Features

Saturday Deluxe / 14 May 2016

Fleetwood Mac Mirage box: almost brilliant

Having failed to include the already available 5.1 mix of Fleetwood Mac‘s Rumours in their 2013 super deluxe edition Warners haven’t made the same mistake with last year’s Tusk box or the forthcoming Mirage set which was announced this week…

The Mirage box looks like a satisfying package although SDE readers have already identified a few niggles..

• Despite all the content (outtakes, live, etc.) the Mirage box fails to include the seven-inch of Gypsy, described by one reader as an “inexcusable omission”.

• The DVD looks to be an audio-only affair. Why not include the videos to Hold Me and Gypsy? It’s perfectly feasible to mix a 5.1 mix with video content.

• And why is it a DVD and not a blu-ray audio? Warners have used the format for Van Morrison and Crosby Stills Nash & Young so why not Fleetwood Mac? Presumably, the label would argue that the widespread appeal of the band isn’t aligned with blu-ray audio which might be considered ‘niche’ and of interest largely to super-fans and audiophiles. Maybe, but having gone to the effort of creating a 5.1 mix, why wouldn’t you want to show it off at it’s best, with lossless surround sound? Music is the product being sold, is it not? They could have thrown a blu-ray in the package too and charged an extra fiver – everyone would have been happy.

• The biggest sin is to continue to bundle vinyl into the super deluxe box. Vinyl, like blu-ray audio is niche, but that hasn’t stopped it being included. For many people the vinyl will be superfluous.



So it’s certainly not perfect, but few box sets are, I suppose (although I’d argue a case for Tears For Fears’ Songs From The Big Chair coming close).

The positives with the Mirage box is that the second disc of bonus outtakes and alternates looks amazing, as does the live disc and at least we’re getting a 5.1 mix, even if it’s not lossless. Best of all, the box is great value, especially at this moment in time in the UK where you can pick it up for £42. For SDE friends in America, once you deduct VAT that gives you a price of $50 + shipping, HALF the price US Amazon is charging.

Read more about the Mirage reissue here.


Second Hand News for this week

juliafordham

Julia Fordham / I Can’t Help Myself (CD single)

Not quite sure why I bought this, since I’m not enough of a Julia Fordham fan to even own the album this came from (1994’s Falling Forward). I think it was the fact that it was 25p and when I see words like ‘alternative version’ and ‘original edit’ on singles, I’m immediately interested! I’m sure Cherry Red will reissue this at some point, as they have done with the first three albums.

rhcp

Red Hot Chili Peppers / Under The Bridge (CD single)

Four track CD single of the classic Red Chili Peppers song Under The Bridge. I picked this up because I thought the track Give It Away (In Progress) sounded interesting. It was “previously unavailable on CD” at the time – I don’t know if it’s still unique to this disc, or not. Another 25p bargain.

cat

Cat Stevens / Greatest Hits (CD)

I do like a ‘period’ hits set and this Cat Stevens Greatest Hits is from 1975. This contains two non-album singles in Two Fine People and Another Saturday Night. It was only after I bought it that I realised that the previous owner had scrawled “DR” on the front of the booklet….thanks.

hue

Hue and Cry / Ordinary Angel (seven-inch single)

Ordinary Angel was Hue and Cry‘s first single from their second long-player Remote (1989). It flopped, which must have been depressing for them at the time, although second 45 Looking For Linda came to the rescue. This is a gatefold seven-inch package. Remote was reissued in 2014.

precious

Annie Lennox / Precious (seven-inch single)

After Why had been such a successful first single from Annie Lennox‘s Diva (number five in the UK) Precious was a bit of a disappointment, chart-wise, peaking at number 23. God knows ‘why’, because I much prefer Precious. This seven-inch has the radio edit on the a-side and the album version on the B-side. Bit of a boring selection, to be honest and you wonder if a new song on the flip-side may have seen this perform better. Diva is 20 years old next year, but Annie Lennox is probably about as interested in reissuing this as she is in revisiting the Eurythmics back catalogue (i.e. not very).

blue_peter

 

Mike Oldfield / Blue Peter (seven-inch single)

I remember watching the episode of BBC TV’s Blue Peter, when Simon Groom, I think it was, went to see Mike Oldfield in action in his studio. This single version of the theme tune is actually a bit different to the TV version and of course is much longer. Got to number 19 in the charts. Below is the clip from Blue Peter showing how it was recorded (quality not great, but it’s very interesting).



ChartWatch

I posed the question last week about how well Prince‘s new posthumous album, HitnRun Phase Two would do amongst all his classic albums, which are currently dominating the UK physical album chart. Well, the answer is not bad at all, since it debuts at number eleven. This is on CD sales alone, since no vinyl version has been issued. Despite this success, FOUR other Prince albums are still ahead of it; two greatest hits (Very Best Of – down to number two, and Hits 1, at number 10) and Purple Rain and Sign ‘O’ the Times – six and nine respectively.

