My Sweet 8-Track (and CP28)

They say politics makes strange bedfellows (which is true) but I also think that phrase may apply to music collecting.

Let me explain.

Today I’m taking a look at two disparate versions of one of my all-time favorite recordings “All Things Must Pass” by George Harrison (see photos above).

One of the versions shown above sounds pretty average (if you can still play it!) and would be considered one of the worst sounding ways to listen to this album and the other is considered by many to be the best sounding CD version of the album ever released.

You see today I found a really groovy near mint 8-Track version of “All Things Must Pass” in its original box WITH the shrink wrap still on it which got me to thinking about featuring it along with my favorite CD pressing as my latest blog post.

Now I do have access to a functioning 8-Track player but I didn’t buy this version for its sound quality. I bought it for its complete and glorious sentimental value and lovely box.

(Note: THAT my dear friends it what’s called being a collector, I’m sure others can fit in another word but I’m sticking with collector!)

This 8-Track version just transports me back to the first time I stumbled upon this epic album in a record store around 1978.

The store was called Karma Records and I distinctly remember eyeing the 8-Track version in its tiny box yet impressive looking box and then going back and forth between it and the vinyl version until I finally caved and purchased the vinyl 3-Lp set.

At that time my family had an old Magnavox console stereo (canary yellow I might add) with an 8-Track player in which I played several Beatles and solo Beatles 8-Tracks that I bought for cheap in marked down 8-Track bins at the Musicland music store in my local mall.

For some reason I decided that an 8-Track of this album wouldn’t do and went with the vinyl version. (I’m sure the mention of a poster on the hype sticker on the shrink wrap of the album played a factor in that decision as well.)

Anyway, this first vinyl version I owned of “All Things Must Pass” was on the orange Capitol label and I must say the album took a hold of me from the first time I placed the needle on side 1 and heard the lilting, mellow guitar of “I’d Have You Anytime” waft out of my old Magnavox console speakers.

I LOVE the murkiness of Phil Spector’s (who co-produced of the album) Wall of Sound production which lends a such mysterious and otherworldly feel to the songs on the album making them sound like the musical equivalent of George Harrison’s Gothic mansion Friar Park which is featured on the cover and poster that came inside the album.

So discovering a near mint version of this album on 8-Track (cheaply I might add) just sent me on a major nostalgic trip and made me feel like I could reach back in time and touch the counter of that long-ago incense smelling Karma Records.

Since the 8-Track isn’t by far my best sounding version of “All Things Must Pass” I  thought it might be nice to feature some photos of my favorite sounding CD version of the album as well – just for grins.

The first Japanese CD issue of “All Things Must Pass” from 1987 (with the catalog number of CP-28 -5459.60) is considered by many to be the best sounding compact disc version of the album with nice full bass and lovely sound especially on the acoustic numbers.

This CD’s sound isn’t flawless as the title song “All Things Must Pass” suffers from being mastered too low but overall this version sounds much better most CD versions of this album and is near the equal of the recent CD reissue from 2014 which sounds pretty darn good as well.

So there you have it. Two nice – and different – versions of the seminal album from George Harrison and truth be told one of the best solo albums released by any of the four ex-Beatles.

Take a gander at some of the photos and if you were around when 8-Tracks were all the rage then you too might have a fun trip back in time.

If you’ve never had the pleasure of hearing “All Things Must Pass” in any version then you must run out to a record store or to your computer and rectify that situation right now!

I will share some of my favorite vinyl versions in later posts but for now I’m going to try and dig up some moldy old headphones from the 1970s and see if I can take this groovy new 8-Track set out for a test spin.

Until next time, as they say “Have a Nice Day”!!!

 

 

 

 

 

Venus and Mars … Are All Over Tonight

Ahhh it’s unofficially summer!

As we speak it’s a clear, sunny early June day, a slight breeze is blowing through the air bringing the first smells of summer wafting through the windows.

And of course with the advent of spring and summer and good weather that means flea markets and garage sales! And that my dear friends means more records!!!

Today I’m going to take a look at three later day pressings of Paul McCartney and Wings 1975 album “Venus and Mars” which I recently found while out and about in the sunshine.

