ROBBIE ROBERTSON -- Robbie Robertson (Mobile Fidelity)

Originally released on the Geffen label in 1987, this was the first solo album from the ex-leader of The Band, Robbie Robertson. The musician lineup on the disc reads like a who's who in the music business. At various points on the disc, you can hear Peter Gabriel, all of U2, Maria McKee, Ivan Neville, & a host of others. Daniel Lanois (who co-produced the album with Robertson) did an excellent job capturing the dark brooding tone of the songs. The disc was one of the best sounding CDs to come out that year. As good as the sound was on the original, Mobile Fidelity Sound Labs actually improved on it.

There are several standout tracks on the CD. "Showdown at Big Sky" sounds great, as does "Sweet Fire of Love". "American Roulette" sounds much better on the MFSL disc. It's also 16 seconds longer than on the original. Terry Bozzio's drumming on the song has much more impact, and Tony Levin's thumping bass riffs are heart-pounding. If your musical tastes lean toward something a bit more mysterious, dim the lights and put on "Somewhere Down the Crazy River". Be sure to check out the bass drum after Robertson says "wait... did you hear that?". Talk about shaking the room!

Overall, the sound quality on MFSL's 24K gold pressing is impeccable. The disc is warmer, free of any tape noise whatsoever, and has a higher output level than the original. Bass response on the disc is deep, and packs more punch. If you're looking for a great CD to show off your stereo system, this is the one.

© 1996 Steve Marshall