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The Who Sell Out - Page 3:
Album: The Who Sell Out
LPs (vinyl) Sampled: Polydor-mono (UK), Polydor-stereo (UK), Decca-mono (USA), Decca-stereo (USA), Classic-mono (USA) [all versions that follow are stereo versions] MCA-reissue (USA), Polydor (France), Polydor (Holland), Polydor (Japan), Polydor-reissue (Japan), Polydor (Australia-record label says mono, but it's actually in stereo), Polydor (Germany-several reissue variations)
CDs (original mix) Sampled: Polydor (Germany), MCA (USA), Polydor (Japan), Polydor (Japan) [2007 Mono mix]
CDs (remix) Sampled: Polydor (Germany), MCA (USA), Polydor (Japan)
CDs (Deluxe Edition) Sampled: Polydor (UK)
Stereo: Possibly a tossup between the Japan and German versions. Most of the variations in sound quality between the various countries come from the vinyl quality itself.
Mono: Both the Decca USA and Polydor UK versions sound about the same, and unfortunately--not too great. The mastering on them is extremely bass heavy (varying on different parts of the album) and has to be equalized to sound proper. The 2006 Classic USA cleans up the mastering problems inherent in the original 1967 releases and offers very good sound, retaining the "grittiness" of the original mono LPs. Sadly, the Classic LP isn't without flaws. Whereas the left and right channels (volume) on any mono recording should both be 100% even at the 12 o'clock position of your balance control, the right channel has a stronger output than the left, hence causing you to correct this by moving your balance control to the 11 o'clock position. They pressed this LP on 200 gram, Quiex vinyl, and for the most part, the vinyl is without flaw. However, at the end of sides 1 & 2, immediately at the end of each track, the LP starts to crackle, vs. what should have been a nice "moment of silence". This becomes even more frustrating on side 2, where the crackles are heavy between "Rael" and the "Track Records" run-off track. My copy was slightly warped (towards the outer edge).
The mono album does feature some interesting mix variations, i.e. No lead guitar on "Odorono", a "quivering vocal" ending to "Mary Ann With The Shaky Hand" (also featured on the remixed CD version) and most notably a different (and more interesting) ending guitar track on "Our Love Is, Was".
CD (original mix) comments: Both the USA and German versions sound nearly identical. However, the way they are indexed is completely different. The USA version starts each track with the jingles in the beginning, while the German has them at the end. The other significant difference is that the USA version features the "Track Records" run off track at the end of the CD, while the German version doesn't. The Japanese CD is the same as the German, but with some extra bass in the mastering.
CD (remix) comments: Both the USA and German versions sound identical and the Japanese version has the extra bass in the mastering, which (depending on your stereo system) detracts from the sound quality.
CD (Deluxe Edition) comments: n/a
CD (mono) comments: The mono mix CDs (various) seem to have the same sonic and mastering characteristics of the USA (Classic) LP, but without the flaws inherent with the poor vinyl quality.
Compare for yourself!
Below are 30 second WAV samples of "Mary Ann With The Shaky Hands" from the various pressings of "The Who Sell Out" as described above.
1967 USA MasterTape (Mono) 1967 USA LP (Mono) 1988 USA CD (Stereo) 1988 Germany CD (Stereo) 1995 USA CD (Stereo - Remix) 1995 Germany CD (Stereo - Remix) 1995 Japan CD (Stereo - Remix) 1996 Japan CD (Stereo - Original Mix) 2005 USA DAT Master (Stereo) 2005 USA DAT Master (Mono) 2006 USA LP (Mono) 2009 UK CD (Stereo) 2009 UK CD (Mono) 2009 Japan CD (Stereo) 2009 Japan CD (Mono) 2012 Japan DSD/SACD (Stereo) 2012 Japan DSD/SACD (Mono)
Note: Sound comparisons are only as good as your ears and the equipment you are listening to the music with.
Summary: The remixed version of this album is truly brilliant in ways that words can't express. Unless you are a collector (or want additional bonus material), there's no reason to own anything other than an MCA (USA) or Polydor (Germany) copy.
Other Comments: If you are a collector, there are some interesting album cover variations to note, specifically the Australian LP with Keith Moon holding Clearasil on the tube versus "Medac".
