In homage to the band who penned the song from which this blog takes its name, we are making available the rough mixes of Cheap Trick’s 2003 studio re-recording of their legendary 1977 release, In Color (And In Black And White).

For anyone who has bothered paying attention, Cheap Trick have gone on-record quite often over the years as being dissatisfied with this particular album – most notably Tom Werman’s overly sterile production.

Compared to the dark and lacerating production on their self-titled debut effort, released only six months prior to In Color, the difference in sound is quite startling. But, truth be told, the suits at Epic wanted a radio friendly Cheap Trick and it was Werman’s sole responsibility to deliver, which, arguably, he did.

That the album failed to generate any interest at radio, or retail for that matter, is just another prime example of a typical label meddling in hopes of scoring big on the charts, only to achieve quite lackluster results (the album peaked at #73 on the Billboard album charts).

This is not to say that In Color was a bad album. Song-for-song, this is by far the best album Cheap Trick ever released: I Want You To Want Me (albeit in a remarkably neutered version that differs strikingly from the live version that became a worldwide smash hit), Southern Girls, Downed, Come On Come On, Oh Caroline, Clock Strikes Ten, etc. portray a songwriter in guitarist Rick Nielsen and band firing on all cylinders.

History, of course, tells us that this album was a huge hit in Japan and that the band released a live album from their whirlwind Japanese tour that reprised many of the very same tracks from In Color in splendid, high-octane glory. By doing so, they, for all intents and purposes, made In Color obsolete. Those who ran out and bought In Color after discovering the band via Live At Budokan were in for a rude awakening. The pristine production, wherein all instruments seemed to be noticably separated within the mix, lied in direct contrast to the bigger-than-life wall-of-sound that was Live At Budokan.

Thus, in 2003, Cheap Trick still felt the need to right the “wrong” that was In Color 1977 by re-recording the album with indie producer Steve Albini.

Did they accomplish what they set out to do? You be the judge.

Hello There
Big Eyes
I Want You To Want Me
You’re All Talk

(the following tracks are available to DONATE TO CHARITY SLICE readers:)

Oh Caroline
Clock Strikes Ten
Southern Girls
Come On Come On
So Good To See You
I Want You To Want Me (alternate version)
Can’t Hold On (2003 studio version)
Oh Caroline (alternate version)

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