Wings Take Flight – “Wild Life”/”Red Rose Speedway” Tidbits plus Wings Live Circa 1972/73

 

Happy New Year!

A few days late but since it’s still early January and this is my first blog post of 2019 it just feels right.

Anyway, as you know if you’ve read this blog recently two prime Paul McCartney and Wings albums from the 1970’s were released early last month and the reverberations of those terrific releases are still being felt – in these parts anyway.

I posted two reviews of the Super Deluxe sets of Paul McCartney and Wings “Wild Life” and “Red Rose Speedway” and for my first blog post of 2019 I’m taking a look at their 2 CD counterparts.

I’ve highlighted several photos of the U.S. 2 CD sets as well as the Japanese 2 CD SHM-CD set for “Red Rose Speedway”. (See photos above).

As much as  I love the two Super Deluxe sets I reviewed a few weeks ago, I’m still playing them and soaking in the video content, the 2 CD versions of these albums are also quite well done and for the average McCartney fan (translation the non-obsessed fan) these smaller sets are more than enough to enjoy.

For one thing they’re MUCH cheaper than their Super Deluxe brothers and while they lack the video content (which in the case of “Red Rose Speedway” is a true loss) they contain most of the prime outtakes, demos and single material from these albums and for those who just want the music these are really quite nice and well done.

While the missing tracks from the Red Rose Speedway” Super Deluxe set like the studio versions of “The Mess” and “1882” are certainly missed they aren’t crucial as their live counterparts ARE on the 2 CD set and sound great.

The only missing audio from the “Wild Life” Super Deluxe set, the rough mixes of the entire album, while critical for super fans probably aren’t different enough for the average fan so I’m sure the 2 CD set will be more than enough as the video content isn’t quite as strong as the “Red Rose Speedway” set.

And of course for the super fans out there who want slightly better sound but not the Super Deluxe set there’s the 2 CD SHM-CD Japanese sets of both albums which might be the way to go if you’re nutty  (as they’re more expensive than the U.S sets) but not nutty enough to fork over for the Super Deluxe sets.

The other thing I wanted to highlight today is the 20 song “Wings Over Europe” CD which came as a part of the uber Deluxe set that was only available from McCartney’s Website (a few did escape on Amazon but not many).

The set contains the following songs:

1. Big Barn Bed [Live In Newcastle/1973]
2. Eat At Home [Live At The Hague/1972]
3. Smile Away [Live In Berlin/1972]
4. Bip Bop [Live At The Hague/1972]
5. Mumbo [Live In Antwerp/1972]
6. Blue Moon Of Kentucky [Live At The Hague/1972]
7. 1882 [Live In Berlin/1972]
8. I Would Only Smile [Live In Antwerp/1972]
9. Give Ireland Back To The Irish [Live In Groningen/1972]
10. The Mess [Live In Berlin/1972]
11. Best Friend [Live In Antwerp/1972]
12. Soily [Live In Berlin/1972]
13. I Am Your Singer [Live At The Hague/1972]
14. Seaside Woman [Live In Groningen/1972]
15. Wild Life [Live At The Hague/1972]
16. My Love [Live At The Hague/1972]
17. Mary Had A Little Lamb [Live At The Hague/1972]
18. Maybe I’m Amazed [Live In Groningen/1972]
19. Hi, Hi, Hi [Live At The Hague/1972]
20. Long Tall Sally [Live In Groningen/1972]

Now for ONCE I didn’t splurge on the uber Super Deluxe set, yes even I have my limits, but I did manage to get a listen to the entire CD and I must say it’s TERRIFIC! I  have a few of these songs on bootleg CDs which sound decent enough but even I was surprised at just how nice this CD sounds and how good the first incarnation of Wings sounded in a live setting.

I’m guessing there’s probably a few overdubs helping these performances along but whatever the case this CD sounds great and it’s a real shame it’s not more available to the general public.

Who knows that may change someday but until then you can find most or all of the songs on YouTube or other sources and this set of live performance is well worth checking out!

Well that’s all for this New Year’s 2019 post!

