Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Update: November 1, 2011


This is an update on the book I am writing, which is a spin-off from the website, but with even more detail and with errors corrected. It is a book on Beatles music which no one has ever before published and which no one will ever again attempt. It is a labor of love and will be a gigantic compendium of both historical and technical knowledge that will boggle the mind (not hype, just absolutely true).

PRE-ORDER NOW

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This book will either be delivered electronically or, if someone is willing to pay the cost of several thousand pages, in print. The only hangup in this respect is that I fear an electronic delivery will end in unauthorized redistribution. My intent, after all, is to make some decent impact as an author, the profits from this work allowing me to work unimpeded on the next, which just happens to be a biographical aspect of The Beatles which also I have not found already published.

Therefore, I look forward to your suggestions regarding delivery. Here so far are the best ideas:

(1) Printed Matter #1. To avoid piracy, this is the best option. The downside is the cost to you, the fan and consumer. Two thousand (guesstimate) COLOR (necessary) pages at a lowest price of 5 cents per copy equals $100 for pages only, no binding. These pages would then need to be bound in some manner, either spiral or 3-ring.

(2) Printed Matter #2. To publish a standard book of this size would likely require several volumes. This would be a more costly venture. John Winn was able to minimize cost impact by breaking up his work into several volumes, and this is feasible. I would actually love to work in this manner, on a "subscription" basis, wherein a customer pays for content as it's produced. Perhaps it can be established to release one segment at a time (by year, even though the finished product will be alphabetical, not chronological).


artist's rendition of eventual product :-)

(3) "Secure" pdf or other electronic format. Here, the cost of electronic delivery keeps the consumer price down to the $30-50 range which is not burdensome in these economic times. More customers. However, there is a grave piracy risk. I haven't yet looked into every electronic option, so I can't say with certainty that there is no ultra-secure delivery. I would actually prefer to offer electronic delivery since it enhances the search option.

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Regarding completion rate, there have been some snags this month, so the overall progress is up to 17%, which is good movement but a little behind schedule. I'll have to work faster.

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If you would like to see sample pages, please leave a comment here or write me at gengar843@msn.com.




Sunday, October 2, 2011

Update: October 2, 2011


Progress on the Book

Briefly, it's going very well. On a percentage basis, it's about 10% complete. However, things are moving swiftly due to the fact that layout and design is complete. At this rate, we're right on schedule.

:-)

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Testimonials on the Book

Sample pages have been delivered and some good feedback has arrived! Permission received to reprint:

Everything looks great! Photos and charts are all clear and very readable. Can hardly wait for the book!
-Mike


I'm near speechless, it's that good. Just read it twice and now want to print off the book, get a cup of coffee and flop on my sofa. I think you are onto a winner and you can put me down for a copy.
- Stu

Thursday, September 1, 2011

Exciting Update

UPDATE: September 1, 2011

_______________________________________________________________________

ENTHUSIASM

Thank You! The idea continues to gather interest. The number of hits to this website is increasing!

_______________________________________________________________________

PROGRESS ON THE BOOK

Structure. The decision has been made to construct the book as an alphabetical reference rather than a chronological account. This is keeping with the idea I originally had 10 years ago.

Content. Pages will follow a song's history. I don't mind telling you this because it's so labor-intensive I am probably the only one who will ever do this. As requested by several future customers, technical aspects are to be emphasized. Stereo Image, Technical Analysis, deep Variation ID, myth-busting, and sonic characteristics are some of the angles covered.

Page Construction. Beautiful.

Style. This has changed. Even without wordiness, the completeness of such a project requires lots of room. Expect color, logic, crisp photos, delightful tables.

Detailing. Believe it or not, footnotes play a pivotal role. Picayune elements of mixes and variants you won't find anywhere else will thrill you (or you're not a Beatles fan).

Sources and Guidelines. The "listening booth" is working out very well. Vinyl is delivered at a regular pace. CD and other digital product overflowing.

Publishing. Considering that a short "page" in this book is actually 8 Microsoft Word pages long, it's possible this project could run into thousands of Word pages. Therefore, digital "book" still seems like the best bet. Working on secure delivery, but this will take some doing. Your suggestions welcome here.

Sample Page. AVAILABLE NOW! Email me and I will send you several pages as an attachment reply. I know this is risky in today's world but I promise you no danger.

Updates. I'll be updating a bit more regularly now that summer is over and I'm in the groove. As to completion, I plan to be done by late Spring-early Summer 2012, just in time for doomsday ;-)

gengar843@msn.com (Tom Wise)

********************************************************


Thursday, June 30, 2011

Progress on the Book

UPDATE: Jun 30 2011

_______________________________________________________________________

ENTHUSIASM

Thank You! It's been a terrific response to the book and the idea behind it.

_______________________________________________________________________

PROGRESS ON THE BOOK

Structure. After considering several idea, the form of the book is settled.

Outline. This came easy after the structure was chosen.

Content. Parameters are laid.

Page Construction. Still in flux. I thought I had the perfect layout, but it turned out to be unwieldy. A new layout is now being used, and seems to be very very good.

