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Surrealistic Pillow
Jefferson Airplane
Surrealistic Pillow
Genres: Pop, Rock, Classic Rock, Metal
  •  Track Listings (17) - Disc #1

Originally released in 1967, this RCA/BMG Heritage remastered reissue adds 6 bonus tracks 'In The Morning', 'J.P.P. Me Stop B. Blues', 'Go To Her', 'Come Back Baby', 'Somebody To Love' (mono single version) & 'White Rab...  more »


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CD Details

All Artists: Jefferson Airplane
Title: Surrealistic Pillow
Members Wishing: 9
Total Copies: 0
Label: RCA
Release Date: 8/19/2003
Album Type: Original recording remastered
Genres: Pop, Rock, Classic Rock, Metal
Styles: Vocal Pop, Folk Rock, Psychedelic Rock
Number of Discs: 1
SwapaCD Credits: 1
UPCs: 828765035125, 766487096720


Album Description
Originally released in 1967, this RCA/BMG Heritage remastered reissue adds 6 bonus tracks 'In The Morning', 'J.P.P. Me Stop B. Blues', 'Go To Her', 'Come Back Baby', 'Somebody To Love' (mono single version) & 'White Rabbit' (mono single version). This groundbreaking piece of folk-rock-based psychedelia includes a 12-page booklet with extensive liner notes, detailed track listing & rare photos. Voted one of Rolling Stone's Essential 200 albums. 2003.

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CD Reviews

Surrealistic critques from tripped out reviewers...
J. Wade | USA | 12/27/2003
(5 out of 5 stars)

"This latest CD incarnation of Jefferson Airplane's second album, Surrealistic Pillow, is the third U.S. version to be issued by RCA/BMG. I have owned all three versions. The first CD version was in the mid-80's when CD technology was in its infancy. Many of us were abused by the major labels as they exploited us by charging premium prices for CDs of classic albums mastered from very bad (as in worn out) LP masters that were never intended nor engineered for the dynamic range capability of the compact disc. At any rate, all of the criticism about the first version is valid. It is easily identified because it has shoddy packaging as well and the old Airplane label moniker, GRUNT. The second version wasn't issued as an individual CD until 2001. It was significantly improved and included liner notes from Jefferson Airplane/Starship historian Jeff Tamarkin. The "audio restoration" for that one was done by BMG engineer, Bill Lacey. This CD was originally part of a four disc boxed set, and it included both mono and stereo versions of the album. Interestingly, the credits list two different engineers for the digital transfers of each version (stereo by Eddie Tallia and mono by Mike Hatry).
The third and most recent reissue of Surrealistic Pillow is part of BMG's Heritage series which is supposed to be as close as they are going to get to mimicking the fine reissue works of competing labels like Rhino (WEA), Hip-O (Universal), and Legacy (Sony). In fact, BMG Heritage contracted with independent engineer, Bob Irwin, to do the latest Jefferson Airplane remasters (also includes - Takes Off, After Bathing At Baxters, and Crown of Creation). Bob Irwin's past remastering credentials includes the fabulous Legacy reissues of The Byrds classic catalogue. If you have heard those albums, then you know he has high standards. His work on Surrealistic Pillow is not an exception, despite the belly aching criticism some other Amazon reviewers have written. Irwin is based at the independent label, Sundazed when he's not doing contract jobs. For those who say that this latest CD sounds hideous, I think they protest too much. This is as good as it is going to get as long as they use the original two-track stereo masters. The only other possible way to improve the sound is to remix from the multi-tracks, and that rarely happens if the record is a classic. The biggest exception to this was the reissue of the Who's catalogue in the late 90's, but Pete Townshend himself was involved with approving each remaster. While I thought they sounded great, there was a lot of protest from fans that they did indeed sound different. When the Beatles catalogue was being prepared for CD transfer by George Martin, he remixed the earliest albums, but wisely chose to leave the later albums as was. It is possible to make an old two-track master sound good if the LP EQing is removed and the dynamic range is expanded. The late engineer/producer Gus Dudgeon (he engineered early albums by Moody Blues, Bowie, and produced many classic Elton John albums as well as remastered his entire catalog) wrote a very interesting technical article about the remastering of older albums and how it can and should be done. It can be found by searching on Google. His remastering of the 70's Elton albums is flawless.So, my opinion is that the 2003 CD of Surrealistic Pillow is the best there can and will be using the original mixes. The packaging has been restored with all the original elements and there are 6 bonus tracks including mono single mixes of the classics, "White Rabbit" and "Somebody To Love". Therefore this is the definitive remaster...unless Paul Kantner and Marty Balin are allowed to remix the multi-tracks with a very good engineer."
Mr. Get Real | Long Beach, CA USA | 11/22/2003
(1 out of 5 stars)

