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The Now Spinning/Recent Purchases Thread

Discussion in 'A Small Circle of Friends: The Music Forum' started by Rudy, Apr 5, 2011.

  1. Rudy

    Rudy ᕦ(ò_óˇ)ᕤ Site Admin Thread Starter

    I figured that since I listen to Sgt. Pepper maybe once every five years, getting the new set made no sense. :laugh: It's on Tidal if I'm curious enough, and have plenty of pals I could borrow it from, but I wouldn't know the differences in the mixes anyway.

    They'll probably be available cheap enough, used, once the fever has passed. Or just get Tidal HiFi for $19.99/month and have a whole bunch of new stuff to listen to (in true CD quality). :D
  2. DeeInKY

    DeeInKY Well-Known Member

    From what I gather, it was originally mixed mono, but most people listen to the stereo version which is,
    in my own terms, damped down. I heard a bit from the outtakes for A Day in the Life this morning on radio and the ending piano chords were replaced with a choir as was the original intention. That part did nothing for me. Much less dramatic than the released version.
    Rudy and Bobberman like this.
  3. Rudy

    Rudy ᕦ(ò_óˇ)ᕤ Site Admin Thread Starter

    The only thing I really have heard overall is that they did a new stereo mix with the same balances as the mono mix. The bigger deluxe set is a lot of extras, from what I understand.

    All I know is, any of those sets where there are unreleased takes, alternate takes, false starts, etc. are nothing I would listen to, even when they are bonus tracks on a CD. I fell into that big Beatles "Anthology" thing and have all three sets, but I have to say that I only listened to the second and third sets by skimming over the tracks, parts of the first set (maybe half, overall) and out of all three sets, pulled off maybe two or three tracks to put on a compilation. Thanks to that, and a few discs (like that CTi reissue of Jobim's Tide album) that had alternate takes of the same song repeated ad nauseum, it was sort of a wake-up call that I really didn't need to get anything with these sorts of extra tracks or discs. I realized I wasn't missing anything important.

    Somehow I wound up with a couple of the recent Led Zep sets in high-res that had the deluxe material added on. Most of them I removed from my main music directory and stuck in an alternate directory. (IOW, I wouldn't delete them, but getting them archived means I don't have to see them listed anywhere.) On vinyl, I have everything in the standard album versions except for Coda, since the 3-LP deluxe version is the only place to get a few of the bonus tracks like "Traveling Riverside Blues" on vinyl. Fortunately it did not cost much additional over the single-LP version.

    In fact, my pal in Chicago and I were discussing that very thing. He busy a lot of the deluxe sets, but he admits freely that he maybe listens to the extra tracks once, if that.

    I know the purists cringe at it, but I liked the surround version of Beatles Love. I like how it took the familiar and reimagined it in a new form. It doesn't bother me since the originals are around to purchase, and plentiful. (Unlike Genesis, where the current versions are poor quality remixes, with the only way to get the original mixes is to buy the earlier CDs.)
    DeeInKY and Bobberman like this.
  4. There are both one-disc and two-disc (CD) packages that are fairly reasonable. I opted for the 2 CD set of the new SGT. PEPPER'S LONELY HEARTS CLUB BAND when it came out late last week. I've found the new remix quite good in spots. Some of the tracks were improved a good bit with a re-allocation of the sounds in the stereo soundstage. A few tracks are not improved.

    IMPROVED: The title track sounds great with the vocals centered. Ditto the following track "With A Little Help..." I like what they did with "Lucy In The Sky..." in attempting to make it feel more like the mono issue. In fact that was what Giles Martin wanted to accomplish - making a stereo mix that felt like the mono mix that fans raved about and that the Beatles worked toward and approved. "Within You Without You" sounds really good in the new mix as does "Fixing A Hole" and "She's Leaving Home", now sped up like the mono mix. I like "When I'm 64" and "Lovely Rita".

    Getting Better - sounds a little distorted and perhaps a bit too loud
    Good Morning Good Morning - too loud, a bit brickwalled
    A Day In The Life - This one fails being too compressed. You can hear the pumping of the compressor on the final piano note fade. - not good.

