… I recently purchased Deliver, MCAD-31044, and found the sound quality to be atrocious. Compared to the single songs from the compilation, this CD was hissy, had a great deal of distrortion and even weird fades.

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I checked my CD copy, which bears the same number as yours. I do believe it’s a flat transfer from the master tape. Of course, the Mamas and Papas recording process involved multiple tape passes. No telling if the master tape was truly THE master or a backup “safety” master.

I have to say, to my ears, though, it sounds pretty good,as in representative of the Mamas and Paps recorded canon, as left-handed a compliment as that is. Yes, distortion is there, particularly on vocal forte passages, such as the intro of My Girl. I hear that same distortion, and some hiss, on my original LP. I like Look Through My Window’s sound on this mastering as well as any I’ve heard. The strings have some texture on them, at least the equal of my original LP.

As far as weird fades, you should hear the original mono LP. It has some very different mixes on it. Who knows which ones were the “right” ones? The ending of Look Through My Window, has Denny’s vocal breath pop on the word people, whereas the stereo mix fades just before the pop. Twist and Shout has different harmonies at the song’s ending. Free Advice has a different instrumental solo and different harmonies. Overall, I think the stereo mix is more conservative, with fewer weird “events”. I imagine the stereo mix was done second, as it sounds more careful, but who knows?

There is less left-right ping-pong stereo effect on the vocals on Deliver than on earlier Mamas and Papas albums.

I hate to say it, but I think you’ve got the best available Deliver mastering. I’m always hoping for a miracle, such as an estate sale where the mono Mamas and Papas masters turn up, complete with the original tracks, ready to sync up digitally.