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Spectropop - Digest Number 142

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       Explanatory notes for the interested and informed Listener

There are 8 messages in this issue of Spectropop.

Topics in this Digest Number 142:

      1. Cabinessence and Smile sessions
           From: "Kingsley Abbott" 
      2. Re: Richard Williams
           From: Ted T. 
      3. Curt Boettcher/ Millennium Liner Notes
           From: chris 
      4. Connie Stevens
           From: "Ian Chapman" 
      5. Chiffons vs. Chiffons
           From: John Clemente 
      6. Phil Spectors Christmas Album
           From: Paul Urbahns 
      7. Re: Phil Spector Boxed Set
           From: RobtWicker 
      8. A Fine, Fine Discovery
           From: LePageWeb 


Message: 1
   Date: Sun, 01 Apr 2001 20:57:56 +0100
   From: "Kingsley Abbott" 
Subject: Cabinessence and Smile sessions

Toby wrote that Cabinessence sessions didn't begin until
later in 1966, but I have to pick up on this because I
know 100% that they were in the can BEFORE Pet Sounds was
issued. The reason I can be so sure??  Simple...when
Bruce J arrived in the UK in mid May 1966 to publicise PS
just as it was issued in the States, I spoke to him and
he sung all the parts of it to me. He explained who sang
which line, who did which harmony etc.  Tracks were
always recorded first, with vocals following on, so I am
totally sure this is right.  

I also spoke about all this time at length to Bruce again
recently, and we spoke about exactly this point. We dated
the "Cabinessence" sessions (not that the name was used
at that point, it was "Grand Coolie dam") to within the
first two weeks of May.  Another recent interview (Record
Collector March 2001) with Al J also confirms that
several smile songs were worked on alongside PS ones.
Carol's dates may also confirm some overlap.  For
instance, I know for sure that Brian was toying with H&V
in late 1965, cos he played it on the family piano to
Tony Asher at the Rovells house when he and Tony were
writing PS together.  Tony's memory is very clear on this.

Things were bursting out of Brian so fast during that
period that there was bound to be loads of overlap.  The
dates that Toby has, possibly from "The Smile File", have
always been very incomplete.  I do agree though that
there is little to connect PS with Smile material, apart
>from 'genius at work' stretching all known boundries!!

BTW I do like a lot of Smile!!  Its just that other bits
of it simply don't ring my particular chimes...  Sorry
about the 'expensive boots' bit.  Yes that is older
history now with the advent of wonderful downloads, but a
lot of fans did shell out a lot of money for them earlier!

Kingsley Abbott

--------------------[ archived by Spectropop ]--------------------

Message: 2
   Date: Sun, 01 Apr 2001 19:09:05 -0800
   From: Ted T. 
Subject: Re: Richard Williams

Thanks much to Kingsley Abbott and Peter Lerner for the
info that Spector biographer Richard Williams is now
focusing his talent on sports at the UK's Guardian daily
newspaper. Thanks also to Martin Roberts for clueing us
to the book "Long Distance Call", a newly published
collection of Richard's past writing.

For those unfamiliar with RW, let me say that he ranks
among the top music researchers and writers of his
generation, very much into R&B, rock and, later, jazz.
He has interviewed many, many important figures in music,
and his writing has always been incisive, sincere and
convincing. So much so that one of his colleagues aptly
acknowledged that in England, RW stood way in front of
the rest and was a kind of "Moses the law-giver" among
British music critics.  In the US, Richard was not that
well known, but the great Lester Bangs was one of his
admirers, and noted in print that Richard was one of the
best music scholars and writers anywhere.

Among the artists Richard focused on with admiration are
- Spector,
- Brian Wilson,
- Gil Evans,
- Coltrane,
- Lucio Battisti (late, enigmatic and fabulously
talented Italian rock singer/songwriter/producer -- I
think I'm the one who signaled Battisti's work to
Richard back in the seventies)

- the dozens of one-shot writers, singers, groups and
producers who somehow managed, if only once, to put some
inexplicable magic into the grooves of a 45.

