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Spectropop V#0358

  • From: The Spectropop Group
  • Date: 12/18/99

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       Volume #0358                       December 18, 1999   
    Explanatory notes for the interested and informed Listener
    Subject:     James Marcus Smith/Jack Nitszche/Phil Spector
    Received:    12/18/99 1:28 am
    From:        jake tassell,
    To:          Spectropop List,
    Dear Lindsay
    I made some incredibly strange records with PJ Proby 
    somewhere in the dark dark days of the Eighties. I think 
    it would require me to have a long sit down and an 
    uncomfortable think for at least a week before I put pen 
    to paper on that episode, so I'm closing that account for 
    As far as I know, and anyone's welcome to contradict me on
    this point, Proby made only two tracks with Jack Nitszche -
    'I Can't Make It Alone' and 'You Make Me Feel Like Someone'. 
    The former an obvious Righteous Brothers elephant-drag 
    through the miseries and the latter a similarly 'Righteous' 
    type track though with more of a nod toward the flavour 
    of a contemporaneous soul-ballad style, a la - Ray 
    Pollard's superb epic road-ballad 'The Drifter' (though 
    don't ask me which one came first - I'm no expert - all I 
    truthfully care about is whether a record has the ability 
    to manually blow my socks off). 'YMMFLS' also has a very 
    nice unusual piano figure and a good string arrangement.
    PJ Proby had, and I kid you not, still has, one of the 
    most stunning voices committed to record, but I think some
    singers work with the Wall Of Sound treatment and some 
    don't. Maybe it's just one of those 'chemical' things. On 
    the Proby/Nitszche stuff, the gargantuan W.O.S. production
    offensive is pitted against Proby's mighty Herculean 
    warbling (must've looked great on paper) but the 
    convergent parts just seem to cancel each other out - it's
    as if somehow the two opposing factions end up flat on 
    their backs gasping for breath on the floor! I think the 
    Nitszchean sound-flood wins by a margin but it's not 
    exactly The Rhine overflowing - more like a dank soggy 
    pudden. Sorry, I don't mean to trash your favourite record, 
    this is after all - only my opinion. If you like it 
    that's fine, I kind of like it, but it has points of 
    failure that make you realize what an absolute master 
    Spector was - but no! - I'm not going to write yet another
    slavering 70,000 word eulogie to 'River Deep Mountain High' -
    I Refuse!!! But I will say this - from the listeners' 
    point of view at the very least; the hyberbole about 
    Spector and Richard Wagner was right - nowhere else in 
    20th Century music can you find the dynamic levels of deep
    psychological trauma and high voltage emotional intensity 
    that are present in RDMH - and those almighty resonances 
    didn't get there by themselves, if you know what I mean. 
    That's why it has historically been impossible for Phil 
    Spector to 'get along' like other producers - It's the 
    question that makes The Excelsiors among us, be they 
    sportsmen, painters, musicians or military leaders;- 
    victims of their own genius, and that question is - what 
    does one do for an encore!?
    Speaking as someone who at various times has attempted it 
    in various studios, the Wall Of Sound thing is a heftily 
    tricky thing to master (I got close - but I didn't win a 
    cigar), it requires a phenomenal amount of sonic and 
    psychological awareness, a truckload of diamond hard focus, 
    superhuman tirelessness - and that's just for starters. 
    You really have to know what you're doing with that stuff.
    It's not just a question of; put the usual components in, 
    multiply by a thousand and drown in an enormous vat of 
    echo - as anyone who has heard Rodney Bingenheimer's 
    accidentally comical assault on 'And Then I Kissed Her' 
    will testify. It really takes a lot of talent and a lot of
    hard work to make that stuff sing, but most of all, and 
    this is the scary part: - there's something really 
    psychologically taxing about it - which is probably the 
    real reason why nobody does it anymore - Spector!!! 
    Wilson!!! - A Warning From History!!!
    Back to the subject of Proby/Nitszche, I don't know 
    anything about different mixes. Does anyone out there know
    why I've got two completely different sounding mixes of I 
    and T.T.'s 'I'll Never Need More Than This'?
    Thanks once again to Michael G Marvin for the update on 
    Gold Star tech. spec.
    Top Regards to All Spectorists
    Jake Tassell 
    --------------------[ archived by Spectropop ]--------------------
    Subject:     P.J. Proby
    Received:    12/18/99 1:28 am
    From:        Jamie LePage,
    To:          Spectropop List,
    Lindsay Martin, wrote:
    >The interesting thing is that Version (2) seems to be the 
    >same track, but it has some vocals missing: the single has
    >Proby doing some response-style embellishments which make 
    >it sound even more like the Righteous Brothers. 