Style. I'm keeping it simple for a number of reasons: (1) space consideration, (2) advice from friends that in raw form it's a little too technical.

Detailing. Going extremely well. With simplified flow, entries are smooth. I think this will translate to a convenient and super-efficient reference guide.

Sources and Guidelines. This, of course, is the central part of the book. It's a massive undertaking but collation is going steady with the right organizational system.

Publishing. So far, digital seems like the best bet. Working on secure delivery, but this will take some doing. Your suggestions welcome here.

Sample Page. Coming soon! You'll be able to see what you're getting. I think you'll be excited.

Updates. Not scheduled but sure to be several over the summer. Stay tuned.

gengar843@msn.com (Tom Wise)

Thursday, May 26, 2011

COMING SOON: A Major Announcement

MAJOR ANNOUNCEMENT

First. Thank you, dear readers of this blog, for visiting, reading, and enjoying.

Now. Don't worry. I am not giving up. I am not throwing in the towel. I am not surrendering. In fact, I am redoubling my efforts.

The Central Idea. It seems to me that the primary value of this blog has been to provide a reference database for a category that has been, as far as I can tell, totally neglected. This category is the recommendation of "Sources" for each Variation of every Beatles song.

The Future. I am determined to have this completed by May 2012. By then, every song in The Beatles' canon will have had its sources rated. Additionally, what I consider a high-quality Variations list (Mono, Stereo, Mock-Stereo, Film Mixes, and so on) will be produced. Furthermore, the foundational history for each song, including Foundational Variations and Recording Details, will be done.

One more thing: I will be streamlining the layout. Each page will be eminently more readable, and a Reference Section will handle the abbreviations, definitions, common text, and so on.

How This Will Work. In order to meet my goal, this blog will be neglected except for random posts (examples of the new layout) and special announcements keeping you abreast of the progress. When the project is complete, I will make the entire mountain available.

Shameless Plug.

Do you love to listen to The Beatles?

Of course you do! Who doesn’t??

But did you ever wonder which source sounds the best?

You know...

Does “Thank You Girl” in Mono sound better on the Vee-Jay 587 US 45 or on The Beatles Hits UK CD EP?

Does “I Saw Her Standing There” in Stereo sound better on the German Die Beatles album or on the 2009 Please Please Me re-master?

Much of the time, for any particular mix (for example, “I Saw Her Standing There” in Mono), there are 12 or so common analog and digital sources. Which is the best-sounding?

For that matter, what exactly do they sound like?

Now!

I am writing a book on this very subject. It brings to the general public a new concept in listening to The Beatles. A comprehensive listening guide to all of the common and some uncommon sources! Now you can know “how it sounds” before you even play it!

How does this benefit you? In several ways!

(1) Save time! Choose from your collection only those sources which rate best. No more listening to sub-par masters. Don’t be fooled into thinking that the 2009 Remasters are your best bet in every case. In fact, that’s true only half the time. Even then, there are comparable listening experiences.

(2) Save time! Don’t go looking for sources which have little value or appeal to you.

(3) Save money! Don’t buy records or CD's which were engineered badly.

(4) Broaden your horizons! The same mix can sound very different from source to source. One might be brimming with bass frequencies while another concentrates on the highs. The Stereo image or placement of sounds might differ. Sometimes there is extraneous noise in a mix (for example, edit points audible) but that noise is not missing in another source.

In short, the music comes alive in ways not previously known!

You’ve collected alternate mixes, pressings and labels. Now, it gets more interesting, as you collect the best-sounding version of each song!

Coming Up

As you can see, this is going to be a very thorough undertaking, including:

(1) A simplified history of the recording of each song. This will boil down the best of Lewisohn, Winn, and others. But this snapshot is not even the start of it.

(2) A breakdown of the Variations for each song, including Foundational Variations! Loads of information on masters and mixes. So important! This section will be much more thorough than Brennan, Sulpy, or Winn. Honestly, this is going to upend some preconceived notions and uncover some things not yet known. But we're just getting going!

(3) Ratings on sources for each Variation for each song! As far as I can determine, this has never been done before! Compare vinyl vs. CD vs. unauthorized recordings. All US and UK sources! With a smattering of Germany, Australia, and much more. And don't forget Dr. Ebbetts, pbthal, and other such friends!

(4) Details on the sound itself. We are going inside the grooves, sometimes inside the oscilloscope! “How will it sound?” Now you'll know!

(5) A simplified rating system, with a super layout. Easy-to-read. Sample coming soon!

The Punchline

It's not going to be free.

Look, I've loved The Beatles for close to 40 years, so this is a labor of that love. No one could do this without absolutely adoring the music. It takes a lot of time and care. I've reworked this project several times to get it just right. Now, I think I have the right collection of sources, the right frame of mind, the time, the best-organized format, and the highest peak of my passion for it. Not to be immodest, but I think it's going to be a work of art.

So, as a fair trade for the extraordinary amount of value to be provided, I will be charging $30 (US).

