Making Sense of Troy Tate Mixes

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DavidA ®

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Post 10-Sep-2006 20:49

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As most people here will know, The Smiths first album was originally recorded by Troy Tate before it was scrapped and re-recorded with John Porter. Recordings from the Troy Tate sessions have circulated since around 1992 and there are at least two sets.
Troy Tate sessions can be found in the following torrents:
1983 The Smiths Troy Tate Rare Mix (FLAC)
Troy Tate Sessions Bootleg
1983 Rough Trade Demos
The Troy Hands Rocks The Cradle - Troy Tate Sessions
Sign Here bootleg
Many of these sessions are great versions and pretty good quality recordings.
Additionally, there are a couple of unreleased tracks from the Radio 1 David Jensen sessions.
I have started a wiki which lists differences between the versions and if you spot something, please add it. That's what wikis are all about.
The address is http://www.smithstorrents.co.uk/wiki
Feel free to comment on this thread too.
Thanks
David
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blameless

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Post 11-Sep-2006 00:51 (after 4 hours)

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Thanks David, that's a great idea. It's getting very confusing with so many versions around.
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pjlm

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Post 11-Sep-2006 16:19 (after 15 hours)

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Hello David, Nigel and all,
I am currently downloading all the different versions offered here and will compare them with what i already have. I suspect some of them are duplicates or fan-remastered versions of what we already had out there.
I think I will now drop the word 'core' from the webpage and refer to those versions as the 'rough mixes' and the 'new' versions as the 'polished' mixes. I put the word 'new' in the last line in between apostrophes because they are not quite new, they were already out there, in inferior quality. I've been seeing them on Soulseek for some time now. And also six of them were on "Reel Around The Fountain" and "Wonderful Woman", with less tape hiss. But the sources seems to be the same.
What I'm not good at is finding differences when they are very subtle. I'm always amazed when people say, 'oh this version has the bass higher up in the mix' and that sort of stuff. Especially when you're dealing with recordings that has passed into the hands of fans who had their hand at 'remastering' before spreading what they have. Whatever input you can offer in that department will be *extremely* useful.
I'll take note of every comment given here and credit major contributions.
Looking forward to making sense of it all. I think together we have all the information needed to do it.
thanks!
Stephane
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ezears

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Post 11-Sep-2006 17:51 (after 1 hour 32 minutes)

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I've just taken a look at the wiki page. I must say it's the most comprehensive, detailed and organized listing of all the Troy Tate tracks. The summary of the session was a nice intro to the listing. All in one place. Very impressive. Thanks to all of you for taking the time to reorganize it all. Now I just have to go back and sort what I have! :?
p.s. thanks also for listing all the torrents in one spot and tidying them up on this thread!
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DavidA ®

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Post 11-Sep-2006 18:59 (after 1 hour 7 minutes)

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I'm always amazed when people say, 'oh this version has the bass higher up in the mix' and that sort of stuff.
Likewise, I find it really hard to tell. I'm still not entirely sure what an overdub is despite Songs That Saved Your Life using the term every third sentence! The thing I find most useful is to talk about a timestamp, e.g. "Extra overdub which starts at 1:54" so that it's easy for everyone to hear.
I've been using Sony Vegas to put all the tracks next to each other so that I can see the waveform plus play them in sync. Sometimes when I play two channels at once I put one track on my left ear and the other track on my right ear. When they don't agree then I'm listening to a difference.
Here's what it looks like (click to enlarge).

It looks pretty scary, but it's quite a useful way of listening to them. I'm sure other programs will do something similar. Recommendations welcome.
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ezears

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Post 12-Sep-2006 17:56 (after 22 hours)

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Impressive, from a visual standpoint.
Uh, this would be a dream job if you actually got paid for putting in all this time on this site. Do you work, nevermind, do you sleep?!!
This site has prompted me to better organize all my Smiths stuff on my computer.
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pjlm

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Post 15-Sep-2006 17:00 (after 2 days 23 hours)

