Legend has it that veteran record company executive Marshall Blomstein (not pictured above) heard his first compact disc in a music store one night in 1986 and decided to start his own label to re-issue artists and albums that he would want to listen to on the exciting, dynamic and highly profitable new format, the CD. Marshall christened his new label Dunhill Compact Classics and it was one of the first labels to issue music on compact disc exclusively. A lawsuit regarding the use of the name Dunhill resulted in the company changing its name to DCC Classics. The secret sauce on most of the company's releases was the mastering by Steve Hoffman. Among those early discs remastered by Steve Hoffman are today's two frat rock compilations, Toga Rock and Toga Rock II.
Released in 1987, the original pressings of Toga Rock do not feature Hoffman's remastering - he remastered the disc in 1988 and though it "only" has sixteen tracks and runs just over 43 minutes long, Toga Rock just might be the only frat rock compilation anyone ever needs. As both versions of the disc were issued with the same matrix number (DZS 029), the only ways to visually tell which version is which is his name is on the disc itself: "Remastered by Steve Hoffman, 2/88" and the company name is printed DCC Classics instead of Dunhill Compact Classics, like the scan above. The booklet for both versions of the disc have the original mastering credit of John Golden and Steve McDonald. An easy way to tell the discs apart without looking is to listen for mono versions of "I Fought The Law" and "Wooly Bully" as Hoffman had access to stereo masters of both songs. Sure, the artwork is early TV offer style cheap and cheesy but the disc sounds so good you just won't care. Three songs form Toga Rock were added to the The Ultimate Frat Rock Playlist.
Steve Hoffman was involved with 1989's Toga Rock II from the beginning yet there are also two versions of this compact disc as well.  When DCC received the four song master tape package from Motown, they received a really rare unreleased version of Rare Earth's "Get Ready" running 21:30 without fake audience sounds and included it on the first 250 pressings of Toga Rock II before replacing it with the much more common 2:58 version on all future pressings. My disc is a latter version so I don't know any visual tells between the two, like if the original running time was listed on back of CD case or not. Anyone? Once again, the sound is really good on this 14 song disc especially on the Motown tracks but the overall mood of the disc is marred somewhat by the inclusion of two tracks from the early Seventies. I consider myself a big fan of frat rock rather than a purist as it was all before my time for the most part but it seems to me the golden age of frat rock was from 1959-1969. Not counting those two Seventies songs, Toga Rock II added four songs to The Ultimate Frat Rock Playlist, bringing the total up to 145. We'll get back to frat rock of the Seventies and Eighties on the final day (Day 7) of Rush Week but first, on Day 6, Rhino takes their FRAT ROCK! series into the digital age.

No comments:

Post a Comment