Monday, 22 March 2010

“Original Album Series” by THE DRIFTERS [featuring CLYDE McPHATTER]. A Review of the 2010 5CD Mini Box Set on Atlantic/Rhino.

"…It Really Was…Such A Night…”

Aping the success of Sony's similarly packaged 5CD box sets, WEA/Rhino has released over FORTY x 5CD "Original Album Series" mini box sets of their own. Issued in the UK and Europe only, the artists featured stretch from rhythm 'n' blues and soul icons of the 1950s and 1960s (Ray Charles and Aretha Franklin) all the way through to Metal And Indie bands of the 2000s (Dokken and Echo & The Bunnymen). For those interested, I've compiled a full listing of titles in the series below (some are superb, some are not).

Here's the fine-detail for THE DRIFTERS set - released Monday 1 March 2010 in the UK on Atlantic/Rhino 8122 79837 3, "Original Album Series" 5CD box set breaks down as follows:

Disc 1 is "Rock & Rock" [aka “Clyde McPhatter & The Drifters”], 14-tracks, released 1956 on Atlantic LP 8003 in the USA (37:05 minutes, MONO)

Disc 2 is "Rockin’ & Driftin’", 14-tracks, released 1958 on Atlantic LP 8022 in the USA (33:23 minutes, MONO)

Disc 3 is "Save The Last Dance For Me", 12-tracks, released 1962 on Atlantic SD-8059 in the USA (30:13 minutes, STEREO, Produced by Leiber & Stoller)

Disc 4 is "Under The Boardwalk", 12-tracks, released 1964 on Atlantic SD-8099 in the USA (30:50 minutes, STEREO)

Disc 5 is "I’ll Take You Where The Music’s Playing", 12-tracks, released 1966 on Atlantic SD-8113 in the USA (32:59 minutes, STEREO)

ARTWORK/PACKAGING:
All five single card sleeves reflect the 'original' front and rear US LP artwork and as you can see from the track numbers above, there are no bonuses, just straightforward Repros of the original American albums. Also each front sleeve is also now 'bordered' with a colour and the label on the CD then reflects that colour code (so no original label artwork reproduced). The outer card box is lightweight and therefore a little bit flimsy (unlike the glossy hard-card Sony issues) and there's no downloadable track details either. Once out of the box though, those cool Atlantic rear sleeves are just so lovely to look at - and even though the type is very small given the 5” size - the original liner notes are readable too. Very tastily done.

SOUND:
Unlike many other titles in this series (repackaging of crappy Eighties titles that have been in the marketplace for years) these titles ARE the Atlantic/Rhino remasters of old and therefore their sound is just GORGEOUS - really lovely to listen to. Also – stripped of their bonus tracks – you really get the ‘feel’ of the original album as first produced – combined with the original art on both sides of the card sleeve, they’re very evocative of the period.

This box is really a tale of two worlds – the first two albums “Rock & Roll” and “Rockin’ & Driftin’” are Fifties Rhythm ‘n’ Blues (Clyde McPhatter period) while the next three are really early Sixties soul – so you essentially get great listens on two musical fronts

This little box set is a gem – one of my favourites in the series so far – and an awful lot of great music for not a whole lot of money.

Recommended.

PS: With regard to sound - so far the Little Feat, Bread, Los Lobos, Chris Rea, Dr. John, Echo & The Bunnymen and Rickie Lee Jones sets are disappointingly reported as NON REMASTERS. Rhino have been contacted about this – and Rhino say they are simply repackaging of discs that are already out there – hence some are remasters – some are not.

PPS: I've also done The Cars, The Paul Butterfield Blues Band, The Spinners and Little Feat sets in this series - see separate reviews.

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Spines of Exceptional CD Remasters

Spines of Exceptional CD Remasters

INDEX - Artists, Albums, Record Labels, CD Remaster Engineers, Liner Notes Authors, Links etc