Most likely, I will publish through Lulu, and attempt to market through Amazon, as well as various Beatles websites. On the other hand, I may go with electronic delivery, which is probably better for everyone. Whichever the case may be, reserve your personal copy by emailing me:

gengar843@msn.com

When the project is complete (by May 2012), those on the "notify" list will be first in line (electronically or print).

Final Word. Suggestions welcome.

Sunday, April 24, 2011

1963, March 13: Sources: THANK YOU GIRL

“THANK YOU GIRL”

Versions. There are two versions, Mono and Stereo, constructed differently (see details: here).

Foundational Variations. A “Foundational Variation” is any preceding base for a released recording which (with some exceptions) has no extra material.

For this song, the first foundation was an edit from Take 6 (the “best” rhythm take) and Take 13 (the replacement ending). This master tape is not available for inspection, but since Take 6 and Take 13 exist as bootleg recordings one could conceivable create this edit by digital wizardry. Such a recording would be Variation 1.0.

Takes 14-28 were harmonica overdubs, assumedly done piecemeal. The first successful overdub onto Variation 1.0 (said to be Take 17) would be Variation 2.0. This progression would continue for Take 20 (Variation 3.0), Take 21 (4.0), and Take 23 (5.0). Note that the John Barrett “mix” said to be an edit of Takes 14 and 30 (often titled “Thank You Girl #1”) does not interfere with the logic. Although Take 14 discloses three harmonica section attempts (Parts 1, 3a, and 3b), it does not reject that Take 17 was either pared down (to attempt Part 1 only) or sliced up (Part 1 utilized, the rest discarded).

In deference to the fact that none of the Foundational Variations are particularly available, I begin with Variation 1.0 applying to the Mono mix (Take 29).

Variations. There is only one Mono mix, designated Variation 1.0. Any mastering differences for "Thank You Girl” 1.0 have not been given any new Variation.

There is also only one Stereo mix, but three Variations.

The first Variation, 2.0, is designated to the dry master, as collected by John Barrett on cassette in 1982 (often titled “Thank You Girl #2”). Although not chronologically first released, this is given priority since it is supposedly from the master tape. But even if not from the master tape, this Variation remains foundational to the echoed master released in 1964 (2.1).

The second Variation, 2.1, is a derivative of 2.0, but is so covered in echo that it earns its own station (2.1 rather than 2.0.1) by reason of personality (the American sound).

The third Variation, 2.2, is a derivative of 2.0, but is so differently engineered that I feel compelled to award it Variation status rather than to call it a “mastering difference.”

Not Variations.

(1) Discrepancies in channel loudness generally do not earn any new Variation.

(2) Concerning the “Mono Fold-Down” (Mono-from-Stereo) track on The Beatles’ Second Album Mono LP, it’s interesting from the standpoint that it proves this album to be filled with such fold-downs, but it can be replicated by simply summing to Mono while playing the Stereo track, and therefore earns no new Variation.

Speed. The recording accelerates slightly just before the edit which joins Take 6 to Take 13 (at about 1:39.9 into the song).

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AUDIO SOURCES

Sonic Ratings. All recommended sources will receive a subjective sonic rating, either Excellent, Very Good, or Good. This subjective rating is based on various factors, including (1) clarity vs. murkiness, (2) smoothness vs. distortion (including harshness) or peaking, (3) balance vs. over-loud elements (for example, too much emphasis on bass), and (4) comparison to other sources under a particular category (for example, Mono). Any source not given a rating of at least Good will at least be provided explanatory notes (including whether or not I’ve heard that source).

Price Tags. Vinyl sources will include an estimated 2011 price tag in US dollars, taken mainly from completed eBay auctions.

Terminology. "Analog" refers only to vinyl. No tapes were tested.

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MONO

Mix Information. As previously noted, (1) the Mono mix is differently constructed than the Stereo mix, and (2) the Mono mix is probably Take 29 (unmentioned by Lewisohn).

Mastering Issue #1: Concerning Edits. The audible “blips” (edit or punch-in points) heard on several sources, while informative towards reconstructing the recording and/or mixing of this song, do not (in my opinion) create a new Variation, only a distracting annoyance to the listening experience.

Mastering Issue #2. Concerning Speed Issues. Brennan claimed that “Thank You Girl” runs “a little slow on the (Vee-Jay) single.” If he meant VJ 587, Brennan was mistaken, as that vinyl runs at the correct speed (I tested two different pressings). If he meant VJ 522, perhaps. Not owning this 45, I turned to Dr. Ebbetts’ US Singles Collection (which claims, in its accompanying booklet, to have used VJ 522 as its source). Testing two versions, I discovered one with a slower-running “Thank You Girl” and another with a speed-correct “Thank You Girl.” The logical conclusion is that the latter version used VJ 587, the former VJ 522, but I can’t prove it.

Brennan also claimed that “Thank You Girl” on the Vee Jay LP The Beatles and Frank Ifield On Stage runs “a little fast.” Since I don’t have that vinyl, I cannot confirm or deny this.

In any case, I regard such speed deviations as minuscule and unimportant, not creating any new Variations.

Imbalance. “Thank You Girl” 1.0 has mastering imbalances of several varieties, differing from source to source. In cases where I was able to test for such imbalance, I provide details.

