Wednesday, September 20, 2017

My New Website!

Well, well, well! It's been so long! 

Hoping this message finds you all feeling groovy. With that in mind, take a meander at my new website. Yes, please do. :)

Sunday, December 18, 2016

"I Feel Fine" (UK & US Mono Mixes)

The "I Feel Fine / She's A Woman" single was released on November 23, 1964 (US) and November 27, 1964 (UK). Naturally, the "A" side, which we concentrate on here, became a worldwide #1 hit single.

This time, for us Yankees, George Martin intentionally mixed a Beatles single a bit differently. Capitol Records had a habit (sometimes good sometimes not) of adding reverb to their releases as they assumed Americans preferred a "bigger sound" (many did). With Beatles releases, it was usually the stereo LP's which were slammed with the extra effect. Most notably, the stereo version of "The Beatles Second Album". Many fans actually prefer hearing those songs in this beefed up manner. I must admit, I love what they did to "Roll Over Beethoven" as the dry mix- in both mono and stereo- makes George Harrison's Gretsch electric sound like he's playing inside a tin can. A Gretsch should never be "pointy" and that is exactly what it sounds like on those dry mixes.

With this 45, Martin decided he would be the one to add the extra reverb. He sent the exclusive-western-hemisphere-only mono tapes to Capitol, and- of course- they added an extra layer as well (!!!!) 

Hey, why not, right? Ummmm......

IMHO, certain aspects of the US mix completely annihilate the doinky sounding UK version. On the other hand, said doinky UK mix has a few traits which outshine the over-the-top-sometimes-messy US version. For example, the doinky UK mix is clearer and "nice". It also features a slightly longer fade. The over-the-top-sometimes-messy US version makes the song explode out of the speakers. Also, I don't care what anyone says, the main riff and slamming drums after the guitar solo on that version is untouchably superior. To me, it's one of the greatest moments in music history. Whenever I hear it- just like the mono "Paperback Writer"- I get those wonderful chills. Groovy, man.

Once again, I am including the original Capitol picture sleeve (NOTE: The Beatles had but a mere two picture sleeves in the UK. BORING!). Also, included are the 1969-1971 red and orange target labels which I am on a quest to conquer for my collection.

Here ya go. Judge for yourself.

Sunday, December 11, 2016

The Monkees Do Their Thing (January, 1967)

In 1965, 437 hopefuls auditioned for what became the sitcom known as "The Monkees". As we all know, four guys: Michael Nesmith, David Jones, Micky Dolenz and Peter Tork passed said auditions. Amongst some of the others was none other than Stephen Stills but he couldn't get out of his recording contract. 
Imagine a band with Nesmith and Stills. Wow.
Bla bla bla. Old news.
Recording sessions for the project began in June, 1966 with the first single "Last Train To Clarksville" released that August. The TV show debuted on Monday, September 12, 1966. This was after "Clarksville" had already reached #1. The first LP was released that October and- along with the follow up "More Of The Monkees"- is still one of the biggest selling albums in history.
Bla bla bla. Old news.
Now, here's where my thread gets interesting......
Because of silly union rules, The Monkees were not allowed to perform the instruments on the first two albums and singles. This did not sit well with Nesmith and Tork. In fact, Nesmith made sure he would produce some of his original tunes and that they be included on the albums. While recording, he would always have Peter Tork playing guitar or bass on said recordings. I guess he felt it gave the tunes some legitimacy. Rightfully, they became fed up with their vocals only contributions and they rebelled. In January, 1967, they went into the studio and recorded the songs featured in this thread. It was hoped that they would make up their third single but control freak, Don Kirshner, wasn't having any of it. To quote Peter Tork: "Kirshner acted as if the barbarians were at the gates of the Holy Roman Empire". 
So, what became of that planned third single? Well, Kirshner found as many loopholes as possible to keep it from being released. The song intended as the "A" side, "All Of Your Toys", was not a Screen Gems copyright and The Monkees contract clearly stated that all their tunes had to be released as such. To reach a compromise, they asked if the intended "B" side, "The Girl I Knew Somewhere" (written by Michael Nesmith) be released as the flip side to "A Little Bit Me, A Little Bit You" which was written by Neil Diamond and a guaranteed hit (reached #2). 
Kirshner decided to go against their wishes and released "A Little Bit Me, A Little Bit You / She Hangs Out" in Canada. Both tunes, in their full-session-player-glory, feature only one singing Monkee (Jones). Shortly after, Kirshner was fired from the Monkees project. 
For Monkee geeks like me, it was a blessing as the next two albums were easily the best they ever produced: "Headquarters" (reached #1) and "Pisces, Aquarius, Capricorn & Jones Ltd" (#1....and my fave).
Eventually, the third single became "A Little Bit Me, A Little Bit You / The Girl I Knew Somewhere". The latter being re-recorded in a higher key with the more commercial voice of Micky Dolenz on vocals instead of Nesmith. "All Of Your Toys" and the Nesmith sung rendition of "The Girl I Knew Somewhere" languished in the vaults until 1987 and 1995, respectively.
Here ya go. Dig in. 

