The Smiths Demos & Outtakes - Analog Loyalist Remaster

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DavidA ®

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Post 07-Jan-2011 08:30

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Re-mastered by Analog Loyalist. See link below. Seeded here.
The Smiths *stereo* Demos & Outtakes 2xLP
I've put more work into this than any other non-live audio project that I can remember.
Thanks to Steve over at smithstorrents, we now have a spectacular stereo version of the now-legendary 2xLP bootleg release that has set the Smiths world on fire for the past couple weeks. What many/most don't realize is that the tracks they're swooning over (and swoon they should!), are not fully captured in their full glory by the original leak.
The original leak on morrissey-solo.com during Christmas week 2010, covered by mainstream media including Rolling Stone, NPR (American public radio), The Word, and the Los Angeles Times - not to mention blogs and discussion boards the world over - was an accidental *mono* rip of the double vinyl set. But it was enough as a taster, as reaction proved.
What's special about this new version is how much was *missing* in the original mono rip. There are Johnny Marr guitars that were only hinted at in the original rip, that leap out of the speakers in wild pans from left to right in full-on stereo. Other tracks seem to have brought out more fidelity, more "oomph" in the music that was - in comparison - lacking from the original mono rip. It's really hard to explain without doing an actual A/B comparison, so I'll just let the new version speak for itself. Suffice it to say anyone who thinks the mono "original leak" version is the shit, well, just try this one out instead.
I worked extremely hard in mastering these tracks up to as much snuff as I could humanly do with the tools in my arsenal. Where there was a previous reference point available for EQ, I matched up B to A as best I could (in that "The Queen Is Dead" now sounds identical - in EQ, that is - to the official less-lengthy version, for example). Where there wasn't, I used similar sounding tracks from (ideally) the same recording session. And when I couldn't do that, I trusted my ears. But every track needed a fair touch of massaging, not Steve's fault but rather due to the nature of the source itself.
This isn't perfect; about half the tracks might be rejected by a label for inclusion on any box set (as presented here that is) due to flaws in the original transfer (basically, sibilance and some slight inner grove distortion on the tracks that ended each side of the double vinyl set). I was able to compensate and correct for most of this, but it's not perfect, and I don't expect to ever get it perfect until someone leaks the CDs these were obviously taken from.
But it's better than we have any right to expect and only audio engineering snobs like me would take offense/notice of any of these flaws I describe above. There is little to no remaining evidence of vinyl lineage in this set here, and there certainly *are* tracks that some enterprising Warners exec could lift from this blog, as-is, and put on a box set release tomorrow. I'll leave it to the listener to discover the true audio-quality winners here in the set.
Please enjoy. Presented as lossless FLAC, wrapped up in zip files (if it doesn't unzip after download, just try the download again as my file host sometimes has hiccups). The link is way down at the bottom.
Below are the original liner notes I wrote up for the (aborted) original mastering of the mono transfer, so as to keep everything together in case this post gets linked elsewhere. And on that note, I'm happy with people linking or using the language on this site in their own articles/writeups; all I ask for is accreditation and a ping in the comments.
**** original liners begin here (some new info too!) ****
As mentioned on that other blog, the recent unearthing and bootlegging of a fantastic pack of Smiths studio demos/monitor mixes/early versions set the Smithsian world afire. And well it should, as the tracks give a fascinating peek into the compositional aspect of the Morrissey/Marr partnership.
...
I chose to reorder the tracks into their respective chronological place in the band's recording history, the best I was able using Simon Goddard's book as a reference. Rather than rewrite what I did for that other blog, I'll just post in its entirety the "liners" I did over there, only reordered to fit the new sequence.
THE SMITHS
Demos & Outtakes
Original stereo LP transfer by Steve
January 2011 cleanup by The Power of Independent Trucking