Until next time be well and may you have the best and the happiest 2019!!!

 

 

 

“Egypt Station” Third Stop – Paul McCartney.com Exclusives!

 

Okay, okay, sometimes you’ve got to say enough is enough. Right? Right???

Well, apparently for a collector (and I know there are a few of you out there!) sometimes enough is just the beginning.

You see Paul McCartney released his latest CD/Album/Vinyl called “Egypt Station”  this past September and true to current form it was available in a TON of different variations: black vinyl deluxe, black vinyl regular, colored vinyl deluxe, colored vinyl regular (in green or red pressings), CD, CD Target exclusive, Japanese SHM-CD (with Target bonus track).

I think that’s it unless I forgot one  which I’m sure I did.

Anyway, that leads me to tonight’s post, ANOTHER “Egypt Station” variation – CASSETTE TAPE. Yes, you heard me right cassette tape!

The cassette version was offered as a PaulMcCartney.com exclusive way back in September but is only now hitting mailboxes as I’m sure they took their time manufacturing a small number of these gems for the die-hards.

It’s actually a pretty nice variation and though a bit on the cheap side – where’s the standard cassette case? –  it’s such a blast from the past that it was a no brainer to buy – for me anyway.

Just take a look at the nice cover art in cassette size! Alright it looks like one of those old cassette singles from back in the day but still fun. Plus the orange cassette color is a nice touch as well – please tell me it will be available in only one color!!!

McCartney’s Website also was (is?) selling a special “Egypt Station” lanyard/laminate that came with a download code for obtaining pre-sale McCartney concert tickets.

Again I ordered the lanyard/laminate back in August, I believe, and while the concert code came pretty quickly through email and text the lanyard/laminate arrived just a few weeks ago.

So since this blog celebrates all things physical media feast your eyes above at the groovy new cassette of “Egypt Station” and its lovely accompanying purple lanyard/laminate!

And while I haven’t played the cassette above – yet – it’s on my to-do list for the upcoming Christmas holidays. I intend to crank that baby up and see how it stacks against it vinyl and CD cousins.

Until then, see you next time and don’t forget to check your departure times at the Egypt Station! (sorry, couldn’t resist!)

 

A Partridge in a … Waltons tree? – Christmas ’70’s style

 

Sometimes you stumble on the funniest things …

Last week I was out doing a little Christmas shopping, very little as I shop mainly online, and low and behold I came upon two Christmas albums on vinyl from the great beyond.

Well, from a long time ago anyway – the 1970’s to be exact! The albums in question are: “The Waltons’ Christmas Album” and “The Partridge Family Christmas Album”.

The Partridge Family album I’ve owned for years (since 1971 to be precise) in another version, the U.S. pressing called “A Partridge Family Christmas Card”, and The Waltons’ album I had never seen or heard of before!

Now since both albums were in  good shape, and cheap, I thought I’d snap them up and plop them on my turntable and travel back in time. And oh what a sweet trip it turned out to be once I settled into my chair for a listen.

“The Partridge Family Christmas Album” is a U.K. pressing with a different title and completely different cover to its U.S. counterpart. I’ve never run across this particular pressing of the album so it was really fun to see and hear it.

While it sounds really nice it’s a bit darker, I can’t think of another way to say it, or maybe more veiled than a U.S. pressing but still very nice – and pretty quiet considering it’s age and the amount of dirt I had to clean off the record!

I actually like this album more now than I did in the 1970’s. The song “My Christmas Card to You” especially is terrific, one of the better Partridge tracks in fact, and really should be part of the regular holiday playlist on radio but alas it’s almost forgotten – a shame really.

The other album, “The Waltons’ Christmas Album”, came as a lovely surprise!

It contains narration by the show’s creator, Earl Hamner Jr., throughout the record as well as a track spoken by Grandpa Walton himself, Will Geer, and also features traditional holidays tunes performed by The Holiday Singers.

The whole album feels like a mini episode of The Waltons TV show and was just as comforting and entertaining as I remember it being sitting in front of that old Magnavox television  set all those years ago. How nice to discover long lost old and new friends at the holidays.

