SOME STUFFS: Loggins & Messina’s “Full Sail” receives a new audiophile treatment from Audio Fidelity

Audio Fidelity: Loggins & Messina photo LM-FullSail_cover_zpsgx0agsit.jpg
One of my all time favorite albums, one I’ve loved since I was introduced to it through my parents, has been remastered by Audio Fidelity. Kenny Loggins & Jim Messina released the incredible Full Sail album and it was released in proper stereo along with a quadraphonic pressing soon after. Audio Fidelity have given Full Sail the SACD treatment, meaning you’ll get to hear a new remastering via Steve Hoffman and the original quad mix will be heard on the SACD.

While the album did produce one single (“My Music”), it was not a hit but the album does feature such songs as “Lahaina”, “You Need A Man/Coming To You”, “Watching The River Run” and the Chicago stepping classic, “Pathway To Glory”. I’ve had this album on vinyl, cassette, and 8-track and the remaster Mobile Fidelity Sound Lab (MFSL) is nothing short of amazing and I’m sure Hoffman has done an incredible job with it too.

It was released last week and you can order it below via Amazon.com.

SOME STUFFS: Audio Fidelity to release remasters of albums by Loggins & Messina and America

Audio Fidelity: Loggins & Messina/America photo AF-LMA_covers_zps6nmyjrsw.jpg
It may be close to the end of the year but the folks at Audio Fidelity are not slowing down, for they’re already getting ready to release some new remasters in the new year. Two are on the way, one of which is one of my all time favorite albums.

  • January 22, 2016 is when you’ll be seeing a brand new remaster of Kenny Loggins & Jim Messina’s debut album as a duo, 1971’s Sittin’ In. In truth, the album is credited as Kenny Loggins with Jim Messina, as Messina had been known as a member of the Buffalo Springfield but was also in Poco, and this was a way for him to introduce Kenny Loggins to the world. The album is beautifully produced by Messina and while it’s the musicianship, singing, and songwriting of both Loggins and Messina that was important, the drumming from Merel Bregante has to be heard to be believed, especially in tracks like “Nobody But You”, the 3-song medley that closes Side 1 and my favorite L&M song, the almighty “Vahevala”, with an incredible duo sax solo from Al Garth and Al Garth that always blows me away, very John Coltrane-esque with its Indian touches. Mobile Fidelity Sound Lab (MFSL) once released this album as a silver disc and sounded awesome, so I can’t weit to hear Audio Fidelity’s treatment of it.
    Sittin in

  • By the time America released Hearts in 1975, they had four albums behind them and they were still ready to unleash some more powerful music. This effort was produced by Sir George Martin, known for his work over the years with The Beatles, and it was Martin’s second time working with the band. Hearts features a number of moving songs and features three songs released as singles, including “Sister Golden Hair”, “Woman Tonight”, and “Daisy Chain”.
    Hearts


    Hearts was originally released in quadraphonic as well so the hybrid SACD will feature both the album stereo and 4.0 surround sound. Sittin’ In was only released in stereo (their Loggins & Messina, Full Sail and Native Sons albums had the quad treatment) so the SACD can be played in two different ways, for those who have SACD players.

    (NOTE: Both SACD’s can be pre-ordered above via Amazon.com. They do not show the covers as of this writing but it will lead you to Amazon and show you how to order.)

  • SOME STUFFS: Loggins & Messina second album, Sly & The Family Stone’s “Greatest Hits” get the SACD audiophile treatments

    Audio Fidelity: Loggins & Messina/Sly & The Family Stone photo AFLogginsSly_covers_zpsyoegnicw.jpg

  • As a lifelong fan of Loggins & Messina, this new audiophile pressing on Audio Fidelity is going to be worth waiting for. Some call this the debut album by Loggins & Messina, at least by name but in truth, it’s their second album, their follow-up to the amazing 1971 album Sittin’ In. For most fans of pop music, this is the album that features their biggest and arguably only hit, “Your Mama Don’t Dance”. However, this album is also known for a number of key album tracks, including the amazing “Angry Eyes” (later covered by The Pointer Sisters), along with “Thinking Of You” and “Golden Ribbons”. This 1972 album helped keep the band on the charts and on the radio, with “Your Mama Don’t Dance” still getting airplay 43 years later.

    Steve Hoffman did the remaster on the regular CD audio.

  • Released in 1970, Sly & The FamilY Stone’s Greatest Hits was released while Epic Records was waiting for new music from Sly and friends. His performance at Woodstock in 1969 had been released in the film in March of 1970 and they wanted to be sure he would supply fans with new music. He wasn’t working on that pace, or any pace. Some have said Sly was working on what would become There’s A Riot Goin’ On but whatever was happening, it wasn’t driving him to finish anything new. Epic Records decided to do what was best by putting together a compilation of all of the hits Sly & The Family Stone had between 1967 and 1969 and give it to fans, which helped. As the saying goes, most greatest hits albums are usually the sign of death for an artist but not with Sly, for many of those songs were still getting a lot of airplay on many radio stations.

