DCC Archive Neil Young remasters

Discussion in 'Music Corner' started by guy incognito, Jan 4, 2002.

  1. guy incognito

    guy incognito Forum Resident

    Location:
    Lake Orion, MI
    Found this interview that Neil did in Sound & Vision magazine a while back. In it, he talks about his enthusiasm for DVD-Audio and plans for his long-awaited Archives box sets and remastered catalog.

    Neil Young: The Sound & Vision Interview

    Excerpt:

    You know, given Young's obvious concern for sound quality, I've wondered if Steve and co. have ever attempted to negotiate with Neil about issuing some of his titles on DCC? I, for one, would love to hear a Hoffman remaster of After The Gold Rush or Harvest... ;)

    [ January 04, 2002: Message edited by: guy incognito ]
  2. JPartyka

    JPartyka I Got a Home on High

    Location:
    Scranton, PA
    I was just thinking about this the other day when I was listening to my original vinyl copy of After the Gold Rush. What a beautiful album.

    Personally, though, I'd like to see the "Missing 6" receive priority treatment ... that is, the six Neil albums that have never been offered legitimately on ANY digital format (Time Fades Away, Journey Through the Past, On the Beach, American Stars 'n Bars, Hawks & Doves, RE*AC*TOR). At least two of those rank with the best of anything else he's ever done.
  3. David Powell

    David Powell Active Member

    Location:
    Atlanta, Ga.
    Regarding the "missing six" albums, in another interview (with SFX) this is what Neil Young had to say: "...I really don't see these albums on CD because CDs don't sound very good. I like the original analog masters and I didn't want people to have bad-sounding CDs to listen to for the rest of time. I want to wait until the things are ready to be dumped into a format that I can understand and is relative to the original format."
    It is interesting to note that Mr. Young has released separately mastered, all-analog LP versions of many of his recent albums.
  4. JPartyka

    JPartyka I Got a Home on High

    Location:
    Scranton, PA

    I'm familiar with this quote and I have always had a real problem with it ... He fails to explain why he's allowed the rest of his back catalog to be reissued on (sometimes lousy-sounding) CDs, and why he's singled out those six albums to be held back. It's just totally weird. And of those six, just one (American Stars 'n Bars) is still in print on an analog format (cassette).

    I'm an analog nut anyway, and I do like my LP copies of those records. But I enjoy CDs that are well done too, and the Missing 6 situation just strikes me as weird.
  5. TommyTunes

    TommyTunes Forum Resident

    I may be wrong on this BUT I believe that the rest of the Reprise Catalogue was issued while he was under contract to Geffen. "On the Beach" ranks as one of his best and I would love to see it remastered with maybe some additional outtakes from those sessions.
  6. Randy W

    Randy W Active Member

    I agree with Tommy. For those of us die-hard fans who have been patiently waiting for the promised "box set" for the past six years - all I can say is, do it Neil. This is as good as CDs will probably get. Not as good as the best analogue, but good enough for most people. Maybe Steve could remaster "On the Beach" for CD? Or maybe Neil does not want his post-Snodgrass period LP released for personal reasons?
  7. Robert H.

    Robert H. Unregistered

    Location:
    Toronto
    If there ever was an album CRYING out for Steve Hoffman remastering, Neil Young's Everyboby Knows This Is Nowhere is it.

    Neil Young is notoriously hearing impaired, and a notorious control freak. He's also extremely slow to do anything. Expect the catalog to come out slowly on DVD-A, maybe he can be pressured into a simultaneous CD release. But it looks like the Warners strategy is to try to pump life into DVD-A by only remastering to that format without a CD release.
  8. David Powell

    David Powell Active Member

    Location:
    Atlanta, Ga.
    The bottom line is that a great number of music fans, especially younger ones, are being "denied" the privilege of enjoying some of Mr. Young's essential recordings. I long ago resigned myself to transferring his "missing 6" LPs to CDRs for convenience. I hope Neil Young will remember that a southern man just wants to hear his jams in any form.
  9. Sckott

    Sckott Hand Tighten Only.