Terminology. "FLAC signature" and "Channel Duplication Solution" are terms under the subject of imbalance, discussed: here.

End of Song. “Thank You Girl” 1.0 has a hard ending, with an echo trail about the same on all sources.

MONO: ANALOG

UK 7-inch 45 (1963)

$10-100

General. There were apparently two pressings of this single (Parlophone R-5015), both on a black label. Lacquer “-1N.” Mothers unknown. Photos and information: here.

My Source: Dr. Ebbetts’ UK Singles Collection needle-drop FLAC (an exact copy is found on Purple Chick's With the Beatles Deluxe, disc 2, track 2).

Imbalance. Dr. Ebbetts, none.

Sonic Rating. Vinyl, pending.

Ebbetts, disappointing. The gain is a bit too high, which creates distortion for the vocals. Bellicose rather than engaging.

US 7-inch 45 (1963)

$200 up (VJ 522)

General. This source runs about 2% slow.

More information and photos for Vee-Jay masters, mothers, and stampers are: here. More information on Vee-Jay releases and chart: here.

My Source: Dr. Ebbetts’ US Singles Collection needle-drop FLAC (which claims to have used VJ 522, pictured: here).

Imbalance. None.

Sonic Rating. VERY GOOD. Good: Pleasant blend of vocal, guitar, and drum. Harmonica not obnoxious. Bass given space. Bad: A little dull on the high end (spectral analysis reveals a steep drop-off after about 8 kHz, ending at about 17 kHz).

UK EP The Beatles' Hits (1963)

$5-50, the lower price for the reissue from the vinyl box set

General. This (Parlophone GEP 8880) is also part of The Beatles EP Collection 1981 vinyl box set.

My Source: Vinyl box set.

Imbalance. Untested.

The CDEP is reportedly remastered differently (see below).

Sonic Rating. VERY GOOD. Good: Likeable and full EQ, with drums and vocal competing for center-stage. Lovable bass. Bad: Some peaking, showing up in the harmonica and vocal.

US 7-inch 45 (1964)

$10-20

General. “Thank You Girl” from this single reached #37 on the US chart, April 25, 1964.

The same master for this single (VJ 587) is likely to be found on the singles Oldies OL 149 (Oldies a Vee-Jay subsidiary) and Starline 6064 (Starline, a subsidiary of Capitol, re-released the Vee-Jay masters).

More information and photos for Vee-Jay masters, mothers, and stampers are: here. More information on Vee-Jay releases and chart: here.

My Sources: Vinyl x 2 (“Vee Jay” in oval, “VJ” in brackets).

Imbalance. Vinyl, untested.

Vinyl (brackets), EXCELLENT. Good: Very bold master, vocals out front, bass not far behind. Great vocal mix. Bad: Not much.

Vinyl (oval), a shrieking quality with lots of peaking (huge difference to the “brackets” label, though the dead wax seems identical).

Mexico EP Do You Want to Know a Secret +3 (1965)

$10 up

General. EPEM-10037.

My Source: Vinyl (1971 reissue).

Imbalance. Untested.

Sonic Rating. Two issues: (1) speed is wobbly throughout, (2) at the end, when the third set of “oh’s” begins, the volume fades to about half-strength; this seems to indicate a sound engineer who not only goofed but also decided to leave this master in disrepair. Neither of these deficiencies creates a new Variation.

UK 7-inch 45 (1976)

$5-10 single; $110-200 box set

General. This 45 was also part of the "Green Sleeve" box set (aka "The Black Box"), released by World Records in 1977. The lacquer ("-2") was cut on a Neumann lathe.

My Source. Vinyl box set, “2” mother, deep stamper.

Imbalance. Untested.

Sonic Rating. EXCELLENT. Good: Bouncy and delightful. Bad: If anything, the vocal mix is a little slanted to John.

UK LP Rarities (1978)

$5 up

General. This album first appeared in 1978 as part of The Beatles Collection, that is, the “Blue Box” (Parlophone BC-13). The vinyl was given a different catalog number in the UK (Parlophone PSLP-261) than in the US (Capitol SPRO-8969). In 1979, by popular demand, the individual LP was sold separately in the UK (under a new catalog designation, Parlophone PCM-1001).

My Source: Vinyl, Parlophone PSLP-261, “-1” lacquer, “1” mother.

Imbalance. Untested.

Sonic Rating. Not bad, but you have to put up with audible blips.

UK 8-LP The Beatles Box (1980)

$50 or so (a bargain!)

General. This is “The Crate” (its nickname), issued by World Records (SM 701/8), EMI’s mail order division.

My Source. UK Vinyl, first lacquer.

Imbalance. Untested.

Sonic Rating. Same master as Rarities, so there are audible blips.

UK 7-inch 45 (1982)

$5 or so single; $200-250 box set

General. This (Parlophone 45-R-5015) was part of The Beatles Singles Collection (EMI BSCP1).

Imbalance. Untested.

Sonic Rating. Pending.

UK 7-inch Picture-Disc 45 (1983)

$15-20

General. This 20th-Anniversary issue (Parlophone RP-5015) was probably derived from the 1982 transfer.

