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Four from Classic Records…
It's that time again: another smashing round-up of heavy duty music reviews, this time from the fine labs at Classic Records.
First up, Mike Oldfield's Tubular Bells. A long time favorite of mine, I was eagerly anticipating someone doing a reissue of this classic title. As word leaked that none other then Classic would reissue this title, I was all smitten. I own an original mint UK Virgin copy which sounds pretty good. Relatively quiet, the original is marred by a pinched and compressed sound at times, with a dose of steely highs added in for fun. Nonetheless, it's a very listenable record, one I play fairly frequently. The Classic handily trumps the original with far more warmth and totally unrestricted dynamics. I'd say you are really listening to a new record. The sound is more relaxed, more involving and simply more right sounding then the original. As a side, this is one of three records I received in this latest batch that has been pressed with Classic's new vinyl specifications. Fantastic, quiet and well worth having if for no other reason then to simply try something new—must have for any collectors!
Next up, Aqualung. Umm… never heard of it. Right! C'mon now, this is classic rock at its finest. Jethro Tull's Aqualung has been a hit since the day it came out and this latest reissue will make sure it's ready to rock for another generation to come. Having said that, I don't own any previous records of this title, except for a horrendous sounding CD. A highly anticipated record, that has been reissued several times by the various suspects: MoFi & DCC. That the Classic reissue trumps my crappy CD is no surprise—wait, trump it? Slaughter is more like it. Everything is superior, bass, dynamics, resolution; you actually want to listen to the music! Boy if the major labels would only get it… This is the second of records I received from Classic featuring their new vinyl spec. Fabulous, dead quiet, and flat as a straight line. Must have, hell, you need to have this record!
Third, we have one of my very special favorites: Muddy Waters and his album Folk Singer. Blues at its finest without a doubt. The CD of this title is ok—as in, ok, I guess I will listen to it. The fact that it takes someone like Classic to give proper respect to such a legend is a telling sign of where we are in the record industry. Appalling if you ask me. Waters is his absolute best here, with outstanding sound quality. I know that the Chess guys recorded rather fine and at times eclectic stuff, but here you will simply have to get this coveted Classic reissue. I kid you not: Muddy is in your room. That's how real this record sounds! Foot tapping, head snapping, finger clapping, you'll do it all—another absolute winner for Classic, you don't even have to think twice: if blues, Muddy Waters in particular is your stick, get it! Another all “new” vinyl spec record from Classic, it is quiet, flat and fantastic.
Number four: The Who, Tommy. Boy, what a great classic rock title this is! I mean talk about having paved the way for so many future acts to come—simply grand! I have the re-mastered special edition two-disc set that's out there and let me tell you right off the bat: the Classic reissue simply creams it in every respect. It's as though the CD was mastered from some 10th generation tape and futzed with in ProTools, which no doubt it was. What a shame—to get the glorious rockin' sound, you MUST have this Classic Records reissue, no two ways about it. The drums, guitars and vocals are simply more real sounding then any other issue I have found. The packaging, another Classic trademark accomplishment is presented here with all the bells and whistles. What a job the jacket and artwork is alone! I wonder why the last Who CD sounds so compressed—they should have turned to their classic, enigmatic mastering and sound. Tommy is a definite must have.
Stay tuned for 3 more…