    I bought the two-disc set, the second disc of which features an alternate take or version of every song on the album, plus a few early takes of "Penny Lane" and "Strawberry Fields", plus new remixes of each of those.

    The "big box" set features more alternate takes that I wasn't interested in. I find alternate takes largely interesting to hear once - any more than that and they just lose their lustre and I end up shelving them. Like ANTHOLOGY, they're just tedious to listen to.

    Overall though, for a Beatles fan, I find the new remix album "fun" - and that's what SGT. PEPPER'S is supposed to be.
    DeeInKY and Bobberman like this.
  5. DeeInKY

    DeeInKY Well-Known Member

    The smaller cd packs would be the only ones that would be affordable right now. I saw everything from vinyl to posters, etc. in the higher priced packages. Some of those features appealed to me, but I've got to be reasonable (darn it :D). Thanks for the insights!
  6. Mike Blakesley

    Mike Blakesley Well-Known Member Moderator

    I was only 9 when Sgt. Pepper was released, and the Beatles were broken up before I really started listening to music. So I pretty much missed the whole phenomenon; my first "like" in the Beatles category was Paul McCartney's "Uncle Albert/Admiral Halsey" single. Sgt.Pepper is so renowned, when I finally got around to listening to it I was let down. I think the album is more revered for its innovation and experimentation and its uniqueness compared to everything else coming out at that time, as opposed to the high quality of the actual songs. I like a lot of the material on it ("A Day in the Life" is one of my favorite Beatles tunes) but tunes like "Getting Better" and "Fixing a Hole" and "Mr. Kite" come off as filler to me. I think Elton John's version of "Lucy in the Sky" is better, but I do like the Beatles version of "With A Little Help From My Friends" the best out of all the versions I've heard.
    Bobberman likes this.
  7. Mike Blakesley

    Mike Blakesley Well-Known Member Moderator

    Right now I'm digging the new album by Lindsey Buckingham and Christine McVie. There is no other way to put this, it is a Fleetwood Mac album without Stevie Nicks -- it has Mick Fleetwood on drums, and John McVie on bass on all the tracks. Mitchell Froom (keyboards) is the only non-Mac presence.

    The songs on this album are the ones they were planning to use for the "next" Fleetwood Mac album; they were just waiting for Stevie to add her material. When Stevie decided not to participate, Buckingham and McVie decided to release the album as a duet, rather than calling it a Fleetwood Mac record. I'm sure the reason is because they know what a "draw" Stevie is, and if they toured as Fleetwood Mac without her, sales would drop. So this represents a compromise.

    That said, this is a very good, tight album. If Nicks had been onboard, there would be five more songs and the record would be too long. As is, it's ten great pop songs and it feels just right. Buckingham has toned down his more outrageous "antics" as expressed on some of his songs on the last FM album (2003's Say You Will) and Christine McVie's voice sounds better than ever - she's a better singer now than she was in the '70s. Her songwriting is invigorated too; you can hear her smiling while she's singing.

    It's hard to pick favorites since I've only heard the whole thing a couple of times so far, but "In My World," "Red Sky," and "Feel About You" are standout tracks; the melodies on each of these are real ear-worms. McVie's album-closer "Carnival Begin" is terrific too, and closes with a killer Buckingham solo that could have been at least another minute longer.

    The Fleetwood/McVie rhythm section is instantly recognizable and familiar; in fact Fleetwood gets off some tasty soloing in the song "Too Far Gone" and you can tell he's just having the time of his life. John McVie provides the same dependably solid foundation he always has.