    Location:
    Hyannis Ma
    I agree with Robert H. Although the CD has been redone a few times (now at RE-2 I believe, fixed a few minor things) the sound of "Knows This..Nowhere" is plesantly dark and I really believe that the master tape reveals something in aspects of how a rich bottom end and midrange should be enjoyed. Jeannie in a bottle...!

    I do have vinyl of "Goldrush" too. Just to listen to "Tell Me Why" on vinyl is very realistic and carries a natural presence. Course, I think "Knows...Nowhere" was always supposed to sound heavilly organic and surupy. Not like Harvest or Goldrush.
  10. Cousin It

    Cousin It Active Member

    Location:
    Sydney, Australia
    Neil Young is a Neil Young fan's worst nightmare.I truly believe he just stirs a lot of **** just to get the diehards in a froth over that mythical bunch of boxsets that he has threatened to release for about a decade.Look at the Buffalo Springfield set he worked on,reviews have been pretty hit and miss,I have a feeling that Neilfolk are going to be the same way when(or if) those sets ever appear.The question of Steve mastering his back catalog is valid and it would be nice to hear Cinnamon Girl etc.. in properly mastered guise but as has been shown he is in control of his tapes.His own archivist Joel Bernstein raved about DCC's Highway 61 Revisted and therefore it's hard to believe Young is not familiar with Steve's work and yet he persists in grabbing every new digital gizmo that appears(or seems to).You would think Steve's mastering style would be up his alley(analog to the last) but he always goes for the latest thing,he claims to hate digital recording and yet has been one of its earliest users.The prospect of getting new masterings approved by a man who has stood in front of loud volume for long periods of time for decades is not something to look forward to.

    [ January 04, 2002: Message edited by: Cousin It ]
  11. Sckott

    Sckott Hand Tighten Only.

    Location:
    Hyannis Ma
    What gets my goat is that the 9 min version of "Bluebird" has been left off of things like the box set. Neil is on the 2nd "different" half of that track doing his thing, classically. Might sound small, but I was dissapointed.
  12. pauljones

    pauljones Forum Chef

    Location:
    columbia, sc
    I own the "original" cd's of Harvest and After the Gold Rush. Harvest is printed and pressed in West Germany, no barcode, original WEA "radar" cd label. Very smooth sounding. Interesting in that there are several seconds of "hall sounds" before the beginning of "A Man Needs A Maid" that I do not hear on "Decade" . Just like the original Dire Straits "Communique" on Warners, I do not see how the original cd of "After the Gold Rush" can be significantly improved upon. My 1980's copy sounds very much like the vinyl. Both cd's have pronounced tape hiss and do not sound artificial or harsh in any way. Have these cd's been "secretly remastered" as WEA has been known to do, and any thoughts on the new versions, if in fact they have been redone?
  13. Cousin It

    Cousin It Active Member

    Location:
    Sydney, Australia
    Yeah,I was pretty upset about it the lack of the 9 min Bluebird,I read where he said he didn't like it so it stayed off the set.OK,so it's not the 4 min version which is better but still that set was the perfect place to put it and look what he does.I thought it was mean spirited to leave off those 2 tracks from the last album,another case of NY not giving the public what they want,only what he wants.That's what I like about labels like Bear Family and Mosaic,they just give the people who buy their stuff everything and let them judge if it's excessive or not.A by the fans for the fans mentality should apply to reissues but way too often these things fall way short of the mark,because let's face it you're preaching to the converted here.
    Another thing,back in the early 90's,there was an ad in Goldmine magazine,this person was selling a BS acetate of Bluebird and this person claimed that the one on the acetate was 9:30 in length.Does anyone know of any longer versions of the song (other than the 9 min flat version)circulating in the bootleg community??
  14. John Buchanan

    John Buchanan Forum Resident

    Location:
    Perth, Australia
    The version of Harvest I have on CD has RE-1 appended to the catalogue # on the blank aluminium near the spindle hole - the usual sign that it has been silently remastered. It was made in the USA.Any advances on this?
  15. Steve w

    Steve w Well-Known Member

    Location:
    San Diego
    Actually it was Stills who didn't want the 9 minute version of Bluebird on the box set. He said in an interview "I hated it then, and I hate it now"
  16. lukpac

    lukpac Forum Resident

    Location:
    Madison, WI
    Keep in mind "The Original Bad Company Anthology" has an RE-1 marking, even though it was a new compilation.

