Monday, February 3, 2020

Country Joe & The Fish - Electric Music For The Mind And Body (1967) [Mono WLP]

Country Joe & The Fish - Electric Music For The Mind And Body
Original 1967 White Label Promotional LP
Vanguard VRS-9244 ~ MONO MIX
~ThePoodleBites Rip in 96kHz / 24bit FLAC + full high-res scans~

This Berkeley, California-based group's legendary debut has been considered by some to be the most psychedelic record by anyone ever; whether or not you agree with that assessment, it probably does not overstate the album's importance to the genre. Electric Music For The Mind And Body appeared at a time when psychedelic music was still in its infancy, and indeed many themes present here would find their way onto other late-'60s records, e.g. Ultimate Spinach. Unfortunately the album has been quite misrepresented in the digital era by a plethora of bad CD reissues, leaving most fans to turn to scratchy original records on aging equipment to hear the music at least somewhat properly.

I'm so excited to finally present this rip on my blog in stellar sound quality. I've been wanting to do this scarcer monaural version of album for years, but found only a handful of noisy mono copies before this pristine white-label promo surprisingly dropped into my hands. This superior mono mix has only been issued twice, once upon original issue in 1967 and once again upon release of a dreadful revisionist CD reissue from 2013 (see my write-up below for details). The transfer & restoration presented here gives to my estimation the closest possible representation of the mono master tapes available to date. I think this will stand as the definitive version of this classic psychedelic LP. 


I originally ripped the stereo mix of this album some years before this blog existed, and was then surprised to find that the original stereo LP was superior to both the later CD and LP reissues by quite some margin. My restoration skills have evolved quite a bit since that original transfer, so I'm quite delighted to finally improve upon those existing shares now posted here. While not an altogether terrible mix, the stereo version of this album fell victim to bad mix-down choices which were common in the day (e.g. drums all in the right channel, poor balance upon fold-down, ...) which renders this tasty mono version sounding comparatively better today. Most will likely agree that the band's debut is best heard in the mono version presented here, and this WLP was pressed from the the very first original unworn stampers, a somewhat difficult thing to find these days with popular major-label releases.




















The mono mix was first reissued on CD in 2013 by Vanguard/Ace, compiled with a first-ever reissue of the original stereo mix (heavily noise reduced vinyl transfer, avoid at all costs!). The mono mix appeared to be from master tapes, but with a few big issues. Firstly, the mastering was done way too loud -- every track is limiting, and the dynamics of the recordings are totally lost due to overuse of compressors. Secondly, the equalization was totally cranked for a "more modern" sound, again destroying the natural sound of the recording. Thirdly the CD speed is slightly too fast, as is easily determined by comparing to original LPs on various equipment or by noting the recording's hum is slightly above its nominal value. Finally (and perhaps most frustratingly), it appears that either the stereo mix or multi-track masters were used for some occasional splicing, heard most obviously at the end of "Bass Strings." On the original mono mix, Joe McDonald's voice is drenched in reverb and his whispering of "L.S.D." for the second time is completely inaudible in the song's fade out; on the CD remaster/remix, the reverb is covered up with Joe's voice being much louder, and the second "L.S.D." is loud and clear. It's despicable that, over 50 years after initial release, a rip is necessary due to professional engineers tampering with this record's history!

Given the rarity of pristine mono copies these days and my appreciation of this album's longstanding history, I've taken a very "hands off" approach to mastering this item. My intention has been to preserve as best as possible the mastering of the original release and the sound of the master tapes. That means that 60Hz hum and its various overtones, present from the mixing console and also heard on the CD remaster in the parts not blanketed with noise reduction, are present here, although it would have been trivial for me to take this out without any noticeable damage to the music. It also means that the non-vinyl distortions/clicks heard primarily in "Martha Lorraine" but also in other tracks such as "Super Bird" and "Grace" (which you may or may not even hear) have been left intact. All these noises are part of the historic sound of this recording and better off left alone. I was extremely careful about which clicks I removed versus left in, having compared 1:1 with the CD reissue to ensure I didn't harm parts of the original recording. I've downloaded files from other rippers who have said things along the lines of "all that noise is on the tape!" only to find a master tape CD myself and realize the ripper either 1) couldn't hear the noise that I could, or 2) was otherwise totally lying; followers of my blog here will know that I am picky about audio quality and that I can guarantee my results.

