9-5-12 And Again…CD Re-Mastering
Queen singer Freddie Mercury born 1946, Singer / Songwriter Loudon Wainwright III born 1946
Emerson, Lake & Palmer’s debut album has been around since the fall of 1970 – I first encountered it probably some time in 1971 – hopeful to see what the former King Crimson vocalist Greg Lake had gotten up to with the keyboard player of The Nice (Keith Emerson) and the drummer of Atomic Rooster, Carl Palmer. The debut album is rather good – and not too many guitars!
The US Cotillion Records version of the album has rather ‘thin’ sound, for some reason. Within a year or so, I found an Island Records UK version of the album – and was astonished how much ‘better’ it sounded – hey, this actually has some bass and high end! Ah, 1970 / 1! I also had an Ampex 8-track tape of this album, with it’s funky purple ‘sleeve’ and tracks faded when ‘tracks’ changed.
When Japanese pressings were becoming available in Los Angeles – one of the first ‘catalog’ albums I ‘requested’ was the late 70’s Atlantic Records LP pressing of the debut album by EL&P – again, lovely sound, like the UK Island LP pressing.
We enter the digital age; I believe the first CD I saw of this album was the WEA US CD, with it’s red-lettered spine – and not such good sound. Shame I could never turn up an Ariola / Manticore Germany CD of this album, I bet it sounded great – all hissy and full of signal (like the “Tarkus” Ariola / Manticore Germany CD I found in Singapore in 1988).
What? The Japanese are re-mastering this album on CD? I got a JVC Japan CD of this title in the early 90’s – better sound. By 1993, Emerson, Lake & Palmer were one of the first artists to receive the ‘kami sleeve’ treatment – a JVC re-mastering, and a gorgeous little paper album cover.
The new century tumbles along; JVC did 3 or 4 versions of the EL&P catalogue as kami sleeve CD’s. 2008 arrives with news that the Japanese are presenting their newest technology, SHM-CD, now in kami sleeve form – back up to full price (2,800 yen) – supposedly with new mastering, and better disc-construction materials. OK. Hey, how many times am I going to buy this album?
Of course, the 2008 SHM-CD of the EL&P debut does sound about as good as this album can sound. So, in 2012 – a 3 disc set of the debut is scheduled in England, with one of the discs being a 5.1 mix of it as a DVD-A. Guess I’ll have to go for this version as well.
I lost count as to how many times I’ve bought this album. Glad to have an Island Records UK original LP of it, and I can keep the Japanese 2008 SHM-CD as the definitive stereo digital version. I will report on the 5.1 mix of it, when possible.