denny vocal on Sir Patrick Spens (knocking spots off the version on FULL HOUSE) and a hypnotic take of Richard Farina's Quiet Joys of Brotherhood, on which Richard Thompson rocks out on the electric dulcimer. But I can't help feeling we have the right to expect better.