Saturday, July 17, 2010

The People Need to STFU Rant, Part 1: The iPhone 4

No, not that I'd ever deprive anybody of one's First Amendment rights, but I am finding a lot of people who need to just, well...shut up or go away. Allow me to explain two examples I recently encountered:

1) The people causing the iPhone 4 brouhaha, and
2) The bitchers and moaners on the #22 CTA bus heading northbound at around 12:30am today.

Now, let's start with the iPhone business.

Problems: there is a bug in the code that calculates the number of bars that should display to represent the signal strength; if you hold the iPhone a certain way during an active call, the call will drop because of the way the antenna is situated; and finally, one could accidentally disconnect a call if one's cheek (face cheek, smartass!) accidentally touches the virtual "End Call" button due to a bug in the phone's sensitivity thingy. (Technical, aren't I?) As a result -- especially of the antenna problem -- it seems the world is calling for Steve Jobs's head on a lance.

I have several things to say about this:

- I'm just going to ignore the cheek problem and the signal bar problem for now; Apple has acknowledged these issues and is working on fixes; in fact, the signal bar issue has been around since the very first iPhone.

- Wow. Microsoft continually knowingly releases buggy products that constantly require patches and updates, and nobody says diddly. A phone comes out with three reported problems and suddenly Apple is the root of all evil.

- "Just don't hold it that way" -- a bit of advice that offended the masses. Come on, now; this is nothing new. Don't believe me? Go to your favorite search engine and look for "nokia 2320 user manual:" you will find instructions that tell you how NOT to hold the phone, for the same reason!

- Apple denying there was a problem -- did they flat-out say there wasn't a problem, period, or did they say THEY haven't found a problem? There's a difference between a third party thinking they found a bug and Apple finding it.

- In fact, I don't believe Apple flat-out DENIED there was a problem; in fact they announced it was a software issue. Okay, this is a bit shady, but yes, you can theoretically use software to fix a hardware problem. (Hmmm...notice how when iPod firmware is updated, sometimes the result is a longer battery charge? So it goes to show that sometimes you can affect hardware with software.)

- There are reports that an anonymous developer leaked to the media that the development team knew all along that there were antenna problems, but the powers that be wouldn't listen to them. Okay, then why did this come out only after news got out that there were antenna problems? Why did the anonymous developer not warn us sooner?

- Speaking of leaking (unintentional rhyme, but damn, am I impressed!)...what about the prototype that was left behind in a bar? (Tell me that wasn't a setup.) Gee, I don't remember Gizmodo talking about the antenna problems. Makes me think that the brouhaha is more of a molehill than a mountain.

- Put a piece of insulating tape -- electrical tape, duct tape, whatever -- over the little black lines on the side of the iPhone. "I shouldn't have to do that!," I hear people say. CAN you do it? Then STFU and do it. These are the same people who bitch about, say, other people not volunteering to help clean up after a party, yet when you ask these people, "Did you ask anybody to help?" they say, "Well, I shouldn't have to." Oh, shut your face and do it if you have to.

- Another solution: put a bumper on the phone. Apple is giving those away with iPhone 4s now and is refunding the price to anybody who bought 'em before yesterday's press conference.

- "I demand a refund!" No problem -- there's a 30-day return policy; the iPhone 4, at the time of this writing, hasn't even been out for 30 days.

- The dropped call problem an issue that is only affecting some users. Thing is, Apple sold so many iPhone 4s at once -- more than they've ever sold before -- that it seems like more people are finding this bug all at the same time than usual, so it appears bigger than it is. And that it's not affecting everybody became very apparent to me yesterday when I personally tested three different iPhone 4s and tried my damnedest to disconnect phone calls that I made. I gave the phone the famous death grip that's causing all the problems. I tried with both my right and left hands. I even attempted to crush the damn thing. Result: call stayed connected, and when I watched the screen when I did this, signal bars didn't budge. (I also couldn't disconnect a call with my cheek, for the record.)

- Oh, and gee...people seem to not realize the exact same issue happened with the iPhone 3GS, yet nobody said a word. Hmmm. Go figure. Well, OK, to be fair, it wasn't the exact same issue -- the iPhone 4 problem happens on the left side of the phone, but the 3GS problem happens on the right side.

So everybody, just shut. the. fluorine. up.

My next STFU rant will be an extreme rarity: I'll be defending the Chicago Transit Authority.

Thursday, June 17, 2010

Kick-Ass Beach Boys Song #2: "Marcella"

As there are merely hours left before Brian Wilson's birthday, it occurs to me that it's been a long time...a really long time...since I've discussed a "kick-ass Beach Boys song," and that was only the first one!

My last KABBS was "Surfin' USA" for what it was at the time and what it still means to this day, even for hodads like me who have never been on surfboards, unless you count a Boogie Board. This time, though, I need to draw attention to the next decade.

In 1972, the Beach Boys released an album called Carl and the Passions - "So Tough". It was an odd one for several reasons. First of all, the Beach Boys' name did not appear on the cover. (That's right, young 'uns -- that CD you have is an inaccurate representation of the original cover! The stenciled band name was added when Caribou reissued the album on CD in 1990.) Certainly that omission caused some confusion. Second, the album only had eight songs. Third, in the United States it was packaged as a double-album with a reissue of Pet Sounds, which meant that if you wanted to buy the new Beach Boys album that had only 8 songs, you had to buy Pet Sounds with it and pay for a double-LP. Perhaps the inclusion of Pet Sounds was to make up for the fourth oddity about this album: not much from Brian Wilson. Yeah, he's listed as one of the producers and a background vocalist, but he only had two songs on the album; at the time, this album had less input from Brian Wilson than any other new Beach Boys album.

However, one of the two songs he contributed, "Marcella," is pure gold. Based mainly on a then-unreleased song from 1969 or 1970 called "I Just Got My Pay," "Marcella" has a good driving rhythm with some nicely layered vocals, including a soulful Dennis Wilson countermelody that really stands out at the end of each verse. Just good, raw rock'n'roll. Sure, the track has some oddities, like the weird wordplay that's characteristic of many songs whose lyrics are cowritten by then-manager Jack Rieley, and the intro is very weird (single a high-pitched chord that sounds like a sledgehammer hitting the post of a chain-link fence), but once you get past that, pure enjoyment.

