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Cold Spring Harbor Enhanced, Original recording reissued, Original recording remastered

4.4 out of 5 stars 54 customer reviews

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Audio CD, Enhanced, Original recording reissued, October 20, 1998
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Product Details

  • Audio CD (October 20, 1998)
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Format: Enhanced, Original recording reissued, Original recording remastered
  • Label: Sony
  • ASIN: B00000DCHH
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (54 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #241,361 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

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Customer Reviews

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By D. Solomon on September 30, 2005
Format: Audio CD
This is still my favorite Billy Joel Album, and I have all of his albums. The main difference between this reissue, and the original LP, is that all of the orchestral tracks were removed on the reissue. Then there is the issue of the off-speed tape recorder used on the original LP. Billy Joel's voice was slightly higher pitched, but at the time nobody knew any better, as this was his first recording. The reissue pitches his voice lower, so that he sounds like the Billy Joel we know today.
In 1971, I owned a record store and was sent a copy of "Cold Spring Harbor." The original pressings were on the "Family Productions" label, and distributed by Paramount Records. Every time I played it in the store, someone would ask me where they could buy it. I tried to order it many times, but could only secure one more copy. Because Paramount wouldn't promote the album, Billy Joel broke his contract and hid out in Los Angeles for over a year. During this time, he worked in a piano bar under an assumed name. This later became the inspiration for "Piano Man."
This album was reissued in the 80's by Columbia records, and the powers that be evidently thought the original was overproduced, so the above mentioned changes were made. Maybe it is because I became a fan listening to the fuller sounding LP, that I still prefer it to the reissue which I also own. Regardless, the songs are wonderful, and the time I first heard it, I told everybody that he would become the next Elton John. I wasn't too far off.
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Format: Audio CD
Cold Spring Harbor was originally released in the early '70s on a small label. The album was terrific classic Joel, although the vinyl pressing was not: Someone goofed when mastering the album, and sped the tape up by about 8%, making Joel sound something like a deep-throated chipmonk. The record sold zilch and went out of print long before Joel became a star. In the mid '80s, with Joel now a megastar, it was announced that the album would be remastered and re-released. That was great news to the fans who knew and loved the first effort.

But they didn't just remaster and re-release the album. Instead, Joel played with it. He remixed it. He added instruments. He changed the whole sound of the album. What finally emerged was a travesty: Lethargic, uninvolving, lacking most of the charm of the original.

I suppose this will do (and will have to do) for those without turntables and/or without an interest in record collecting. But be aware that it's nothing more than a hollow echo of the real beast that owns this name.

For shame.
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Format: Audio CD
Cold Spring Harbor is typically ignored as an album. Much more looked at is its follow-up, Piano Man, which of course spawned the title hit of the same name. Glossing over Cold Spring Harbor, however, is a grievous error. It may be different from other Billy Joel albums (heck, they're all different!), but it is by no means inferior. Every song is notable, but for length's sake, only the highest of the highlights shall be addressed.
She's Got A Way is the most well-known song on the album on account of its becoming a hit from the Songs In The Attic CD. It is a beautiful love song and a wonderful piece of music, truly deserving of its hit stature.
You Can Make Me Free is another excellent song, truly uplifting in melody. Nobody believes me, but I swear Billy sounds like Freddie Mercury towards the end of the song. . .
The original version of Everybody Loves You Now is, I think, superior to the Songs In The Attic version, especially where drumming is concerned. Fantastically sarcastic.
Tomorrow Is Today is a fabulous, insightful look at the repetitive mundane nature of life. Intelligently depressing and melodically beautiful with a little bit of gospel in the middle.
Nocturne is a nary-mentioned instrumental, an extremely early predecessor, if you will, of the classical music Billy is currently producing.
Got To Begin Again is a beautiful closing song, and excellent end to an excellent album.
Cold Spring Harbor is primarily a melodic piano-based album. If that is the sort of thing you are looking for, then it behooves you to purchase Cold Spring Harbor.
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Format: Audio CD
Just thought I'd clear up a few things about this album.

First off, the original 1971 vinyl LP release of this album did have one major flaw due to a mastering goof, the songs were slightly too fast, resulting in Joel's voice sounding higher-pitched than it really is. In 1983, the album was re-mastered, re-mixed, re-tooled, and re-released on CD by producer Artie Ripp(who owned the original master tapes), without Joel's involvement or consent. While all this fiddling around did fix the tape speed, it removed much of the original orchestration and added drum machines and synthesizers to give it an updated feel (which also changed the whole sound and feel of the album).

Second, as of 2006, this is still the only version of the album readily available on CD. For as great of album this should be(the music itself is pretty good), the shoddy remastering really brings it down. While not up to the quality of his later albums, this fairly solid debut deserves to be released in a version that combines both the LP and CD (fixed tape speed, restored orchestration, removed cheesy 80s effects). Unfortunately, that looks like it may never happen.
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