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Phil Collins – No Jacket Required (Deluxe 2CD)

New edition: Collins most recent original album remastered and with bonus tracks

Please note that this review is about the new edition of the No Jacket Required album. Go here for a full review of the album itself.

The Artwork

The cover photo shows an extremely well done re-shoot of the original. The age difference is very obvious, but it adds to the photo. “Today’s Phil”, transpirating in red light, is a great photo in itself.

The remaster

You can really hear the improvements, as details stand out much more clearly in some songs. Good fun to listen to.

Taking a closer look at the first CD-Pressing by WEA (1985), we can clearly see that the DR-value of the original is at a fantastic average of 14. The 2016 Remaster is - despite its freshness in sound but also somehow expectedly - in general louder, but it also seems to be clearer, but the dynamic is smaller (DR-calue at 9).


The bonus tracks – “Extra Large Jacket Required”

Sussudio (live)

Sounds familiar, doesn’t it? The recording for this and some of the other live songs came from the 1990 Berlin concert that was filmed for a TV broadcast and the official Serious Tour video. There is not much else that needs to be added. The atmosphere is catchy, and the performance extremely strong. One could have picked from any number of live versions. In the end it comes down to personal taste. The MTV Unplugged version with the Lady Madonna intro that Phil recorded in 1994 would have been a good choice, too, but then it may have been too exotic for this bonus CD. The Berlin recording is an excellent choice.

Don’t Lose My Number (live)

This is neither Berlin nor is it from 1990. The percussion elements reveal that it must be from 1997 or later. The drumming is unmistakably Ricky Lawson’s. With these clues it is clear that this song is from Live And Loose In Paris from the Dance Into The Light tour 1997. Phil’s “Merci beaucoup, bonsoir Paris” is the clinching proof.

This version is the best choice, especially with the percussion that comes across really well. A recording from 2004/2005 could have been a good alternative, but that is, as always, a question of preference.

Who Said I Would (live)

CoversEnough with the guessing. Now we go back in time and end up in Dallas in 1985. This is the only live track on this bonus CD that actually comes from the tour that promoted the album. The 1990 version would have been good, too, but there has to be one live version from the No Jacket Required period.

Long Long Way To Go (live)

This must be from 1997, as the song was played live only on the Dance Into The Light tour. A live gem! Just sit still and enjoy this exceptional performance. It would have been a shame not to have this live version on the bonus CD.

Only You Know And I Know (live)

The very first notes indicated that this is from the Both Sides tour 1994/1995. The song was dug up again after it had been shelved for the 1990 tour. Later it dropped from sight again. This version is as good as it is unmistakable. It is also the only recording from the Both Sides tour on this bonus CD. The song fades out in the end because the live version would go straight into Something Happened On The Way To Heaven and that would obviously not fit.

Easy Lover (live)

Back to Paris 1997. It is good to have a live version with Nathan East, who already played on the studio track. There has never been a weak performance of Easy Lover, so they had as many versions to choose from as with Sussudio. It may have been Nathan East’s name that made the decision easier.

Inside Out (live)

Doesn’t Anybody Stay Together Anymore (live)

Both songs have not been played live very often. Inside Out was performed only on the No Jacket Required and the Serious tours, while Doesn’t Anybody Stay Together Anymore was only played in 1990. Both recording come from the Berlin 1990 concert. Doesn’t Anybody Stay Together Anymore is the later version that is quite different from the album version. Perhaps one might have wished for the MTV Unplugged version, but that was already dropped at the cutting table because Phil was unhappy with the performance.

The versions chosen here really do the songs justice and demonstrate how the songs developed from the live versions. And that is what Phil wanted to show.

One More Night (live)

The MTV Unplugged recording would have provided a nice diversion, but the Berlin 1990 version is not bad at all. Neither it the fact that this is close to the album version.

Take Me Home (live)

This extremely strong performance from the Berlin concert in 1990 brings the concert cuts to a fitting end.

Only You Know And I Know (demo)

One More Night (demo)

Take Me Home (demo)

All three demos have not been released on CD before. Nevertheless, One More Night And Take Me Home were made available as a download in the official Collins Fanclub a few years ago.  Only You Know And I Know still sounds very rough, but it has a strong beat. The lyrics are largely incomprehensible, only parts of it (particularly the chorus) can be found in the album version.

The same goes for One More Night and Take Me Home. The arrangement is very simple, but you can see the songs developing, with just details to go until they reach the final stage.

Our assessment of the bonus material

The lack of B-sides (actually there could have been only I Like The Way, because The Man With The Horn is from the Hello I Must Be Going sessions) is more than made up for by the great live versions. The bonus CD sounds like a live album and illustrates in excellent recordings how the No Jacket Required Songs developed on the live stage. Relevant demos round off the bonus CD and provide a fine contrast to the long live block. Any complaints about these extra songs can only address luxury problems. The number of demos is quite sufficient.

The live tracks are usually from known recordings, but that is no disadvantage. The mixture and the order of songs are very good. The majority of live recordings comes from Berlin 1990 and why not? The Berlin show was a unique and extremely strong performance, so it shouldn’t matter that these versions have been heard before.

All in all

The bonus CD along with the much improved album is a great bundle. One might say that that is not difficult with an album this rich in hits. Still it is good fun to listen to. The varied live songs with strong performances add up to a collection that does not leave anything to be desired. In fact, the bonus CD can hold its own with a live album such as Serious Hits … Live!

With such a successful and popular album full of catchy songs and hits many things could have gone wrong. One may doubt whether the album and the bonus material will draw much attention or cause many people to re-discover the album: The original is still very popular.

by Ulrich Klemt

English by Martin Klinkhardt