As usual gaze above at these two groovy Christmas albums and hunt them down if you want some ’70’s Christmas fun. The Waltons album is available as an Mp3 download and the Partridge is also available on CD and download (or streaming I’m guessing) if you don’t feel the need to hunt down the vinyl.

But for me there’s no better way to hear these then the way they came out originally – crackles and all!

Until next time have a great Christmas next week and remember …

“To you and all your family, your neighbors and your friends
May all your days be happy with a joy that never ends
May peace and love surround you
At Christmas time and all the whole year through”
“My Christmas Card to You” By The Partridge Family

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Take a Walk on the …”Wild Life” – Paul McCartney and Wings “Wild Life” Super Deluxe Edition (A Review)

 

 

Well I must say this has been quite some week for McCartney fans!

Almost a week ago I received the monster Super Deluxe box set of Wings “Red Rose Speedway” and this week I got the Super Deluxe box set of Wings’ debut album “Wild Life”.

I remember when I first discovered the “Wild Life” album in the late 1970’s I was only lukewarm on its charms. I enjoyed Side 2 but Side 1 always left me cold. Fast forward a few decades and I must say this album has really grown on me!

I like the whole thing warts and all and this new remastered box set joins the rank of the other superb McCartney Archive sets and is a must buy if you’re into McCartney or Wings music.

So, to cut to the quick, below I take a look at all the goodies inside this set:

CD One – Remastered Album:

The remaster sounds really nice, an improvement over the original CD version. Crisper and a bit louder but not overly compressed.

Actually I may prefer the Rough Mix version of the album. The “Mumbo” and “Bip Bop” rough mixes especially are better but this new remaster sounds good.

The Side Two songs benefit most on the remaster but those have always been my favorites on the album anyway. “Tomorrow” sounds great (background vocals float like a cloud) as well as “Dear Friend”. The orchestration on “Dear Friend” sounds just great!

CD Two – Rough Mixes:

This disc consists of a set of rough mixes of pretty much the entire “Wild Life” album – an alternate version if you will.

While none of these versions are dramatically different, I was surprised that I really enjoyed listening to this disc – maybe even more than the remastered album. The album comes off as relaxed and loose and these rough mixes which sound a bit stripped down just sound right to me.

Since this disc is exclusive to the Super Deluxe Edition I thought it would be fun to go through each rough mix on CD.

Mumbo – funny enough the vocal is easier to make out, what you can make out that is! No “Take it Tony” at the beginning.  I like this mix better than the finished mix. Not drastically different but sounds a bit more like a song – “Monkberry Moon Delight” meets “Oh Woman, Oh Why”

Bip Bop – vocals sound different, again easier to understand. A bit more laid back feel with less echo. Nice, again I like it a bit more than the finished mix

Love is Strange (Version) – nice and funky instrumental version. Sounds great without vocals.

Wild Life – I’ve always liked this song. The live version is my favorite but this mix is really nice. Guitars sound a bit more prominent which I like. Gives the mix a more live sound. May prefer this mix.

Some People Never Know – nice mix with weird trumpet in the middle. Not drastically different but fun

I Am Your Singer – again not drastically different but nice to have, Linda sounds a little lower perhaps

Tomorrow – terrific, almost sounds like a different take. May prefer it to the released mix

Dear Friend – haunting song, nice clean mix. Still very effective minus the orchestration. Actually makes it a bit more raw. Second favorite mix on this disc, love the drums. Plastic Ono McCartney!

CD Three (Bonus Audio):

This disc consists mainly of demos and a few outtakes from the Wild Life era. Quite a few of the demos come from McCartney’s Scotland outdoor set that’s on the DVD. I’ve highlighted some of my favorite moments from this disc below:

I Am Your Singer – lovely demo from DVD footage

Dear Friend (Home Recording II) – really nice demo very similar to studio take.