You want a true kick-ass experience? Get yourself a copy of Greatest Hits Volume Three: The Best of the Brother Years. Next time you go for a drive, pop it in the CD player. Now, crank the bass up...all the way up. And turn the volume up loud enough for you to enjoy it, but not loud enough that you ruin your ears. And keep the windows ROLLED UP. (You'll know the bass is forward enough and the volume is loud enough if you start to suspect your rearview mirror might rattle off the windshield or you're afraid your windows might shatter. Don't worry -- they won't.) Something about the mix or the mastering on this particular CD really packs an extra punch that you don't get on the other CD releases of "Marcella."

Or perhaps enjoy the version from the 1973 album The Beach Boys In Concert. The weird chord at the beginning is replaced by a really cool rock'n'roll riff on an electric guitar.

Is Brian Wilson performing near you soon? Then go to his concert -- he usually has "Marcella" in his set. (Word on the street is he loves performing that song.) The arrangement his band uses is basically the same as the version on In Concert except in the beginning, Brian plays some doo-wop chords on his keyboard with Taylor Mills improvising a wordless vocal over it. For the choruses, Paul Mertens whips out his diatonic A harp. And dig Mike D'Amico belting out the "Marcella, he-e-e-e-e-e-e-e-e-y" vocal during the end of the song..and count yourself lucky if Scott Bennett is designated to play the guitar solo that night. Wow. Just wow.

Saturday, May 22, 2010

The Beatles' Definitive CD Versions: The 1966 Single

When you consider all that happened, 1966 was a pretty dark year for The Beatles and their fans. The "more popular than Jesus" comment was taken out of context. The trip to The Philippines proved to be disastrous, to say the least. Exhausted from touring, The Beatles as a touring unit threw in the towel, ending after John allegedly played the opening riff of "In My Life" at the end of the Candlestick Park concert that August. Unless you count the Capitol compilation Yesterday And Today and the U.S. singles taken from various releases, The Beatles' only audio releases of 1966 were Revolver and the single "Paperback Writer" b/w "Rain." Fans and the media were wondering if this meant the end of The Beatles. In a way it was, but in another way it was the rebirth of The Beatles.

The CDs and abbreviations used this time around for the whopping two songs:
  • PM87 - Past Masters, Vol. 1, compiled in 1987 and released in 1988 to include Beatles tracks that didn't appear on the canonical album catalog.

  • SINGLE - The Complete Singles Collection, a box set from 1992 that compiled all the Beatles' singles on mini-CDs, complete with reproductions of the picture sleeves.

  • RED - the "red album," officially called 1962-1966 and sold as a two-CD set in 1993 despite the ability to easily fit the entire contents on one CD.

  • 1 - the 2000 album that compiled the officially-recognized #1 hits from The Beatles in both the U.S. and U.K. Beatles fans the world over knew this album would be a huge flop (case in point: 1982's 20 Greatest Hits). Check the RIAA site to see what a flop it was.

  • MM - Mono Masters, the mono equivalent to Past Masters found in the box set The Beatles In Mono.

  • PM09 - Past Masters, 2009 remastered edition.


PAPERBACK WRITER


MONO VERSIONS:
SINGLE:
Good punchy sound, good equalization.

MM:
Still good, but the drums and bass have some extra punch that give the track more energy.


STEREO VERSIONS:
PM87:
Why were so many of the Beatles' single tracks given poor stereo mixes? The sound is pretty unbalanced.

RED:
Still not a great sound balance (why pan the drums hard-left and the bass hard-right?), but the sound is a marked improvement over PM87. It even sounds like this version was sourced from an earlier master.

1:
Sounds a lot like RED but more bassy. The vocals sound more sibilant, though, so the treble is just a skosh too high.

PM09:
I can't really tell the difference between this version and RED. Definitely brighter than PM87 without the vocal sibilance of 1.

Worst mono version: CD Singles Collection
Really tough decision -- yet another instance of picking the "less good" version.

Best mono version: Mono Masters
Overall a great sound on both mono versions, but the extra punch in the drums and bass push the latest mono version slightly over the edge.

Worst stereo version: Past Masters Vol. 1 (1987)
A relatively primitive mastering emphasizes the lack of balance among the instruments and vocals.

Best stereo version: 1
In terms of overall cleanliness and brightness, all the stereo versions after 1987 are good, but the emphasis on the bass wins me over on 1; also, the uneven balance doesn't sound as bad.

Definitive CD version of "Paperback Writer": Mono Masters
The mono version easily wins out. You can hear every instrument very nicely and cleanly. It's nice to hear the taps at the end of the second verse, mixed out in the stereo version. Also, the song is several seconds longer in mono, giving the fans more music to enjoy. Finally, you gotta love the echo effect at the end of each verse, which you just don't get on the stereo version. Classic!




RAIN


Anybody who calls Ringo "the least talented Beatle" obviously hasn't heard his drumming on this track. His style here is almost robotic. "Rain" is basically John's "Paperback Writer:" Lennon says the same thing McCartney says with "Paperback Writer" but in his own unique way, both musically and lyrically.

MONO VERSIONS:
SINGLE:
Good sound balance, but could use better equalization. Needs more treble!

MM:
Unfortunately, we don't have good EQ here, either. But as is typical with most of the mono tracks in the 2009 reissues, the bass has some extra emphasis yet without overpowering the rest of the sound.

STEREO VERSIONS:
PM87:
Just seconds into this track, you'll learn who the true star of the stereo version of "Rain" is: the tambourine. Eep...

PM09:
The only noticeable difference with this version is that John's vocal sounds a tiny bit brighter; everything else is the same.

Worst mono version: The CD Singles Collection
Truth be told, both mono versions are kind of...blah...but this one more so.

Best mono version: Mono Masters
Just a tad bit better than the version on the single box, with the stronger bass line.

Worst stereo version: Past Masters Vol. 1 (1987)
But not much worse than...

Best stereo version: Past Masters (2009)
The slightly cleaner sound on John's voice made me pick this version.

Definitive CD version of "Rain": Mono Masters
I hate to say it, but the stereo versions of "Rain" are just terrible. Once the vocals come in, the backing track is almost inaudible. The mix is very poorly balanced -- the backing track and lead vocals on the left, backing vocals and tambourine on the right...who does that?! The mono mix isn't anything to write home about, either, with its desperately-needed equalization. It's a shame that one of Lennon's finest moments doesn't get more respect.

Monday, May 03, 2010

The Beatles' Definitive CD Versions: The 1965 Singles

The CDs and abbreviations this time around:

  • PM87 - Past Masters, Vol. 1, compiled in 1987 and released in 1988 to include Beatles tracks that didn't appear on the canonical album catalog.

