Friday 13 November 2009

News, Views and Music Issue 47 (Intro)

November 13:

Howdy doody AAA readers – welcome again to what’s been another busy week at the AAA. Or it has for us anyway – goodness knows what our artists are up to as we only have a small news section for you this week. First up a celebration: we’ve now passed 300 hits for our new-look new-site website and only about 15 of them were me checking the site, honest! That works out at an average of more than 10 hits a day for the past three months which isn’t bad going for a relatively new site with relatively no budget for publicity so thankyou all those of you who’ve taken the time out to visit us. There may not be time for a newsletter next week – my days seem to busy from today into the new year and I’m not joking – but hopefully we’ll see you in a fortnight’s time when things have calmed down a bit. Happy reading till then!


 Beatles News: In fact, the only news we do have for you is a repeat for the 2002 documentary ‘Infamous Assainations: John Lennon’, a short but surprisingly informative half-hour look into Lennon’s last hours and the mind of his killer. Look out for a moving interview with George Harrison some time in the late 80s which to the best of my knowledge has only ever been broadcast as part of this documentary. The programme is being re-broadcast several times on the History Channel (or the ‘Yesterday’ channel as it’s called Today – wonder what it will be calledTomorrow!) as part of their ‘Assasinations’ theme this month. (Why an assasainations theme? Surely a Beatles theme week would get more viewers...)


Anniversaries: Happy Hoo-rays to the following AAA luminaries (November 13-19th): Gene Clark (singer and Mr Tambourine Man with The Byrds 1965-66) who would have been 68 on November 17th and Rod Clements (bassist with Lindisfarne 1970-2003) who turns 62 on November 17th. Anniversaries of events include: The Moody Blues release their first ‘proper’ single, the evergreen ‘Go Now’ (November 13th 1965), Brian Jones buys AA Milne’s ‘House At Pooh’s Corners’ where he will meet his end two years later (November 13th 1967), Yellow Submarine has it’s American premiere (November 13th 1968), Cat Stevens releases his most famous LP ‘Tea For The Tillerman’ (November 13th 1970), The Star Club in Hamburg – made famous by The Beatles – closed it’s doors 40 years ago this week (November 15th 1969), Janis Joplin gets arrested for ‘vulgar and obscene language’ after a set in Florida (the same day in 1969) – I can just imagine her ‘choice’ reply to her arrestees!, ‘Brothers In Arms’ becomes the first LP to sell 3 million copies in the UK alone (November 15th 1987) and it doesn’t exactly do badly in the rest of the world either, Ronnie Lane releases his only post-Small Faces hit ‘How Come’ (November 16th 1973), Danny Whitten – beloved and talented guitarist with Crazy Horse – dies at the age of 27 from a drugs overdose (rumour has it the drugs were paid for by Danny after ‘borrowing’ his plane fare for a Neil Young gig from Neil himself; November 18th 1972) and finally The Beatles are awarded a Silver Disc for the first time thanks to record sales of first LP ‘Please Please Me’ (November 18th 1963).


News, Views and Music Issue 47 (Top Five): AAA Albums with the biggest differences between mono and stereo

♫ Well, that’s quite enough division for one review – now onto something safer, out top five which this week looks at the, err, differences between mono and stereo pressings of AAA albums! So this week – the albums with the biggest differences between them and whether each is available or not:

5) Piper At The Gates Of Dawn (Pink Floyd, 1967): Continuing with the Floyd theme, this debut album differs wildly on some tracks and yet sounds more or less the same on others. The chief differences are a longer beeped opening for first track ‘Astronomy Domine’, the lack of stereo-panning in the mono version of ‘Interstellar Drive’ (which makes it a better, less gimmicky song in my opinion) and a slightly longer fade on ‘Bike’ on the mono copy. Overall I’d say the mono edition is slightly better, with much clearer mixes of songs like ‘Matilda Mother’ and ‘Lucifer Sam’ to boot, although you can see for yourself as the mono package is only available in a 2 or 3 CD set with it’s stereo counterpoint (plus era singles if you buy the full box-set).

