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fromphilly1247Offline
Post subject: The Who Sell Out (Deluxe Edition)  PostPosted: Jul 02, 2009 - 08:08 PM
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It’s not often that I would write a cd review on here, but every once in a while a reissue comes along that’s so nearly perfect in every way that it’s worthy of the praise. Such is the case here. In its previous incarnation on cd, this album garnered a lot of acclaim due to the overall production as well as the staggering amount of bonus tracks that were included. The issue was the album was remixed. Admittedly, I’m a purist when it comes to this. From 1966 through 1969, The Who’s records were produced by their then-manager, Kit Lambert. Lambert was a great manager but by no means a record producer. Many would argue that this album was begging to be remixed and that the end result was a much better album than the one that had been available for the previous 28 years.

In the early 90’s, Pete Townshend turned over the Who’s back catalog to Jon Astley who was to oversee their remastering for cd. My problem with Astley’s productions was that he more often than not remixed everything and in some cases, used different versions of tracks that had been on the original lp. I have a real problem with that. His versions of The Who By Numbers and Who Are You are just two examples of this. On his version of Live At Leeds, he wasted an incredible opportunity to present what many people consider to be the greatest live rock album ever in its entirety, warts and all. His 2 disc reissue, which was marketed as being the complete show, is tarnished by excessive edits and vocals that were overdubbed in 2002---a full 32 years after the show. To me and many other Who freaks, this was inexcusable. As a result, Astley took a public flogging in print and on a multitude of websites by people like myself who were angry at having wasted their money on cd's that were claiming to be the ultimate version of these classic lp’s but, in reality, were nothing more than his vision of what he thought these albums should have sounded like. In short, he took far too many liberties.

It appears our voices have at last been heard. Compiled by Andy Neill (Who freak extraordinaire) and remastered (not remixed) by Astley, this 2 disc version of this classic lp finally gets it right and is a real treasure for Who collectors to boot. The first disc presents the original lp in stereo featuring the original mix. In addition, there are 17 bonus tracks on the first disc alone, many of which are making their first public appearance. The second disc features the original lp in mono with an additional 12 bonus tracks.

If you’re reading this, my guess is that you’re familiar with this album so there’s no need for me to rehash the multitude of reasons of why you need it in your collection. It’s a
f***ing classic, plain and simple. That, and the fact that I Can See For Miles is simply one of the best rock songs ever. Period. However, if you’re unfamiliar with the differences between the mono and stereo mixes, there are several and it’s really great to have both versions together at last. In addition to the overall feel of the two mixes, some of the more noticeable differences between the two follow:

Odorono - the lead guitar track is mixed out completely on the mono version.
Tattoo- mono version is at a faster speed than its stereo counterpart.
Our Love Was – in addition to boasting a superior mix to the stereo version, the mono version features a completely different guitar solo than the stereo mix.
Relax – Pete Townshend’s vocals in the mid-section are soaked in echo on the mono version.

The Who Sell Out was recorded on the fly throughout 1967. The band worked in the sessions while maintaining a rigorous touring schedule. Recording took place in London, New York, Nashville & Hollywood and there was a considerable amount of material left over. Many of these tracks have surfaced on bootlegs throughout the years but finally, that material is collected here in the most comprehensive collection of this period in The Who’s career to date. As a bonus, it all sounds great. It’s evident that a lot of care went into this collection and as much as I would love to see a vinyl issue of all of this material, I’m still thrilled with this cd. Each disc’s bonus tracks are listed and annotated below by yours truly.

Disc 1:
Rael – Naïve: the end section of “Rael”, which was edited off the original release but included on the 1995 remix cd.

Rotosound Strings (a cappella): originally appeared on the 95 remix cd.

Someone’s Coming: another remix from the 95 cd making its debut in stereo on that disc.

Early Morning Cold Taxi: original stereo mix of this outtake and one of Roger Daltrey’s few writing contributions.

Jaguar: this first appeared in stereo on the 95 remix cd, which is how it appears here.

Coke After Coke: the original stereo mix of this leftover commercial.

Glittering Girl: previously available in shitty quality on a number of bootlegs throughout the years, the first clean sounding version of this appeared on the 95 remix cd. That version is presented here.

Summertime Blues: making its first appearance anywhere, this previously unreleased studio take is fabulous and closer to the version found on Live At Leeds than the BBC version (also recorded in 67) that for many years was thought to be the only studio version of this track.