    I'm not so sure that "RE" means remastered...
  17. Paul L.

    Paul L. New Member

    Location:
    Earth
    Cousin It,
    Yes, I recall when Neil's Shocking Pinks record came out, he was 100% behind digital, saying things like he would never record again any way but digital. Then I don't know how much longer it was that he totally disowned digital, saying how awful it sounds.

    It really is ludicrous for Neil to act like he is doing fans a favor by not putting out the 6 records on CD. I bet the vast majority of people who do not have those releases on record will settle for mp3's of the albums, or buy bootleg CDs of them, rather than buy record players and old vinyl. So is Neil truly ensuring these fans hear his stuff properly?

    In the end, it just comes down to Neil being eccentric.

    Also, is his hearing reliably reported as being damaged, or is this just (very reasonable) speculation?
  18. John Buchanan

    John Buchanan Forum Resident

    Location:
    Perth, Australia
    Luke,
    the Jimi Hendrix CDs, when on Reprise, had an increasing RE-# appended each time they were remastered. I think they got to RE-2 before Experience Hendrix took over from Alan Douglas and switched to MCA. Capitol USA has a similar system - Dark Side of the Moon is up to RE-2 on my copy.
  19. FabFourFan

    FabFourFan Member

    Location:
    Philadelphia

    In my experience it's been pretty obvious that when there's an RE# in the code ring, this does specifically indicate that an item has been remastered.
    I don't know of any exceptions.

    In the case of that Bad Company disc, you can safely assume that an earlier first mastering has been replaced by the second, i.e., the RE1 version.

    Note that this does not necessarily mean that the 'original' version was actually released, just that a new one was done.

    For another example, you can see that the new Paul McCartney Driving Rain US CD is labeled RE1, starting from day 1.

    This was done, we presume, because he decided to add the track "Freedom" to the already finished album, which was about to be released.
    The 'original' version of the disc had apparently already been mastered and all the papers had been printed.
    They didn't change anything except that the cd got RE1'd (now containing the extra track) and they put a sticker on the shrink wrap.

    I just wish that some of the other markings found on cds were so relevant and easily interpreted!
  20. lukpac

    lukpac Forum Resident

    Location:
    Madison, WI
    How can we safely assume that? I bought the CD when it came out. Why would there have been a previous pressing/mastering?

    In looking at other WEA CDs, it wouldn't seem like the RE symbol really means much of anything. My copy of Journeyman says "RE-1" - do you really think it was remastered being a 1989 release?

    Or, how about the CSN box set. I don't have disc 1 handy, but discs 2 3 and 4 are "RE-2" "RE-1" and "RE-1" respectively. Since I really can't imagine any remastering was done after the box came out, are we to believe that two of the discs were redone before the box was even released, and one disc was actually redone TWICE?

    How about "The Doors". I've been told early copies of this feature a different mastering (mine is not an early copy), so I'd assume the later copies would have an RE on them. Nope. All mine has is "SRC#08".

    Sorry, but until I hear an official word from WEA, I think all of this RE business is just wishful thinking.
  21. FabFourFan

    FabFourFan Member

    Location:
    Philadelphia

    Well, you can believe it or ignore it or whatever you want, I suppose, but it does seem to be a convenient clue, in my experience, which is all that I said, originally.

    In response to your questions:

    1 - Yes, if it says RE-1 on it, it was probably redone.
    As for it being from 1989, consider that the Rumours remaster says RE-2, and that was done back in _1987_, IIRC, so the whole RE# thing does seem to go way back.