  • SINGLE - The Complete Singles Collection, a box set from 1992 that compiled all the Beatles' singles on mini-CDs, complete with reproductions of the picture sleeves.

  • RED - the "red album," officially called 1962-1966 and sold as a two-CD set in 1993 despite the ability to easily fit the entire contents on one CD.

  • CAPITOL (mono) - mono mixes from The Capitol Albums, Vol. 1 from 2004, specifically Beatles VI.

  • CAPITOL (fake stereo) - Back in the '60s, if a stereo mix wasn't available for a song, engineers would apply crazy EQ and other effects to simulate stereo, and the result was usually atrocious. The "fake stereo" designation will refer to any tracks from The Capitol Albums from the "stereo" albums but are really processed mono. When I compare "best mono," "best stereo," etc. versions, anything that's actually fake stereo will be considered mono.

  • CAPITOL (stereo) - if you can't figure out what I mean by this after reading my explanations for the other two Capitol designations, then you really need to put down the joint and come back after you sober up.

  • 1 - the 2000 album that compiled the officially-recognized #1 hits from The Beatles in both the U.S. and U.K. Beatles fans the world over knew this album would be a huge flop (case in point: 1982's 20 Greatest Hits). Check the RIAA site to see what a flop it was.

  • MM - Mono Masters, the mono equivalent to Past Masters found in the box set The Beatles In Mono.

  • PM09 - Past Masters, 2009 edition, the two-volume remastered version.


YES IT IS



The B-side of "Ticket To Ride," there's not much more to say about this song other than it was, as Lennon once said, a failed attempt to come up with another "This Boy." There's nothing wrong with this track, mind you, it's just not the most standout song in the catalog. There are some things, I suppose, I need to mention: three-part harmonies, first time blah blah tone pedal blah blah George still figuring out blah blah, song possibly about a dead girlfriend/wife blah blah...

MONO VERSIONS:
SINGLE:
Good, full sound; balanced EQ; nice, even mix of vocals and instrumentation.

CAPITOL (mono):
The version that ended up on the mono Beatles VI doesn't really sound much different from the single version. The sound is still nice and full, and the EQ is respectable. There may be a bit more reverb and maybe a bit more on the high-end (unnecessarily), but overall, a pretty good playback. There is a bit more noticeable hiss, though, so either the version in the singles box was noise-reduced, or the American version suffers from the usual generational loss.

CAPITOL (fake stereo):
A horrible high-on-the-left, low-on-the-right reverb-laden fake stereo mix. Yes, I listened to this with headphones, and yes, one might have a different experience with speakers, but trust me, no matter how you listen to it, the result is bad. Yes, it is!

MM:
Again, a good, balanced sound with tasteful equalization -- which is a nice surprise, considering how much of the 2009 mono masters are sorely lacking in treble. The sound is slightly brighter than that of the singles box version.

STEREO VERSIONS:
PM87:
The stereo mix is really nice; it sounds quite ambient, and there isn't much in terms of hard panning. I hear an acoustic guitar in the left channel that I couldn't hear on the mono versions. There are a few dropouts, though. No noticeable hiss. The clarity is surprisingly good -- at the end, you can actually hear George's foot on the volume pedal.

PM09:
Even cleaner and brighter than PM87 -- there are only two or three dropouts throughout the whole track. However, I noticed that George's foot isn't as audible as on PM87!

Worst mono version: The Capitol Albums Vol. 1 ["stereo"]
Fake stereo at its second-worst. (For its first-worst, listen to the Beatles '65 "stereo" mixes of "She's A Woman" and "I Feel Fine."

Best mono version: Mono Masters
Plain and simple, a pleasure to listen to.

Worst stereo version: Past Masters Vol. 1 (1987)
But despite being "worst" (or should I say, "worse," because there are only two true stereo versions?), it's still not bad.

Best stereo version: Past Masters (2009)
Clarity and ambient, tasteful stereo separation -- really nice.

Definitive CD version of "Yes It Is": Past Masters (2009)
Yaaay -- the first instance in this little project of having both mono and stereo versions being from the newest set of reissues! Apple did this one right in 2009, especially the stereo version.




I'M DOWN


What do you do when the Little Richard song you've been using as a concert closer gets stale? You write your own Little Richard song to end with!

MONO VERSIONS:
SINGLE:
In terms of sound, not bad. Driving rhythm, good vocals, although there might have been a lot of noise reduction used on this version. It seems that through most of the song, though, the only audible instruments are drums, bongos, and bass; even the organ is pretty low-key until Lennon's solo.

MM:
A bright recording that once again de-emphasizes the organ. It almost sounds as if this version were mastered from an earlier generation; maybe the single version indeed was noise-reduced on the box set but not so much on MM?

STEREO VERSIONS:
PM87:
Actually, this isn't a bad recording -- nice, bright feel with an okay stereo balance. I do find myself wishing that the vocals were brighter, though. And that the bass and drums weren't panned hard-left. It's nice, though, how on the stereo version you can actually hear John's fingers (or elbow?) slide up and down the keyboard. I don't like that it fades out earlier, though.

PM09:
Wishing that the vocals were brighter? Wish granted! Actually, everything sounds noticeably cleaner: the vocals, the instruments, the overall sound...it sounds so fresh. Really nice. Even heard some laughter in the organ solo that I never heard before. I'm not saying it's not in the 1987 master, but it really jumped out on the 2009 master.

Worst mono version: The CD Singles Collection
I hate to say "worst" as it's still quite good.

Best mono version: Mono Masters
Just a tad bit better than the version on the single box.

Worst stereo version: Past Masters Vol. 1 (1987)
Not so much worst but least-good. (Or less-good...again with the grammar!)

Best stereo version: Past Masters (2009)
Brightness all around; to say that listening to this version is a pleasure is an understatement.

Definitive CD version of "I'm Down": Past Masters (2009)
Honestly, this was a tough decision, deciding essentially between the new mono and the new stereo masters. I went with the stereo version simply because it leapt out at me a bit more. Truth be told, listen to either, and you're in for a really nice treat. You can't go wrong.



WE CAN WORK IT OUT


If I'm being honest, I don't care for "We Can Work It Out." Too repetitive, too overplayed for me, too "so what?" for me. But it does feature a great example of Paul's songwriting on the topic at hand versus John's songwriting, and of course the earliest use of harmonium on a Beatles recording.

