A Partridge in a Japanese Tree – David Cassidy Blu-Spec CDs






“Hello world, hear the song that we’re singin’ …”

Does that phrase remind you of something? Something sort of bird-ish? Something musical?

Does it maybe bring back some happy memories from the past like puka shells and shag haircuts?

Of course to anyone over the age of 45 those lyrics conjure up images of a groovy multi-colored bus and a singing musical family from a TV show called The Partridge Family.

For those uninformed out there The Partridge Family was a popular TV show that ran on the ABC television network from 1970-1974. It starred Shirley Jones and spawned one of the decades biggest teen idols – David Cassidy.

Not only was The Partridge Family a big hit on television but the make believe group was also responsible for some major hit records that were released from the show featuring the languid and well-sung vocals of Cassidy with some background help from Jones (sorry, no one else in The Partridge Family cast sang a note or played on any of the recordings).

Cassidy sang lead on most of the recordings that were released from the TV show including the No. 1 smash “I Think I Love You” from 1970 as well as two more Top Ten hits “Doesn’t Somebody Want to Be Wanted” and “I’ll Meet You Halfway” plus the Top 15 hit “I Woke Up in Love This Morning.”

Fast forward 48 years or so (really? Yikes!) and with the passing of David Cassidy this past November some of the music of The Partridge Family as well as Cassidy’s solo career have been issued  recently once again on compact disc – this time in Japan.

Three CDs – “The Definitive Collection”, “Cherish” and “Rock Me Baby” – were reissued on Blu-Spec CD, a CD format that’s popular primarily in Japan.

Blu-Spec CDs are made with the same process that produce Blu-Ray movie discs and are supposedly better sounding than normal CDs.

Much like SHM-CDs which are also popular in Japan, some collectors believe these discs produce better and more accurate sound thus are sought after by some as an upgrade in sound quality of domestic discs produced in the States.

I happened to track down all three of these Blu-Spec discs, no surprise to readers of this blog!, and wanted to share some thoughts and photos of the discs that are fairly obscure in this country as most people have never heard of the Blu-Spec format and don’t track down import CDs.

I own the regular editions of the “Cherish” and “Rock Me Baby” CDs that came out in the early 2000s in the U.S. so I was anxious to see if these new Japanese discs hold any improvement in sound as the U.S. versions sounded okay but were mastered a tad loud and were just of average sound quality.

I don’t own the older US version of the “Definitive Collection” which features Partridge Family hits mixed with solo David Cassidy hits so this CD is completely new to me.

Let’s start with the best sounding of the three discs “The Definitive Collection.”

Not only is this disc a nice overview of David Cassidy’s biggest hits but it is also a really nice sounding disc.

I like the mastering on this CD as the songs don’t seem to be mastered overly loud – a problem with some of the more recent Partridge Family and David Cassidy CDs on the Buddha label from the early 2000s.

I was pleasantly surprised that The Partridge Family songs sounded near to the best sounding digital versions of these hits that were released by the Razor & Tie label in the 1990s. Even Cassidy’s solo hits sound a bit better, less hot, than the same songs on the “Cherish” and “Rock Me Baby” CDs.

Unfortunately, the “Cherish ” and “Rock Me Baby” CDs use the same masters that produced the U.S. versions. They might actually sound a bit improved on these Blu-Spec versions as they do sound a bit more open and tad bit less muddy but for those collectors out there who love this music the difference between these and the much less expensive U.S. versions probably would not be worth it.

And as the “Cherish” album is practically a Partridge Family album – same sound, same musicians and producers as the group – it’s worth tracking down a version of the album as it’s quite good.

The “Rock Me Baby” album is good as well but is definitely a more rock oriented album and not quite as smooth as The Partridge Family discs with Cassidy adopting a huskier vocal approach that may take some getting used to if you’re only a fan of his work under the Partridge Family banner.

As usual the packaging is first rate on these Japanese CDs but unless you’re a mad collector like me you’d probably be just as happy tracking down the U.S. discs.

I’m guessing the mastering on the “Definitive Collection” is probably the same as the U.S. version and if it is than that disc is a good deal as I think this CD sounds really nice and is a great place to land if you just have a causal interest in this material and want to own it (yes Virginia, some people want to own their music and not just stream it!!!).

The artwork – minus the Japanese lyric booklets – is the same as the U.S. discs as well but I did notice something I’ve never seen before in that the Definitive Collection disc, which features music from The Partridge Family, has been released on the Columbia label unlike the U.S. version which was released on Arista who owns the Partridge Family material.

Columbia/Screen Gems, now owned by Sony, was the original studio that made The Partridge Family TV show and recordings so it’s interesting to see the Columbia label pop up on a new Partridge Family reissue – mmm.

Anyway, feast your yes on the Blu-Spec discs above and until next time – Come On, Get Happy!!!



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