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The Watersons on CD - some nitpicking

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red max 11 Sep 03 - 05:08 AM
treewind 11 Sep 03 - 05:42 AM
Wolfgang 11 Sep 03 - 08:39 AM
red max 11 Sep 03 - 10:09 AM
Nerd 11 Sep 03 - 12:46 PM
izzy 11 Sep 03 - 07:49 PM
red max 12 Sep 03 - 05:16 AM
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Subject: The Watersons on CD - some nitpicking
From: red max
Date: 11 Sep 03 - 05:08 AM

Of course we should be grateful that the majority of The Watersons' recordings aren't gathering dust in Topic's archives (unlike many other fine albums), but I really don't understand some of the alterations that have been made to the CD reissues

I can think of no good reason to replace the original artwork. I suppose there's nothing wrong with the CD sleeve of Green Fields, but then there was nothing wrong with the LP sleeve, so why not leave it? And the reissue of the Mike Waterson solo album seems to be trying desperately to look modern. Perhaps the original photo of Mike with the geese lacks coolness? Would you buy a used wheelbarrow from this man?

Bonus tracks are welcome, of course, but the usual practice is to add them on to the end of a CD. Most of the Watersons CDs have additional tracks inserted seemingly at random. I don't think I'm alone in wanting to hear the album as it was presented on vinyl, without these scattered extras breaking up the original sequence

I know I sound rather churlish, but it's worth noting that despite this apparently generous helping of bonus cuts, even if you combine them with the Early Days compilation you're STILL missing a song each from "The Watersons" and "A Yorkshire Garland". A coincidence? Perhaps, but then it does leave the way clear for each of these albums to be reissued in the future. And if you want all their songs you'll have to pick up both CDs

OK, I'll stop moaning now. It was actually reading disappointed comments about the "revamped" Deep Lancashire CD that got me thinking about this. Strange practices such as these do little to further Topic's deserved reputation as a fine folk label

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Subject: RE: The Watersons on CD - some nitpicking
From: treewind
Date: 11 Sep 03 - 05:42 AM

I haven't seen or heard the album in question, but here are some possible explanations:
- The LP artwork might not scale well down to a CD size (too much small detail?)
- Using identical artwork might convey the impression that it's an identical reissue of the LP i.e. the same tracks
- For those who aren't familiar with the LP, surely it's best to have a track sequence that works well in its own right. Sticking extra tracks on the end isn't likely to be the best combination. Believe me, I've done this. Taking one track out of a proposed album resulted in a reorganisation of at least 50% of the other tracks to make a good listening sequence. In particular there's often an obvious choice for the beginning and end and it's desirable to stay with that.


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Subject: RE: The Watersons on CD - some nitpicking
From: Wolfgang
Date: 11 Sep 03 - 08:39 AM

I do hate bonus tracks for a very selfish reason. Of all groups and artists I really do like (Watersons, for instance) I still do have all the old LPs and play them on my turntable. Now they reissue the old LPs with one or two or three additional tracks on each CD. And I have to think whether I buy one CD for a single track, whether I steal the artists' money by copying the bonus tracks or whether I have to live with the knowledge that there are some tracks of one of my favourite singers or groups I shall never hear.

I'm in a very small minority and all others would rather have bonus tracks than CDs carrying less tracks than possible for the same price. But I'd love to buy a CD with all Watersons bonus tracks and other material which has not been on the LPs.


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Subject: RE: The Watersons on CD - some nitpicking
From: red max
Date: 11 Sep 03 - 10:09 AM

Wolfgang, if you have all their old LPs then you have all the bonus songs. They're just cobbled together from the albums that hadn't (at that point) been issued on CD. The only exception I'm aware of is a Waterdaughters track on "A True Hearted Girl", but I think you can live without that

The only CD that has any rhyme or reason to it is Frost & Fire, where all the additions are pegged onto the end, and all come from the Sound Your Instruments of Joy LP, which does seem relevant to the content. But of course they could have included ALL its tracks, plenty of room

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Subject: RE: The Watersons on CD - some nitpicking
From: Nerd
Date: 11 Sep 03 - 12:46 PM

Red Max,

I think you're being too suspicious. I don't think Topic will reissue LPs of which only one track is not yet on CD--it probably wouldn't sell, among other things. It's more likely that they'll put those tracks on something like the "Acoustic Folk" box or an "English Voices" compilation, etc. You'll still have to buy them, but you can hope it will be in a more useful context.

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Subject: RE: The Watersons on CD - some nitpicking
From: izzy
Date: 11 Sep 03 - 07:49 PM

I LOVED the picture of Mike Waterson with the geese, and I was very disappointed that Topic saw fit to scrap ot for something else. Does everybody have to be cool all the time, and should folkies even be trying to fit in with fly-by-night trends in CD covers?

However, I am very glad that they kept the original cover for "For Pence and Spicy Ale". Nobody can complain that that looks artificial and trendy.

Rant over. Cheers,


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Subject: RE: The Watersons on CD - some nitpicking
From: red max
Date: 12 Sep 03 - 05:16 AM

Nerd, I had a perfectly good conspiracy theory going, please don't puncture it with common sense!

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