John Entwistle - Smash Your Head Against the Wall

Discussion in 'Music Corner' started by Vivaldinization, Jan 8, 2012.

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  1. Vivaldinization

    Vivaldinization Active Member Thread Starter

    Location:
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    A recent argument about this album's variations made me think that it's nigh time to pin down what, exactly, went on with Entwistle's characteristic post-release tampering.

    A quick primer: the old Sundazed CD (US) and the Repertoire/Castle/Sanctuary CDs (Europe) contain two different versions of the album. Some tracks are radically different, some are mildly altered, and at least a few appear to be mostly the same. Now, the main source of conventional wisdom says as follows:

    (note that "Polydor" above is meant to refer to the UK Track versions, which were distributed by Polydor)

    The above history may well be generally correct. At some level, however, it appears to oversimplify, as my U.S. Decca LP seems to match, for the most part, the US Sundazed CD, while my UK Track LP (which sounds wretched, for what it's worth) has some, but not all, of the variations on the Repertoire/Sanctuary/Castle CDs.

    Also, while the above source refers to the Repertoire/Sanctuary/Castle CDs as having the newer of the two mix versions, the Sundazed disc generally has more processing and/or additional overdubs that the European versions lack. This is, of course, hardly conclusive as to which was done first and which was done second.

    Finally, neither of my LPs has an exclusive mix of "What Are We Doing Here," with or without a different ending. My US LP contains the version used on "Thunderfingers" and appended as a bonus track to the Sundazed CD, whereas my Track LP contains the version used as Track 3 on every other CD. Again, this isn't determinative: I might just not have any pressing with the variation, as it appears that some of the changes were subbed in gradually (which surprises me; I wouldn't have thought this album would have received multiple pressings).

    Given the above, and given my limited access to LPs, I was curious to tap the limitless resources of the internet...and to see whether anybody else's LPs differ from mine. Descriptions of the various variations follow, with sample sound clips (in FLAC) when appropriate.

    My Size
    The Sundazed disc and the Repertoire disc are completely different. Both of my LPs match the Sundazed version; in other words, neither has the guitar solo that flips between channels.

    Repertoire Intro: http://www.sendspace.com/file/wkj62w
    Sundazed Intro: http://www.sendspace.com/file/dwpij8

    Repertoire Guitar Solo: http://www.sendspace.com/file/734n7a
    Sundazed Guitar Solo: http://www.sendspace.com/file/n4ro6p

    Pick Me Up
    I didn't detect any obvious mix differences. Anybody?

    What Are We Doing Here?
    Both CDs use the same mix. Here, my US LP matches the cut found as a bonus track on the Sundazed disc, while my Track LP matches both CDs' Track 3. I suspect that Sundazed decided, for whatever reason, to substitute in the other version instead of going with the US LP version; its transfer isn't very good and appears to contain quite a bit of digital clicking.

    The above source suggests that one of the LPs contains either a mix or an edit piece of the ending that is otherwise unavailable on CD. Does anybody have something that differs from these samples?

    Repertoire Intro: http://www.sendspace.com/file/dtnu8j
    Sundazed Intro: http://www.sendspace.com/file/9549a4

    Repertoire Ending: http://www.sendspace.com/file/19q4g9
    Sundazed Ending: http://www.sendspace.com/file/0axhks

    Alternative Version intro: http://www.sendspace.com/file/8tmsws
    Alternative Version ending: http://www.sendspace.com/file/azcnkb

    What Kind of People Are They?
    Subtle mix variations. One easy point of distinction: the Repertoire has a less-processed vocal (especially in the right channel). I'm not sure which version my LPs have.

    Repertoire: http://www.sendspace.com/file/xk6rk7
    Sundazed: http://www.sendspace.com/file/mc637d

    Heaven and Hell
    I didn't detect any obvious mix differences. Anybody?

    Ted End
    Generally different mixing. The easiest point of difference is in the horn break: the Sundazed has what is either an additional element in the mix or an additional overdub added. My US LP matches the Sundazed; my Track LP, the Repertoire

    Repertoire Intro: http://www.sendspace.com/file/6vaf92
    Sundazed Intro: http://www.sendspace.com/file/8wdht5

    Repertoire Horn Break: http://www.sendspace.com/file/3xrj50
    Sundazed Horn Break: http://www.sendspace.com/file/i3udgs

    You're Mine
    The differences are...somewhat unsubtle? Additional vocal bits and effects galore. Both of my LPs have the version on the Sundazed CD.

    Repertoire Intro: http://www.sendspace.com/file/3xeq4o
    Sundazed Intro: http://www.sendspace.com/file/927lkt

    Repertoire "Get Behind Me": http://www.sendspace.com/file/z084w5
    Sundazed "Get Behind Me": http://www.sendspace.com/file/lee42t

    Eternal Youth
    Different mixing and additional vocal effects. Also, the entrance of the percussion is different, with the Repertoire fading out the main track more quickly than the Sundazed (which also appears to be longer). I'm not sure which version is on which of my LPs.

