Friday, 30 January 2015

Who knows - Fantasy Who Boxset

Who Knows, it may happen.

So, rather than write about what I think is wrong with The Who reissue catalogue, I'm putting together my own fantasy box set.
Naturally these would be sourced from the analogue master tapes where possible.

My Generation - Mono

A Quick One - Mono

Sell Out - Double disc Stereo & Mono

Tommy - double disc

Live At Leeds - original 6 track album

Who's Next

Quadrophenia - double disc

Odds & Sods - first disc as original album, second with the extra CD reissue tracks

The Who By Numbers

Who Are You

Meaty Beaty Bigger & Bouncier - a 3 disc set of A's, B,s EP's and rarities:-

Side1 (mono single mixes)
1- Can't Explain
2- Bald Headed Woman
3- Anyway, Anyhow, Anywhere
4- Daddy Rolling Stone
5- Shout & Shimmy
6- Instant Party
7- Substitute
8- I'm A Boy

Side 2 
1- Circles
2- Disguises
3- Batman
4- Bucket T
5- Barbara Anne 
6- In The City
7- Happy Jack
8- I've Been Away

Disc 2 
Side 1
1- Pictures Of Lily
2- Doctor Doctor
3- The Last Time
4- Under My Thumb
5- I Can See For Miles
6- Someone's Coming
7- Dogs
8- Call Me Lightning

Side 2
1- Magic Bus
2- Dr Jekyll & Mr Hyde
3- Dogs Part 2
4- The Seeker
5- Here For More
6- Heaven & Hell
7- I Don't Even Know Myself

Disc Three
Side 1
1- Lets See Action
2- When I Was A Boy
3- Join Together
4- Baby Don't Do It
5- Relay
6- Waspman

Side 2
1- Substitute (US Single Version)
2- Happy Jack (Acoustic Version)
3- I'm A Boy (quiet version)
4- Magic Bus (stereo extended version)
5- Eyesight To The Blind (alternative vocal) 
6- The Real Me (Quadrophenia movie version)
7- Four Faces

Yes it weighs in at a rather hefty 17 discs and this is without some of the bonus material on the reissue CD's, but covers the all important Moon era official releases. 

What's in your fantasy Who Box set?

Wednesday, 28 January 2015

Who Knows More?

Who Knows More?
Or - I prefer my crackles un-corrected

The Who Phases Boxset got a lot right, the inclusion of the Live At Leeds album being a major plus over the 2012 box set. Yes, it's billed as a "studio albums" set, but here's why I think it should have a special place in the 2015 box.

There have been a number of Who live releases that come under the good (Isle Of Wight), bad (Join Together 1989 tour) and the ugly (Who's Last). The Who Live At Leeds, since it's release in 1970 has regularly trumped any meaningful "greatest live album" list since then, it's influenced and been name checked by every subsequent rock band, Rolling Stone magazine list it in the 200 best albums of all time. 
From the opening riff of Young Man Blues you know you are in for a good kicking and you ain't wrong, Substitute is stripped down and raw, Summertime Blues & Shakin' All Over get the full 'Oo treatment. Side 2 has the epic My Generation & Magic Bus improvisation that had become a feature of Who shows, neither Entwistle, Moon or Daltrey being quite sure where Townshend would take them adds an electric spontaneous edge that is so often missing from polished live albums. This is the album that is held in such high regard, is a landmark in modern music history. 

And you can't buy it new. 