01 Reel Around The Fountain (July 1983, Troy Tate final mix)
This song features some of the chimingest (is that a word) guitars I've ever heard Marr create. It's simply beautiful. Smiths authority Simon Goddard thinks this is the best recording of this track the band did, and I agree; the stereo version "unhides" some of Johnny's background chiming guitars to spectacular, beautiful effect that nearly all previous bootleg sources of this track completely obscured or hid behind walls of tape hiss. This version here? Can be released today, by Warners, lifted direct from this blog. It's *that* good of a transfer and mastering. All evidence (except for, err, a test pressing indicating otherwise) indicates this actual recording featured here was to be the Smiths' 2nd single, famously withdrawn at the last second once the band wrote "This Charming Man". See Extra Track for more details.
02 The Hand That Rocks The Cradle (October 1983, John Porter monitor mix)
Not much different from the final LP version, a monitor mix is a rough-and-ready mixdown done at the recording desk, mainly used by the band (and producer) to see what needs tightening/redoing (if anything) prior to the final mixdown. This completely lacks the gentle acoustic rhythm guitar track pervasive through the final LP version as well, though it does emphasize the lovely, simple, emotive Marr electric track. I think I prefer this to the final LP version; it's subtlety wins it for me.
03 This Night Has Opened My Eyes (June 1984, unreleased studio recording)
The only released version of this song was recorded in September 1983 for a Peel session, at the BBC. For whatever reason the band chose to record a full-blown studio version in June 1984 during the "William, It Was Really Nothing" sessions, but never did anything with it (it was meant to be a B-side along with the July '84 "Rusholme Ruffians" recording, backing a proposed-yet-binned "Nowhere Fast" single which also was recorded in June/July 1984). If anything, time gave Moz a chance to get a bit more confident with his vocal, but it's not significantly different overall besides being a bit faster. Still a nice find though...
04 Rusholme Ruffians (July 1984, John Porter first take)
Goddard says the band originally attempted this in July 1984, several months prior to the main Meat Is Murder sessions. The very first July 1984 take stretched to nearly 7 minutes long, was much more rough/ready, and much more skiffle/rockabilly than the final MIM track. Moz's vocal is really rough around the edges, it doesn't sound like he's fully worked out the melody or his phrasing, and the lyric itself isn't as tight as it would become. Based on this it can only be assumed the version here is the very same first take mentioned by Goddard. I absolutely adore Marr's unique electric guitar playing on this version; it's got a nice "crunch" that adds a lot to this track that is missing on all other attempts.
05 I Misses You (December 1984, instrumental)
The first truly unheard song on this bootleg, this was recorded during the final mixdown sessions for the Meat Is Murder LP. Goddard surmises that this may have even featured a Moz lyric at one point, but this is only supposition. A track that the band binned, honestly while interesting as any "new" Morrissey/Marr track might be, it would be moreso with a Moz lyric and is mostly forgettable. I hear strong echoes of "Heaven Knows I'm Miserable Now" in Marr's melody and guitar phrasing; perhaps it was binned for being too similar to that song?
06 There Is A Light That Never Goes Out (September 1985, early take)
A very early run-through with a relatively-confident Moz vocal, though it does feature the subsequently-omitted defining lyric "there is a light in your eye and it never goes out" during the final refrain. Missing most of Marr's overdubs, musically it sounds like a rough monitor mix of the basic Marr/Rourke/Joyce instrumentation, with the added synthetic string bits on the Emulator. Am I the only one who finds myself humming (in my head) the missing orchestral bits that are on the final LP version, but conspicuously absent here? Doubtful...
07 The Queen Is Dead (Fall 1985, original unedited version)
Well, if the subtitle doesn't nail it down... the final album mix had several instrumental sections edited out at the last minute by the band and Stephen Street, as they felt it went on a tad too long. This is the full-calorie version.
08 Frankly, Mr Shankly (November 1985, Stephen Street "trumpets" recording)
The story has it that when this song was recorded during the main sessions for the Queen Is Dead LP, with Street, there was a technical problem with the master reels for this track, necessitating an emergency call to John Porter to engineer an 11th hour re-recording in December 1985. What wasn't discovered (at least publicly), until Goddard dug it up, was that the "technical problem" was a bizarro trumpet part on the track. It does introduce an additional element of hilarity, but the final Porter recording nails it in my book (while I really do like the trumpet, I think the band as a unit just killed it with Porter as compared to this Street attempt).
09 Ask (9 June 1986, probable first-ever take)