    If there's anything missing here, I would say it's the hard-driving rock'n'roll we used to hear on songs like "Monday Morning," "You Make Loving Fun" and "Second Hand News." The emphasis is more on lightweight pop than on hard rock. But when the melodies, hooks and performances are this good, these are small matters. This is a solid album from two of the best songwriters in rock, and if you like Fleetwood Mac (and can do without Nicks, as many can), this one is a keeper.
    Murray, DeeInKY and Bobberman like this.
  8. Bobberman

    Bobberman Well-Known Member

    Right now I'm listening to Joe Jackson 's Heart of Ice from Body and soul I loved that album so much for its variety of vocal and instrumental styling with a hint of jazz in some of the songs I had Cha Cha Loco on a single as the flip side of his hit You can't get what you want( till you know what you want) another fave I also like Go For It this and Night And Day are my favorite Joe Jackson albums
  9. DeeInKY

    DeeInKY Well-Known Member

    Buckingham and McVie appeared on CBS This Morning's Saturday Sessions.
  10. Rudy

    Rudy ᕦ(ò_óˇ)ᕤ Site Admin Thread Starter

    I felt pretty much the same, and it still doesn't do much for me, even now that I am familiar with it. Fun? Sure! And I don't mind giving it a spin every so often (every few years maybe). But there are some out there who hold it way up as the Greatest Album Ever™ and obsess over the details of every single note and fuss over the details of any vinyl pressing that ever existed. My feeling about it is, I just want to listen to music. I bought the recent stereo box on vinyl. Beautifully pressed, dead quiet surfaces, pretty nice sound (even though it's digitally sourced). I'm set for life, thank you. :)

    No Stevie...OK, I'm good with this. :D No offense to her, but I am just not a fan of her type of voice (although on some songs, it just works). Christine McVie's tracks are some of my favorite on FM albums over the years (especially on Tusk), and I recall her solo record from the 80s being pretty good.

    So far, I've found that "Red Sun," "Lay Down for Free" and "In My World" are among the most "FM-like" of the tracks on this one. Musically it seems pretty solid so far. And every so often, like I said, there are a few of the old signature FM elements thrown into the arrangements, which is a nice touch. (In other words, it's not a clone or self-parody, as some old bands are guilty of.)

    The only downfall? The engineering sucks on it--this sounds way too slick and modern, and either the tracks were compressed to hell and back, or the mastering was brickwalled...a shame, as all the life is sucked out of what could have been an excellent sounding album. The sound is very "in your face," if that makes sense. And what's up with Christine's voice? At times she sounds like a chipmunk. (I hope they didn't slap Autotune on their vocals here!!) It's not that husky sound I am familiar with.

    I'm streaming it on Tidal in "Masters" mode, although only six of the ten tracks are in Masters resolution (using MQA, in other words). The other four are CD-resolution. I will have to give it another play during dinner tonight.
    Last edited: Jun 14, 2017
  11. DeeInKY

    DeeInKY Well-Known Member

    I did go ahead and locate the small set (2 cds) of the St Pepper remastering and bought that. I'm enjoying that but am glad I didn't shell out for the big set - probably wouldn't have played some of the items enough to justify spending all that dough. I enjoyed it back in the day, but my feeling with this and Magical Mystery Tour was that someone was doing serious drugs when some of these songs were produced. :nut:
    Rudy and Harry like this.
  12. Same here. Outtakes are interesting exactly once, so the 2-CD set was good enough for me. I got the remixed album, one early, demo, or outtake for every song, and an exploration of Strawberry Fields/Penny Lane which is kind of neat. I've already played around with slowing one take down by 11.5% as George Martin did and marrying the two Strawberry Fields takes to make it sound like the version we all know and love. It was fun doing it and gave me an appreciation for the work Mr. Martin had to do with 60s technology.
    Last edited: Jun 14, 2017
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  13. Rudy

    Rudy ᕦ(ò_óˇ)ᕤ Site Admin Thread Starter

    I would say that Penny Lane/Strawberry Fields has to be one of the greatest 45s ever released. I don't think they ever indicated which one was the A-side, did they? I know I never could pick one over the other. My mother's cousin handed that one down to me, as she was the big Beatles fan in the family.