No other Paul McCartney album reminds me of summer more that “Venus and Mars”.

You see, I was nine years old when this album came out in the summer of 1975 and I remember that you couldn’t turn on the radio and go five minutes without hearing “Listen to What the Man Said” which was the number 1 hit from this album.

It was ALL OVER the radio on those hot summer days from long ago (yikes, forty three years ago- ahhhh, it can’t be!)

And weirdly enough a long lost memory just popped into my head this morning as I was getting this post ready. I was taking a diving/swimming class (my mother couldn’t swim so we were ALWAYS taking swimming classes) at Tri-State college in Angola, IN and remember hearing “Listen to What the Man Said” while waiting my turn to dive.

Funny the memories that get jogged loose but needless to say you couldn’t escape “Listen to What the Man Said” it was a radio mainstay in the summer of 1975.

So, long story short, “Venus and Mars” means summer to me and as I usher in another summer I present three pressings of that album that I found in the last few weeks.

All three pressings are later pressings than the 1975 original and all three are lovely.

The first pressing I found was a 1989 UK pressing of “Venus and Mars” on EMI’s budget Fame label. At least I’m guessing this pressing is from 1989 as it has 5/89 printed on the white inner sleeve of the album (see above).

Anyway, this is the first Fame pressing of a Paul McCartney album I’ve found and it sounds superb! The cover is a bit worn but the vinyl is in terrific shape.

This later pressing does not contain the two posters and two stickers that came with the original pressing nor the colorful inner sleeve but sound wise it’s great!

The next copy I stumbled upon was a 1984 pressing on Columbia Records.

McCartney was signed to the Columbia Records (CBS) label in the United States from 1979 to 1984 and quite a few of his earlier Capitol/EMI albums were reissued on Columbia Records for a short period of time including “Venus and Mars”.

This copy of “Venus and Mars” (with the catalog number of PC 36801) comes with the colorful inner sleeve which is printed on glossy paper but no stickers or posters.

Again, the vinyl in this pressing is in great shape and sounds wonderful as well. I would give the edge to the Fame UK pressing but this one is no slouch, it sounds nice and warm with nice bass.

My latest “Venus and Mars” discovery came this past weekend as I found ANOTHER CBS pressing of “Venus and Mars” this time from 1980.

This 1980 CBS version contains all the stickers and posters as well as the colorful inner sleeve which is made of a thicker card stock like the original Capitol US pressing from 1975.

The bonus for this pressing is that it’s practically new, still in the shrink wrap with the hype sticker still attached (as readers of this blog know I LOVE hype stickers lol!)

The only odd thing is that while the posters inside are mint the stickers have begun to have some sort of bleed through as they are unused but slightly discoloring.

At least the vinyl is mint and is the same sound quality as the later 1984 CBS pressing.

Funny enough, I’ve rarely seen Columbia vinyl pressings of McCartney’s Capitol albums and in the space of a few weeks found two of the same album!

With the exception of not including the stickers and posters, this 1980 CBS pressing has the exact same cover as the 1984 issue only with a different catalog number – JC 36801.

For those Wings fans out there looking for a later pressing of “Venus and Mars” you can’t go wrong with any of the above issues. I’m sure they’re probably in better shape than 1975 Capitol pressings so it may be worth the hunt.

I must confess I have a weakness for albums still in the shrink wrap so I’m very happy to have found the 1980 pressing in such good shape!

Until next time Happy Early Summer and remember – Listen to what the man said, he said …

 

 

 

More, More, More Paul McCartney Colored Vinyl (Blue, Gold, Pink) – How Do You Like it?

Well, here we are, another fine May evening; warm, sunny, green – basically a lovely day.

What makes this evening even better is the unexpected early arrival of some new vinyl. Better yet some new Paul McCartney vinyl! And colored vinyl to boot!!

You see my local record store just put out some tasty colored Paul McCartney vinyl albums that are due to be released tomorrow, May 18th – “Wings Greatest” (blue vinyl, with poster), “Chaos and Creation in the Backyard” (gold vinyl) and “New” (pink vinyl) – and of course I was there to scoop them up.

