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Old 11-04-2016, 01:04 AM
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sorcerer999 sorcerer999 is offline
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Heart "Bella Donna"/"Wild Heart" Deluxe Sets - Reviews and Opinions

Since these were just released, I figured we could start a new thread separate from the Press Release thread and let each other read our opinions and reviews for these CD's.

I was pleasantly surprised to get home from work tonight and find my AMAZON package on my front door, a day early. Another perk of living in Nashville! I've listened to each CD twice now. I've got to say, I'm pretty impressed and amazed with what we got. Only a handful of tracks are from the Master Reels that have circulated in the past...but there are A LOT of great things in both sets that we've never heard!!!

Starting out with Bella Donna, I have to say it's my least favorite of the remasters and I'm still adamant that she could have added a lot more to round out the whole "Bella Donna experience" ~ "Julia" being the best example. However, ALL the remastered tracks on the actual album are STELLAR and so much louder and clearer than before, with a certain amount of instrumentation remixed, and I adore that! I think what I love most about the 3 disc set is the Live disc from the HBO White Winged Dove special. It is sooooooooo clear and perfect now. "Sara" being the stand out for me, as well as "Angel" and "Bella Donna". My only gripe is that they remastered all the tracks that made it into the broadcast version, and neglected to remaster the outtakes (Leather & Lace, Angel, How Still, etc). Now it's not that they sound bad or anything because they don't! It's just that the vocals on the broadcasted songs are louder than the vocals on the outtakes.

In regards to the outtakes disc...
1.“Edge of 17 (early take)” – It’s more heavy with piano and organ, which ironically makes it sound more "Wild Heart-ish". It's definitely unique...however, both Stevie and the girls stray off key at points, which is off putting. It’s interesting but nothing special.

2.“Think About It (alternate version)” – This is the version we’ve heard before on the old “Stevie Nicks Gems” demos that circulated in the late 90’s/early 00’s. However, the quality is a hell of a lot better here. A lot of alternate harmonies in the way Roy Bittan’s bridge ends.

3.“How Still My Love (alternate version)” – Pretty sure we’ve heard this take in the circulated Master Reels as well, at least musically. Very guitar heavy and not as moody and atmospheric as the album cut, which is still miles and miles better.

4.“Leather And Lace (alternate version)” – Very nice! Just a strumming guitar and her vocal, which is earnest and a tad “twangy”. I love it! She sings the high harmony in what would have been the two part duet with Don, who is not featured on this take.

5."Bella Donna (demo)” – What can I say here? Still GORGEOUS in its beauty and simplicity. The outline for they way the song was built around it is RIGHT THERE! It’s perfect! My favorite track off this disc!

6.“Gold & Braid (studio version)” – A more flushed out “musical version” from what we’ve heard on the master reels. This one is ROCKING!!! I love it! My only complaint is the lack of harmonies from the girls. Still though, it’s so much fun, and most likely the definitive take of what we’ve gotten from all the studio versions.

7.“Sleeping Angel (alternate version)” – Meh. Not all that impressed. The vocal seems uninspired here. Stick with the released “Fast Times” Soundtrack version, which is perfection!

8.“If You Were My Love” – HOLY CRAP!!! This is GORGEOUS!!! And something we’ve never heard! I adore the 24KG version, but musically, this is a lot better! The only thing that this "take" suffers from is the musicianship. The players don’t have a “tight grasp” on the song. It’s kind of like Fleetwood Mac’s version of “Planets” from the Rumours outtakes. It’s pretty, but a little muddy because they’re still trying to figure it out…if that makes sense?

9.“The Dealer (Unreleased version)” – We’ve heard this one. It’s one of the many Master reel takes. I’ve never been a big fan of this song anyway. :/

10.“Blue Lamp” – The remaster makes it sound more lush and echoey! LOVE LOVE LOVE!!!

11.“Sleeping Angel” – As stated above, PERFECTION as always! The remaster makes the tambourine "pop" and brings out a few more bits of instrumentation (the mandolin) and percussion. It’s even better now!!!

