Procol Harum "A Whiter Shade Of Pale", The Hit-Single Take - In Stereo!?

Discussion in 'Music Corner' started by bhazen, Aug 21, 2007.

  1. bhazen

    bhazen Abbey Roadhog

    I just got the 3-CD box set The British Beat: Best Of The '60s (Shout! Factory), which is a lovely compendium of what made England swing from '64-'68 or so. Great fun at parties.

    On Disc 3 is a real surprise (to me anyway): a stereo version of the same take that was used on the famous worldwide PH hit. Drums to the left, vocal & organ in the middle, reverb to the right etc.; it sounds a bit phasey like a fake-stereo job, but the separations are too good; perhaps that's just an artifact of the session.

    Anyway, I was gobsmacked. Have I discovered something groovy and rare, or am I just a naive bumpkin?:D

    BTW, there's a version of "Doo Wah Diddy Diddy" by Manfred Mann on this set with an extra keyboard solo section too!

    Cowering for the inevitable shellacking,
    Bruce
  2. Mike Dow

    Mike Dow I kind of like the music

    Location:
    Bangor, Maine
  3. Nobby

    Nobby Well-Known Member

    Location:
    Birmingham, UK
    That's the original recording before editing.
  4. bhazen

    bhazen Abbey Roadhog

    Very interesting. This version (on The British Beat) sure doesn't sound like a flown-in vocal from the mono; if it is the Bartley version, it's VERY well-done. BTW credit for the track is Straight Ahead Music Ltd. Anyway, it's fab to have a stereo of the actual single take; it sounds magical.

    In listening to this box set, I hear what I think are a few alternate versions; interestingly, no mention of that fact on the packaging.
  5. daviddaniel

    daviddaniel Member

    Location:
    france
    Rechanneled MONO!!!!
  6. Ramos Pinto

    Ramos Pinto New Member

    Location:
    Southeast US
    bhazen, is daviddaniel correct or are you hearing true, albeit-phasey, stereo?
  7. bhazen

    bhazen Abbey Roadhog

    If so, rechanneled rather well!

    I'll listen when I get home tonight, see if reality has shifted.
  8. Ramos Pinto

    Ramos Pinto New Member

    Location:
    Southeast US

    It does seem peculiar that a five year old cd set could contain a rare stereo remix and no one here (of all places) pick up on this fact. I'm going to hunt online and see if I can find a streaming copy of this track so I can hear it myself - AWSOP is about as good a pop music gets, if you ask me.

    Hey, man (off topic) - I love your Leona Helmsley quote / sig. She may have been mean but she was clearly not stupid! I would pay over $100k for a stereo if it were in my means to do so. There have to be dozens of members on this board with more than $50k in electronics.
  9. Tetrack

    Tetrack Active Member

    Location:
    Scotland, UK.
    It's not the previously unreleased Tom Moulton mix is it? I remember posting a youtube clip of it a while back.
  10. bhazen

    bhazen Abbey Roadhog

    I may well be on drugs, so I can't wait to get home and see if I remember this right. I have no idea of the mix's provenance; all I know is (I think) it's not the same as the stereo version (a re-recording?) in the Westside PH box set.

    The Leona Helmsley quote is my joyful proof that no-one is completely bad!!
  11. Tetrack

    Tetrack Active Member

    Location:
    Scotland, UK.
    That box has the other take(also by Tom Moulton) and the instrumental backing track take.
  12. ranasakawa

    ranasakawa Well-Known Member

    There is a genuine stereo version of whiter shade of pale on a Procol Harum CD called Pandoras Box from 1999, perhaps there is where it came from.
    I have it.
  13. Dennis Metz

    Dennis Metz Born In A Motor City!

    Location:
    Fonthill, Ontario
    Great disc
  14. Tetrack

    Tetrack Active Member

    Location:
    Scotland, UK.
    I think that's the alternate take(with the crappy drum fills), as on the Westside box.
  15. yes...

    And a stereo version of the mono hit single does not exist regardless of what the OP believes he is hearing. I have no doubt the Westside and Salvo archivists would have uncovered and included a stereo mix of the hit Whiter Shade of Pale if one exists, the complete multis are gone too for that song according to what i have read.
  16. Steve Hoffman

    Steve Hoffman Audiophile Mastering Your Host

    Location:
    Los Angeles
    Guys, there is only one correct version of this song. The hit. It is a mono only presentation, sorry. Everything else is an alternate performance or a fake-up.
  17. Tetrack

    Tetrack Active Member

    Location:
    Scotland, UK.
    Could be this Tom Moulton sync-up mix....

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ma4dsoviNSQ
  18. bhazen

    bhazen Abbey Roadhog

    Never trust someone who lived through the Sixties (I.e., myself.) :D I'm a lot more sorted than I was in 2007, so I'll settle this upon returning home this evening. I know the original take of "Whiter Shade" when I hear it now!
  19. Marvin

    Marvin Forum Resident

    That version was recorded the day after the official (mono) version. The mono version had a studio drummer (Bill Eyden). The inferior stereo version had Procol's original "official" drummer (Bobby Harrison) (who was replaced by BJ Wilson a few months later, during the recording of their first album).
  20. wayneklein

    wayneklein Deus Irae

    As was mentioned the stereo is an alternate performance of the song recorded at the same time as I recall and using multi's that were not used to mix the mono.
  21. Ramos Pinto

    Ramos Pinto New Member

    Location:
    Southeast US
    I am listening to the stereo off that Shout Factory box and it is indeed true stereo.

    Drums & bass - left channel, leaks slightly into the right.
    Organ - wide "processed" (not natural) stereo, centered.
    Vocal - centered and CLEAN - no slushy noises or leakage.

    Tonally very similar to the mono mix, unlike that famous true-stereo alternate take. I am also hearing the occasional guitar strum throughout which is buried or nonexistent on the hit mono mix.
    The snare, cymbals and vocal could not be extractions from mono - they are too clean. The bass, rhythm guitar and organ do not image distinctly, as though this was a digital re-sync.

    This recording is almost as clear as the new stereo Shangri-La's tracks from the recent Red Bird reissues.
    It isn't a vintage sounding mix. I was really taken aback at the clarity of the vocals!
  22. bhazen

    bhazen Abbey Roadhog

    Thank you Ramos, so I wasn't on drugs! :winkgrin: Any idea of the backstory on this? It's not the same one as the Bartley "remix"...
  23. Ramos Pinto

    Ramos Pinto New Member

    Location:
    Southeast US
    That one has drums on the left, vocal on the right. I suppose SF could have moved the vocal to the middle using phase manipulation, but there is a lot of drum ponging into the right that is not ponging into the center on the SF disc.

    Still listening to the video and there is the occasional "new" guitar strum! The Moulton version and Shout Factory version are somewhat similar except for the vocal placement. A different Moulton synch up? Moulton's version on the video runs on longer and collapses to mono.
  24. Tetrack

    Tetrack Active Member

    Location:
    Scotland, UK.
  25. Ramos Pinto

    Ramos Pinto New Member

    Location:
    Southeast US
    That one also have the vocal on the right, but toed in slightly.

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