The liner notes of the reissue incorrectly credit the 2nd version of "Mary Anne With The Shaky Hand" as being the "b" side of "I Can See For Miles" version. This version is actually a previously unreleased version. The "b" side version eventually got remixed in stereo and placed on "Odds & Sods".
The Decca (USA) <white label> LP promo copies were issued both "banded" (gaps between the songs - versus cross-faded) and unbanded - both in mono and stereo. On the banded versions, "Turn It Up" and "Beast of a Man" (commercials between the songs) are deleted. (See track listing below.)
The Deluxe Edition CD combines some of the elements of the 1995 remix release with the mono album version and ads some bonus tracks (while removing a few others). The most notable additions include a previously unreleased studio take of "Summertime Blues" and the once "almost released", "Sodding About" (instrumental). A different mix of this song was to be included on the 1998 "Odds & Sods" CD, but was dropped for lack of space. The original mix/version bonus tracks of "Early Morning Cold Taxi", "Jaguar" and "Girls Eyes" can also be found on various Who bootleg albums. While their inclusion on this CD is a nice thought, they don't seem to have the same "snap" to them as their 1995 counterparts.
Also included on this CD are some previously unreleased versions/mixes of: "Rael" (Remake Version). This sounds like a "rougher mix". "Our Love Was" (Take 12). This has some nice elements which vary from other released versions of the song. "I Can See For Miles" (Early Mono Mix). I think they didn't know how they wanted the lead vocal sang at this point. "Relax" (Demo). As always, Pete's demos of Who songs are always an interesting variation. (I have another version of this demo which is a bit different.)
There are two bonus tracks that are un-credited and follow a long, silent gap. I'm not quite sure what the point of this is.
About: The Who Sell Out
Back in 1980 when a friend made me Who tapes from his LPs - he had made copies of the 1st 4 USA albums (which at the time were sold as double LPs and cheaply packaged). I didn't like them. I didn't really know why I didn't like them (no explanation was required back then).
Fast forward 2 years. My new "record mentor" was a cool shop in Coral Gables, FL (near my school) called Yesterday and Today (he was a big Beatles fan). He turned me onto "imports" (records made in other countries imported to the USA). He asked me what I thought of "The Who Sell Out" and I told him I didn't like it. He started to probe "why" and I told him that it sounded like shit and was recorded poorly. He then explained - "Oh! You are the victim of a bad MCA reissue! You need to try this!" He pulled a German LP copy out of the bin and started to play it Wow! It's like a different record!!! So... The light bulb went off. What I had previously thought was "bad music" was just a bad recording due to a poor quality reissue. As I started to buy more and more records (later with CDs) I noticed that there are sometimes major sound quality differences in these pressings and that made a HUGE difference as to how much I enjoyed listening to any particular album. Newly enlightened, my "quality quest" began. I grew my collection initially for 2 reasons: finding the best sounding versions, and having a complete song catalog. Later it was about cool picture sleeves and now it's about being "complete" (gee, I just got that rare New Zealand "It's Hard" I was missing). ;)
Getting back to the album. I always wondered why Roger was missing for a good chunk of the original. It seemed odd. As it turned out, when the 1995 remix, expanded version came out - they recorded so many songs for the original (then intended to be a double album) - Roger's lead vocal tracks got left behind!
Every song on this album is great. The 1995 version is put together so well, you would think it was exactly what the band intended in 1967.
The album has a "sense of humor" to it that was somehow the Who's trademark early on and lost in later years.
"I Can See For Miles" was probably the first Who song I became aware of - blaring from my sister's stereo in 1967...
My favorite track from the remix is the 2nd "Mary Ann" - what a great variation and performance. ;)
2009 Deluxe Edition:
I don't really know where to begin with this one...
I've always loved "The Who Sell Out" and strongly believe that the version compiled and released in 1995 is the "ultimate" version of this album. I can recall back to 1995 when Who fans all over the world played it for the first time and shared their feelings with other fans via the Internet - almost universal "Wow!" responses (although one person in desperate need for "Odorono" in Germany complained about the insertion of an additional "commercial").
This version? I'm not a big fan of and I'll try to explain why...