John Mason Cars: a leftover commercial that apparently required several takes, as presented here.

Girl’s Eyes: another track that had previously been available only on bootlegs, a remixed version appeared on the 95 cd. Here, it's presented in its original mix.

Bag O’Nails: yet another leftover commercial.

Sodding About: a track from an instrumental EP that never saw the light of day. This has appeared on several bootlegs but is making its first legitimate appearance here.

Premier Drums: the full length version of the commercial from the original lp.

Odorono (final chorus): edited off the original release, this made its first appearance on the 95 remix cd.

Mary Anne With The Shaky Hands: an alternate version recorded in NY which made its debut on the 95 remix cd and one of four versions of this track on the cd.

Things Go Better With Coke: original stereo mix of this leftover commercial.

In The Hall of The Mountain King: another track from the abandoned instrumental EP presented here in its original stereo mix.

Top Gear: leftover commercial.

Rael (1 & 2): a completely alternate version of this track recorded in London. The lp version was recorded in NY. This version is making its first appearance on this collection.

Disc 2:
Mary Anne With The Shaky Hands: another alternate version of this track. This version was originally the b-side to I Can See For Miles in the US. The original mono mix is presented here.

Someone’s Coming: original mono single mix of this track which originally appeared as the b-side to I Can See For Miles in the UK and later as the b-side to Magic Bus in the US.

Relax: a Pete Townshend demo presented in stereo.

Jaguar: original mono mix previously available only on bootlegs.

Glittering Girl: WOW!! A completely alternate version of this track presented here for the first time. The mix is stereo and includes studio chatter. As a Who fan, this was one of the biggest treasures of this collection for me personally. A fantastic track and performance.

Tattoo: an early mono mix of this lp track.

Our Love Was: unused mono mix. Although the actual track appears to be the same as the mono lp version, this version has a single tracked guitar solo and some other subtle differences over the released version.

Rotosound Strings: includes the final note which was edited off the original release. Very cool.

I Can See For Miles: early mono mix before the echo had been added to the vocals. Very interesting but not quite as powerful as the finished product.

Rael (1 & 2): an early mono mix of this lp track.

Backwards guitar track later used for Armenia City In The Sky

Great Shakes: a commercial recorded in late 67 and making its first appearance on any Who collection here.

So, what did they miss? Not a whole lot. About the only glaring omission I can see is the mono mix of Early Morning Cold Taxi from the old Radio London bootleg. Also, the Track Records lead out groove is missing on the stereo version but is on the mono version. Since the first disc pushes the 80 minute mark, I'll cut them some slack here. The packaging is superb as far as cd packages go, although the poster included in the original UK lp is missing. These are minor gripes, however. Dave Marsh's essay from the 95 issue is still intact and there's another new essay by Andy Neill. This is a fabulous collection that is long overdue. Finally, this classic album is given its proper treatment in the digital domain.

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weletthegoldfishgoOffline
Post subject: RE: The Who Sell Out (Deluxe Edition)  PostPosted: Jul 04, 2009 - 08:27 PM
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Thanks for this great review. I've considered getting the album, but haven't done it yet 'cause I don't know enough about it. I do like The Who quite a lot, so I guess I should just jump right in and buy. But I do remember reading something about two different versions or something. One with commercials and one without. Help me out here.

No, I don't know that much about the album. Based on your review, maybe I don't want a vinyl copy, eh? HELP! Smile

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fromphilly1247Offline
Post subject: Re: RE: The Who Sell Out (Deluxe Edition)  PostPosted: Jul 05, 2009 - 12:59 PM
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weletthegoldfishgo wrote:
Thanks for this great review. I've considered getting the album, but haven't done it yet 'cause I don't know enough about it. I do like The Who quite a lot, so I guess I should just jump right in and buy. But I do remember reading something about two different versions or something. One with commercials and one without. Help me out here.

No, I don't know that much about the album. Based on your review, maybe I don't want a vinyl copy, eh? HELP! Smile


This is the problem with making assumptions. Laughing

All copies of the lp featured the commercials on Side 1 with one exception. In the US, Decca released two sets of white label promos in both mono & stereo. One set featured the regular release of the lp while the other had several of the commercials edited off Side 1 in order to facilitate ease of cueing. This version also has a slightly rearranged track listing. I have a mono copy of the edited promo and it's difficult to listen to without the commercials as they're as much a part of the record as the regular tracks and it really disrupts the continuity. The promos that feature the regular release contain the same catalog number on the label as the regular release: DL 4950 (mono) & DL 74950 (stereo). Edited promos contain an alternate catalog number on the label: DL 34505 (mono) & DL 734505 (stereo).