I might be biased because "The Wild Heart" is my absolute favorite Stevie Nicks solo album, but I think this "expanded edition" is far superior to "Bella Donna", both in capturing the spirit of the era and with the outtakes included that have never seen the light of day until now.

1.“Violet And Blue” – The remaster sounds great. I can’t tell much of a difference in this mix from the Enchanted box set. It’s just louder. The piano might be more up in the mix too?

2.“I Sing For The Things” – This IS, indeed, the “upbeat version” we’ve heard before…BUT…it’s even better because A) It’s crisp and clear. B) It’s got BOTH the girls harmonies and C) It’s got many vocal overdubs by Stevie and the girls that are beautiful. This one is sooooo pretty. It's familiar yet brand new at the same time!

3.“Sable On Blonde (alternate version)” – Not as good as the album, but I still adore it because it’s soooo very “Wild Heart”. A completely different musical arrangement and a very passionate vocal from Stevie. Apples and oranges, really. I'm glad she included this!

4.“All The Beautiful Worlds” – Different from the outtake we’ve had for years. It’s pretty, but unfortunately there are “missed cues” and “forgotten lyrics” from Stevie, making it more of an incomplete "take" than an actual "alternate version". The synth and instrumentation is also pretty minimal. Somebody earlier said this was better than the 24KG version, but I disagree. I think the 24KG version still blows this one out of the water!

5.“Sorcerer” – OH…MY…GOD!!! NICE!!!!!!!!! Musically, this is a combination of the Streets of Fire soundtrack version that Marilyn sang and the version that actually ended up in the movie, sung by Laurie Sargent. It’s a little more country and less atmospheric than the film version though. It's like the secret song from the "Wild Heart" era that we never knew about! Stevie’s vocal is flawless and sublime! With a few more overdubs of instrumentation, this would have been a GREAT addition to “The Wild Heart” and should have replaced “I Will Run To You”, in my opinion.

6.“Dial The Number” – I don’t like it as much as the outtake from TOSOTM. This version is a little marred by that early 80’s “Christopher Cross-esque movie soundtrack” overuse of the piano, making it a tad “cheesy” and something right out of the movie “Tootsie”. Her vocal is smooth, however. The overall feeling is that it just doesn't sound like a "Stevie Nicks song".

7.“Garbo” – The remaster makes the piano a bit punchier…but they push her harmony with herself a little farther in the background, which kind of sucks. But it is saved by yet more nuances within the new mix and that makes up for it. Definitely better than the Enchanted boxed set version. Always a favorite!

8.“Are You Mine (Demo)” – This might be my favorite thing on this outtakes disc. So pitch perfect and flawless! Just piano plunking, guitar strumming, Stevie and the girls. It’s the beautiful harmonies that induce the goosebumps. You listen to this track and you know exactly why she named this album the “Wild Heart”. It’s all about love. It’s in Stevie’s voice here, as well as the girls’ voices. This is one to put on all of your "Stevie mix tapes"!

9.“Wild Heart (session)” –Like I said in a previous post, her vocal is very rough here (but then that makes sense due to it being labeled "session take") so this is most likely a "scratch vocal", which is what vocalists do for the band whenever they are tracking. It keeps them in line so that they know where they are within the song. I'm LOVING the musical arrangement here. THE BONGOS and percussion, especially! The lead electric guitars have a harder edge as well. And the piano arrangement is more intricate and delicate. Lovely! Had they kept this musical arrangement and gotten a better vocal from Stevie, it would have been a powerhouse!!

Despite the glaring omissions of "Julia" and the "Dressing Room" version of "Wild Heart", I'm pretty happy and satisfied with the expanded deluxe editions!

