Celebrating the 30th anniversary release of Boston’s first record back in 1976, guitarist Tom Scholz has remastered the entire album and Epic has included liner notes by both Scholz and Rolling Stone contributing editor, David Wild, and the new disc includes special “collectible” packaging as well. I didn’t have the original CD issue to compare with this reissue, but right off the bat the sound wasn’t bad. The recording has an edge and some lack of clarity/resolution, but it’s not hard to focus on individual instruments (or voice) when one tries. Fidelity was better when the material was more acoustic and had a simpler mix such as the lead vocals on “Long Time,” the guitars on “Hitch A Ride,” and most of “Let Me Take You Home Tonight.”
The debut sold more than 17 million records and even though only three of the tracks were high charters, most of the record is solid. “Smokin’” is a track that many will recognize and gets fairly good airplay, as does “Hitch A Ride,” “Let Me Take You Home Tonight,” and “Rock & Roll Band.” In the booklet Scholz discusses the early recording process (that mostly took place in his basement) and all the difficulty with the record company—funny since they are the ones producing this re-release. Wild gushes on and on about the importance of the band and sheds a little light on the history surrounding the band’s music.
For those who don’t already own this seminal rock ’n’ roll record, it should be high up on the purchase list, while for those who own an older record, I wouldn’t rush to replace unless it’s scratched – cardboard covers are favored to plastic jewel boxes, or for the slightly improved sound (making an assumption here). Songs included are: More Than A Feeling; Peace Of Mind; Foreplay/Long Time; Rock & Roll Band; Smokin’; Hitch A Ride; Something About You; Let Me Take You Home Tonight.
– Brian Bloom