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Spectropop V#0166

  • From: The Spectropop Group
  • Date: 10/14/98

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       Volume #0166                       October 15, 1998   
    Bringing the finest recorded entertainment into your home
    Subject:     What Am I Gonna Do With You
    Sent:        10/14/98 2:10 am
    Received:    10/14/98 7:41 am
    From:        Jack Madani,
    William Stos wrote:
    >the Chiffons' "What Am I 
    >Gonna Do With You," blows Lesley right out of the water!
    I've never heard the Chiffons' version, William, but I will 
    mention that there are two very different mixes of Lesley's 
    version of that song. The one on the 2-disc set is a poor mix, 
    really burying the beauty of the production and throwing Lesley's 
    voice way too far out front. OTOH, there's a remixed version on a 
    single-disc Mercury anthology, which is unbelievably outstanding.
    Jack Madani - Princeton Day School, The Great Road,
       Princeton, NJ  08540
    "It is when the gods hate a man with uncommon abhorrence that they
     drive him into the profession of a schoolmaster." --Seneca, 64 A.D.
    --------------------[ archived by Spectropop ]--------------------
    Subject:     Lesley Gore and Barbara Alston
    Sent:        10/14/98 10:50 am
    Received:    10/14/98 11:15 pm
    From:        Jimmy Cresitelli, JimmyXXXX@XXXom
    Hi gang! Lesley Gore is appearing here in the Orlando area on 
    October 30th. at a restaurant / club... I am going to try to show 
    up as a member of the press from the newspaper I write for, and 
    hope to meet her. No, I won't gush... just a simple "hi, Lesley, 
    how's Johnny?" might suffice. Maybe we'll share a round of 
    Manhattans. I was in a neighborhood band back in 1963, and 
    recorded "It's My party." I was the drummer... and that's all you 
    can hear on the tape 35 years later: my tinny, awful drumming...
    And Will Stos is right, y'all need to check out Barbara Alston's 
    There's a great shot of SIX Crystals in the studio with Phil 
    Spector. The Crystals are trying to achieve Hall of fame status...
    and can you blame them? After all they put up with? After all they 
    contributed?? Dee Dee's STILL touring, non-stop for 37 years... 
    you go, girl! That's gotta be some sort of record for the 
    The URL for Barbara Alston's website is: The Buyer's Club
    Go to the MUSIC link for the web page re: Crystals, Hall of Fame, 
    book, etc.
    Good luck!
    --------------------[ archived by Spectropop ]--------------------
    Subject: other kinds of compression
    Sent: 10/14/98 5:53 am
    Received: 10/14/98 7:41 am
    From: Doc Rock, docroXXXX@XXXcom
    Compression, meaning a sort of automatic volume control, is
    certainly one kind of compression. But there are other kinds of 
    compression. Back in the '60s, I noticed something strange about 
    some of the music I heard on the radio and on my turntable. 
    Sometimes, it was peppier than at other times.
    For example, on the J&D hit 45 "Sidewalk Surfing," the music 
    clocks right along at a real nice pace. But -- when I played the 
    stereo LP version (which is missing the skate S/X, by the way), 
    the song seemed to drag just a bit.
    A similar thing seemed to take place with "The little Old Lady 
    From Pasadena." Hummm. Meanwhile, I was listening to several local
    radio stations in those days, including KTOP and KEWI, both in 
    Topeka, Kansas. For some reason, I liked the way the same records 
    sounded better on KTOP than on KEWI! Then, I was in Colorado in 
    the summer of 1964. The station I listened to that vacation was 
    KIMN in Denver. Man, those records sounded really good. I was not 
    sure why. But they seemed even more peppy. Mentally considering 
    all of this, I finally concluded thXXXX@XXXne was doing something 
    with the speed of records -- XXXX@XXXhing -- sometimes.
    Years later, I got a fancy turntable which had a pitch or speed 
    control. If I wanted to, I could edge the speed of records up just
    a bit on that TT. And when I did so, the songs sounded great! 
    Apparently, I was right in my deduction that sometimes songs were 
    speeded up.
    In the '70s, I got some real, hard evidence on the matter. For one,
    I read an article in Billboard magazine about KIMN. It seems 
    that, back in the '60s, someone invented a new machine called a 
    compressor. What the compressor did was to essentially speed up a 
    record without changing the pitch of the music. In other words, 
    whereas the normal speeding up of a recording creates a MIckey 
    Mouse or Chipmunk effect. But with the compressor, the speeding up
    was accomplished without the change in pitch!
    How did it do this? By taking out the "spaces" between the music 
    on hit records, and making a new recording that was faster due to 
    the minuscule quiet spots being taken out.
    (Compression only worked on certain songs. With other records, the
    effect was lousy, and so only certain hits on KIMN were compressed.)
    Around this same time, I got a flexi-disk in the mail from a 
    company which was selling a tape recorded for college students who
    were too lazy to take notes in class. This tape recorded compressed
    speech. Lecturers pause and stumble a lot. In an hour lecture, a 
    large percentage of the time, the guy ain't saying nothin' at all.
    So this fancy tape recorded would make tapes that were compressed. 
    The speech would be very fast, but not changed into a Chipmunk 
    voice. And the sample son the flexi disk proved that it worked.
    But back to the Billboard story, KIMN had great success with the 
    music compression system. Kids loved the way the music sounded, 
    and tuned in the station more than they had before. However, there
