I've listened through three times now and have no interest in hearing it again.
I just put on the original and it's WAY better, IMHO. YMMV.
"Very strange time trip going on in my head right now.
Proves the point, old guys can still kill it. Fact "
I agree with this sentiment. I doubt if many, or any, would like this album better than the original. Especially for those of us who loved the original in real time.
I find it interesting to listen to these "old guys" so many years later. I think my favorite survivor is Peter Frampton on his Acoustic Classics album. I think he demonstrates a lot of matured sound through his voice and playing. Cat/Yosuf still has it too.
What's not to like here? Wonderful songs, fantastic singer, beautiful arrangements, new life, I'm all in!
Dylan on his last tour re-imagined Girl From The North Country (as he does nearly every show with nearly every song), and it was magical.
Sad Lisa on this new disc, well, its a highlight for me.
I saw the Cat's Attic tour in Philly a few years back, he went to a piano on the right corner of the stage and played/sang this (Sad Lisa), just him, was pure magic!
I love this new recording of these old and wonderful songs. I do.
Perhaps my comparisons implied a better/worse intent instead of the differences. I have to believe that this new edition is different for reasons that are meaningful to the Artist. Case in point, I can hear more of a haunting element in his voice in Sad Lisa that must result from 50 years of life experience and struggle that is part of the human condition. Disregarding the better or not opinion(s), I must respect that he has his reasons.
As for old guys who can still kill it--or who could until very recently--my vote goes to Leonard Cohen. His early stuff, full of sensuality (a white/Jewish Barry White!), seems a bit leering now, but the last three albums, which marshal that deep voice for the mirror image of sex--that is, death--are, for this old guy, as remarkable an encounter with mortality as I know of in music. Thus, unlike Dylan, who seems to me to be just doing the same thing but with ever less control over his voice, and unlike the Stones, who just got boring at some point, and unlike Cat Stevens (a new "Tea for the Tillerman"? Really? Why? What was wrong with the old one?)--and, for that matter, even unlike Beethoven, whose late-life encounter with mortality simply transcended human limits altogether--Leonard converted that youthful lust into a beautiful resignation. These lines from "On the Level"--"I knew it was wrong / I didn't have a doubt / I was dying to get back home / And you were just starting out / I said I best be moving on / You said, we have all day / You smiled at me like I was young / It took my breath away / Your crazy fragrance all around / Your secrets all in view / My lost, my lost was saying found / My don't was saying do"--well, they break my heart every time.
After resisting for quite a few years, I finally broke down and bought the Analogue Productions pressing of the original TFTT. I hate paying fifty bucks for a single LP (this is my first time), but this recording is so insanely great (maybe the best in all of Pop music history), and there being only a couple left in stock at Acoustic Sounds (and who knows if Chad will let it go out-of print when those few copies are gone?), I decided I would regret it if I didn’t.
Though Michael Fremer (and Harry Pearson---it was on his Super Disc list) was for years singing the praises of the original UK Island LP (which I own), I always considered the high end muted (the cymbals lacking their raw brassiness, the guitar and violin strings their highest overtones and "sheen"), the bass lacking weight, punch, and power (the kick drum in particular didn’t sound "right": emasculated, like it was only 8" deep, not 14). Fremer criticized later pressings (the Mobile Fidelity for one, iirc) for "boosting" the high end, but has since learned that the original mastering engineer didn’t know the tape was Dolby-encoded, and mastered without it! That certainly explains why I found the bass and treble problematic.
Fremer says in hindsight, that the Ovation guitar Cat plays on the album doesn’t sound like it has the plastic body it actually does should have tipped him off. That even with the top and bottom rolled off the original LP sounds as good as it does speaks to the quality of the recording. Even with them mia, the original stills sounds better than almost all other Pop recordings! With it’s full frequency response restored, this pressing is a recording for the ages.
An artist revisiting a past work can be interesting and/or great, or the opposite. Anyone talented enough to create an original like TFTT deserves at least a listen to the new presentation. Cat may now be able to reach deeper into the album's songs, having lived more life since recording the original than he had at the time of it's making. Dare I ask: are there some who won't listen to him because of his Muslim faith?
This album was recorded during the anniversary of my birth in 1970. I love the original, and I'm loving the re-recording fifty years later. I didn't come upon the album until the late eighties, which could have something to do with the fact that the new version was something I was looking forward to since announced.