Michael Stenmark | Newcastle, Australia | 01/30/2004
(1 out of 5 stars)
"Back To The Roots is one of my favourite classics Blues (?) albums from what I consider the 'golden era' of music: late 60s -early 70s. The music was originally recorded during a two week period in November 1970 in two countries showcasing several prominent & gifted musicians. I have been aware of the existence of Archive To Eighties for some years & recently had an opportunity to listen to John Mayall's bastardisation of eight tracks from the original classic album.There is really not a lot of value that Mayall has added in his re-recording & re-mixing attempts. The addition of John Yuele's drumming adds nothing to the total groove. Although its nice to hear a more prominent drum mix with a powerful punch in the kick his drumming is unimaginative and drum-machine like. The childish `lift-music' sound of Mayall's re-recorded keyboard in the initial part of Looking At Tomorrow has destroyed the impact of Harvey Mandel's soaring hook in the original version. Mayall's re-recorded vocals do not add any value and mostly sound contrived. Disappointingly the guitar levels have been generally lowered and in many cases the multi guitar overdubs have been stripped back, a deliberate action by Mayall which tamper with the original artistry. Mayall has faded out the conclusion of Eric Clapton's classic lead break in `Prisons Of The Road'.Mayall's harmonica playing is tired & unimaginative; in fact Mayall is by no means a great musician merely a player of many instruments. His facilitator role in the album should have been maintained yet it appears his re-recording & re-mixing has elevated his prominence in the overall sound. It is sad to note that in the sleeve notes Mayall almost suggests that it must have been a great pleasure for the likes of Clapton, Sugarcane Harris etc to have `worked for him'. I once thought it would be interesting for a classic album from the 60s or 70s to be totally remixed ie raising the level of the drum mix and modernising the overall drum sound, fattening up the bass, adjusting the tone of the guitars, adjusting the vocal harmonies levels & effects etc. Not actually re-recording anything but overall giving the sound a more modern and bright polish. Archive To Eighties provides a great example of why classic albums should be left undisturbed. In summary, don't bother purchasing this load of tosh. If out of curiosity you feel a desire to listen to Mayall's sad attempt to elevate his presence in an album classic purchase the Remastered original version Back To The Roots."
Ted L Nancy | Thousand Oaks, CA United States | 09/11/2002
(1 out of 5 stars)
"This 1988 remix of several tunes from the 1971 classic Back to the Roots is stale, dead and lifeless. All of the heart and soul of the original is gone and incredibly all of Johnny Almond's fantastic sax and flute work has been eliminated. In his liner notes, Mayall explained that he was trying to improve on the original. Instead he ruined it. Thank God a wonderfully remastered Back to the Roots is now available on CD."