Sunday, 26 July 2009

“Give Me The Night” by GEORGE BENSON (2009 Japan Warner Brothers SHM-CD (Super High Materials) Remaster) - A Review by Mark Barry...

This review is part of my "SOUNDS GOOD: Exceptional CD Remasters Soul, Funk & Jazz Fusion" Download Book available to buy on Amazon to either your PC or Mac (it will download the Kindle software to read the book for free to your toolbar). Click on the link below to go my Author's Page for this and other related publications:

"...Remember The Days When We Never Had A Dime..."

Originally released on LP in July 1980 on Warner Brothers K 56823 in the UK and BSK 3453 in the USA - George Benson's "Give Me The Night" was a huge record at the time (it peaked at No. 3 in both countries). And like Michael Jackson's "Off The Wall" from 1978 before it - its fusion of soul, funk and jazz was popular everywhere - crossing over every rock barrier like never before (it was Grammy nominated and won too).

Yet except for a few remastered tracks on the excellent George Benson 2CD "Anthology" set from 2000 on Rhino - the entire album has been languishing around for over two decades now on one of those awful Eighties CDs with dullard murky sound. Until now...

Released 24 June 2009 in Japan-only on Warner Bros WPCR-13453 (Barcode 4943674090396) - this 24-bit remastered version is an audiophile CD on their SUPER HIGH MATERIALS format (42:51 minutes). An SHM-CD is playable on all machines and is simply a better form of the compact disc. And coming from an era that is probably the most derided in history by music lovers - especially when it comes to bombastic sound and ham-fisted production excesses - this SHM-CD version is a beautifully relaized remaster - it really is.

1. Love X Love
2. Off Broadway
3. Moody’s Mood
4. Give Me The Night
5. What’s On Your Mind [Side 2]
6. Dinorah, Dinorah
7. Love Dance
8. Star Of A Story (X)
9. Midnight Love Affair
10. Turn Out The Lamplight

It doesn't say who did the 24-bit transfer - but whoever did has produced the most awesome result because the sound quality is just glorious. Of course the album always had the immaculate production values of QUINCY JONES and the stunning array of top session men to thank for its polish anyway - but this newly upgraded version is just wonderful. It's neither falsely loud nor brash nor clinically clean - there's air around the instruments - it's just warm and there. You hear all the instrumentation - especially the bass and rhythm sections. The wildly underrated funky-as-James-Brown instrumental "Off Broadway" is just stunning now - as is David Wolinski's brilliantly soulful and sleek "Midnight Love Affair".

The jewel case is standard and there's the black and gold obi strip inside; the SHM CD itself feels slightly heavier to ordinary CDs - more substantial - it seems to hold better as it plays in the tray somehow - steady. The 8-page booklet is disappointingly the same as US/Euro issues (has session details though) and the extra foldout page of info about the album that you get in these Japanese issues is - well in Japanese - so its kinda useless.

Gripes - no Euro/USA issue so it costs as an import - and it wouldn't have taken much to include the edited single mixes of "Give Me The Night" and "Love X Love" as bonus tracks. But this reissue is not about ramming the disc chock-full of extras - it's about the best sound - and on that front they've achieved their goal with absolute knobs on.

With 6 of it's 10 killer songs written by Britain's ROD TEMPERTON and the immaculate production values of veteran sound man QUINCY JONES - "Give Me The Night" practically set up the template for the album that would literally take over the world three years later - Michael Jackson's "Thriller" (Quincy produced and Temperton wrote 3 of its 9 songs including the title track).

OK - in 2014 this version is now expensive (use Barcode 4943674090396 to locate the correct issue on Amazon) and it's probably even awkward to obtain - but it's got stunning sound quality - and if that's your brief - it's recommended big time.

"Give Me The Night" is also a part of the Japanese-Only 2009 "Warner Bros. Jazz & Fusion SHM-CD Collection" series - in alphabetical order the other 19 titles are:

1. Breezin' - GEORGE BENSON (1976)
(Warner Bros. WPCR-13452)
2. Larry Carlton - LARRY CARLTON (1978)
(Warner Bros. WPCR-13446)
3. Sleepwalk - LARRY CARLTON (1982)
(Warner Bros. WPCR-13448)
4. Strikes Twice - LARRY CARLTON (1980)
(Warner Bros. WPCR-13447)
5. Amandla - MILES DAVIS (1989)
(Warner Bros. WPCR-13443)
6. Doo-Bop - MILES DAVIS (1991)
(Warner Bros. WPCR-13444)
7. Live Around The World - MILES DAVIS (1996)
(Warner Bros. WPCR-13445)
8. Siesta - MILES DAVIS and MARCUS MILLER (1982)
(Warner Bros WPCR-13442)
9. Tutu - MILES DAVIS (1986)
(Warner Bros WPCR-13441)
10. Teasin' - CORNELL DUPREE (1974)
(Warner Bros. WPCR-13457)
11. Between The Sheets - FOURPLAY (1993)
[Featuring Bob James, Lee Ritenour, Nathan East and Harvey Mason]
(Warner Bros. WPCR-13460)
12. Fourplay - FOURPLAY (1991)
(Warner Bros. WPCR-13459)
13. Word Of Mouth - JACO PASTORIUS (1981)
(Warner Bros. WPCR-13454)
14. Rit - LEE RITENOUR (1981)
(Warner Bros. WPCR-13456)
15. The Captain's Journey - LEE RITENOUR (1978)
(Warner Bros. WPCR-13455)
16. Magnetic - STEPS AHEAD [feat Michael Brecker] (1986)
(Warner Bros. WPCR-13458)
17. More Stuff - STUFF (1977)
(Warner Bros. WPCR-13450)
18. Stuff - STUFF (1976)
(Warner Bros. WPCR-13449)
19. Winelight - GROVER WASHINGTON, Jr. (1980)
(Warner Bros. WPCR-13451)

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Spines of Exceptional CD Remasters

Spines of Exceptional CD Remasters

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