10 of 11 people found the following review helpful
A praiseworthy effort spoiled by disappointing sound quality and liner notes
, 1 Aug. 2012
This review is from: Disco Recharge - Fly Away [Special Edition] (Audio CD)
Voyage's "Fly Away" is my favorite disco album of all time - in fact, it's one of my favorite albums from any genre, period. The musicianship is stellar, the album full of lush and breathtaking arrangements. The opening track "Souvenirs" is considered by many as THE best disco song ever. The entire album, as a sonic travelogue, is absolutely transportive.
"Fly Away" was reissued once on CD legitimately on the Hot Productions label in 1993, adding "Let's" to the album title and botching the album cover art. Fortunately, the sound quality was okay, but I felt it could be better. In recent years "Fly Away" - along with Voyage's self-titled debut - was reissued again on CD in Russia. Both discs seemed to be of questionable origin, but the original album cover designs were intact and the sound quality was markedly better, sounding closer to the vinyl LPs but with a little too much of a treble boost. (It's hard to tell what sources were used, but I suspect these were taken from vinyl and cleaned up very carefully.) Again, I felt "Fly Away" could sound better.
I was looking forward to this Disco Recharge Special Edition of "Fly Away" because judging from the plethora of bonus tracks and the up-to-the-minute posts on Disco Recharge's Facebook, this - along with the Disco Recharge Special Edition of Voyage's self-titled debut album - was clearly a labor of love.
Disco Recharge did a wonderful job unearthing jewels of bonus tracks. (I never knew there was a 7" mix of "Tahiti, Tahiti", with more echo!) The packaging of this and the previous album are first-rate, with photos of record labels and sleeves complementing the original album cover. Well done!
However, after hearing the Disco Recharge Special Edition of the first Voyage album, I got worried. Though the original tapes were used, the mastering sounded too loud and too compressed with the high ends shaved off. The crisp and CLEAN sound of the original album was gone. How could this be? I daren't point the finger at anyone, but when the CD sounds too different from the original vinyl album AND previous CD editions, something is amiss.
I got the Special Edition of "Fly Away" two days ago. Unfortunately, the original album's seven tracks also got the same compressed treatment. To add insult to injury, the segues between "Souvenirs," "Kechak Fantasy" and "Eastern Trip" are, for the first time ever, jerky and not smooth, interrupting the flow. Obviously flaws in mastering. What's up with that?!
The bonus tracks are of varying quality, but that's to be expected. What is also expected is the original album to sound as good as it always has, but unfortunately that's not the case here.
Also, "Fly Away"'s liner notes are more about backup singer Stephanie De Sykes' disco career than Voyage itself. It's great that De Sykes was interviewed specifically for this reissue, but a backup singer? Really? What about Voyage itself? I'm sure lead singer Sylvia Mason (now Mason-James) was just as available to lend her insights. What about Marc Chantereau? Slim Pezin? Pierre-Alain Dahan? Roger Tokarz? It would have been a treat to hear how these fantastic studio musicians created the magic heard on these albums.
I may sound overly critical here, but I have loved this album ever since I bought the original LP in 1978. I know the album very well, and I expect it to sound as good on CD as it did on vinyl. I am not an audiophile by any stretch, but it doesn't take one to notice how compressed this CD sounds. I am not alone in my criticism; take note of the reviews of the Disco Recharge Special Edition of the first Voyage album here at amazon.co.uk.
Don't get me wrong - I wholeheartedly applaud Disco Recharge's efforts in reissuing gems like these Voyage albums with primo bonus material, especially in this day and age. But why don't they sound as good as they look?
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