A very early, if not the first if Goddard's correct, run-through of this track missing most of the chiming/jangly guitars. This is a basic rough-and-ready bash it out take recorded by John Porter, with Marr and Gannon going at it on the rhythm guitars and Joyce getting all frenetic on drums. Wisely, a lot was tightened up as the session progressed; alas, this isn't the hoped-for "pre-Steve Lillywhite mix" fans wanted (which sadly, according to Porter, doesn't exist because he never actually got the opportunity to mix it before Lillywhite got his hands on it and didn't understand the complex web of guitars Porter had built up).
10 Is It Really So Strange? ( June 1986, original unreleased studio recording)
Another track which has its only released version being a BBC session version, the known-and-loved release variant was recorded in December 1986 for John Peel at the BBC. Interestingly though, they did have a fully-recorded, mixed, release-ready take in the can, recorded during the "Ask" sessions in June 1986. For whatever reason it remained binned, to the point when it came time to select B-sides for the "Sheila Take A Bow" single in spring 1987, the band went to the (admittedly superior) Peel recording rather than the June 1986 studio take. This version is a bit more shimmery than the common version, and Marr's guitar is a bit more rhythmically choppy than the BBC take. The song, good in the original mono leak, jumps to life in this stereo version. I love this!
11 Shoplifters Of The World Unite (December 1986, instrumental)
Goddard doesn't go into much detail into this track's session history, unfortunately. It's an instrumental, with some additional Marr-riffic guitars that are either obscured or wiped from the final recording, presumably due to Moz laying down his vocals on top. I do like Rourke's bass on this version however.
12 Sheila Take A Bow (January 1987, John Porter original version)
One of the more famous episodes in Smiths session history, this song was originally produced by John Porter, signed, sealed and delivered, ready to go. Then for whatever reason the band had a rethink, decamped to another studio with Stephen Street, and re-recorded the song (sampling some of Porter's guitar work in the process, to save time - which miffed Porter, understandably, since they never asked for permission). This original version is much more jangly, with Porter on emulated sitar, while the final Street take is all T.Rex'ed out. Honestly, I'd have to say I prefer the Street version, though that could be due to familiarity more than anything else (as I usually love Porter's stuff with Marr). That said... the stereo transfer here brings yet another track to life; Marr's zingy guitars are *all* over the stereo field and it's really a wonderful recording. It's almost as if Porter knew this was the last time he'd be working with the band (it was), so he had Marr lay down 30 times more guitars than normal as a parting gift. Sounds really spectacular in headphones.
13 Girlfriend In A Coma (January 1987, early take)
While in studio with Street in January 1987 re-recording "Sheila Take A Bow", the band took the time to lay down a couple takes of this track (prior to the main Strangeways, Here We Come LP sessions in April 1987). What sets this apart from the Strangeways version is the pronounced reggae-ness of the instrumentation (no, there aren't any steel drums). Goddard says the first two takes of this from the January '87 sessions featured this Jamaican interpretation, which we have here, and Moz's vocal is a bit rough around the edges (of course he'd tighten it up later on).
14 Death Of A Disco Dancer (April 1987, first take)
The find of the lot, in my book. This is markedly different from the final Strangeways LP version, in that you can a) hear the song actually being structurally formed as it progresses, and b) Moz is audibly excited at the suspense and greatness of the track, this being the band's first run-through of it in studio, as per Goddard. All the musicians are in perfect synch with each other, you can just feel the bond between the members, as the song plays out. It's for things like this that I love the behind-the-scenes aspect of the recording business. If this were the only track leaked, I'd be happy.
15 Paint A Vulgar Picture (April 1987, early take)
Goddard says that this track went through several run-throughs before the final Strangeways LP version, with entire Moz verses being chopped out. This doesn't feature the "missing Moz" verse which was compensated for by Marr's solo over that section on the final LP version, but it does feature some unheard Mozwork with the title itself part of the lyric. If I read Goddard right, this take we have here would have been one of the very earliest ones.
16 Heavy Track (April 1987, instrumental)
The second of the truly unreleased compositions on the set. Apparently this was recorded at the very beginning of the Strangeways sessions, before Moz turned up at the studio. It's the most musically different Smiths track of any of them, for all intents and purposes it sounds like Zeppelin (I can imagine Robert Plant wailing on top of it). Nothing shocking, nothing you'll kill yourself for not hearing over the past 23 years, it's still a nice one to have.
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SweetFA

