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Rate the SACD of The O'Jays - Ship Ahoy, Message In The Music & Live In London

  • 8:

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  • 1: Poor Content, Surround Mix, and Fidelity

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  • Total voters


Staff member
Jan 1, 2010
Washington, D.C.
Please post your thoughts and comments on this 2023 Multichannel SACD from Dutton Vocalion containing three albums from The O'Jays.
This Multichannel SACD features the first official release of the Live In London & Message In The Music Quadraphonic mixes since the 1970s!

Note that the Quadraphonic mix of Ship Ahoy was previously released on SACD in 2001. This poll only concerns the 2023 Dutton-Vocalion release.


KZ 32408 (1973) STEREO/ZQ 32408 QUADRAPHONIC

1 Put Your Hands Together (Gamble; Huff)
2 Shio Ahoy (Gamble; Huff)
3 This Air I Breathe (Gamble; Sigler)
4 You Got Your Hooks in Me (Sigler)
5 For the Love of Money (Gamble; Huff; Jackson)
6 Now That We Found Love (Gamble; Huff)
7 Don’t Call Me Brother (Gamble; Sigler)
8 People Keep Tellin’ Me (Whitehead; McFadden; Carstarphen)

Arrangers: Bobby Martin [1-2, 4–5, 7], Lenny Pakula [3], Norman Harris [6, 8]
Recorded at Sigma Sound Studios, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
Recording engineer: Joe Tarsia
Remixed in quadraphonic at Studio B, Sigma Sound Studios, Philadelphia
Quadraphonic remix engineer: Don Murray
Music by MFSB
The Sound of Philadelphia
Producers: Kenneth Gamble & Leon Huff


9 Message in Our Music (Gamble; Huff)
10 A Prayer (Gamble; Huff)
11 Paradise (Gamble; Huff)
12 Make a Joyful Noise (Gamble; Huff)

CD 2

1 Desire Me (Gamble; Huff)
2 Darlin’, Darlin’, Baby (Sweet, Tender, Love) (Gamble; Huff)
3 I Swear, I Love No One But You (Sigler)
4 Let Life Flow (Whitehead; McFadden; Carstarphen)

Arrangers: Bobby Martin [CD 1, 9-10; 12, CD 2, 2], Jack Faith [CD 1, 11; CD 2, 1, 4], Ron Kersey [CD 2, 3]
Recorded at Sigma Sound Studios, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
Recording engineers: Joe Tarsia & Arthur Stoppe
Remixed in quadraphonic at Studio B, Sigma Sound Studios, Philadelphia, 20 August 1976 [CD 1, 9–12] & 27 August 1976 [CD 2, 1–4]
Quadraphonic remix engineer: Arthur Stoppe
TSOP “The Sound of Philadelphia”
Producers: Kenneth Gamble & Leon Huff [CD 1, 9–12; CD 2, 1–2], Bunny Sigler [CD 2, 3], John Whitehead, Gene McFadden & Victor Carstarphen [CD 2, 4]

KZ 32953 (1974) STEREO/ZQ 32953 QUADRAPHONIC

5 Instrumental Introduction (Williams)
6 Put Your Hands Together (Gamble; Huff)
7 When the World Is at Peace (Gamble; Sigler; Hurtt)
8 Wildflower (Edwards; Richardson)
9 Back Stabbers (Huff; Whitehead; McFadden)
10 Sunshine (Sigler; Hurtt)
11 Love Train (Gamble; Huff)

Arranger: Dennis Williams
Recorded at Hammersmith Odeon, London & Central Hall, Chatham, England, December 1973
Mobile recording facilities provided by The Rolling Stones and The Manor
Recording engineers: Jay Mark & Bob Hall
Remixed at Sigma Sound Studios, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
Remix engineer: Jay Mark
Remixed in quadraphonic at Studio B, Sigma Sound Studios, Philadelphia
Quadraphonic remix engineer: Jay Mark
Producer: Bobby Martin

Remastered from the original analogue tapes by Michael J. Dutton

All tracks available in stereo and multi-channel

These Hybrid CDs can be played on any standard CD player

2CDSML 8582

s-l1600 (1).jpg

Pre-release thread for all shipping/ordering queries and non-poll related posts:
One of my absolute DREAM releases! I already own Ship Ahoy and wrote about it HERE. If you read my review, you'll see that i offer my sincerest hope that D-V reissue the multichannel mix so more of us can enjoy it . . . and they did! I also own the Quad LP of Message in the Music and wrote about it HERE. If you read that review, you'll see that i suggest D-V reissue it as a twofer! Well, they went me one better and made it a three-fer!!! Since i've already written about the first two releases way too turgidly, let me just say a few things about Live in London:

If you like the mix and music on Billy Paul's Live in Europe, you're going to LOVE this one! The performance on Live in London is stronger and significantly longer, plus the mix seems even better. This, like Live in Europe, is no "audience and reverb in the rears" mix. Each of the four corners is active and given an immersive workout.