MONO VERSIONS:
SINGLE:
The sound is bright, but it sounds as if there's something missing. I guess the best way I can explain it is that the sound is bright yet hollow.

MM:
Okay, this is better. The treble was taken down a slight notch, but not enough to detract from the EQ. In fact, there's emphasis on the bass that's not on the single version. Very nice.

STEREO VERSIONS:
PM87:
There's something boring about this version. I don't quite know what it is, but there's something boring here. It might be in the vocals, which are panned hard-right and mixed too loudly.

RED:
A noticeable improvement over the 1987 version of Past Masters Vol. 1. The left channel (with the rhythm track) is potted up a little more, and the overall sound is brighter.

1:
Actually, this version doesn't sound too different from the "red album" version. I am noticing that the acoustic guitar in the left channel is easier to hear than on prior versions. Overall a pretty clean master.

PM09:
Slightly better than the red album version, but not as bright as the 1 version.

Worst mono version: The CD Singles Collection
Again, something is missing...

Best mono version: Mono Masters
...and it's in this version.

Worst stereo version: Past Masters Vol. 1 (1987)
Vocal channel too loud, overall sound too boring.

Best stereo version: 1
Best equalization, cleanest sound, and good balance of instruments plus vocals. (Yes, I did just take what I said about "I Feel FIne" and use it here. Got a problem with that?)

Definitive CD version of "We Can Work It Out": Mono Masters
This version has the best equalization. Also, the stereo versions have the vocals isolated to one side of the stereo, which can be distracting to hear.




DAY TRIPPER


When I first heard this song in the late '80s, for some reason I thought the guitar riff was reminiscent of early Kiss material. And of course, as with any other guitar-playing Beatles fan, when I taught myself to play guitar, this was the first riff I learned how to play.

Perhaps the rabid fans' favorite moment is the part on the line "Tried to please her" in which there's a sudden dropout of tambourine in what sounds like might be a bad edit. On stereo versions the dropout sounds to be isolated only to the right channel, with the tambourine, vocals, and lead guitar, so it sounds like this dropout is possibly a technical glitch that either happened during overdubs or is isolated to certain track(s) on the session tape.

MONO VERSIONS:
SINGLE:
Lots of hiss, and the equalization could use a little more treble. The infamous dropout during the last verse sticks out like a sore thumb.

MM:
Lots of hiss in the beginning that quickly goes away. A bit brighter than the single version and with more punch in the bass. The dropout is still there.

STEREO VERSIONS:
PM87:
While I've been writing about how much I wish there were more treble in the new mono remasters, on this stereo version of "Day Tripper" there's too much treble and not much bass. Overall the balance is pretty bad: too much tambourine, vocals isolated to the right channel, and the basic track on the left channel is too far in the background.

RED:
The left channel is mixed a bit louder than on PM87, the bass is slightly more audible, and the hiss at the beginning is virtually gone. As a result, the sound is noticeably better than on the 1987 version. However, the balance is still a little off.

1:
Sounds like RED but with less bass. Dropout is fixed with an edit, but if you listen carefully, you can spot said edit.

PM09:
Sounds just like RED but with the poor balance of PM87. Very clean and bright sound, though. The dropout is corrected as on 1, but the edit is either inaudible or very difficult to detect.

Worst mono version: The Complete CD Singles Collection
Yet another instance of the song not actually sounding bad, but there is a better version out there.

Best mono version: Mono Masters
Better balance of lows and highs.

Worst stereo version: Past Masters Vol. 1 (1987)
Too much treble, very unbalanced mixed.

Best stereo version: 1962-1966
Best stereo balance, best EQ, and the most recent stereo version that still has the beloved dropout.

Definitive CD version of "Day Tripper": Mono Masters (2009)
I picked the mono version because it's easier on the ears and has the best bass sound -- a driving bass truly helps this song get into its groove. And the dropout that the most fanatical listeners adore is loud and clear on this version. My ideal version of "Day Tripper" actually would be taking the best elements of the stereo mix (reverb on the vocals, which are dry on the mono version; louder vocals during the middle 8 -- the middle-8 vocals are nearly inaudible in mono) and the mono mix (driving bass line and longer fadeout).

Saturday, March 27, 2010

The Beatles' Definitive CD Versions: The 1964 Singles

KOMM, GIB MIR DEINE HAND



In 1964, German record label execs were complaining that they can't have ideal sales on s ongs sung in English, so to comply with their requests, George Martin had The Beatles record their two biggest hits to date, "I Want To Hold Your Hand" and "She Loves You," in German. The group was on a short break in Paris during a tour and protested having to do this task for such a trivial reason on their day off, but who's going to defy George Martin's wishes? While they were at it, the guys also recorded "Can't Buy Me Love." The two German songs were released as a single in Germany, which is why I included it in the "1964 Singles" post.

The "Komm, Gib Mir Deine Hand" vocals were overdubbed onto the "I Want To Hold Your Hand" multitracks. The lyrics were provided by a couple of Germanophones (is that a real world?) EMI outsourced; not only were the lyrics translated, but they were also changed so that there'd be a rhyme scheme in the new German version. (Indeed, do you remember the English lyrics ever saying "Oh, you are so pretty, pretty as a diamond"?)

There are two mixes: a mono mix and a stereo mix. On the stereo mix, the backing track is panned hard-left, while the vocals and handclaps are panned hard-right. Many fans have taken the "I Want To Hold Your Hand" stereo backing track as extracted from the Anthology DVD's 5.1 soundtrack and synched it up to the "Komm, Gib Mir Deine Hand" vocal track to get a stereo version of the song with centered vocals; you can actually find my attempt on one of the Tuned To A Natural E compilations.

Now, let's talk about that music, shall we?

MONO VERSIONS:
PM87:
Interesting; I don't remember it sounding this bad before; then again, I've been listening to the Something New version ever since The Capitol Albums came out. Bad EQ. Also, it sounds like the tape "breathes" in some places, know what I mean?

CAPITOL (mono):
The Something New mono version is actually a really good track. The EQ is good, with enough emphasis on the bass and the treble to make it a really exciting piece of music. As for the mix itself, there's a great balance of all the instruments and vocals. The vocals are actually pretty dry, which surprised me because I'm so used to hearing them reverbed. There might be a tape glitch or two, but not enough to affect one's enjoyment of the song.

