The mysterious "Rarities on Compact Disc"<br>

The mysterious "Rarities on Compact Disc"


Joe Brennan writes (quoting Edward Chen):

>>Just saw a promo CD that collects a bunch of these alternate mixes:
. . .
>>The company that has released the disc is "On Line Radio Broadcasting". It is
>>in the current Rockaway Records Catalog, so it is almost certainly not a
>>bootleg. (Rockaway refuses to sell bootlegs).

>Promo? What is it promoting? This claim seems to be the latest way
>to slip bootlegs past people who are checking. A CD you can't find in
>the catalog in supposed to be explained by being a promo-only release.
>Nonsense. This is undoubtedly a dub from LPs and/or tapes.

There's a technicality involved. On Mr. Chen's recommendation I trotted over to Rockaway this weekend to pick up my own copy...not because I don't have these songs anywhere else (with an exception or two) but because I get tired of pulling out vinyl copies whenever I get the urge to hear them.

The CD is not a promo, demo, cut-out, bootleg *or* counterfeit. It's part of a series of CDs from Westwood One, a service which provides collections of music to interested subscribers at radio stations nationwide. Westwood One has issued 14 such collections in the series, including, for instance, holiday songs by luminaries such as Elvis Costello, REM and the like for holiday airplay on subscriber stations.

Licenses to include previously issued recordings are granted by owners. In the case of this "Rarities on Compact Disc" (the apparent title, which is, of course, not to be confused with the EMI/Capitol vinyl "Rarities" of the eighties, though some material is duplicated), original tapes from EMI *might* have been the source; to me it sounds good enough for that. A better ear than mine might determine that these selections were mastered from vinyl, but I couldn't tell it, if so. No tell-tale pops, though some hiss, probably present on original tapes.

The technicality is that record sellers like Rockaway are not supposed to sell these items. It says "Not For Sale" right on the cover, just like promos do. CDs in the Westwood One series are supposed to be available only to subscribers, i.e., legitimate radio stations. My guess is that some enterprising individual in *some* company, perhaps the CD manufacturer who makes these, "lost" a few boxes which through circuitous means ended up in Rockaway's hands. I guess you could call these "grey market" CDs, similar to electronics-store stock which is sold at discount because it was manufactured for European or Far East markets. I can tell you that if EMI or Westwood One found out about this particular CD in Rockaway's catalog, they'd likely be withdrawn from sale.

>>1. My Bonnie - includes German intro
>Genuinely rare. I'm curious what they say. There is also an English intro
>in existence that is perhaps even more rare. I have heard neither. This
>is of course not an EMI recording, further tip-off that this is a boot.

Not a boot, but it's anyone's guess where the source of this is---perhaps Polydor? I have never heard the *German-language* slow intro to "My Bonnie", where the first line is sung as "Mein Herz ist bei dir nur". It's quite a surprise. Tony Sheridan's voice and phrasing sounds exactly like the English slow intro version that's available on a German collection of the Sheridan sessions.

>>2. Thank You Girl - US stereo with extra harmonica
>The only stereo version. Not on CD.

I never cared for this version anyway. The extra overdub always sounded gratuitous to me. But people without vinyl may enjoy its novelty.

>>3. Money - US stereo echo, different piano, no handclaps
>The normal stereo mix, not on CD. The US stereo version is the UK
>stereo mix as processed by Capitol for the _Second Album_, with echo
>added and with the remarkably centered stereo image (given the weird
>recording history) pulled to one side. Ugh. Why not give us the good
>stereo mix, or is that what this is after all?

Reasonable stereo mix, I'd say. But you may want to check this one out for yourself. Your standards may be higher than mine. :-)

>>4. All My Loving - US stereo w/ five hi-hat cymbals
>From the German _With the Beatles_ LP originally, but not US. Begins with
>tip-tip-tip-tip-tip, then the usual. Exciting. Main interest is getting
>the song in stereo at all on CD. See how good the LP/tape source was,
>might be better than your used LP anyway.

I always wondered how the Fabs got themselves cued up for the acapella (two notes worth!) intro to the song. After hearing it, I'm glad they cut out the hi-hat. :-)

>>5. Sie Liebt Dich - stereo
>Not on CD, but, so? From Capitol _Rarities_ LP.

Some people like it on CD. And not everyone has access to the older "Rarities" these days.

>>6. Komm Gib Mir Deine Hand - stereo, completely different mix.
>Ditto. Different from the mono? Also on Capitol _Rarities_ LP.

Sounds the same to me, not different. Better ears might find otherwise.

>>7. I'll Cry Instead - stereo, first verse repeated twice
>Seems to be the bogus mix made years later specially for Capitol's
>_Rarities_ LP. Sort of simulates the edited mono version in the United
>Artists LP. "first verse twice" doesn't describe that edit properly
> though; I bet the CD notes are sloppy.

No CD notes to speak of! No dates for recordings, source, studio information, etc., just track listings and explanation of the difference from standard versions. Still a badly done reproduction of the UA soundtrack...but I have to confess I've always liked this song and *like* it longer.

>>8. And I Love Her - Stereo, w/ vocal multitracked, ending riff played 6 times.
>>From the German _Something New_ LP, also on Capitol's _Rarities_ LP.
>Genuine, but trivial; not even clear whether the repeats are edited in
>here, or out elsewhere.

*Nothing's* trivial in the world of Beatles alternates. You might well have said that this lump of stone found at Rosetta with three bits of writing on it was just a curiosity. :-)

>>9. Slow Down - Stereo, different lead vocal from John
>Wonder what this is. Compare this to _Past Masters_. The mix of the vocal
>does differ in mono and stereo, but this claims an alternate stereo mix.

