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Tubby with no frills
on 17 October 2013
Not so long ago Tubby Hayes CD's were as rare as hens teeth. Indeed, for years the vast majority of his Tempo and Fontana discography was more like a backwater than a back catalogue but recently there has been a small windfall of useful reissues, often at budget price. Proper have released two excellent box sets (with great booklets and photos), Fantastic Voyage put out a great triple CD set, Acrobat issued a six-CD set of his complete Tempo sessions and Avid have weighed in with one of their Classic Albums compilations. There is an overlap between all these issues, but each has its merits. However this new Seven Classic Albums set from Real Gone Jazz might well be the ultimate and desperate final slice of the salami.
It provides exactly what is says on the cover, plus a couple of tracks lifted from Equation in Rhythm, but virtually nothing else. The booklet gives scanty recording details, with the All Night Long personnel not quite ringing true, but by far the worst aspect of this set is the variable "remastering", with albums clearly lifted from other recently issued versions. The worst offender is the Jazz Couriers in Concert material - never the best sounding album in the world - but seemingly taken straight from Avid's muddy remix. It's now close to unlistenable and there appear to be speed problems during the piano solo on The Serpent, leaving the listener feeling like he or she is seasick! The Couriers of Jazz album also now sounds somewhat claustrophobic, but the remainder of the material is in far better shape.
It would be churlish to complain too vociferously about something offered at budget price but whilst Real Gone Jazz may superficially be doing novice fans a service, the handling of the music could actually be devaluing the end product. To conclude on a positive note, this is the sort of set you can buy as a second choice for the car and among its virtues it does at least provide the full All Night Long album, hitherto in and out of print on CD.
Three stars for the concept and packaging. As for Tubby....it's got to be five every time.