Indeed I Do – simple song reminds me of a 1963 era demo, would have made a good Peter and Gordon song if completed

When the Wind is Blowing – Great track!!! Such a beautiful piece of music. Would have stuck out on Wild Life but should have been released. One of my favorite McCartney outtakes

The Great Cock and Seagull Race (Rough mix) – ahhh the sound of the RAM sessions. Nice mix and instrumental outtake

Give Ireland Back to the Irish – love this song and it sounds great here. Nice to have the instrumental version too, first time on physical CD for instrumental

Love is Strange (single edit) – love this edit. Should have been a single at the time

The DVD:

This DVD has a lot to live up to compared to the excellent video content of the “Red Rose Speedway” set. I’d say this disc is pretty good but a bit short in content. What is here though is mostly good and in very good quality.

  1. Scotland, 1971 – Nice quality film that’s been used many times before though this is more complete. Just Paul and Linda and daughters Heather and Mary playing around while Paul and Linda sing. Nice to have with more songs.
  2. The Ball – kind of meh, seen bits and pieces in Wingspan documentary. Nice quality but just celebrities walking into “The Ball”, the Wings “Wild Life” release party
  3. ICA Rehearsals – Paydirt! This is really nice black and white footage of Wings 1972 tour rehearsal and it’s a lot of fun. Includes “The Mess”, “Give Ireland Back to the Irish” and “My Love”. Would have been nice to have all the songs filmed as there are more but what is here is great! Also starts off in color then switches to black and white so all color would have been nice too but it still looks pretty good.
  4. Give Ireland Back to The Irish (Rehearsal) – really nice color footage of Wings rehearsing this almost forgotten McCartney track. Great to have!

The Books and folio

As with the other recent sets, the hardback book that accompanies this set is a thing of beauty! Great photos, nice information on the making of the album and is quite sturdy and well made.

The main hardback “Wild Life” book isn’t quite as jazzed up with reproduced items as the “Red Rose Speedway” book but it does include great photos of master tapes and logo designs (see above photos) and great alternate cover photo shots.

There’s also a nifty folio that includes lovely reproductions of several polaroid photos and a nice reproduction of “The Ball” invitation card and a diary of activities of the time. Of course they’re well done and worth having but I really love the hardback book and will look at that often.

Oh and as with the other sets they’re also a download card that lets you have access to all of the audio in HD 24/96kHz unlimited high-resolution!

Verdict:

What can I say, this is just a terrific set! A little bit on the pricey side but everything is so well done that I’m  more than pleased.

I would have liked a bit more video content or at least more of the ICA rehearsal footage but the bonus tracks are nice and the rough mix disc is worth the price of the whole set – for me anyway! I really enjoy the alternate take on the “Wild Life” album and will play that disc often when I’m in the mood for these songs.

As usual take a gander at the set above and if you’ve never given this album a try – you must! Don’t let the negative criticism this album has received in the past stop you. It’s a fun, loose and rocking McCartney album from the 1970’s – what could be better!!!

Until next time, be well and put a little “Bip Bop” into your day!

 

 

 

 

“Red Rose Speedway” Super Deluxe Box Set by Paul McCartney and Wings (A Review)

 

 

 

Well, here it is!

The long awaited, by McCartney fans anyway, re-release of Paul McCartney and Wings 1973 album “Red Rose Speedway”arrives in stores today and is filled to the brim with treasures any McCartney/Wings fan will cherish.

“Red Rose Speedway”, McCartney’s fourth solo album after leaving The Beatles, hit the No. 1 spot on the Billboard charts in June of 1973 and also yielded the No. 1 smash “My Love” , a song McCartney plays in concert to this very day.

McCartney’s solo work up until this time had taken a critical drubbing and with “Red Rose Speedway” he began to earn some respect among critics – though not overwhelmingly that’s for sure – and from this point on his solo career skyrocketed into one of the most successful second acts in rock history.

The McCartney Archive reissue of “Red Rose Speedway” which comes out today is being released in four formats: a 2 LP set of the original album plus bonus tracks, a 2 LP set of the reconstructed 1973 2 album version that never came out, a 2 CD set and a 4 CD/Blu-Ray/DVD Super Deluxe set with books and reproductions of assorted mementos.