Imbalance. Unknown.

Sonic Rating. Pending.

MONO: DIGITAL

CD 45 (1988)

General. Also available on The Beatles Singles Collection CD box set (1992).

My Source. CD.

Imbalance. Yes: link.

Sonic Rating. GOOD. Good: Focus on the vocal mix. Decent blend of the elements. Bad: Weak in the bottom. Bit shrill from concentration on the vocals.

CD Past Masters (1988)

General. Same master as the CD 45.

My source. CD.

Imbalance. Yes: link.

Sonic Rating. Same master as the CD 45.

CD EP The Beatles' Hits (1992)

General. This is from the CD EP box set, although it can also be found at auction as a separate CD.

My Source. CD box set. Note. Dr. Ebbetts' UK EP Collection (2000 edition) used the CD EP, not vinyl, for this track (checked with Audacity).

Imbalance. None: link.

Sonic Rating. VERY GOOD. Good: Strong bass digs into the vocal-drum oligarchy. Springy. Bad: Vocal mix not quite as focused as some masters.

CD Mono Masters - Remaster (2009)

My source. FLAC.

Imbalance. Weak FLAC signature. Nothing audible.

Sonic Rating. EXCELLENT. Good: Seeking to bring social justice to the elements, this is a drastic fix that sounds nice. Drums dominate, while vocals and bass wrestle for second spot. Harmonica more subdued to good effect. Spectral analysis shows this to be a transformed CD 45 master, with elevated lows, reduced mids and highs. Bad: Some peaking.

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STEREO

Mix Information. Takes were recorded as twin-tracks, two tracks recorded simultaneously, instruments to one side, vocals to the other. Edit Take 13 followed the same procedure. The foundational track (Take 6+ Take 13) received harmonica overdubs eight days later.

For the original Stereo mix, the instrumental side of the twin track was sent to the Left channel, vocals and harmonica overdubs to the Right channel (both channels more narrowly than previous twin-track releases), with nothing (except bleed and occasional echo) Center.

Stereo Image. Variation 2.0 has the narrowest Stereo image, approximately thus (“I” = instrumental track, “V” = vocals/harmonica dub track):

Left ______I_____V________ Right

Variation 2.1 is a bit wider, The Beatles Second Album approximately thus (“I” = instrumental track, “V” = vocals/harmonica dub track):

Left _____I________V______ Right

A deviation within Variation 2.1 (causing no new Variation) is on And Now: The Beatles, approximately thus (“I” = instrumental track, “V” = vocals/harmonica dub track):

Left _____I__________V____ Right

[The above Stereo Image was derived from Dr. Ebbetts FLAC, not vinyl (I don’t own it), so I can’t say if this is an original deviation or an experiment performed by Ebbetts]

Variation 2.2 is extremely wide, approximately thus (“I” = instrumental track, “V” = vocals/harmonica dub track):

Left _I_________________V_ Right

Relative Channel Loudness. This is the relation of the Left channel to the Right channel. Each source has its own recipe, affecting the listening experience, especially under headphones.

Relative channel loudness differs from overall loudness. Whereas the former may cause a desire to rebalance the channels (by whatever method), the latter (which I will call “gain”) motivates to adjust the volume knob.

Sonic Rating and Mono Summing. The deviations to this type of two-track Stereo are limited, those deviations being (1) channel placement (see “Mix Information” above), (2) relative channel loudness (already covered), and (3) equalization. Due to this minimalism, I decided to listen in Mono to determine the sonic rating (this also satisfied any curiosity concerning “how it would sound”). When I double-checked my findings in Stereo, I was pleased that they matched.

End of Song. Whereas the Mono mix ends without harmonica, the Stereo mix ends with harmonica and an echo trail a bit longer than the Mono (about the same on all Stereo releases).

VARIATION 2.0

General. This Variation concerns the (assumed) original dry Stereo master.

John Barrett’s Cassette Dubs (1982)

General. This (often titled “Thank You Girl #2”) is supposedly a direct dub of Take 30, the Stereo mix, from the master reel. Absolutely dry, except input effects.

My Sources: (1) Purple Chick’s With the Beatles Deluxe, Disc 1, Track 28 FLAC. (2) Every Little Thing Vol. 4, Disc 2, Track 26 FLAC. (3) Turn Me On Dead Man mp3. (4) John Barrett’s Cassette Dubs Vol. 3 FLAC.

Relative Channel Loudness. (1) Purple Chick, Left 6, Right 4. (2) Every Little Thing, Left 8, Right 6. (3) Turn Me On Dead Man, Left 6, Right 4. (4) John Barrett’s Cassette Dubs, Left 6, Right 4.

Sonic Rating by Mono Summing. Purple Chick, VERY GOOD. Good: Satisfying blend. Ringo on display. Bad: Bright, so bass a bit lost and some high-frequency irritation.

Every Little Thing, the master is identical to Purple Chick, but gained louder for a spot of distortion.

Turn Me On Dead Man, similar to Purple Chick, but my copy has a glitch at about 0:22 into the song.