Original US stereo copies on Decca are pretty common and can usually be had for under $20. US mono copies are extremely difficult to come by as this album was released just as mono was being phased out in the US. It took many years for me to find a stock mono copy that was in relatively decent shape and even then, I settled for a VG+ copy just to plug the gap. Original US covers typically have a sticker that reads "includes I Can See For Miles plus 10 new selections". Copies with this cover should have the New York address on the label. There are later Decca pressings with a California address on the label but these were pressed in the early 70's and, in general, are made of flimsier vinyl than the NY copies. In the early 70's, the Decca label could have either a NY or CA label, but the general rule of thumb above regarding the quality of the vinyl applies.

UK copies were released on Track but the album is identical in content to the US release. The only real difference in the covers between UK & US releases is that UK copies had boxes around the text under each group member's picture. But....original UK copies featured an absolutely gorgeous psychedelic poster that was never released in the US until much later. They're extremely rare as there were only 1,000 made and they were included in the first 500 copies of the mono and stereo releases, respectively. As you can probably guess, UK copies with the poster command a hefty price.

A few years ago, Classic Records began releasing The Who's UK catalog on both 150-gram and 200-gram virgin vinyl and all titles are still available. For this album, they released both mono and stereo versions and also included the original poster. In accordance with Classic's painstaking attention to detail, they even included the original sticker on the back cover alerting you to the poster inside. The sound quality is phenomenal on both versions and is highly recommended if you're interested in hearing this album at its best on vinyl. However, this new 2 cd Deluxe Edition completes the picture by giving you nearly everything that had been recorded during these sessions. While I'd love to see this deluxe set released on vinyl, I'm not holding my breath.

So yeah, the record itself comes highly recommended and you definitely have your share of options as to how you'd like to hear it. I will say this: avoid the dreaded "twofer" issue put out by MCA in the mid 70's which coupled this album with A Quick One (Happy Jack). The quality on both is terrible.

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annaloogOffline
Post subject: Re: RE: The Who Sell Out (Deluxe Edition)  PostPosted: Jul 06, 2009 - 12:11 AM
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fromphilly1247 wrote:
... it's difficult to listen to without the commercials as they're as much a part of the record as the regular tracks and it really disrupts the continuity....
Yeah, the album's concept is a fantasy Radio London programme, complete with adverts and spots ("Radio London reminds you ....") between songs. I'll admit I never really understood the Speakeasy/Rotosound Strings bit -- the lead-in to "I Can See For Miles" -- till I got the 1995 MCA CD reissue (MCAD-11268) and read the liner notes.

BTW, didn't Townshend recycle his "Rael" guitar theme in the "Underture" from Tommy?
 
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Post subject: Re: RE: The Who Sell Out (Deluxe Edition)  PostPosted: Jul 06, 2009 - 09:50 AM
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annaloog wrote:

BTW, didn't Townshend recycle his "Rael" guitar theme in the "Underture" from Tommy?


Correct.

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Post subject:   PostPosted: Jul 07, 2009 - 02:35 AM
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I've been wanting to hear the mono mix of Sell Our for years so I was kinda disappointed that it wasn't as different from the stereo mix as I had been led to believe. Nonetheless, I'm glad to have the set.
 
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Post subject:   PostPosted: Jul 08, 2009 - 08:07 PM
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There are so many reished titles that it's impossible to keep up with them. I remember you mentioned having all these The Who and maybe you mentioned Hendrix, too. They do sound great. I'll look into getting one of them.

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Post subject:   PostPosted: Jul 03, 2010 - 05:35 PM
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This review is almost a year old, and I'm just now noticing it? Sad...

I dug the review a lot, and I appreciate the info about the Who on cd. I was EXTREMELY unhappy with the box set, especially the way they segued tracks together, plus the song selection was pretty pathetic. One of the worst box sets ever, in my opinion, and I LOVE the Who!!

Also, I didn't realize that there were vocal overdubs added to the double disc Live at Leeds set. I guess since I didn't notice before, I can't get too upset, but it seems like unnecessary tinkering. Plus, I thought it was kind of stupid to take the Tommy set out of the original show and put it on a separate disc. Sure, there won't be an interruption in the flow of the "opera", but the whole show is disrupted as a result. It's a great show, but I really don't listen to it very much, probably for that reason.