These new reissues are part of Capitol Records celebration of McCartney’s return to the label and a nice way to get McCartney product back on the shelves under the Capitol banner and also nice additions to the more in-depth Paul McCartney Archive Collection releases from the last ten years or so.

(Note: One more title, Thrillington” (red and black vinyl), is due out tomorrow as well but alas I don’t have that one – yet.)

These groovy new vinyl reissues are also available in black vinyl as well as the colored vinyl but the colored vinyl is more limited and only available for purchase at independent record stores or from paulmccartney.com or Universal Music online.

Last November eight other Paul McCartney albums were reissued on colored vinyl and I highlighted those on an earlier blog post, tonight you can feast your eyes on three of the latest releases (above).

Of these three new reissues, the “Wings Greatest” album holds by far the most sentimental place in my heart. I remember getting this album on vinyl in December 1978, when the album was first issued, and playing it to death.

I also hung the nifty poster of the then three Wings members on my wall and watched it grow tattered and torn over the years. (You can see the nicely reproduced version that’s included in this new issue which looks great – nicely done and thicker paper than the original too).

I must say this new “Wings Greatest” reissue sounds superb and as the back cover states was remastered at Abbey Road Studios. I’m sure this new mastering is part of the same mastering that’s been going on for McCartney’s Archive Collection but nevertheless the album sounds great.

I did need to clean it a bit as there were a few pops here and there but the bass on this new edition just sounds wonderful and much deeper and richer than my original vinyl issue from the 1970s.

The other two albums are of a much more recent McCartney vintage and are what I consider two of McCartney’s best later day albums and stand among my favorite work from his solo career.

These new vinyl additions also have the benefit of sounding better than their CD counterparts as these two albums on CD are mastered a bit hot and sound more compressed and these vinyl editions tone that down and make for a much more enjoyable listen.

I have these two albums on vinyl from their original releases as well as these sound pretty much the same – superb!

I will say the new “New” reissue is lacking the gatefold cover and booklet of the original vinyl release (too bad) but the vinyl is nice and quite and looks lovely in pink and is the best way to listen to this collection which is one of McCartney’s best which is saying a lot as he has released quite a few great albums.

The original “Chaos and Creation in the Backyard” vinyl release was also issued with a gatefold cover but since that issue has gotten to be expensive this new reissue is great as the vinyl sounds so good that the non-gatefold cover is no big deal (to me anyway).

If you’re looking to add some McCartney vinyl to your collection, these three albums are a must.

And if you’re just out for the best sound and could care less about spending a few more dollars for the colored vinyl, the regular black vinyl editions will work just fine.

Of course if you’re a nutty collector like me try and track down the colored vinyl issues – they’re just great. Lovely reproduced cover art and well-made vinyl in purdy colors – what’s not to love?!!

Until next time, be well and happy shopping!

 

 

 

“A Hard Day’s Night” in Italy and Japan – DeAgostini Beatles Japanese Vinyl Collection Magazine/Album

 

Who would have thought that in 2018 vinyl records would have made such a dramatic comeback?

I mean as of the late 1990s vinyl records were nearly an extinct format, or so it seemed at the time.

In this era of streaming, vinyl records are now seen as “hip” and “cool” by twenty-somethings (or so I’ve read, I’m not even remotely in that age bracket!), who would have thought?

AND vinyl sales hit a Nielsen Music-era high accounting for 14 percent of all physical music sales in 2017 – impressive. Most impressive (think Darth Vader/ James Earl Jones voice.)

Anyway, a spin-off of the vinyl trend has also reached die-hard Beatles collectors.

An Italian company called DeAgostini has issued what they call The Beatles Vinyl Collection which are available in newsstands or through mail-order subscriptions in eight countries – Italy, UK, Ireland, Germany, Austria, Luxembourg, Spain and Japan.

These Beatles albums supposedly use the same mastering as the 2012 vinyl remasters that were issued worldwide and have been avaialble to purchase in newsstands because they’re accompanied by a small magazine that details the album in question.

I guess DeAgostini is well-known especially in Italy and the UK for their vinyl record issues and they have a good reputation for quality products/pressings. Since they’re not available in the States I’m not familar with them.

