The forthcoming release of ABKCO’s Rolling Stones’ catalogue, from the beginning of their career through to their departure from Decca/London records, that was announced at HE 2002 and reported by HighFidelityReview.com here, here and here, has been preceded by the release of a press pack, which, thanks to Bob Merlis, showed up on my doorstep yesterday. Included in the pack is the usual press release material, some interesting reprints of photos of the ‘Stones in their younger days and reproductions of album artwork. The really interesting item is, however, a promo SACD containing 21 cuts from a number of the remastered albums, including ‘It’s All Over Now’, ‘Get Off Of My Cloud’, ‘Jumping Jack Flash’ and ‘Honky Tonk Woman’. The sampler has a Red Book CD layer and a stereo only SACD layer.
I have spent some time this evening having a preliminary listen to the tracks on the sampler and I have to say that the project shows great promise. The fidelity appears to be excellent, though in one or two places some of the material is showing its age a little. Stereo separation is very good – a little too good in a couple of cases where there appears to be little or no phantom center image. Individual instruments and vocals are clear and well separated – no mushiness in evidence. If the sampler is representative of the quality of the complete series, I think ABKCO will have a winner on their hands and serious Stones fans will be reaching for their credit cards.