John Barrett’s Cassette Dubs, has issues. Darker, for a better focus on the lows but the trade-off is some murkiness. Speed is 1.6% too fast, which sounds great but is not authentic. My copy has a glitch at about 1:16 into the song.

VARIATION 2.1

General. This Variation concerns the very wet (echo-y) Stereo master.

The Beatles’ Second Album (1964) - Stereo

General: Capitol album, catalog ST-2080. It’s the familiar “American” sound, if you will.

My Sources: (1) Vinyl (Apple label, matrix W5 #1). (2) Dr. Ebbetts needle-drop FLAC. (3) The Capitol Versions Vol. 2 FLAC (since this is actually digital, I cheated here).

Relative Channel Loudness. (1) Vinyl, Left 2, Right 3. (2) Ebbetts, Left 9+, Right 9+. (3) The Capitol Versions, even louder than Ebbetts (disqualified from further testing). I am not convinced that Ebbetts did not use the Capitol Versions CD as his foundation.

Sonic Rating by Mono Summing. Vinyl, EXCELLENT. Good. There’s no beating the American sound (prejudice on display). Bass most prominent, with vocals and drums bringing the noise. Harmonica secondary, as it should be. Bad. A bit wild if you’re not on board.

Ebbetts, VERY GOOD. Good. Retains the raison d’etre. Bad. The gain is high, so a little more distortion. Mid-range slightly modified from vinyl, giving the drums a “wave-like” quality that is at once commanding and distracting. Source Note. Purple Chick’s With the Beatles Deluxe uses an exact replica from this Ebbetts source.

The Beatles Beat (1965-1981) - Stereo

General: This Stereo German album is a mélange of 12 titles from several singles (She Loves You/I’ll Get You, I Want to Hold Your Hand, From Me to You/Thank You Girl), With the Beatles LP (Hold Me Tight, Money, Till There Was You, Roll Over Beethoven, You Can’t Do That, Please Mr. Postman) and A Hard Day’s Night LP (Can’t Buy Me Love).

It was issued at least six times.

My Source: Vinyl (1969, Odeon 1C-062-04-363, “-1” lacquer).

Relative Channel Loudness. Left 2, Right 3.

Sonic Rating by Mono Summing. VERY GOOD. Good. Similar to Second Album, but more emphasis on the lows. Bad. In Mono, it’s easy to tell that the tuba-like bass is too loud.

Note that, despite some references to the contrary, there is no difference in echo quality for “Thank You Girl” on The Beatles Beat compared to that on The Beatles Second Album. Nevertheless, the increase in low frequencies may have a tendency to, at times, cause more vibration, mimicking an increase in resonation.

And Now: The Beatles! (1966) - Stereo

General: This is a repackaging of The Beatles Beat from Odeon’s SR International arm (catalog # 73 735).

My Source: Dr, Ebbetts’ needle-drop FLAC.

Relative Channel Loudness. Left 5, Right 7.

Sonic Rating by Mono Summing. VERY GOOD. Good. The wider field (on the bootleg) is a chance for the mids to breathe. Bad. Less emphasis on the low end causes a bit of dullness and some pointy highs.

Note that, despite some references to the contrary, there is no difference in echo quality for “Thank You Girl” on And Now: The Beatles compared to that on The Beatles Second Album. Nevertheless, the decrease in low frequencies (and attendant dullness) may seem less vibratory.

VARIATION 2.2

General. This Variation concerns an extremely wide Stereo image. There is a little more echo here than on Variation 2.0, but much less than on 2.1.

CD Past Masters - Remaster (2009)

My Source. FLAC.

Relative Channel Loudness. Left, 9, Right, 7.

Sonic Rating by Mono Summing. GOOD. Good. Give credit for making this a strong instrumental track, the guitar and cymbals braver than in former incarnations. Bad. Unfortunately, the terrific separation and focus on detail causes problems, not the least of which is an incorrigible whistling noise during the longer harmonica trills. Sadly, the vocals also suffer some loss of spotlight, while the harmonica acts like a ham.

OUTFAKE

An "outfake" is a fan-created mix or recording.

John Barrett’s “Thank You Girl #1” is, I think, an outfake, being an unauthorized edit created by Beatles fan Barrett.

This edit is Take 14 with Take 23, that is, the harmonica overdub onto Take 13 (called “end from Take 30”), affixed as an ending.

Naturally, being unauthorized, this is not a Variation.

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MONO FOLD-DOWN: ANALOG & DIGITAL

The 1964 Mono LP The Beatles Second Album (Capitol T 2080) used a Mono-from-Stereo fold-down, as did the 2004 CD set, The Capitol Albums, Volume 1. This “mix” is not collectible nor a Variation, as you can “make” it yourself by pushing the “Mono” button on your amplifier.

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VIDEO SOURCES

None.

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Tom Wise
gengar843@msn.com

Although I use quotes from sources, or cited fact, much of the material on this and other pages of my blog is original, from my own pen. This is not cut-and-paste, it is a work of art. Copyright © 2011 Tom Wise.

