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There's good news, and there's bad news...
on 6 September 2000
The good news is that, presentation-wise, the folks at Polydor have done a good job with this reissue. The original LP jacket artwork has been restored, as have the lyrics and Cappucino Kid liner notes (part of an A5 booklet included with the LP, but missing from the original CD release), and the new liner notes are excellent.
The bad news is that it appears that the over-compressed remasters used for 'The Complete Adventures..." have been used here. At the time that set was released, the backlash against using tons of compression during mastering was still fairly new - and too late to have any impact on how the songs were remastered. With the gap of about two years between the release of the box set and the remastered TSC albums, I harbored some hope that perhaps they'd be re-remastered in order to remedy the over-compression. Sadly, the remastering credit indicates that this did not happen.
As a result, while the tracks do benefit somewhat from added presence and clarity, you'll risk ear fatigue rather quickly (it hit me during "My ever changing moods") if you don't keep the listening volume relatively low.
Of course, the music is still excellent, although "A gospel" is now somewhat dated. It's easy to forget how defiantly different 'Cafe Bleu' was at the time of its release, even as the music press briefly lumped TSC in with the emerging "new jazz" clique that also included Sade, Carmel, Working Week, and Everything But The Girl. The album contained a mix of 60s-influenced jazz, easy listening, and pop, and even rap and funk, that made it stand out from just about everything else on the charts.
There was also a sense of fun, freedom, and optimism that would be missing from the later albums. There were the print ads that cheekily proclaimed "Here come the classics" and "Contains no hit singles". There were the Cappucino Kid sleevenotes. There were Mick Talbot's instrumental rave-ups. There were the photos that showed Paul Weller almost smiling. And, of course, there was the willingness to follow one's passion, and not simply do things a certain way because that's how they'd always been done.
Not to mention that springtime has never been better...