News Of The World [2017 Super Deluxe Edition]
The entry price here is swollen significantly by the inclusion of expensively authentic press packs, posters, a 60-page book of ‘mostly previously unseen photographs’, even a replica AAA US tour 1977 laminate, whereas those here mainly for the music might have preferred more vinyl (one LP only, of the original album), or at least a high-res download voucher, while the one-hour video documentary (made by Bob Harris and the BBC’s ‘Old Grey Whistle Test’ team) is offered on DVD rather than Blu-ray— though to be fair, the video quality makes that a reasonable choice. The music itself is, however, thrilling throughout. The original album is presented on vinyl and CD, sourced from the Bob Ludwig 2011 remaster, the LP a stunningly silent top-quality pressing, ballsy and expansive from entry groove to exit, and cleanly delivering all the variations in production between, say, the edgily engineered peaks of Get Down Make Love and the chestier rehearsal-room acoustic of Sleeping On The Sidewalk. The full set leaves no doubt as to this album’s masterwork status, with the band at a peak of confidence and creative contrasts, all four songwriters in action to create the dynamic range of composition between the punk-fingering Sheer Heart Attack, the all-time anthems of We Will Rock You and We Are The Champions, the soul-shivering sadness of All Dead All Dead. This last is a highlight of the second CD’s raw mixes and alternative versions, since it presents an entirely different vocal by Freddie, whereas Brian May sang the released version. indeed unlike many tracks on the Led Zeppelin ‘companion’ albums released in recent years, all the alternates here are of real quality and differentiation, and to have an early vocal take of the multi-movement It’s Late simply reinforces the song’s magnificence, despite it being little-known amongst such a profusive Queen canon. The third disc brings together live and session recordings from this period (and forward somewhat to 1982’s Milton Keynes Bowl concert), and again these are all keepers, not merely one-play side-shows. It’s a big investment even for fans, but it’s great to see this LP getting the treatment it deserves 40 years forward from a punk-period lashing. “So you’re the bloke that’s supposed to be bringing ballet to the masses?” sneered Sid Vicious when encountering Mercury in the corridors of Wessex Studios during the recording. “Ah, Mr Ferocious!” retorts Freddie, “well, we’re trying our best!” And their best this is.