Rhodes seminal solo recordings remastered with good sound, b
Wayne Klein | My Little Blue Window, USA | 07/14/2009
(5 out of 5 stars)
""The Emitt Rhodes Recordings" represents everything that Rhodes recorded post-The Merry-Go-Round (and with "The American Dream" recorded during his tenure with The Merry-Go-Round as well). This excellent boxed set from Hip-O gathers these four albums that have been in and out (largely out) of print for the last 30 years. The sound is exceptionally good. Remastered under the supervision of Bill Levenson, these have a nice dynamic range and the don't have any weird EQ effects to mar the sound of the reissues. I should note for purists that Rhodes has gone on record that he didn't care for the sound on these but he also admitted he didn't listen to them in depth and I suspect he just wanted to remaster them himself.
I can't give you a comparison to anything other than the albums "Listen, Listen: The Merry-Go-Round" anthology and Rhodes self titled album that wsa issued in Japan about seven years ago. In comparison to both of those the respective albums as presented here sound quite good with nice clarity and and the lack of any noise reduction, nice dynamic range, the use of the original masters for all four albums makes this a must have if you're a fan of Emitt's work and don't have it on CD. These definitely sound better than my old worn out copies of the albums on vinyl (with the exception of "Mirror" which I never had on vinyl)
Rhodes has always reminded me of early 70's McCartney backed by Badfinger or even Badfinger's own Pete Ham. Rhodes who played all the instruments, sang all the vocal parts (save for some female backing vocals), engineered and produced the album himself ended up as a staff producer at Elektra Records after getting burned by the music business (he didn't have the rights to any of his songs until recently for example having signed them away as a 17 year old when he was with The Merry-Go-Round and laboring under an unfair contract for years).
The four albums "The American Dream", "Emitt Rhodes", "Mirror" and "Farewell to Paradise" all appear in full ("American Dreamer" also includes a track that was taken off the early pressings and replaced as well as its replacement track). We also get the single A-side track "Tame the Lion" a topical song written in response to the Vietnam War but that still has relevance today.
There aren't any previously unreleased or rare tracks. Levenson has stated that the goal of the album was to get ALL of Rhodes offically released material back into print in one boxed set. "The Emitt Rhodes Recordings" accomplishes this goal with extremely good sounding remasters plus two bonus tracks. This is packaged in a double digipak with the albums arranged by their recording dates ( "The American Dream" is first).
We also get a booklet that is good but does leave a bit to be desired. It's not nearly as good or comprehensive as the booklet that came out with the Rev-Ola reissue of "The Merry-Go-Round: Listen, Listen" set (which also includes "The American Dream"). It might have been nice to have a contemporary interview with Rhodes for this set. Still, Levenson and his crew have done an exceptional job of presenting these classic, long MIA albums in excellent fidelity and with some nice extras.
"The American Dream"-four stars, "Emitt Rhodes"-5 stars, "Mirror"-4 1/2 stars, "Farewell to Paradise"-3 1/2 stars. Sound Quality-4 1/2 stars. Packaging 3 stars.
Highly recommended for fans of power-pop, "The Emitt Rhodes Recordings 1969-1973" is a limited edition release so you should pick it up while you can. After it goes out of print, E-bay will probably be demanding high prices for this terrific collection."
Makes all other Emitt Rhodes CDs obsolete....
Jamie Tate | Franklin, TN | 07/26/2009
(5 out of 5 stars)
"They finally got them right. I'm so grateful they decided to remaster this set without the annoying top end EQ boost like the Japanese CDs. These are somewhat dull sounding recordings yet turning the top end up makes them harsh and thin. They're not supposed to be bright and shiny nor will they ever be bright and shiny. They sound perfect with the thick, dark, ultra analog fidelity that is very much intact here. Bravo!
They also didn't slam the levels and crush the music just to satisfy those with a louder-is-better mentality.
It sounds like they found the proper tapes with this set. These are far more natural sounding versions than I've ever heard even when compared to original vinyl pressings. I'm so amazed this set made it through without someone telling them to crank up the high end and make it louder.
Thanks to Hip-O Select for a fine job!"
The reissue the world has waited more than thirty years for
Quinn | Oakland, CA United States | 07/24/2009
(5 out of 5 stars)
"To the extent that he is known at all, Emitt is usually described as a "lost" treasure for fans of beautifully-crafted, melodic pop. His albums, which go in and out of print frequently, have long been difficult to find with imports fetching high prices. This reissue collects all four of the solo recordings Emitt made before his early retirement as a recording artists at just twenty-four years of age. The two discs are beautifully packaged with detailed liner notes and photos. Fans really couldn't ask for more from a reissue. If only they were all this comprehensive!
