Top positive review
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Six of the Best
on 12 February 2015
At last Rick's masterworks are getting overdue recognition in the form of the 'deluxe' treatment.
The really good news is that the Original album has never sounded better than this. The sound of the remaster is, to my ears, perfect. It really brings out all of the instruments in the mix and makes the music seem so fresh. A first rate piece of work that is on a 'parr' (sorry) with the original vinyl way back when.
The bonus material is OK, if a tad disappointing. The 1st mix of Catherine of Aragon is very (very) close to the original. Better are the single edits which give a quick shot of Rick's prowess if you fancy a change from the full track. (Strangely the edit of Anne Boleyn cuts off just before 'The day thou gavest Lord' theme starts, thus making its track name inaccurate - small point I know)
Disc 2 gives you three different mixes to pick from and if you have the right gear to listen to them on then I guess you might enjoy the variety.
The disc closes with Rick on the Whistle test. It's OK as a bit of nostalgia but if you watch closely towards the end you will see that the music carries on perfectly whilst Rick is still reaching for the right keyboard. In other words the performance has been dubbed or was 'mimed' TOTP's style. Maybe that's just the keyboard player in me noticing these things.
In regards to extras I would have much preferred some live performances (and there are loads of them out there) to give the package a bit more diversity. In a perfect world the package could have united Rick's Hampton Court performance with the original, but it's all about ownership these days I guess.
Anyway enough criticism of the 'King' of Keyboards.
The packaging is really good. Nice use of the open out gatefold and a new essay in the booklet from 'Classic Rock presents PROG's editor, Jerry Ewing. No problems for me in peeling the sticky 'deluxe' wrapper off the cover (as other reviewers have noted), just needs a little extra care.
So overall 4 stars from me, but still well worth purchasing for the improved audio and packaging.