Part of the problem in attempting to compile something like this, is that your universe is finite. Meaning, the record company may limit you to 2 CDs and therefore, you are "stuck" within those confines as opposed to "making the best version of the album". "Who's Next" (Deluxe) is a good example of that - since there was "too much left behind" - if there was only that "3rd disc" to "put all of it on there"...
From my perspective, whereas the 1995 flows as a "single album" - as if it were intended that way in 1967, this one is... like a "bootleg". It's as if the compiler/producer said to himself, "what else can I squeeze on this CD?" as opposed to...
"What tracks work best together, for a great listening experience?"
But this doesn't really come as a surprise, because this version's compiler/producer is former bootleg dealer!
So, I look at this release in 2 ways...
1) It's great to have more previously released tracks
2) These CDs don't "flow" like the 1995 release and when compared, it's inferior.
I realize that #2 is a "bold" statement, but imagine someone calling me up today and saying, "Hey, would you like to compile a 2 CD version of "The Who Sell Out" and BTW - You will have limitations set forth by the record company?"
I find that to be "no win" scenario...
So... from my perspective, to do this right...
A) You need to start with the premise that you need 3 CDs (Starting with the 1995 version) or...
B) You keep the "Deluxe" version simple (original stereo mix/original tracks + original mono mix/original tracks) - presumably someone wants the "original" versions of this album on CD... PLUS:
C) You compile the BEST box set of "The Who Rarities Collection" and you throw everything in - including the kitchen sink. Somehow these rarities on their own (and broken up by other rarities) seem to have a nice flow to them musically and then you can get away with all the repeats and various interesting things.
By combining B&C - You end up "meeting the expectations of the audience" vs. compiling an "official bootleg" - which is how I view this version of "The Who Sell Out".
OK, onto the music...
I'm one of those folks who if I never heard the original mix of "The Who Sell Out" again, I wouldn't feel I was missing anything. The 1995 remix is just so much better. But I do understand some people like this and want it in their collection (although there was nothing wrong with the original CD versions prior to 1995 and there's plenty of them out
The mono version of the album is kind of cool, but more so to "note the differences" in the mixes than for actual, "Gee, I like this so much better!" (I've met some Who fans who really like the mono mix - I'm not one of them.).
What do you get in the mono mix?
Mary Anne With The Shaky Hand - Quivering vocal ending (which was electronically replicated on the 1995 remix)
Odorono - no lead guitar
Our Love Is, Was - a different (and very cool) guitar ending change from the stereo mix (apparently Pete overdubbed this right onto the mono mix)
And from a sound perspective - perhaps a "grittier" version of the album. It has an overall "heavier" sound to it. Again, to me - more of a novelty. If I had to choose between releasing this on CD and using the same space for more unreleased material, I'd "ditch" this in a heartbeat and keep "Our Love Is, Was" as a bonus track for its unique guitar parts...
Including on this release, are some of the same tracks previously released in 1995, but now either their "original" mix versions or their "mono" versions - released here for the first time.
I'm not sure what the point of this is. What makes the mono "Jaguar... "special"??? Or, is it just to add as a "companion" track to the mono version of the album? Having the mono track for the sake of having a mono track (which was never released prior in mono ever before except on bootlegs) doesn't really make much sense to me. Maybe it does to someone and maybe there were no more tracks left on the shelf so this was good "filler" material. I don't know. But these kind of adds seem senseless and help to give you the feeling that this is just an "official bootleg" vs. a piece of
music you are compelled to listen to over and over again...
OK, enough complaining... :)
Here's what I really like about the album - the previously unreleased tracks! :)
Summertime Blues - (just how many studio versions are there???) - this is an early version - John doesn't use his "Boris" voice on this one... :)
Sodding About - this was remixed and intended to be used on the 1998 "Odds & Sods". However, it didn't fit and the original mix version was used here.
Rael 1 & 2 (Remake Version) - this is pretty cool. Basically an alternate version to the familiar version. I like it. :)
Relax (Early Demo Stereo) - This is what the description says, but I don't believe this is what it actually is. I have the demo for this. Pete's demo is actually pretty "wild". What I do believe this to be - is a work in process mix. This seems like John and Keith have dubbed their parts over some of Pete's tracks on the demo, leaving the demo's vocals and guitar parts, but removing all the "wild" parts that Pete previously laid down.
