Saturday, November 26, 2005

Box Sets, Remasters, Assorted BS


Ok, in this rant, I'm speaking specifically about Chrome, Smoke & BBQ by ZZ Top, because that's what I'm listening to, but this could easily apply to any number of artists with careers that span the same decades, say Alice Cooper.

Ok, the aforementioned ZZ Top collection was the first place to feature good - they're actually fucking fantastic, but they're the first that are even acceptable - masters of the songs from the first six - yes, six - ZZ Top albums on compact disk. Previous have been tinny, worked over, thin and false sounding masters that didn't even use the complete original tapes. So, this is a true blessing for rock & roll fans... and one that didn't get nearly enough attention in the music press.

But that's not what I'm going to discuss.

What I want to discuss is the material from Afterburner and Recycler... and honestly, some of the stuff on Eliminator even.

There's some good tunes in there. "Rough Boy", "Sleeping Bag", "2000 Blues", etc. I'm sure if you're at a Top show, those songs sound great. But the records themselves reek of '80s overproduction, which renders them almost unlistenable in places. Isn't there some raw mixes or demos of these that could be substituted. I know none of them are probably ever going to sound like "Brown Sugar", "Chevrolet" or "Heard It on the X", and "Velcro Fly" is a hopelessly '80s sounding bit of fluff, but most of them could at least sound like they belonged along with the classic era stuff.


I think a lot of bands could stand to re-release their albums from this era. Heck, I'll go out and say, put them on 2-CD sets. Put the original as-is album on one disk and put the "fixed" album on the other. There are a bunch of albums I'd buy in this form. I'll even go so far as to say I'd drool over a version of Nevermind by Nirvana that was done like that. Or how about Pyromania by Def Leppard? I could do this for hours, mind you.

Take my word for it, if you're in a band that recorded a mainstream sounding album between '81 and '92, you should look over your stuff from that period and consider doing this. There's a mint in it somewhere, I promise!


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