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Cold Spring Harbor [1CD]
Original 1971 vinyl mix, pitch corrected and de-clicked.
Billy Joel was already a seasoned, if commercially unsuccessful professional when he signed with producer/manager Artie Ripp’s “Family Productions” label in 1971. Previously Joel had recorded for the United Artists label (two albums with “The Hassles”) and Epic (one album with “Attila”).
Joel recorded the album “Cold Spring Harbor” for the “Family Productions” label, but, though the album was musically good, and the beginning of the musical style that made Joel famous, the actual LP horrified Joel. Due to technical problems, likely a two-track recorder running slow during mixdown, the music played 6 to 10 per cent faster during mastering, and the resulting vinyl LP played too fast. [The wikipedia reported that according to a long standing rumor, when Joel first heard the finished product, he “ripped it off the turntable, ran out of the house, and threw [the record] down the street.”]
Joel wanted the album withdrawn and corrected, but “Family Productions” decided to cut their losses, and said “No”. Joel then broke his contract with “Family Productions” and signed with CBS. The settlement with Artie Ripp proved very costly to Billy Joel. Starting from the album “Piano Man” in 1973, Artie Ripp would receive (and still receives) 20 per cent of the artist royalties from the albums that Joel released from 1973 to 1986. (This is why the “Family Productions” logo appears on the labels of all Billy Joel albums up to 1986’s “The Bridge”.
It is worth noting that even based on hearing the “Cold Spring Harbor” album in its sped-up form, the short-lived “Words & Music” magazine stated (in its July 1972 issue) “It’s exciting to watch this performer start to happen. Billy Joel has all the right things going for him that could, with any luck at all, catipult him to the top.”
Not content to rake in enormous amounts of money from Joel’s subsequent commercially successful albums (“All this because he ‘discovered’ me” says Joel), Artie Ripp decided to get in his final licks against Billy Joel in a remixed, pitch-corrected, but (musically) drastically altered and overdubbed version of the “Cold Spring Harbor” album and, surprisingly, Columbia released it in 1983.
It is not known whether Joel could have stopped the release of the altered album, even if he wanted to. He never commented publicly on the remix. In the 1983 edition, “You Can Make Me Free” has been chopped down to less than half its original length. On the folk-rock tune “Everybody Loves You Now”, a new rhythm section (musicians who had never worked with Joel) was overdubbed, imposing a galloping disco beat onto a song from the pre-disco era. The same overdubbed bassist and drummer, plus an electric piano player and a synthesizer player have been overdubbed onto “Turn Around” replacing most of the original backing musicians, and on “Tomorrow is Today”, the bass, drums and orchestra have been mixed out, leaving only piano and vocals.
This bootleg edition is a de-clicked, pitch-corrected dub of the original “Family Productions” LP, so you can hear the album as Billy Joel intended it. No still-living performer should have his music subjected to a posthumous-style doctoring akin to what Alan Douglas did to the music on Jimi Hendrix’s “Crash Landing” and “Midnight Lightning” albums. - Philip Cohen
Thanks to Phil for sharing the tracks.
Note: A longtime music fan, Philip Cohen was a contributor to the now-defunct ICE Magazine and compiled the boxsets for The Yardbirds, The Small Faces, Humble Pie and Nice.
Click on the highlighted tracks to download the MP3s (these are high quality MP3s - sample rate of 224 kbps).
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Track 01. She’s Got A Way (4.5MB)
Track 02. You Can Make Me Free (9.4MB)
Track 03. Everybody Loves You Now (4.5MB)
Track 04. Why Judy Why (4.6MB)
Track 05. Falling Of The Rain (4.2MB)
Track 06. Turn Around (5.5MB)
Track 07. You Look So Good To Me (3.8MB)
Track 08. Tomorrow Is Today (7.7MB)
Track 09. Nocturne (4.2MB)
Track 10. Got To Begin Again (4.6MB)
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