Gene Clark ROADMASTER: What's so wrong with the mix?

Discussion in 'Music Corner' started by Clarkophile, Jul 31, 2009.

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  1. Clarkophile

    Clarkophile Up in T.O. keepin' jive alive Thread Starter

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    I've detected a certain disappointment among members with the mix of Roadmaster as released. I get the sense that we, as a group, tend to assume that the alt. Hinshaw mixes are superior to what has by now become the familiar mix.
    I guess my question is, what specifically is so wrong with the released mix? What bothers you about it? I'm not taking issue with this belief, I just want to hear people's opinions in more depth. What bugs you about it?

    The Hinshaw mixes have done the rounds in trading circles for years, and, while I find them interesting, I don't necessarily believe it would be a good idea if these mixes somehow, someday supplanted the standard mix.
    Ideally they should all be collected into one package.

    If there was ever a no-brainer Deluxe Edition, this is it.
     
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  2. Gene

    Gene Active Member

    Location:
    New York, USA
    Agreed.. And how do we know that these mixes ARE better? In his book on Gene, John Einarson felt the Hinshaw mixes were superior but.. If the last track (Full Circle) on the GC Raven comp (American Dreamer) is a Hinshaw mix, (The listing is: prod. by Clark/Hinshaw) it sounds inferior imo to the standard version of Full Circle.
     
  3. Maggie

    Maggie funky but chic

    Location:
    Toronto, Canada
    Some of Roadmaster could be punchier, but honestly, that may simply be the CD mastering. In the drums and guitar I miss the crispness of parts of White Light. But I think Roadmaster's a far superior record, and the mix is part of its charm. Kind of like how the more rough and ready takes included on the Fully Loaded Edition of the VU's Loaded don't sound 'right' the way the shiny-bright original mixes do. I'm not familiar with the Hinshaw mixes, except the one that's on American Dreamer, but Tom, I would definitely welcome a 'deluxe edition' that collected everything from these sessions.

    Wouldn't a 'deluxe edition' be the first proper stateside reissue of any kind for this album?
     
  4. zobalob

    zobalob Forum Resident

    Location:
    Glasgow, Scotland.
    Here's the relevant section from Einarsons' book on Geno....pge177....discussing Jim Dicksons' (the officially released) mix....

    “….the mixing of the album left much to be desired, with instruments disappearing and harmonies obscured. The original Hinshaw rough mixes had somehow been misplaced, and all Jim (Dickson) could do was what is called a “ruler mix” which basically means setting the levels just about equal and letting the tapes run, creating a rather flat, generic sound. (Nearly 30 years later, the Hinshaw mixes were discovered languishing in a tape vault and what they reveal is quite startling. The tracks virtually come alive, the drums are crisp, the guitars sparkle, and instruments previously unheard, like electric piano and Clarence White’s intricate guitar, suddenly reappear. Harmonies that were essential to the strength of several tracks are now heard as they were meant to be….”

    I basically agree with all of this as regards the mix differences and how they affect the feel of the 8 tracks recorded for the album (excluding the 2 with the original Byrds and the Burritos one). What I don't get, (and I am assuming that Jim D had access to the multis), is this "ruler mix"...I don't get that this was all he could do. Einarsons' explanation doesn't make a lot of sense because (as he says himself) a lot of instrumentation and vocals just are not there in Jim Ds' mix..... they're not just low in the mix, they're not there at all. McGuinns' harmony on "Rough and Ready" for example...the interplay between Clarences' guitar and the violin at the end of the (longer, 5.37) mix of "In a Misty Morning", this already great track is much, much better IMO. Clarences' part and the harmonies on "I Really Don't Want to Know". Overall, throughout, a crisper drum sound driving the songs and instrumentation/vocals missing from the released version, it's not cluttered at all and it's punchier.

    Nothing wrong with released album per se, just when I heard the original mixes, I thought WTF?
     
  5. czeskleba

    czeskleba Senior Member

    Location:
    Seattle
    The only alternate mix I've heard is Full Circle. I will grant that the drums are much crisper and more prominent on it, but beyond that it's far inferior. I haven't compared for awhile, but my recollection is that it's missing electric guitar that's on the Dickson mix, and the pedal steel is much more prominent.
     
