Sinatra / Reprise Sound Quality: "I Remember Tommy" (1961)

Discussion in 'Music Corner' started by MLutthans, Apr 16, 2012.

  1. Steve Hoffman

    Steve Hoffman Mastering Engineer Your Host

    Paul, can I ask how you heard this stuff? Was it a bootleg from the mono session reels that were thrown in the garbage and rescued by dumpster divers or something? Thanks.
     
  2. paulmock

    paulmock Forum Resident

    Location:
    Hollywood, CA
    Oh no, Steve...wrong session. Although we don't discuss boots here I shall answer since asked by you. What I have heard is what many of us have, that is the sessions at United on May1-3, 1961. It is THERE on 5/3 that I discuss Mr. S having issues still with the phrase you mention. These tapes have been in circulation forever.

    I sincerely apologize if I misled or upset you into thinking I had heard anything from RR in March, 1961.
     
  3. Steve Hoffman

    Steve Hoffman Mastering Engineer Your Host

    Thanks, Paul. Still, I can't believe that his United Dorsey outtakes have been booted. I mean, they are not fun listening unless you're into torture although there was a nice alternate take of THE ONE I LOVE BELONGS TO SOMEBODY ELSE, more relaxed, if I remember correctly.


    To answer your question, I think at Radio Recorders his sessions were doomed because Mr. S. had not realized that he couldn't sing like he did in 1940 any more. I mean, if it had been 1956 he would have been better at it but even then he had lost that Dorsey-esque smoothness of his youth. Revisiting songs he hadn't sung in forever must have been a shock to him.

    So at Radio Recorders he realized it after he started, actually captured on tape. I'm sure it depressed him and the sessions were canceled. Once he was over the shock, he got it together and over at United he tried again and it was much better. He went in to United realizing his limitations, worked around them and made a killer album that no one today has really heard of: "I REMEMBER TOMMY".

    Crap, no one today even knows who Tommy was or why he needed remembering in the first place. Now THAT'S sad, considering that Frank's vocal style for many years was basically a vocal version of Dorsey's trombone phrasing which is still the best, ever.
     
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  4. paulmock

    paulmock Forum Resident

    Location:
    Hollywood, CA


    Thanks, Steve. Sad, but true.
     
  5. Ronald Sarbo

    Ronald Sarbo Forum Resident

    Location:
    NY, NY, USA
    "There Are Such Things" first line is "A heart that's true..." not "A heart so true".

    Perhaps Sinatra was suffering from a....cold.
     
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  6. Ronald Sarbo

    Ronald Sarbo Forum Resident

    Location:
    NY, NY, USA
    Tommy Dorsey was also unique in that he may be the only musician who backed and played for Bing, Frank and...Elvis.
     
  7. I was lucky one day about a year ago to find an original 1961 mono Reprise lp in the bins with nary a spindle mark and playing NM, only an extraneous tick or two.

    R 1003-A 4 (in a circle) 10,038-13

    -B (no 4) -15



    My others, either mono or stereo, had, at least, groove wear on the inside tracks.


    This thread prompted a reprise:angel: listening of this lp, tonight.
     

    Attached Files:

  8. SinatraFan

    SinatraFan Well-Known Member

    Glad to have another of these threads!

    This thread made put on the EOTC CD, which is my favorite over the previous ones. Everything sounds more fuller and clearer. I also have a R9 stereo copy. I Remember Tommy is one of my most played Reprise albums and one reason is because I agree the recordings do have great sound quality to them compared to others from around this time.
     
  9. MLutthans

    MLutthans That's my spaghetti, Chewbacca! Staff Thread Starter

    Location:
    Marysville, WA
    I've finished up my review of the album, available over 4 pages, beginning here:

    http://www.11fifty.com/Site_108/1961_-_I_Remember_Tommy_2.html

    (Most of the new stuff is on the third and fourth pages. Also, the pages are no longer embedded with Quicktime files, so no computers should come crashing down.)

    As always, comments/corrections are encouraged, and I'd love to hear your opinions. (Consensus is good, no?)

    Matt
     
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  10. MMM

    MMM Forum Hall Of Fame

    Location:
    Lodi, New Jersey
    Good to see this finished.

    I've maintained that the R9 prefix (stereo) LP is the best way to hear the album, even if it's a little lean somewhere in the bass. Other people seemed to have tried - and failed to varying degrees - to add in some bass, but none of the attempts were completely successful. I'd rather hear it lacking as it is on the R9, than have it hurt the sound in other ways (directly or even indirectly - where the engineer then had to add more of something elsewhere for balance, disturbing the overall tone or more). The mono version does present the bass better in and of itself, and while it has its merits, I don't hear enough of an overall advantage to it over the stereo.

    Hearing the clips from the reel tape issues made me think of how people criticize 8 tracks for being so awful. While the format itself had its own problems, most all mass duplicated pre-recorded analog tapes seem to be a crapshoot - open reel, 8 track, and cassette. Similar duplication quality issues could be all over the place on any of these - it could be very good/great, it could be awful, with a lot of in between too.

    I don't hear the '91/'93/'95 CD issues being intentionally narrowed. I think it's a matter of how its (not that nicely) eq'd, and how the echo is used. Maybe I'm missing something - at first blush, I can sort of hear how someone might think that, but I don't think so. Maybe run a test for width/spread? What I think is happening - with the way that mix is done - the echo is being sent across the channels, I'd guess in some attempt to make the album appear less hard panned, and it ends up just blurring stuff. Not the worst sounding thing, but I don't like it.

