Intervention Records Scores Joe Jackson Hat Trick!

Intervention Records adds Joe Jackson's Night and Day to its previously announced Jackson titles I'm the Man and Look Sharp!

These should all be available between late February and April. All are 100% analog, mastered by Kevin Gray from 1/2" safety copies of the original master tapes. Stoughton Press produced the jackets. According to the press release: "Night and Day's original-release gatefold has been faithfully and beautifully restored, and Look Sharp! and I'm the Man are substantially upgraded.

Look Sharp! features a "debossed" cover on heavy stock that not only imitates the rough texture found on only the earliest UK pressings, but improves on those rare originals. I'm the Man's original inner sleeve lyrics and images have been expanded to the interior of a gorgeous single-pocket gatefold."

All three are 180-gram single 33 1/3 LP are pressed at RTI.

orthobiz's picture

I remember Alison Steele playing Fools In Love late one night soon after the album came out and just before she left WNEW NYC. I was bowled over and loved every song on Look Sharp! Saw him at the Bottom Line in support of that first album, IIRC there was some kinda opening comedy act with crow puppets or some such nonsense. Good memories.

PatrickG's picture

I wonder if they'll sound better than UK early pressings?

IR Shane's picture

For Look Sharp! and I'm the Man. For Night and Day, Kevin Gray and I both liked the original US pressing best which was recorded and mastered in NYC not the UK like the two earlier records.

Fans of those first two JJ LPs are going to be blown away! That top-end energy was still vibrant on the tapes, but were able to restore the bass foundation. It's still a punchy, aggressive sounding record, but dramatically better balanced. I think you're going to be more than pleased!

Rudy's picture

I can be convinced for Look Sharp! and Night And Day. ;) My Look Sharp! is the two-10" records, and came with a lapel button inset into the front jacket. That album always was bass shy. Night and Day always sounded nice on original vinyl.

Plans for any more of the JJ albums? I have the original KC-600 pressings of Body and Soul, and Will Power (I am probably one of half a dozen listeners on the planet who actually enjoy that album), and they are practically demo material. (Those were some nice, quiet pressings.) B&S was especially well recorded. Big World I have on a first pressing also, although it's not one I visit often.

Bix's picture

As someone who adores the original U.S. Night & Day, I need you to sell me on buying the reisssue.

(I'll probably get Look Sharp for sure, though)

IR Shane's picture

Kevin's cutting system is far beyond what they had to work with in 1982, and for this title we again got better bass in terms of extension and texture and greater overall transparency, especially in the midrange. I think that's very noticeable on our cut and very worth the upgrade if you love this record as much as I do.

And of course today's pressings are really artisanal products, flat and ultra quiet, so you're not going to beat heavyweight vinyl from RTI and our deluxe jackets. This is another single-gatefold, "old style" on heavy stock and film laminated from Stoughton. I don't think anyone's making better jackets anywhere in the world and I really believe that if they could have done these records and jackets this way in 1982 they would have!

Garven's picture

While many RTI pressings have been great, I've had a few not-so-great ones either so that's no guarantee of flawless vinyl. One of the best examples I can give is the Fleetwood Mac Rumours release from a few years back. It featured superlative mastering work from Kevin Gray and Steve Hoffman but both the 33 and 45rpm versions I picked up had lots of non-fill and other flaws. From what I've read online, mine were not isolated cases either. Let's hope the Jackson titles turn out ok. I also hope you guys will consider doing the titles that came after Night and Day even if they weren't all analog (some of us actually believe the magic is all in the mastering not the source format).

Rudy's picture

Hey, at least they won't be pressed off-center like Analogue Productions. I have two on my desk now that I need to return. Again. This is getting really old, Chad. (Seems to be a common complaint on some of the audio sites.)

Bigrasshopper's picture

Wonderful news.

Preston's picture

Are out of this world better than the original Stealers Wheel vinyl I have. Can't wait for the Joe Jackson LPs, since EVERY version I have (US, Japanese) of the first two albums sounds very hard and very bright. The music is sublime of course.

Bob Levin's picture

of "Look Sharp" is actually quite good.
The vinyl is insanely quiet and the mastering job was fantastic.
Can't wait to hear the IR and compare the two.

guyjoseph's picture

I'm listening to an '80's pressing right now, and it sounds fantastic. Purchased today at Jack's in SF. Cost 37.

Cents. Not dollars. 37 cents (42 records for $15!)

So I wonder, will this new version sound 100x better? :-)

HalSF's picture

Who mastered the original A&M vinyl pressing? I can’t decipher the deadwax inscription and there’s no mastering credit inside the gatefold.

my new username's picture

I enjoyed Robert Baird's interview with you, especially this:

"A lot of brands are coy. When they say they have the original master, they don't tell you whether it's analog or digital. Others will say, 'mastered from the original analog tape,' and what they mean is they did a digital rip of the original analog tape and still did it digitally."


Some probably have marketing crews that have no clue, some probably have engineering or management that have no clue. I don't know which is worse, but I suspect the latter naturally.

Would that more labels were as transparent with provenance, regardless of resulting format!

