BADFINGER -- Straight Up (DCC Compact Classics)

With classic tracks like "Day After Day" and "Baby Blue," Badfinger's Straight Up is considered by many to be one of the greatest pop albums ever recorded. Up until 1993, it was also one of the rarest. Originally released on The Beatles' Apple label, the album had been out of print for close to twenty years after the label folded. Once The Beatles and Yoko Ono had settled their differences, Apple Records was back in business again. They reissued a digitally remastered Straight Up on CD in 1993. DCC released their gold version of the classic album in late 1995.

Comparing the DCC disc with Apple's version, I found vast differences in both the sound quality and the packaging. Surprisingly, DCC's gold pressing didn't even come close. The low end is practically nonexistent, and there is excessive tape hiss. Apple used noise reduction and equalization on their version, while DCC used the original masters 'as is'. Audiophile purists have a reputation for being against alteration of the original source in any way, but on this particular release, the Apple CD is audibly better. The highs are clear and crisp--the lows are deep and tight.

The bass and drums (in particular) sound thin and shallow throughout DCC's disc, never coming close to the depth and clarity of the Apple CD. A few of the songs sound remixed as well. The lead vocals on "Sometimes" and the original version of "Name of the Game" (one of the six bonus tracks appearing on both discs) are pushed up in the mix. "Perfection" (a long time personal favorite) is much warmer on the Apple CD. Overall, the sound quality on the DCC pressing seems dull and lifeless, while the Apple version is vibrant and more open.

DCC comes up short on the packaging too. They use a higher quality paper for the booklet than Apple did, but an entire section is missing from the liner notes. All but one of the assorted 7" picture sleeves were replaced by photos of the original album labels. This is great from a nostalgic standpoint, but for the difference in price between the two, they should have just added more pages (like they have done on other titles) and included everything. On a positive note, DCC has the album's original back cover art, whereas the Apple CD does not.

Going on prior experience with DCC titles, I had high expectations for this release. Unfortunately, I was disappointed with this one. If you want the definitive version of Straight Up, stick with the Apple CD.

© 1997 Steve Marshall