    The interesting thing about the Greatest Hits package is that a lot of the singles were mono only, in that proper stereo mixes were not made, since they weren’t intended for release on an album, back when it was customary to release mono and stereo mixes. What Epic Records did was “electronically reprocess” some songs to be fake stereo, so one channel had a lot of high end, the other channel had a lot of low end. Then something happened. A few years later, when quadraphonic albums were the hip thing to do, they went to the multi-tracks to make all new mixes for the album. In the process, by making quad mixes in stereo for the vinyl pressing, it essentially was the first time three songs made their stereo debut, including “I Want To Take You Higher”, “Thank You (Falletinme Be Mice Elf Agin)”, and “Hot Fun In The Summertime”. For the longest time, the quad mix became the hit album to get for those who preferred hunting down true stereo mixes. Slightly different stereo mixes were later released on compilation albums in the 80’s and 90’s but now you’ll be able to it in all of its true quadraphonic glory on the SACD. No word on if the stereo or quad-in-stereo mix was remastered.

    (Mahalo nui to Tom Hayes for the tip on both discs.)

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  • THE LISTENING EXPERIENCE: Johnny Nash’s “I Can See Clearly Now”

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    This song is significant for me, for I remember it as a song that goes back to a time when I was light enough to sit on top of a fish tank.

    I remember the record vividly: it was a 7″ 45 on Epic Records with the yellow label, which would mean late 60’s/early 70’s. In this case, Johnny Nash‘s “I Can See Clearly Now” was released in September 1972, which means it celebrates its 40th anniversary this year. The question though is “why were you sitting on a fish tank?” I clearly remember being about 3 or 4 years old when my dad would play music in the living room. During one of those moments, he sat me on the fish tank and he would sing the song. I’d look over and see the record with the yellow label spinning at 45 revolutions per minute. Then he reached to the bridge and started to sing very loud:

    look all around, there’s nothing but blue sky
    look straight ahead, nothing but blue sky

    He looked so happy. I was too young to remember anything else other than the bridge was “his moment” in the song, and he would continue singing about how it would be bright and sun-shiny day. That song has remained in my mind and consciousness from that point on.

    At the age of 9, I was already reading Rolling Stone. Some might think “were you reading or just looking at your musical heroes and wishing you were a rock star?” It was a mixture of both. I know I’d look at the concert tour dates and see if any bands were going to perform in Honolulu. Not that I was a frequent concert goer at that age, but the idea that these people I was listening to might be on my island was kinda cool. I remember one year, when they opened a new section of the Pearlridge Shopping Center, they brought in singer (and later actor) Rex Smith, whose sole hit was “You Take My Breath Away”. I was a kid who did listen to my share of pop radio (and it was always AM stations like KKUA-69 and KIKI-83, I hadn’t discovered the wonders of clarity with FM radio just yet), but when I heard Smith was coming to Hawai’i, all I could think was “this guy has Leif Garrett hair, yuck”. He was teeny-bopper, a guy for the girls, he was of no interest to me. Yet I’d keep on reading Rolling Stone in case someone I liked would show up. At the time, I think the only concert I had been to was the last concert Loggins & Messina did in support of their Native Sons album. It was also the first concert I remember going to. I wanted more, and wouldn’t start going to shows on a regular basis until I hit the double digits.

    Back to Johnny Nash. Over the years, “I Can See Clearly Now” was simply a song I related to my dad, or at least a song he loved, and I did too. In the early 80’s, with the music of Bob Marley making the rounds in Hawai’i, reggae music was being explored. I had seen photos of Marley in Rolling Stone but he was still alive and was just “the island rocker”, not someone who would gain the kind of praise he would receive after he died in May 1981. I would see the album reviews and if it had a good review, I would log that in my head and think of it as something I might want to listen to. I would also see ads and if it looked interesting, I’d log that as well. One day, my dad said he wanted to test his new cassette deck in his new Cherry Red Karmann Ghia. He was a gearhead, someone who would take me to junk yards for the sake of finding the right car part, and he loved cars. After work, he was probably outside tinkering on his Volkswagen or looking to fix other people’s cars, for fun. He loved VW Bug’s, and for years I used to think a Karmann Ghia was a model of VW. I figured eh, they’re German, must be the same. But, when my dad saved enough to buy a Karmann Ghia, he cherished it. Anyway, he wanted some new cassettes and I clearly remember going to Records Hawai’i, a record store that was across the street from Ala Moana Shopping Center, and him asking the cashier how he wanted to buy some new reggae albums on cassette. The guy suggested Bob Marley, and wanting to feel like I was “the big boy”, I told my dad “don’t get him, everyone listens to him. Buy Third World‘s Rock The World and Steel Pulse‘s True Democracy. Yes, at the age of 11, I was already giving “expert suggestions” on what people should listen to, even though I had not heard either of them myself. My suggestion was based on Rolling Stone‘s praise and ads. My dad looked at the cassettes, he looked at me and said “are you sure?” I told him yes, and he bought them. My dad really loved the groove of Third World’s “Rock The World” and “Standing In The Rain”, but when he opened the Steel Pulse tape, popped it in the deck and the music started, he beamed. The music boomed, and it felt good:

    Rejoice, rejoice
    good tidings I bring you

    When my dad wanted a new tape, it would often mean he would go cruising, or to drive around for an hour or two. This was his “peaceful time” and he would do this on a regular basis, sometimes as a family, but sometimes just me. He would play Side 1 all the time, so while I didn’t know all of the words just yet, I would remember the sequence of “Chant A Psalm”, “Ravers”, “Find It…Quick!”, “A Who Responsible?”, and a song that would become my favorite song on the album, “Rally Round”. As a kid, I became aware of politics from some of the things I had learned from hearing John Lennon and some of his songs, and the idea of preaching and living peace was something that has stayed with me to this day. However, I was not aware about the “red, gold, black and green”, so it was through this song I learned that:

    red for the blood that flows like the river
    green for the land Africa
    yellow for the gold that the stole
    black for the people they looted from

    The song spoke on how people were held captive, but for some reason the line “I and I patience have now longtime gone” had spoken louder than anything else in the song. Back then, I had learned about the struggles of Hawaiians throughout history, and some of what I had learned seemed to relate to Steel Pulse as well. Side 2 would be played, and then the album would play “Dub Marcus Say”, which was just an instrumental of “Rally Round” but with various words isolated and echoed. This would be the first time I had ever heard a “dub” version of a song, and I would actually mimic the way the voices would cut off and echo into the unknown. You might catch me going “wit’… (wit wit wit wit)” and what I also loved was that the song turned up the bass significantly, it was just basically drum and bass. I ate that up like crazy. For a year, Rock The World and True Democracy became two of my dad’s favorite albums, and for years I used to think that it was I who introduced my dad to reggae. I felt good about this.

    Years later, “I Can See Clearly Now” came on the radio and at the time I was doing a bit more research on reggae music. I loved ska too but on a much lower level. I grew up at a time when there was a ska revival in the late 70’s and early 80’s. Due to bands like The Police, Madness, and The Specials, ska was pushed as being “white man’s reggae”, as in “white people are playing reggae and this is how it is interpreted.” I had not been aware that ska actually came before reggae, nor was I aware that a lot of bands who were doing ska in the late 70’s/early 80’s had heard them from the first wave of groups who made them famous, as they were either imported from Jamaica from expatriates or pressed by British labels with the growing Jamaican population, which would in turn create a craving for ska, rock steady, and reggae that remains in the UK five decades later. Eventually I read some information about “I Can See Clearly Now” and it was then that I realized for the first time that the song was in fact a reggae song, or at least a song that was on the thin line between ska and reggae. As a kid, I was not aware of reggae music and it was then I realized oh wait: my dad has been a fan of ska and reggae far longer than I assumed. Perhaps my suggestion of Third World and Steel Pulse was “in the cards”, I’ll never know.

    Yet away from genre classification, “I Can See Clearly Now” is my first introduction to the music of Jamaica. I’ve been fascinated with the music and culture of Jamaica for a long time, and it is a place that is very high on my list of countries I want to visit.

    My dad died at a time when I was only a few months away from becoming a teen, so I often think how I missed at those “essential times” I could’ve shared with him, the transformation of boy to man, to have the kind of discussions I could never get from my mom. However, I think of the music he would often play and how they may have been subtle messages for me. The lyrics to “I Can See Clearly Now” is about someone who may be going through a down time in their life, and how if one gets through “all the obstacles in my way”, they will eventually see the sunshine. The last time I was home was in 2000, and before I arrived, Honolulu were going through a few days of rain. Upon arrival, the clouds cleared up and there was sun for the whole week. I had done an online diary and at the end I had thanked my dad for making the skies blues for me and my family. Afterwards, I was afraid that it would be interpreted as something spiritual in nature, but in truth it was a Johnny Nash reference and the link the song has with my dad.

    The song would be very helpful for me when I went through almost two years of having some down time, realizing I was going through some dark clouds. In time I’d find a way to let go of some bullshit and came out of it stronger, with a bit more clarity and acknowledgment of a sun-shiny day.

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