So, with all those details out of the way and now that you're salivating to actually hear this thing, I present to you: the Country Joe & The Fish debut album in gloriously unhindered mono beauty . . .


Line-Up:
Country Joe McDonald - vocals, guitar, bells, tambourine
Barry "The Fish" Melton - vocals, guitar
David Bennett Cohen - guitar, organ
Bruce Barthol - bass, harmonica
Chicken Hirsch - drums

Track Listing:
1) "Flying High" – 2:51
2) "Not So Sweet Martha Lorraine" – 4:33
3) "Death Sound" – 4:28
4) "Porpoise Mouth" – 2:53
5) "Section 43" – 7:23
6) "Super Bird" – 2:09
7) "Sad and Lonely Times" – 2:28
8) "Love" – 2:27
9) "Bass Strings" – 5:11
10) "The Masked Marauder" – 3:13
11) "Grace" – 7:09

Vinyl Condition: M-

Dynamic Range: DR 13

Equipment Lineage:
– Audio-Technica AT150MLx Dual Moving-Magnet Cartridge
– Audio-Technica AT-LP1240-USB Direct Drive Professional Turntable (internal stock preamp/ADC removed)
– TCC TC-754 RIAA Phono Preamp (new regulated power supply, added LM7812 regulator)
– Focusrite Scarlett 6i6 MkII (96kHz / 24bit)
– Adobe Audition CC 2019 (recording)
– iZotope RX 7 Audio Editor (manual declicking, mono fold, EQ subtraction, additional adjustments)
– Audacity 2.3.3 (fades between tracks, split tracks)
– Foobar2000 v1.5.1 (tagging, dynamic range analysis)

Thanks for taking the time to read my posts and check out my blog. I'd greatly appreciate it if you leave a small comment below. Notes from my readers are what inspire me to keep going. Thanks! 
Google Drive: https://drive.google.com/drive/folders/1i7Thxj9LLKVOjK2rTGz7akVosGrqeaae?usp=sharing
Enjoy! :)

Saturday, December 14, 2019

Steppenwolf - Steppenwolf (1968) [2019 Sundazed Mono]

Steppenwolf - Steppenwolf  (1968)
2019 Sundazed LP 5558 Mono LP (Discogs)
Newly surfaced true dedicated mono mix!
~ThePoodleBites rip in 96kHz / 24bit FLAC + full high-res scans~

The origins of hard rock / heavy metal music, along with Black Sabbath and the Vanilla Fudge, is deeply linked to the legendary music of Steppenwolf. While probably best remembered today for their Easy Rider hits "Born To Be Wild" and "The Pusher," I'd argue the best moment on their debut is actually "The Ostrich," which boasts more poignant lyrics than most bands accomplish in their entire careers. Some tracks are perhaps disposable but the album is certainly more often great than mediocre. After being surprised with massive success the band would prolifically produce albums for ABC/Dunhill surmounting in what would many consider their best record, Steppenwolf 7, only 2 years later!

For this debut I've ripped 3 original US mono copies of this album (two of which were only mono on one side), and I can confirm with some certainty that these copies sound very much like a re-equalized stereo fold-down. However, this recent Sundazed release shows that the album was mixed in mono at some point in time, but whether or not it was released in 1968 remains definitively unproven. Whatever the history, this mix is 100% worth hearing. I've included a 44.1kHz / 16bit downsample of this one as it appears to have been cut from CD-quality source material.

Thanks to my buddy Aaron R. for making me aware of this reissue so that I
could purchase, rip, & share it for all!

I've found it impossible to scan the foil cover, so I've robbed this photograph from the Sundazed website.