MM:
Take all the treble out of the Something New version, press it to a record, wear the record out severely, and you have, unfortunately, the 2009 Mono Masters reissue. It vocals are very distorted, and the equalization leaves much to be desired. I dunno, maybe I have a bad CD or something? But at least I didn't notice any tape glitches. Basically, this is the 1987 version but with vocal distortion.

STEREO VERSIONS:
CAPITOL (stereo):
Extremely bright sound. Unfortunately, the vocals are too loud, especially in the headphones. At the very beginning of the track, you can hear a voice (McCartney's?) and some whispering. There's a lot of hiss on this track; I'm guessing that The Beatles overdubbed their German vocals on a copy of the original multitracks, meaning there's one generation of analog tape lost, and of course most (if not all) of the Capitol albums were mastered from copies of the British masters, which means yet another generation of tape loss on this track, so it's understandable that there's noticeable hiss.

PM09:
Again with the bad mastering on the 2009 version -- what the heck?! The left channel sounds noise-reduced beyond all recognition, and there's just no equalization to speak of; it's all middle. The vocals sound a bit distorted, but not as distorted as on MM.

Worst mono version: Mono Masters
Uck. That's all I can say. Uck.

Best mono version: The Capitol Albums, Vol. 1
If you thought the 2004 box set releases of the American albums were unnecessary, you were sorely mistaken. Because of The Capitol Albums, we have a good-sounding version of "Komm, Gib Mir Deine Hand."

Worst stereo version: Past Masters (2009)
I guess the German songs were considered a novelty or something; why else did they obviously get no care and attention on the reissue campaign?

Definitive CD version of "Komm, Gib Mir Deine Hand": The Capitol Albums, Vol. 1 (mono)
The bright EQ, nice balance, and the intact excitement make the version from the mono Something New win out. The EQ easily puts it over the top against the 1987 and 2009 issues. As for mono over stereo? Quite simply, the stereo mix isn't balanced very well at all.



SIE LIEBT DICH


I don't care what any of the fan sites' conspiracy theories say, The Beatles rerecorded the backing track for this song because the "She Loves You" multitracks simply no longer existed; they were stolen, erased, or just plain lost, depending on whom you believe. If you don't believe me that the backing tracks are different, just listen -- it's very obvious. If you still don't believe me, refer to your Mark Lewisohn book.

Now...in Germany, this was the B-side of "Komm, Gib Mir Deine Hand." "Sie Liebt Dich" was nowhere to be found in England in 1964 as a domestic product. In the United States, though, it found its way onto a Swan single, with "I'll Get You" on the B-side. You see, Swan argued that they had the right to release "She Loves You" on a single, and the label argued that because "Sie Liebt Dich" is the same song (just in a different language), then they had the right to release it as a single. However, the folks at Swan obviously didn't feel like arguing that logic to the blokes at EMI, as there's no record that they ever asked for a copy of the master, and in fact the Swan single was a copy of an Odeon record from Germany -- which is why Swan's release of "Sie Liebt Dich" didn't sound terribly good! I do believe EMI issued a cease and desist to Swan, saying that Swan had the right to release the master of "She Loves You" as a single -- "Sie Liebt Dich" obviously was not the "She Loves You" master!

The next time we got to hear the song in the States was in 1980, on a Capitol Records compilation called Rarities, which included a stereo mix of the song. As with "Komm, Gib Mir Deine Hand," the stereo mix of "Sie Liebt Dich" pans the backing track to the left and the vocals to the right.

MONO VERSION:
MM:
There's definitely some emphasis on the bass on this version. In fact, the lows sound distorted, and the vocals sound distorted. No audible tape glitches; however, in some parts of the song, it sounds like the recording was mastered from a record, but in other parts the sound is pretty clean. The EQ definitely could benefit from some treble.

STEREO VERSIONS:
PM87:
What? You thought this was a mono version? Because it says that in the liner notes? And it sounds like mono to you? Well, apparently this is actually a very, very tight stereo mix. Sounds like mono to me. Oh well. EQ is okay, but it sounds like there are a lot of tape glitches. Actually, the last "Ooooooooooh!" does sound like it's isolated to the left channel.

PM09:
Definitely has a full, wide stereo separation. The instruments are hard-left, and the vocals are hard-right. The EQ is much better than on both MM and PM87, the vocals are much cleaner than on MM, and the tape glitches present on PM87 are gone here.

Worst version: Mono Masters
Because it's debatable as to whether the 1987 version is stereo or mono, I'm not doing a best/worst mono/stereo here. MM has absolutely the worst sound, period. The bass and vocals are darn near unlistenably distorted, and the equalization is terrible.

Definitive CD version of "Sie Liebt Dich": Past Masters (2009)
Bright sound throughout, no tape glitches, and no distortion. Yeah, the stereo separation makes for awkward listening -- especially with headphones -- but it's definitely the most enjoyable version.



I FEEL FINE


Yeah, yeah, accidental feedback, blah blah blah...but I hesitate to call it "feedback." True guitar feedback is definitely not anything like what's at the beginning of "I Feel Fine." I think what happened, rather, was that the plucking of Paul's A string on his bass was picked up by the A string on one of the other guitars, and because the two strings were perfectly in tune with each other, the 6-string's A-string started vibrating and ergo audibly sounded. That's not feedback, my friends. That's just plain cool. It's also what makes it possible for the human voice to break glass. But whatever caused this avant garde opening to happen, it certainly contributed greatly to what arguably could be considered a Perfect Beatles Song.

Yeah, it's great that September 9, 2009 saw the remastering of The Beatles' canonical catalog, but we still don't have the "whisper" version of "I Feel Fine" -- that is, the version that appeared on the European releases of the "red" album and on which you can hear some whispering before any music starts. Most references specify that it was the British version, but I have a red vinyl pressing from France that has the whispering at the beginning. Anyhoo....

MONO VERSIONS:
SINGLE:
It sounds to me as if the version in the singles box (which, I assume, is the same version used to press the original UK single) were mastered with A.M. radio in mind. I'm not saying this is a bad thing -- in fact, there's something exciting about this song. You can almost feel how exciting it was to hear this song coming out of a transistor radio. It's an amazingly clean recording; you can hear each instrument very distinctively. Yeah, there could be some more treble, but it's a damn fine recording nonetheless.

EP:
Sounds like there's less reverb in the intro. Definitely more bass than on the single version, maybe a bit more treble. Nice recording. Sounds like it might have been mastered with the home listener in mind rather than the A.M. radio listener, know what I mean? I guess you could say it sounds a bit more danceable than the single version.

