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4.7 out of 5 stars
Format: Audio CD|Change
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Showing 1-10 of 45 reviews(Verified Purchases). See all 81 reviews
on July 16, 2016
Streetlife Serenade has been for a very long time my favorite Billy Joel album. To date I have now purchased this album three times, and it was worth it every time. I originally was entranced by it on cassette in the early 90s. I have had the original CD issue for a very long time. If you listen to the original issue carefully with really good headphones you can hear just how poor quality they got out of the originally mixed tape as the tape hiss is overwhelming for any modern recording, even analog. Yet I've still been entranced by it. With this reissue they have done an amazing job. I just finished listening to this version, and I realize that before this I've only heard about 20% of what the recording has to offer. What comes out now is pure elegant yet humble brilliance.

I don't know how many people who like Billy Joel have heard any of the songs here, yet along the entire album. The styles of each song show his tremendous breadth of musical style. Yet they all just somehow seem to naturally lead one into the next from beginning to end anyway. With this issue I am hearing a few new things. First, the lyrics are very clear and crisp, and you can appreciate all the humor, basic humanity and sentimentality that comes off as pure brilliance in the lyrics. Second, I never realized how much this album really rocks! I had always thought of Streetlife Serenade as a very laid back, quiet piece of work. But with everything so crisp and fresh the drums, vocals, rhythm and technically on point piano playing suddenly comes to life.

This is in my mind truly the best Billy Joel issue one could ever buy.
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on August 3, 2016
"Streetlife Serenade" by Billy Joel is the prettiest album of his career. This record (his 3rd studio album) is so underrated. It's sandwiched in between his breakthrough album, "Piano Man" and "Turnstiles" which is considered a masterpiece. Billy Joel did admit that he didn't have a lot of material while working on this album, but there some really beautiful songs here like, "Streetlife Serenader" which has a gorgeous and unforgettable piano melody. "The Great Suburban Showdown" is subtle but has powerful, heartfelt lyrics. "Roberta" is about a "lady of the night" and "Los Angelenos" is an up-tempo track with a killer keyboard riff (the lyrics are pretty cool, too). "Last of the Big Time Spenders" and "Weekend Song" are decent songs, but not as good as the others. "Souvenir" contains Billy's best vocal. Wow. What a voice. It's a short little ditty but it's extremely emotional. It will give you chills. "The Entertainer" (the only single released from this album) contains hilarious and sarcastic lyrics. Such a brilliant track. I love Billy's wicked sense of humor. There's 2 instrumental tracks, "Root Beer Rag" which has a touch of vaudeville, and "The Mexican Connection" which I absolutely adore. It's so whimsical. A lovely album by an even lovelier man. He's a genius and yet so humble. One of the best singer/songwriters of our time. Enjoy!
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This review is for the SACD from Audio Fidelity.

Before the explosion of wide spread fame thst engulfed Billy Joel, he made a series of singer/songwriter albums that largely get overlooked except for "Piano Man" (which was a break through selling a million copies on the strength of the title single and FM playing "Captain Jack").
"Turnstyles" and "Streetlife Serenade".
The latter album receives a nice upgrade with an SACD release that makes use of the multi-channel quad tapes for the first time in over 40 years. For those that don't know, quadrophonic was a brief craze for music fans with upscale systems because of the early multi-channel analog capability. These tapes have largely remained unheard for years and it's nice to have these available again.

To be clear-the multi-channel capability is ONLY available on the SACD layer of the disc not the CD layer. This can be played on CD players as well because this is a hybrid disc. The multi-channel is presented in, not a surprise, 4.0 (hence the word quadrophonic). Both the stereo and SACD layers sound exceptinal with plenty of dynamics and no noticeable distortion during playback.

The booklet features the credits as well as pictures of the original labels for the quad vinyl releases from the 1970's.

My only issue with this album is that there are a few filler tracks in my opinion but the best material here measures up to Joel's classic material after "The Stranger".

If you only know Billy Joel from his big singles, this is a terrific album to listen to and will gice you a slightly different view of Joel before the massive explosion of fame with "The Stranger".
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on June 14, 2015
If you've ever liked this CD, which admittitdly is not the best CD in the early cannon - and not the worst - this is the very best this CD has EVER sounded - and you get the QUAD sound - which was done back in the 70s but restored here in luscious precision On THE ENTERTAINER and LOS ANGELENOS the QUAD is used to stunning effect. I"m still listening to this so will add to my review as I listen more, but this is a fantastic way to hear this CD - the best way.
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on August 28, 2016
The old quad mixes hold up rather well and the transfer to SACD is spectacular. A rich balanced sonic experience. Discs like these could very well resurrect the format. Makes buying that OPPO player hooked to a great system all worth it. Lots of "new" Billy Joel to explore as these songs have not had the AirPlay however they easily match the SACD sonics.
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on March 9, 2003
This CD is a little off the path Billy Joel would carve in later years; it was made before Billy formed his steady band, and the studio players he employed do give the music kind of a country twang. In addition, the Moog synthesizers, etc. definitely date the album. Despite all this, this CD represents one of Joel's finest hours. This is a unique portrait of an artist before commercialization and fame (i.e., before he came out with "The Bridge," which states that the name "Billy Joel" is a registered trademark), and the result is that it's just honest, soulful music, played hard. With the possible exception of "Songs in the Attic," I don't think I've heard another Billy Joel album as energetic as this one; he really pours his heart and soul into these performances. The lyric material, too, is as brilliant as anything Joel ever wrote. "The Entertainer," of course, provides a satirical look at what it takes to be "famous" in America's music world, but "The Great Suburban Showdown" is a surprising standout: it's a bitingly sardonic attack on the monotony of suburbia. "Weekend Song" is one of those high twang-factor songs, but it's a rocker nonetheless, and makes the kind of impression Joel wanted to make with "Glass Houses" six years later--except that he sounds even more impassioned here. This is also the case with the funky "Los Angelenos." "Last of the Big Time Spenders" and "Roberta" are both ballads, although "Spenders" is more bluesy while "Roberta" is more reflective (and it handles the subject matter better than Sting's "Roxanne," in my humble opinion). This album also contains what was until recently a rarity in the Billy Joel world: instrumentals. "The Mexican Connection" is another surprising standout; it definitely sounds like the '70s, but it's a funky-yet-relaxing piano-driven piece that does indeed sound like a summer day on the beaches of Mexico (or at least, like my conception of same). "Root Beer Rag" is just awesome in its virtuosity, and provided America with its first real indication that the "Piano Man" could back up that title in spades. Not much to say about "Streetlife Serenader," actually; it's an OK song, but it's not up to the level of the rest of this album. The thing is, that level is surprisingly high. This is Billy Joel in his formative years as a musician, and knowing where he would go from here makes this music, which is already brilliant, that much more enthralling.
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on March 21, 2016
This record is awesome! I have it on cassette and the vinyl is so much crisper and clearer. I heard things in the music I'd never heard before. I'm only a few albums away from having his entire discography on vinyl.
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on June 28, 2015
It's been just now...over 40 years ago...when my older brother first purchased this on vinyl record. Now..that I got this on CD...it sounded sooo very beautifully....and it refreshed my memories...since when I was just only 10 years old...from the summer of '75! Thank you Amazon!
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on March 18, 2016
Los Angelenos and The Entertainer are the standout tracks here, while the instrumental Root Beer Rag showcases a side of Joel's compositional and pianist skills you may not have seen before. Well worth the six bucks I paid.
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on July 6, 2016
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