For the record, Sundazed's engineer boldly makes some claims about this mix on their website, some of which are untrue, so be forewarned that there still are all the guitars in "The Ostrich" and you'll also find double-tracked vocals on your stereo mix of "A Girl I Knew." How a professional engineer in a high-end studio could make these blunders is beyond me... but there's one other mastering mistake here, and that's that it appears whoever transferred the tape did so with a stereo tape head and then folded to mono, not realizing that the channels were slightly out of phase when doing so, thus leading to some spectral cancellations in the high frequencies. Whooops! But, we're stuck with this as it's the only confirmed source for this mix, and damn does it still sound good. I'd venture as far as to say that "The Pusher" must be heard in mono to hear in its definitive form!

It's also worth mentioning that these mixes are quite different than the single versions, which have all been conveniently compiled in great sound quality on the Real Gone retrospective set. So, for some of these tracks, at least 3 period mixes are known to exist! Boy are we lucky... :)

Track Listing:
  1. "Sookie Sookie" – 3:15
  2. "Everybody's Next One" – 3:01
  3. "Berry Rides Again" – 2:51
  4. "Hootchie Kootchie Man" – 5:14
  5. "Born To Be Wild" – 3:30
  6. "Your Wall's Too High" – 5:47
  7. "Desperation" – 5:47
  8. "The Pusher" – 5:52
  9. "A Girl I Knew" – 2:42
  10. "Take What You Need" – 3:33
  11. "The Ostrich" – 5:48
Vinyl Condition: Mint (brand new)
Dynamic Range: DR12

Lineage:
– Audio-Technica AT150MLx Dual Moving-Magnet Cartridge
– Audio-Technica AT-LP1240-USB Direct Drive Professional Turntable (internal stock preamp/ADC removed)
– TCC TC-754 RIAA Phono Preamp (new regulated power supply, added LM7812 regulator)
– Focusrite Scarlett 6i6 MkII (96kHz / 24bit)
– Adobe Audition CC 2019 (recording)
– iZotope RX 7 Audio Editor (manual declicking, EQ subtraction, additional adjustments)
– Audacity 2.3.0 (fades between tracks, split tracks)
– Foobar2000 v1.5.0 (tagging, dynamic range analysis)


Google Drive: https://drive.google.com/open?id=1tHQGCS8AQWNWOfe8F8nkRw3wRo9eav_Z
Enjoy, and please leave comments below. Merry Christmas to all! 

Thursday, November 28, 2019

The Legend - Portrait Of Youth / Enjoy Yourself [Original Single]

The Legend - "Portrait Of Youth" b/w "Enjoy Yourself"
Original 45 RPM Mono Single
Megaphone ‎– R 703
~ThePoodleBites rip in 96kHz / 24bit FLAC + full high-resolution scans~

Here's another really cool single from my colleague C.F. Both songs have been comp'd (the A-side most famously on Boulders, and the flip-side on A Lethal Dose Of Hard Psych), but I think this new and freshly restored transfer transcends the audio quality available elsewhere. The Legend also released an eponymous album on the short-lived Megaphone label, but that album was recorded in part by session musicians in a band-unapproved move towards the pop-rock style; the songs on this 45 are both heavy psych monsters. Breaking from their management, the Legend rebranded themselves Dragonfly and released one killer psych-/hard-rock long-player on the same label in 1968. Dragonfly also features a re-recorded version of "Enjoy Yourself" but most will prefer this single version, which should've justifiably been a major hit. 

Thanks for C.F. yet again for lending out this rare psych monster from his archives!


Track Listing:
1) "Portrait Of Youth" -- 2:47
2) "Enjoy Yourself" -- 2:53

Dynamic Range: DR11

Lineage:
– Audio-Technica AT150MLx Dual Moving-Magnet Cartridge
– Audio-Technica AT-LP1240-USB Direct Drive Professional Turntable (internal stock preamp/ADC removed)
– TCC TC-754 RIAA Phono Preamp (new regulated power supply, added LM7812 regulator)
– Focusrite Scarlett 6i6 MkII (96kHz / 24bit)
– Adobe Audition CC 2019 (recording)
– iZotope RX 7 Audio Editor (manual declicking, EQ subtraction, additional adjustments)
– Audacity 2.3.0 (fades between tracks, split tracks)
– Foobar2000 v1.4.8 (tagging, dynamic range analysis)



