Riversong is now (officially) on CD
I've just received my copy of the Riversong CD reissue. It was released by a Korean company called Riverman Music, and I wanted to share my thoughts on it.
The packaging is beautiful. The original sleeve is reproduced as a "mini-LP sleeve", featuring three miniature Charlotte's Web poster reproductions and a folded insert (entirely in English, surprisingly enough) that features a biography written by Mark himself, as well as lyrics and credits (which are included on the back cover as well, of course). I found this to be particularly valuable, since there's very little information available online about Mark (or the circumstances behind Riversong). [also, the CD label is a reproduction of a Sanskrit label]
The mastering is also very well done. There seems to be some problems with the original mixes (particularly with silibance on the Riversong cuts...but this also appears on Michael's two recordings for Sanskrit), but the mastering engineer did an excellent job with this material. It is especially worth pointing out that the mastering engineer resisted the current trend of compressing audio until all dynamic range is lost, which is a definite plus and shows the amount of care taken with this material.
The music itself is uniformly excellent. The production work bears quite a few similarities to "Ain't Dis Da Life" (particularly in how Michael Johnson used less reverb on that album in contrast to "For All You Mad Musicians"), so it was actually a bit surprising to learn that Riversong was recorded before "Ain't Dis Da Life". [side note: I had always assumed that Michael produced this, but after glancing at the credits on the back cover, I see that it is credited as a co-production between Michael and Mark]
This reissue, by the way, contains three bonus tracks (bringing the running time to 32:00). There's "New Boots", a Christmas single A-side recorded for Sanskrit with an interesting arrangement, and live versions of "New Boots" and "Song For The Birds".
Overall, though, I'm glad to finally have the opportunity to hear this gem.
(as a side note, I have read elsewhere that Vivid Sound is preparing a reissue of this album as well, though a track listing for that reissue only showed one bonus track, "New Boots")
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