Tuesday, 5 July 2011

“Face To Face: Deluxe Edition” by THE KINKS (June 2011 Universal/Sanctuary 2CD Reissue and Remaster) - A Review by Mark Barry...

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Like many fans of this great British band, I've watched the release of 6 Kinks 'Deluxe Editions' since the beginning of 2011 with a certain amount of skepticism. Haven't these albums been done to death already and isn't this just more monetary milking of it? But then several pals began to rave about the great new remastered sound on these doubles - so I took the plunge on "Face To Face", "Something Else"" and "Arthur..." - and they were right. They're better than previous issues - and how. But along with the gains (there are 8 'previously unreleased' tracks) there are some strange omissions too...

Here are the details first - "Face To Face: Deluxe Edition" by THE KINKS was UK released 20 June 2011 on Universal/Sanctuary 277 262-0 (Barcode 0602527726205) as a 2CD set of Remasters and breaks down as follows:

Disc 1 (57:35 minutes):
1. Party Line
2. Rosy Won’t You Please Come Home
3. Dandy
4. Too Much On My Mind
5. Session Man
6. Rainy Day In June
7. House In The Country
8. Holiday In Waikiki
9. Most Exclusive Residence For Sale
10. Fancy
11. Little Queen Of Darkness
12. You’re Looking Fine
13. Sunny Afternoon
14. I’ll Remember
Tracks 1 to 14 are the MONO version of "Face To Face" LP released 28 October 1966 in the UK on Pye Records NPL 18149 and 7 December 1966 in the USA on Reprise Records R 6228

Tracks 15 and 16 are "Dead End Street" and "Big Black Smoke" - they are the MONO A&B-side of a non-album 7" single released 18 November 1966 in the UK on Pye Records 7N.17222 and 30 November 1966 in the USA on Reprise Records 0540
Track 17 is "This Is Where I Belong" - the MONO non-album B-side of a UK 7" single on Pye Records 7N.17314, released 21 April 1967, pressed up for export issue to Europe - it's A-side is "Mr. Pleasant" (that track is missing here - it's on the 2004 CD reissue)
Track 18 is "She's Got Everything" - the MONO non-album B-side of the UK 7" single on Pye Records 7N.17573, released 28 June 1968 (A-side is "Days"). It was also released in the USA on 24 July 1968 on Reprise Records 9762.
Track 19 is "Little Miss Queen Of Darkness" - a Previously Unreleased Alternate Take
Track 20 is "Dead End Street" - a Previously Unreleased Alternate Version first issued on the 2008 Sanctuary Records 6CD box set "Picture Book"

Disc 2 (63:28 minutes):
Tracks 1 to 14 are the STEREO version of the LP - Pye Records NSPL 18149 in the UK and Reprise Records RS 6228 in the USA (tracks as per Disc 1)

Tracks 15, 16 and 17 are "This Is Where I Belong", "Big Black Smoke" and "She's Got Everything" - these 3 STEREO versions were first slotted for release on the 1968 "Four More Respected Gentlemen" UK LP, but withdrawn - they finally saw release in the USA on the 2LP Reprise Records retrospective "Kinks Kronikles" in March 1972. 15 and 16 are listed as 'Previously Unreleased'
Tracks 18 - 22 are "You're Looking Fine (Alternate Stereo Mix)". "Sunny Afternoon (Alternate Stereo Mix)", "Fancy (Alternate Stereo Mix)", "Little Miss Queen Of Darkness (Alternate Stereo Mix)" and "Dandy (Alternate Stereo Mix)" - all are listed as 'Previously Unreleased'

The 24-page booklet is tastefully laid out - liners notes by noted Kinks expert DANIEL RACHEL, photos of both the UK and US LP artwork along with many rare Euro and US 7" single picture sleeves, trade adverts, newspaper clippings, memorabilia and input from fan sites (www.kindakinks.com) etc. The breakdown of the tracks is very well done too - what came from what and why. Both of the discs are also themed - the CDs reflect the purple colouring of the original UK Pye Records LP label - with Side 1 pictured beneath the see-through tray of CD1 and Side 2 beneath the tray of CD2 - all nice touches.

The remasters were carried out by ANDREW SANDOVAL, DAN HERSCH (of Digiprep and Rhino fame) and ANDY PEARCE and the sound quality is exceptionally good. The STEREO mixes in particular sound superb and fresh, not just separated two-channel reprocessing, but a cohesive whole - very warm and beautifully clear. The difference between the MONO and STEREO versions in fact is acute - some prefer the stark power of the MONO, but I think this is one of those 'Deluxe Editions' that actually benefits from the presence of both - they different beasts for sure - but equally admirable.

Great tracks include the hypnotic "Rainy Day In June" (lyrics above) which sounds like its going to turn up in an episode of "Mad Men" real soon, while it's followed by the equally classy Sixties pop of "House In The Country" - Ray at his acidic best. The sonic punch out of both "Sunny Afternoon" and "Too Much On My Mind" is fantastic. The acoustic guitars at the beginning of "Dandy" and "Too Much..." are so clear now - as are the keyboard flourishes of ace sessionman Nicky Hopkins throughout. I was also surprised at how different the previously unreleased Stereo mixes of "You're Looking Fine" and "Little Miss Queen Of Darkness" are, but not in a bad way. They're very cool additions - and all in all (released or unreleased) = the whole thing feels like an embarrassment of riches.

Niggles - on Disc 1, Tracks 17 and 18 are ‘B-sides’, when a quick glance at the short playing time for Disc 1 will reveal that there was plenty of room for the A's - "Mr. Pleasant" and "Days" - yet you have to keep your 2004 version for those or buy the DE of "Something Else". It's a small point, but it's worth making.

To sum up - a superb new remaster on both mixes, properly upgraded packaging and liner notes and extra tracks that actually warrant the title 'bonus'. Very nice indeed.

Recommended like lazing on a Sunny Afternoon...

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