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Okay I've just spent some time over the past few days trying to make sense of the Troy Tate studio outtakes. Here's my take on it all. Please feel free to correct me if I'm wrong, this is put together patching information from Simon Goddard, other fans and collectors, my own collection and other people who were involved to a certain degree with the band, but it's still probably not perfect or complete. Any input is *welcome*.
This is in three parts:
1 - history of the leaking of the outtakes
2 - discussion on 'core' vs 'alternative mixes'
3 - song by song rundown with differences
HISTORY OF LEAKING
The Troy Tate outtakes were first leaked in the early 1990s (some say 1991) on the vinyl bootleg "The Hand That Rocks The Cradle". It featured 11 songs now referred to as the 'core', a word I came up with on "Passions Just Like Mine" but which should now be replaced by something else (read point 2). Tracks on this vinyl bootleg are: Reel Around The Fountain, You've Got Everything Now, Miserable Lie, These Things Take Time, Wonderful Woman, Handsome Devil, Hand In Glove, What Difference Does It Make?, I Don't Owe You Anything, Suffer Little Children, Pretty Girls Make Graves.
The bootleg was soon transfered onto cd (keeping the same title) and augmented with the officially released Troy Tate produced "Jeane", taken from the "This Charming Man" 7" (you can hear the vinyl crackling at the end).
The outtakes then started to appear on other bootlegs, such as "The Cradle Snatchers", "Original Demos", "Sign Here" for example, with or without "Jeane" and transfered from the vinyl or the cd version of "The Hand That Rocks The Cradle". The main problem with the 'core' songs is that they were too slow.
In the mid/late 1990, the wonderful bootleg company Chelsea released 6 new alternate Troy Tate outtakes on two cds of rarities, "Reel Around The Fountain" and "Wonderful Woman". The former included different and seemingly more polished versions of "Reel Around The Fountain" and "Miserable Lie", as well as "The Hand That Rocks The Cradle", previously unavailable in the 'core'. In parallel, "Wonderful Woman" offered new Troy Tate versions of "What Difference Does It Make" and "Wonderful Woman", as well as "Accept Yourself" also not in the 'core'.
A few years later Akira put together the "Troy Hands Rock The Cradle" bootleg which combined the core (tracks 1-11), the officially released "Jeane" from vinyl (track 12), the alternate versions supplied by Chelsea (tracks 13-15 and 17-19) and the official released Troy Tate version of "Pretty Girls Make Graves" (track 16) which he labeled 'alternative mix'. The latter officially released mix is very similar, perhaps identical bar very minor remastering, to the 'core' version. Akira also seems to have slightly corrected the pitch (speed) of the 'core' tracks because they are all slightly shorter.
Recently, two more sets of Troy Tate outtakes saw the light of day. They are referred to here as the "Rare mixes" and the "Rough Trade demos". The "Rare Mixes" seem to be the versions Chelsea picked from when they released their 'alternative mixes'. Besides the six takes they released, the set includes quite obvious 'alternative mixes' of You've Got Everything Now, Handsome Devil, Hand in Glove, I Don't Owe You Anything, Suffer Little Children, as well as supposed alternates of Pretty Girls Make Graves and Jeane (but not quite, read song by song discussion in point 3). It must be noted that this set has been circulating on the internet for some time now, usually labeled 'remixed', but in much inferior sound quality and higher pitch than the "Rare Mixes" package now available for download from this site.
The "Rough Trade demos" were offered as pre-Troy Tate demos, but most of them are actually the 'alternative/rare mixes' from above, in rougher sound, which makes them sound more like demos. BUT there are two exceptions. "Jeane" and "What Difference Does It Make" are obvious alternate versions. Whether Troy Tate had anything to do with these two, I don't know as this point.
Finally the set offered here as "The Troy Tate Sessions" features the above 'core', but with the pitch corrected even more than on the "Troy Hands Rock The Cradle" bootleg.
CORE vs ALTERNATIVE MIXES
So all in all, there are out there only two versions of most songs, except for "What Difference Does It Make" (3 versions), "Accept Yourself" (1 version, no core), "The Hand That Rocks The Cradle" (1 version, no core) and "These Things Take Time" (1 version, no alternative). In most cases the 2 versions are one from the 'core' and an 'alternative'.
The completist who wants everything should get the following:
The 'core' tracks are available on official bootlegs (Sign Here, The Cradle Snatchers, Hand That Rocks The Cradle, Original Demos) in slower form than they should be. Instead, they can be picked up here at the right speed on "The Troy Tate Sessions", or in quasi right speed and very slightly inferior sound quality on the "Troy Hands Rock The Cradle".
The "Rare mix" available here offers all the 'alternative mixes' in one package, in great sound quality.
"The Rough Trade Demos" will supply the otherwise unavailable demos of "Jeane" and "What Difference Does It Make". Unlike the Troy Tate outtakes, the versions of these two songs can be referred to as demos because they are quite rough and possibly unmixed.
At this point I want to introduce the idea of finding alternate names to replace 'core' and 'alternative mixes'. Many seem to agree that the 'alternative mixes' are more polished, some have even hinted that (because of small details, like the presence of piano in the intro of "What Difference Does It Make") these would have made up the Smiths' debut album had the band not scrapped the Troy Tate sessions. Some people here have speculated that what I refer to as the 'core', the Troy Tate outtakes we are most familiar with because they've been around for 15 years now, might actually be unfinished mixes.
This would suggest that we should replace 'core' and 'alternative/rare mixes' by something like 'unfinished/rough mixes' and 'finished mixes'. Or perhaps if we are not quite sure that the mixes were final, at least 'early mixes' and 'later mixes'. However small details in certain songs/versions make me wonder if we would be right in doing so. For example, in the John Porter album version of "Suffer Little Children" a woman is heard giggling or crying around the 4:00 mark. This is not present in what we assume to be the later Troy Tate mix, but is in what we think is the earlier mix, which doesn't quite make sense. The same can be said of "Hand In Glove". The early mix includes lines like "Kiss My Shades" which made the final John Porter version, but not the later Troy Tate mix. Can we really assume the 'core' versions predate the 'alternative mixes' ?.
Although we can always speculate that Troy Tate dropped elements like the sobbing woman or the "kiss my shades" line, then John Porter recuperated them for his versions, perhaps because Morrissey or Johnny wanted them back. Or else John Porter might have gone back to Troy Tate's earlier mixes and worked from that.
So what should it be? Early vs Late? Early vs Finished? V1 vs V2? Any suggestion is welcome at this point. I came up with the word 'core', but it should definitely be dropped. And 'alternative' doesn't make sense if we don't understand what the alternative is to.
SONG BY SONG DIFFERENCES BETWEEN VERSIONS
"Reel Around The Fountain"
Core aka early version - 6:02 (pitch corrected) or 6:13 (uncorrected)
Alternative mix aka finished/late mix - 5:55
