Review of the first 4 remastered Slade CDs
As most of you probably know, Slade's full back catalogue is being reissued. I've just listened through the first 4 CDs, and what can I say? Wow, they're amazing! Tim Turan has done a marvellous job remastering the tracks. The sound is just so clean, clear and superb! It's really nice after years with crackling LPs and less superior remasterings. Fantastic!
The first CD contains both Beginnings and Play It Loud, the second is Slayed?, the third Old New Borrowed and Blue and the fourth is a live anthology double-CD with Slade Alive!, Slade Alive vol. Two, Slade on Stage and a compilation of Live At Reading '80/Xmas Ear Bender. All CDs contain bonus tracks.Full track listings can be found here.
The bonus tracks are a mix of single-hits and B-sides spiced with the Slade talk to Melanie and to 19. It's great finally getting the B-sides in CD-quality, but I must admit that the selection of bonus-tracks puzzles me a bit. I fully understand the wish for including both hit-singles and B-sides, but it seems odd that when hits like Get Down And Get With It and The Bangin' Man are included, musts like CILY and MXE are missing. The same goes for the B-sides. Of course all the hits and the B-sides will be out on respectively the upcoming Anthology Box Set and the B-sides double-CD, but still the selection of bonus tracks is a bit of a mystery to me. Well, I shouldn't complain as my own personal all-time B-side favourite Kill 'Em At The Hot Club Tonite is there!
The live anthology double-CD is probably the masterpiece of the four re-releases. Especially SOS and the Reading tracks have never sounded better. It's a pleasure listening to and the only thing that disturbs me is, that Okey Cokey is included. This version originally stems from the Xmas Ear Bender-EP, but has nothing what so ever to do with Reading, it is not even live! When that is said, I must admit that all four remasters are really worth listening to and I fully recommend them.
As for the artwork of the CDs, it's wonderful. A lot of great photos spiced with images of the singles and a pretty precise account of Slade's career in Dave Ling's continuous biography of the band in the full coloured booklets. However, I'm a little startled at the total lack of acknowledgement of Don's contribution to the early songs, lyrics-wise. Ling even credits the lyrics of Know Who You Are and other Powell-penned songs directly to Nod! Also the very harsh representation of Don's account of Johnny Howells' departure from The 'N Betweens seems odd.
Anyway, the new remasters have fully met my expectations and more. These are wonderful CDs, whether you're an old hard-core fan or just coming into Slade. I for one can hardly wait for the new Anthology Box Set and the Crackers remaster, which will both surface in September.