    Sounds like my high school... :laugh:
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  14. DeeInKY

    DeeInKY Well-Known Member

    I was technically not allowed to buy Beatles records at the time since my dad thought that they were "a bunch of Commies." Did that stop me? :whistle: I had to keep them hidden until dad was disabled and couldn't hunt for them.
  15. Mike Blakesley

    Mike Blakesley Well-Known Member Moderator

    That's one thing I always disliked about Lindsey Buckingham as a producer -- he tends to overfuss with things. It didn't bother me so much on this album though. I agree about some of the vocals sounding "messed with" but again, I think that's a nod to modern "tech" more than anything else. Just my guess anyway.
    Rudy likes this.
  16. Rudy

    Rudy ᕦ(ò_óˇ)ᕤ Site Admin Thread Starter

    What was it with the "Commies" anyway? My friend said that her brother used to turn up the music like AC/DC while they were living at home, and her dad would be yelling, "Turn down that Communist music!!" :laugh:
    DeeInKY likes this.
  17. Mike Blakesley

    Mike Blakesley Well-Known Member Moderator

    I had Carole King's Wrap Around Joy album playing in the store one time, and an older lady who was browsing around asked me if I could turn down that "marijuana music." :rolleyes:

    I agree. My problem with her is, her voice hasn't aged well. She has way less range than she used to... on stage, she sings around all the high notes to the point where some of her songs have almost zero melody. I tend to like her rockin' songs the best, like "Angel" and "Straight Back" and "Sisters of the Moon." But to me she's about 10% of the appeal of Fleetwood Mac's vocalists.
    Heck, some of the background vocals on the new album actually SOUND like Stevie's in there, but I'm sure it's just Lindsey's voice speeded up -- the same technique he used to produce those "love grunts" on "Big Love." Lots of people thought that was Stevie, but it was Lindsey.
    Last edited: Jun 14, 2017
    Rudy likes this.
  18. DeeInKY

    DeeInKY Well-Known Member

    That X-factor. Fear of the unknown. I don't think the USSR would have known what to do with Angus Young anyway. :D

    In the '60s, everything counterculture was "Commie" - long hair, beads, clothes. It was a long list to keep up with. They tried to keep us walking a narrow line. Did we pay attention? No. We were "bad" kids. :wink:
  19. Rudy

    Rudy ᕦ(ò_óˇ)ᕤ Site Admin Thread Starter

    I think the schoolboy uniform confused them. :D
  20. jfiedler17

    jfiedler17 Active Member

    Wonderful review of the Buckingham-McVie album, Mike! I really enjoyed reading that! I've yet to pick up the album, but I'm more curious than ever now to hear it. I liked Say You Will for the most part, but my biggest problems with it were that it was much too long and that Stevie's songs didn't seem - at least not to me, anyway - anywhere near as strong as usual (although the title cut is fabulous), so I imagine I'll like this album even better. (To her credit, though, Stevie's last solo album - 24 Karat Gold - was her best solo album since the '80s, IMO. Combine Lindsey's best songs from Say You Will with the best cuts from 24 Karat Gold, and you'd have had one heck of a fantastic Fleetwood Mac album - at least for one lacking Christine, anyway. It's not quite the same without her there, of course.)

    I agree that Stevie's voice hasn't aged well, but then again, she was already sounding strained as far back as 1987's Tango in the Night; she's got some great songs on there - especially "Seven Wonders," which I think is one of their more underrated singles - but her vocals on that disc are noticeably much raspier than on prior albums.
  21. Rudy

    Rudy ᕦ(ò_óˇ)ᕤ Site Admin Thread Starter

    I haven't had time to give Buckingham/McVie a listen again, but may give it a spin during dinner to see what the rest of the house thinks of it. :D But strangely, I have this urge to play Tusk again. I think its quieter and more eclectic mood suits me more than the others they've recorded.

    It is kind of neat to go back and listen to Buckingham/Nicks though. You hear that one, and you realize how much of their sound ended up influencing that era of Fleetwood Mac.