The early version starts with three notes not on the other one. The note is heard again at the very end after Morrissey's voice fades out. As was reported in the wiki, at 1:14 there is no 'oh' before 'people said' in the early version, while in the later version Morrissey sings '*oh* people said'.
"You've Got Everything Now"
core aka early version - 4:15 (pitch corrected) or 4:28 (uncorrected)
Alternative mix aka finished/late mix - 4:29
In the early version, from 3:35, we can hear what sounds to me like a kid's voice (I am aware it's probably not). This has been reported on the wiki as slide guitar.
"Miserable Lie"
Core aka early version - 4:39 (pitch corrected) or 4:52 (uncorrected)
Alternative mix aka finished/late mix - 4:37
The later mix usually starts with a drumstick click. At the end of the early version the echo fades out properly, while at the end of the later version, it is abruptly faded out, on whatever source.
"Pretty Girls Make Graves"
Core aka early version - 3:37 (pitch corrected) or 3:41 (uncorrected)
Alternative mix aka finished/late mix - 3:32
I've listed above the timings for the versions found in each set, but to me these sound pretty similar, and similar to the officially released mix (which clocks in at 3:35). If anyone can find any differences other than what could have been introduced by fanmade remastering (pitch, bass, volume, etc), please let us know!
Because the Troy Tate version of this song had already been officially released by the band at the time of the initial release of the "Hand That Rocks The Cradle" bootleg, it is not impossible that the makers decided to include it on the LP, even perhaps replace an unfinished version they might have had by the better official one. The presence of the song at the very end of the bootleg's track listing adds a bit more weight to this theory, but doesn't necessarily confirm it. Until someone finds any difference between the official and bootleg versions, the theory can be safely considered.
"Accept Yourself"
Alternative mix aka finished/late mix - 4:03
This song was not part of the early mixes aka 'core' set. The 'alternative' mix is alternative to nothing else (another reason to change the vocabulary).
Ironically Simon Goddard in the fantastic "Songs To Save Your Life" mentions that the band recorded two different versions of this song with Troy Tate. I suspected that the 'Rough Trade Demos' version of the song might be the other one, but besides the different double drumstick click at the beginning, I can't find any significant difference between this one and the rest.
"The Hand That Rocks The Cradle"
Alternative mix aka finished/late mix - 5:11 (5:18 on RATF bootleg)
This song was not part of the early mixes aka 'core' set. The 'alternative' mix is alternative to nothing else (another reason to change the vocabulary).
"Hand In Glove"
Core aka early version - 3:20 (pitch corrected) or 3:30 (uncorrected)
Alternative mix aka finished/late mix - 3:24
This one is quite easy. At 1:36 in the 'core' version, there is an echoey background vocal of "kiss my shades..." absent in the other version. Also there's something that sounds like flute in the outro of the earlier mix, but not in the later mix. There are many other minor differences, but these are the most obvious ones.
The Rough Trade Demos mix starts with 2 drumstick clicks, but still seems to be the 'alternative' mix in rougher sound quality.
"What Difference Does It Make?"
Core aka early version - 4:01 (pitch corrected) or 4:13 (uncorrected)
Alternative mix aka finished/late mix - 3:19
Demo - 3:56
This one is rather obvious. A look at the song lengths alone are enough to tell the versions apart. However it is worth mentioning the "oh!" before the drum kick in the intro of the later mix, and the piano that comes in right after that. Also what sounds like a violin is heard in the background soon after, while it only comes in at about 0:38 in the early mix.
Overall the later mix is more twangy, and the earlier mix is more Irish-jiggy (pardon the cheap terms). At 1:36 when Morrissey sings "it makes none", the violin (or something that sounds like that) is heard in the background of the early mix, while in the later mix, there is guitar picking and an added "aaahh" back vocal. At 1:46 there is slide after "tonight" in the early mix, and dreamy echo on the background vox, but in the later mix there is no slide and much less echo.
The Rough Trade Demos version is unique, and different to both of the above mixes. It sounds like a primitive pre-overdub version of the early mix.
"I Don't Owe You Anything"
Core aka early version - 4:24 (pitch corrected) or 4:37 (uncorrected)
Alternative mix aka finished/late mix - 4:30
These two versions are very similar. Not much work was done on the song between one and the other. The early mix has a one note bass intro before the drum kicks in, while the later mix, which is also sounds slower or smoother, has a 2-note bass intro. At 3:05 the finger clicking is more prominent in the early version. At 3:50 when Morrissey sings "life is never kind", the inflexion is more on 'never' in the early version, and more on 'kind' in the later mix.
"Suffer Little Children"
Core aka early version - 5:39 (pitch corrected) or 5:54 (uncorrected)
Alternative mix aka finished/late mix - 4:54
This one is rather easy. At the end of the later mix, the outro guitar is accompanied by cymbal, but at the end of the earlier version, there is no cymbal. Instead the song segues into the piano part that was later used by the band in "Asleep". The woman giggling or crying at the 4:00 mark is present in the earlier mix, and absent in the later one. Also, as was reported by SweetFA, the "you might sleep but you will never dream" line differs.
Another slight but noticeable difference is the presence of an echoey 'tock' sound at the very beginning of the later mix. The same sound can be heard at the very beginning of the later mix of "Wonderful Woman", but in a lower pitch.
"Jeane"
Single version - 3:03
Demo - 2:46
There is no 'core' vs 'alternate' with "Jeane", all the bootlegs seem to feature the officially released version. However an obvious demo was found in the Rough Trade Demos package offered here for download. The version is shorter, rougher and lacks backing vocals. The demo's outro doesn't have the accelerating drum and "ooh!" ending.
"Wonderful Woman"
Core aka early version - 3:19 (pitch corrected) or 3:29 (uncorrected)
Alternative mix aka finished/late mix - 3:18
The two versions of this song are very similar. The guitar seems to me to be slightly higher in the mix of the early version, particularly around the 1:45 mark. The only noticeable difference is the presence of an echoey 'tock' sound at the very beginning of the later mix. The same sound can be heard at the very beginning of the later mix of "Suffer Little Children", but in a higher pitch.
"These Things Take Time"
Core aka early version - 2:40 (pitch corrected) or 2:48 (uncorrected)
There is only one version of this song. It wasn't featured in the 'alternative mixes' set.
"Handsome Devil"
Core aka early version - 2:50 (pitch corrected) or 3:00 (uncorrected)
Alternative mix aka finished/late mix - 2:52
The two mixes sound quite different, but a very easily distinguishable difference is found at 1:45 when in the early version Morrissey stretched the 'you' in "yooooooou deserve it", while in the later mix he sings "you deserve it, deserve it, deserve it". At the very end of the song, after singing "Oh you handsome devil!", he shouts "aah!" in the early mix, and "ow!" in the later mix.
-------------------------------
So that's it... waiting for your input.
cheers,
Stephane
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DavidA ®

