ELTON JOHN -- Madman Across the Water (DCC)

This album was my first experience with DCC's audiophile vinyl titles, and I must admit - this one blew me away. Purely in terms of sound quality, it's much better than the original vinyl. There is virtually no surface noise whatsoever. The dynamic range is breathtaking, and the channel separation is excellent. All of the instruments (especially Paul Buckmaster's orchestral arrangements) sound warm and natural. Roger Pope's drums on "Tiny Dancer" are tight and full of punch. Bass response is deep and full; never muddy at all. "Levon" and "Razor Face" are simply fabulous. Rick Wakeman's keyboards on the latter song are clearer than ever. The album's title track has long been a favorite among fans, and it sounds great on the DCC vinyl. Especially noteworthy are the song's crystalline harmonics on the acoustic guitar.

Not only does this DCC release get points here for sound, but also for including the original artwork and booklet with their version of the album. Elton fans take note - you won't find a better pressing of this classic album. Also available on vinyl from DCC is Elton John's Greatest Hits. The song selection, though it could be better, has been pleasing the masses for years. The sound quality is on the same level as Madman Across the Water. For the uninitiated Elton fan, this is the album for you. If you're already a fan, pick up DCC's vinyl pressing of Madman. You'll be glad you did.

© 1996 Steve Marshall