Who By Numbers is (in my opinion) an extremely underrated album. The performances are great, and I think ol' Pete really outdid himself on some of the lyrics. The mix on the reissue cd was noticably different to me, but I didn't mind it at all. Then again, I was comparing it to an 80s vinyl reissue, so it wouldn't take much to make it sound better.

Just my two bits.
 
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Post subject:   PostPosted: Jul 06, 2010 - 01:02 PM
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mackdaddyg wrote:
This review is almost a year old, and I'm just now noticing it? Sad...

I dug the review a lot, and I appreciate the info about the Who on cd. I was EXTREMELY unhappy with the box set, especially the way they segued tracks together, plus the song selection was pretty pathetic. One of the worst box sets ever, in my opinion, and I LOVE the Who!!


Mack,

Thanks for the comments. Gotta say I was surprised to see this resurrected after so long. Regarding the box set....I'm with you all the way. It was sloppy, poorly sequenced, and the mastering sucked. The biggest problem was that they attempted to cater to both the casual fan and the hardcore collector and failed miserably on both counts. Anyone who spent any time in the industry in the late 80's / early 90's will tell you that the novelty of wanting / owning a box set wore off with the casual listener around 1990 or so. Clapton's Crossroads box spearheaded the whole movement in 1988 and over the next few years, record companies were killing themselves to rush release a bunch of ill-conceived career retrospectives with a few 'extras' thrown in for the hardcore in an attempt to cash in on the craze. As with most novelty items, the thrill wore off quickly and box sets soon became a fixture at used cd shops everywhere. This one was no different. Once again...a wasted opportunity.

mackdaddyg wrote:
Also, I didn't realize that there were vocal overdubs added to the double disc Live at Leeds set. I guess since I didn't notice before, I can't get too upset, but it seems like unnecessary tinkering. Plus, I thought it was kind of stupid to take the Tommy set out of the original show and put it on a separate disc. Sure, there won't be an interruption in the flow of the "opera", but the whole show is disrupted as a result. It's a great show, but I really don't listen to it very much, probably for that reason.


About a year before the first expanded Live At Leeds showed up in the shops, a bootleg called Live At Leeds Complete appeared. A fellow Who freak and I did our own tinkering with this one (corrected speed and a few other things) to create our own version of this show, which is the version I listen to when I want to hear this show. The original LP contained six tracks, four of which are edited. Astley kept many of these intact for the reissues. LALC gave you all the tracks unedited for the first time. Regarding the issue of separating Tommy from the rest of the show...I agree. It really breaks up the flow of the performance.


mackdaddyg wrote:
Who By Numbers is (in my opinion) an extremely underrated album. The performances are great, and I think ol' Pete really outdid himself on some of the lyrics. The mix on the reissue cd was noticably different to me, but I didn't mind it at all. Then again, I was comparing it to an 80s vinyl reissue, so it wouldn't take much to make it sound better.

Just my two bits.


Once again, I agree. It's a very underrated album, but it was also very personal. It's an album that people tend to either love or hate. Tracks like "However Much I Booze" (which Daltrey refused to sing), "They Are All In Love" and "How Many Friends" are mini-confessionals that made the rest of the band uncomfortable. It was neglected onstage during the tour that followed its release as well. Throughout most of the tour, only two tracks, "Squeeze Box" and "Dreaming From The Waist" were kept in the setlist. Instead, they opted to play a thirty minute segment of material from Tommy and round out the set with favorites from Who's Next and some earlier singles. It was really quite sad, even though they performed quite well throughout the tour.

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weletthegoldfishgoOffline
Post subject:   PostPosted: Jul 14, 2010 - 07:44 PM
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I wanna say this about Classic Records reissues. Don't hesitate to buy these or you will be spending a lot more money in the future, and really the not too distant future. I stalled on getting some of these The Who 200 grams from Classic, and some are now more than $100 new. Forget getting the Zeppelin stuff, it is just way outta reach money wise. I think the Stereo The Who SELL OUT is $79 at the moment. WHO'S NEXT is still just $39, I think. But MY GENERATION is over a hundred now and MAGIC BUS ain't far behind that.

So once again, don't hesitate getting these Classic Records reissues. They sound great and I think worth at least the issue price (mid-$30's, or something like that). But I see opened copies of these records selling on ebay for at least double the issue price. So that means they are really WORTH more.

WOOHOO!

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