1995 saw a 25th Anniversary CD edition with additional tracks taken from the concert. The 1994 Maximum R&B Boxset had included a version of See Me Feel Me from that show (more about that later!) and Heaven & Hell which was included on this release. I was pleased to hear some additional tracks from the show (A Quick One While He's Away is outstanding) but I was left with the feeling that something had been taken away, rather than be added to. Yeah I know that Leeds is a LIVE album, it just doesn't really sound like one, even between songs the crowd noise is almost non-existent due to a lack of ambient microphones. Indeed it's the fact that the show is close miked (the sound is recorded from microphones next to the amplifiers/drum kit) that makes it sound like a "live" recording rather than a "concert" album. Put on Who's Last or most live albums from the last 30 years and it starts with the sound of the audience cheering which usually continues between tracks, even if it isn't a full set from the night, it tries to sound like one. Leeds has none of this, except a few distant cheers. With the exception of Substitute, none of side ones Who versions had been heard before, and side twos Who songs are so far removed from the orginal's that instead of the usual homage to Greatest Hits, this is new material.

2001 saw a double "deluxe" Live At Leeds CD. For some reason, Roger felt the need to re-record the vocals for "See Me Feel Me" despite them sounding fine on the 94 box set. Also, the 2nd CD with the Tommy Set on it has had a large overdose of noise reduction that makes most of the tracks sound phased and boxy. A subsequent Super-Deluxe version with the Hull Show (recorded the following night) still has these odd sounding Tommy mixes. 2010 saw a limited 40th anniversary box set that contained the original LP version for a cosy three figure sum. 
If you want to hear it on vinyl in all its original brilliance it's a trip to a 2nd hand record store. 

2014 saw a HD digital release of the Super Deluxe version. Up until this point, the Leeds show had been spread over two discs, but not in chronological order. For some reason, "The Who" insisted that Tommy be on its own disc. So that the first part of the show is on disc 1, the second  on disc 2 and the remainder on the second half of disc 1. This digital edition sees them in the right order for the first time.

In my view, this album in its original incarnation should be available in the upcoming Boxset as it is an album recorded live, rather than a record of a concert and is one of the most important & respected albums in The Who catalogue.  

Who Knows Better?

Who Knows Better?

The Who Sell Out & Tommy both have had a much better reissue program and the latest Tommy vinyl record sounds as good as my 70's reissue (Which has the alternate and in my view superior vocal take on Eyesight To The Blind), although I don't have a Track first pressing to compare it to, from others experiences & reviews it apparently holds up well.

The Who Sell Out was released in 1967 in Mono & Stereo, each with a dedicated mix. While for the most part I always believed I preferred the Mono, I've always thought the guitar take used in "Our Love Was" was a whole lot cooler on its Stereo brother. 70's vinyl & 80's CD reissues used the Stereo mix. Listening to both mixes on original first pressings, it's the Stereo that sounds clearer and dynamic and free of some of the heavier compression. (Listen to "Our Love Was" in the Mono and it's really obvious in the vocal only sections). On the other hand, Pete's vocal on the Stereo"Odorono" lacks the intimacy of the Mono (subsequent stereo remixes have improved this vocal though). In truth, there are things that I like about each of the versions and it's one of only 2 albums that I would want both of, the other being The White Album.  

1995 remastered CD featured what I'll politely call a bastardized version of the original LP. For those who don't know, Sell Out contains jingles & adverts as a homage to sixties pirate radio stations. There are several excuses for why this very good idea didn't continue beyond the second track of side two, laziness, cost & deadlines among the most common. The 95 CD seeks to remedy this by adding unused adverts & jingles recorded around the same time, it really doesn't work and sounds like the tomfoolery of a bored bootlegger who is speculating what might have been. There is a happy ending to this story however, the 2009 deluxe edition is an excellent example of how to get it right. Two discs featuring the stereo & mono mixes, and all those unused adverts and jingles as extra tracks. The icing on the cake is the original single mix of "I Can See For Miles", which kicks every other mix I've ever heard of this in the balls.  

The forthcoming Who Sell Out vinyl release in March 2015 presumably being the stereo mix, which is a great shame and a missed opportunity with what should be a double LP stereo / mono package from analogue masters.  


Tuesday, 27 January 2015

Who Knows?

