Don''t get me wrong, I Love Stevie Nicks and have for a long time now. I really had high hopes for this 3-CD set, but it wound up falling short for me for several reasons. First is the remaster sound quality...and I find this typical of what happens when Rhino...
Don''t get me wrong, I Love Stevie Nicks and have for a long time now. I really had high hopes for this 3-CD set, but it wound up falling short for me for several reasons.
First is the remaster sound quality...and I find this typical of what happens when Rhino misses the mark - they don''t always do so, I have many a Rhino remaster from other catalogs that are fine, but when they get it wrong it''s invariably for the same reasons as here. You can tell the material here has been remastered...most apparent is the very nice separation of instruments which results in great clarity overall. The problem is the overall hardness to the sound which borders on brittleness. On a dark- or thick-sounding system this may seem like a positive in that it''s helping to cut through things and freshen up the sound. But, if the system is already good and clear, then this will sound edgy or hard, not relaxed. Once i was aware that this was what was happening on this disc, it became difficult to shake myself free of the notion of it while listening. Switching to other discs in my collection reconfirmed my suspicion. Also, the bass on this disc is lacking (just a little bit) in energy level. It''s quite clear, focused and musical, but not quite fully balanced with the rest of the spectrum or with other SN discs I have that duplicate some of the material here. I won''t say that the remaster here is an epic fail, or that it will sound bad to everybody, but if you''re an audiophile and you''ve been looking for a long while in hopes of finally getting a great sounding copy of some very good SN songs...well..you may have to keep looking a while longer, is all. I really wish the remastering of SN''s work wouldn''t keep falling to Rhino though, this is at least the second time they''ve (IMO) botched her material.
From a music standpoint, this is not such a bad compilation...a bit weirdly laid out, perhaps, but it includes some nice material for fans casual and dedicated alike. Although it does also include some things that prolly shoulda been left out...like these renditions of Gold Dust Woman and Dreams on disc 3. Not sure if I''m misreading her aesthetic intent, but these two newer versions (originally from Rumours which are among my long-time favorites) but here the performances are actually quite lackluster, with seemingly no real attempt at depth behind them.
OTOH, the newer version of Sara is a standout here (listed here as live, but it''s one of 2 or 3 tracks here that have had all the audience sounds removed). Musically it''s rather straightforward, but Miss Nicks provides it with an unforgettable vocal performance...and as any fan of hers could tell you, I''m not talking about vocal techniques or "tricks", but instead the way she lingers on the words here, giving them such depth, warmth and humanity...not just as the artist that she in fact is, but as a true, romantic visionary...she can find that special way she has of bringing us straight into her world, as if into her bloodstream - and on this one she knocks it out of the park! Of all the tracks on here, this might be the one that most justifies this set''s purchase.
Save for a few tracks here that I don''t have other copies of, I find myself falling back on previous discs when it comes strictly to sound quality, but overall, I''d say this set is recommendable, but with a few caveats.