The last round of earlier Move CDs was roughly 10 years ago and perhaps they fit the bill back then, but the bar was raised considerably with Move, ELO and other related releases. The last time Looking On was released on CD, the liner notes encompassed the band's entire career, the pics were out-of-era and while the sound of the music was ok, the bonus tracks were also way out-of-era. All of those areas got a substantial upgrade with this 2008 Salvo/Fly edition of Looking On.
For starters, the historical record is set straight in several ways. The liner notes are mostly contained to how the album came to be and all of the fun and craziness of that particular time. That serves this package much better than a full career retro. The photos are (at last) limited to the Move circa 1970, some of those photos so bad they're good. And the bonus tracks finally fit the album. Wild Tiger Woman and Blackberry Way just didn't fit on the previous edition of Looking On. So, now that there's a nice tidy-up on the details, it's easier to put yourself in Brimingham and/or London in 1970.
Now for the remastering. The 1998 version of Looking On was, for the most part, clear sounding. The 2008 edition takes clarity, improves it and adds depth, power, and much more detail. The parts that were given muscle in the studio have muscle again. Personally, I picked out percussion parts (among others) that seemed to be buried (or distorted over) before. I suppose that's the point of remastering any album and this CD slightly exceeded my expectations.
I'm a fan of having unreleased session material as bonus tracks instead of songs that were loosely released around the time of the album. (At least Lightnin' Never Strikes Twice fits the album's sound.) There's plenty to gain from even subtle differences in the mix like the extended banter between Jeff and Roy during Turkish Tram Conductor Blues or hearing "We're clapping now aren't we?" during the count-in to Duke of Edinburgh's Lettuce. And oooooh, to have been a fly (there's a label pun in there somewhere) on the wall while track 13 was being recorded...
Another smash-bang job by the Move remastering team. Now, we go from Looking On to looking forward to the upcoming Move box set.