Phonotonal
Too Rye Ay (As it should have sounded)

Dexys Midnight Runners
Come on Eileen

On 14th October 2022, Kevin Rowland and Dexys Midnight Runners release a remastered edition of their hit album, Too Rye Ay. In preparation, the band released an adjusted version of ‘Come on Eileen’ with a video and a statement.

Let’s start with the statement itself, we’ll quote it word-for-word so you can hear the history in the bands’ own words.

In 1982, on completion of the album Too Rye Ay, which contained the single, ‘Come on Eileen’, Kevin Rowland was never happy with many of the mixes on the record.

Although he loved the finished version of Eileen, he knew many of the mixes could be better.

In 2022, Kevin, Helen O’Hara, and Pete Schwier got the opportunity to remix the album. They even gave ‘Come on Eileen’ a few tweaks.

So just how far do these tweaks go? As the statement suggests, this song didn’t need much adjustment, but there are some notable differences from the original song. We’ll describe them as we go! We compared the original version to the 2022 version using three different set-ups to test out if the changes could be detected across a range of different quality music players.

Come on Eileen – The Difference

Our introduction is the folk violin we all remember, only subtly morphed with a little EQ. The bass guitar that follows is similarly near the original. It’s only when the full band kicks in that the difference becomes clear. There is far greater separation between the instruments, which creates space and enhances the clarity. You can easily pick out each individual musician, which reveals plenty is going on.

The strings now sound like an ensemble rather than a solo instrument, the backing vocals can be heard away from the lead vocal, and there’s a warmer tone for some of the key motifs played in the verse.

In some cases, instruments pop up that you could easily have missed in the original; the accordion part in the chorus suddenly has space to play amongst the brass and strings.

Is the Re-master Successful?

In a way, it was a risk even to touch the original recording of this song as many people hold it in such high regard. However, we’re not looking at an aggressive reworking of the song, more a spatial treatment that makes more of it audible.

In my opinion, the changes make this song richer and less muddy than the original – all without killing it. You’ll hear the difference whether you’re pumping it through top-end speakers or squeezing it through the junk speakers in a modest laptop.

Watch Dexys Midnight Runners – Come on Eileen (as it should have been).

Written by Beck on

Michael Beck is a long-time writer for [the-mag] and Phonotonal.
Michael Beck

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