Who Knows?
I started writing this piece several days ago, in which time it's just been announced that the Who studio albums are being released on vinyl, as a Boxset & individually. Whilst this is good news, It's a shame these won't be sourced from the analogue tapes. For all the latest info, visit The Who .com

Back in 2013, Little Steven had on a on air rant about the state of The Who catalogue. I wrote the following piece several years ago, and while 2013 saw a release of a mono CD version of My Generation and 2014 a mono digital version of the same, it's still worth bearing the following in mind if you are tempted by the Deluxe Version, as well as highlighting the general sad state of Who releases. :-

My Generation 1965 -
The only way to hear this album is on vinyl, and that's not an audiophile statement. Here's why:-
Producer Shel Talmy recorded this album with The Who and session pianist Nicky Hopkins at IBC Studios in London. At the time the studio used a 3 multitrack tape recorder (music could be recorded on 3 separate tracks). During the process of mixing the multitrack onto the master, some vocals and guitar where played live onto the mono master.
When The Who & Shel Talmy eventually settled their differences and released the stereo deluxe version on CD in 2002, it was taken from the original 3 track multi track tapes and whilst sounding great in stereo, was missing some key elements that were left on the mono masters. So that "La La La Lies" sounds like what it is, unfinished and several tracks use alternative lead vocals that are inferior to the originals. Quite why, like many other albums it wasn't reissued in mono & stereo is unfathomable.
While jet-washing the Sistine Chapel may be a a heavy analogy, the way one of the most exciting debut albums by one of greatest bands to have ever set foot in a recording studio has been treated, is a travesty.
Paul Moss 2012

Whilst the 2013 reissue mono CD has cleared this issue, it release was a downbeat affair, a small ceremony for close relatives. With the exception of a digitally sourced version on the 2012 box set, there was no vinyl release of this debut album, fortunately March 2015 this album will be released again, sadly from 24/96 rather than the analogue tapes and hopefully in Mono.

The follow up album has had an even shakier reissue program. 
A Quick One was originally released in 1966 on the Reaction label. My first copy of this album was a track reissue double (coupled with Sell Out) which like the original was in mono. The stereo album reared its head on the 1981 Phases box set and whilst for the most part I prefer the mono, this is a great sounding version of this album. (So Sad About Us & See My Way are still mono versions on this release). 
After being reissued on CD in the late eighties, a mono re-mastered version was released in 1995 followed by a stereo remastered version which used exactly the same booklet & jewel case, I used a post it note to differentiate the two. Either way, both are mastered far too loud and the hyper-compression renders them unlistenable in my opinion. 

Again being released in March on vinyl, also mastered from a 24/96 digital source, will this be Mono or Stereo? 

Hopefully my vinyl version of Who Hits 50 will arrive in February, it will be interesting to hear how the singles sound compared to the original singles & compilations such a Meaty BB&B etc. Also being released is a Brunswick singles box set which looks very sexy! 

Monday, 26 January 2015

3D Nearer - The Worlds First Holographic Single

3D – Nearer

Last year’s “Ultra-LP” Lazaretto by Jack White featured a hologram angel on side 1 in the dead wax area (along with a whole heap of vinyl novelties). This is best viewed when the record is turning on the turntable, using a single point light source like an LED torch.

Whilst it’s wasn’t a hologram, 1980 saw Split Enz’s LP “True Colours” have a laser etched pattern in the vinyl grooves, another gimmick that Jack White’s Third Man Records has used several times. 

In 1984, Liverpool band 3D, released their 2nd single “Nearer” with a limited edition having the B side replaced with a hologram of the band and song name. A sticker on the transparent sleeve proclaimed it as “The World’s First Holographic Single” The single got to a disappointing  102 on the BBC charts, followed by an even poorer third single, 3D were dropped by record company RAK soon afterwards.


