Unlike their considerably more progressive cousins across the water, The Beatles, The Lovin’ Spoonful acclimated to the stereo format quite nicely in 1965. While Help! and Rubber Soul both found The Beatles’ vocals lazily panned away from their instruments to the extreme, Do You Believe in Magic was generally balanced and full. That does not mean the stereo mix was perfect—exhibit A being John Sebastian’s hard-panned lead vocal on “Did You Ever Have to Make Up Your Mind?” Both of the Spoonful’s other two absolute classic records—Daydream and Hums of The Lovin’ Spoonful—also contain one stereo track that commits this same crime (“You Didn’t Have to Be So Nice” on the former and “Rain on the Roof” on the later). The overall stereo separation of those two albums is also more extreme than that of Do You Believe in Magic. Nevertheless, the stereo mixes are the ones that have remained in print.
Sundazed is now offering fans a couple of choices by reissuing the Spoonful’s three finest albums in mono, both on CD and vinyl. It goes without saying that “Did You Ever Have to Make Up Your Mind?”, “You Didn’t Have to Be So Nice”, and “Rain on the Roof” sound better on these discs than they do on any other CD in print, and not just because of their centered vocals. Sundazed has a rep for the warmth, clarity, and crunch of their reissues. Magic, Daydream, and Hums are no exception. That “crunch” is particularly noteworthy here since the Spoonful were one of the lighter major acts of their period, but rockers like “My Gal”, “On the Road Again”, and “4 Eyes” kick professional ass (an unfortunate exception is “Summer in the City”, which ends up sounding like mud). Even softer pieces like their glorious cover of The Ronettes’ “You Baby” radiate power in this format.