 I've already ordered "Long Distance Call"thru Amazon,
 and I'd recommend it sight unseen to anyone thirsty for
 uncommonly good facts and insights on modern music.
 From the tiny image of the new book's cover on Amazon
 (looks like a photo of Chet Baker) I would guess that
 it is a mixed bag of goodies on all kinds of music.

[ Ed. Note: Read the Bobby Sheen obituary written by
Richard Williams for the Guardian, December 21, 2000.,3604,414131,00.html


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Message: 3
   Date: Sun, 01 Apr 2001 11:52:40 +0900
   From: chris 
Subject: Curt Boettcher/ Millennium Liner Notes

Does anyone out there know where I can get copies of the
liner notes from the Japanese versions of "Misty Mirage"
and Sandy Salisbury's album, "Sandy"? I bought these on
Poptones before I knew of the Japanese versions. If
anyone has seen the Poptones versions, the liner notes
leave much to be desired. I am also looking for a copy of
the liner notes from the Rev-Ola reissue of the
Millennium's Begin. I only have the Sony Special Products
version from 1990. Any info would be greatly appreciated.

--------------------[ archived by Spectropop ]--------------------

Message: 4
   Date: Sat, 31 Mar 2001 03:36:43 +0100
   From: "Ian Chapman" 
Subject: Connie Stevens

>Jack Madani wrote:-
> Subject: Connie Stevens
> Cuts like Why'd You Wanna Make Me Cry, Little Miss
> Understood, Now That You've Gone, and even a groovy
> version of the classic They're Jealous Of Me, all scream
> spectropop pedigree (those drum fills sure do sound like
> Hal Blaine, and the echo on the tracks have a very
> familiar ring). Are there more of these? They're
> terrific.

Well, Jack, you didn't mention the one that is for me the
ultimate girl-group track by Connie, the fabulous "A Girl
Never Knows".  It's a Sloan/Barri song with David Gates
in full-on Spectorish mode, with mega-castanets and
strings and a very cute and memorable melody.  Lou Adler
is credited as co-producer, but this track is *so* Dave
Gates, I'm guessing that's just in the executive sense 
(do you recall Lou being there Carole?) It was originally
issued back to back with "They're Jealous Of Me" - what a

Japanese Warners issued a pristine "Best of Connie
Stevens" comp in 1990, all from original master tapes,
but it may be deleted by now (WPCP-3535 if you want to
try).  It really did that silky voice justice, and had
all the titles Jack mentions above, including "In My Room",
"Little Miss Understood", plus the ultra-breathy,
how-did-it get-past-the-censors "I Couldn't Say No" (wr.
Goffin/Ripp/King) and ended with a later Tim Hardin track,
"It'll Never Happen Again".  Tragically, "A Girl Never
Knows" was conspicuous by its absence.

Other Connie titles falling into the girl-group net would
be her version of Lesley Gore's "All Of My Life", and
another Dave Gates job, "Something Beautiful" - which I
found slightly disappointing when I finally tracked it
down, knowing and loving his Margaret Mandolph version as
I do.  I'd hoped for the same driving beat, but he went
for a fluffier approach with Connie, and in fairness, it
does suit her style.

Finally, another curiosity is a one-off single for MGM,
post Warners, entitled "Cinderella Could Have Saved Us
All" from '68, an attempt at something a little more
profound. Connie also cut a handful of tracks for Bell in
the early 70s.