For the past year and a half or so I’ve read online mostly positive reviews of these mysterious pressings and hav been dt\ying to find one and try it out. (Not that I need any more Beatles vinyl but that’s beside the point!)

The following Beatles albums have been released in the DeAgostini collection:

Please Please Me
With The Beatles
A Hard Day’s Night
Beatles For Sale
Help!
Rubber Soul
Revolver
Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band
Magical Mystery Tour
The Beatles
Yellow Submarine
Abbey Road
Let it Be
The Beatles/1962-1966
The Beatles/1967-1970
Past Masters
Live At The BBC Vol. 1
Anthology 1
Anthology 2
Anthology 3
1
Love
On Air: Live At The BBC Vol 2

I’ve read some people online think these discs sound a bit better than the 2012 vinyl reissues so of course that peaked my interest – A LOT! Plus I’ve also read that the Anthology discs sound a lot better than their original vinyl pressings from the 1990s which of course REALLY makes me want to find them – ahhh!

Actually I’m kind of thankful I don’t have easy access to these sets as I may not be able to control myself. I KNOW I can’t conteol myself!

BUT this past month I did finally track one of these mysterious DeAgostini discs down (A Hard Day’s Night) and as it happens it’s a Japanese version of the magazine box lol. I just can’t escape Japanese pressings!

Above you can see photos of this groovy magazine and album – it’s really a nice presentation, too bad I can’t read Japanese!

I’ve had the pleasure of listening to this pressing and I must say it sounds soooo good. It was perfectly quiet, not one pop or click and sounds pretty much like the 2012 vinyl remasters. I’ve not done a side by side comparison but it did sound a tad bit muted which is what the 2012 pressing sounded like as well.

I will say that it did not have a clipped first note on the song “A Hard Day’s Night” which I read was a problem with the UK and Ireland pressed discs. I guess they did a repress and the one for Japan – at least my copy – sounds just fine.

I actually loved how this disc sounded which of course wets my appetite for more DeAgostini discs – maybe with the magazine in English which would be nice. I’m guessing it’s pretty much in line with the 2012 discs but the sound improvements of the Anthology discs would make me break down and buy more for sure.

Until I find more DeAgostini discs though this one will do quite nicely.

A Hard Day’s Night is one of my favorite early Beatles albums as it just encapsulates Beatlemania for me and I don’t think they made a more joyous record – every song is a pop/rock gem.

If you’ve never heard or seen one of these DeAgostini discs, feast your eyes.

Until next time, be well!

Blangggggg!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! (If only I  had sound, that opening cord to “A Hard Day’s Night” would be the perfect way to close this post!!!)

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Shelf is Sinking – “Tug of War” Remixed, Revisited and Rebought

I don’t know how it happens (okay, I do but that’s beside the point).

First you buy one copy of something then you buy another slightly different version of that same album and then months later you look at your shelves and notice that your CD’s looks more like store inventory than a collection!

At least that’s what happened to me with the Paul McCartney album Tug of War which was recently (2015) reissued and remixed as part of McCartney’s wonderful Archive Collection.

Ever since it’s release in 1982, Tug of War has remained one of my all-time favorite McCartney albums for several reasons.

First off you have an album full of top-rate McCartney songs – always a good starting point. Songs like “Tug of War”, “Take it Away”, “The Pound is Sinking” (one hell of a great vocal by McCartney on this one!), “Here Today” and “Wanderlust” are all Beatles level songwriting and still sound majestic to this day.

Second, you have great production by the esteemed and legendary producer George Martin (who, to those not in the know, was The Beatles producer throughout their career).

Martin lends a classical sheen to the songs here and really enhances McCartney’s artful pop bringing a level of sophistication to this collection that brings the music up a notch or two in McCartney’s solo canon.

Third, there’s a bit of nostalgia involved as this album came out the year I turned sixteen and for some reason the music from my teenage years still shines like a beacon in the night as far as my musical memories and enjoyment are concerned.

Anyway, back to the future so to speak.

It all started with it was announced in late 2015 that a Super Deluxe Limited edition version of McCartney’s Tug of War album was going to be released and only 1000 copies were being produced with “handwritten, numbered” photos as part of the set (more on that later).

