Mobile Fidelity - UDSACD 2192 - SACD Hybrid Stereo
Half-Speed Mastered by Rob LoVerde from the Original Master Tape at MFSL
2,000 Numbered Limited Edition - Hybrid Sacd Plays On All CD Players
Mastered on the Mobile Fidelity GAIN 2™ Ultradisc UHR™ Hybrid SACD
MFSL has done an outstanding job re-mastering (Rob Loverde) A Salty Dog. Utilizing The Gain HD System, the digital conversion of the original analog master tapes is flawless Audiophile Audition 4.5/5
The new SACD transfer mastered by engineer Rob LoVerde very closely replicates the analogue original source (my reference is a UK Regal Zonophone LP). MoFi's SACD brings out the sonic details in the orchestral arrangements of "A Salty Dog", "Wreck of the Hesperus" and "Pilgrim's Progress". In the third verse of "A Salty Dog" ("We fired the gun and burnt the mast") the viola and cello that play counter lines to the vocal melody are set forward from the rest of the ensemble. The orchestra and Brooker's piano blend into the soundstage enhanced, I suspect, by EMI's plate reverb. The Mobile Fidelity SACD of "A Salty Dog" won't receive the attention given to the new remix of The Beatles: Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band, but for Procol aficionados and younger listeners who may be curious about the release of this overlooked masterpiece, the issuance of the album in authentic sound is a welcome addition to the SACD catalog of classic rock music.Sound 5/5 Music 5/5 HRaudio Review
Procol Harum stood apart for its aptitude to blend classical figures with rock motifs without coming across as self-indulgent or contrived. Graced with commanding mood pieces, the group's 1969 album – appointed with evocative artwork that pays homage to the Player's Navy Cut logo – exhibits the band's distinctive talents and genre-jumping breadth with an idyllic fusion of performance, composition, and sound.
Procol Harum Fuses Classical Structures, Rock Motifs, and Sweeping Melodies with Unparalleled Virtuosity: A Salty Dog Features Intertwined Symmetry Between Piano, Organ, Guitar, and Strings
Mastered from the Original Master Tapes for Reference-Level Sound, Clarity, and Presence: Super-Dynamic Mobile Fidelity Hybrid SACD Strictly Limited to 2,000 Numbered Copies
A call for "all hands on deck" opens Procol Harum's third album, and with the command, an effort that witnesses the band coming into its own as a collective capable of fusing classical structures with rock motifs via an expertise, virtuosity, and style matched by none of its peers is on its way to making history. A Salty Dog survives as proof no other artist ever sounded like Procol Harum – while also demonstrating few collectives boasted a lineup full of such ace instrumentalists. Stacked with exploratory themes, boundary-crossing directions, and sweeping melodies, A Salty Dog proudly veers off traditional course and ventures to intrepid places forbidden to even the most thrill-seeking groups of the highly experimental era.
Mastered from the original master tapes and strictly limited to 2,000 numbered copies, Mobile Fidelity's hybrid SACD takes its place as the definitive-sounding digital version of the record – an edition that far surpasses even the MoFi CD version released in the 1980s. The intertwined symmetry between organist Matthew Fisher and pianist Gary Brooker, central to every song on the set, gets revealed with newfound detail, openness, and clarity. Produced by Fisher, A Salty Dog now resonates with a presence and immediacy stunted on prior editions. The full-bodied tones, front-to-back imaging, and grand dynamics inherent on this audiophile edition elevate the 1969 favorite to landmark status. In addition, the evocative cover art, which pays homage to the Player's Navy Cut logo, is reproduced in faithful-to-the-original fashion.
The cinematic breadth of the sonics parallels the scope of the bold arrangements, which include strings, recorders, bells, celeste, and a myriad of guitars. Brooker and Fisher split vocal duties, save for on "Crucifiction Lane," which boasts a rare lead from marvel-in-the-making Robin Trower. The latter's prodigious guitar lines add another distinctive element to the compositions and further up the ante of the interplay between Brooker and Fisher. Trower accents tracks such as the topsy-turvy "The Milk of Human Kindness" with bluesy vibes and jolts "Juicy John Pink" by way of jukejoint energy. Not to be outdone, B.J. Wilson's still-unsung percussion draws from R&B and swing techniques to supply a natural albeit firm footing.
For all the proficient playing and narrative storytelling, the most impressive feat surrounding A Salty Dog remains its accessible complexity and relative modesty. Procol Harum never comes across as pretentious, self-indulgent, or contrived. Anchored by Fisher's unique Hammond M102 organ riffs, the works function as a summation of their parts. Tunes like "Wreck of the Hesperus" serve as wondrously varied tapestries stitched with swelling chamber rhythms, barbed thickets of distortion, and thundering progressions. It's a ravishing picture of majestic subtlety and sheer power.
NME wrote shortly after the record's release that "the most exciting facet of this tremendous album is not so much that it contains the Procols' best recorded works to date, but that their potential is still nowhere near being fully spent." Rolling Stone concurred, observing, "‘Too Much Between Us' is the kind of song you can float away on – its background and vocal of marimba and acoustic guitar in a perfectly understated waltz-time are beautifully ethereal."
A notable footnote, Fisher departed Procol Harum shortly after the release of A Salty Dog, permanently impacting the band's trajectory and sound. His performances here are just one reason this inimitable album carries sway nearly five decades after its release. Experience it as it's meant to be heard and secure your lowest-numbered copy
• Numbered, Limited Edition
• Strictly Limited to 2000 Numbered Copies
• Hybrid SACD contains a 'Red Book' Stereo CD Layer which is playable on most conventional CD Players!
• Mastered From Original Master Tapes
Acoustic Guitar – Matthew Fisher, Robin Trower
Bass Guitar – David Knights
Drums, Congas, Tabla – Barrie Wilson
Engineer – Henry Lewy
Guitar [– Gary Brooker
Lead Guitar – Robin Trower
Organ, Marimba, Rhythm Guitar – Matthew Fisher
Piano – Gary Brooker, Matthew Fisher
Producer – Matthew Fisher
Recorder – Gary Brooker, Matthew Fisher
Vocals – Gary Brooker, Matthew Fisher, Robin Trower
1. A Salty Dog
2. The Milk of Human Kindness
3. Too Much Between Us
4. The Devil came From Kansas
6. Juicy John Pink
7. Wreck of The Hesperus
8. All This and More
9. Crucifiction Lane
10. Pilgrim's Progress
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.