Saturday, 24 January 2015

Postcards From The Deep - flexi-disc album

Postcards From The Deep

I've acquired this very cool album from Fruits De Mer Records, Postcards From The Deep, a sixties pop covers complication like no other. The ten tracks come on ten Flexi discs (apparently there is one remaining pressing plant that makes them) each has its own postcard and even contains a bag of stamps, should you feel the need to put them to good use.
The Flexi discs sound surprisingly good, however for those of a digital persuasion the box includes a cd containing alternative mixes.
This is a very limited run so hurry to avoid disappointment 

Thursday, 22 January 2015

Your Records Wear Each Time You Play Them

Your records wear each time you play them.

What was once a simple statement of fact is now an exclamation of incredulity on many an Internet forum. Pre-eighties, the idea that something wore out seemed as natural as the monthly oil change my Dad did on his Ford Thames van. Nothing lasts forever right, I mean that's what that poem by Shelley is all about isn't it? Be it Ozymandias or the 2 pence coin my first girlfriend used on her tone arm to stop the needle skipping, "Round the decay Of that colossal wreck, boundless and bare, The lone and level sands stretch far away."

This thought was on my mind after taking a few albums from the family vaults (Mum & Dad's house) when I was researching the Help lp. Along with the Beatles record, I took The Kinks second album, Kinda Kinks. This is a first pressing on the Pye label, purchased in March 1965 making it nearly fifty years old. When buying a second hand record, there are many things to look out for such as scratches and faulty presses which can be gauged visually on the disc. Groovewear however, requires a listen that any self respecting second-hand record emporium will be happy to let you do in store. The fact that so many old records sound so good, is really a testament to vinyl resilience. It wasn't unusual for a tone arm to weigh in at ten to fifteen grams in the fifties & sixties, cheap cartridges in the seventies & eighties forced many, like my aforementioned girlfriend, to take drastic action with coins, chewing gum or even heaven forbid, a Thunderbird 2 pod. Many in the sixties, indeed through the seventies and beyond ignored the warnings that stereo records would be damaged with a mono cartridge, continued blissfully unaware that diamond styli needed changing once a year (six months for sapphire styli). As for the suggestion that a damaged needle would permanently destroy your favorite waxing, well that was just poncey stuff in the punk age.  

So as I listened to this great sounding lp, I was grateful to my parents that had made a cassette copy I could listen to in my room, who had insisted if I wanted to listen to the record I would have to use the half decent turntable in the front room and that they had stored this album correctly (upright) in a dry atmosphere. They are just as responsible as producer Shel Talmy for passing along a truly great sounding record, which being played on my tone arm that tracks at 1.75 grams, will mean when I pass this album to my son it'll still be sounding like The Kinks in Pye Studios performing in the front room.


Nothing lasts forever, but a well cared for vinyl record will outlive you. 

Wednesday, 14 January 2015

The Beatles In Mono - Part 3: First Pressings V Re-Masters

The Beatles In Mono – Part 3: First Pressings V Re-Masters

2013 came and went, and there was no sign of the Mono Vinyl Box set, albeit one cut from lower resolution digital files.


Back in 1982, The Beatles ; The Collection, was released with much fanfare and high praise. This 14 record set covered the Beatles UK albums and the US Magical Mystery Tour. The original master tapes were sent by plane over to California, where they were half speed mastered by Mobile Fidelity Labs. This set along with individual albums that come onto the market, command some staggering prices. Are they worth it? For every person who loves them, there is another who doesn’t. The most common comment being that they sound very “scooped” (lots of treble & bass with not a lot of midrange) and if Magical Mystery Tour album sounds like it’s from a 6th generation master, that’s because it is. Many re-quote the information that this album was taken from the Capitol Masters, it’s a lot more interesting than that! Once Capitol had received their master in 67 (which itself was a third generation master), they re-mastered and copied it for their own pressings, made another copy and returned THAT one to Abbey Road EMI. When Mofi requested the Magical Mystery Tour master, Abbey Road made a copy of the copy that Capitol had returned, and then sent that over. I’ve never heard any of The Beatles Mofi releases, so for the third and final time I’ll leave it to Beatles Engineer Geoff Emerick to express what he thinks of the Mobile Fidelity remasters. Audiophile Michael Fremer was playing some of the Mofi versions for Geoff to see what he thought of them, he begged him to turn them off and stopped playing them.


