Don't Stand Me Down: Director's Cut
EMI, 2002
CD (7243 5 37013 0 7)

Disc One:
Kevin Rowland's 13th Time
The Occasional Flicker
This is What She's Like
My National Pride
One of Those Things
Reminisce (Part Two)
I Love You (Listen to This)
The Waltz

Disc Two, DVD Videos:
This is What She's Like
My National Pride
I Love You (Listen to This)

I'm really pleased this is coming out again. It's called Don't Stand Me Down (Director's Cut) because this is the third time it's been released (85, 97 and now). Of the two previous releases, 85 was the original release and 97 was the Creation CD release. Unfortunately, at the time of mastering the 97 effort, an awful sonic mistake was made.

During the mastering sessions, we had made sure the tapes sounded good and tweaked it so that the natural dynamics that were intended to be there when the music was written, shone through.

Then the engineer said to me right at the end of the whole process: "Kevin, my final suggestion is to put a bit of this stereo enhancer on to finish it off".

"What's a stereo enhancer ?" I asked.

"Oh, its just something that makes it louder, nothing else."

Well, let me hear it, " I said.

On listening to it, I suspected that the music had been subtly altered, and said so to the engineer. "No," he said. "Trust me on this one Kevin. All it will do is make your record louder. Every modern record has this on it now. In fact, if you don't have it, your record will sound quieter than everyone else's."

I trusted Him.

But even when I got the test copy home and suspected strongly that the stereo enhancer had affected the music unfavourably, I put it down to my own sometimes obsessive over-pickiness.

I lived to regret not speaking up.

It gently gnawed away at me and I continued to doubt my own judgement until a few weeks after it had been released. Pete Schwier (the sound genius behing My Beauty and the man who mixed DSMD) phoned me up and said: "I've just heard it - is that a stereo enhancer on there?"

I was so disappointed, after going to a lot of trouble to get the record from Mercury and then getting Creation to put it out, etc, etc, etc. That effect had ruined the dynamics. It sounded OK, but not nearly as effective as it should have done, no where near as good as the record we made, and I felt bad about that.

Stereo enhancers create a wash of sound but destroy subtlety. If your aim is to hit the listener over the head then a stereo enhancer is the thing. Groups such as Oasis use them to better effect, but such treatment is very wrong for my Famous Dixons.

So here is the Director's cut.

It now sounds to me as it was intended to sound.