Doobie Bros: The Captain And Me Alternate Format Discography

Alternate Format Discography

Of the 98 iterations of The Captain And Me officially released and documented, most of them display differences so minor as to be undeserving of my (and your) valuable thinking time. So let's have a look here at the handful of these which are actually worthy of some consideration.


Original Vinyl (1973)
This was pressed up at Columbia's 36,000ft2 Terre Haute plant in Indiana, which had been in operation since 1953. The album [Warner Bros BS2694], first appeared in a gatefold sleeve whose inner spread showed the band clad in Victorian attire sourced from a Warner Bros movies back lot, seated at a dining table, evidently enjoying a meal in the shadow of a collapsed motorway flyover. This was at Newell Pass near Sylmar, California, which had crashed to the ground during the 1971 San Fernando earthquake. If you can lay hands on one of these pressings in good condition, it is still considered a quality example of the vinyl of the period.

Other Formats (1973)
The Captain And Me also appeared as a cassette [WB M5 2694] and as a standard 8-track tape [M8 2694]. However, the 8-track actually had two versions, one of which was quadraphonic [WB L9B 2694] and was considered one of the better examples of 8-track 4-channel audio. Nevertheless, the quad playback technology was excessively complex and the playback systems went on sale before the record companies had established reliably functioning standards, so the market was all but dead by the end of the 1970s.

519vinylicons.altlabelVinyl Quadradisc (1973)
As if this fistful of alternative formats were not sufficient to confuse the bejesus out of potential buyers, there was also a vinyl Quadradisc version (BS4 2694) which had been mastered at the JVC Cutting Centre – a Hollywood-based subsidiary of the Victor Company of Japan.

This format, also known as 'Compatible Discrete 4', or CD-4, was created in 1971, and required a CD-4 compatible phono cartridge, a CD-4 demodulator, a four-channel amplifier or receiver and four identical full-range loudspeakers. The cost of this kind of investment probably goes some way to explain why the last Quadradiscs to reach the market place appeared in 1980. It was generally felt that the 8-track quadraphonic system, although technologically creaky, provided better audio than Quadradiscs.

First CD (1987)
As far as I can tell, the first CD version [W2 2694] showed up in 1987, and was remastered by the acclaimed American audio engineer Lee Herschberg. This release appears to be well thought of in the audio community.


5.1 DVD-Audio (2001)
For this edition, the album was remixed into 5.1 multichannel DVD-Audio [8122-78347-9], in a package that included an essay, photo gallery, lyrics and an easy navigation menu. More importantly, it sounded excellent – but of course it will only play on DVD/DVD-A players and not on a conventional CD player.

180G Vinyl Remasters (2007/2009)
A brace of 180g vinyl remasters popped up in rapid succession. One from Speaker's Corner in Germany [BS 2694], and one from Friday Music [FRM 9005]. Neither excited much enthusiasm, except for the fact that the Friday Music version was cheaper.


MFSL SACD Hybrid (2009)
As one might well expect, Mobile Fidelity made a good job of this version [UDSACD 2042], which was pressed at the Sony DADC plant in Austria. It quickly found favour, as it compared well with the DVD-Audio version. It came in a neat replica of the original 1973 gatefold album sleeve [pictured below].


Remastered SACD [2017]
Selling in Japan and limited to that territory, where the SACD format is still highly favoured, this is the most recent version of The Captain And Me [WPCR 17681] that I can find catalogued. However, not having heard it myself and being unable to locate any reviews, there's little I can add to the bare-bones-facts that it is a remastered hybrid SACD that comes in a mini LP sleeve [pictured below] bearing the price of the disc in Yen.