    was a problem. When the kids went to the record counter to buy the 
    records, they got the normal 45s. When they got the 45s home and 
    played them, they sounded "wrong" to the kids, who tried to return
    them to the record stores as defective. In the end, KIMN had to 
    stop using compression because of this side effect. Now I knew 
    that I was not crazy. "Peppy" versions of records really did exist! 
    In subsequent years, I got more proof. In the 1970s, bootleg 
    albums of Jan & Dean music began coming out. Wow. How different 
    from the hit recorded some of the out takes and practice sessions 
    sounded. For example, "The New Girl In School" was considerably 
    slower in the boot version than in the 45 version. "Little Old 
    Lady," too. Final proof -- as if I still needed convincing -- came
    when I talked to Jan's engineer, Bones Howe. First, I asked him why
    the stereo versions of Jan & Dean albums often sounded different 
    from the mono versions. "The mono and stereo versions were mixed 
    completely separately," explained Bones. "First of all, the only 
    thing that anybody cared about at the record company was the mono 
    release. That was the record. And the stereo was always whatever 
    you wanted it to be. We recorded on three tracks, not 24 tracks, 
    maybe we had four tracks near the end of that period. By the time 
    we were finished, all the instruments ended up on one track, the 
    vocals on another, and the background vocals on the third. And 
    there were no time codes to allow us to hook up two machines 
    together. So oftentimes, to finish what Jan wanted, there were 
    additional over dubs done while we were mixing down." These would 
    not be on the master tapes, just on the final recording.
    And so, if Jan speeded up the mono mix for the 45, the increased 
    speed would not end up on the stereo LP, either. And so I asked 
    Bones about the possibility that Jan speeded up tapes for 45 
    releases. "Jan would try any kind of crazy thing he would think of. 
    We'd run the tape slow and speed it back up to get the voices in
    tune with the music; you wouldn't believe the things we tried, 
    exclaimed Bones. "Jan would listen to a tape over and over again, 
    then say it wasn't exciting enough and speed the tape up. So! The 
    45 of "Drag City" and the other songs was speeded up for 
    excitement! I was vindicated at last! But back to compression.
    One the one hand, I love CDs. I mean, who wouldn't? They are so 
    convenient, they don't get scratchy, and all kinds of stuff that 
    would never have been issued on vinyl (like the Fantastic Baggies)
    does get put out on CDs. On the other hand, I feel kind of like the
    kids who bought 45s in Denver, only to find that the music on the 
    45s didn't sound like the music on the radio.
    CDs often just don't sound right to me. They sound good, great, 
    excellent even. But not right. Why? One reason can be the 
    electronics. Paul McCartney built a recording studio for himself a
    few years ago, using as much old fashioned equipment as he could 
    find. He wanted that old, warm sound. Vacuum tubes have a slow, 
    warm, smooth internal action. Electronic chips have a sharp, 
    precise, cold action. Makes the music sound different. I asked my 
    engineer at the radio station why he thought records sounded 
    better than (or anyway different from) 45s. He said that music 
    takes a lot of data to record on a CD. And, in order to fit all 
    the music on a CD that we want (like 72 minutes), a lot of 
    overtones and undertones, supposedly inaudible, are eliminated on 
    a CD. But eliminating them makes the music seem hollow, cold.
    So there is another reason why CD music never sounds as good (or 
    anyway the same) as a 45. Our old friend. Compression! But this 
    time it is a different kind of compression. Let me quote from an 
    article in Consumer Reports 1994 Buying Guide. They are discussing
    Digital compact cassette decks (DDC), a new component which can 
    play both conventional and digital cassettes, and record digitally, 
    like a CD. "For recording on digital tape, DCC relies on a 
    data-compression process that leaves out parts of a musical 
    program that are masked by other sounds. In essence, it records 
    only what you're apt to hear and ignores inaudible sonic 
    information." This compression in also used on CDs, according to 
    my engineer. I welcome comments and corrections.
    --------------------[ archived by Spectropop ]--------------------
    Subject: compression
    Sent: 10/14/98 1:04 pm
    Received: 10/14/98 11:15 pm
    From: john rausch, jXXXX@XXXnet
    thanks to everyone for the compression 101 lesson!
    and to claudia:
    i have also noticed the male voices in the background of lesley`s 
    "sunshine, lollipops and rainbows" and wondered who they could 
    be.also a great question you proposed about who the session 
    singers were besides ellie XXXX@XXXin 76 i attended one of lesley`s
    concerts when she was pushing her "love me by name" lp and once 
    again a few years later she did an "oldies" concert with some 
    other oldies artists of all places but thistledown horse racing 
    track here in ohio and when she was done she ran off stage but i 
    was waiting for her at the other end and asked her for her 
    autograph and she scribbled her name and walked away then she 
    turned around and looked at me and said "here...let me do it right" 
    and redid it more clearly and then she gave me a peck on the 
    cheek...i will always remember that night forever!...still have 
    both autographs too! 
    ps thanks jamie for signing my phil spector site guestbook.
    Presenting theFabulous 
    --------------------[ archived by Spectropop ]--------------------

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