Decent showing for Jean-Michel Jarre‘s collaborative Electronica 2 album which lands at number seven on physical sales. I particularly like the Pet Shop Boys track, Brick England which I think is better than anything from SUPER.



Ryan Adams‘ well thought out Heartbreaker reissue debuts at number 28 and Rick Wakeman‘s Journey to the Centre of the Earth reissue shows its face at number 77. The Rolling StonesExile on Main Street and  John Martyn‘s Sold Air are 84 and 96 respectively which means they must have been the best-selling selections from the recently issued Half Speed Mastering series that Universal have been selling exclusive to their stores.

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62 responses to Saturday Deluxe / 14 May 2016

  1. Eric says:

    Surprisingy, Hit N Run Phase Two is not currently being stocked by the supermarkets, which can’t be helping sales. Whereas several of the catalogue CDs (Purple Rain, Parade, Around The World, 1999, Sign On The Times, Lovesexy etc) are all being sold in their store charts.

  2. Geert says:

    Fleetwood Mac Mirage box: don’t niggles 3 and 4 cancel each other out? Nicely illustrating the damned if you do, damned if you don’t problem of issuing a superdeluxe box set … :) My problem with this album is that, unlike the two previous ones, I don’t know a single song off it …

  3. Bert says:

    Note that HNR2 lacks some of the lyrics in the booklet, despite being present in the original release that was only available through some amateur web shops.

  4. Tim says:

    I don’t understand why people want 7” versions (unless they’re remixed in some way), it’s just a shorter version of the song from the lp in most cases.

    I did find your comment about the PSB track on the Jarre album interesting, I find myself in a minority of finding “Super” to be anything but that. I really don’t understand the love for this album, it’s “The Emperor’s New Clothes” of the Pet Shop Boys catalog.

    • Francis says:

      I totally agree with Tim, why the fuss over 7inch versions when, like he states and I also think, they are usually just shorter versions of the album tracks, so a bit pointless and a waste of CD space.

    • Eric M. says:

      “Gypsy” does have a least one mix difference in the vocals toward the end of the song.

      • Carlton Fisher says:

        Not all 7″ versions are just minor edits. Madonna’s “Like a Prayer” has a very different sound on the guitar, especially in the intro, and is less “bassy” than the album version. “Keep it Together” was a completely different mix. “Deeper and Deeper” is one that I have been trying to find the proper 7″ version of for years–it has an acappella introduction and cuts out the gratuitous “Vogue” reference in the middle and overall tightens the song up to make it much more enjoyable. Many Prince 7″ versions (“Gett Off,” “Sign O’ the Times,” “I Could Never Take the Place of Your Man” and others) are significantly different than their album counterparts.

        And some of us are just completeists.

  5. Andy says:

    Will HNR2 come out on vinyl eventually, do we know?

  6. Andy says:

    I don’ t think so. Hopefully they will both come out at some point.

  7. Art says:

    Thx for heads up on the price break on Amazon uk.

  8. Alan says:

    You mean 25 years for Diva, don’t you, not 20? It was released in 1992.

  9. Paul English says:

    @ Tim – because they’re the hit versions, the ones we remember from the radio etc. In this case, the 7″ of Gypsy has never appeared on CD anywhere.

    Given that it didn’t feature on previous greatest hits compilations (the most logical home), this Super Deluxe of Mirage was the ideal opportunity to include it.

  10. Paul English says:

    This happens quite a bit in the rock world. Single edits / extended mixes being ignored.

    Pop / soul reissues are much more comprehensive and generally cover all single variants – cases in point Matt Bianco, Samantha Fox, Rick Astley, Kool and The Gang, Pointer Sisters

  11. CJ Feeney says:

    Perfect box sets? The Jethro Tull reissue series comes to mind. King Crimson having massive boxes or CD + DVD-A with new mixes while the original mix is saved for a separate vinyl release.

    Re: Blue Peter. The annoying difference is the absence of the opening snare drum roll, which I think was played by Simon Groom, and so the only element not played by Oldfield himself. Also there was an early mix/arrangement of the single that was pulled by Oldfield after it charted and replaced by a new version, which is the version now used on compilations. So check which one you’ve bought, you may have a collectors item!

    • Paul Sinclair says:

      Interesting… :) Just checked my version and it has the ‘hard’ ending where it stops dead. The end is a repeat of the intro. Don’t know which version that is, but I quite like the fact that Mike Oldfield didn’t want Simon Groom anywhere near his record :)

      • CJ Feeney says:

        The hard stop is the version on the “best of”s , so probably not a collectors item. Not sure if the “pulled” mix is out there at all anywhere.

