When it was re-released on CD in the late '80s, Home Free was remixed -- apparently by Fogelberg and Putnam -- possibly because the original mix did have a certain muddiness that was difficult to overcome using the digital technology of the period, and many of the songs on the resulting Sony Music CD sound quite different in texture and detail from the original vinyl release. On the opening number, "To the Morning," the new edition reduced the presence of the orchestra and brought up the piano and the harpsichord, moving them forward so that the latter, instead of being in the background, is now the lead instrument in the middle of the song; on "Stars," the bass is pushed back, and the percussion is moved up in prominence once the backing instruments do come in; "More Than Ever" offers a leaner band sound than the original mix, less country than country-rock, and with the drums moved up over several layers of guitar; the string accompaniment on "Hickory Grove" has been altered considerably, so that it is hardly audible in the introductory section of the song; the fiddle accompaniment that opens "Long Way Home (Live in the Country)" has been altered completely and the double-tracking eliminated, and the overall band sound suppressed in favor of one of the guitars, ultimately giving it less of a country music feel; "Anyway I Love You" has had a much heavier drum part brought up, which gives it a somewhat more driving feel than the original; "Wysteria," which recalled "Guinevere" from the first CSN album, has had some reverb added but is otherwise very close to what it was; and "The River" has been given a more subtle mix, with Fogelberg's voice more isolated for clarity and the accompanying band track coming in more quietly, with the bass pushed back in the mix. These are not huge differences, although they have resulted in a slightly reduced running time, 46 minutes instead of 47. Those seeking the original mix -- which fares just fine in post-2000-era digital audio -- should get either the old LP or the 2006 double-CD set of Home Free/Souvenirs from Beat Goes On, which used the original master as its source for Fogelberg's debut album.
Richard Foss & Bruce Eder, Rovi