    As far as the bass being moved, unless its movement is limited to certain frequencies, I still hear it coming from the left. What I'm not hearing on it is the definition to the attack, the notes being played/its rhythm, etc., but I wonder if that's more of a side effect of the overall eq, instead of a intentional effect. When I listen to the clip of "I'll Be Seeing You" that comes only from the R9 LP, even there the bass sometimes seems harder left than other times. I think that's part of the recording, and maybe to do with leakage into mics on instruments that are in the right channel? It still makes me shake my head how they split the bass and drums across the channels on this and other early Sinatra/Reprise recordings. It doesn't really bother me, but to split them so far apart doesn't really make sense either. The image is going to sound very much "stereo" with the way everything else is laid out, whether they split the bass and drums like they are or not. A United 'thing', obviously...
     
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  11. MLutthans

    MLutthans That's my spaghetti, Chewbacca! Staff Thread Starter

    Location:
    Marysville, WA
    Martin: Thanks for posting and sharing your excellent and well-reasoned thoughts.

    A couple little follow ups:

    Just to clarify, I don't think it was intentionally narrowed, either, so I think we are in agreement.

    What I'm hearing is, I think (and as you intimated earlier), a by-product of whatever was "done to" that 1991 mastering; a result of the "smear" that's on that one. Below is a photo of a typical listener listening to the 1991 and 1998 CD tracks. In my experience, the 1998 disc comes from its appropriate, far left position (yellow arrow), while the 1991 bass seems to come just ever so inward from there (purple arrow). I'm not sure it's intentional (and I doubt, in fact, that it would be).

    Thanks again for posting, and for doing so in such detail, and I hope others will be comfortable following suit. :agree: See: http://www.11fifty.com/Site_108/1961_-_I_Remember_Tommy_2.html

    Matt
     

    Attached Files:

  12. MMM

    MMM Forum Hall Of Fame

    Location:
    Lodi, New Jersey
    Is George Lucas replacing some of the music in STAR WARS with material from I REMEMBER TOMMY?
     
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  13. MLutthans

    MLutthans That's my spaghetti, Chewbacca! Staff Thread Starter

    Location:
    Marysville, WA
    Replace it, he will.
     
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  14. rangerjohn

    rangerjohn Forum Resident

    Location:
    chicago, il

    Thanks for putting the finishing touches on this, Matt. i want to digest all the info and analysis, but I'm not surprised that the original Reprise stereo and mono vinyl are the way to go.

    What's next?
     
  15. bferr1

    bferr1 Forum Resident

    Location:
    MA
    A duet between Luke and Han on "The One I Love Belongs To Somebody Else," maybe?
     
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  16. MLutthans

    MLutthans That's my spaghetti, Chewbacca! Staff Thread Starter

    Location:
    Marysville, WA
    Well, what's the next LP recorded? I think it's POINT OF NO RETURN, but I haven't really checked into it yet.

    Matt

    http://www.11fifty.com/Site_108/1961_-_I_Remember_Tommy_2.html
     
  17. McLover

    McLover Forum Resident

    Location:
    East TN
    MLutthans,

    I concur with you that the R9 Stereo original is the best sounding this essential classic has sounded. My copy is delightful to my ears.
     
  18. rangerjohn

    rangerjohn Forum Resident

    Location:
    chicago, il
    I'd forgotten whether you were proceeding by recording dates or release dates.

    P.S. Thank you for illuminating the differences in the original and EOTC CD versions so finely.
     
  19. MMM

    MMM Forum Hall Of Fame

    Location:
    Lodi, New Jersey
    SWING ALONG WITH ME/SINATRA SWINGS was recorded next - the sessions were held 2-3 weeks after TOMMY. Then POINT OF NO RETURN in September 1961, followed by SINATRA AND STRINGS that November.
     
  20. MLutthans

    MLutthans That's my spaghetti, Chewbacca! Staff Thread Starter

    Location:
    Marysville, WA
    ^^^^^Sounds good to me.
     
  21. MLutthans

    MLutthans That's my spaghetti, Chewbacca! Staff Thread Starter

    Location:
    Marysville, WA
    I just realized that we don't have an F-1003 (mono copies in print from probably 1963-1968) on the samples page. Anybody able to share a clip?
     
  22. McLover

    McLover Forum Resident

    Location:
    East TN
    When I am out digging, I'll see if one can be located.
     
  23. Smartin62

    Smartin62 Forum Resident

    Location:
    Cleburne, Tx USA
    I have the Reprise 20 disc boxed set (not the Leather Trunk, the Cloth Box - not the 2010 Remasters) and I have painstakingly reproduced each album on my HD so I can listen to them in the song-order they were meant to be heard - only to discover that "I'm Getting Sentimental ..." has a reprise (pun-ha!) at the end of LP side two that is not on the box set. Just the full version of the song on the box. I think the old standard CD has the reprised version at the end.

    The information I have noted from other threads (wherever I have found them) says that it is a different take from either the LP or 45, but I don't see it listed in any of my discographies as to what take it is or that there is even a different recorded version on the LP.

    I've heard the song off of a mono LP and it does sound a little different - but - is it just an edit? Joining the front of the song to the back of the song? If so, I think I can edit the song on the box set to replicate it like the LP for my own listening pleasure? Can't I? Or is it actually a different recording?
     
  24. Bob F

    Bob F Forum Resident

    I've never seen any indication that it is a different take. I believe it is an edit of the same, final take (-5). The first four (unreleased) takes are available from unofficial sources, and they do not match.
     
  25. MMM

    MMM Forum Hall Of Fame

    Location:
    Lodi, New Jersey
    I don't remember it being any different than what's in the rest of the song on the album either. I have an acetate of the reprise of the song, and there was some extra content on it. I haven't played it in years though to remember if - in the bulk of it - it matched take wise to the released version.
     

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