It's easy to see why many thought Gerry Rafferty and Joe Egan's Stealer's Wheel would become the UK's answer to Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young. The duo's songwriting prowess is in peak form on Ferguslie Park, marrying ultra-catchy hooks and melodies to gorgeous vocal harmonies. For those who would look at the apparent overnight success of Rafferty's 1978 breakout City to City, Ferguslie Park is the record you can spin and hear where it all came from with great clarity, including those to-die-for saxophone interludes.
The short but legendary recording career of Stealers Wheel is defined by the pinnacle reached with its first two albums. While Ferguslie Park wouldn't have a mega-hit smash single like ''Stuck in the Middle'' (#6, US), this sophomore LP is a more polished effort overall from song to song, beginning to end. By the time Ferguslie Park was recorded, the band was distilled down to the songwriting duo of Gerry Rafferty and Joe Egan working with a backing band of session players. It would hardly matter as Rafferty and Egan were clearly the creative essence of Stealers Wheel. Knowing the band's history of battling themselves, their producers and their record label it's easy to see where they were coming from with songs like ''Good Businessman,'' ''Nothing's Gonna Change My Mind,'' ''Who Cares'' and ''(Everyone's Agreed That) Everything Will Turn Out Fine.''
Ferguslie Park is a real district in Paisley, Scotland, where Rafferty and Egan first met in their teens. It's a story as old as rock n' roll itself that Stealers Wheel wasn't long for the world as a band- only one more LP would follow. But that doesn't dim the brilliance of the overlooked gem that is Ferguslie Park.
Stealers Wheel's Ferguslie Park is sourced from the best tape that is currently available, a beautifully preserved ½'' 30ips ''safety copy'' of the original 15 ips stereo master. When mastering this LP we compared what we were getting off the tape to the esteemed original A&M UK ''RL'' cut (Robert Ludwig!) on LP. While great sounding overall, the original LP's use of dynamic limiting/compression was easily evident, with the soft parts being louder and more up front, and the louder/busier passages dropping in level and noticeably smearing over the tremendous delicacy and nuance in the vocals and instruments. For the IR cut we eliminated this dynamic limiting and heard an immediate expansion and openness in the soundstage, and musical detail previously buried came to sparkling new life!
Format: 180-Gram Single 33 Pressed at RTI
Jacket: Deluxe Old Style Single-Pocket Gatefold Printed by Stoughton on Heavy Stock & Film-Laminated
Original Label: A&M
Original Release Date: 1973
100% Analog Mastering From Real Analog Tapes!
Mastered by Kevin Gray At Cohearent Audio