  6. Chris M

    Chris M Senior Member

    Location:
    Baton Rouge, LA
    Great idea for a thread and an excuse to spin Roadmaster. I heard Roadmaster ( released mix) a few months ago thanks to Clarkophile and I thought it sounded fantastic. Like Jason the only two mixes I compared are Full Circle and I thought the released mix was much better. Better mix and better sound quality. This gives me an excuse to play Roadmaster again :righton:
     
  7. zobalob

    zobalob Forum Resident

    Location:
    Glasgow, Scotland.
    Full Circle for some reason on the official release is the one track IMO that sounds better, fuller....with more instrumentation. The Hinshaw mix does sound inferior, quite sparse in comparison.
    This is almost the opposite of the other 7 tracks, which sound fuller, with parts presumably deleted by Jim Dickson for his mix. I much prefer the Hinshaw version (apart from "Full Circle", which is interesting in its' own way though).
     
  8. Chris M

    Chris M Senior Member

    Location:
    Baton Rouge, LA
    So you have the complete Hinshaw mix? I didn't know that was out there. You're right, it can't be a ruler mix if there are instruments completely missing unless there was a second stage of multi's that Jim D didn't have.
     
  9. Maggie

    Maggie funky but chic

    Location:
    Toronto, Canada
    That quote from Einarson sounds like it was sourced from someone who either had something else in mind, or who wanted to make Jim D. look stupid. ("Duh, let's just turn all the pretty switches up so they're in a line!"). Either way it is not persuasive because, as you say, the evidence on record doesn't support it. The final released mixes sound polished and professional, just a little anemic like a lot of polished and professional 70s mixes were. They sort of sound like I've heard Early LA described. And apparently that 'alternate take' of "Tried So Hard" on the Sundazed Clark & the Gosdins is from Early LA, so maybe I'm not off-base.

    That said, my entirely unfounded speculation is that "Full Circle" and "One in a Hundred" existed in finished mixes from 1970 and that the "Hinshaw mix" on American Dreamer is in fact simply an early or alternate mix, not one that Hinshaw felt was necessarily finished. Maybe it is missing overdubs because they hadn't been recorded yet. I don't think the mixes of those two songs on Roadmaster are Jim D.'s work.
     
  10. zobalob

    zobalob Forum Resident

    Location:
    Glasgow, Scotland.
    I think that you could be correct as regards "Full Circle" and Hinshaw.

    "One in a Hundred", "She's the Kind of Girl" and "Here Tonight" have nothing whatsoever to do with Hinshaw who only worked on the 8 songs recorded for the projected and unfinished album. Jim D may well have also mixed these 3 tracks for "Roadmaster" as, although they were pulled in from different sessions to pad out the album and were finished recordings, none of them had been released up to that point.
     
  11. ronbow

    ronbow Forum Resident

    Location:
    St. Louis MO
    BTW, for those who have all 3, is there anything on AMERICAN DREAMER that we wouldn't already have on ROADMASTER (Edsel) or the FLYING HIGH 2-disk set?

    Then there's also the other Raven release - SET YOU FREE 1964-73, by the Byrds but with the emphasis on GENE CLARK, which also includes the 2 "re-union" tracks we have been discussing. (Not sure which mixes those use.)
     
  12. Maggie

    Maggie funky but chic

    Location:
    Toronto, Canada
    Oof. Brain fart on my part. You're right. For a minute there I was confusing "Full Circle" with the Byrds 'reunion' tracks. And the FBB one I guess. I stand by my speculation about "Full Circle," though. :help: It's too early in the morning for thinkin'.
     
  13. zobalob

    zobalob Forum Resident

    Location:
    Glasgow, Scotland.
    I also forgot one other salient fact. Before the Hinshaw sessions, Jim D had been the producer for all of the 3 "other" tracks added on, so he almost certainly mixed these too.
     
  14. Clarkophile

    Clarkophile Up in T.O. keepin' jive alive Thread Starter

    Thanks for posting that passage---I was away for the weekend and didn't have access to the book.
     
  15. Clarkophile

    Clarkophile Up in T.O. keepin' jive alive Thread Starter

    There have been mp3's up at GeneClark.com for years which, although of dubious sound quality, give a taste of what the alt mixes are like. Unfortunately the sound is atrocious.
    http://www.geneclark.com/bootbox.html
     
  16. czeskleba

    czeskleba Senior Member

    Location:
    Seattle
    I believe "Outlaw Song" is only available on the American Dreamer CD. And the aforementioned alternate mix of "Full Circle," notably different than the mix on Roadmaster and Flying High.
     
  17. czeskleba

    czeskleba Senior Member

    Location:
    Seattle
    I think it's possible the mix of "Tried So Hard" on Early LA is a 1966 vintage mix, though, which would mean Dickson wasn't involved in mixing. I can detect no difference between the Early LA mix and the mix on the Sundazed CD.
     
  18. Maggie

    Maggie funky but chic

    Location:
    Toronto, Canada
    I could believe that, in fact it's probably the most likely explanation (why else would it be on tapes relating to the With the Gosdins album?) - but does it sound that different from the rest of Early LA?

