Knowing Me, Knowing You … ABBA and Wistful Summer Days

Childhood Memories.

Summer childhood memories.

Is there anything more powerful?

Whenever I hear the opening bars to ABBA’s 1977 hit “Knowing Me, Knowing You”, from their album “Arrival”, I am quickly taken back to hot summer days, car radios and childhood places long ago changed from the way they were in those fleeting few months in the late 1970s.

The din from a small radio blaring out into the midday summer sun and images of looking out over a sparkling lake come rushing back to me every time I hear that ABBA song.

You see in my youth, in the 1970s, my family lived in a small lake cottage in the Midwest during the summer months.

My father would drive the 20 miles or so to work each day, back to the town where we had our main address, while we stayed at the lake just so the family could experience life in a relaxed, small town atmosphere.

And of course, as I do with everything, I also remember every single bit of the music I was listening to on those hot, steamy summers.

Surprisingly, along with Paul McCartney and Wings’ “Listen to What the Man Said” and “Silly Love Songs” as well as Fleetwood Mac’s “Dreams”; ABBA’s song “Knowing Me, Knowing You” conjures up those wonderful summer memories in crystal clear fashion like some eternal time machine.

Maybe it’s the melancholy that laces each bar of “Knowing Me, Knowing You” or maybe it’s that that song just happens to be tied to some long forgotten event but whatever it is, it’s siren like call is surely a testament to the lasting power of music.

So, after a short detour lol, I wanted to highlight a few ABBA CDs that I found in the past couple of years.

Now that we live in what I call the golden age of buying used CDs, I happened to stumble upon rare early West Germany CD pressings of four ABBA albums – “Arrival”, “Voulez-Vous”, “The Visitors” and “Super Trouper” – very cheap and in great shape.

Collectors like me and the audiophile crowd love early CD pressings from West Germany and Japan as they were pressed in the beginning days of the compact disc (1983-85) and usually sound very warm and have their full dynamic range, close to their vinyl counterparts.

Many CDs, beginning in the mid-1990s until now, can suffer from excessive loudness where the dynamics have been sucked out of the recording increasing the audio levels so that the music sounds good on Ipods and car radios but when played on a good stereo are painful to listen to for very long.

I used to own the “ABBA Gold: Greatest Hits” CD that featured most of ABBA’s biggest hits but I found that it suffered from that same excessive loudness which made listening to it very fatiguing on the ears.

I also used to own the 2 Lp vinyl set of “The Singles” by ABBA so after finally tracking that collection down on CD – which only exists on early CD pressings as its out of print – I began to revel once again in the pop loveliness that is ABBA.

I had never owned any ABBA’s music beyond their hits but my recent discoveries of these early pressings of some of their studio albums has made me much more a fan of their work.

I’m so pleased with these ABBA CDs, they are wonderful sounding and sound so much better than the currently available CD versions of ABBA’s albums.

Do yourself a favor, if you like ABBA, try to find early pressings of either their hits albums or studio albums, you won’t be disappointed!

You might also want to grab their recent 2 CD live album that came out in 2014, “ABBA Live at Wembley Arena”. I bought it on a whim and I must say it’s one terrific sounding CD.

I read some reviews which said that the performances were top notch and the sound of the CD wasn’t compressed and horribly loud and those reviews were right on both accounts. I especially love the live versions of “Knowing Me, Knowing You” and one of my other favorite ABBA songs “Fernando”.

I was worried that the group wouldn’t sound as good live as their vocal blend and harmonies may not translate to a live setting but I was pleasantly surprised by how good ABBA were as a live performers.

It’s a super set and well worth checking out!

Well as every summer ends, so must this post. Enjoy some photos of my ABBA finds (above and below) and until next time, be well!

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