    >I wonder whether anyone has any anecdotal information or 
    >idea about how this came about...
    >Perhaps the reissue on CD is at fault: could the additional 
    >vocals be on a track that just got lost when it was 
    >remastered or whatever they did to it?
    It could very well be, as you guessed, a remix for the CD.
    If so, the vocal overdub you mention may have been recorded
    "live" during a reduction mix. This problem crops up from 
    time to time, and there is little that can be done about 
    it except to either use the original mix or remix without 
    the missing part. One often cited example of this is Pet 
    Sounds, where certain vocals on the original mono mix do 
    not exist on the multi-tracks. Despite a very concerted 
    effort to make the 90's stereo mix of Pet Sounds true to 
    the original version, there were a couple of places where 
    it simply was not possible.
    Another way this happens is when an album track is beefed 
    up for single release. I believe (correct me if I am wrong
    here, Brad) that the Beach Boys' "Little Saint Nick" is an 
    example of this. Lesley Gore's "Look of Love" is another.
    Yet another way this can happen is when the original mono 
    mix is not simply L+R, but an entirely separate mix. Case 
    in point is the missing "life of ease" line in virtually 
    every stereo pressing of the song "Yellow Submarine". The 
    line was on the original mono single and mono Revolver 
    album, but never on a stereo album (ironically the flawed 
    mix is the version most everyone has). This has finally 
    been rectified on the recent Yellow Submarine Songtrack CD, 
    but there you get a brand spanking new 1999 stereo mix.
    >The CD is called "Man With A Mission" after Proby's 
    >biggest Australian hit, a stunning rearrangement of Donny 
    >Brooks's "Mission Bell" (whoever arranged it is a genius).
    I love that song. Danny Kirwin did a nice version of it too 
    on Fleetwood Mac's post-Peter Green album Kiln House. 
    The only record I have by Proby is his S/T album (Liberty 
    LRP-3421). This album appears to have been recorded 
    entirely in England, with Ron Richards producing. The 
    album has the Brooks' cover you mentioned, and the 
    arranger credit lists Johnny Scott. George Martin 
    contributes a couple of arrangements to the album too, 
    including the most widely known (in U.S.) Proby recording 
    "That Means a Lot" (sans the killer "can't you see" line 
    that is on McCartney's demo - another strange one to add 
    to the list of George Martin oddities).
    Hope this helps.
    All the best,
    --------------------[ archived by Spectropop ]--------------------
    Subject:     Cher
    Received:    12/18/99 1:28 am
    From:        Sheila Burgel,
    To:          Spectropop List,
    Hello all! It's been awhile since I've posted on Spectropop.
    College has kept me under the books and away from Goldmine
    and girl group 45's for the past semester. So now that I'm on
    vacation, I can delve back into my favorite hobby- record 
    Anyway, I've come to you all with a question regarding Cher. I
    was never too fond of her as an artist (the Bonnie Jo Mason
    and Cherilyn records were her only recordings that piqued
    my interest). But....I recently saw her VH1 "Behind the Music"
    special, and heard some tunes by her (sixties era) that were
    just divine!! And now I must get my hands on those recordings!
    So, I'm wondering if any of you can recommend some of Cher's
    sixties records because I really have no idea where to start. 
    And VH1 didn't mention any of the titles of her early songs.
    Any Cher 45's that I MUST purchase? Is there a quality CD 
    compilation available?
    Any recommendations would be helpful!
    Sheila B.
    --------------------[ archived by Spectropop ]--------------------
    Subject:     Four Seasons MONO
    Received:    12/18/99 1:28 am
    From:        Paul Urbahns, Pauluxxxxxcom
    To:          Spectropop List,
    Billy G wrote:
    >I have the original Philips 45 and the mono mix sounds 
    >much better. I have noticed that many Seasons 66-69 
    >recordings vary greatly in sound quality. Some sound great
    >but others are super-flat sounding and hissy. My only 
    >guesses are that Crewe changed studios (that had noisier 
    >equipment), changed to a different tape brand that hasn't 
    >aged well over the years, or those tapes got lost or 
    >destroyed and all that Bill Inglot and company could find 
    >were second/third generation safety copies for the 3 CD 
    >set........Who Knows?
    I am no expert but I have had a few contacts in the 
    business over the years. I mentioned the 4 Seasons 
    material to Bill Inglot once when he called me on another
    subject. He said there are no multi-track master tapes. So 
    any future issues will probably be the same as the 
    original albums. He did memtion that the Four Seasons told
    him some of the "Edition Of Gold" stereo remixes were done 
    very fast. Apparently, when the Four Seasons got the 
    rights to their material from the record companies they 
    asked for the 45 and album masters and that's what they got. 