"All Of Your Toys":
"The Girl I Knew Somewhere" (Nesmith Vocal Version):
"The Girl I Knew Somewhere" (45/Micky Dolenz Vocal Version):
"The Girl I Knew Somewhere" by Gary Owen:

Tuesday, November 29, 2016

I'll Cry Instead - The Beatles (1964)

In June, 1964, United Artists' released their soundtrack to "A Hard Day's Night". They were very anxious to get this LP out, so- excepting "Can't Buy Me Love"- EMI sent them rough mono mixes of all the songs. Meanwhile, Capitol Records- the label The Beatles were signed to in pretty much all the western hemisphere- somehow lost the rights to this gold mine of an album. They decided to release a "semi-soundtrack" with an album titled "Something New". The company was also sent the same rough mono mixes of the tunes featured in the flick- plus one which was supposed to be in the movie.......
......and that song was "I'll Cry Instead"
This Country-Rock flavored tune was originally going to be used during the police chase scene but director Richard Lester felt it wasn't quite right. Instead, he decided to repeat the hit "Can't Buy Me Love". He also (stupidly) cut "You Can't Do That' from the concert sequence at the end of the movie. Regardless, non of the fans had a clue about all this behind the scenes stuff. 
Meanwhile, "I'll Cry Instead" wound up on the UA soundtrack. The reason being, the album was released before the film, therefore, they were unaware it was deleted. Strange fact: UA released the soundtrack and the movie. You think they would have known? Go figure.
"I'll Cry Instead" was recorded in two sections. IMHO, the reason for this would have to be- when The Beatles run back into the police station- the audio of "Can't Buy Me Love" is lowered so we can hear what's being said by the Police Captain (Derek Guyler). I believe the two sections would have played separately during that scene. Anyway, because the song was originally intended for the flick, it clocked in at 2:05. After it was nixed from the film, it was properly mixed into mono and stereo and timed in around 1:48. This is the rendition which is familiar to all my friends abroad and has become the universal rendition found on the common CD of "A Hard Day's Night"- which is the UK version of the album. What caused this anomaly, you ask? Well, George Martin deleted the repeat of the first verse which found it's way onto that 2:05 version. This was not merely an edit of that specific section. The Beatles actually recorded it again for the second section of the song.
Confused yet?
Anyway, this 2:05 rendition found it's way onto all the UA pressings of the soundtrack, mono and stereo. For the latter format- aside from the goofy George Martin instrumentals- all The Beatles tunes are fake stereo (yuck). As for Capitol, their stereo "Something New" featured the final edited rendition (1:48). However, the mono pressing of the LP has the longer, deleted film version. Because Capitol had to battle the UA soundtrack, they decided to release a bunch of singles, one of which was "I'll Cry Instead / I'm Happy Just To Dance With You". The "A" side- which is the longer version- reached #25 and the flip, #95. 
By now, your brains are already frazzled, I am sure.
Anyway, here is the superior-complete-longer-mono-western-hemisphere-only version of "I'll Cry Instead". Just because I can, I am showing Capitol's original 1964 (now rare) picture sleeve but with a red and orange target label pressing. This label was in print from 1969 through 1971. Take note of the time of "I'll Cry instead". Also notice that the label states it's from the film.  It remained that way until the single was deleted in the late 1980's. Groovy, man. I thank you.

Saturday, November 19, 2016

A Continuation Of The Beatles Green "Starline Series" 45's Thread (11/16/16)

A continuation of my Beatles green "Starline Series" thread.....