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

1963, March 13: Recording and Mixing: Details

Poster announcing this evening's performances

Poster for the York gig, March 13, 1963

GLOSSARY & ABBREVIATIONS

2T = twin-track = two-track Stereo recording

SI = superimposition = take to lay new material over existing take (a.k.a. overdub)

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GENERAL INFORMATION

General. During the Roe/Montez tour, John acquired a terrible cold and lost his voice. Nevertheless, on the way to York from Bedford, the Fabs stopped by Abbey Road Studios so that Mr. Lennon could add harmonica overdubs to “Thank You Girl.”

EMI Reels. I will be segregating the events of this day in terms of EMI Reels (of which there is one), that is, tape designation numbers given to the recordings. For John Barrett’s EMI reel notes and John Winn’s details on these notes, go: here.

There are no available audio sources for this reel.

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EMI Reel E48989

Tape may or may not exist. No recording sheet is available.

“THANK YOU GIRL”

(still called “Thank You Little Girl”)

2T (Barrett), Takes 14-28 SI (harmonica).

Lewisohn reported that the “best” SI takes were 17, 20, 21, and 23. From this bit of information, it is possible to reconstruct the recording session. Noting that previous sessions worked in linear fashion, we may assume the following harmonica overdub attempts: (Part 1) Takes 14-17 for the opening (17 “best”), (Part 2) Takes 18-20 for the response section to “way that you do” and the instrumental section after “good to be true” [these two having similar attack and tone](20 “best”), and (Part 3) Takes 21-28 for the remaining three sections (of these, Takes 21 and 23 were “best”): (a) the instrumental section before the final verse, (b) the instrumental section after the final verse, and (c) the ending.

Lewisohn asserted that Takes 6,13, 17, 20, 21, and 23 were used for both the Mono and Stereo released mixes. However, the Mono assembly is missing overdubs for Part 2 and Part 3c, and uses a different overdub for Part 3b [of those parts described above], so Lewisohn made some error or oversight. Interestingly, the UK LP Rarities provides clues to the solution. On that source*, the Mono mix was incorrectly mastered (cut) in Stereo, with the result that the edit points (or perhaps the overdub “punch-in” points) are audible “blips” (these blips not audible on any Stereo mix). These blips occur as follows (approximate time into the song):

Edit 1 @ 0:03.3 (prominent). Heard immediately after the opening harmonica. This indicates the section 0:00-0:03.3 to be Take 17, harmonica overdub onto Take 6 (applies to both the Mono and Stereo released mixes).

Edit 2 @ 0:53.1 (prominent). Heard at the start of the “way that you do” response. In the Stereo mix, a harmonica part begins. This indicates the section 0:03.3-0:53.1 to be part of Take 6 (applies to both the Mono and Stereo released mixes).

Edit 3 @ 0:54.7 (prominent). Heard at the end of the “way that you do” response. In the Stereo mix, the harmonica part stops. The section 0:53.1-0:54.7 is surely, in Stereo, Take 20, harmonica overdub onto Take 6; and should be considered as, in Mono, part of Take 6 (no overdub). But in that case the “blips” ought not be present in Mono, since it is a continuation of the previous section (and the original Take 6, available for inspection, proves this).

Edit 4 @ 1:00.0 (light). Heard at the start of the short instrumental section after “good to be true.” In the Stereo mix, a harmonica part begins. This indicates the section 0:54.7-1:00.0 to be part of Take 6 (applies to both the Mono and Stereo released mixes).

Edit 5 @ 1:01.7 (prominent). Heard at the end of the short instrumental section after “good to be true.” In the Stereo mix, the harmonica part stops. The section 1:00.0-1:01.7 is probably, in Stereo, more of Take 20, harmonica overdub onto Take 6; and should be considered as, in Mono, another part of Take 6 (no overdub). But, again, the “blips” present in the Mono mix undermine that supposition.

Edit 6 @ 1:08.7 (hidden). Heard at the start of Part 3a. In both Stereo and Mono, a harmonica part begins. This indicates the section 1:01.7-1:08.7 to be part of Take 6 (applies to both the Mono and Stereo released mixes).

Edit 7 @ 1:12.1 (hidden). Heard at the end of Part 3a. In both Stereo and Mono, the harmonica part stops. The section 1:08.7-1:12.1 is probably Take 21, harmonica overdub onto Take 6 (applies to both the Mono and Stereo released mixes).

Edit 8 @ 1:36.5 (prominent). Heard at the start of Part 3b. In both Stereo and Mono, a harmonica part begins. This indicates the section 1:12.1-1:36.5 to be part of Take 6 (applies to both the Mono and Stereo released mixes).

Edit 9 @ 1:39.9 (prominent). Heard at the end of Part 3b. In both Stereo and Mono, the harmonica part stops. However, the harmonica part, as mentioned above, differs between the released mixes. The section 1:36.5-1:39.9 is possibly, in Stereo, more of Take 21; but it is impossible to say which SI take was used for Mono.

