Sunday, July 13, 2014

The Jayhawks - Rainy Day Music Remaster

It's not often you see a remastered CD that is quieter than the original CD. But that's the case with the new reissue of The Jayhawks' 2003 album Rainy Day Music.

Waveform for "Tailspin" from Original CD (2003)
 Waveform for "Tailspin" from Remastered CD (2014)

Kudos to the Jayhawks and remastering engineer Vic Anesini for getting it right this time. The music really does sound much more natural now. The quieter remastering suits the gentle grace of the music better than the louder original mastering.

The album was originally recorded and mixed to analog tape by Ethan Johns and (from what I understand) the upcoming 2 LP reissue will may or may not be cut from analog tape. In the meantime, the new CD sounds really nice, and has 6 bonus cuts.

The vastly underrated Smile and Sound Of Lies have also been reissued on CD with bonus cuts, and will also be subject to 2 LP reissues. Just don't expect the same substantial sonic upgrade as with Rainy Day Music.


Luke said...

Not certain, but I'm doubting the LPs will be cut directly from the analog tapes, as the correct mix/edit of "Stumbling Through The Dark" is MIA (the remaster utilizes the previous digital master), and "Sound of Lies" was edited after mixing, and I don't believe the edits are on the tape (they were definitely digitally recreated for the remaster). And some of the bonus tracks didn't come from analog sources.

Pete Bilderback said...

Thanks Luke. I noticed that the first song didn't sound as good as the rest. It seemed the volume of the original version was merely attenuated to match the overall lower volume of the rest of the album, but no added dynamics. Everything else sounds great! Interesting to learn what happened...a pity. Great song too.

It all seems such a short time ago to me, hard to see how something would go missing...but then I guess it really was a while ago now.

I thought I had read on the Jayhawks facebook page that the Rainy Day Music LP would be cut from the analog tapes, but obviously the first track can't be.

Interesting fact about SoL, I did not know that...I know the Smile master is digital.

Generally I don't get too worked up about LPs being cut from digital, but I know some folks do. Thanks again for the info.

Luke said...

Right, "Stumbling" is just lowered in level by about 6dB.

I think the issue is changes were made at the last minute originally, and those were not archived with the analog masters. Besides the edits in "Sound of Lies" and whatever happened with "Stumbling", the analog tapes for those albums aren't sequenced in the final running order. Looking now:

Sound of Lies reel 1:
Think About It
The Man Who Loved Life
The Sound of Lies
It's Up To You

Sound of Lies reel 2:
Poor Little Fish
Stuck In The Mud
Big Star
16 Down
Dying On The Vine

Note Bottomless Cup isn't listed; that song and Think About It were mixed elsewhere. It isn't clear if the mix of the latter on reel 1 is the final mix or an alternate.

Rainy Day Music reel:
Stumblin' Through The Dark (believe this is the reprise)
Rotterdam (All The Right Reasons)
Pretty Little Hairdo (Save It For A Rainy Day)
Don't Let The World...
Come To The River
You Look So Young
Tampa To Tulsa
One Man's Problem
See You In Heaven
Tailspin unedited print
SarahJane alt print

Different order, and the lead-off "Stumbling" missing.

Not certain if the Smile master is digital or not. The remastered tracks don't stay in sync with the original CD, FWIW.

Pete Bilderback said...

They posted photos of the master tapes for each of the albums on their facebook page and the photo for Smile was a U-Matic tape. I'm assuming that's what Vic worked from in remastering, but that could be an erroneous assumption. It was the only one that they didn't post pics of analog reel to reel tapes.

Just listened tonight, and Smile also seems to be a nice sonic upgrade over the original.

Luke said...

That Smile U-matic was used for reference, but it wasn't used to master from. That U-matic should be identical to the original CD. I'm not sure if the master is analog or digital, but I know that isn't the master.

Pete Bilderback said...

Ah, thanks. If you do find out, please report back. Thanks again.