Kirby's picture

$50 Ha! try $74 + change here in Canada Too much sorry, will only buy their albums if they release something really special. I like all the titles they have, but just not that ($75) much.

IR Shane's picture

And you should have no trouble finding my titles at that price online.

I can't help the exchange rates, but again this issue is detailed elsewhere on this thread.

Eskisi's picture

So music gets recorded -- mostly -- on multitrack tape. Then it gets mixed down to a...two-track tape? Then what? Is that not the master? What further "mastering" can be done on that mixed-down two track -- eq, bass boost, midrange suck-out?

I am asking because I thought that mix-down would be the bulk of the mastering but in these new issues no-one is talking about starting with the original multitrack.

I am genuinely asking this out of interest and ignorance, it is not -- and I hope it will not spund like -- a pot shot at how different issuers do things.

Analog Scott's picture

It is all of those things and more. EQ, compression or no compression which is a real trick when cutting a lacquer. It can also be about the choices of mastering console, cutting amp, lathe etc etc all of which have their own sonic signatures.

Toptip's picture

So compression is not done during the mix down? Or may be it is but further compression is then required for the lacquer?

Analog Scott's picture

Exactly. It could be required or it could be a mastering choice.

Muso's picture

Generally, compression is applied to specific instruments during tracking. For example, bass guitar is nearly always recorded with a compressor on the track.

Compression applied to the overall song isn't, or generally should not be, done during the mixing session. Applying compression to the overall song is better done by the mastering engineer for various technical reasons and most if not all mastering engineers will specify that you send them uncompressed mixes. A touch of compression, skillfully applied in the mastering room, can give the mix a cohesive professional sound.

When a song is made to be LOUD, that is also done in mastering. And it's usually done using limiters, which basically apply an extreme form of compression. That's usually at the request of somebody other than the mastering engineer (and who is paying the bill) ;-)

my new username's picture

Mixing or mix-down (as in, down to 2-channels) is everything you do in Photoshop prior to printing or setting for a particular screen presentation.

Mastering is adjusting for print (or screen.) Need a certain resolution? What about print paper size? Layout, perhaps? Paper type? In other words it's the necessary tweaks done, last stage to make it work for the intended output.

When music is produced digitally, and by that I'm referring to song production, not digital instruments per se, the steps between mixing and mastering are easily blended because the machinery of hardware and software is already right in front of you: same computer, maybe same software.

It's for this reason that, in today's iTunes and Amazon retail world (i.e. digital releases) a large portion of mastering is done by the same people and at the same time as mixing. This is OK so long as you never want to release or re-release the title in another format like vinyl (or, I'd argue, hi res digital where the audience is similarly picky/aware of dynamic range ...).

Otherwise, what you've delivered to the mastering engineer is not only "not ready" for vinyl mastering but can't be best-mastered for it, because you "saved your Photoshop edits" prior to printing and have no undo history available. There's a reason why a printer needs CMYK files even though your RGB looks "just fine" on screen.

The other thing digital song production has done is obfuscate the natural boundaries between recording engineer, mixing engineer and mastering engineer. There are philosophic, practical and expertise reasons for dividing all this work but again, when it can all be done cheaply on a computer, everything begins to look like a nail when the hammer can do it all.

I realize there are numerous examples of where the recordist/mixer/master WAS all done successfully by the same person, but I'd argue that's still more the exception to the rule. At the very least this way of thinking teaches record labels that the differences and their implications don't matter, and so you see why so many reissues advertise "mastered from the original analog tapes" while blithely, conveniently or ignorantly forgetting how the lacquer was cut matters. There's a entire generation of execs and marketing staff who simply don't understand and don't care. We are a niche within a niche with our hobby, so maybe it's to be expected.

melody maker's picture

Very well put!

Jancuso's picture

Look forward very much. One of our favorite records of Joe's and the period.

Interesting comments about what mastering 'is'.

melody maker's picture

"Night and Day" already sounds terrific on generic US vinyl, but it's such a good album that it would be tempting to splurge on the reissue. Meanwhile, although I don't consider "Look Sharp" and "I'm the Man" start-to-finish filler-free masterpieces, it would be thrilling to hear Graham Maby's fantastic bass playing sound all big and round and fat… But lingering in that era/genre for the moment, what would be MORE thrilling would be if a top company did a good AAA reissue of the US version of "The Clash" or of "Never Mind the Bollocks" or "Rocket to Russia"… previous reissues have given me a digital-file stay-away vibe… "remastered from the original!" Well yeah, at some point I guess you would use "the original," even if it then went through crappy digital...

Kirby's picture

I finally found a retailer in Canada who is selling Intervention's vinyl for a half decent price,Norther Volume. $57 Canadian and change. Much better than Amazon's $74 Canadian.Got the Steelers Wheel Lp and it is fantastic. An excellent pressing and sound to die for! I apologize if my first post seemed to blame Intervention Records for the high price from Amazon. This version of this album is definitely worth the $54 Canadian and I would encourage any fellow Canadian Vinyl nuts to pick it up from Northern Volume. I've back ordered all the Joe Jackson's now that I've heard this one. Great Job Intervention Records!!!