CAPITOL (mono):
Holy reverb, Batman; The Fab Four must have recorded this in a cavern! Okay, this is one song from which Dave Dexter's engineering goons really should have stayed away. I don't know how to explain it, but the reverb makes this song sound less...real. Less honest. Think of a rainy day in New York City; that's what this version sounds like.

CAPITOL (fake stereo):
Oh, dear God, what did The Beatles do to deserve the hack job that Capitol did on this? And how dare they call it "stereo"?! Forgive Dave Dexter and his staff, Lord; they knew not what they did. Actually, scratch that -- please don't forgive them. Ouch. High/low fake stereo plus duophonic echo delay plus excessive reverb equals cheapening of The Beatles equals unhappy Sean. (Excuse me while I go clean out my ears, now; this bad fake stereo made my earwax run.)

MM:
*Whew!* Much better. This is by far the cleanest-sounding mono version, in that it's definitely not laden with noise reduction, no noticeable tape glitches, just very clean. You can actually hear the plectrum strike the strings on John's guitar right at the end of the instrumental break. However, the equalization needs help. As usual, more treble, please. The bass is pretty cool, though.

STEREO VERSIONS:
PM87:
Nice clean recording, could use a bit more EQ balance. "I Feel Fine" definitely sounds cool in stereo. I do wish the drums were a bit louder. The lead guitar overpowers everything during the instrumental break.

RED:
The vocals sound a bit brighter than on PM87. Lead guitar is still a bit overpowering, and I'm severely underwhelmed by the drums.

1:
The 1 version sounds incredibly bright and clean from the beginning. The bass is a little more pronounced than before. Drums are, thankfully, more audible; the overall stereo balance is a little better than on prior stereo CD releases. Brightness all around. John's vocals are so clear you can actually hear the saliva -- whether that's good or bad is up to you!

PM09:
Certainly an improvement over PM87 and the red album, but not over 1. The equalization isn't as good, and there's noticeably more hiss from the beginning and lasting all the way through. The balance isn't that great -- the vocals overpower the song, and most of the backing instruments are hard to hear; the exceptions, as usual, being John's and George's guitars.

Worst mono version: The Capitol Albums, Vol. 1 (fake stereo)
Maybe it was Dave Dexter taking out his frustration on The Beatles? After all, he didn't want to sign them. Brian Epstein went over his head to his boss. That's the only logical explanation I can think of: revenge.

Best mono version: The Compact Disc EP Collection
Barely edging out Mono Masters, this version has the best overall sound, with the excitement jumping out quite well.

Worst stereo version: Past Masters Vol. 1 (1987)
Not the best sound in the world, and the guitars are too overpowering.

Best stereo version: 1
Best equalization, cleanest sound, and good balance of instruments plus vocals.

Definitive CD version of "I Feel Fine": 1
Hands-down, noticeably the best version all around.



SHE'S A WOMAN


The "I Feel Fine" / "She's A Woman" single combination is one of several that exemplifies an amazing pairing of John Lennon and Paul McCartney each saying the same thing in their own ways; if not lyrically, then musically. We had similar pairings with "Paperback Writer" and "Rain," "Hey Jude" and "Revolution," and perhaps most strikingly, "Penny Lane" and "Strawberry Fields Forever." This, ladies and gentleman, is a hell of a combo.

That's all I need to say, except that if you're an obsessive collector, there's an interesting outtake of "She's A Woman" on Unsurpassed Masters Vol. 2 that will make you think that Robert Plant took over the vocals at one point.

MONO VERSIONS:
SINGLE:
Right away I didn't care much for the sound. The intro chords sounded as if they were coming from a Hills Bros. coffee can. When the body of the song kicks in, though, the sound is a bit better, with a great bass line. As with many mono singles, it sounds as if it were mastered with A.M. radio in mind. Not the best EQ, but there is an overall good balance of all instruments and vocals.

CAPITOL (mono):
Again with the reverb, Capitol, what the hell?! EQ needs help, too -- too much high and middle, not enough low. All the reverb tends to drown out the piano. During the first refrain, somehow the vocals are noticeably overpowered; probably again blurred by the reverb.

CAPITOL (fake stereo):
Dave Dexter was a murderer; his engineers hit men. Need I say more?

MM:
This would be an amazing listen, if it only were for more treble in the equalization. It also sounds severely noise-reduced.

STEREO VERSIONS:
PM87:
Again, could use a bit more EQ balance. Interestingly, the vocals sound most affected by poor EQ. Most of the instruments and vocals balance nicely, but the maracas are too loud, and the piano is too quiet.

EP:
From the stereo bonus EP from the EP box, that is. The overall sound is a huge improvement over PM87. Also, we get something that's not on any other CD version legally released: a count-in. Maracas are still too loud and piano too soft, but still a good listening experience.

PM09:
Certainly the loudest-mastered of all the version, but still pretty good sound. The EQ isn't as good as on the EP version, but the sound itself is crisper and cleaner. The maracas aren't overpowering, and the piano is actually at a nice level.

Worst mono version: The Capitol Albums, Vol. 1 (fake stereo)
Yuck. I think when it's my time to go, the first thing I'll do is find Dave Dexter and asked why, oh why he felt it necessary to slaughter a classic.

Best mono version: The Complete Singles Collection
Mono Masters would have won if it didn't sound so noise-reduced.

Worst stereo version: Past Masters Vol. 1 (1987)
Did people not believe in equalization?

Best stereo version: Past Masters (2009)
What put this over the top was the clean sound and even balance of all the elements of the song.

Definitive CD version of "She's A Woman": Past Masters (2009)
I think the mono version itself is more exciting, but the only way I could imagine that winning this contest is if you had a playback system that enables you to crank up the treble -- it truly is exciting. However, since not everybody has that luxury, I have to go with the version that sounds the best without any tweaking. The new Past Masters version wins.

Sunday, March 14, 2010

The Beatles' Definitive CD Versions: The 1963 Singles

So, I finally get a chance to analyze The Beatles' 1963 output in singles. It took a while, mainly because most of the single tracks have appeared on numerous Beatles CDs. Just to give you an idea of what I was dealing with, I have roughly a 45-minute commute home using the local mass transit system. Well, I worked on part of this project on the way home, and listening to "She Loves You" alone took almost the entire train ride. And I'm sure that if I had the headphones turned up loud enough, whoever was sitting next to me must have been ready to kill me.