An earlier reviewer complained about poor sound quality. As a musician myself, I have a pretty discriminating ear and I also happen to own the Japanese reissue of "Emitt Rhodes." I do hear some slight differences in the mixes - on some tracks there's a bit more bass in this version and the highs are slightly less crisp, particularly the cymbals. However, these are minor nuances. I certainly wouldn't discourage anyone from buying this very worthwhile collection unless you are a true audiophile, in which case, it might be worth it to you to try to track down all four albums and pay a premium. Otherwise, I don't think this will interfere with your enjoyment and, all things considered, this package remains a bargain.
If you are interested in Emitt's music and don't already own these albums, you really should snatch this up before it goes out of print."
"I Was Dying Inside...I Was Hoping You'd Come Along..."
Mark Barry at Reckless Records, Lon | UK | 06/13/2010
(4 out of 5 stars)
"In truth, there was a time when you couldn't give away Emitt Rhodes albums, but something of a rediscovery of his music has taken place in the last two decades that has brought his LPs out of the bargain bins and into the eBay lists.
Hailing from Hawthorne (a suburb in Los Angeles), Rhodes first came to prominence with the US sixties group "The Merry-Go-Round" who made one album for A&M in 1967, their self-titled debut "The Merry-Go-Round". Around the album they issued a wad of singles, but neither bothered the charts. These releases are quite sought after now. And prior to this rather lovely reissue, the only half decent set of his music on CD was a rare 1998 compilation from Edsel of the UK called "Daisy-Fresh". Well not anymore...
Released initially in the USA in May 2009 as a 2CD set, Hip-O Select B0012926-02 is a worldwide limited edition of 5000 which contains 4 full albums and one rare non-album 7" single. It breaks down as follows:
Disc 1 (66:13 minutes): Tracks 1 to 13 are the album "The American Dream" recorded in 1969 but released after his debut album (14 to 25 below) in April 1971 in the USA on A&M SP-4254 and on A&M AMLS 64254 in the UK Tracks 14 to 25 are the album "Emitt Rhodes" first issued December 1970 in the USA on ABC/Dunhill DS 50089 and then on Probe Records SPBA 6256 in the UK in February 1971
Disc 2 (70:06 minutes): Tracks 1 to 10 are the album "Mirror" issued on ABC/Dunhill DSX 50111 in the USA in November 1971 and on Probe Records SPBA 6262 in the UK in December 1971 Tracks 11 to 22 are the album "Farewell To Paradise" issued September 1972 on Probe Records SPBA 6266 in the UK and on ABC/Dunhill DSX 50122 in the USA.
Track 23 is "Tame The Lion", a non-album A-side. In the UK it was on Probe Records PRO 565 and in the USA on A&M 4315, both issued in 1972. "Golden Child Of God" - an album track off "Mirror" - is its B-side in both countries.
The 3-way fold out card digipak houses a 16-page booklet with an appreciation of the man and his music by SCOTT SCHNIDER. There's also a pictorial album-by-album breakdown with relevant production and instrument credits. It's remastered by PETE DOELL at Universal Mastering and sounds fantastic - and given that most of these tracks are self-recorded by Rhodes himself - it's amazing how good they sound. Equally impressive is his musicianship on every track - so proficient, so talented.
Vocally Rhodes is a cross between Nilsson on "Nilsson Schmilsson", Todd Rundgren on "Something/Anything?" and Ron Mael of Sparks on "Kimono My House". But there is also the Beach Boys and Dennis Wilson vibe too. With all these cool influences bounding around, his songs and their arrangements have aroused a lot of interest in those who like their Seventies tunes melodic and layered. His first album is probably his most popular and fans will be glad to see it represented here in its entirety. Also - and impressively - most of the songs on here are entirely written, played, arranged and produced by Emitt Rhodes (how every Prince).
Another nice touch is that the 1st issue of "The American Dream" album had the track "Saturday Night" on it - which was replaced with "You're A Very Lovely Woman" when it was reissued later in a different sleeve - Hip-O has included both tracks so you can sequence either version.
While I like his debut - for me his song writing improved immeasurably on "Mirror". I especially love "Better Side Of Life" and "Really Wanted You" (lyrics above) - very Dennis Wilson - and in a really good way.
To sum up - and as other reviewers have pointed out - this is a superb reissue and luckily for UK buyers it's been given a January 2010 British release (rare for Hip-O sets).
It's not all fab of course, but when he was good - he was sit-up-and-take-notice good. Recommended."
THE DEFINITIVE COLLECTION
L. Cabos | planet earth | 09/21/2009
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Over the years the odd CD or two would come out and then vanish. This is everything and if you only buy one Emitt Rhodes collection, this is the one to own. Starting with the Merry-go-round (including AMERICAN DREAM -- which had not been intended as a solo album but a third Merry-go-round and only sent solo after the first solo Dunhill album) thru all the Dunhill era (including the seldom heard FAREWELL TO PARADISE). Each album shows a distinct style, growth and maturity for a guy who was barely twenty at the time. After the initial success of EMITT RHODES it was all down hill. Working alone (performing all the instruments and vocals) and with a contract that had unrealistic demands, it all came to a crashing end. Still we are left with the music he did make and that is something. Other artists have come and gone but few are as fondly remembered."