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Post 15-Sep-2006 18:30 (after 1 hour 30 minutes)

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Aye carumba! I can only imagine how much time that would have taken to work that out.
As I've mentioned before, I think the 'rare' tracks are final or near-final. It would be great if we could say for sure that they were definitely final. Perhaps we can enlist the help of someone who would know for sure.
I agree that it's not safe to assume that the 'core' tracks came before the 'rare' even though to me the core tracks sound rougher. I hadn't noticed that chronology mismatch about the children's voices in 'Suffer Little Children'.
I haven't done too much comparison on the 'demo' mixes of the track. Lastgang has a great quality version of these but I think his computer has been down recently. I'd like to hear that mix; perhaps it would shed some more light.
Of course, one assumption that we're making is that the core, rare and demos are discreet sets. It might be that whoever first taped those demos just randomly stuck a set together, put it out on a bootleg and then subsequently someone leaked whatever was still unreleased. That would cause some more confusion!
So... in answer to your question of what we should call these... I think we should hold off for a little while and try and find an ear that knows. I'm sure there will be people reading this very post that know for sure. In the mean time perhaps 'demos' for the two tracks on the Rough Trade demos; 'alpha' for the core and 'beta' the rare set? Just an idea. If we can get a better version of the 'demo' mixes then maybe I should compile what we think is a definitive set to date.
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batnaMMV