--------------------[ archived by Spectropop ]--------------------

Message: 5
   Date: Sat, 31 Mar 2001 00:52:21 -0500
   From: John Clemente 
Subject: Chiffons vs. Chiffons

Hello All,

For years I thought that The Chiffons' "Tonight's The
Night" on Big Deal, "No More Tomorrows" on Wildcat and
"Doctor of Hearts/After Last Night" on Reprise were
recordings by the Laurie group because that is what was
always reported in print.  After purchasing and listening
to copies of these songs, I had to say to myself that the
voices on these recordings didn't sound like either Judy
Craig or Sylvia Peterson, the two leads for The Chiffons.
Maybe there was an outside chance that one of the other
members led the songs, but the harmony was not tight
enough or distinct enough to be the celebrated Chiffons. 

In 1992, when I sang with The Echelons, we opened for The
Chiffons at a Rock & Roll show at Bergen Tech HS in
Hackensack, NJ.  After meeting Judy Craig and Pat Bennett,
I asked them about the recordings.  The first thing Pat
said was, "Does it sound like us?"  I explained my
thinking as I stated above.  She replied "absolutely not".
"He's So Fine" was the NY Chiffons' first recording.  In
fact, they never sang for any other label except Laurie
and its Rust subsidiary (as The Four Pennies).  The B.T.
Puppy single and LP were the result of The Tokens
releasing the masters (which they owned) on B.T. Puppy
(which they also owned)  Likewise for the Buddah single,
where they had a production deal.  The labels for the
recordings by the other group, which pre-date "He's So
Fine" were California labels, but I've also heard a rumor
that the group may have been from Boston.

John Clemente

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Message: 6
   Date: Sat, 31 Mar 2001 15:30:38 EST
   From: Paul Urbahns 
Subject: Phil Spectors Christmas Album

In a message dated 3/30/01 Toby wrote:

> I play Spector's Xmas record all over the year, not
> just in December! What about you guys?

I do also and in the summer months the neighbors think 
I'm crazy.

Paul Urbahns

--------------------[ archived by Spectropop ]--------------------

Message: 7
   Date: Sat, 31 Mar 2001 22:38:18 EST
   From: RobtWicker 
Subject: Re: Phil Spector Boxed Set

I rarely contribute to this newsletter, but I make sure
to read each issue. Thanks to everyone's input that makes
it worth reading.  With the recent discussion of the PS
CD box, I had to bring up the topic of the LP version of
this set.

The sound on the LPs, in my opinion is superior to the
CDs.  In fact, it almost sounds as if the box was
mastered specifically for these LPs, not for CD.

You can hear, make that distinguish, Darlene's sister
(Edna) on "Wait Til My Bobby Gets Home".  It sounds like
someone is tapping drumsticks on their knees on "Da Doo
Ron Ron", something I never heard before.  The horns on
"Why Don't They Let Us Fall In Love" are crisp and clear.
Listening to "Walking In The Rain" on this version shows
why Larry Levine won an grammy for it - the rain is mixed
so perfectly into the background.

Everything sounds so crisp and new on the LPs, I can
clearly hear instruments I never knew were there before.
I am glad I got the LPs first and then picked up the CDs
later.  Anyway, that's just my opinion.  By the way, LP
#3 is pressed off-center in the original release.  It
took 4 months to get it replaced, but ABKCO did send a
replacement if you noticed it and called to complain. 
It's just a shame the 3 Best Ofs did not get a vinyl

On another topic, does anyone know how many MONO
versions of "Love Is All We Have To Give" - LP183 white
label promo issued in stereo sleeve - were pressed?  Was
River Deep... also promotionally pressed in mono?

--------------------[ archived by Spectropop ]--------------------

Message: 8
   Date: Sat, 31 Mar 2001 05:27:21 -0000
   From: LePageWeb 
Subject: A Fine, Fine Discovery

Phil wrote:

> Curiosity aroused, I compared some versions of "A Fine
> Fine Boy" to discover that the orginal 45 is actually
> different from the CD box-set, which appears to be the 70s
> PSI version with a harsher EQ and a noise reduction filter.

I was hoping someone was going to do that! Thanks. The
"PSI edit" we are talking about here originally appeared
on Phil Spector Wall of Sound Vol.4 "Yesterday's Hits -
Today", right?