    2 - Yes (yes), yes, and yes. :)
    I think that that is the logical conclusion to be drawn from the RE#s you see in the code ring.
    Probably the 'earlier' versions were never released, and the decision to rework the mastering of any particular disc was the result of feedback from relevant personnel who were provided with test copies of the original masterings, or whatever.

    3 - I object! Speculation! The witness is making an assumption! :)
    I guess the obvious question is whether you have ever seen a Doors first with an RE# to compare? Do they even exist? I don't know. And, for that matter, it's not like an RE# is required by law, right?

    ---
    Really, it's ok with me if you don't believe any of this! I could be wrong! Wouldn't be the first time! :)

    But, to repeat, _in my experience_, finding an RE# seems like a pretty obvious clue, and not too much of a mystery.

    Finally, I agree that it would be really terrific if someone 'on the inside' at wea manufacturing could reveal the secrets of the RE numbering to us acolytes.
    That would be great!!!!
  22. John Buchanan

    John Buchanan Forum Resident

    Location:
    Perth, Australia
    Electric Ladyland was remastered twice with the same Reprise catalogue #. I have had all the versions on CD. The first (double CD) had no RE appended. The second (single CD), from the moment it was released, had an RE1 appended. The next version was on MCA with the different cover and the last was another different EH/MCA number. Certainly all the Jimi Hendrix revamps had an RE1 attached to the original Reprise number (eg Cry of Love, Axis, AYE and ELL as above) This is not new information - it was mentioned in Electric Gypsy way back.
  23. Sckott

    Sckott Hand Tighten Only.

    Location:
    Hyannis Ma
    The RE number is just an internal indication of a complete "master" (ie: mother stamper or glass master) being used and completed, with assumptions it would be saved, and that paperwork would indicate the RE-1 should be used, and the one without the notation should not be used for manufacturing. The RE-1, RE-2, etc replacement can mean simple corrections OR a better master was found, and basically everything in between. Sometimes an RE-1 is there notating something so simple, yet, there was no "1st try" plate used from the get-go, so your brand new CD or LP might have the correction already, whatever it may be.

    A "RE" could mean that the SMPTE track stops and starts weren't right, or that there was something technically bad or inperfect found before or after quality control.
    The Who's "Sell Out" had a funny quirk with some CD players, in which "I Can See For Miles" skipped on certain CD players that read the SMPTE code a certain way. The song would skip every time in the same place, only in certain players, and it happened so quickly, you didn't hear a "tic".

    MCA sent out new discs to those who turned theirs' in. No RE-1 enumeration because they didn't use that kind of system, but that's the idea. Lot of RE-1 or RE-2 stuff at Warners has been fairly common, and for CDs, ICE has documneted quite a few of the whys and wheres.

    This happened in vinyl-land too. It's just a notation, but can mean something noticeable (like mastering) was corrected. It's been known that the artists complain about the way a CD sounds, and if they bitch enough, Warners, for instance, corrects it.

    [ January 07, 2002: Message edited by: Sckott ]
  24. FabFourFan

    FabFourFan Member

    Location:
    Philadelphia
    All this discussion on RE#'s made me dig out ICE Newsletter Vol 1, No 5, August 1987.
    That month's cover story was a long article titled "Major Labels Quietly Issuing Improved CDs".

    Quoted without permission is the following section regarding RUMOURS:

    Understandably, Warners doesn't want a stampede of 100,000 unhappy consumers
    demanding to trade in their CD of the label's biggest-selling album ever.
    But many, many people are going to want the new product, and logic dictates it should be identifiable
    by more than just the little "RE" (for "re-cut") in the clear plastic center ring of the disc itself.

    [bold typeface present in original text]


    BTW, Luke was right to be skeptical without supporting documentation. I hope this helps clear things up.
  25. lukpac

    lukpac Forum Resident

    Location:
    Madison, WI
    Yeah, but Rumors was a CD reissue of an older title. Journeyman was issued on CD when it was first released in 1989. It's not like they would have gone back and gotten a better tape or something...