Wednesday, 10 September 2014

"Boston" by BOSTON (2006 Epic/Legacy '30th Anniversary Edition' CD Reissue - Remastered by Guitarist Tom Scholz) - A Review by Mark Barry...

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"…More Than A Feeling…"

When you look at the recording duration of Boston’s debut album – October 1975 to April 1976 – it almost seems indulgent for a starting point. But when you play this Seventies Rock behemoth – you immediately hear where all those months (and as it transpires years leading up to the recording) went. It’s dense, brilliant and packed with ludicrously hooky guitar rock. I remember first hearing it and being amazed (like 17 million other Americans and many millions more worldwide).

Well here comes the inevitable '30th Anniversary CD' Remaster done by Band founder member and Lead guitarist Tom Scholz - and despite its lack of any extras – "Boston" by BOSTON is a sonic doozy. Here are the smokin' details...

1. More Than A Feeling [Side 1]
2. Peace Of Mind
3. Foreplay/Long Time
4. Rock & Roll Band [Side 2]
5. Smokin’
6. Hitch A Ride
7. Something About You
8. Let Me Take You Home Tonight

Band leader and guitarist TOM SCHOLZ had built a studio in his Massachusetts home – fooled Epic into thinking he was recording at some bigwig recording plant somewhere – and gingerly gotten on with his Boston sound. Released in August 1976 in the USA on Epic JE 34188 and December 1976 on Epic S EPC 81611 in the UK – it was an instant hit – propelled by a stunning lead off single “More Than A Feeling”. While the album reached 3 in the USA charts (no 11 in the UK in February 1977) – the "More Than A Feeling" single went to Number 5 and along with further 45s "Long Time" and "Peace Of Mind" gave the album sales power that burned and burned for over a year and a half - until the follow up “Don’t Look Back” in August 1978. In 1980 it received the ultimate audiophile accolade at the time by being part of CBS’s “Half Speed” Mastersound series of vinyl LPs.

Schulze has returned to the tapes and reportedly done an exhaustive and painstaking remaster – and when you play boogie like “Smokin’” and the lovely Rock ballad of “Hitch A Ride” - it sounds just huge and ballsy – and not just trebled up for the sake of it. You’re also reminded of Scholz’s virtuosity as a musician – every instrument on both tracks is him – guitars, keyboards, bass (bar the drums which were put on by Sib Hashian). The musicality of the multi-layered soloing at the end of “Hitch A Ride” is wildly brilliant.

UK and USA re-released June 2006 on CD – "Boston" by BOSTON on Sony/Epic/Legacy 69699863222 (Barcode 696998632226) comes in card digipak packaging with a 12-page booklet. It’s peddled as a 'Collector's Limited Edition' but it's widely available for sale – and at a pittance of a price too (37:44 minutes). There are liner notes from Scholz and uber-fan David Wild that elaborate on the tortuous process of getting it made at all (years of gestation).

But if I was to single out one track that exemplifies aural improvement – it would be the astonished Side 1 double-closer “Foreplay/Long Time”. It’s an almost Prog Classical piece of Guitar Rock that is breathtaking in its complexity - and yet melodically accessible to.

Re-listening to "Boston" in 2017 – its easy to hear why this kind of Rock caught the attention and hearts of millions – and this superb remaster does that feeling more than proud...

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