CAN'T WAIT TO HEAR EVERYONE'S REVIEWS!!! And just wait til you get to see all the new "old pictures" and read the "liner notes". The nostalgia is a bit overwhelming! It takes you back, for sure!
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  #2  
Old 11-04-2016, 02:34 AM
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I love the deluxe Sable on Blonde.
If You Were My Live is the weakest version I've heard
I appreciate Sorceror and How Still My Love
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Old 11-04-2016, 04:23 AM
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Thanks, guys! Tell me, do the reissues include lyrics for the outtakes, too? And what do you think a out the liner notes? I ordered my copies a month ago but without Amazon Prime, I won't a actually get them until late next week:
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Old 11-04-2016, 05:31 AM
emmaline emmaline is offline
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Thanks for the reviews, it will be all I have until I can buy them next week when Australia receives them.

So frustrating that Australia is so far behind on release dates, I really want them so bad!!
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Old 11-04-2016, 05:56 AM
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The demo of Nothing Ever Changes is really cool. I wish that was included.
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Old 11-04-2016, 06:27 AM
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After the first listen of the snipits on I Tunes I look forward to adding this to my collection and replacing the original CD's and poor boot recordings. I Sing For The Things stands out after first listen but I'm sure many songs will be added to that list. The one annoying thing is the prominent vocals of Sharon and Lori. I have always preferred Stevie's background vocals with "the girls" deep in the mix. Her own harmonizing has always been my favorite on all her solo recordings.
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Old 11-04-2016, 07:27 AM
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i'm just enjoying it !
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Old 11-04-2016, 09:51 AM
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Mine hasn't arrived in the mail yet but I discovered Sorcerer and Sable On Blond on Spotify and fear I will be late to work because I can't quit listening to them. The Wild Heart has always been my favorite era so I'm in heaven. Literally...I'M. GONNA. BE. LATE. TO. WORK!
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Old 11-04-2016, 09:53 AM
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Sable on Blonde is so freaking good its killing me today! I would die to hear this one in concert just once in my lifetime.
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Old 11-04-2016, 10:53 AM
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Are You Mine --
Might be the most perfect recording I've heard from Stevie Nicks since Dreams.
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Old 11-04-2016, 11:16 AM
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Listened on Spotify (finally something for which spotufy is useful for).

I still don't understand why the HBO concert isn't full but I forgive them because they included Angel and How still my love at least. The bootleg version can't compare. Also from PC the difference between the remastered songs and the others is less strinking so I don't complain too much but I do think it's weird that only a few songs have received the treatment.

I don't particularly like the Edge of 17 demo, I think this is one of those songs that works better polished, not stripped. But it was nice nonetheless.
I liked Think about it.
The How still my love outtake is interesting but it's similare to one of my favourite demos, the "jazz outtake" but a bit less jazzy so I think it's just a so-so as a surprise.
Liked Leather and lace but I'm all for the outtakes that feature Don.
Obviously Bell Donna gives the chills, that is the most excellent choice.
I appreciated finally having a "definite" outtake for Gold & braid.
Unfortunately I'm not a big fan of Sleeping Angel so I just listened for completion.
My favourite takes of The Dealer is the one with Walter Egan so I'm not particularly excited about this version but it's a good one.
What I've been pleasantly surprised about is If you were my love, I prefer the Mirage demo but this version is very dreamy.
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Old 11-04-2016, 11:21 AM
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I'll do a play-by-play tonight when I'm home.
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Old 11-04-2016, 11:25 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by dontlookdown View Post
Are You Mine --
Might be the most perfect recording I've heard from Stevie Nicks since Dreams.
I know, right?!!!
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Old 11-04-2016, 12:45 PM
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I think I like The Wild Heart reissue better than Bella Donna. Every single song included on disc 2 is exquisite. This version of Sable on Blond is my new favorite as is the version of Sorcerer, I Sing For Things, and Dial the Number. Stevie's voice during The Wild Heart era is my favorite and these takes really showcase its beauty. My only complaint is that I wish there was more bonus material! A 3 disc Wild Heart would probably blow everything else out of the water!
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Old 11-04-2016, 01:47 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by dontlookdown View Post
Are You Mine --
Might be the most perfect recording I've heard from Stevie Nicks since Dreams.
Well, since Gypsy for me. Still, I agree on the outrageous beauty of it.
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