"This "remastered" CD (the domestic CD with 4 bonus tracks and the 2 mono tracks) still does not sound very good! Let me first state that I own three different CD reissues of Surrealistic Pillow as well as the '73 stereo LP, the DCC reissue stereo LP, AND the Sundazed mono LP. Out of all of these versions only the Sundazed LP and the 1973 Stereo LP sound decent. I even transfered those LPs to CDR to listen to in my car rather than suffer through any of those official CDs. I have the first reissued CD from a few years ago that has both the stereo and mono versions - great artwork, but terrible sound. I have the import CD version with the 4 bonus tracks - slightly better sound, but still a disgrace. And I have this most recent 2003 October/November released CD that is advertised as "remastered from the original master" (has the 4 bonus cuts plus the 2 mono cuts)- still, no significant difference soundwise from the other previously issued CDs. Where does that leave a true fan who simply wants to hear a decent sounding recording of this historic LP? Well, basically you need a clean stereo LP from the 60's or the 70's or the Sundazed Mono LP! Note: the stereo DCC LP sounds the same as the CDs - very dissapointing! What is the problem here? In case you think I am some sort of an audiophile fanatic - let me point out a couple of obvious problems. Clue number one - on this CD, the 4 bonus tracks from the same studio sessions sound much cleaner than the regular album cuts. What does that tell you? It tells you the master tapes are still missing for the main album cuts. Clue number two is that there is DISTORTION on the vocals throughout this CD. Anytime the music gets loud and you crank it up a bit you hear slight distortion, especially on the background vocals. Folks, this is basic stuff. Clue number three - why does RCA continually, and apparently endlessly, reissue Surrealistic Pillow? Answer - because they still can't get it right. This album needs to be remastered and REMIXED. If the mixed down 2 track stereo master is shot, then they have no alternative - they need to completely remix this album. Assuming of course they have not lost the original tracks. There is hope here however, hidden in the last cut on this CD - after the mono White Rabbit track - is an undocumented instrumental track from the album without vocals. So, apparently they do have the backing tracks! O.K. then RCA, why don't you bite the bullet and remix the album?"
Only If You Need The Bonus Tracks
J. Wade | 08/31/2003
(4 out of 5 stars)

"All the accolades afforded this album over the years are well justified--and if you're reading this, I'm sure you've heard (and likely experienced for yourself) them all. This is truly one of the greatest albums not only of the Sixties & the folk-rock/psychedelic era, but of the entire pop music era period! That said, I'm afraid we've yet to see the ultimate cd issue of this masterpiece--though this latest one offers the added attraction of four songs not on the original LP, three of which were cut during the "Pillow" sessions. Airplane aficianados are well familiar with all these tracks (scattered through various compilations over time), but in fact, the extra tracks are really the only reason to purchase this edition of the album, if you don't already own one of the more recent issues. The real killer in the bonus bunch is "Go To Her," a showcase for Marty Balin's soulful wail, and a song more than deserving of inclusion on the original album. You'll also hear Jorma Kaukonen step out front on an original blues "in The Morning," as well as on an excellent reading of Lightning Hopkins' "Come Back Baby," the latter actually recorded a few weeks after the album came out. Further, there's an unlisted bonus cut at the end, an instrumental run-through of "B.C.D.A. -25," on which Paul Kantner's 12-string rhythm playing takes the spotlight.
All that said, I want to caution you: If you're looking for an improved-quality recording of this album over the gold disk, the 1996 issue or the 2001 issue, you ain't gonna get it here! That's not to say it doesn't sound good, rather to say it's not been improved upon. Fans are well aware of the differences between the mono and stereo mixes of the album: It's great to have both, but this version only has two of the mono mixes (the two monster hit singles.) As for the standard stereo mix, all the tape hiss is still there, not to mention the early fade-outs on the tracks which go on a little longer on the mono album. I've thought for quite a long time that this album begs to be remixed, from top to bottom, from the original four-track masters. Perhaps that'll be done someday--either after someone gets smart or after someone dies! Fact is, the bonus tracks (all of which are in stereo outside of the two singles) are technically of higher quality than those from the original album.
In the meantime, to reiterate: If you have one of the above-mentioned issues of this album, the bonus tracks are really the only reason you may want to purchase this one. They were my reason; I needed them and am quite pleased with them. And oh yes: The liner notes are very good--with stories behind and recording info about--all the tracks, but of course, you can't play the liner notes!"