I received a copy of the Super Deluxe box set last night and today have had a chance to really dig in and listen and watch the contents of this truly excellent set!

So let’s take a closer look at the contents of the set to see what goodies lurk inside:

Remastered CD (CD one)

The first CD is the remastered album as it came out in 1973. “Red Rose Speedway” has always been one of my favorite McCartney records from the first time I heard it in the late 1970’s.

Songs like “Big Barn Bed”, “Get On the Right Thing”, “Little Lamb Dragonfly” and even the eerie and odd Loup (1st Indian On the Moon)” have long been on my personal favorite McCartney playlist and have gotten lots of spins throughout the years.

This new remaster, much like most of the remasters in the McCartney Archive releases, sounds terrific and is highly recommended. Time will tell if it’s the best digital version out there but on first listen it sounds great!

It’s certainly not overly compressed and has a nice punch and clarity but also has lots of dynamics as well. If you’ve never heard his album, this new remaster is a great way to discover this music as it sounds wonderful.

Reconstructed Two Album set (Disc 2):

Originally McCartney was going to release “Red Rose Speedway” as a double album but his record company at the time, EMI, supposedly talked him out of it as his record sales had lagged with his previous release, 1971’s “Wild Life”.

This second CD in the set reconstructs what that double album lineup would have included and is filled with several unreleased McCartney gems. Even though the double album probably wouldn’t have sold as well as the single LP version this reconstructed album is actually quite a nice listen.

There’s certainly more variety of styles and as an album it would have been a bit more interesting so it’s nice to be able to hear it as it might have been released and gives a nice alternate way of hearing this material.

Highlights of this disc:

Night Out – weird pretty much  instrumental. Actually a really nice rocker. Was supposed to be first track on the double album version. Sounds great compared to bootleg versions.

Best Friend – terrific song from a live performance. I’ve had this on boots for years but it sounds so much better here. Wings circa 1972 live are just great!

Tragedy – one of the best McCartney solo outtakes. A great performance and this version with sitar is the best by far. A cover song but such a great track!

1882 – live version. This is great! A bit depressing perhaps but great vocal, nice slow rocker. Possibly too dark a subject for the album but nice song worth and worthy of inclusion for sure

Bonus Audio (Disc 3)

This disc features the tracks that were released as singles  around the time of “Red Rose Speedway’s release as well as more outtakes and rough mixes of songs included on the final album.

This is my favorite of the three discs because I love rough mixes and I really love the outtakes included on this disc.

Highlights of this disc for me:

Get on the Right Thing – love this, love the extended vocal coda

Little Lamb Dragonfly – interesting has a scratch vocal from Paul with incomplete lyrics, highlights the lovely strings near the end

1882 – studio take. A really nice version. The live take may be a bit better but this studio take is really quite good.

Jazz Street – great instrumental track, Should have been on the album. Rocky and a bit weird, love it!

Live and Let Die – Group Only, Take 10 – This is really fun without the orchestra present and is a really nice alternate version of this well-known McCartney classic.

Bruce McMouse film (DVD and Blu-Ray discs):

This almost legendary film was made by Paul McCartney and has been talked about for years in books about his career but mysteriously shelved.

The film lasts approximately 52 minutes and basically consists of a live Wings concert circa 1973 with the added addition of a mouse and his family who live beneath the stage!

McCartney introduces the story at the beginning and throughout the film the mice pop up and even interact with the band onstage.

The animation parts of the film don’t mesh well with the concert footage and the bands interactions are more than cheesy but the concert footage itself is fantastic and is really the only good quality film from this era of Wings live that I’ve ever seen.

Luckily the songs (listed below) in the film are mainly complete and this film is a treasure trove for McCartney fans who want a glimpse of the powerhouse early Wings could be in a live setting.

