Fragile - Cherrelle
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Cherrelle's ground-breaking 1985 debut album includes the singles "Fragile... Handle with Care" and "I Didn't Mean to Turn You On", which became a hit for Robert Palmer. This expanded edition includes additional remixes and alternate versions.
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Some additional notes on my review: My poor review of the bonus material is not strictly because the bonus material is from vinyl. I am actually a huge vinyl collector and vinyl can sound very good when recorded and mastered correctly. I also understand that in many cases the master tapes for the 7'' and 12'' versions are no longer available and vinyl is the best source available. The problem here is that the vinyl recordings are not that good. It sounds like:
1. most of the records used were not in mint condition. The first step in getting a good vinyl recording is using a good clean (unplayed or barely played) copy of the record. Most of these titles are not that rare and it would not have been hard to find mint copies to use for these re-issues. I personally have mint or sealed copies of many of these titles in my collection. There are many collectors like myself who would have gladly offered assistance in finding mint copies to use for these re-issues.
2. It is hard to tell for certain, but considering the vinyl copies used were not that good, I highly doubt they used an audiophile grade turntable or pickup cartridge to do these recordings. Using a high quality turntable, cartridge, and phono stage (pre-amp) is essential to getting good vinyl recordings. A DJ or mid-grade consumer cartridge, stylus, and pre-amp will not due.
3. The worst part about these recordings is that it sounds like they used a "one size fits all" filter/plugin setting over most of the recordings. Filters or other restoration tools are generally used in vinyl recordings to remove pops/clicks and reduce surface noise. If you do not have the filters calibrated correctly for each record or set the gain too high, you will end up with digital artifacts or other unwanted audible side effects. You can actually kill a good vinyl recording with bad post mastering. As mentioned in one of my other reviews, the filters are so aggressive on some of these recordings that they actually cut off the tip of the kick drums (filter confused the tip of the kick as an unwanted pop or click in the record and removed it). Other recordings just have a thin or tinny sound because the filter is pulling out some of the subharmonics when attempting to remove the surface noise. It takes someone with extensive experience in recording and remastering vinyl to produce quality vinyl remasters and these recordings are just not good.
Bottom line, I wish Tabu would have put more time and effort into the bonus material. I assume that is why most people are buying these. It is a shame because the packaging is beautiful and these are such classic albums. Jimmy Jam and Terry Lewis had some of the best sounding production ever and I wish these re-issues fully captured that.
In defense of The Demon Music Group (makers of these re-issues), they may not have done these recordings. These may be the recordings they were given from Universal (owners of most of the Tabu catalog). I say this because some of the recordings are identical to the ones used on the recent "Icon" collections issued by Universal. You can see my review of those collections separately (they sound horrible). I hope the Demon Music Group will see some of these negative reviews and decide to use better recordings for future releases.