    Repertoire Intro: http://www.sendspace.com/file/paugde
    Sundazed Intro: http://www.sendspace.com/file/qed68d

    Repertoire Before Percussion: http://www.sendspace.com/file/smau00
    Sundazed Before Percussion: http://www.sendspace.com/file/xprwkd

    I Believe in Everything
    I don't hear a difference. Anybody?

    Cinnamon Girl
    Both CDs have this as a bonus track. It's hard to tell whether what I'm hearing is a different mix or simply radically different EQ.

    Repertoire: http://www.sendspace.com/file/7rbb7r
    Sundazed: http://www.sendspace.com/file/zvjo12

    Again, I'd love to hear people weigh in what they hear between the discs...and also to get an idea of which LPs match which variations (with a special focus on this otherwise-unavailable version/edit of "What Are We Doing Here?"). I really like this album and find it interesting that Entwistle felt like tinkering with it after release--a tendency he would display on more than one occasion to follow.
     
  2. PacificOceanBlue

    PacificOceanBlue Forum Resident

    Location:
    The Southwest
    I have a couple versions of the album. Before commenting on the confusing mix aspect; I must say that it is a killer album and among the best solo albums released by any member of The Who. I do like the 2005 USA Sanctuary version, but my favorite is the USA Sundazed CD released in '97.
     
  3. applebonkerz

    applebonkerz Forum Resident

    I agree. In the same way that I wish there were more Harrison songs included on Beatles albums, I wish there had been more Entwistle songs included on Who albums. :thumbsup:

    I don't know anything about sorting out the different versions, so that part I will leave to those who do.
     
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  4. Vivaldinization

    Vivaldinization Active Member Thread Starter

    Location:
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    I tend to agree. The decline of Entwistle's solo-career aspirations post-Whistle-Rymes is truly perplexing. Perhaps he simply no longer cared.
     
  5. czeskleba

    czeskleba Senior Member

    Location:
    Seattle
    The Sundazed mix matches my Decca pressing. I don't have anything else to add, since I don't have any other LP versions of this album.

    So it sounds like Fang got things backwards, and in fact the Sundazed CD generally matches the US LP while the Repertoire/Sanctuary CDs match the UK LP (except for in the few places you noted). And the mixes of My Size and You're Mine on the Repertoire/Sanctuary CDs are unique mixes which don't appear on either of the original LPs. So I guess now the big question is whether those two mixes ever appeared on any LP anywhere. It's too bad Fang is so "difficult" because he would be the one to ask that question if he was actually willing to go back and listen to his records again.
     
  6. Scope J

    Scope J Forum Resident

    Location:
    Michigan
    good infos , thanks
     
  7. Lownote30

    Lownote30 Bass Clef Addict

    Location:
    Nashville, TN, USA
    For a few of those songs I read (can't remember where) Entwistle did modern remixes for the second CD release of this album (after the Sundazed). This was just before he passed from what I remember. When I first heard this album on CD, the alternate mix (non-US) of What Are We Doing Here? was really jarring. I am so used to the US mix that appears on my records! I definitely prefer the US vinyl mix on that one. If there's one thing Entwistle could be counted on to do, it's revise things that were already recorded. I mean he re-recorded his bass parts on the Quad Movie Soundtrack as well, and was revising his bass lines on Who Are You almost right up until it was released! Smash Your Head Against The Wall is definitely my favorite Who solo album, and I still give it a spin quite often!
     
  8. Vivaldinization

    Vivaldinization Active Member Thread Starter

    Location:
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    I had assumed the possibility of his getting things backwards, but it also seemed possible that I simply had a later pressing of the Decca LP that contained a substituted master. Thus, the pursuit of additional information. I'm glad to hear that your findings comport with mine.

    I'm kicking myself for not checking to see whether "What Kind of People Are There?" and "Eternal Youth" were the Repertoire versions on my Track LP.

    So to echo the inquiry above: does anybody have the UK version of "My Size" on any LP? Alternatively: perhaps it makes sense to reach out to Bob Irwin/Bill Inglot to see if they have any additional wisdom regarding the state of the master tapes?
     
  9. I echo the praised heaved on the US version of "What Are We Doing Here?". This was the version I grew up with and it just has a stronger vocal performance for my money.
     
  10. Vivaldinization

    Vivaldinization Active Member Thread Starter

    Location:
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    Amen. It's hard to understand how the UK version became the "standard" one...and why the clearly more-finished take was not even appended as a bonus on the 2005 reissue.
     
  11. aoxomoxoa

    aoxomoxoa Closet optimist

    Location:
    Dayton ohio
    I didnt realize there were variations. Havent heard this album in years.
     