Big Barn Bed – studio version over concert footage
Eat at Home – live version, beautifully filmed, great sound interrupted by cartoon
Bip Bop – terrific live version!
The Mess – live, another fantastic performance, live soundtrack with visuals from different shows as well as,staged filmed concert
Wild Life – live with animal footage, terrific live version better than the studio track.
Mary Had a Little Lamb – live, lovely version with Mac family farm footage
Blue Moon of Kentucky – live, wow young Wings were sooooo good live
I Am Your Singer – live, great!!! Again better than studio version
Seaside Woman – studio track
My Love – live, another nice live take!
Maybe I’m Amazed – live, blistering live take! What superb vocals!!!
Hi Hi Hi – live
Long Tall Sally – live

The DVD and Blu-Ray of this film are in a separate fold out insert that also contains reproductions of original sketches from the film.

DVD contents:

All video aspects are original and not letter boxed.

James Paul McCartney TV special looks like it comes from the original video master, has slate at the beginning and looks as good as it’s ever going to look, really nice.

“Live Live and Let Die” from Liverpool is grainy black and white and monitor sound but nice.

BBC Newcastle interview is nice, great quality from film.

“Hi Hi Hi” and “C Moon” a bit grainy but good.

First three “Mary Had a Little Lamb” videos good, not perfect but good. Fourth Mary noticeably better quality (from video probably not film) as the others. Has speed issues though and slows down for a few seconds then speeds back up.

“My Love” –  very good better than the Mary videos.

The Books:

Last but not least you get two books with this set.

The first one is a lovely hardback book filled with photos and information about the making of the album as well as reproductions of lyric sheets and photos and other mementos that came from the era.

This book really takes you inside the production of this album and the times in which it was made and also really brings you inside McCartney’s world as the photos and reproduced memorabilia really give you a flavor of what it was like to be there with Wings in 1973.

The books in these McCartney Archive sets have gotten better and better with each release and this one in particular is probably one of if not the best in the series.

The small photo booklet, filled with images from Wings trip to Morocco, while well done and looks great probably won’t be viewed all that much by me anyway. It’s nice to have but nothing earth shattering.

Conclusion:

Encased in a superb over-sized box, the “Red Rose Speedway” Super Deluxe box set is one of the most impressive and attractive of all the sets McCartney has released as part of the Archive collection –  truly a work of beauty!

The main thing that surprised me about this set was the live material from the film and the audio discs. I’ve always been lukewarm about early live performances of Wings but after seeing the Bruce McMouse film I’ve had a change of heart – Paul McCartney and Wings sounded incredible live!

If you are a McCartney fan and have the chance to get this Super Deluxe set I can’t imagine you’d be disappointed in any way. It’s hands down one of the best reissues of the year!

Plus, I almost forgot, you get the remastered album and the bonus tracks as a free download in HD 24/96kHz unlimited high-resolution with this set!!! This is great because you can get the highest quality sound with no added compression – the CDs have added limiting. I haven’t downloaded them yet as the link wasn’t working but hope to soon.

If you can only afford the 2 CD version definitely go for that one as you get most of the music and this terrific group of songs is well worth seeking out and enjoying!

Next up – the “Wild Life” Super Deluxe box set! (coming soon) …

 

 

 

 

First Look!”Red Rose Speedway” Super Deluxe Box Set by Paul McCartney and Wings

 

 

Well it looks like Christmas has come early – at least for Paul McCartney fans!

Tomorrow, December 7th, two of Paul McCartney and Wings classic albums are getting released as part of the McCartney Archive Collection – 1971’s “Wild Life” and 1973’s Red Rose Speedway”.

While neither album were critics darlings at the time, the years have proven that critics are not always the last word on quality as each of these two albums contain some terrific music and some of my favorite McCartney tunes of the 1970’s!

Hopefully these new reissues will help raise the profile of these albums as well as re-address the overly harsh view of McCartney’s ’70’s output.

Each of these albums will be available in multiple formats from 2 Lps sets and 2 CD sets as well as the mother load Super Deluxe sets! The super sets contain CDs and DVDs as well as several groovy books that feature photos and reproductions of various McCartney goodies from the making of these albums.