4) Sgt Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band (Beatles, 1967): Not as different as many critics will tell you (‘You haven’t lived if you haven’t heard Peppers in mono!’ is the general cry), this is nevertheless the Beatles albums with the biggest differences between the two formats (barring the ‘Helter Skelter’ reprise on the stereo but not mono copies of ‘The White Album’ anyway). ‘Lucy In The Sky’ sounds especially sharper in mono and ‘Within You, Without You’ sounds more like one tracks with lots of parts rather than lots of parts trying to make up one track, although ‘A Day In The Life’ sounds like a huge let-down in mono, without the surge of the orchestra to set your mind into overdrive. Overall I’d stick with the stereo, although as I haven’t heard the new mono CD mix I might change my mind (I have heard the vinyl, however, and I still think it pales slightly to it’s stereo cousin). You can buy the stereo version on it’s own or as part of the stereo box that’s out – but the mono edition is only available with the mono box I’m afraid.

3) Butterfly (The Hollies, 1967 – what a good year for stereo!): Most people can’t hear any differences between the two but I’ve been playing this record endlessly for so many years that I can! The chief differences are far more electronic sound effects during ‘Try It’, on both the opening and the fade, plus longer sound effects on ‘Wishyouawish’ and a much hazier, spookier mix of both ‘Dear Eloise’ and ‘Butterfly’ on the mono copy. Having said that, though, the stereo edition is by far the better in my opinion – the ‘spread’ of the sound on this album is one of the most impressive things about it and can’t really be given justice to on the mono edition. The current 2-Fer-1 CD editions (Pairing Butterfly with it’s close uncle ‘Evolution) only contains the stereo edition – however all pre-1969 Hollies albums used to be available as mono/stereo editions till recently so keep your eyes peeled for them!

2) Something Else (The Kinks, you guessed it, 1967): This one is really different and, unusually, I prefer the mono mix. The main difference is a whole tacked on repeat of the fade during ‘Situations Vacant’, which adds almost 45 seconds on to the playing time, although other tracks with slight differences include ‘Lazy Old Sun’ (a different mix of the many Ray Davies vocal overdubs), End Of The Season (a completely different emphasis given to different instruments) and a much punchier mix of album classic ‘Love Me Til’ The Sun Shines’. The most recent re-issue, weirdly, contains the mono mix of the album – I say weirdly because every previous CD edition of the album contained the stereo mix and that is now by far the hardest of the two to find! (Most one-mix-only CD releases from 1966 choose the stereo edition – in fact this is the only known exception for a whole record rather than the occasional hybrid you get sometimes). 

1) Aoxomoxoa (Grateful Dead, 1969): A very late entry this – there are oodles of different versions of this album doing the rounds on Cd and without, partly because of the band’s decision to re-mix it in 1971. But the mono mix is pretty different to the stereo too and alters nearly all tracks to some extent – St Stephen has a mini-false ending that you have to turn up really loud on the stereo to hear, ‘Duprees’ has a very different mix which swaps clarity for confusion, ‘Rosemary’ on the otherhand, sounds more straightforward and less electronic with less vocal effects on garcia’s voice, ‘Doin’ That Rag’ gains a whole 15 second a capella reprise, ‘Mountains Of The Moon’ has its own electronic effects rise and fall in the mix in different places and ‘China Cat’ ends rather less subtlely in mono than it does in stereo. Alas the version currently out on CD is the original, lesser mix in stereo – the original mix in stereo is easily the better thanks to all these little extras but it’s a struggle to find I’m afraid!

And that’s it. We’ll see you dear readers, in a week or a fortnight depending on when I’ve got most of my ‘other’ work done, till then keep rocking and don’t divide yourselves – all views of these albums are valid, even those by two 12-foot tall talking heads!

A NOW COMPLETE List Of Top Five/Top Ten/TOP TWENTY  Entries 2008-2019
1) Chronic Fatigue songs

2) Songs For The Face Of Bo

3) Credit Crunch Songs

4) Songs For The Autumn

5) National Wombat Week

6) AAA Box Sets

7) Virus Songs

8) Worst AAA-Related DVDs

9) Self-Punctuating Superstar Classics

10) Ways To Know You Have Turned Into A Collector

11) Political Songs

12) Totally Bonkers Concept Albums

13) Celebrating 40 Years Of The Beatles' White Album

14) Still Celebrating 40 Years Of The Beatles' White Album

15) AAA Existential Questions

16) Releases Of The Year 2008

17) Top AAA Xmas Songs

18) Notable AAA Gigs

19) All things '20' related for our 20th issue

20) Romantic odes for Valentine's Day

21) Hollies B sides

22) 'Other' BBC Session Albums

23) Beach Boys Rarities Still Not Available On CD

24) Songs John, Paul and George wrote for Ringo's solo albums

25) 5 of the Best Rock 'n' Roll Tracks From The Pre-Beatles Era

26) AAA Autobiographies

27) Rolling Stones B-sides

28) Beatles B-Sides

29) The lllloooonnngggeesssttt AAA songs of all time

30) Kinks B-Sides

31) Abandoned CSNY projects 'wasted on the way'

