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SH Spotlight The True Story of the "Into the Mystic" mixing goof on Van Morrison's "Moondance" album

Discussion in 'Music Corner' started by Steve Hoffman, Jan 17, 2007.

  1. Okay, I'm ready to concede at this point that my W7 Moondance isn't a first pressing. :( I think the comment I made regarding vinyl thickness in the other thread still applies though - in other words, there doesn't seem to be any significant difference in the thickness of Warner Brother's vinyl during the whole Seven Arts period up through the release of "His Band & Street Choir" on the green WB label in 1970. It only thins out a bit starting with 1971 pressings, including first pressings of "Tupelo Honey".

    However, one perhaps more telltale sign is the gatefold sleeve format. Certain Warner Brothers LPs I have around that period varied in the width of the spine of the gatefold - some very thin, others much wider. My "Moondance" W7 with the non-tambourine mix does have a thinner spine, leading me to believe the pressing probably dates around late 1970.
    EasterEverywhere likes this.
  2. -Ben

    -Ben Forum Resident

    Washington DC Area
    Randy also has one. With tambourine, although not W7.
    I'm sure there are W7s with RE-1 1-B somewhere. We have a very small sampling here.
  3. Great story. Thanks Steve.

    Would be interesting to take the CD or an LP needle drop and re-order the tracks as they were originally intended and see how the album plays.

    Look out eBay prices. :sigh:
  4. -Ben

    -Ben Forum Resident

    Washington DC Area
    I would agree. As long as covers and inner sleeves remain with the LPs they originally came in.
  5. CardinalFang

    CardinalFang New Member

    The frustrating thing for me is that record companies used up old labels, covers and sleeves at various times... not to mention stampers! It all gets very confusing, and you never know for sure what edition you have, unless you bought it on release day.
  6. bresna

    bresna Forum Resident

    York, Maine
    Darn! I must have forgotten to press the "Submit Reply" button this morning... :)

    Steve, I was wondering if your source confirmed that this swapped mix was not Van's idea. You only mention that "They had second thoughts about the 1/5/70 remix and decided to go back to the original instead". Did "they" include Van?

    If Van's as particular about his music as everyone says he is, supposedly refusing to release some recent remasters, you might want to find out if he had a say in this.

  7. Steve Hoffman

    Steve Hoffman Your host Your Host Thread Starter

    They means Van and Co., of course. Why does it matter now anyway? The damage was done 37 years ago!
  8. bresna

    bresna Forum Resident

    York, Maine
    It's mind boggling that as picky as Van's rumored to be, that he never noticed that the wrong mix has been used for 37 years. Wow. I wonder if he even knows? If he doesn't know and someone lets him know (wink, wink - C'mon Steve, use those connections :)) maybe he'll let the guy working his magic on the LP do the same for a CD??? :winkgrin:

  9. quicksrt

    quicksrt Senior Member

    City of Angels
    Yeah, better to leave "as is" then I guess, right?

    No sense in fixing it now since the whole world is used to no tamborine.;)
  10. Yeah - that's the only thing about all this that kind of bothers me too. Especially when there was so much seeming urgency to "stop the presses" on the first go-around to substitute the earlier mix. Perhaps Van and/or the "powers that be" decided later that they actually liked the remix better after all?
  11. Sput

    Sput Boilerphile In Memoriam

    Not in Michigan
    Doesn't this mean that is no original master for the LP? Aren't the master tapes two different tapes of the 1969 and 1970 sessions? Did they take these two tapes and make a Flat Copy and from that two more copies named Flat Safety Copy and Original??
  12. Mal

    Mal Phorum Physicist

    Irrespective of when the tracks were recorded on the multitrack tapes the "original master" is simply the approved mixes of each song spliced together.

    Sorry if I am going into too much detail but this might clear up the confusion:

    The "original master" for an LP will be composed of the actual masters for each song. So, for the tracks destined for a single side of the LP, each approved mix (ie the "master" of the song) is cut from the reel it originates from and they are all stuck (spliced) together into one long piece of tape.