Today I happened to get the Super Deluxe edition of “Red Rose Speedway” a day early so I thought I’d post some photos so folks could get a glimpse of just how terrific (and yes, a tad bit expensive!) these McCartney Super Deluxe editions are and how much care goes into their production.

I will post reviews of both sets Super Deluxe editions soon but for now feast you eyes on all the McCartney and Wings goodness above!

Back soon with more details on the sound of the discs as well as the video content.

See you soon!!!

 

 

Parsley, Sage, Rosemary and … SACD? – Simon and Garfunkel on MFSL

Ever since I was in my late teens I’ve been a sucker for Simon & Garfunkel’s music. I watched their “Concert in Central Park” on HBO in 1981 and completely feel in love with all things Simon and Garfunkel and made it a mission to track down all of their music.

I of course had heard their hits – “Sound of Silence”, “Homeward Bound” and “Bridge Over Troubled Water” to name  just a few – but after seeing their reunion concert (and buying the double album that was released from it) I wanted to explore some of their full length albums.

The first Simon & Garfunkel collection I bought was a five album vinyl set called “The Simon and Garfunkel Collected Works” which I believe came in a purple covered box and if my memory serves also came out in 1981.

It consisted of their main five studio albums including my two favorites “Bookends” and the “Parsley, Sage, Rosemary and Thyme” album.

Today I’m going to take a look a the most recent reissue of the “Parsley, Sage,Rosemary and Thyme” album that the Mobile Fidelity Sound Labs label released just a few weeks ago on SACD.

(Note: The SACD format, which I’ve written about before, is what’s called a Super Audio CD which is a HiRes format for music with a higher resolution than normal CDs. You have to have an SACD player to get the Super Audio sound but most SACDs nowadays also have a normal CD layer that will be compatible with any CD player)

Now, to be perfectly honest I own the “Parsley” album on CD in a few different versions – the original Columbia CD, the 2001 remix on CD, the Audio Fidelity label’s gold CD as well as the most recent Columbia reissue from 2014.

While all of these CD issues sound good, the best is a close race between the Audio Fidelity gold CD issue and the 2014 Columbia issue.  Most days I’d go with the 2014 CD as it just sounds a bit smoother and livelier than the Audio Fidelity CD but both are really nice.

This new 2014 SACD version is taken from the same source as the 2014 CD so I was anxious to hear how it compared sound wise.

Apparently the 2014 Columbia CD was taken from a duplicate master from Japan which is very close in sound to the original master from 1966 when the album was released.

The original master tape from this album was worn out by Columbia Records’ practice of mastering their various vinyl pressings from original master tapes as opposed to making copy tapes to press records as most other labels did in those days which of course wore out the original master (and best sounding source).

Anyway, with a bit of trepidation (yes, even I thought I needed another copy of this album on CD like a hole in the head!) I ordered the limited edition SACD and plopped it into my CD player.

First off I listened to the regular CD layer which is compatible with any CD player and found the CD sounded really nice – much like the 2014 CD pressing which I love. Practically just as nice sounding and hard to tell a difference.

Next I played the SACD layer and that’s where there was a slight improvement in sound – tighter bass, cleaner stereo separation and the vocals sounded a bit better. Now I’m not going to say it’s night and day better than the 2014 CD pressing but to me it did sound better and in fact is probably the best version I own of this album in digital form.

Is it worth the $35 for the slight upgrade in sound? Well that depends on how nuts you are about Simon and Garfunkel or this album or how nuts you are in general about music or collecting music.

As you may well know by now I’m nuts about music and collecting music so to me this CD is worth the upgrade.

You can see pictures of the new SACD above – lovely package, MFSL does a great job with all their products – and ponder if you’d like to take a chance on a truly lovely sounding version of this album on CD.

Of course these days I feel pretty much isolated, except online, in my love for CDs and physical media. Most everyone I know streams and has no need for anything physical when it comes to music and only care for what they can get on their phone.

BUT if you’re so inclined to wade into the CD world this SACD is really worth giving a try. Feast your eyes above if you need something to motivate you to hunt this CD down.

Until next time be well and enjoy the early December pre-Christmas buzz.