Sean Magee had been cutting lacquers from the digital mono masters, ready for the scheduled 2013 release and wondered what the original tape masters would sound like. At this point, in steps producer Steve Berkowitz, who has a long pedigree of quality analogue re-issues. “The first thing I asked was, what shape are the original [tape] masters in?” Steve felt that George Martin, the engineering team and The Beatles had done a pretty good job that no one could improve on. From that point on Sean and Steve set about a meticulous program of listening to the masters and first pressings, along with making a new master for “Please Please Me” (the tape was fine but the glue in the edit’s was starting to break down) and new master tapes for Magical Mystery Tour and The Mono Masters LP. 


When my mono box set arrived in early September, I spent the week just sitting and listening to these wonderful albums, I’ve never heard them sound so good, so clear and so absorbing, I felt totally captivated by these records. I opened the box and knew these albums were right, down to their sleeves, labels and even down to the way you pull the discs from Beatles for Sale & the White Album.

So how good are these re-issues in comparison to the first pressing?

I have several first pressing mono LP’s (Revolver & Pepper), whilst none of these are in mint condition, doing some back to back comparisons, to my ears these re-issues sound every bit as good as the first pressings. However, just to reiterate how accurate a job Magee & Berkowitz did, let me discuss my ”niggle” with this box set.


The LP Help has two tracks on side one, the title track “Help” & “You’re Gonna Lose That Girl” that to my ears seems to lack the clarity & “zing” of say “Ticket To Ride”. After a re listen to this album, I first checked the Mono CD box version, both of these tracks have more top end on them, as do every CD and stereo version I can find of this album. The 7” single version of “Help” which used the same master as the LP also sounds much clearer.  To compare it with a first pressing, I would need to take a trip to the family vaults (Mum’s House) to get my ears on Help, (Side 1: XEX 549-2). Both of these tracks on this 1965 lp sound exactly the same, clearly the re-issue in this case has bowed to the decision and choices made at the time.

Was the original Mono LP mastered like this intentionally, all of the subsequent re-mastering/re-cutting would point to the fact that it wasn’t. Could it have been an oversight?  I do know that both Help & “YGLTG” were bounced down, maybe the lack of top end on the master was an attempt to reduce tape noise and didn’t get the correct EQ treatment at the cutting stage?

What it does show, is just how accurate these pressings are. 


The Mono Masters LP, along with various singles/ b side/ ep’s etc. has dedicated mono mixes of the Yellow Submarine tracks “Only A Northern Song”,” Hey Bulldog”, “All Too Much” & “All Together Now”. I was surprised just how good these unreleased mixes sounded, I prefer them to the original stereo & 99 mixes. So while this doesn’t have the original Yellow Submarine Mono mixes*, all you are missing on this set is “Abbey Road”,” Let It Be” and the single “The Ballad Of John & Yoko”, making this a great place to start collecting Beatle Records. 


It’s a difficult sell, certainly not helped by EMI’s greedy re-issue program. This is the box that should have come out 5 years ago along with an analogue transfer of Abbey Road & Let It Be, the CD sets should have been double disc affairs (Disc 1 mono Disc 2 Stereo), etc. etc. I’m glad to see though that these albums have also been made available individually.


I can finally say with more than just a little faith and a wry smile, I believe that this is the last time I will ever need to buy these albums.



*= These mono mixes were a “fold-down” from the stereo. Imagine putting your left & right speakers together.



Monday, 12 January 2015

The Beatles In Mono - Part 2: Analogue V Digital

The Beatles In Mono – Part 2: Analogue V Digital

Now before you start sharpening your green pencils, this isn’t a “vinyl is better than CD” diatribe. As we shall see, analogue and digital are capable of High Definition and lower resolution listening experiences.