    What you end up with is two "original masters" - one for side A and one for side B.

    Now, from these two tapes they cut the lacquers from which the first LP pressings were made (two laquers are needed - one for each side of the LP). At the same time as cutting the lacquer they made two "flat" (unprocessed - no EQ etc) tape dubs (these are the "safety copies") - again, one for each LP side.

    These two safety copy tapes were both labelled "Cutting Master".

    Once it was decided to switch the mix of "Into The Mystic", the unwanted mix was removed from the "original master" for side A and the approved mix was spliced into the "original master" for side A in its place.

    However, the "cutting master" for side A still had the now unwanted mix - this wasn't replaced (apparently due to an oversight).

    When the original pressings after the switch were made they used the "original master" with the replaced mix - hence tambourine on those pressings.

    However, since then all subsequent US Warner Bros LP pressings and the CDs were mastered using the "cutting master" tapes hence they have the "unwanted" mix without tambourine.

    At least - I think that's right! Does that help or are you asking something else?
    Randu likes this.
  13. Joe Koz

    Joe Koz Prodigal Bone Brother™ In Memoriam

    :realmad: :D
  14. Sput

    Sput Boilerphile In Memoriam

    Not in Michigan
    :righton: Thank you :righton:
  15. Steve Hoffman

    Steve Hoffman Your host Your Host Thread Starter


    Your question was so confusing it made my thumbs hurt. Glad Mal answered it.
    GerryO likes this.
  16. Sput

    Sput Boilerphile In Memoriam

    Not in Michigan
    I know. I think what got me this time was "master tape" vs "master tapes". I thought the master was the LP, one tape with all the songs. But apparently it's just as much "song" as "LP". I didn't see master tape as one song that can be moved around and fit into a puzzle that makes up the album.

    Damn it, Steve, I'm lost again. Someday a dream of mine may be fulfilled (if you don't duck out the back) and someone will intercom you and say, "There's some guy named Sput here to see you and he wants to talk audio with you." I can't while I'm having difficulty understanding what you're all talking about sometimes. Okay, most of the time.

    There are no stupid questions, only confusing ones.
  17. Pug

    Pug Elitist Snob

    Near Music Direct
  18. Joe Koz

    Joe Koz Prodigal Bone Brother™ In Memoriam

    :laugh: :laugh: :laugh:
  19. jeendicott

    jeendicott Forum Resident

    Most of my vinyl--save about 25 "favorites"--have been in boxes down in my basement since I moved into my new home last summer. These two threads sent me down there to dig my non-W7 green label out. 1A, with the tambourine. :goodie:

    Thanks (again)! BTW, I've had that song in my head for the last week or so.
  20. xman

    xman Active Member

    Los Angeles, CA
    I had to retrieve this album from storage. Still sounds great. My green label pressing indicates: (Side 1) 39621WS1835A RE1-1 (Side 2) WS-1835 39622-1C Great reading Steve. Now, when does your definitive pressing come out? I'm saving my loose change now.

    :winkgrin: :winkgrin: :winkgrin:
  21. Steve Hoffman

    Steve Hoffman Your host Your Host Thread Starter

    A master tape can be one song or an entire album. Hard to get the lingo down..
  22. rburly

    rburly Sitting comfortably with Item 9

    May I suggest that this thread be archived in a special "Steve's threads" vs. ever being being deleted? It's not very often that history is written after almost 40 years of only 1 or 2 people knowing the true history and taking it to their grave with them.
  23. Steve Hoffman

    Steve Hoffman Your host Your Host Thread Starter

  24. reverber

    reverber Forum Resident

    Lawrence KS, USA
    I want to hear some more stories from that diary!

  25. Another Side

    Another Side Forum Resident

    San Francisco
    What I'm confused about is the purpose of creating the cutting master in this case. I do understand that cutting masters were created to cut records, but why then was the initial run cut with the original master?

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