Now I’ve been pretty good about not buying every stinking version of these McCartney Archive Collection albums. Most of them come out on vinyl, CD and Deluxe CD versions (which contain books and a DVD and extra music) so I pretty much stick to the Deluxe and CD versions and occasionally the vinyl version.

Okay, I do every so often get tempted by the evil Best Buy bonuses like the groovy tote bag they issued for Tug of War or the stray bonus 45 that came with their issues of Venus and Mars and Wings at the Speed of Sound.

BUT this Super Deluxe limited version of one of the McCartney Archive Collection albums was a first (and last it seems) as no other McCartney album has had a special set like this made for it.

Now just to show the collector mindset I was convinced, and truth be told I still wonder, that McCartney hand numbered the photos in each of the 1000 Super Deluxe sets himself.

It’s not as far-fetched as it seems as he did sign (or initial as it seems) a Record Store Day pressing of his song “Hope for the Future” so there is precedent. McCartney himself seems to hold the Tug of War album in high esteem so I wouldn’t put it past him to sneak his handwriting on the set.

I did manage to get my order in as soon as I saw the link on McCartney’s Website and I’m still glad I did. The set is really beautiful and now goes for crazy money – way, way more than the original asking price.

Well as you can see above I didn’t stop at the Super Deluxe limited version of Tug of War lol.

As of this writing I also own the 2 disc vinyl version from Barnes & Noble which came with an exclusive pressing of the “Ebony and  Ivory” 45, the regular 2 CD version of the set, the Best Buy 2 CD set with tote bag, the regular Deluxe Edition (I had some store credit at a local record store so couldn’t resist – I know you have to be a collector TRUST ME), the Capitol reissue CD from last year as well as the Capitol SHM-CD mini-lp version from Japan also from last year!

Whew, that’s a lot of Tug of War!

I’ve since calmed down again and am trying to keep these Archive sets in perspective. Plus the rate of archive releases from McCartney has slowed down and I fear they may go to online/download versions in the future but it’s not like I lack physical McCartney discs anyway!

Okay, who am I kidding? I can be weak but I at least I’m not buying every stinking variation of the other McCartney Archive albums, the Tug of War album holds a soft spot in my heart so I went a little crazy with that one.

Before I leave this I must point out my thoughts on the new 2015 remix of Tug of War. I think it’s mostly good but it is mixed a bit too loud for my tastes (the vinyl version is lower so it’s a bit kinder to the ears) and while some songs work some songs like “Take it Way” lose a bit of the magic that exists in the original mix.

Thankfully the original mix was included in the Deluxe and Super Deluxe sets and is still my preferred was of listening to the album.

The 2015 remix is okay and a fun oddity but it shouldn’t replace the much superior original mix in my opinion.

So, feast your eyes above at my Tug of War madness!

And if you’ve never heard the Tug of War album before you must hurry online or order from Amazon or your nearest record store (yes, they still have them!) as it’s one of the best albums in McCartney’s long and winding career (couldn’t resist!).

Until next time, be well and … Take it Away!

 

 

 

All Things Must SHM – George Harrison on SHM-CD

“Turning Japanese, I think I’m turning Japanese, I really think so …”

Or so it may seem if you’ve been reading this blog for any amount of time.

You see I must admit I really LOVE Japanese CD pressings as evidenced by the plethora of SHM-CD and other Japanese CDs that I’ve posted on this blog.

In keeping with this Japanese theme, today I thought I’d share with you some terrific George Harrison SHM-CDs that I own from the Land of the Rising Sun.

(Note: As I’ve mentioned in previous blog posts SHM-CD stands for Super High Material CD. SHM-CDs are made in Japan with higher quality material that supposedly enhances the playback ability of the discs which also supposedly enhances the sound quality. Much like Blu-Spec CDs, which are also popular in Japan, SHM-CDs are coveted by collectors.

Truth be told I’ve never heard much of a difference on the few Blu-Spec discs that I own but I do hear a difference on the SHM-CD discs I own. For me the SHM-CDs really do enhance the sound a bit. Many will argue otherwise but I still love my SHM-CDs!)