The Beatles digital story begins with the original CD’s that were released in 1987, Please Please Me, With The Beatles, A Hard Day’s Night & Beatles For Sale in Mono (finally the Beatles did have the power to choose and veto the releases) Help & Rubber Soul were remixed in Stereo by George Martin while the rest of the catalogue was released in stereo with the exception of Past Masters 1 Tracks “Love Me Do”,” She Loves You” and “I’ll Get You” and Past Masters 2 “You Know My Name (Look Up The Number)”. All of these releases were re-mastered.

CD’s were developed by Sony & Phillips and in technical terms use a two channel signed 16-bit Linear PCM sampled at 44,100 Hz (Phew) In simpler terms, 44.1 Hz is the digital sampling rate (how many pieces of information per second, in this case 44,100) and 16 bit (how much information per piece, in this case 16) all of which is usually referred to as 44/16 in digital audio. Now to convert analogue audio into digital audio information requires a DAC (Digital Audio Converter). The early 80’s DAC’s were considerably less efficient than they are now and many of the early CD releases suffered from thin and harsh sound. However, in my view the original Beatles CD’s sound OK, like many others at the time we believed that you wouldn’t be able to buy records in 5 years’ time and the quality of new turntables etc. that were for sale was pretty awful. (I will confess, that I should have looked harder! But in general, this was the overall feeling at the time.)

Fast forward twenty years and these original CD’s were looking rather tired. The nineties had seen the release of the Anthology series and the remixed version of the Yellow Submarine album (minus George Martin’s soundtracks and with other Beatle songs included in the film). Along with 2003’s Let It Be Naked, Yellow Submarine’s remixed versions sounded warmer and punchier than the eighties CD versions. Paul’s bass on “Hey Bulldog” sounds much heavier and clearer and the whole song has a much more “in the centre” mix than the former wide panned version. Whilst some quarters of the “Beatleista” were up in eight arms over these re-mixes, they certainly did highlight the need for these classic songs to be given the respect they deserve.

2006 saw the release of LOVE, music for the Cirque du Soleil show of the same name, which was in my view, very cleverly re-mixed & mashed by Giles Martin, overseen by his father George. At this time, Abbey Road were converting the original stereo & mono master tapes to 192/24 digital using a flat EQ. (192 Hz/ 24 bit – Flat EQ means that no frequencies or treble & bass were added to these conversions). This was a necessary archival process that would be the beginning of a wash & brush up that was needed for the new re-mastered CD’s, along with any future downloads, if and when the legal wrangling with Apple Computers were resolved.

The Beatles re-mastered CD’s were released as a stereo box set, a limited edition mono box set and individual stereo albums in September 2009. The original 192/24 archival files were reduced to 44/24 digital files for final mastering and then truncated to 44/16 for the CD releases.  To my ears these re-masters sound warmer and clearer than the original CD’s, with the exception of the mono/stereo issue which I covered in part one and pirate mono box set copies which I’ll cover in the future, all seemed well, albeit a medium resolution one. 

2010 saw the release of The Beatles on iTunes, whilst iTunes AAC format (like MP3, this is still a compressed lower quality format) won’t have the fidelity of the CD versions, those who love their FLAC might be able to scour Ebay for the Apple shaped USB stick, although even these are still 44/24 files. Downloads in general are a much trickier area to compare as it’s not just the resolution of these files that has a bearing on their quality, there are good & bad encoders that your digital music may pass through before it gets to you. The good news is that more recently, High Resolution Digital Audio is being taken more seriously, to find out more visit -

2012 saw the release of the vinyl version of the stereo box set, however this time all was not fab.

Digital folk love their numbers, as all of the ones I’ve needed to include in this blog entry  seem to attest to. In terms of comparing these figures to analogue, whilst some have tried to guesstimate this number and come to some pretty insane calculations based on the molecule count in magnetic tape, most audio professionals seem to think that 192/44 is pretty close to what an analogue master tape can produce.

