Badfinger - Straight
by Greg Smith
Straight Up fits in a niche of recordings I've always found particularly interesting: Todd Rundgren productions. In this case, Todd was brought in after a long session between the band and George Harrison proved failed to deliver a timely product the record company was happy with. Since Rundgren is far from a transparent producer, his influence (in a similar fashion to XTC's Skylarking) helps make this my favorite Badfinger album. Capitol's CD release of Straight Up already included information on this in its volume of liner notes, along with many of the original versions of the tracks. DCC didn't have a mess to clean up here, but they manage to give some incremental improvements that make this an even better sounding album.
Opening up is "Take it All," which benefits from the remastered treatment with clear vocals and more crisp cymbals. "Name of the Game" reveals more of the difference between versions. There's obviously more hiss on that track, and more hiss generally means the high-frequency information has come through intact. Also notable are increased dynamics and a big improvement on transients, with considerably more snap when called for. The new version of "Day After Day" really moves the guitars forward and highlights the sound quality of their strings. Listening to one of the bonus tracks, like "Suitcase," reveals firmer bass and the sharper transients as well.
The differences here are small, but if you like Straight Up as much as I do every little bit of improvement is worth chasing after. While those with the less expensive version aren't left too far behind, to get the best sound from this recording you'll have to dish out the extra cash for DCC's release.
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