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Post 07-Jan-2011 08:57 (after 27 minutes)

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The chronological order makes more sense, i look forward to hearing them later. Thanks to him and yourself.
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Ian

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Post 07-Jan-2011 09:35 (after 37 minutes)

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thanks ! just discovered this site!
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dob66

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Post 07-Jan-2011 10:39 (after 1 hour 4 minutes)

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Nice one
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steve

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Post 07-Jan-2011 11:46 (after 1 hour 6 minutes)

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What do people think of these versions?
While I'm not wanting to have a go particularly at Analog Loyalist, I'm not a big fan of Re-EQing stuff. From my experience, you always loose something.
The reason that my rip has 'so much more' information that the original mono rip, is that I used pretty good equipment (and its pretty average in terms of true audiophile LP equipment).
But you're never going to get any more than was on the orginal CD source.
Messing with the recording with re-mastering tools and EQ can never add what was not there in the first place. A lot depends on the quality of the tools that were used, and perhaps more importantly the quality of the equipment that you use to listen to the material when you're remastering. And, of course, the quality of the persons hearing.
Now I'm perfectly prepared to be surprised by the results, but unless he was using very good gear, all he's going to end up doing is adjusting the sound, so it sounds good to him on his equipment. I can't see any mention of the stuff he uses on the independantTrucking site. I'd be very interested to find out what he uses and exactly what he did to this recording.
Personally I think the only way to get a better sounds version of this, is to do another rip from virgin vinyl using a better deck & cartridge and a better DAC.
Having said all that ... I'm all for what Analog Loyalist is trying to do, and the enthusiasm he puts into it. I just wish more people were as concerned with getting the best audio quality and not demanding quick to download MP3s.
So what do people think of this remaster?
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DavidA ®

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Post 07-Jan-2011 12:13 (after 26 minutes)

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I think there's something to be said for remastering. Removing pops and crackles from vinyl and normalising the volume. I think there's also something to be said for re-EQing, particularly is the source is plain wrong.
As for these, I haven't given them a listen on a quality audio setup yet so I won't comment. I'll continue to seed both versions here. Some people will want a re-master, some won't.
Eventually I think a CD will surface. It's curious that it appeared as vinyl in the first place. Is vinyl an easier type of bootleg to create?
I put MP3 high quality versions of both up at moz-solo because it's usually the first set that continues to get swapped for years to come.
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Shanker

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Post 07-Jan-2011 13:30 (after 1 hour 17 minutes)

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I didn't download the original stereo rip (I did get the mono version) but the remaster sounds fantastic. Based on the work with Joy Division and his work here Analog Loyalist has golden ears and I trust him to remove vinyl artefacts and get the best out of the source material.
'Course I'm tone deaf, so you may disagree 8)
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steve

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Post 07-Jan-2011 17:09 (after 3 hours)

