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Reviews: Billy Joel: Piano Man

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Reviews: 8

Review by Discspinner April 4, 2011
Performance:   Sonics:
Billy Joel fans will like this a lot. The sound is clear and the mids to highs are very good. Basses are a little light which drains a little of the impact. I sometimes struggle attempting to figure out MoFi's remastering "esthetic." Doobie Bros "Captain and me" was about a 4.5 out of 5, Blood Sweat and Tears sacd of same name is a 5, and this is about a 4. Perhaps a lot depends on the the quality of the master tape. Anyone have any thoughts on this?

I should mention that this is stereo and highly recommended.

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Review by sonnysin168 April 6, 2011 (1 of 1 found this review helpful)
Performance:   
I got this from my NY forwarder this afternoon and hurried home to play it. I really like this. Billy Joel's voice is clear and smooth. The highs are pretty good too. Guitar playing ranges from being subtle to lively from song to song but Ron Tutt's drumming really rocks! Sure there are songs that may seem lacking in bass but then some have them substantially. Maybe that was just the the way they were recorded. I really like the title cut very much. Hearing it in excellent version made my day. I don't have this album in other formats but I own the German cd edition of Billy Joel's Greatest Hits Vol. I & II. Comparing Captain Jack and Piano Man in cd v.s. sacd reveals a significant improvement overall. I highly recommend this!

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Review by Saturn94 April 21, 2011 (4 of 4 found this review helpful)
Performance:   Sonics:
Compared to the CD version I own, this SACD is a step up in mastering/audio quality. Unlike the other reviewers, I didn't particularly notice a lack of bass. Considering its age, it sounded pretty balanced, IMO. While this release shows the limitations of the original recording, I would certainly recommend this SACD to any fan of this artist/album as it represents the best this album has sounded.

It's too bad Mobile Fidelity didn't release a multichannel version like "The Stranger"; an excellent example of multichannel done right.

While Mofi did a great job of mastering, packaging was major disappointment. Instead of a CD jewel case, it came in a cheap cardboard sleeve that exposes the disc and artwork to potential damage. This type of cheap packaging is what I would expect from a free demo disc, but not from MoFi (at premium prices). MoFi should be ashamed of this!

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Review by analogue April 26, 2011 (3 of 3 found this review helpful)
Performance:   Sonics:
With Mobile Fidelity there is a good chance that all music lovers are taking chances with the quality of the disc.

Mofi does not tweak or tinker with the tapes and its for this reason that many listeners are a tad disgruntled. Mofi gives you warts and all. There has to be a certain amount of acceptance on the purchasers part.

Some discs like their recent Foreigner or Blood Sweat and Tears releases were awesome while their Ray Charles was a let down. With Mofi you take a chance....always.

So now we come to this new Billy Joel sacd which was transferred from the original tapes at the correct speed for the first time ever. Sonically it is a solid release. However the original recording.whether its the studio used or the recording process.........has its problems and limitations. These limitations are most assuredly heard on the disc.

Musically the album is terrific with bold statements by Mr. Joel. It features good songwriting and his talent is undeniable.

You're my home is very nice.....a solid track but where is the bass in Stop in Nevada??

Essentially I find the bass reserved and the drums lacking a certain punch. Especially the bass drum.
But to be truthful..the quality issues are more from a track to track scenario and not a blanket statement that encompasses the entire album or every single track. Some tracks are very nice actually. It's a mixed bag.

Piano Man is the outstanding track on the album. Joels voice is full and rich.his piano clangs quite nicely. All in all the best track. Captain Jack is decent enough but the chorus seems a little clipped to me. Again.......its gotta be the recording.

Although I hate to compare sacd to cd as the former is so superior in every way.......when you listen to the cd mastering it is very apparent that the engineer tweaked the hell out of the tapes.

In parting Joels voice is quite nice as is his piano on this disc. I guess the entire recording could be fuller...lusher.....more rich. But all in all it is a very solid transfer and most enjoyable.

I would recommend the purchase on Amazon for about 22 bucks.

Good job from Mofi. A solid 4 on my scale.

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Review by Croc May 15, 2011 (1 of 2 found this review helpful)
Performance:   Sonics:
music is very good.
sound quality all in all is good - but i also think that tonal ballance should be better.
bass guitar is way too prominent.
drums are not enough.
yes, this is kinda rock music - but the most important is Billy's vocal.
unfortunately it's too laidback and and not enough emphasized.
it's almost getting lost in the bass guitar reefs.
still - it's a recommended one and very enjoyable.

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Review by Eyolf December 9, 2011 (2 of 3 found this review helpful)
Performance:   Sonics:
I just got the brand new Sony Legacy version of this album. Holy crap, what s difference in sound. The Mofi is a disaster compared. From the Ron Tutt drumming intro, it is clear that all clarity, sparkle, dynamics, bass, etc, is compleatly LOST on the Mofi. The Sony is so much better sounding that I can hardly belive it. I have no doubt that Mofi must have inferior gear and a sound taste that I just don't get. I have hardly heard a flatter sounding disc than this Mofi. Now if one had only heard the Mofi, one would think that hey, the master is so bad that you can not get it to sound good. Luckily that is nor the case. The Mofi= triple the price of the Sony, and for nothing. Great album however by a great artist.

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Review by pvcmusiclover January 16, 2013 (1 of 1 found this review helpful)
Performance:   Sonics:
This album is a tricky one to get right. In fact, I don't know there exists a version that I would consider satisfactory. If this is a straight rip of the master tape - it's easy to see why. The midrange is really peaky and distorted, plus the treble is rolled off, veiling the soundstage. Without playing with the tone controls, this has got to be worst sounding incarnation of Piano Man out there.

After doing an extensive DSP EQ job on an 88.2/24 rip (cutting 6db in part of the mirange, bringing up the low bass a bit and boosting treble), I got something I would consider to be better than any previous incarnation, which I would attest DSD and the quality of their custom tape machine. It's more than a bit unfortunate that they never touch the EQ, choosing to release everything "warts and all." The average consumer shouldn't have to connect parametric EQ to their stereo just to make an audiophile release listenable.

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Review by progboy January 27, 2013 (0 of 1 found this review helpful)
Performance:   Sonics:
Billy Joel's "Piano Man" is an album that I think just about everyone grew up listening to......or if not then everyone has heard the title track umpteenmillion times! But the fact is that this album is just so much more than that great piano bar infused mega-hit!

"Piano Man" is a little bit pop.....a litle bit country.....a little bit folk....and a little bit rock..

The "Ballad of Billy The Kid" or "Somewhere Along The Line" for example could have been lifted off any of the early Elton John albums with a full fusion of piano, honky tonk'isms, pop , rock and orchestra.

This is the 2010 Mobile Fidelity SACD version mastered from the original master tapes using their Gain 2 system which has produced some other excellent discs. I was greatly impressed with Mofi's other Billy Joel's SACD's and this one I feel is equal to them. This may be the warmest and most balanced recording actaully of all the Mofi's I own. At higher volumes this disc just keeps its warmth and richness. At times I can hear things that only a high res recording like this could possibly reveal with as much definition as it does.

I especially love the tone and mix of the bass on this recording........nice and definite with deep plunks.....

My personal favourite song on the album is "Captain Jack" which I think really ends this album on a "high" note.........get it ?

The music is fantastic.....and so is the sound !

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