Thursday, 3 November 2016

"Reggatta de Blanc" by THE POLICE [feat Sting, Andy Summers and Stewart Copeland] (2003 A&M Records 'Enhanced CD' Bob Ludwig Remaster) - A Review by Mark Barry...

"…White Reggae…"

November 1978's "Outlandos d'Amour" was a blistering debut album for THE POLICE – but their second platter really threw petrol on the threesome's chart-assaulting bonfire. Never had 'White Reggae" (a rough translation of the album title) sounded so enticing – a bit Punk – a bit New wave – a bit Rock and Pop – a bit bloody-good frankly. And dare we say it but A&M Records probably enjoyed all those hit singles and record sales lining their corporate coffers.

Like its 1978 predecessor - October 1979's "Reggatta de Blanc" was an exciting, fresh and immediate LP and hardly surprising that it improved on the debut's UK peak of No. 6 by going all the way to No. 1. But also like the 2003 barebones CD Remaster of that debut - this woefully ordinary CD Reissue for album number 2 sounds brill for sure - but not much else. These 2003 reissues are hugely disappointing on the presentation front. Gatefold slips of paper for Gawd's sake - thankfully the Audio rocks. Here are the yeah-yo's and cha's and messages in a bottle...

UK released January 2003 (March 2003 in the USA) - "Reggatta de Blanc" by THE POLICE on A&M 493 653-2 (Barcode 606949365325) is an 'Enhanced CD' Remaster that plays out as follows (41:56 minutes):

1. Message In A Bottle
2. Reggatta de Blanc
3. It's Alright For You
4. Bring On The Night
5. Deathwish
6. Walking On The Moon [Side 2]
7. On Any Other Day
8. The Bed's Too Big Without You
9. Contact
10. Does Everyone Stare
11. No Time This Time
Tracks 1 to 11 are their second studio album "Reggatta de Blanc" - released October 1979 in the UK on A&M Records AMLH 64792 and in the USA on A&M Records SP-4792. Produced by The Police and Nigel Gray - it peaked at No. 1 in the UK and No. 26 in the USA.

BONUS TRACK: Walking On The Moon 'Video'

The gatefold slip of paper that pretends to be an inlay tells us the basics - Remaster by BOB LUDWIG at Gateway Mastering (very good news) - but has nothing else for a so-called 'Enhanced' Edition. There's a ton of fan memorabilia from the period that could have been used - the British singles could have been pictured (where are those non-album B-sides as bonus tracks) - the impact of Sting and the band on the girlies of the world - but nothing is here except a Video "Walking On The Moon" that most won't look at. There's a Police Badge pictured beneath the see-through CD tray but bugger all else apart from the wickedly good audio (docked a star for the 'what we can get away with' approach). To the music and Remaster...

You’re immediately hit with a fabulous punch from the overall soundstage when "Message In A Bottle" launches into that Rock-Bop beat. But if I was to nail one track it's the stunning Side 1 ender "Deathwish" that kicks this Remaster out of the baby's water and then some. When you played the LP back in 1979 – this chugger (where Andy Summers plays an absolute guitar blinder) was always Audio-comprised because of its track position as the needle made its way towards the dead wax and the label. But here it's alive like never before – the Bass and Drums literally rattling your living room while Summers impresses every single second. I'd genuinely forgotten how amazing this album is.

The sonic punch from "Walking on The Moon" is the same – that huge Sting Bass and Stewart Copeland's razor-sharp drumming. The Police were so tight – so utterly in unison as they played. Other sonic whoppers include the manic "It's Alright For You" and the ridiculously catchy "Bring On The Night" – a seriously great single that's approaching 40 years of age in 2019 and still sounds as snotty as a Donald Trump office grope. But then you’re reminded of the album’s real greatness by those forgotten nuggets – like the 'yeah yo's' of "Reggatta de Blanc" and the stunning sexy swing of "The Bed's Too Big Without You" - a song I used to DJ in Dublin and like "Message" would always slaughter the dancing crowd leaving them cheering for more when it faded out.  

Despite my serious misgivings about the lazy-assed presentation - you can't but give this 2003 CD reissue five-stars if only for the brilliance of the musical content and its amazing transformation at the hands of an Ace Sound Engineer - Bob Ludwig. And it's way cheap too…

"...A hundred million bottles...washed up on the shore...seems I'm not alone in being alone...a hundred million castaways looking for a home..." - Sting sang on the wildly infectious "Message In A Bottle". Get this fabulous bottle-of audio bubbly in your home and on your reggatta de CD player right soon...

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Spines of Exceptional CD Remasters

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