On October 2, people who own SACD players (or who have PS3s with SACD capability) and are serious Billy Joel fans will be treated to what may be the definitive sound version of the classic album The Nylon Curtain, considered by many fans to be a masterpiece in Joel's catalog. The album spawned several hits as well as several intense FM staples during its time on the charts.
Originally released in 1982, The Nylon Curtain delivered "Allentown," Joel's scathing notation of the demise of the steel industry, and made this song a theme of our manufacturing losses in the US. Another song, "Pressure," also entered into the charts. However, The Nylon Curtain is also noted for the stunning "Goodnight Saigon," a track that spent as much time on the FM playlist as the previously mentioned two singles did on the AM Top 40 radio charts.
Being slated for an SACD release is a sort of holy grail for Billy Joel fans. While many SACDs are released as multi-channel 5.1 Surround titles, this set will be a Stereo Only Hybrid release. (Hybrid CDs are discs that contain two CD layers attached together, with one layer the Super Audio version, and the other, the standard CD playable on all non-SACD players.)
Many of you may not even know what an SACD disc might be. Even now that the format, once a promising sound recording for audiophiles who wanted the warmth and purity of analog, is on the wane, there may be difficulty in understanding just why the format is still touted and new titles continue to be reissued. The answer is simple—there is a grouping of fans stubborn to the core. And they will wait and hope that a good title is chosen so that they might hear near perfect sound from an old favorite.
Mobile Fidelity, a reissues house long noted for their superior remastering of beloved titles, still releases the occasional SACD (Super Audio CD). For those uninitiated, Super Audio CD was a format designed to create perfect digital copies of Sony's stable of catalog music. Eventually, Sony began to re-release a steady small trickle of titles that included Bob Dylan, Aerosmith, The Byrds, Billy Joel, and more. In short, SACD is to music as Blu-ray is to movies.
But, as luck would have it as well as a changing audience who did not feel the need for such things, support for the format (as well as competitor format, DVD-Audio, which had its own set of fans) virtually died. Still, there are lovers of the format that are willing to keep adding titles to their small SACD libraries as long as some label is willing to remastered them in the format and release them.
October 2 can't come soon enough.