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.

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