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Ghost Canyon

Title - 'Fables Of The Reconstruction 25th Anniversary'
Artist - REM

This is one of R.E.M.'s best albums, but this reissue package leaves something to be desired. The liner notes are pretty sparse - no gushing essays by rock critics, no pithy song-by-song remarks by Peter Buck, no remembrances from fellow musicians who saw this band Way Back When. Instead we get a very brief intro note by Buck, which would be pretty good if it were written by anyone else. But if you've read the notes to Eponymous or other compilations, you know Pete's capable of so much more.

And thus, my disappointment with this package - it could have been so much more. The remaster job is fine. It doesn't sound much different from the original - which is okay, I guess, since the original is awesome - but it makes me wonder what the point of this exercise really is (that is, until I see the price tag). The demos disc is also fine, but this easily could have been a single disc package. I'm puzzled as to why they didn't do a live disk for this package, since the 1985 shows are among their best - probably because they played so many covers back then.

The poster and cards are fine, but I probably won't ever look at them again. I'd much rather have a nice color booklet with more photos and essays, but it is what it is.

The one positive thing I take from this package is that they didn't screw up the sound of the album. Unlike with the disastrous "...And I Feel Fine" compilation, my ears didn't hurt when I was done listening!

So, it's a great record, and if you've never heard it, you really should. But I probably would just pick up the regular CD at your local shop instead of buying this package. [JH]

Disc One: digitally remastered original album
1. Feeling Gravity’s Pull
2. Maps and Legends
3. Driver 8
4. Life and How To Live It
5. Old Man Kensey
6. Can’t Get There From Here
7. Green Grow The Rushes
8. Kohoutek
9. Auctioneer (Another Engine)
10. Good Advices
11. Wendell Gee

Disc Two: “The Athens Demos”
1. Auctioneer (Another Engine) [demo version]
2. Bandwagon [demo version] [final version was B-side to “Can't Get There From Here”]
3. Can’t Get There From Here [demo version]
4. Driver 8 [demo version]
5. Feeling Gravity’s Pull [demo version]
6. Good Advices [demo version]
7. Green Grow The Rushes [demo version]
8. Hyena [demo version] [album version appeared on Life’s Rich Pageant]
9. Kohoutek [demo version]
10. Life and How To Live It [demo version]
11. Maps and Legends [demo version]
12. Old Man Kensey [demo version]
13. Throw Those Trolls Away [demo version] [previously unreleased]
14. Wendell Gee [demo version]