32) Best AAA Rarities and Outtakes Sets

33) News We've Missed While We've Been Away

34) Birthday Songs for our 1st Anniversary

35) Brightest Album Covers

36) Biggest Recorded Arguments

37) Songs About Superheroes

38) AAA TV Networks That Should Exist

39) AAA Woodtsock Moments

40) Top Moments Of The Past Year As Voted For By Readers

41) Music Segues

42) AAA Foreign Language Songs

43) 'Other' Groups In Need Of Re-Mastering

44) The Kinks Preservation Rock Opera - Was It Really About The Forthcoming UK General Election?

45) Mono and Stereo Mixes - Biggest Differences

46) Weirdest Things To Do When A Band Member Leaves

47) Video Clips Exclusive To Youtube (#1)

48) Top AAA Releases Of 2009

49) Songs About Trains

50) Songs about Winter

51) Songs about astrology plus horoscopes for selected AAA members

52) The Worst Five Groups Ever!

53) The Most Over-Rated AAA Albums

54) Top AAA Rarities Exclusive To EPs

55) Random Recent Purchases (#1)

56) AAA Party Political Slogans

57) Songs To Celebrate 'Rock Sunday'

58) Strange But True (?) AAA Ghost Stories

59) AAA Artists In Song

60) Songs About Dogs

61) Sunshiney Songs

62) The AAA Staff Play Their Own Version Of Monoploy/Mornington Crescent!

63) What 'Other' British Invasion DVDs We'd Like To See

64) What We Want To Place In Our AAA Time Capsule

65) AAA Conspiracy Theroies

66) Weirdest Things To Do Before - And After - Becoming A Star

67) Songs To Tweet To

68) Greatest Ever AAA Solos

69) John Lennon Musical Tributes

70) Songs For Halloween

71) Earliest Examples Of Psychedelia

72) Purely Instrumental Albums

73) AAA Utopias

74) AAA Imaginary Bands

75) Unexpected AAA Cover Versions

76) Top Releases of 2010

77) Songs About Snow

78) Predictions For 2011

79) AAA Fugitives

80) AAA Home Towns

81) The Biggest Non-Musical Influences On The 1960s

82) AAA Groups Covering Other AAA Groups

83) Strange Censorship Decisions

84) AAA Albums Still Unreleased on CD

85) Random Recent Purchases (#2)

86) Top AAA Music Videos

87) 30 Day Facebook Music Challenge

88) AAA Documentaries

89) Unfinished and 'Lost' AAA Albums

90) Strangest AAA Album Covers

91) AAA Performers Live From Mars (!)

92) Songs Including The Number '100' for our 100th Issue

93) Most Songs Recorded In A Single Day

94) Most Revealing AAA Interviews

95) Top 10 Pre-Fame Recordings

96) The Shortest And Longest AAA Albums

97) The AAA Allstars Ultimate Band Line-Up

98) Top Songs About Sports

99) AAA Conversations With God

100) AAA Managers: The Good, The Bad and the Financially Ugly

101) Unexpected AAA Cameos

102) AAA Words You can Type Into A Caluclator

103) AAA Court Cases

104) Postmodern Songs About Songwriting

105) Biggest Stylistic Leaps Between Albums

106) 20 Reasons Why Cameron Should Go!

107) The AAA Pun-Filled Cookbook

108) Classic Debut Releases

109) Five Uses Of Bird Sound Effects

110) AAA Classic Youtube Clips Part #1

111) Part #2

112) Part #3

113) AAA Facts You Might Not Know

114) The 20 Rarest AAA Records

115) AAA Instrumental Songs

116) Musical Tarot

117) Christmas Carols

118) Top AAA Releases Of 2011

119) AAA Bands In The Beano/The Dandy

120) Top 20 Guitarists #1

121) #2

122) 'Shorty' Nomination Award Questionairre

123) Top Best-Selling AAA Albums

124) AAA Songs Featuring Bagpipes

125) A (Hopefully) Complete List Of AAA Musicians On Twitter

126) Beatles Albums That Might Have Been 1970-74 and 1980

127) DVD/Computer Games We've Just Invented

128) The AAA Albums With The Most Weeks At #1 in the UK

129) The AAA Singles With The Most Weeks At #1 in the UK

130) Lyric Competition (Questions)

131) Top Crooning Classics

132) Funeral Songs

133) AAA Songs For When Your Phone Is On Hold

134) Random Recent Purchases (#3)

135) Lyric Competition (Answers)

136) Bee Gees Songs/AAA Goes Disco!

