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The Who - BBC Sessions:

UK - 2000 Polydor CD (Promo)

UK - 2000 Universal CD (Promo)

USA - 2000 MCA CD

USA - 2000 MCA CD

"Best Buy only" bonus CD

USA - 2000 MCA CD (Promo)

USA - 2000 MCA CD (Promo)

"Best Buy only" bonus CD

France - 2000 Polydor CD (Promo)

Germany - 2000 Polydor CD

Germany - 2000 Polydor LP

Japan - 2000 Polydor CD

Japan - 2000 Polydor CD (Promo)

Japan - 2000 Polydor Cassette (Promo)

Japan - 2004 Polydor CD

Japan - 2011 Polydor CD

SHMCD. Mini-LP cover

Russia - 2012 Polydor CD

Mini-LP cover

Thailand - 2000 Polydor Cassette


Album: BBC Sessions

LPs (vinyl) Sampled: Polydor (Germany)

CDs Sampled: Polydor (UK) Promo, Polydor (Germany), MCA (USA), Polydor (Japan), Polydor (Russia)

LP Comments: Improved sound quality vs the other commercially available CD versions (which does not include the various promos).

CD Comments: The commercially available versions from the USA, UK (made in Germany) and Japan sounds the close to the same - somewhat distorted and difficult to listen to. The Russia CD appears to use a different source tape and has a much better sound and feel.

Compare for yourself!
 
Below are 30 second WAV samples from various pressings of "The BBC Sessions" as described above.

My Generation:

2000 Germany/UK LP   2000 Germany/UK CD   2000 USA CD   2000 Japan CD   2011 Japan CD   2012 Russia CD  

Substitute:

2000 Germany/UK LP   2000 Germany/UK CD   2000 USA CD   2000 Japan CD   2011 Japan CD   2012 Russia CD  

Happy Jack:

2000 Germany/UK LP   2000 Germany/UK CD   2000 USA CD   2000 Japan CD   2011 Japan CD   2012 Russia CD  

Note: Sound comparisons are only as good as your ears and the equipment you are listening to the music with.

Summary: The Polydor (Germany/UK LP) is the best sounding of the versions I've sampled with the Russia CD close behind.

Other Comments: Most of these tracks have been available to collectors for many years on either bootlegs (compare to "Maximum BBC") or promotional radio station LPs/CDs (i.e. The Westwood One Radio Network). However, the sound quality on those are often better than this release.

Because of the way these CDs were released, you sort of have to "mix and match" them in order to get a complete track listing. Look for the UK (Promo), German or Japanese pressings which have the extra tracks ("Spoonful" and "Man With Money") and the limited release Best Buy version, to get all of the tracks available (see below).

About: BBC Sessions

I always loved all the BBC tracks. Mostly raw, somewhat impromptu recordings of our favorite songs from the 60's and early 70s. You can kind of hear the band develop within these songs...

A lot of these tracks were on vinyl bootlegs from the 80's to more sophisticated CD boots of the 90's. Most were lifted right off of promo CDs meant for radio stations - I even started buying those up to get better quality versions.

When they announced that this CD was coming out - I thought that was really cool! Finally all the BBC tracks on an official release!

However, the smile didn't last long.  The CD was released during a period where they were experimenting with "noise reduction". While in theory it was a good concept, the practice tended to remove the ambiance and musicality of the songs - leaving something fairly sterile in its place.

Shortly after its release the word on the streets was: "The bootlegs sound better!" True enough and kind of sad.

I haven't yet listened to the latest Japan CD version (it may be newly mastered and perhaps this issue has been resolved).

There's a newish CD version from Russia which claims it was recorded from an LP source - that's the one I played and it sounded "OK". I didn't hear any LP related noise and it seemed to have more ambiance than the original CD release - but who knows... Ultimately, I would like to see this one remastered again.

Out of all the wonderful songs on this CD, here are my favorites:

* Anyway, Anyhow, Anywhere - I have yet to hear a version I don't like!

* Disguises - such a great song. Not enough credit has been given to Pete for writing this one (and the demo is great too)

* Run, Run, Run - other than the 2 demo versions - This is the only alternate version of the song.

* The Seeker - I still prefer Pete's demo - but I really like this version.

* Relay - what a great song - and this one is pretty nifty too!

Track Listing:

MCA (USA): My Generation - (Radio 1 Jingle), Anyway, Anyhow, Anywhere, Good Lovin', Just You And Me, Darling, Leaving Here, My Generation, The Good's Gone, La La La Lies, Substitute, Dancing In The Street, Disguises, I'm A Boy, Run Run Run, Boris The Spider, Happy Jack, See My Way, Pictures Of Lily, A Quick One While He's Away, Substitute (version 2), The Seeker, I'm Free, Shakin' All Over, Relay, Long Live Rock, Boris The Spider (Radio 1 Jingle)

Polydor (Germany & Japan): My Generation - (Radio 1 Jingle), Anyway, Anyhow, Anywhere, Good Lovin', Just You And Me, Darling, Leaving Here, My Generation, The Good's Gone, La La La Lies, Substitute, Man With Money, Dancing In The Street, Disguises, I'm A Boy, Run Run Run, Boris The Spider, Happy Jack, See My Way, Pictures Of Lily, A Quick One While He's Away, Substitute (version 2), The Seeker, I'm Free, Shakin' All Over/Spoonful (Medley), Relay, Long Live Rock, Boris The Spider (Radio 1 Jingle)

Best Buy Limited Edition (USA): (Same as MCA version above, plus the following extra tracks on Disc 2:) Pinball Wizard, See Me, Feel Me, I Don't Even Know Myself, I Can See For Miles, Heaven And Hell, The Seeker, Summertime Blues, Pete Townshend Interview.

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