There were two batches of George Harrison SHM-CDs released in Japan  – one in 2014 that corresponded with the worldwide release of the George Harrison “Apple Years 1968-75” CD box set and another batch released in 2017 that corresponded with the release of the “George Harrison Vinyl Collection” vinyl box set.

The 2017 SHM-CDs were supposedly taken from the masters that produced the 2017 box set and these 2017 transfers didn’t make it onto CD in any country other than Japan.

So, here we are – where are we?

Let me just say that for the most part these SHM-CDs sound fantastic! As I’ve said before I’m not going to go into the debate as to whether or not the SHM-CDs indeed sound better than a regular CD pressing, I’m just going to tell you how these SHM-CDs sound on my system – in my opinion.

Let me start with the two 2014 SHM-CDs I own – “All Things Must Pass” and “Extra Texture“.

I really like the mastering on these discs which are taken from the Apple Years box set that I mentioned above.

I would consider the SHM-CD versions of both of these albums to be my go-to discs for each album. Both sound superb and the SHM-CD versions sound a bit better than their regular CD counterparts.

The vocals on each of these discs sound a bit more clearer and warmer and the bass especially just sounds smoother and stronger than the regular CD versions. Not night and day better but better. I also love that both of these discs have some really nice bonus tracks which really enhances these CD pressings of the albums.

Now onto the 2017 versions.

I’d say for the most part these too sound great BUT I’d have to say the 2017 SHM-CD of “All Things Must Pass” sounds worse than the 2014 version as it’s much louder than the 2014 and also doesn’t include the terrific bonus tracks.

I will say that the packaging for the 2017 wins hands down though as it’s a near perfect replica of the original UK vinyl pressing from 1970 and is quite stunning to look at in person.

For some reason the 2017 SHM-CD doesn’t sound like the 2017 vinyl pressing, to me anyway. I like the 2017 vinyl pressing but this SHM-CD sounds more like the 2000 CD version of “All Things Must  Pass” that was supervised by George Harrison himself before he died. It too was a bit loud and could have used some taming. This 2017 CD version is beautiful but a slight disappointment sound wise.

The other 2017 disc that is good but not great is the SHM-CD of Harrison’s “Living in the Material World“, one of my favorite Harrison albums.

This CD does seem to match the mastering on the 2017 vinyl set as it’s much more muted sounding than the original CD or vinyl pressing.

I actually like this SHM-CD better than it’s vinyl counterpart which seems a bit too muffled sounding as if the high end has been rolled off. The SHM-CD still sounds a bit muffled but is much better sounding than the vinyl version.

Again the 2017 Japanese mini-Lp SHM-CD pressing is gorgeous and sounds good but  I may actually prefer the previous remaster of this album which came out in 2006 which has some nice bonus tracks and sounds a bit punchier and less muted.

As for the rest of the 2017 SHM-CDs that I own – “Dark Horse“, “33 and 1/3“, “George Harrison“, “Somewhere in England“, “Gone Troppo” and “Brainwashed” –  each of them I think sound superb!

I think the discs of “33 and 1/3” and “George Harrison” especially stand out as the bass on them is the best I’ve heard on these albums and they just shine in comparison to any other CD pressings I own. These two also really shine on the 2017 vinyl box set as well and these discs sound very close to those vinyl pressings.

The SHM-CDs of “Somewhere in England” and “Gone Troppo” sound actually more like the first CD issue of these albums by Warner Brothers in the early 1990s where the bass isn’t quite as full as the other discs but nonetheless sound really nice. Nice to hear them not goosed up in volume at all.

I’d have to say that for all the albums but the two 2017’s I mentioned with slight sound issues these Japanese SHM-CDs are my go-to discs when I put these albums in my CD player to get my George Harrison fix!

It really is worth taking the time to track down these lovely mini-CD Japanese SHM-CD versions of these albums if your a fan of Harrison’s work. They’re limited pressings but still can be found online at various online stores.

Take a gander above at these groovy looking discs and until next time be well and Be Here Now to quote one of my favorite George Harrison songs.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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!!!