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The Who - Who's Next:
Album: Who's Next
LPs (vinyl) Sampled: Polydor (UK), Decca (USA), MCA-reissue (USA), MCA Masterphile Series-1/2 speed master (Canada), MCA (Canada), Polydor (Germany), Polydor (Greece), Polydor (Japan), First (Taiwan)
CDs (original mix) Sampled: Polydor (Germany), MCA-1st pressing (USA), MCA-2nd pressing (USA), MCA-3rd pressing (USA), MCA (Canada), MCA-Gold Disc (USA), Polydor (Japan)
CDs (remix) Sampled: Polydor (Germany), MCA (USA), MFSL (USA), Polydor (Japan)
CDs (Deluxe Edition) Sampled: Polydor (UK) Promo, MCA (USA)
LP Comments: Sonically, I'd give the edge to the Decca (USA) version. However, the vinyl is overall better quality on the Polydor (UK) & (Germany) versions. The Polydor (Japan) version is a bit duller. The MCA-Masterphile Series (Canada) is hard to track down, and there's really nothing special about it other than the sticker on the front cover. In 1995 MCA issued a "virgin vinyl" on "heavy vinyl" and it has been reported that there are defects on some of the copies (i.e. one channel is dead on certain song(s).) My copy is still sealed and not available for comparison at this time.
CD (original mix) comments: The 3rd pressing by MCA sounds real good. However, the Canadian version sounds even better! If you like the original mix of this album, this is the one to get. The Polydor (Germany) copy was never upgraded from its original issue. Too much unnecessary hiss—obviously made from tapes too far removed from the masters. I find the MCA-Gold disc a bit too bright.
CD (remix) comments: Both Polydor (Germany) and MCA (USA) copies sound identical. The Mobile Fidelity Sound Labs (MFSL) sounds slightly duller than the Polydor (German) or MCA (USA). Whereas the former sounds "crisp" in certain areas, the MFSL version sounds slightly dull - enough to be a bit annoying. The Polydor (Japan) copy has too much extra bass in the mastering that detracts from the sound quality, but ... may sound fine on certain stereo systems.
CD (Deluxe Edition) comments: The first disc (original album & the NY Sessions) is outstanding. Excellent sound quality - nice, smooth mastering. The remix of "Getting In Tune" from the NY Sessions is absolutely wonderful. Unfortunately, the studio versions "Too Much Of Anything" and "I Don't Even Know Myself" which were previously included on the remixed CD were dropped. However, the versions of the NY Sessions that were previously edited on the remixed CD have been restored in length. Disc 2, is an edited performance of the 1971 Young Vic concert. Some of these performances were included on the previously issued remixed CD, but they have been remixed again (similar to "Live At Leeds -see track listing below) are incredible. Unfortunately, the mastering utilizes excessive noise reduction and compression - this causes the sound and feel to be somewhat sterile.
Disc 1 of The Polydor (UK) promo has a bit more ambience and sounds more "musical" than Disc 1 of the MCA (USA). Disc 2 of the MCA (USA) sounds a little better than Polydor (UK) promo. There seems to be a little extra bass on the MCA, which improves the overall feel.
Summary: Until the release of "Who's Next Deluxe", the excellent sound of the original mix of the Canadian CD pressing seems to be the "fans choice". The sound of Disc 1 on "Who's Next Deluxe" (UK promo) supercedes that. Unfortunately, the "Deluxe Edition" is one disc short - you still need to have the remix version in order to have all of the related bonus tracks.
Note: At this time I have not reviewed the UK/German stock copy of "Who's Next Deluxe" and therefore don't know if it will have the same characteristics as the UK promo.
Other Comments: According to Producer, Jon Astley, it was a tough judgment call not to stray too far from the original mix of this album in reissuing it (i.e. leaving off master tape goodies like the extra lead guitar track in "Going Mobile" or the repeated lyrics in "My Wife", etc.) as this album seems to be somewhat of a "sacred cow" amongst fans. While some (like myself) would consider these changes improvements, others might decry, "sacrilege!" Some of the master tapes were lost and not able to be remixed. On the remix version, "Too Much Of Anything" is not the version from "Odds & Sods" as the liner notes indicate, but rather an outtake, previously unreleased.
About: Who's Next
Original: Baba O'Riley, Bargain, Love Ain't For Keeping, My Wife, Song Is Over, Getting In Tune, Going Mobile, Behind Blue Eyes, Won't Get Fooled Again
Remix: Baba O'Riley, Bargain, Love Ain't For Keeping, My Wife, Song Is Over, Getting In Tune, Going Mobile, Behind Blue Eyes, Won't Get Fooled Again, Pure And Easy - (previously unreleased), Baby Don't You Do It - (previously unreleased), Naked Eye - (live), Water - (live), Too Much Of Anything (previously unreleased version), I Don't Even Know Myself, Behind Blue Eyes - (previously unreleased)
Deluxe Edition: Disc 1:Baba O'Riley, Bargain, Love Ain't For Keeping, My Wife, Song Is Over, Getting In Tune, Going Mobile, Behind Blue Eyes, Won't Get Fooled Again, Baby Don't You Do It (NY Sessions), Getting In Tune (NY Sessions), Pure And Easy (NY Sessions), Love Ain't For Keeping (NY Sessions), Behind Blue Eyes (NY Sessions), Won't Get Fooled Again (NY Sessions)
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