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Post 15-Sep-2006 20:05 (after 1 hour 34 minutes)

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Great analysis Stephane, that must have taken you ages to do.
A few points that I've noted from your excellent notes:
Accept Yourself
- I believe the 2nd version of this song has piano on it; I thought the Rough Trade Demos version was just an inferior copy of the only version currently available.
What Difference Does It Make?
- I was also of the opinion that the Rough Trade Demos version was a pre overdub demo of the core version. On Soulseek I downloaded a better quality version of this which was labelled as "Troy Tate Alt", although only in mp3. These tracks were posted on Mrs Shankly's website some time ago, I have some artwork somewhere. The song length was 3:58, slightly slower than the one we have on Rough Trade Demos.
These Things Take Time
- Is there only 1 version of this song? On the above "Troy Tate Alt" a version of this was included, again an upgrade on the Rough Trade Demos version. I think it sounds different to the other version, the guitar part at the beginning sounds different. On Rough Trade Demos it was 2:36, Troy Tate Alt 2:40 if that helps.
I also mention this as the copy of the "Rare" mixes we have is 13 tracks. I thought in the final album sessions 14 tracks were recorded. If we take the "Rare" mixes as the final album then a track seems to be missing. Does this mean we are missing the "rare" mix of These Things Take Time?
The stuff you wrote about the other tracks is great, especially Morrissey's different shouts on Handsome Devil. I honestly thought I was imagining that one after listening to it so many times! Hand In Glove is spot on too, I had just noticed the "kiss my shades" line wasn't in the other version.
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pjlm

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Post 15-Sep-2006 21:12 (after 1 hour 6 minutes)