  12. Ramos Pinto

    Ramos Pinto New Member

    Location:
    Southeast US
    The US and UK versions of this vinyl album are wildly different. The Repertoire cd sounds like an over-processed bastardization of the UK lp. I still play the US vinyl.
     
  13. Vivaldinization

    Vivaldinization Active Member Thread Starter

    Location:
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    Can you confirm whether your UK LP matches the versions described above?
     
  14. izgoblin

    izgoblin Forum Resident

    I know it's not usually a fan favorite, but I have a lot of love for Too Late the Hero. Doesn't hurt that he had Joe's Walsh and Vitale for backup, but I think the songs are every bit as good as those on Smash Your Head (which is IMO inferior to Whistle Rymes anyway). The title track "Too Late the Hero" actually brings tears to my eyes.

    That said, Rigor Mortis Sets In is boring, Mad Dog is completely forgettable and The Rock was inconceivably bad. I actually liked a lot of the stuff on Music for Vampyres though.

    All that said, I am fairly certain there are mix differences between the Repertoire CD version and the US LP of Whistle Rymes as well. I know I was surprised by one or two differences when I first heard the CD.
     
  15. keifspoon

    keifspoon Forum Resident

    Location:
    New Jersey, USA
    The Best
    John Entwistle : Lead Vocals, Bass
    Jeff "Skunk" Baxter : Guitar
    Keith Emerson : Keyboards, Piano
    Simon Philips : Drums
    Rick Livingstone : Flute, Vocals, Percussion
    Joe Walsh : Guitar, Vocals
    Fergus, Angus & Hamish Richardson : Backing Vocals

    Made in Japan 1990.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=C3-Tiele_gA
     
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  16. applebonkerz

    applebonkerz Forum Resident

    Thank you, I had heard some audio from that show years ago, never realized there was such nice video from it too (I had forgotten to look for it over the years.) Is that concert available on DVD anywhere? If not, it sure should be!
     
  17. keifspoon

    keifspoon Forum Resident

    Location:
    New Jersey, USA
  18. applebonkerz

    applebonkerz Forum Resident

  19. czeskleba

    czeskleba Senior Member

    Location:
    Seattle
    Huh. I tried very hard to like Too Late the Hero. I gave it a lot of listens though I didn't initially like it, hoping it would grow on me. But it didn't. One big reason is the almost complete lack of humor and/or unusual subject matter in the lyrics, standing in sharp contrast to the best of his earlier work. It's also musically too slick and professional-sounding for me. Competent but mundane is how I'd describe it.
     
  20. Vivaldinization

    Vivaldinization Active Member Thread Starter

    Location:
    .
    I like TLTH--especially when compared to what immediately preceded and followed--but I agree that it's a bit bland. Still, the title track, Dancing Master, and Love is a Heart Attack are all great fun. "Lovebird" is the album's equivalent of "What Are We Doing Here"; I don't think it loses anything in its surprising sincerity.

    Dragging this mildly back on topic: anybody able to report LP differences?
     
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  21. Vivaldinization

    Vivaldinization Active Member Thread Starter

    Location:
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    I am halfheartedly bumping this. Anybody?
     
  22. No Bull

    No Bull Forum Resident

    I cannot comment on the variatoions. I just listened to this album for the 1st time ever yesterday. I was presently surpised. Very good record. very even. no weak cuts. It rocks. Entwistle is a capable singer. I enjoyed this much more that either post Kieth Moon Who records. A lost gem of a record imo.
     
  23. street legal

    street legal Forum Resident

    Location:
    west milford, nj
    If you can, try "Wistle Rhymes" next, which is also a very good album, maybe just a tiny notch below "Smash Your Head Against The Wall". John was a very unique songwriter lyrically, and he had a great band backing him at the time as well. Much like George Harrison, Entwistle obviously had written a lot of good stuff in the late 60's/early 70's, but was probably only "allowed" one or possibly two songs on each Who album, so he had a good backlog of material to make some excellent solo albums.
     
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  24. PhilBiker

    PhilBiker sh.tv member number 666

    Location:
    Northern VA, USA
    Funny story about Entwistle's songs. I remember an interview with him on some Who documentary somewhere. Starting with "Who Are You" he was getting 3 instead of the obligatory 1 song on each album. He had finally realized that the way to get more of his material on Who albums was to let Roger sing - and that Roger sounded great. Hence stuff like "Trick Of The Light", "Dangerous", "It's Your Turn", "You".

    All you have to do is listen to any of Entwistle's songs by The Who to know how much Pete loved playing them. Some great guitar work on Entwistle's stuff.

    And I agree with the overall opinion that Entwistle's first two solo albums are far far better than all later ones. "Whistle Rhymes" is my favorite - there's so much humor on that album.
     
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  25. No Bull

    No Bull Forum Resident

    Thanks. I will have to track it down.
     
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