    Same is true with Freddy Cannon when he obtained his Swan 
    material when they went out of business. Sometimes an 
    artist will ask for their "masters" in lieu of back 
    royalities. So what they usually get is album and mono 45 
    masters. That's better than nothing, but you can't go back
    to remix anything to fix previous mistakes.
    Billy G. continues: 
    >I would love to see ACE or Rhino put together a Mono-Only 
    >compilation of the Seasons hits, because in many cases 
    >they sound much better than the stereo LP mixes. I guess 
    >theres no real market for it since there's many Seasons 
    >hits collections available.
    Rhino has gotten mono mania lately so just mention it to 
    them. They even call their Cds Rhino-fonic sound which I 
    will not purchase; I haven't bought a Rhino CD since I got
    burned on a Booker T hits set which was almost 100 percent 
    mono. I have no problem with people issuing mono CDs but I
    wish companies would be honest and mark them as such.
    Paul W. Urbahns
    Lost And Found
    --------------------[ archived by Spectropop ]--------------------
    Subject:     Male Victorians, and other curiosities
    Received:    12/18/99 1:28 am
    From:        Ian Chapman,
    To:          Spectropop List,
    Kingsley wrote:-
    > The recent postings about the lovely Liberty Victorians
    > reminded me of a different record by another bunch of
    > Victorians. On Reprise 0434 you will find "Baby Toys"/ "I
    > saw My Girl". Both sides are marked as Produced by Nick
    > Massi Productions Inc. and I'm pretty sure date from just
    > after Nick left The Four Seasons. "Baby Toys" is a perfect
    > 65/6 Philips Seasons sound.
    I'll echo Kingsley's recommendation of this record, which 
    is also interesting in that it is an earlier version of 
    the Toys' song. The Victorians' lists only Decilis/Layton 
    as writers, whereas the Toys' adds Linzer and Randell to 
    the line-up. Althought the basic melody is the same, the 
    lyrics are very different. 
    These guy Victorians seem to have had a longer career than
    their girl-group counterparts. They had an earlier release 
    on the Hercules label with a Charlie Calello-produced 45, 
    "C'Mon Dream"/"Catrina". "C'Mon Dream" is great - intro 
    has a Del Shannon-type shrill organ sound, and the track 
    really moves along. The guys still sound a little like the
    4 Seasons I guess, but less so - no falsetto. Of interest 
    too, is that the song was written by Chris Andrews - the 
    UK songwriter who later wrote Sandie Shaw's hits. I guess 
    the song crossed the Atlantic via Bob Crewe, who got to 
    know a few Brit writers, most notably Jagger & Richards. 
    Bob, again with Calello, also produced a great version of 
    "C'Mon Dream" for his brother Tom
    on Bell - but I'm off on a tangent......... 
    I also have what I'd guess is a late-60s 45 by the 
    Victorians (it's in stereo, on the Arnold J. label), doing
    a fine version of "Move In A Little Closer Baby". This one 
    is produced by Arnold Capitanelli, who happens to be 
    billed as co-writer of the song - so do we assume the 
    Victorians' is the original version, before those by Mama 
    Cass/Harmony Grass? I do recall seeing an album by the 
    group from around this period, too. Finally, I have a Bang
    discography that has a Victorians single listed, but I've 
    never heard it - anyone any info on that one? 
    --------------------[ archived by Spectropop ]--------------------
    Subject:     Kenny Laguna disc
    Received:    12/18/99 1:28 am
    From:        Marc Miller,
    To:          Spectropop List,
    Hi -
    Coming next month from Blackheart/Mercury/Uni is a 22-
    track disc of songs written by Kenny Laguna, including 
    songs by Darlene/Blossoms, Bill Medley, Tony Orlando & 
    Wind, 02 by Moose & The Pelicans, and Little Roger & The 
    Goosebumps "Stairway to Gilligan's Island". Cool! 
    --------------------[ archived by Spectropop ]--------------------
    Subject:     Only Hal Blaine on drums, various
    Received:    12/18/99 1:28 am
    From:        Carol Kaye,
    To:          Spectropop List,
    >The percussion that Frost played was two 
    >empty Coca-Cola cans!
    Richie did NOT play drums on any Brian Wilson date at all 
    - only Hal Blaine on drums....Richie is a nice guy, fair 
    solid drummer but not capable of playing the mighty drum 
    parts that Hal (or Earl, or even Sharkey Hall, Paul 
    Humprey, John Guerin, I could name many others) did and I 
    know he was not on drums on that particular date at all. 
    It was customary for everyone to get "doubles" on record 
    dates with Brian and a few other people we worked for too,
    especially our group of the recording "clique", 
    double-scale it was, didn't matter if they played "two 
    instruments" or not.