As audiophiles played their new Beatle records, they knew something was wrong. Listening to “Because” on Abbey Road, the original engineer Geoff Emerick was horrified at how compressed these beautiful vocals had become. The list went on. So it was no surprise when Sean Magee, Abbey Road cutting engineer for these releases confirmed that they had been cut from the 44/24 digital masters that were used on CD. There were also concerns about vinyl quality, warping and excess surface noise.

Cd’s & downloads are convenient. We can listen to them on the move; we can carry them around in our pocket; I for one do not miss the sports bag of cassettes that I used to drag around with me. On the other hand, if in late 2012 I wanted to listen to The Beatles in high definition, I couldn’t walk into a record store (the ones that are left anyway) and buy one, in either analogue or digital format.  Remember, this isn’t some rare and obscure artist; I’m asking for one of the most well-known and renowned albums in recorded history. 

“Sgt Pepper by the Beatles in mono on a vinyl record please”

“I’m sorry lad, you’ll have to wait until 2013, when it’s released from the same 44/24 digital masters that are on the CD Mono boxset”.  

So no high definition for me then……



To be concluded.......

Friday, 9 January 2015

The Beatles In Mono - Part 1 : Mono V Stereo

The Beatles In Mono – Part 1: Mono V Stereo

Last year saw the release of The Beatles In Mono LP set, and whilst any box set that contains at least 4 albums that have consistently been in most serious top twenty albums of all time lists, would be a contender for the best ever box award, to really understand why this is a triumph on many levels we really need to go back to the beginning.

In the early sixties Britain, mono was king. Teenagers mainly bought 7” singles, indeed they had been the saviour of this format. Back in 1948, US Columbia launched the microgroove 33 1/3 RPM long player on 10” and later 12”, whilst RCA had the 45 RPM on a 7” single format, each needing its own dedicated player.  The war of the speeds ensued, whilst most of the public continued to buy 78’s. It became clear though that whilst grown-ups loved the long player, singles were affordable for the upwardly mobile teenagers. By 1950, the two companies called a truce and record players were manufactured to play both speeds and size.

It would be easy to look back to the Beatles early recordings and conclude that Fabs preferred Mono and that is why these are the “gospel” mixes. The realities are more economic. The Beatles fame had quickly spread in the UK, however even in 1966 they had to fight the “white coats” over getting more bass onto Paperback Writer. The idea that they would have much say on what format (and at this time Mono & Stereo were different formats that required their own cartridges) they could use is highly unlikely. The Beatles were a teen band for teen fans, and in 1963 only but a handful of youths with rich parents had access to a stereo record player. For these reasons, most of the time dedicated to mixing & mastering went on the Mono mix. This is evidenced through many conversations with George Martin & Geoff Emerick, along with The Beatles themselves. By 1968, it could be argued that mono was more of a Beatle preference as stereo sales of Sgt Pepper had been much higher than mono, despite all the weeks of mixing and mastering this album enjoyed over the several days for the stereo version. By the time The White Album (the last Beatles UK album to have a dedicated mono mix) was released, mono was yesterday and uncool.

 John Lennon, upon hearing the stereo version of Revolution remarked “They took a heavy record and turned it into a piece of ice cream!” In fact, as many fans re-purchased their beloved worn out LP’s, either with seventies stereo reissues or eighties compact discs, many differences; even glaring errors came to light. Even the 2009 stereo reissues have these same errors that simply aren’t there on the mono mixes, the song Please Please Me is a different take on the stereo and contains flubbed and mismatched vocals as well as John laughing his way through a “come on” section. Is this really the “official” version of this song, based on a mistakenly chosen take, over three months after the mono version had been lovingly mixed? I’ll not go into further detail of the mono/stereo differences as there are immense resources on these already. Just listening to the mono mix of Sgt Pepper, I can hear that this is something that had so much more time and care spent on it, so I find it rather frustrating that the stereo mix, something that was put together as an afterthought in a couple of days is the version you go into a shop and buy or download, while the meticulously crafted mono mix was buried away on the limited edition low key Mono CD Set.

