Sunday, 29 November 2009

"From Langley Park To Memphis” by PREFAB SPROUT. A Review of their 1988 Album Now Released as a Japan-Only 2009 CD Remaster on Sony Music/Epic.

"…Like A Bolt Out From The Blue…I Remember That…”

"From Langley Park To Memphis" was first issued March 1988 on Kitchenware Records in the UK and on Epic Records in the USA. It felt like a more commercial version of its brilliant predecessor “Steve McQueen” from 1985 – and building on that incredible groundwork – it was eagerly awaited and so raced to Number 5 in the UK charts.
It was released on LP/MC and CD at the time in fairly good sound – but a remaster has been long overdue.

Some of its hit singles have been remastered for “Best Of” compilations, but this is the first time the entire album has been sonically upgraded – and it’s an absolute wow - even it is only available as a limited edition import from Japan...

This 26 August 2009 Japan-only CD is on Epic EICP 1245 (Sony Music Japan) and is part of 6 albums reissued there - all in remastered form (45:32 minutes). It's one of those mini LP replica sleeves in an Obi and sealable outer plastic, which also reproduces the original inner sleeve. The inner sleeve's nice to look at, but of course because of its 5-inch size, virtually illegible - hence the need for the separate lyric booklet. There’s also another insert advertising further Eighties CD titles, but it’s entirely in Japanese…

CD sites in Japan have claimed that each has 2009 remastering, and although I can't actually find this in writing anywhere on the disc or packaging (that I can understand), I don’t need to see it in writing because I can hear it. The sound quality is simply GLORIOUS.

Highlights include the beautiful melody of “I Remember That” (lyrics above) and an incredible punch out of “Knock On Wood” and an absolutely HUGE feel to “The Golden Calf”. A lot of the time, you’re just in awe of Paddy McAloon’s superb songwriting and how well so much of it has held up – the arrangements, the clever lyrics, the melodies that grow and grow on each hearing - 20 years plus and they still move me...

It is of course a shame that the many unreleased tracks off the singles "The King Of Rock & Roll”, “Cars & Girls" and "Hey Manhattan" are not on here, but this release doesn't pretend to be anything other than a straightforward transfer of the album.

With no sign of British or US remastered versions on the horizon, fans of this superb British band and their brilliant albums will need to own this.

Recommended wholeheartedly.

PS: the other albums reissued in this Japanese Limited Edition series are:
1. "Swoon" (1983) on Epic EICP 1276 (21 October 2009 release)
2. "Steve McQueen" (1985) on Epic EICP 1244 (26 August 2009 release)
3. "Jordan: The Comeback" (1990) on Epic EICP 1278 (21 October 2009 release)
4. "Protest Songs" (1985 Recordings Released in 1989) on Epic EICP 1277 (21 October 2009 release)
5. "Andromeda Heights" (1997) on Epic EICP 1279 (21 October 2009 release)

PPS: see also my review for "Jordan: The Comeback” from the same series - and thanks to TIM SQUIER of Revival Records for a lend of the 2 CDs

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Spines of Exceptional CD Remasters

Spines of Exceptional CD Remasters

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