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as I said ... I'm not trying to have a go, or knock what he's doing.
Its just I've heard too many attempts at click removal and EQing that just such the life out of the recording when you listen back on a decent system.
I know there are some pretty good click removal tools about now, which produce good results it used sparingly.
I'm more interested in what people think generally, and also would be interested to know what he uses etc.
My ears are well past their best now, and I wouldn't trust them to do any serious remastering.
I've tried re-EQing some of my recordings over the years, and have always regretted the results in the long run.
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the Flea

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Post 07-Jan-2011 18:01 (after 52 minutes)

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It's a personal point of view really. I have dozens of different versions of The Beatles "Rubber Soul" album (their best album) all with their own particular tweaks and alterations. The version I prefer is "Redux" and it's not considered the absolute premier version, in fact it's way down the pecking order of Beatles enthusiasts but I absolutely love it. So I'm sure people will prefer Steve's straight rip and others will prefer Analog Loyalist version. It's all about choice and choice is great, thanks to both people for sharing the wealth :)
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drew

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Post 07-Jan-2011 18:19 (after 18 minutes)

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Analog Loyalist reporting for duty!
Steve, you have every right to suspect remastering jobs by random Internet denizens. Most of them are indeed shite. This, no.
I have years of experience with this. I have had my efforts released by Rhino as part of the 2007 Joy Division reissue/remastering campaign; you can hear my work on the Closer and Still deluxe CD sets. I am no greenhorn in this regard.
No disrespect to you, sir! Your transfer was terrific and the sonic "faults" I addressed lay with the source itself and not your efforts.
All I ask is to give it a listen. I'll PayPal you $10 if you don't agree it's an improvement on the source material.
I don't use that language lightly, that Warners could release at least half these tracks right now, with no further work needed.
Lastly, I am the first person wanting to see my (our) efforts made redundant by a CD dub leaking. I WANT this to happen!
As to equipment:
Adobe Audition 3
Izotope RX Advanced
Voxengo curveEQ
Voxengo MSED for mid/side processing
And various other VST plugins as needed
Drew (Analog Loyalist)
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DavidA ®

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Post 07-Jan-2011 19:09 (after 49 minutes)

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Interesting to hear, Drew. Can't wait to hear those Peel / Jensen remasters ;)
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andrew

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Post 07-Jan-2011 21:53 (after 2 hours 43 minutes)

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just joined this site today via dime.., cannot believe 1st page i read had the mighty DrewC 'tarting up' my fave smiths xmas pressie. You and Sam L, Tim J, Jeb etc.. have given us many many pleasure over the years. Your work & commitment is commendable. Many many thanks boys (and Steve/David??) who drew our attention over on Dime.. :D
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MacPhisto247

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Post 08-Jan-2011 00:32 (after 2 hours 39 minutes)

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excuse my ignorance :D
is this torrent the same source as WaxlyMolding's re-mastering:
http://www.dimeadozen.org/torrents-details.php?id=338932
just wanting to clarify is all. thanks again! =)
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WaxlyMolding

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Post 08-Jan-2011 00:51 (after 19 minutes)

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excuse my ignorance :D
is this torrent the same source as WaxlyMolding's re-mastering:
http://www.dimeadozen.org/torrents-details.php?id=338932
just wanting to clarify is all. thanks again! =)
No. This one has been extensively remastered, mine was done rather minimally. Drew went through and fixed the pops and did a comprehensive A>B comparison, I didn't do any of that stuff.
What I've heard of this so far has been good. Drew's Joy Division work has been outstanding, so I suspect this will be too.
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MacPhisto247

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Post 08-Jan-2011 01:20 (after 28 minutes)

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No. This one has been extensively remastered, mine was done rather minimally. Drew went through and fixed the pops and did a comprehensive A>B comparison, I didn't do any of that stuff.
What I've heard of this so far has been good. Drew's Joy Division work has been outstanding, so I suspect this will be too.
Well, good, thanks for clarifying. I thoroughly enjoyed your re-master of "The Smiths - Thank Your Lucky Stars" bootleg, one of favorites! :D
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