> ...the first chorus has been substituted by the second
> chorus edited in its place, possibly because it has a
> slightly stronger percussion balance. 

Exactly where does the edit begin?

> The giveaway is the tracking on Darlene's vocal, which is
> spot-on on the 45 going into the first chorus.

Yeah, I think so too, but I can't tell exactly where the
splice occurs.  Darlene's vocal line "cause he's got a..."
during the measure just preceding the chorus is double
tracked and the tracking is slightly off. I think it
might be a case of less-than-perfect vocal tracking
rather than a poor edit. Whaddya think?

And as far as the "why", consider this: perhaps during
the less-compressed PSI mastering, the BGs on the first
chorus were judged to be slightly too soft to
effectively do the "lead". So even though they were
balanced well when Darlene was singing, when they
carried the main melody while Darlene "laid out" (i.e.,
during the "mine, mine, mine" and "fine, fine, fine"
lines of the first chorus) it felt like something was
missing, so the second chorus was copied and flown in
where the first chorus was. Just another possibility,
but you gotta wonder about the PSI mastering which was
done in England. With certain tracks miscredited and
others bearing errors in the liner notes, one wonders
how personally involved Spector was in the process.

By replacing the first chorus with a copy of the
second, Darlene's wailing "yeah, yeah" is now in every
chorus and thus "becomes" the melody rather than a
gospel-like ad-lib used to build excitement as the
record progresses. In other words, the edit has caused
the lyric and melody to literally change from "I know
he's fine, fine fine" to "I know he's yeah yeah". I
think the edit kills the original intent. 

In any event the change affects the progression of the
record dramatically. There is a typical-for-Spector
"embellish from start to finish" on the 45 version
that the edited version doesn't quite have. Sort of, if
you will, like having Hal Blaine add fills in every
chorus. Or having the string lines playing through
first verse. It wasn't Phil's way and it makes you
wonder how that edit originally occurred. You also
gotta wonder how it has replaced the original mix as
the definitive version (*back* to mono indeed!). Look
at this excerpt from the Larry Levine piece on the 
message board (my asterisks for emphasis):
[regarding] Phil Spector's Back To Mono (Abkco Records)
box set

"All of the analog-to-digital transfers, sequencing and
equalizing of the ***original masters*** ...involved
transferring the ***original masters*** to Sony PCM 1630
digital. To preserve the ***authenticity of the
recordings*** (some over thirty years old), an Ampex 351
tape machine, the model the original material was recorded
on, was used for playback during the transfer process.
Most of the 25 to 30-year-old masters, also a bit dusty,
were originally recorded in either full-track mono or
2-track mono on Ampex tape." 
Does this mean the PSI era edit was done on the
original mono master??? Highly unlikely (the 2nd chorus
was copied in any event). So, I guess the original
master was not used when the box set was mastered.
Either that or else a digital edit was done to
replicate the PSI edit, but that too seems unlikely. If
the answer to both is no, it means the PSI edit was
done on completely different tape and (probably)
different equipment, and this would have been obvious
to everyone during the Back to Mono mastering - it
means someone made a deliberate decision to use the PSI
edit on the Back to Mono box. Perhaps the original mono
master couldn't be found. Perhaps some twenty years
after the PSI edit was done there was a creative
decision that it was indeed superior to the original.
It's very strange. May you never hear Darlene sing "Let
me tell ya..." again.

When I think about all that has been said about
recording variations in Beatles and Beach Boys fandom, I
guess there's a lot more we can similarly discover about
Spector's recordings. Today was one of those lucky days,
I guess, for which I am indebted to the original poster
and everyone that followed up. Thanks!

All the best,

n.p. "(He's a) Quiet Guy" from The Best of Darlene Love
(Marginal CD MAR 074)

--------------------[ archived by Spectropop ]--------------------

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