What's All This Then

Why should I care what this guy has to say?

The correct answer is that you shouldn’t. We’re all entitled to our opinions. Develop your own. I try to be sane and rational, but that may change with the level of caffeine intake. I’m just telling my stories in the hopes they may amuse and/or inform others. And... I Confess... I'm showing off my bitchen collection a bit.

Sunday, October 25, 2015

My Out of Our Heads Quest

Cover of My Mono Copy

When I was in high school, I began to replace all the hacked up albums of my youth with nice new copies that I would care for eternally.  It was around this time I discovered that the UK versions of early Beatles and Stones records were better sequenced, better sounding, better pressed, etc.  I sought these out.

Around this time (mid '70's) a new chain store, The Wherehouse, began popping up around Southern California.  This was the first record store that seemed to have contempt for its customers.  Turnstiles, sneers if you left without buying anything, 45's devoid of picture sleeves on first release when they should have had them (I know because I purchased 45's there only to see them with picture sleeves a few days later at another store).  Stock that consisted of 30 copies of the latest release and maybe one or two items from back catalog.  And as an extra added bonus, they tended to hassle you when you returned defectives.

Their deal was all single disc domestic releases at the same low low price.  They also carried imports from the UK.

At this time, UK records weren't shrink wrapped.  They were imported in loose plastic bags.

Since they didn't trust their clientele to leave them alone, The Wherehouse decided to shrink wrap them.  This made them appear as though they were single disc domestic releases.  All one had to do was place the record on the counter upside down or between single disc domestic releases and the clerk would ring them up for about $3 less than they were supposed to be.  This kept me a loyal customer.

The first two Rolling Stones albums were in mono - just as they were recorded.  They sounded so much better that the US 'electronically reprocessed to simulate stereo' versions.

Then came the third one.  Out of Our Heads.  This particular release held a sentimental place with me as the first Stones LP I ever owned was December's Children* (*and everybody's) which sported the same cover.  I had this one since 1965.  I was in 2nd grade.

Back of My Mono Copy

  The only import available at the time was stereo.  I bought it, but it sounded muddy and distant.  Just like 'reprocessed' stereo.  My old hacked up US mono copy even sounded better.

UK 'Stereo' Pressing

This started my quest for a mono version in good shape.

Before the internet, this was nearly impossible.   Then a few years ago we get eBay.

First stop was eBay.  I found one that was advertised as mono, but it was a German pressing on Decca.  German Decca had a red label which was mistaken as a UK maroon label which indicated mono.   Strike  one.

German 'Stereo' Pressing. Cover didn't say Stereo, so seller listed it as mono.

After a few more years of searching, the second time was the charm on eBay.  Found one.  Great shape. Sounds as good as the first two albums in mono.

Finally, A genuine mono pressing

I only wish some asshole didn't put a sticker on the label.

Now that this has been reissued on SACD, the mono master tapes are being used.  Glad to see that fake stereo is a thing of the past.