Edit 10 @ 1:56.9 (light). Heard at the start of Part 3c. In the Stereo mix, a harmonica part begins. This indicates the section 1:39.9-1:56.9 to be part of Take 13 (applies to both the Mono and Stereo released mixes). The section 1:56.9-end is certainly, in Stereo, Take 23, harmonica overdub onto Take 13; and should be considered as, in Mono, another part of Take 13 (no overdub). But, again, the “blip” present in the Mono mix undermines that supposition (and the original Take 13, available for inspection, underscores this).

* These blips also occur on the Mono mix for “Thank You Girl” presented in The Beatles Box (“The Crate”). I tested original vinyl.

I have no theory to account for the anomalous edit (or punch-in) points audible in the Mono mix, nor one to explain why the Stereo mix lacks audible blips.

The Stereo mix was assembled and called Take 30 (ref: Barrett’s notes). That Lewisohn placed the Mono mix chronologically before the Stereo mix causes me to believe the Mono mix to be (the unmentioned) Take 29.
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GENERAL REFS: Lewisohn, Recording Sessions; Winn, Way Beyond Compare

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Tom Wise
gengar843@msn.com


Although I use quotes from sources, or cited fact, much of the material on this and other pages of my blog is original, from my own pen. This is not cut-and-paste, it is a work of art. Copyright © 2011 Tom Wise.

1963, March 6

One day after recording “From Me to You” and “Thank You Girl,” and three days before the start of their UK tour (opening [!] for Tommy Roe and Chris Montez), the boys traveled to Manchester to tape their fifth and final appearance on BBC Light’s Here We Go.

On this date, between 8:00-8:45pm, the boys performed in front of a live audience, playing four songs (“I Saw Her Standing There” was cut from the show, and is currently undiscovered). Host Ray Peters let it be known that “Please Please Me” had just topped the New Musical Express chart (although this wasn’t the chart the BBC normally used).

This edition was broadcast on March 12 at 5pm.

(refs: Winn, Way Beyond Compare; Lewisohn, Chronicles)

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TRACKS:

“MISERY”

“DO YOU WANT TO KNOW A SECRET”

“PLEASE PLEASE ME”

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AUDIO SOURCE: Purple Chick's The Complete BBC Sessions - Upgraded for 2004, Disc 1 provides the cleanest, most complete, and speed-checked experience.

You can find a comprehensive history of The Beatles at the Beeb bootleg releases: here.

VIDEO: None.

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Tom Wise
gengar843@msn.com

Although I use quotes from sources, or cited fact, much of the material on this and other pages of my blog is original, from my own pen. This is not cut-and-paste, it is a work of art. Copyright © 2010 Tom Wise.

1963, March 5: Recording: Sources!

AUDIO SOURCES

General Information. This page lists only takes from this recording session which are available on bootleg. For details on the full recording session, including unavailable takes, go: here.

Released Mono and Stereo mixes are not listed on this page, but are on separate pages for each song.

Variations. This pages also lists Foundational Variations, defined as any preceding base for a released recording which (with some exceptions) has no extra material. This will become clearer as we go along.

Alternate Sources. Note that, besides those listed, many sources for these takes are usually available. If interested, peruse: here (with accessory key: here).

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ABBREVIATIONS

All titles are bootlegs.

M5 = March 5, 1963 Plus the Decca Tape (Vigotone, remastered [matrix VT-123])... speed-corrected version

S = Stereo

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“FROM ME TO YOU”

Take 1, S ............ M5

Take 2, S ............ M5

Take 3, S ............ M5

Take 4, S ............ M5

Take 5, S ............ M5

Take 6, S ............ M5

Take 7, S ............ M5

Variation 1.0. Foundational. "Best" rhythm take before overdubs. Absolutely dry, except input effects. Includes (at the start) take count and (after the song proper ends) extraneous chatter/noise (“untrimmed”).

Take 8, S ............ M5 leftover bits

Take 9, S ............ M5 leftover bits

Take 10, S .......... M5 leftover bits

Take 11, S .......... M5 overdub outtake

Take 12, S .......... M5 leftover bits

Take 13, S .......... M5 overdub outtake

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“THANK YOU GIRL”

(initially called “Thank You Little Girl”)

Take 1, S ............ M5

Take 2, S ............ M5

Take 3, S ............ M5

Take 4, S ............ M5

Take 5, S ............ M5

Take 6, S ............ M5

Although this was the “best” rhythm take, it is not a foundational Variation since the ending was redone for later edit.

Take 7, S ............ M5 edit outtake

Take 8, S ............ M5 edit outtake

Take 9, S ............ M5 edit outtake

Take 10, S .......... M5 edit outtake

Take 11, S .......... M5 edit outtake

Take 12, S .......... M5 edit outtake

Take 13, S .......... M5 edit eventually used

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“THE ONE AFTER 909”

(also notated “The One After Nine O’ Nine”)

Take 1, S ............ M5

Take 2, S ............ M5

Take 3, S ............ M5

Take 4, S ............ M5

Take 5, S ............ M5

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VIDEO

None.

_______________________________________________________________________

Tom Wise
gengar843@msn.com


Although I use quotes from sources, or cited fact, much of the material on this and other pages of my blog is original, from my own pen. This is not cut-and-paste, it is a work of art. Copyright © 2011 Tom Wise.