Pshaw, I say. Others are free to disagree, but this doesn't sound like an alternate mix to me.

>>10. She's a Woman - Stereo, Paul sings "She's a Woman" 3 times over fade
>Sounds like the fadeout is 2 seconds longer or something.

I think that's the case.

>>11. I Feel Fine - Stereo, "whispering" version.
>From European releases including the UK red album. Has about 1 second of
>"shhssws" at the beginning before the noise. Gee whiz.

Well, *I* liked it. In fact, if I'm not mistaken, there's something else odd about this version, or oddly familiar. I'd swear it's the mix I heard on US radio stations when the song came out; there's more echo or doubletracking or flanging to John's voice, more instrumental fullness, more implicit energy. Something about the commonly available mix of this song, on CD, has always seemed too clinical and clean for me. Also, for those who hang on every breath from our Fabs: the sharp inhale, audible on the standard mix just before the first feedback note makes its first key change, is missing here.

>>12. Help! - with James Bond intro
>Crap. From the US _Help!_ LP (or the film soundtrack). The intro is not
>the Beatles.

Some people are used to the ersatz-Bond intro to this song, and may like having access to it again. Wasn't the incidental music (including this intro) by George Martin?

>>13. I'm Looking Through You - Stereo, with false starts
>>From the US _Rubber Soul_ LP. Genuine.

And fun to have. I like knowing that I can play it now as often as I want without wrecking the vinyl.

>>14. I'm Only Sleeping - Mono, Backwards guitar in different places
>Not this again. Well, OK, the mono mix is different, but you may have
>to take notes to detect precisely how. Not a difference that affects
>the song much.

Still, many people don't have access to mono copies of this (and other) Beatles albums. It's for the curious.

>>15. Tommorow Never Knows - Mono, Fewer tape loops present, loops fade
>>completely in and out of the mix.
>We were just discussing this! Well, anyway, maybe you can use this to
>compare the mono and stereo mixes. The key thing is whether any loops
>are in -different- places. If they're just mixed up and down differently,
>that's what we'd expect from different mixes, while different places
>would confirm they were "flown in" from a separate tape during mixing.

To me, it doesn't sound as though the tape loops are in different places. I think they're just mixed up and down in different sequences.

>>16. Sgt. Pepper / Reprise - Mono, different sound effects, audibile speaking
>The usual mono version.

But the mono's still hard to get for most people...and very expensive when you find it!

>>17. She's Leaving Home - Mono, different key than the stereo version
>The usual mono version. Different key because it's faster.

And better this way, IMHO.

>>18. Being For the Benefit of Mr. Kite - Mono, more tape loops.
>The usual mono version, I guess. Another case like "Tomorrow never knows".

That's what is sounds like to me.

>>19. Penny Lane - Stereo, with extra trumpet ending.
>Gotta be the bogus mix from Capitol's _Rarities_ LP, made years later by
>editing sound from the promo single mix into the stereo mix. Sort of
>what you could do using the real master tapes, but nobody ever did it.

I think that's the case here, too. Too bad no one ever went back to the source tapes.

>>20. I Am The Walrus - Includes the organ intro repeated six times.
>So it would be the same as the MMT CD then? Nah, must be the bogus
>mix edited together for the Capitol _Rarities_ LP, which also has the
>extra beats after "I'm crying, I'm crying ......." edited in to
>simulate some mono version. The notes on the Capitol _Rarities_ LP
>mention the six beats in the intro because the Capitol MMT LP has only
>four. Whoever annotated this CD was sloppy.

I think it *is* the original "Rarities" version. I like the four beats in the middle (because that's the way I first heard it on the radio) but not the two extra at the beginning. Guess I'm hard to please.

>>21. All You Need is Love - Stereo, John's lead vocal mixed more to the fore
>Wonder what this is. The fake stereo version from Capitol??

I think so.

>>22. Happiness is a Warm Fun - Mono with different bass, and extra drums.
>The usual mono version? (Or is this a Japanese version (see title) :-))

Again, sounds like the mono White Album version, but again it's not readily available to most listeners.

>>23. Why Don't We Do It In the Road - Mono with no hand claps
>The usual mono version? Differs in when handclaps start, I think.

Sounds like the usual.

>>24. Hey Bulldog - Stereo, Bass to the center, and the right and
>>left channels are reversed.
>Would have to check, but this might be from the _Rock and Roll_ LP, which
>has some right-left reversals and bass centering. Could also be done with
>a good home stereo. So what.

This version does seem a bit superfluous.

>>25. The Beatles Movie Medley - Stereo.
>You can throw away the 45 now :-)

Not so fast! The 45 has an added attraction---an open-ended type interview with three of the four Fabs (John must've been at Foyles that day. :-) Paul, Ringo and George talk about the making of "A Hard Day's Night", how they handle fame, etc. (George puts up a good front: "You've got to get used to it, haven't you?" he says, not at all convincingly). One wonders why this wasn't included here.

On the CD, there's a 26th track, not listed in the sparse cover notes: approximately five seconds or less of John's voice, backward, muttering something.

>Despite my sarcasm, if it doesn't cost an arm and a leg, and the dubbing
>was well done, this might be worthwhile for people who don't have the
>legitimate variations yet. For example I'd like a cheap source for that
>"My Bonnie" intro.

I think this CD is a tad overpriced at $35, but since it's undoubtedly not going to pop up through regular bootleg sources, it might be worth procuring before Rockaway sells out---or has its stock confiscated. :-) --

"They could be at the centre of a short-lived mania; or it could be the start of a long residency as Britain's biggest teenage attraction!" ----------------------------------------------saki ( Click here to return to the rmb home page.

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