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Hergest Ridge Original recording reissued, Original recording remastered

41 customer reviews

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Audio CD, Original recording reissued, Original recording remastered, July 27, 2000
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1. Hergest Ridge (Part One) - Mike Oldfield
2. Hergest Ridge (Part Two) - Mike Oldfield

Product Details

  • Audio CD (July 27, 2000)
  • Original Release Date: 1974
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Format: Original recording reissued, Original recording remastered
  • Label: Blue Plate Caroline
  • ASIN: B00004T9AG
  • Average Customer Review: 4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (41 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #312,169 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

27 of 30 people found the following review helpful By C.T. Chase on July 27, 2001
Format: Audio CD
Back in the '70's, not long after RIDGE'S release, my mother let me pick out several gifts as usual, that I could have before the "Santa" gifts that went under the tree. Having played the single version of TUBULAR BELLS to death already, I knew I wanted the album and anything else that Mike Oldfield had done. The beautiful blue-green cover of RIDGE hooked me before I even heard the music, and I picked them both. BELLS entranced me as I had expected, but it was RIDGE that made me an Oldfield fan for life. I am not completely sure what happened to my original vinyl copy, but as of now only a beaten-up cassette version of the original mix remains.
Flash-forward almost thirty years. I have longed for a clear, remastered version of the original album mix, and unfortunately, MO fans, this ain't it. I would hate to believe that it was the composer himself who effectively vivisected his own masterpiece, but if he is responsible, then that is exactly what's happened. Much of the beautiful textures and nuances that made the original mix such a dreamy delight are gone; in the first movement alone, a mandolin solo is truncated, much of Ted Hobart's majestic rendering of the melody on trumpet is gone, as well as Chili Charles' snare drum track, and much of the lush string section is muted or rendered close to non-existence. The rest doesn't fare much better.
For those who have never heard this piece, it's probably fine for you to hear this version, but I urge you to seek out the original if you can find it. For dyed-in-the-wool MO fans and aficionados, be warned: CAVEAT EMPTOR. As of now I have the first CD release as well as the remastered version, and I can tell you the difference right off the bat: technically, the new version has a crisper, clearer sound.
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13 of 13 people found the following review helpful By Waiman on March 8, 2003
Format: Audio CD
Despite becoming a No.1 album in the UK, Hergest Ridge remains an often overlooked gem. Sandwiched between two more accessible and dynamic albums (Tubular Bells and Ommadawn) Hergest Ridge is, overall, a quiet pastoral affair that beautifully depicts the idyllic region on the border of England and Wales from where it gets its title. It¡¦s not a piece of music that will immediately grab you but those who persevere will be greatly rewarded, though the thunderstorm section on side two may leave opinions divided.
As pointed out by others, this version of the album is the re-mixed version that first appeared on the Boxed set in ¡¦76. As I own the original vinyl versions of both Tubular Bells and Ommadawn, I can compare the difference and it's mainly with improved clarity and better sound quality. After reading the reviews on this page it is interesting to learn that Hergest Ridge - which I have never heard in its original form - was radically altered. Not only that but it appears that orchestral versions of the album also exist. This leaves me both excited (that these versions exist) and frustrated (that they may never see the light of day). So, come on Virgin how about a double special edition featuring the original mix and orchestral version and give Oldfield fans a real treat.
The re-mastering in this series is uniformly excellent but the cheap booklets and banal liner notes spoil things somewhat. The one nice touch is the formation of the Tubular Bells logo on the spine. To get the full image requires buying the full set, however, and as this would require the purchase of some of Oldfield¡¦s poorer efforts (most notably Platinum and the execrable Earth Moving) my logo will never see completion.
Best bit: the gorgeous 4 minute section from around 8'40".
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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful By Mr. A. Pomeroy on December 20, 2004
Format: Audio CD
'Hergest Ridge' was Oldfield's quieter, less scattershot follow-up to 'Tubular Bells'. The album reached number one in the UK album charts when it was released but, a week later, was displaced by its predecessor, which had spent almost year climbing up the charts. Hergest Ridge is nowadays totally overshadowed by Tubular Bells, which is a shame because it's my favourite Oldfield album. It's similar in style to the b-side of its predecessor, with fewer little diddly bits and more of a flow; putting on my pretentious hat, it's similar to Beethoven's Sixth Symphony, in that it evokes a day in the countryside (complete with a 'storm'). There's nothing as immediately striking as Tubular Bells' opening piano riff, and it flags towards the end of side two, but I still like it.

Originally the album was criticised for sounding a bit odd, because the pre-grunge mixture of quiet bits and loud bits didn't come through very well on cheap vinyl. It benefits greatly therefore for being remastered on CD, and is very much a headphone experience.

As noted elsewhere this is the 1974 'Mike Oldfield Boxed' remix of the album (and is therefore in quadrophonic stereo, if you have the right quad decoder!). It's a remix in the old-school sense, i.e. Oldfield manipulated the sliders, muting some parts and making others louder.

The two are noticeably different, and fan opinion is divided as to the merits of each. Having compared the two - the internet is a wonderful thing - I prefer this version, and I get the impression a lot of people rate the original simply because it's rare... and original. The choral voices in part two are now audible, whilst the odd soloing during the 'storm' sequence has been replaced. The snare drum rolls which heralded transitions have now gone, and it generally sounds a lot slicker (of course, I'm comparing an MP3 of a battered vinyl copy of an album released in 1974 with a professionally remastered product of the modern age, but still).
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