Monday, January 29, 2007

Why I LOVE Remastered CDs

First of all, my music addiction is beyond ridiculous. However, at times, it affords some pleasant surprises. One example occurred this weekend, when I was preparing to rearrange the furniture in our master bedroom (wife's idea, not mine, but of course it is better her way). I happened across a little, yellow, plastic Best Buy bag containing the remastered CD of The Band's self-titled album, originally released on LP in 1969 (their second album). A purchase made at some point in 2006, I would imagine, though I have no idea when.

Here's what others have said (click here for link), succinctly and nicely put, I'd say.

This is, in my humble opinion, EXACTLY how a CD remaster should be done. The sound quality is brilliant. And, after the album proper, they included several unreleased songs/alternate takes, with studio chatter included. I LOVE IT! Here's the complete track listing:

"Across the Great Divide" (Robertson) 2:53
"Rag Mama Rag" (Robertson) 3:04
"The Night They Drove Old Dixie Down" (Robertson) 3:33
"When You Awake" (Manuel/Robertson) 3:13
"Up on Cripple Creek" (Robertson) 4:34
"Whispering Pines" (Manuel/Robertson) 3:58
"Jemima Surrender" (Helm/Robertson) 3:31
"Rockin' Chair" (Robertson) 3:43
"Look Out Cleveland" (Robertson) 3:09
"Jawbone" (Manuel/Robertson) 4:20
"The Unfaithful Servant" (Robertson) 4:17
"King Harvest (Has Surely Come)" (Robertson) 3:39
Bonus tracks from 2000 CD re-release:
"Get Up Jake" (outtake - stereo mix) (Robertson)
"Rag Mama Rag" (alternate vocal take - rough mix) (Robertson)
"The Night They Drove Old Dixie Down" (alternate mix) (Robertson)
"Up on Cripple Creek" (alternate take) (Robertson)
"Whispering Pines" (alternate take) (Manuel/Robertson)
"Jemima Surrender" (alternate take) (Helm/Robertson)
"King Harvest (Has Surely Come)" (alternate performance) (Robertson)

I think Rolling Stone's (in)famous Top 500 had this one at #45. That strikes me as even a bit too far down the list. But, my "Top 10" would probably contain at least 45 albums, so whatever.

One problem though...I don't see how I can be expected to live with my regular, UN-remastered Music From Big Pink any longer.

Oh, and Rabid T, if you're out there, I can totally hear the Robertson influence on Clapton. "King Harvest (Has Surely Come)," in particular, has that little choking/tickling effect that I so admire in "Bell Bottom Blues." Reassuring to know that, even at his best, Clapton was a complete follower...the man hasn't an original bone in his body.


Blogger Beth said...

I've been meaning to pick up this CD for ages; now you've convinced me. Isn't it fun to find a bag with someone you purchased months ago, then forgot about? It's like Santa all over again.

And bravo! on the Clapton bash.

9:02 AM, January 29, 2007  
Blogger haahnster said...

BUY IT! I don't see how you could be disappointed.

I've been struggling for years against the temptation to replace my old vinyl with CDs. I'd grab something here or there, usually out of a used bin. But, remasters like this, with bonus tracks...who can resist?!?

Certainly not I.

9:21 AM, January 29, 2007  
Blogger Old Lady said...

Those were the days!

12:08 PM, January 29, 2007  
Blogger rabidt said...

Great post. This album is a top 10 for me any day of the week under whatever conditions you're talking. The Band at it's best - the only way it could be better is if it had all of Big Pink on it too (oh, heck, we might as well throw in side 2 of "Stage Fright" too). So, when you buy the remastered "Big Pink," head right to "Tears of Rage" for the rest of the story on "Bell Bottom Blues."

The "Classic Albums" video series (available on DVD) examined this lp and parts of "Big Pink" in one episode. Well worth seeing - great insight into this material, and there is video footage of the live take of "King Harvest" that is on the remastered cd. Levon is always entertaining on camera - talking, singing, playing, whatever.

6:14 PM, January 29, 2007  

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