    Too many times being a "gold dust woman" I fear. She's also one of those, like Michael McDonald, where you can't understand half the words she's singing, on some of those tunes. Although I do like McDonald's singing infinitely more. :wink:
  22. Rudy

    Rudy ᕦ(ò_óˇ)ᕤ Site Admin Thread Starter

    I've found some garbage to listen to lately...or Garbage, as the case may be. I overheard "Special" out in public last week and it stuck in my head. I never listened to their album Version 2.0 much but fortunately this one was on it. We've played "Paranoid" on the Rock Band video game (which is also on this album), and "When I Grow Up" is another favorite. I think this may be one of those albums I'd need to listen to while it grows on me more. The first Garbage (self-titled) album has been a favorite since I first heard "Vow" on the radio. They also did the theme for the James Bond film The World Is Not Enough and that one is covered on Absolute Garbage (an anthology). Now I have another three or four albums to catch up on. :D
  23. Mike Blakesley

    Mike Blakesley Well-Known Member Moderator

    I've been getting into Cheap Trick's newest CD, titled We're All Alright. I picked up the "special edition" which has a bonus song.

    Their previous album, Bang Zoom Crazy...Hello! from last year, was terrific, and this one is nearly as good. On the new one, they focus much more on hard rock, where the last album had a more pop feel (maybe 10% more). Both albums are chock full of the signature Cheap Trick sound.

    The big star on this new album is Rick Neilsen's guitar. Well, that's the case on all their albums, but he's really into some furious riffing on this record. This guy could give Phil Spector "wall of sound" lessons. The guitars have just the right amount of roar throughout the record. It reminds me of how they sound in concert.

    Robin Zander continues to prove he has some of the best pipes in rock -- listening to him and thinking he's in his mid 60s just makes your jaw drop in amazement. He could sing rings around most of the young "rockers" you hear today. Beyond the hard rock songs where you keep thinking he's hit the highest notes only to find out he can go even higher, he also gets a good Beatles-style ballad workout in "Floating Down," and finds a great pop vehicle in a cover of the Move's "Blackberry Way."

    Daxx Neilsen continues to redeem himself on drums. I've listened to a number of band interviews over the last year or so, and they have made a point to emphasize that Daxx didn't get the drumming job just because he's Rick's son... he actually had other gigs and projects going on and was just "filling in" for Bun E. Carlos for his first few years behind the kit; but when they decided they needed a permanent new drummer, he was just one of several candidates for the job and had to pass muster with the whole band. Some critics have said that he doesn't have the "sense of humor" about the drums that Bun E. had, but I don't quite know what that means; to me he sounds great and I think he's probably at least partly responsible for the band's recent burst of new energy.

    Tom Petersson on bass is as reliable as ever. It's a shame bass players don't get more attention, especially this one. He and Daxx have the rhythm section dialed in.

    Favorite tunes include the opener, "You Got It Goin' On," and the blistering rocker "Long Time Coming." The second half of the record is where more variety kicks in, with a couple of midtempo songs and a ballad or two. The closing track "If You Still Want My Love" sounds like a distant cousinn to "Need Your Love" from back in the band's heyday, complete with a catchy chorus on the fadeout.

    The album is a bit of an acquired taste, in that the melodies and hooks don't pop out at you immediately -- you have to listen a couple or three times to start finding the appeal in some of the tracks. The last album had the same effect on me -- when I first listened to it, there were several tracks that were kind of "eh" to me, but upon further listening some of them became serious ear-worms. This album has the same effect.

    If you liked Cheap Trick during their '70s/'80s heyday (especially on the harder rock songs) then you will probably dig this new album. And they apparently have a Christmas album coming out this fall. Wow, Christmas albums from TWO of my favorite artists (the other being Herb Alpert) in the same year? The 2010s are turning into a great decade for music all of a sudden.
    Rudy likes this.
  24. DeeInKY

    DeeInKY Well-Known Member

    Got the Buckingham-McVie cd on order. Apparently there is a vinyl disc, too. Last I heard, Stevie was saying that she's still going on tour with them next year. Voice problems aside, I can still tell what Stevie's singing (at least most of the time). :D

    Totally off topic ... also ordered some solar eclipse glasses. We're getting ready for the big event here.
  25. Rudy

    Rudy ᕦ(ò_óˇ)ᕤ Site Admin Thread Starter

    It seems that most of the high-profile new releases are seeing a vinyl version lately. I don't know if it's good or bad, but they are priced beyond impulse purchase levels. :laugh:

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