        • Paul Sinclair says:

          oh well…

        • Mike the Fish says:

          The original mix had the sudden ending. I remember there being an item on Blue Peter that people had complained about it. The guitar outro was the alternate, but tagged onto the mix instead of the pipe ending. An alternate edit piece rather than an alternate mix, strictly speaking.

  12. Gary Thomas says:

    While I definitely want the full album, and also 12″ and remix versions, of songs, there are some very good reasons for truly desiring the 7″ single versions. Firstly, a shorter version often gives a song a more focused, and more direct, feel and impact. Secondly, being able to leave off something in a shorter 7″ single mix often means it wasn’t really needed in the first place. Two 7″ single versions come to mind, Billy Joel’s Just The Way You Are and Steve Winwood’s The Finer Things. In it’s 7″ format, The Finer Things added a hot guitar lick that added a much needed ‘punch’ and ‘impact’, thereby turning a generally soft and MOR balladesque song into an almost rocking single. The added dramatic impact is noticeable and much welcomed. On Billy Joel’s classic single Just The Way You Are, the single version loses a full verse, but in doing so gains an infinite amount of momentum and impact. It’s indeed as if the truly classic version of this classic can only be found in the single version, as the full length album version is simply, but very noticeably, a full verse too long. I love full, and even very extended, cuts of most singles, but sometimes cutting out the weakest lines or adding an extra instrumental texture, can truly transform an otherwise good song into a truly great one. Of course, they’re also often great just the way they are.

    • Chris Squires says:

      Ha, I see what you did there……

      Also some single edits can take out the album links. Thinking of Babooshka from Never for Ever, the album version links to Delius via the sampled breaking glass. On some “single” versions it can be heard, on others it is gone. And where would “The Man with the Child in His Eyes” be without the giggling “He’s here” on the single version that isn’t on the album version…

      Blue Peter was changed because the original version ended like it fell off a cliff, a fade out was preferred for radio play as the sudden ending kept catching people out….

      • Mike the Fish says:

        There was no fade out on the alternate mix. Both had cold endings, albeit it different ones.

  13. AlexKx says:

    For whatever is lacking in the “Mirage” box set that is more than likely intended for future releases and re-releases. Buckingham has already said he wants to do his own re-release of “Rumors” that is different from the ones done at this time. As far as a 7″ mix being left out aside from it maybe appearing in some future package I would imagine a package containing a singles collection would include it in the future. Think of this as a prerequisite release, eh. Something for the market and fans “in the meantime” and for a first run of sorts. Then hopefully something far more extensive can will be done in the future. I feel for a decade now features and songs have been held back for various reasons that are not all “bad”. I imagine if the economy ever gets better we would see some of these things start to happen PERHAPS though this could be many years off if at all, eh…

  14. Chris2 says:

    I don’t get the policy of some of the majors. Even if they do not want to go with a blu ray audio, they could issue a dvd-a with additional DTS and DD options for people with Video only DVD-players and everyone would have been happy (see Simple Minds).
    There are NO compatibilty issues with those!

    • Mike the Fish says:

      More royalties in the US with more audio. As fas as I gather royalties work out there per track, whereas it’s proportional in the UK. So on that basis, if the album is on a disc three times (DD, DTS and 24/96 LPCM) then in the US that amounts to 3 times the royalties. In the UK it would add up to exactly the same as the album on their once. I may be mistaken, but I believe that’s the way it works.

  15. bruce says:

    I’m guessing the 7″ version of “Gypsy” was left off at the request of Stevie Nicks. She was quoted in the past regarding how much she hated the single edit of “Sara” that appeared on the initial CD version of Tusk, so it stands to reason she probably feels that same way about edits of her other classics.

    • Paul English says:

      Wasn’t the edit of Sara on Tusk because of the 74 minute playing time “rule”?

      In any case, the edit of Sara was also included on the recent Tusk deluxe set so Stevie’s veto may not be that powerful.

    • Eric M. says:

      Good theory. Although the “Sara” edit is really lacking, and the original ‘Tusk’ CD suffered for its use instead of the true album version. A bit of different circumstances here, as the final product of ‘Mirage’ wouldn’t suffer at all for its inclusion in the bonus material.

      Also, now that I think of it, I think the awful edit of “Sara” did appear on last year’s ‘Tusk’ reissue as well.

  16. Andrew Mogford says:

    My dad’s girlfriend recently allowed me to rifle through her vinyl collection, and take what I wanted. Amongst the gems such as Beatles original pressing, including a numbered mispress of The White Album, and original 7″ singles was that Cat Stevens set on vinyl.

    I love it. Misses some classics but it’s a great find none the less :)

  17. don cooper says:

    You bought the Julia Fordham because you recognize pure class at any price,Paul.
    Have me n’ mrs tix for Julia at MAC (Midland Arts Center) November in Brum. Counting the sleeps already :-)

  18. Larry says:

    I am more curious about why the Mac continues to not include DVD or Blu-ray of content that was previously released on VHS. I really expected to see the concert video as part of this package.