For this round, I dealt with the following Beatles singles:
  • "From Me To You" b/w "Thank You, Girl"
  • "She Loves You" b/w "I'll Get You"
  • "I Want To Hold Your Hand" b/w "This Boy"

You may have noticed I left out "Please Please Me" b/w "Ask Me Why." I'll cover these when I take care of the Please Please Me album. But the six single tracks have been released on several different CD releases over the years; here's a guide to them and abbreviations I'll be using to keep things nice and tight:

  • PM87 - Past Masters, Vol. 1, compiled in 1987 and released in 1988 to include Beatles tracks that didn't appear on the canonical album catalog.

  • SINGLE - The Complete Singles Collection, a box set from 1992 that compiled all the Beatles' singles on mini-CDs, complete with reproductions of the picture sleeves.

  • EP - The Compact Disc EP Collection, just like the singles box but a compilation of EPs. The EPs that are apropos to this installment of my obsessive analysis are The Beatles' Hits, The Beatles' Million Sellers, and a "bonus" EP included in the set of stereo mixes, simply titled The Beatles.

  • RED - the "red album," officially called 1962-1966 and sold as a two-CD set in 1993 despite the ability to easily fit the entire contents on one CD.

  • CAPITOL (mono) - mono mixes from The Capitol Albums, Vol. 1 from 2004. Albums within this set that apply to this entry are Meet The Beatles! and The Beatles' Second Album.

  • CAPITOL (fake stereo) - Back in the '60s, if a stereo mix wasn't available for a song, engineers would apply crazy EQ and other effects to simulate stereo, and the result was usually atrocious. The "fake stereo" designation will refer to any tracks from The Capitol Albums from the "stereo" albums but are really processed mono. When I compare "best mono," "best stereo," etc. versions, anything that's actually fake stereo will be considered mono.
  • CAPITOL (stereo) - if you can't figure out what I mean by this after reading my explanations for the other two Capitol designations, then you really need to put down the joint and come back after you sober up.

  • 1 - the 2000 album that compiled the officially-recognized #1 hits from The Beatles in both the U.S. and U.K. Beatles fans the world over knew this album would be a huge flop (case in point: 1982's 20 Greatest Hits). Check the RIAA site to see what a flop it was.

  • MM - Mono Masters, the mono equivalent to Past Masters found in the box set The Beatles In Mono.

  • PM09 - Past Masters, 2009 edition, the two-volume remastered version.


Now, on to the music; if you want the extremely lengthy details, click here:

FROM ME TO YOU


Worst mono version: Past Masters, Vol. 1 (1987)
Just plain bad sound.

Best mono version: 1
Quite simply, this version has the best EQ and overall sound clarity.

Definitive CD version of "From Me To You": Past Masters (2009)
There was something I always loved about the reverb on the stereo version. It's hard to describe, but it sounds different from any other reverb that I've heard on any other Beatles song. Plus, the sound on the stereo Past Masters is very clean; really, you'd think it was mastered by Paul's grandfather.


THANK YOU, GIRL

Worst mono version: The Capitol Albums, Vol. 1
Partly because it sounds like it was recorded in a can of sardines, and partly because it's a fake mono mix, in that Dave Dexter's goons just took the stereo mix and combined the two channels to make a mono version. Boooooooo!

Best mono version: The Compact Disc EP Collection
Best EQ overall and with the least amount of distracting noise and tape glitches.

Stereo Versions
CAPITOL (stereo)

Okay, the overall sound is just plain harsh. The EQ isn't all that great, and there's too much extra reverb. Not good! Also, the playback is slow and makes the song drag a bit.

PM09:
Much cleaner stereo mix than Capitol's. Still not great, but much more enjoyable.

Definitive CD version of "Thank You, Girl": Past Masters (2009)
But admittedly, not by far. I think the overall balance sounds better on the mono mix, but the stereo version sounds cleaner, brighter, and has the harmonica parts that make the sound as a whole complete.


SHE LOVES YOU

Worst version: 1
The sudden EQ change on the "pride" edit, resulting in the sound being severely marred for the remainder of the song, make this probably the least-desirable CD version of "She Loves You."

Definitive CD version of "She Loves You": Past Masters (2009)
I think I had to judge this one on cleanliness. The various versions of "She Loves You" sound good, but unfortunately not great. Also, this one has the smoothest edits and the least drastic changes in equalization after the "pride" edit.


I'LL GET YOU

Overall, there isn't really a great-sounding version of "I'll Get You," which is a shame because it's a good song. I'd love to have a version that has the EQ of the Capitol fake stereo with the cleanliness of the single version.

Worst version: The Capitol Albums, Vol. 1
The EQ leaves much to be desired, and the extra reverb doesn't help, nor does the relative loudness.

Definitive CD version of "I'll Get You": The CD Singles Collection
But not by far, honestly.


I WANT TO HOLD YOUR HAND

Worst mono version: The Capitol Albums, Vol. 1
That is, the so-called "stereo" version from Meet The Beatles! The "Dexterization" absolutely adds nothing.

Best mono version: The Compact Disc EP Collection
Taken from The Beatles' Million Sellers. Nice EQ, nice mix, almost makes me want to get up and dance -- and let me tell ya, I do not dance.

Worst stereo version: Past Masters Vol. 1 (1987)
Just a lifeless recording with vocals and lead guitar that are way too loud.

Best stereo version: Past Masters (2009)
I think a good way to describe this version is this: Take the best mono mix and make it stereo. Good sound all around, and definitely the most exciting-sounding stereo version that's ever been officially released by EMI on CD.

Definitive CD version of "I Want To Hold Your Hand": The Compact Disc EP Collection
Mind you, since 1988 the stereo version has been drilled into me. It's what was on the CD (remember, the original Past Masters came out in 1988, not 1987, although it was mixed in 1987), and ergo it's also what's been played on the radio ever since. But the mono mix definitely has the edge. Remember, "I Want To Hold Your Hand" was the first song The Beatles ever recorded on a 4-track tape, so the folks at Abbey Road were just learning how to record with it. As a result, we don't have the best balance, so the true stereo mixes have to be pretty primitive.

The mono versions, though, wow. I think my first exposure to a true mono version of "I Want To Hold Your Hand" was when I got The Capitol Albums, Vol. 1, and I listened to the mono Meet The Beatles! in my car on my way home from work. Mind you, I was not quite 30 years old at the time, but I'd been familiar with "I Want To Hold Your Hand" all my life -- I heard it everywhere: the radio, music systems in stores, lip-sync competitions (I grew up in the '80s), you name it...and to be honest with you, I got sick of it long before I became a Beatles fan in 1987. But when I heard the mono Meet The Beatles! on CD, I turned the volume up. Just the excitement...forget the lyrics, it was the music that was making the statement -- and what a statement it was. I suddenly understood what it must have been like to be a Beatlemaniac in 1964, and it only took me 17 years of being a Beatles fan to do that.


