Poor remastering ruins a classic reissue!
Somewhere in Texas | Planet Texas | 12/21/2005
(1 out of 5 stars)
"My mother bought "We Can Fly" for me in a discount store cutout bin in the early 70's when I was a kid. Despite the album being a few years old by then, it's been a favorite of mine ever since due to its great songwriting, huge orchestral arrangements that almost rival "Pet Sounds" (many by Charlie Calello - who arranged for the 4 Seasons) and those always wonderful Cowsills family harmonies.
Many 60's Soft Pop fans and the Cowsills themselves consider "We Can Fly" to be their best album. Compared to the group's first album and early singles which used mostly outside songwriters, this LP was the first album that the group self-produced and wrote themselves. Despite the album's high quality it wound up being a weak seller and a disappointment to MGM Records, which dumped thousands of deleted copies into the $2.99 album discount bins for years. Honestly, I never thought it would ever be reissued due to its low sales.
That said, I was happily surprised to see this album finally on compact disc and anxiously awaited it's arrival. When I first played the CD, I was quickly disappointed at the careless remastering. This CD has been remastered "Out of Phase" - which means the polarity of the left and right channels has been reversed. If you play this CD on a good stereo with the "Mono" button enabled the lead vocals mixed in the center will disappear. And if you listen in stereo (especially on headphones), the lead vocals will sound like they are behind you, instead of up front where they should be. This is NOT the way the original Stereo MGM album was mixed and originally mastered on vinyl (and I own 3 copies of it). The tracks from this album on the Polydor/Rebound Cowsills "Best Of" CD are not out of phase either!
To add insult, the track listing on the back is totally incorrect, more proof of a careless sloppy rush job. The track "We Can Fly" appears in its true stereo LP form on this release, not the mono 45 single version.
When I e-mailed Collectors Choice about the remastering, I got a response a few days later saying "When albums are remastered, they sometimes sound different" (well DUH honey!). This only goes to show that Collectors Choice (or Universal Music's reissue division) does not care about the way their music sounds, only that people buy it. Classy record reissue companies like Sundazed, Rhino and Ace Records in the UK take the time to make sure everything on a CD is correct before its approved for manufacturing.
I reluctantly suggest staying away from buying this reissue, unless Collectors Choice fixes this remastering problem."