137) The Best AAA Sleevenotes (And Worst)

138) A Short Precise Of The Years 1962-70

139) More Wacky AAA-Related Films And Their Soundtracks

140) AAA Appearances On Desert Island Discs

141) Songs Exclusive To Live Albums

142) More AAA Songs About Armageddon

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159) A (Not That) Short Guide To The 15 Best Non-AAA Bands

160) The Greatest AAA Drum Solos (Or Near Solos!)

161) AAA Rock ‘n’ Roll Hall Of Fame Acceptance Speeches

162) AAA Re-Recordings Of Past Songs

163) A Coalition Christmas (A Fairy Tale)

164) AAA Songs About Islands

165) The AAA Review Of The Year 2012

166) The Best AAA Concerts I Attended

167) Tributes To The 10 AAA Stars Who Died The Youngest

168) The First 10 AAA Songs Listed Alphabetically

171) The 10 Best Songs From The Psychedelia Box-Sets ‘Nuggets’ and ‘Nuggets Two’

172) The 20 Most Common Girl’s Names In AAA Song Titles (With Definitions) 

180) First Recordings By Future AAA Stars

185) A Tribute To Storm Thorgerson Via The Five AAA Bands He Worked With

188) Surprise! Celebrating 300 Album Reviews With The Biggest 'Surprises' Of The Past Five Years Of Alan's Album Archives!

190) Comparatively Obscure First Compositions By AAA Stars

193) Evolution Of A Band: Comparing First Lyric With Last Lyric:

200) The Monkees In Relation To Postmodernism (University Dissertation)

202) Carly Simon's 'You're So Vain': Was It About One Of The AAA Crew?

217) AAA 'Christmas Presents' we'd most like to have next year

221) Dr Who and the AAA (Five Musical Links)

222) Five Random Recent Purchases

223) AAA Grammy Nominees

224) Ten AAA songs that are better heard unedited and in full

225) The shortest gaps between AAA albums

226) The longest gaps between AAA albums

227) Top ten AAA drummers

228) Top Ten AAA Singles (In Terms of 'A' and 'B' Sides)

229) The Stories Behind Six AAA Logos

230) AAAAAHHHHHH!!!!!!! The Best Ten AAA Screams

231) An AAA Pack Of Horses

232) AAA Granamas - Sorry, Anagrams!

233) AAA Surnames and Their Meanings

234) 20 Erroneous AAA Album Titles

235) The Best AAA Orchestral Arrangements

236) Top 30 Hilariously Misheard Album Titles/Lyrics

237) Ten controversial AAA sackings - and whether they were right

238) A Critique On Critiquing - In Response To Brian Wilson

239) The Ten MusicianS Who've Played On The Most AAA Albums

240) Thoughts on #CameronMustGo

241) Random Recent Purchases (Kinks/Grateful Dead/Nils Lofgren/Rolling Stones/Hollies) 

242) AAA Christmas Number Ones 

243) AAA Review Of The Year 2014 (Top Releases/Re-issues/Documentaries/DVDs/Books/Songs/ Articles  plus worst releases of the year)

244) Me/CFS Awareness Week 2015

245) Why The Tory 2015 Victory Seems A Little...Suspicious

246) A Plea For Peace and Tolerance After The Attacks on Paris - and Syria

247) AAA Review Of The Year 2015

248) The Fifty Most Read AAA Articles (as of December 31st 2015)

249) The Revised AAA Crossword!

251) Half-A-Dozen Berries Plus One (An AAA Tribute To Chuck Berry)

252) Guest Post: ‘The Skids – Joy’ (1981) by Kenny Brown

254) Guest Post: ‘Supertramp – Some Things Never Change’ by Kenny Brown

255) AAA Review Of The Year 2018

256) AAA Review Of The Year 2019 plus Review Of The Decade 2010-2019

257) Tiermaker

258) #Coronastock

259) #Coronadocstock