Review by Eric LeRouge August 3, 2003 (9 of 9 found this review helpful)
|This album had been announced for almost two years, and is finally out. It's one of the recent Roxy Music compilations, originally published on CD in 2000. The Best of Roxy Music contains only Roxy titles (as opposed to Bryan Ferry's solo works), starting with the last studio album (Avalon), and going back in time to the first albums.
After a few listens, I think the Best Of is not as impressive as the Avalon reissue (admittedly hard to top), but it is at the very least a superb version of some key Roxy Music titles, in the highest audio quality to date.
- The whole album is only 2CH, no MCH bonus
- it appears to be only a DSD remaster of the CD version, as the tracks are identical, and with the same length. I don't think the album was made going back from the original tapes.
- CD cover is the same as the CD edition, and benefits from a poor printing job (looks like digital printing). It certainly doesn't feel worth $40 in terms of packaging.
- No additional liner notes or mentions of the DSD remasters, so it may not be the same people who did Avalon (Davies, Ludwig, Clearmountain).
- All in all, I would say this may be a different production lineage than the recent 21st Anniversary edition of Avalon, and it feels like less work has been going into it.
- How does it sound? The SACD sounds much better than the CD editions, including the Japanese HDCDs published in 1999. The original 'Best of' CD was never a great remaster in the first place, more like a quick and dirty job, compared with the beautiful JHDCD re-editions, and compared with the Bryan Ferry best of ballads (Slave to Love, HDCD, excellent sonics, beautiful packaging).
- The album track listing goes backwards in time, with a few tracks of the soft disco period (Avalon, More Than This, Jealous Guy, Same Old Scene, Oh Yeah), and includes some of the best early tunes (Out of the Blue, All I want is You, Mother of Pearl, Street Life, Do the Strand, Pyjamarama, Virginia Plains, and Re-Make / Re-Model).
- The production is beautiful on the more recent tracks (Jealous Guy sounds very good, very warm, and even the disco tracks like Oh Yeah and Same Old Scene sound a lot less metallic than before).
- But it's really the early tracks that benefit the most of the new production, and some of these old tracks have never sounded so good* (Do the Strand, Pyjamarama, Out of the Blue, Virginia Plain, etc). You get an excellent introduction to Roxy's early works, better than any CD edition.
- Two titles allow a comparison with the Avalon SACD: "Avalon" and "More than This". Well, these tracks are different. The tracks on the "Best of" have probably been remastered from the latest PCM tracks used for the JHDCD edition, but are not the same version as the DSD 2CH tracks on the Avalon SACD (the difference is subtle on More than This, but quite obvious on Avalon: the dB level is higher, and if you focus on background details like the female chorus, it's quite evident). The DSD 2CH version of these tracks is much better and has been remastered from the original tapes.
Should you buy it? (i.e. Is it worth $40?) The "Best of" SACD is a must have for Roxy Music fans, but it may be slightly disappointing if you have all recent CD reeditions. If you don't have any Roxy Music Best Of, this is probably the best way to discover the band and especially the early years. But if you buy only one Roxy Music SACD, I would recommend Avalon before this one.
I might post some more impressions when I check more thoroughly track by track.
Was this review helpful to you?