After a brief introduction, we get a rousing three and a half minute "Put Your Hands Together" that really starts things rolling! Next comes a seven-minute workout of "When the World's at Peace," with some wonderful interplay with the audience. The band is really cooking throughout, by the way! The next cut, "Wildflower," is just under ten minutes. The O'Jays really milk it, vocally, and the song slows things down a bit. Not to worry: it's followed by eight minutes of "Backstabbers," with some great intra-song rapping from Levert; ten minutes of pure, unadulterated "Sunshine," featuring more fun with the audience; and a killer conclusion with "Love Train," clocking in at over six and a half minutes.

An absolutely incredible release from Dutton-Vocalion, for which i'm SO grateful. This is an essential release! Don't miss it! One Big Fat TEN!
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I shouldn't be giving my opinion yet since I'm actually sitting here listening to it right now. But wow. 😳

I judge stuff by the songs I've heard and known most of my life, not stuff that I'm totally unfamiliar with. (Probably not the best way, but that's me.) I found Ship Ahoy starting out really nice. But when For the Love of Money came on....just WOW. Blew me away. Stunning. Everything happening around me. The surround will be one of my go-tos for a demo now. And I heard stuff in this DV mix that I never heard before on that song.

Ok, gotta go. Lots more to listen to.....
PURE MAGIC: PERFORMANCE, DISCRETE MIX AND MICHAEL J. DUTTON'S IMPECCABLE MASTERING SKILLS. If you missed SONY'S initial 5.1 release in the early 00's which is now commanding $150 and UP, by all means add this to your shopping cart.

Three albums for [IMO] the price of ONE [think MoFi Stereo SACDs]

A 10 ... FOR SURE!
Ship Ahoy:

Mix: 5/5: Discrete, nicely laid out. Like a lot of quad, the separation might seem harsh to someone used to stereo, but it really allows you to enjoy the copious supporting instrumentation like backing vocals, strings, keyboards, horns, guitar that would otherwise be underneath the main parts.

And is the first minute of For The Love Of Money the best bit of quad ever?

Sound: 5/5: Possibly a little 'warm' but the vocals and piano sound very real and the electric instruments are clear. The clarity of sound lets you appreciate the different levels of reverb (vocals have quite a lot, other items are much closer.)

Music: 4/5: Not the kind of music I normally like, but this is clearly deluxe quality music. The title track is almost prog! (but still soul).

Edit: forgot to show the final score: 5*3 + 5*2 + 4*1 = 29/30 = 9.66 = 10
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I’m completely new to this great music, probably would’ve never listened to it if it weren’t released in Quad, but I am so glad it was! On the strength of Ship Ahoy and Message in the Music alone, this is a 10.

Live In London is a fun listen, but on my system I feel the punch and sound quality is sorely lacking, but it is a nice bonus to have and I’m glad it’s included!

Quoting @sjcorne, Message in the Music might well be the finest multichannel mix I’ve ever heard. Paradise is a standout for me, but Desire Me takes the cake. What a beautiful, beautiful song. And top it off with a perfect quad mix I can’t help but close my eyes and grin ear to ear.

For The Love Of Money is going in my list of Quad demo tracks, it’s that good!!!! But the same could be said for the entire album really.

I never picked up the original Sony SACD but now there’s no need to. Everyone NEEDS this release in their collection. Kudos to the Wizard of Watford, Michael J. Dutton!
How do you rate this content wise, they are three radically different albums! First off they all do have one thing in common, fantastic surround mixes.

I enjoyed "Ship Ahoy" the most. It has only one track that I would call disco, track 3 "This Air That I Breathe". I have never liked Disco, at all! "For the Love of Money", is one of those typical AM radio fodder tracks of the mid seventies that I totally ignored back in the day. However, about the over seven minute quad version presented here, all I have to say is WOW! I agree with the other poster who said that this is a great surround demo track!

I endured the first number of tracks on disc two. While they all have great mixes, I don't like that Disco style at all. Then came the Live album, content wise it was very much better than the previous album, more soul and funk than disco!

So on the strength of the first and last album I'm voting a nine.
On the strength of Ship Ahoy I voted 10. Not really a whole lot into the more Disco sounding stuff, but it's not all bad either.
(*Note I worked at a Rock Club that went Disco. At least the sound system was cool)
I also have the earlier release which I recently listened to. I think this one sounds better.
Jesus, it's perfect, a 10.

I only had Ship Ahoy before this, so Message in the Music and Live in London are new to me. Guess I should pick up the Harold Melvin & The Blue Notes disc now.

If you haven't got it already, the D-V release of Survival and Family Reunion (the two 1975 studio albums that came between Ship Ahoy and Message in the Music) is absolutely essential if you like this release. Survival is a little bit grittier like Ship Ahoy and Family Reunion a bit smoother like Message in the Music, but for me absolutely equal both in terms of musicianship, songwriting and mix.

The Harold Melvin two-fer is great too, but I think all the PIR quads (Billy Paul, MFSB) that D-V have released are worth owning if you like this kind of music and your wallet can accommodate the purchase. The quality of all of them (in every regard) is uniformly consistent.