    Why didn't Sundazed include Early LA on their expanded reissue of the Gosdins album? Didn't that CD run something like 48 minutes? Isn't Early LA, like, 22? Although I guess there would be licensing issues involved. Kind of frustrating that those mixes don't exist on CD just because someone decided they weren't worth releasing.

    So I've got an idea:

    The Gene Clark Archives, vol. 1

    I can already see it flying off the shelves.

    The way things are going now, I'd settle for the friggin' Skip Battin Archives. (Actually, Skip is not bad - better than McGuinn's first solo album though it doesn't have anything as good as "My New Woman" or "the Water is Wide" - and has some of Clarence White's greatest ever guitar. But nevermind.)
     
  19. Vivaldinization

    Vivaldinization Active Member

    I honestly think it unlikely that Tried So Hard is a vintage mix. It doesn't sound anything like the other Gosdins mixes, right down to Gene's vocals (and the reverb slathered thereupon). So its constant appearance on 1960s-era compilations confuses me. Mayhap it was misfiled at some point?
     
  20. Dok

    Dok Forum Resident

    What's this??

    In 1972 singer/songwriter Gene Clark still owed A&M Recoreds one more album. Gathering together the cream of the Los Angeles country-rock fraternity - innovative guitarist Clarence White, Chris Ethridge on bass, ex-Byrd and Burrito Brother Michael Clarke on drums, pedal steel guitarist extraordinaire Sneaky Pete, Byron Berline on fiddle and pianist Spooner Oldham - Gene set about recording an album of pure country rock unfettered by any commercial dictates. Although the spring 1972 recording sessions were ultimately abandoned, Gene left eight precious songs in the vaults. "Full Circle Song" (later recorded by the reunited Byrds and a bona fide country-rock classic) and "Shooting Star" reveal a deep, introspective soul-searching. "I Remember the Railroad" and "In a Misty Morning" reflect a longing for the simpler days of his youth. The sessions also produced spirited versions of Flatt & Scruggs' "Rough and Rocky," the country standard "I Really Don't Want to Know," Freddie Weller's rollicking "Roadmaster" and a reinterpretation of his standout Byrds song, "She Don't Care about Time." Gene's manager Jim Dickson took these eight tracks and paired them with three additional unreleased recordings to assemble Roadmaster. The unreleased tracks chronicled to previous attempts at a Byrds reunion ("One in a Hundred" and "She's the Kind of Girl") as well as the stunning "Here Tonight," with Gene backed by The Flying Burrito Brothers. Originally a 1973 European-only release, imported copies of Roadmaster soon found their way to North America as fans came to recognize the brilliance in the ill-fated sessions "The album itself I was proud of," acknowledged Gene years later. "I was proud of the writing and proud of the bunch of people who played on it." This legendary recording makes its Sundazed debut on CD and wondrous high-definition vinyl. It has been painstakingly mastered from the orignal A&M session tapes and is packaged in new album artwork. CD includes extra photos and new liner notes by Gene Clark biographer, John Einarson.
     

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  21. pcpinfo

    pcpinfo Forum Resident

    Location:
    Austin, Texas, USA
    Fabulous news! Anyone have any extra inside info? Tom?

    Luke
     
  22. Stateless

    Stateless New Member

    Location:
    USA
    Look like it's coming out on 9/27....

    http://www.amazon.com/Roadmaster-Ge...r_1_22?s=music&ie=UTF8&qid=1314243463&sr=1-22

    Kind of strange that they changed the cover, but I'm pretty sure there were always 2 different ones. As long as it sounds good, it doesn't really bother me. Looks like there are no bonus tracks according to the description. The Edsel CD does sound pretty good though. I'll wait for the comparisons here.

    Here is a larger image of the new cover....
     

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  23. czeskleba

    czeskleba Senior Member

    Location:
    Seattle
    The attraction of this will be if it contains the original/alternate mix of the album, which seems likely.

    Strange that they went to the trouble of designing a new cover, yet didn't use a 1972 photo this time either. Looks like it's the same car that's on the cover of the Edsel CD.
     
  24. Clarkophile

    Clarkophile Up in T.O. keepin' jive alive Thread Starter

    Sadly, its my information this will be a straight reissue, no Hinshaw mixes.

    Another blown opportunity.

    Yep. Same Ferrari, same clothes. Photo appears to have been from the same shoot as this shot, judging by Gene's attire, with Bill, Chip and Joel simply cut out.
     

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  25. Clarkophile

    Clarkophile Up in T.O. keepin' jive alive Thread Starter

    The Dutch Roadmaster cover, bizarrely featuring a pic of Gene from the Fantastic Expedition of D&C.
     

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