Mobile Fidelity - UDSACD 2125 - SACD Hybrid Stereo
Numbered Limited Edition - Plays On All CD Players
Half Speed Mastered by Rob LoVerde from the Original Master Tape
Mastered on the Mobile Fidelity GAIN 2 Mastering Technology for Ultradisc UHR Hybrid SACD
Stripped-Back, Unobtrusive 1967 Album a Mellow Return to Dylan's Roots and Harbinger of Country Rock
Leave it to Bob Dylan to follow three of the most pioneering electric-based albums in history by again deviating from the norm and straying from expectation. Hinting at a return to his folk roots and firmly pointing toward the field that became country rock,John Wesley Harding breathes with relief and freshness, the sound of an artist re-engaging with the past, forging a future, and stepping into new realms after recovering from an motorbike crash and unimaginable pressure.
Mastered on Mobile Fidelity’s world-renowned mastering system version presents the 1967 album with the finite details and impressionistic tones. Immediately notable for the slimmed-down instrumentation, brisk flow, and simple approach, the record continues to endure via a rustic, era-defying naturalism tied to the organic sounds and warm production swathing Dylan’s acoustic guitar, mellow voice, breezy harmonica, and minor accompaniments. All of these traits translate with incredible realism and lifelike air on this reissue, which also brings out the low end of Charlie McCoy’s bass with a previously unheard supple character. Wider grooves mean more information reaches your ears.
Recorded around the same time as the sessions that yielded The Basement Tapes, John Wesley Harding came together after just three studio sessions and approximately 12 hours of time. While many specifics are shrouded in mystery, a majority of songs are tied to Biblical figures, ominous matters, and morality themes. Making not just a clear sonic break from his most recent efforts, but a songwriting transformation as well, Dylan embraces a strict economy of scale, dropping beat-poetry techniques in favor of stanzas that waste no words and progress narratives at every turn. It’s as if the Bard is saying that truth is spoken here. Few, if any artists, have captured the American myth and its population of immigrants, drifters, and outlaws with such convincing scope and parabolic sagacity.
Combined with the lyrical evolution and unabashed move towards country conventions, Dylan manages to turn popular music on its side, forging a subdued hybrid style no other peers had yet attempted. Arriving during a period of intense experimentalism and psychedelia, John Wesley Harding functions as a sigh of relief, a piano- and pedal steel-flavored set steeped in requisite simplicity in an environment that was increasingly marked by chaos and madness.
Climbing to number two on the Billboard charts and quickly tallying one million in sales, the pared-down work resonated with a public ensnared by its myriad charms. Then, of course, there’s the utter brilliance of every one of the songs here, each seemingly occupying a timeless space that suggests they could’ve been made in 1967, 1937, or 2007. With “All Along the Watchtower,” Dylan landed upon a tune that would soon become one of the most-covered and revered tracks in history. And yet it isn’t even a standout on an album on which every note just belongs.
1. John Wesley Harding
2. As I Went Out One Morning
3. I Dreamed I Saw St. Augustine
4. All Along the Watchtower
5. The Ballad of Frankie Lee and Judas Priest
6. Drifter's Escape
7. Dear Landlord
8. I Am a Lonesome Hobo
9. I Pity the Poor Immigrant
10. The Wicked Messenger
11. Down Along the Cove
12. I'll Be Your Baby Tonight
Mobile Fidelity believes that mastering systems should be neutral and transparent. The essential idea is to unveil all the detailed musical information on the original master recording without adding deterioration, coloration or other sonic artifacts.
It is worth noting that Mobile Fidelity Sound Lab stands out as one of few record labels that independently invests in research and development of audio technology. With proprietary innovations such as GAIN 2™, general music enthusiasts and audiophiles alike have reaped the benefit of a higher consumer audio standard without investing in costly new hardware. Mobile Fidelity is pleased to work with a variety of engineering legends and companies including Tim de Paravicini, Ed Meitner, Pass Labs, Theta Digital and Sony Electronics.
Our joint efforts to seek out the ultimate audio experience, has resulted in significant advances for the technology of music reproduction.
GAIN 2™ Mastering Technology for Ultradisc UHR™ Hybrid SACD and Ultradisc II™ 24kt Gold CDs
For over twenty years, Mobile Fidelity Sound Lab has continually searched for the ultimate audio experience. During this search MFSL engineers and associates created The GAIN™ System, a proprietary mastering technology which brought warmth and ambience to the compact disc format. A few years ago - with higher resolution formats on the horizon - the vision of GAIN 2™ began. As it stands today, GAIN 2™ is one of the greatest technical advancements in analogue and digital technology in the last ten years. It consists of a series of critical modifications and new components to Mobile Fidelity's proprietary mastering chain.
We feel that GAIN 2™ has come extremely close to meeting this goal. The key accomplishments of GAIN 2™ System are 1) the ability to extract all the musical information as possible through the Ultra High bandwidth analogue tape playback system with proprietary custom tape playback heads, reproducer electronics and 2) transparently capturing and storing that information with the Direct Stream Digital recording system.