One of the nice things about reviewing CDs from Mobile Fidelity is that the company rarely remasters an album that's a dud musically. When you've got a fairly limited target market to sell to even under the best conditions, it doesn't make a whole lot of sense to work on re-releasing tunes that sucked the first time around. Normally, the remasters I review are ones that I've had for years and listened to hundreds of times. When I saw John Hiatt's Slow Turning on the list of new releases, I decided to review it even though I'd never actually heard the whole recording before. I had a source available for the original CD, I recalled the title track as being a decent song from radio airtime, and I thought it would be nice to try out some new music instead of rehashing old favorites.
"Sometime Other Than Now"
Would you believe that the last time I heard this song, when it was popular in the late '80s, I didn't realize who Charlie Watts was? After seeing Charlie up close and larger than life during the IMAX Rolling Stones concert film, I can really appreciate a reference to his playing nowadays.
The original liner notes are good, with complete lyrics and a couple of pictures. Mobile Fidelity adds an introduction written by John Hiatt, where he talks a bit about the recording process and commends the "superduper, gold-plated remastering with semisonic enhancers and exciters, employed to dizzying effect." I hadn't realized MoFi's GAIN 2 system used semisonic excitation technology; now I know. A bit of short background about each song rounds out Hiatt's commentary.
Slow Turning is one of those cool southern-rock recordings that never degenerates into the sort of twangy material I hate in music with more of a country influence. A bonus was rediscovering "Paper Thin," a ditty I also recall from the radio even though the title had long faded from memory. Mobile Fidelity gives a welcome modernization to Hiatt's sound, which was somewhat unbalanced frequency-wise in the original CD release.
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