RECORD CRACK: Loggins & Messina’s “Sittin’ In” gets audiophile treatment

This album has been with me for most of my life. My dad loved this album, played the record a lot and also would jam with friends when they came over. I loved the sound of it, grew up loving it even more, and when I became a record collector and obsessive music maniac, I would notice this record everywhere. One might argue “it’s because it’s trash” but I say it’s because enough people loved the album the first time, and they’re cleaning out their garages for the next generation.

Some facts. Kenny Loggins was a young singer/songwriter who caught the attention of Jim Messina, previously of Buffalo Springfield and then of the group Poco. Loggins was actually signed as a solo artist and this album was meant to be a solo album, thus the credit “Kenny Loggins with Jim Messina“. The title was meant to say that buddy Messina was merely Sittin’ In on this album to give this artist a shot. Instead, he found himself sittin’ in with Loggins for five years, where they recorded some of the best music of the early 1970’s, and definitely of my childhood. My very first concert was Loggins & Messina at the Neal S. Blaisdell Center (the NBC Arena, or for some, the HIC, when it was called the Hawai’i International Center. My parents called it this and I still call it that) on their Native Sons tour, so I am and will always remain a fan of these two.

An album that has become a dollar bin/thrift store favorite has been given the audiophile treatment, and will be released as a 180g virgin vinyl pressing on May 10th. Sittin’ In features songs like “Nobody But You”, “Vahevala”, “Listen To A Country Song”, “House At Pooh Corner”, “Back To Georgia”, and a great three song medley featuring “Lovin’ Me”, “To Make A Woman Feel Wanted”, and “Peace Of Mind”. When I realized that this was meant to be a Loggins solo project, you realize what other people had heard: these two were incredible as a duo. Messina was meant to play the role of the producer, someone who would offer vocal harmonies and play guitar, but this is very much Messina’s album as it is Loggins, and yet you can hear the emphasis on Loggins in “House At Pooh Corner” and a song that showed my dad was a fan of the music of Jamaica far earlier than I had known, “Vahevala”. In fact, I would say my love of ska and reggae may have come from hearing this song, Paul Simon‘s “Mother And Child Reunion”, and Charlie Nash‘s “I Can See Clearly Now”.

The point is, this album was recorded incredibly well. There are two audiophile CD pressings that are worth seeking out: the Mobile Fidelity Sound Lab (MFSL) pressing:

and the CBS Mastersound disc:

I love both pressings for different reasons. The MFSL silver disc has a bassier feel to it, more “woodsy”, and I use that term as a way to describe how my parents and grandparents used to listen to music with wood cabinets, speakers, and in rooms with wood walls. In my mind, it’s a “woodsy” sound, a warm feel if you will. On the other hand, the CBS Mastersound disc is brighter and offers a different sense of clarity that the MFSL pressing arguably lacked. Yet I love both discs for those reasons: if I want warm, I go for MFSL. If I want it to sound slightly cleaner, I shoot for Mastersound.

So what will this new pressing offer to fans? It’s being released by Friday Music, a great label who have released and reissued an incredible selection of albums. Sittin’ In was remastered by Joe Reagoso and Kevin Gray, both of whom have done incredible jobs on the albums they have made over the last two decades. On top of that, Friday Music’s pressing of Sittin’ In will have something that the original LP did not have: a gatefold cover.

When it comes to this album, I do not joke around. I love the fact that it’s being remastered, and that it’s being pressed up audiophile style. The album will celebrate its 40th anniversary at the end of the year, so celebrate in style by hearing an album that has been a partial soundtrack to my life.

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