The DCC packaging is a slipcase replica of the original Atco vinyl (black on alfoil) - a labour of love on Steve Hoffmans (majordomo of DCC) part (the above scan does not do it justice!). The CR version cover is the inferior black on grey, although the discs have part replicas of the cover embossed on them. The packaging alone represents a significant part of the cost of this version. Note: DCC pays all standard royalties/company profit margin and then has to recover its own costs/profit on top.
The DCC sound is again superior to the other remasters in the same way as Fresh Cream. There is some distortion introduced into Passing the Time on TWTD between 0:25 and 0:29 as well. Oddly, the CR version doesnt have the extended Passing The Time heard on the 2 other versions. There is an example of digital overload on Traintime at 0:14 (on TWTD and CR) where Jacks harmonica causes very severe crackling that is just not present on the DCC.
The DCC includes Anyone for Tennis as a bonus track plus the original shortened Passing the Time. Alternate mixes of Sitting on Top of the World and As You Said are provided with slightly recessed bass and higher acoustic guitar, respectively - nothing really significant. These alternate mixes are not available on most DCC versions so clearly two different editions were pressed.
The biggest difference between versions is on the live tracks with TWTD having a quite different balance with the drums higher, and clearer, with guitar relatively recessed. I prefer the DCC balance, as its closer to Felix's, but the addition of TWTD's clarity on the drums would make it even better.
The Goodbye live tracks (from the LA Forum) were very heavily equalized on TWTD to correct the muddy mix originally heard on the 2 track master prepared by Felix Pappalardi (or was it Bill Halverson?). The original sound is completely skewed towards Jacks bass (to the detriment of everything else the sound is almost AM radio like) in the right channel. Huge treble lift and bass cut on TWTD restored the balance so you can actually hear Gingers snare rolls and cymbal work on TWTD you also lose some of Gingers bass drum work, but this is still a better compromise. Also guitar is now right, bass left with some reasonable spread on the drums but, oddly, on the CR they reverted to the traditional channel allocation. Take care with the CR and MoFi versions for this reason. TWTD doesnt include the Goodbye version of Politician, so you may as well get the MoFi (which is better than the CR and includes a reproduction of the poster issued with the original Atco vinyl). Some distortion was introduced into the guitar on Im So Glad between 8:35 and 8:37 on TWTD
Generally, the MoFi is the version to get (the MoFi comes as a double CD with slip-case) The exception is the Oakland Coliseum tracks on Live Vol II. Here, it sounds as though 2 different masters were used. The MoFi and CR use the same one as used for vinyl issues; TWTD uses a different tape that sounds cleaner, doesnt have volume alterations on the fly, omits "fizzy" overload distortion and avoids Ginger's cymbals splashing into other microphones all over the stereo image. Although these tracks are a little bright, they sound so much cleaner than the MoFi and CR that TWTD is the clear winner on these tracks. The other tracks sounds like a weedier version of the MoFi, and are thus classed inferior. I suspect that until recently, only the vinyl eq tape existed for Live Vol II which included a faulty transfer of the Oakland Coliseum tapes. The MoFi Sweet Wine sounds as though the tape used was very slightly out of alignment with the replay head the TWTD is slightly better. In summary, TWTD is necessary for the superior sound of the LA Forum live tracks on Goodbye and the Oakland Coliseum tracks on Live Vol. II as well as the extra unissued tracks (the Disraeli Gears rehearsals, the alternative version of NSU live at Winterland.) Otherwise, the MoFi and DCC issues are preferable sonically.
© 2001 by John Buchanan