The 1973 release by Loggins & Messina continued to impress listeners of the duos versatility, ranging from retro 1950s to Caribbean styled pop, along with their romantic ballads. "My Music" charted at #16, and this album “Full Sail” contains other notable tracks including Messina's "Lahaina," an island-rock ballad, plus the fan favorite "Pathway to Glory" and of course Loggins sensitive ballad, "A Love Song".
Full Sail is bookended by soothing nautical nuggets, likely another little audio treat remastered from the original Quad multi-channel version as a 4.0 SACD with stereo SACD and standard CD layers. Reaching the Top 10 on the national charts, they begin to stretch out with lengthier instrumental passages with hints of country-jazz fusion, which very much became a group success. Mastered by Steve Hoffman, with analog to hi-def DSD Quad Mastering & SACD authoring by Stephen Marsh.
Modern surround mix enthusiasts be aware that the quad mix of their third album follows much of the same mixing convention of their first, which takes great liberties with instrument placement. While each song paints its own aural scene, the differences are very wide spread, including drums at the right side, bass on the left, snare hits from the back left, lead vocals in the front left channel, and guitars, horns, and other parts tossed to all four corners. I dig this tapestry, and was very immersed in the space created by every mix.
There is a wonderful overall clarity to all of the tracks on Full Sail, with all of the elements being extremely well balanced. I have often criticized a thumpy bass or boxy drum kit, and I am delighted to say the original masters and transfer to DSD don’t exhibit any of this heaviness. The discrete mix absolutely brings this album to life, allowing for the various parts to be easily heard, with vivid dynamics and a pure audio quality. Although I don’t feel like the artist is sitting in the room with me, I do sense that I have the best version on hand, and all the emotions and subtleties can clearly be heard.
For high resolution audio fans who still prefer the stereo layer, the transfer on this release doesn’t disappoint. I find it carries nice dynamics, a slightly bright yet clear mix with very good channel separation, and certainly a mix that is way more conventional when compared to the artistry of the quad mix.
When I was young, I knew and loved their hits, yet pretty much ignored this country leaning duo. However, their jazzy influences and cross genre style of writing absolutely is what made them one of the most well known artists of the time. “Pathway To Glory” takes it home for me, and now I feel like they have entered my listening room.
The SACD of Full Sail is a must have for any true Loggins and Messina fan, along with all collectors of multi-channel music mixes. It is absolutely a worthy addition to your library, and I am certain you’ll be putting this shiny disc into your player on a regular basis. Now I need to get back to the sweet spot.
Hybrid SACD with Quad and Stereo Layers.