THIS BOY

Worst mono version: The Capitol Albums, Vol. 1
Specifically, I'm referring to the "stereo" mix of Meet The Beatles!
Just no. That's all I have to say.

Best mono version: Past Masters (2009)
This was a tough one. I prefer the EQ on the mono Capitol version, but I think I had to go with cleanliness, as the various elements on the recording on PM09 sound cleaner, while the Capitol version has tape glitches (not to mention a lower tape generation).

Worst stereo version: Past Masters, Vol. 1 (1987)
It's not so much that it's a bad version, just the least-good. The truth is that all the stereo versions sound very nice and are pretty clean.

Best stereo version: Past Masters (2009)
Good EQ, crisp sound throughout, and a good balance make this the best of the three stereo versions we've been given over the years.

Definitive CD version of "This Boy": Past Masters (2009)
Yes, the stereo mix has all the vocals panned to one side, which is generally frowned upon, but you know what? The newest stereo release of the song has the brightest sound and, to my ears, was the most pleasant listen of the seven versions that have been released on CD.

Saturday, March 06, 2010

The Beatles' Definitive CD Versions: "Love Me Do" with Ringo on Drums

In the second installment of my project to determine what, in my opinion, are the definitive CD editions of each song in The Beatles' official cannon, I figured I'd keep it easy by exploring the September 4, 1962 version of "Love Me Do" and the non-album singles from 1963. Or...at least I thought it'd be easy until I realized that a few of these songs appear on many different CDs. And on top of that, this installment would cover a lot of Beatles songs: "Love Me Do," "From Me To You," "Thank You, Girl," "She Loves You," "I'll Get You," "I Want To Hold Your Hand," and "This Boy." Wow. I think I'll just stick with "Love Me Do" for now and get back to the singles later. (This is a short enough read that I'll include all my notes and not just the rankings.)

And the first time around, it got pretty aggravating pretty fast typing out "The Compact Disc E.P. Collection" ad nauseam, so from now on I'll use some shorthand. Here's a guide to this entry's abbreviations:

MM: Mono Masters (2009)
PM87: Past Masters Vol. 1, 1987 edition
PM09: Past Masters, 2009 edition

The lineup for this version of "Love Me Do" was the classic Beatles lineup we all know. The Beatles recorded this version, and a week later re-recorded it but with Andy White on drums; Ringo was handed a tambourine. (George Martin always said that the Andy White version came first, but photographs and studio documentation published in many books reveal that the Ringo version actually came first.) Because these two versions are actually completely different performances, I will hold off on the Andy White version until I run though the Please Please Me album.

Personally, I much prefer the Ringo-on-drums version. The overall flow is much smoother than on the rather clunky and fussy performance with Andy White. The bass is much louder and provides a better groove, and the handclaps in the instrumental break give the song a little extra boost missing in the Andy White version. However, George Martin didn't like the outcome of September 4 (perhaps partly because of McCartney's obvious stage fright clearly heard in his first warbly solo line of "love me do-ooo"), so he had the guys rerecord it. The Ringo version was briefly released as a single in the U.K. on Parlophone and in Canada on Capitol of Canada. Some sources say that the Ringo version was released at all was an accident on EMI's part, and as a result they destroyed its master tape to ensure that all future releases of "Love Me Do" would be the Andy White version. Thankfully, some fairly clean vinyl (or polystyrene?) copies of the Ringo version survived, and years later a new master was made from a pristine-condition Capitol of Canada single. If I'm not mistaken, all CD releases of the Ringo version are from an even newer master made from a different copy of the single.

Having said that, "Love Me Do" pre-dates EMI's policy of not destroying session tapes. Once the mono mix was made, the multitrack session tapes were destroyed or erased for later re-use, which means that with today's technology, a stereo mix is physically impossible. So there will be no mono-stereo comparison here. But let's get down to the three different CD releases.

First of all, it surprises me that the Ringo version was not the version used in the singles box set; this means there were fewer versions for me to listen to. The September 4 recording of "Love Me Do," therefore, has only been released on three CDs so far: the original Past Masters compilation of 1987, its 2009 reissue, and the Mono Masters 2-CD set included in the box set The Beatles In Mono.

As for each version:

PM87: Even with 1987 CD technology, it's really amazing to hear just how clear the song is. Really, it's amazingly clear for being mastered from a 7-inch record pressed in 1962! There are a few spots that sound like dropouts, most likely from a tape (or record) error. I noticed for the first time that during the fade-out, after the last time we hear McCartney sing, all the sound abruptly cuts off.

MM: Overall the sound is better. The equalization is brighter, with more treble than before; unfortunately, the additional treble exposes some tape hiss, but it does make the song sound punchier. Somehow, the vocals actually sound clearer than before. The recording in general sounds cleaner, with no noticeable tape flaws. And was that an edit I heard after the instrumental break (performed, of course, with a shoplifted chromatic harmonica)? The fade-out doesn't cut out as abruptly.

PM09: What's this? Both the Mono Masters and Past Masters are in mono, and since they're both part of the same reissue campaign, logic tells us these are the exact same track, so why am I bothering to waste my time listening to each and writing about them? Well, dig this: they are not the same. First of all, the new Past Masters version is actually noticeably louder than the Mono Masters version. Second, the treble is up even more than on Mono Masters, making the harmonica solo quite harsh to listen to, especially with headphones. Third of all, the abrupt halt during the fade-out is back. And if you're of the mindset that it's only my mind and ears telling me that both 2009 versions are not the same, please note that each has a different playing time.

Worst Version: Past Masters (1987)

I was having a hard time with this one. I was actually about to declare the new Past Masters version to be the worst, due to the piercing EQ on the harmonica solo, and the fact that it was considerably louder than the other two versions...but then I remembered there's such a thing as a volume control, and nobody's stopping me from turning the volume down. So, I decided that a harsh harmonica solo for a few seconds was better than tape glitches.

Definitive Version: Mono Masters

Clean sound, bright EQ, clear vocals, no tape flaws, and what may or may not be an audible edit (fun for people who like to listen for this stuff!) put this version of The Beatles' Everly Brothers tribute over the top.