    On the musicians contracts, they sometimes made mistakes 
    with the instrumentation, something that Russ Wapensky has
    cleared up with tons of interviews with us studio musicians
    /arrangers etc.....Russ's studio musician credit book is 
    about done, will be out in 2000. His work will be the 
    final sayso in all this - right from the Musicians' Union 
    contracts as well as verbal in-person interviews from 
    dozens of us studio musicians who were there, etc. for 
    The Wapensky book will be coming out on Greenwood Press. 
    He's been held up a little trying to close the gaps on 
    such issues as the missing Glen Campbell contracts, some 
    of Phil's contracts which weren't filled out right, etc. 
    He's the ONLY one we musicians/arrangers/composers and the
    Musicians' Union people etal. all trust in this endeavor, a
    responsible non-ego dogmatic documenter who cares about our
    credits and is not out for himself at all. He wants to get 
    it right and that's why he's taking extra time 
    Kieron Tyler said:
    >Charles Blackwell ('60s arranger, started for Joe Meek, 
    >then did loads of great girl records (inc. Francoise Hardy) 
    >and stuff like PJ Proby, then produced in his own right)
    I worked with Bumps Blackwell's brother, Charlie Blackwell
    , wonderful drummer in the late 50s, wonder if this is the
    same person. I never saw him much after 1959 as I worked 
    for so many different people after that. Charlie was a 
    great person, fine drummer. 
    Michael Marvin, in re: Gold Star Studios. Dave Gold and 
    Stan Ross had sold their studios, and you're right, a few 
    months later (with the new owner), Gold Star burned down. 
    I spoke to both Dave and Stan about this at a breakfast 
    quite a few months ago. Yes they did sell it, and they 
    even said that the fire with the new owner was "suspicious" 
    in origin, but nothing ever came of the investigation 
    into it. They felt badly about the fire, as it was an 
    historical building, and they rue the time now that they 
    sold it.
    It is now a parking lot of a little shoppette there...I 
    spent a lot of years recording at Gold Star....we all feel
    badly about this loss, it was a fun good studio to record 
    at, lots of memories, lots of wild times, and the people 
    there made it GOOD. 
    Carol Kaye 
    --------------------[ archived by Spectropop ]--------------------
    Subject:     Palmer & Frost
    Received:    12/18/99 1:28 am
    From:        Frank Youngwerth, xxxxxcom
    To:          Spectropop List,
    Maybe someone got the (mistaken) idea Earl and Ritchie 
    worked in tandem from the credits on Righteous Bros. LPs 
    like Back to Back (Philles 4009), where their names are 
    listed together as the album's drummers. (Carol is listed 
    for both guitar and bass on this one!) 
    Frank Youngwerth 
    --------------------[ archived by Spectropop ]--------------------
    Subject:     Re: Drummers
    Received:    12/18/99 1:28 am
    From:        Brad Elliott,
    To:          Spectropop List,
    Carol Kaye wrote:
    > Here's the
    > names of other drummers back then who were doing the work
    > besides Earl and Hal:
    > Besides Earl Palmer and Hal Blaine -- Sharkey Hall, Jesse
    > Sailes, Jack Sperling, Frankie Capp, John Guerin, Paul
    > Humphrey, Ron Tutt, Alvin Stoller, Ed Greene, Louie
    > Bellson, Irv Cotler, Shelly Manne, Mel Lewis, Jackie Mills,
    > Harold Jones, Panama Francis. These were the 1st and 2nd
    > call drummers.
    Carol, what do you know about a drummer named Nick 
    Martinis. His name shows up on a few PET SOUNDS and 
    SMILE-era Beach Boys session sheets, but I've never heard 
    of him otherwise. Was he another occasional player like 
    Richie Frost?
    --------------------[ archived by Spectropop ]--------------------
    Subject:     my post on the Four Seasons
    Received:    12/18/99 1:28 am
    From:        WASE RADIO,
    To:          Spectropop List,
    To Billy G. Spradlin:
     To clarify my post on the Four Seasons, The Edizione 
    D'Oro edition of "Will You Still Love Me Tomorrow?" was 
    awful. Any subsequent reissues of that song such as on the
    Private Stock double album or the 3 cd set sounds fine. I 
    used to have that single too and it did sound noticeable 
    louder because of the mono mix. The song "Rag Doll" was 
    reportedly recorded at a demo studio. In the beginning The
    Four Seasons recorded most of their earlier hits at Stea 
    Phillips. Pure speculation here, but they may have 
    recorded some of their later stuff at Mirasound studios, 
    because that's where the Bob Crewe Generation recorded 
    "Music To Watch Girls By" and the subsequent album. 
    Michael G. Marvin
    WASE radio
    --------------------[ archived by Spectropop ]--------------------

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