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Of course, one assumption that we're making is that the core, rare and demos are discreet sets.
The core and rare/alternative are definitely discreet sets, there is no doubt about that.
However the 'demos' really sound like the 'alternative' Troy Tate mixes (except for Jeane and WDDIM), only in worse sound quality. Sometimes you can even hear outside noises like tape flutters and that kind of stuff at the same places in the 'alternative' and 'demo' mixes of a same title, which would suggest that they stem from the same source. However i can't say this for every song and I would not be surprised if one or two more titles beside Jeane and WDDIM are slightly different. The 'demos' we have at this point don't sound good enough to be 100% sure.
One thing that we can be sure about is that there isn't 4 or 5 versions of any of the songs. What confuses most people is that each bootleg company added their own little remastering. And many fans who transfered the sessions on the internet, or did their own bootleg set like Akira, also did the same. So you get 10 versions of the same song that all sound slightly different (diff speed, more bass, less tape hiss), but in the end, for *most* songs, you can track them up to only two sources. Well that's my impression.
Off to check those 'Troy Tate Alt' on Soulseek now...
Stephae
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pjlm

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Post 15-Sep-2006 21:15 (after 3 minutes)

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I also mention this as the copy of the "Rare" mixes we have is 13 tracks. I thought in the final album sessions 14 tracks were recorded. If we take the "Rare" mixes as the final album then a track seems to be missing. Does this mean we are missing the "rare" mix of These Things Take Time?
Such a thing just might not exist. Perhaps the band lost temporary interest in that song, well at least for it to appear on the debut LP. It did end up as a b-side. The only version recorded might just be that 'early' mix.
Stephane
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pjlm

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Post 15-Sep-2006 21:19 (after 3 minutes)

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Accept Yourself
- I believe the 2nd version of this song has piano on it
That's what Simon Goddard says in his book. None of the versions i've heard has any piano in it. I think all the versions in circulation go back to the same source. What makes them sound slightly different is 'posthumous' interference (fans, boot makers).
Stephane
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SweetFA

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Post 15-Sep-2006 23:30 (after 2 hours 11 minutes)

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On the subject of whether the "rare/polished" mixes are the final album as opposed to the "core/rough" Troy Tate demos....
I wonder if the fact that there are overdubs like the female laughter on Suffer Little Children on the "rough" versions but not on the "rare mix" is merely down to the rough demo versions being the band and Tate trying things out and adding overdubs which they intended to feature on the album but the sessions were scrapped before they actually finished rerecording them for the album.
So the rerecorded "rare mix" tracks are what would have been on the album had the recordings been completed and overdubs added.
Personally with a couple of exceptions i prefer the rough/core versions to the polished/rare mix versions but they're all interesting.
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ezears

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Post 20-Dec-2006 23:55 (after 3 months 5 days)

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"So study what's on the syllabus, there will be a 10 question essay and 150 multiple choice questions at the end of this semester."
GOOD LORD! Once the holidays are behind me I will make it my pet project to really study these. I'm foaming at the mouth.
The zip file of the John Guest Rough mixes you sent out early this month to some email addresses, David, well I couldn't open it. Hopefully they're around here somewhere. It's just been a busy time for me.
Okay, so back to where I left off reading Stephane's analysis of the differences in each song.
Aw, couldn't we just ask Johnny outright?
Saw him with Modest Mouse recently, just incredible. Never having seen him live, I finally learned he's human after all. But I digress...
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steve

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Post 21-Dec-2006 10:08 (after 10 hours)

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Just reading Stephane's excellent analysis of these. One thing I would add is that many of the early bootleg LPs were just taken from cassette copies. We've had a cassette of Troy Tate demos since 1984, and that version (core) has been widely traded/sold throughout 84-90. I would imagine that the orginal LPs were made from a good copy of that. The fact that it required pitch correction certainly points to a cassette duplication stage.
I subsequently got a cassette labelled Troy Tate Demos (remix) in the late 80s. This I assume is the same as the 'rare mixes' although I haven't checked ... I haven't even transfered this to CD yet. I guess I should check through my versions against Stephane's comments ... perhaps over the Christmas Break
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