By 1969, Capitol Records had switched over to what is now known to collectors as the red and orange "target label" (my favorite). For whatever reason, in 1971, the company decided to reissue two of the unique 1965 Starline singles on said target label: "Roll Over Beethoven / Misery" and "Boys / Kansas City". This time, they were released as regular reissues and did not bear the name "Starline". These singles were only pressed at the Jacksonville, Illinois plant and are not common. At the same time- and plant- Capitol mistakenly pressed up a small run of the Canadian 45 "All My Loving / This Boy" which- in 1964- reached #45 in the US as an import. It bears the Canadian catalog number but has US markings. Once the error was discovered, production was immediately halted and the single withdrawn. Yes, it's rare. 

CORRECTION: During my original Starline thread, I had forgotten that "Misery" was reissued in 1971 and stated it had to wait until 1980 to reappear. This thread fixes that error. I thank you.

Wednesday, November 16, 2016

Loving The Starline!

In January, 1962, Capitol Records launched it's "Starline" series as a vehicle for reissuing old hit singles. The 45's feature a greenish version of the classic yellow and orange swirl label which adorned Capitol's regular singles in the 1960's. IMHO, I think this label is more attractive, and, yes, their rarity does add to it. :)

The six Beatles singles released in Capitol's Starline series were:

1. Twist And Shout / There's A Place (6061)
2. Love Me Do / P.S. I Love You (6062)
3. Please Please Me / From Me To You (6063)
4. Do You Want To Know A Secret / Thank You Girl (6064)
5. Roll Over Beethoven / Misery (6065)
6. Boys / Kansas City (6066)

The first four were reissues of singles which were released earlier on the Vee Jay and Tollie labels. The last two were unique creations by Capitol. For whatever stupid reason, three tunes: "Misery", "There's A Place" and "From Me To You" had not been released by the label until their appearance on these 45's. What is also strange (and stupid) is that Capitol was sent stereo masters of many songs from EMI and were forced to "fold down" the stereo mixes for the mono albums. I'd love to know who's dopey decision it was to send only stereo tapes. Anyway, a few Capitol mono Beatles LP's have these silly mixes scattered throughout: "Meet The Beatles", "The Beatles Second Album""The Early Beatles" and "Help!". A few stragglers trickled out on a few other albums as well. Of the twelve songs released in the Starline series, only one features a dedicated mono mix ("Kansas City"). To make matters more bizarre, the records were released on October 11, 1965 and deleted from the catalog on December 31, 1965! This means the records were available for a mere two months. Silliness abounds! This also means, in the USA, "From Me To You" had to wait until 1973's "1962-1966" compilation to reappear. The other two, "Misery" and "There's A Place" had an even longer wait. Finally, in March, 1980, they were included on the US "Rarities" LP. From the entire batch of singles, the only song to chart was "Boys" which bubbled under the "Hot 100" at #102 (weird). Hence the reason that single is the most common of the lot.

Since none of these records sold well and were only briefly available in late, 1965, they are scarce. In nice condition, each one commands a premium from collectors.

Here's a photo of The Beatles green "Starline" singles (Los Angeles pressings):

And audio of my favorite song of the all it's silly fold-down glory!

Monday, June 13, 2016

"You Bring The Summer" - The Monkees

Yes! Summer is on it's way! With that, let's celebrate by singing along with this groovy song from The Monkees new album "Good Times!"

Monday, January 18, 2016

"I Just Want To Celebrate" - Rare Earth (1971)

Well, it's yet another new year. This means it's time for some Rare Earth. I am sure you see the connection?

"I Just Want To Celebrate" was released in 1971 and reached #7. Grooviness abounds.

Tuesday, June 23, 2015

New Toys In Gary Owen Land

There's always room for new things.......

Yes. Contrary to public opinion, this most certainly applies to Gary Owen Land.

The latest new acquisitions being the following (click on the links):

Gretsch "Made To Be Played" Bar Stool

Fishman Loudbox Performer 180 Watt Acoustic Amplifier

The first replaces my worn out Gretsch bar stool which has now been officially retired. The second will act as a back up for my constantly used PA. It most certainly shall be utilized at smaller gigs like house parties etc.

All in all, two wonderful additions to the evolving- and currently under renovation- Gary Owen Land.

See you in the next post.