The new Surprise Records import label released the "Joan Deary Tapes". Are we in for a nice surprise?
The new label paid attention to what a lot of fans believe to be the most important (reading the discussion on many message-boards) part of a release; a nicely designed cover and booklet. The Surprise label delivered. We get a good looking booklet in quality print with nice shots of our man illustrated with original album and single covers of the songs on this compilation. The liner notes are just one page - the other pages contain the lyrics - and contain a short bio on Joan Deary. Unfortunately they don't tell anything on the content of the disc, the "legendary" Joan Deary tapes. (Shown below are the preleminary and definitive backcovers)
The set comes with a nice poster, but as it is bigger than the jewel case I have to store it somewhere different and break up the set...
Are we in for a surprise content-wise? Legend wants that the late Joan Deary (Elvis' RCA record producer) worked on the tracks on this compilation for a possible future release on the 'Greatest Hits' series, but after Volume 1 was released a second volume never saw the light of day and rumor has it these professionally remixed tapes were put into the archives.
The Surprise label claims this compilation contains these mixes and they are now available for the first time on this CD. Like many fans I'm not a sound expert who can hear if this is a different mix created using the original studio tapes or a new mix created using previously released material simply enhanced with a fair amount of digital processing using an computerized equalizer, compression, reverb and other options from the dashboard.
Trying to find confirmation on the possibility the original tapes found there way to collectors and/ or import producers also left me empty-handed. The conclusions on various message-boards is inconclusive, but the majority of the votes goes to "fake".
Where does this leave me and you? Seeing that there is no evidence that supports the claim that this disc contains the original Joan Deary tapes - which have been around on CD-Recordable since 2004 with pretty much the same tracklisting in the same sequence - I believe this disc contains fake recordings.
Does that make this a bad release? Well yes of course as it is a bootleg :-) and they try to sell you something that isn't what it is supposed to be. But I must admit though that the CD sounds great on my stereo; it has a full sound which goes very well with the country style songs on this compilation. And the tracks, with the exception of "This Is Our Dance" which I never liked, itself make a strong compilation. It was no punishment to try to find out if this was the real thing and write this review playing this CD a few times.
If these were the tracks the late Joan Deary selected for a greatest hits compilation it would have been a great package. It is sad this never was realized. As for the Surprise label; introducing yourself with a fake a release isn't a very wise way of doing business. If you're in it for the money, just release volume "100" in the "A Legendary Performer" series, you could probably end up with pretty much the same complitation. Let's see what they will release next.
01. Hey Jude
02. Help Me Make It Through The Night
03. Fools Rush In (Where Angels Fear To Trade)
04. I'll Take You Home Again, Kathleen
05. When I'm Over You
06. Always On My Mind
07. It Aint No Big Thing (But Its Growing)
08. I'm Leavin
09. Where Do I Go From Here
10. Until Its Time For You To Go
11. If I Were You
12. Got My Mojo Working / Keep Your Hands Off Of It
14. This Is Our Dance
15. Cindy, Cindy
16. Separate Ways
17. (Thats What You Get) For Lovin Me
19. Love Letters
20. Ill Never Know
21. We Can Make The Morning
22. Early Morning Rain
24. The Sound Of Your Cry