I was a big — huge even — Mobile Fidelity fan in 1982 when they released this album, which, for some strange reason, I knew practically nothing about. I was 15 when the second album came out and I played that album all the time, but the first album had eluded me. How it managed to do that I cannot understand, not at this late date anyway. A major malfunction on my part to be sure.
At some point in the early ’90s I got hold of an early British pressing of the album.
Comparing it to my MoFi I was shocked to hear the singers in the band so present and clear. Having only played MoFi’s remastered LP I had never heard them sound like that. The MoFi had them standing ten feet back; the Brit put them front and center. There was no question in my mind which presentation was right. Around that time I was noticing that many Mobile Fidelity pressings seemed to be finding that same distant-midrange sound, and finding it on wildly different recordings.
A distinguished member of the Better Records Rock and Pop Hall of Fame and one of their four essential albums (the others being Music from Big Pink, the Self-Titled second and Rock of Ages).
This is the UNDISCOVERED GEMin the Band catalog. Allmusic is right on the money when they call this the best Band album since their self-titled second release. I positively LOVE this music, having practically worn out my copy soon after the album was released in 1975.
This album is a favorite of ours here at Better Records, but it’s beyond difficult to find good-sounding copies. Most are just too flat, dry and grainy to bother with, but we’ve finally managed to unearth a few copies that are capable of doing justice to these great songs. If you’re a fan I wouldn’t wait too long on this one!
Yes, every track is good, something that one cannot say about any other Band release after their classic sophomore effort. What makes the album a Must Own is the song It Makes No Difference. It’s a strong contender for the Best Band Ballad ever written (and takes the prize in my book).
Many of them are also Desert Island Discs for yours truly. A Desert Island Disc is simply a record I would not want to live without. If there are any on the list that you haven’t heard, try giving them a listen. You may be glad you did.(more…)