  19. Jon Hank says:

    The Gypsy 7″ is indeed different from the LP version and Extended Version/Video Version. It is remixed…adding a bit more instrumentation. I just played it :)

  20. Jon Hank says:

    @Bruce: yes Stevie has made numerous comments about people editing her songs for single release. She has said some unkind things about the edit of The Edge of Seventeen (where the edited out an entire verse/chorus). The single mix of Gypsy is quite good IMO, brings the song more to life IMO.

    • Eric M. says:

      I feel like the single mix of “Gypsy” falls more in line with the other generally approved and widely available Fleetwood single mixes like “Sisters of the Moon”, “Think About Me”, “Say You Love Me”, etc. than with the hack jobs like “Edge of 17″ and “Sara”.

      I get this gut feeling that the compilers missed it in their research because it is only labeled “Edit” on most 45’s (as opposed to “remix” or “single mix”) and unless you’re a decent-sized fan, these days you wouldn’t even be aware it exists. Heck, the band may not have even remembered.

  21. baward says:

    I agree with you about the issue of why is it a DVD and not a BD audio. A strange decision indeed.

  22. Michael says:

    Does anyone know if the audio DVD on “Mirage” will play on US players if bought from AmazonUK?

  23. AlexKx says:

    Ummm, if anyone reads my post you will know why the Blu-ray was probably left out…or whatever else as well…

  24. vj tre says:

    How many people even have equipment to play 5.1 audio on DVD or blu-ray? Is it really that popular? I think most fans are just happy that Mirage is being re-issued with proper input levels. Any fan knows just how poorly the input levels are on the Mirage CD. I’m old school so personally, just as a treat, I’d love to see a limited edition run of cassette tapes. YES, cassette tapes. Stevie even said herself that she loves the sound of them, they are richer and warmer. I still play tapes. If they can waste all that money on pressing vinyl that nobody wants, they have money to do a limited run of tapes.

    • Chris Squires says:

      “Vinyl that nobody wants”

      I must have missed that memo. I can’t quite square it in my head that you want a cassette made and you pronounce that no-one wants Vinyl. I am pretty sure the numbers don’t quite show this to be fact….

      • Paul English says:

        Well cassettes did way more damage to vinyl sales than CDs.

        I think they’re an awful format. CDs get painted as soulless etc but cassettes are the real baddies.

        • Paul Sinclair says:

          I didn’t/don’t mind tapes… I know a half inch-reel is different to a cassette, but there is some irony that people always hope/demand that albums are remastered from the original ‘tapes’.

          • Chris Squires says:

            The idea of having to bake something before it can be played is quite charming. Maybe Steven Wilson should enter this years “Bake off” as he must have had a lot of practice. “Here’s a 12inch I made earlier” mmmm crispy.

          • Mike the Fish says:

            Cassette is so horrible. So different to studio reels: the very slow speed, craming 4 tracks in that tiny width of tape, etc.

    • Mike the Fish says:

      I like 5.1 for music. It’s what drew me to a 5.1 set up in the first place, above DVD, etc.

  25. Mike says:

    The great thing about the Julia cd Paul, is it has a corking version of Honeymoon, co written with Simon Climie. Also looking forward to November tour! Frankly though if any reissue of Falling Forward is as poor in content as the first three, i hope it stays on shelf….

  26. David Olstein says:

    Mirage box almost brilliant? Not even close. WB dropped the ball when I comes to the live material. The standard setlist for the tour featured 22 songs. We get a measly 13. Clearly this was done on the cheap. Instead of going back to the multitrack, they must have simply taken the audio from the Mirage Tour video soundtrack. Only they didn’t even bother to give us the video footage. What a wasted opportunity.

    • Foxee says:

      I completely agree!

      We got a fantastic 2 CD live set in the ‘Tusk’ deluxe reissue (even a standalone vinyl release subsequently too), which almost acted as a deluxe edition of the 1980 Fleetwood Mac Live double LP. Not only does this Mirage live CD cut almost half the show out (including some classic tracks like ‘Sara’, ‘Landslide’ and ‘Hold Me’), we don’t even get the video of the show either. I really think Warners have done a lazy job on this – UNLESS there is to be a standalone Blu-ray/ DVD release of the Mirage Concert with all the edited tracks reinserted? The edited VHS version not only cut out tracks but also totally re-ordered what was left, so the show is totally out of sequence!

      • Randy Metro says:

        Isn’t this single mix, edit mix, shorter version VS the album version an argument since the days of Jesus? Maybe more in regard to Greatest Hits & Best of collections. We need both of them, but casual fans will surely miss the radio version and feel gyped when they hear an unfamiliar album version.

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