Anyone who has felt that the Columbia CD reissues of Loggins & Messina
's classic albums were lacking -- and doesn't want to spring for the out of print Mobile Fidelity audiophile CD -- should jump right on this double-CD set from England's Beat Goes On label. The freshly remastered sound (circa late 2006) is rich, spacious, and detailed, bringing out the most exquisite elements not only of the singing, but also of Jim Messina
's arrangements and all of the playing, especially the myriad stringed instruments. The latter attribute makes Mother Lode
's "Be Free," to name but one track, almost worth the price of admission by itself, and there's a lot more where that came from. Indeed, this set allows for a fresh reassessment of both albums, with the curious result that Mother Lode
-- which is generally regarded as the slightly weaker of the two -- now seems the equal of Full Sail
. The annotation by John Tobler
also provides a very full historical overview of the duo's roots and origins. It sounds like a funny thing to say of a 2007 CD reissue -- and damning in terms of what it says, conversely, about Columbia Records domestic CD production quality -- but it's reissues like this that capture what CDs were supposed to do when they first popped up on the music scene 20 years earlier.