Wednesday, 28 January 2015

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.  


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