Glittering Girl (Unreleased Stereo Version) - This is really good. I always thought that the version used on the 1995 release was almost "unfinished" - as it sounded very close to Pete's demo version. This version is more advanced, but I think there's a moment here where Roger or Pete may have "laughed" while singing, so some of the "polish" of this version got slightly "tarnished". But, it's REAL good regardless. :)
So... what are we talking about here? 5 tracks??? The rest of the bonus tracks don't really capture my interest at all. For example, "Rael (Early Mono Mix)" - I'm listening to this and I'm thinking that this is a poor sounding version of the one on the 1995 CD. It's the kind of track I listen to once, mentally note it and then come back to it, 2 or 3 times
over the next 5 years. Again, great for a bootleg, but not on "The Who Sell Out"...
So... what is the answer to the dilemma? How does The Who release all of their "archives", but at the same time, make a "musically enjoyable" listening experience? (Seems like the job for the right kind of "box set".)
UK: Armenia City In The Sky, Heinz Baked Beans, Mary Anne With The Shaky Hand, Odorono, Tattoo, Our Love Was, Is, I Can See For Miles, I Can't Reach You, Medac, Relax, Silas Stingy, Sunrise, Rael
USA: Armenia City In The Sky, Heinz Baked Beans, Mary Anne With The Shaky Hand, Odorono, Tattoo, Our Love Was, Is, I Can See For Miles, I Can't Reach You, Spotted Henry, Relax, Silas Stingy, Sunrise, Rael
USA (Banded Promo): Armenia City In The Sky, Heinz Baked Beans, Mary Anne With The Shaky Hand, Odorono, I Can See For Miles, Our Love Was, Is, Tattoo, I Can't Reach You, Spotted Henry, Relax, Silas Stingy, Sunrise, Rael
1995 Reissue: Armenia City In The Sky, Heinz Baked Beans, Mary Anne With The Shaky Hand, Odorono, Tattoo, Our Love Was, Is, I Can See For Miles, I Can't Reach You, Spotted Henry, Relax, Silas Stingy, Sunrise, Rael, Rael 2, <Top Gear> Glittering Girl, <Coke 2>, Melancholia, <Bag O' Nails>, Someone's Coming, <John Mason's Cars>, Jaguar, <John Mason's Cars Reprise>, Early Morning Cold Taxi, <Coke 1> Hall Of The Mountain King, <Radio 1>, Girl's Eyes, <Odorono-Final Chorus>, Mary Anne With The Shaky Hand, Glow Girl <Track Records>.
2009 Deluxe Edition:
Disc 1 (stereo): Armenia City In The Sky, Heinz Baked Beans, Mary Anne With The Shaky Hand, Odorono, Tattoo, Our Love Was, Is, I Can See For Miles, I Can't Reach You, Spotted Henry, Relax, Silas Stingy, Sunrise, Rael 1 & 2, Rael Naive, Someone's Coming, Early Morning Cold Taxi, Jaguar, Coke After Coke, Glittering Girl, Summertime Blues, John Mason Cars, Girl's Eyes, Sodding About, Premier Drums, Odorono (final chorus), Mary Anne With The Shaky Hand (US Mirasound Version) Things Go Better With Coke, In The Hall Of The Mountain King, Top Gear, Rael 1 & 2 (Remake Version)
Disc 2 (mono): Armenia City In The Sky, Heinz Baked Beans, Mary Anne With The Shaky Hand, Odorono, Tattoo, Our Love Was, Is, I Can See For Miles, I Can't Reach You, Spotted Henry, Relax, Silas Stingy, Sunrise, Rael 1 & 2, Mary Anne With The Shaky Hand (US Single Mono Mix), Someone's Coming (UK Single Mono Mix), Relax (Early Demo Stereo), Jaguar (Original Mono Mix), Glittering Girl (Unreleased Stereo Version), Tattoo (Early Mono Mix), Our Love Was (Take 12 - Unused Mono Mix), Rotosound Strings (With Final Note - Stereo), I Can See For Miles (Early Mono Mix), Rael (Early Mono Mix), Armenia City In The Sky (Isolated Backwards Tracks), Great Shakes (Unreleased US Radio Commercial)
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