In 2012 the Vinyl Beatles Box set was released, all using the stereo mixes. Any one wanting to buy the mono "as Beatles intended" mixes, it was a case of buying second hand first presses in at least VG condition, something that would set you back a nice 4 figure sum. 

To be continued......

Thursday, 8 January 2015

The Galileo 7 live show & State Records

The Galileo 7 have a rare UK show at the Fiddlers Elbow on Friday 9th Jan. Along with the hits from 3 (count em) albums, we'll also be performing 2 songs from the forthcoming single, recorded in December at Ranscombe Studios. This is up for a spring release on the State Records label, last year voted by Shindig magazine as the 2nd best label coming second only to Ace Records, who have been around since the 1950's under various guises and ownership. 
State Records is run & owned by Mole, it's a small independent label that was born out of The Higher State band & Sandgate State Recording Studio. I spent many happy times there recording for Groovy Uncle & The Galileo 7. 
Check out State Records for all your power pop needs at 

Hope to see you in Camden!

Tuesday, 6 January 2015

My Favourites of 2014


Musical taste is a personal thing, one person’s Bach is another one’s Bieber, so I shy away from saying “best of” 2014. So here are my favourites from last year.


Jack White – Lazaretto

Even without all the vinyl gizmos this would be one of my favourite lp’s of the year. Crammed full of good tunes, recorded with Jack’s usual zeal, this is one of the most entertaining albums I’ve bought in a long time, on and off the platter. My only complaint would be the dual track Just One Drink, on the electric version it doesn’t quite sync back to the single groove quite right (I’m not alone in this), although I prefer the acoustic intro anyway, maybe a better option would have been both versions to be a complete concentric groove that merged after the track finished. That minor niggle aside, this is my favourite new release this year.


Wilco Johnson/Roger Daltrey – Going Back Home

The 1964 bootleg of the Who at The Railway Club, has Roger trying to sound like a 70 year old blues singer, something he dropped after the My Generation Lp (I’m A Man & Please Please Please being two examples) as he found his own voice. Fast forward to 2014 and Roger sounds like the real deal. Some might say his Who singing days are numbered, but this record has his finest vocal performance in 20 years. Alongside the fabulous Wilco, who wasn’t sure that he would live to see this released, playing as fresh & natural as ever. 


The Galileo 7 – False Memory Lane

Before you cry foul! I should say I’m not performing on this album (I do make a small ghostly voice appearance on the bonus cd though). Mole takes over bass duties for the third album from the G7 stable and a mighty fine job he does too. Great songs from Allan Crockford, his finest vocal performance to date, along with Viv Bonsels taking a lead vocal on Don’t Know What I’m Waiting For.


David Crosby – Croz

A beautifully written, performed and recorded album from David. Recorded in high res digital 24/192, this album sounds stunning and has spent more time on my turntable than any other lp this year.


Beat Root – Waiting For A Miracle

A band born out of a USA trip in early 2014, Andrea & Ben didn’t waste any time getting back to Austin Texas to record this amazing album.


Graham Day & The Forefathers – Love Me Lies

2013’s Prime Movers re-union quickly led to more live appearances under a new moniker. Re-leased on State Records, this single sold out before it had been released. A re-pressing on clear vinyl is still available (just). Energy levels are set at 11 and Graham’s vocal sounds better than ever. If you like this then you’ll love the LP, Good Things on the Own Up label.


The Beatles – The Beatles In Mono

A real no brainer this one. At some point I will do a separate blog entry for this monumental re-issue. For now though, in short, the finest box set ever. Taken from the original analogue tapes, this is The Beatles as they were meant to be heard. The entire LP’s up to & including the White Album, we can only hope that Abbey Road & Let It Be get the same analogue treatment someday.


Coolest Package Of The Year

Groovy Uncle – Persuaded

Pressing your own vinyl records is an expensive labour of love in itself. This wonderful album was released in a limited edition field agent edition.