Google Drive: https://drive.google.com/drive/folders/1xrTtXTUMDNV5EhclSZVfPuvcpFQGbNcn?usp=sharing
Enjoy yourself & happy Thanksgiving! :)

Saturday, November 23, 2019

Mother Tuckers Yellow Duck - Funny Feeling / I (1969) [Original 2nd Canadian Stereo Single]

Mother Tuckers Yellow Duck - "Funny Feeling" / "I"
Original 45 RPM Stereo Single (2nd Version)
1969 Duck Records D.R. 1
~ThePoodleBites rip in 96kHz / 24bit FLAC + full high-res scans~

As a compliment to the mono first version of this single, which I ripped here, here is the re-recorded stereo version which the band released the following year on their own private label. These versions are notably more polished than those on the rawer mono record. It's also worth mentioning that the stereo version of "Funny Feeling" is a noticeably different mix than on the Home Grown Stuff CD. So, which of the versions do you prefer? Leave a comment below and let me know! :)

Thanks again to C.F. for loaning out this record for a proper restoration!





















Track Listing:
1) "Funny Feeling" -- 3:38
2) "I" -- 3:14

Dynamic Range: DR12

Lineage:
– Audio-Technica AT150MLx Dual Moving-Magnet Cartridge
– Audio-Technica AT-LP1240-USB Direct Drive Professional Turntable (internal stock preamp/ADC removed)
– TCC TC-754 RIAA Phono Preamp (new regulated power supply, added LM7812 regulator)
– Focusrite Scarlett 6i6 MkII (96kHz / 24bit)
– Adobe Audition CC 2019 (recording)
– iZotope RX 7 Audio Editor (manual declicking, EQ subtraction, additional adjustments)
– Audacity 2.3.0 (fades between tracks, split tracks)
– Foobar2000 v1.4.5 (tagging, dynamic range analysis)




Enjoy & please leave comments below! 

Tuesday, November 5, 2019

Mother Tucker's Yellow Duck - I / Funny Feeling (1968) [Original 1st Canadian Mono Single]

Mother Tucker's Yellow Duck - "I" / "Funny Feeling"
Original Mono 45 RPM Single (1st Version) 
London Records M. 17363 / TCP Records TCP. 106
~ThePoodleBites Rip in 96kHz / 24bit FLAC + full high-res scans~

Mother Tucker's Yellow Duck is a well-known Canadian psychedelic group who managed to release two solid albums on Capitol Records in '68-'69. Before both of those records, though, the band had a little-known non-LP single, which is presented here digitally for the first time. This single was originally released on London Records and TCP Records (distributed by London) in 1968. While technically on a major label, obviously not many copies were produced, as by 1969 the band had re-recorded both sides in glorious stereo for reissue on their own Duck Records label. The earlier 1968 first version (in mono) is the more raw recording of the two. To my ears there are strong California vibes here, bringing in a rural wave a la early Jefferson Airplane or The Byrds. Nevertheless both sides are worth enjoying & be sure to check out their full-length records if you haven't already been turned on to them.

Thanks to C.F. for his major contributions: both for lending out these 45s and
for the help with research!




















Both the orange-label London release (likely a promotional variant of the stock blue-label version, which also exists) and the TCP version were made with identical stampers. I've included raw transfers from both as usual, and ended up using whichever one played cleaner for the final restoration. Scans of the labels from both variants are included as well.





















Track Listing:
1) "I" -- 3:19
2) "Funny Feeling" -- 3:43

Dynamic Range: DR12

Lineage:
– Audio-Technica AT150MLx Dual Moving-Magnet Cartridge
– Audio-Technica AT-LP1240-USB Direct Drive Professional Turntable (internal stock preamp/ADC removed)
– TCC TC-754 RIAA Phono Preamp (new regulated power supply, added LM7812 regulator)
– Focusrite Scarlett 6i6 MkII (96kHz / 24bit)
– Adobe Audition CC 2019 (recording)
– iZotope RX 7 Audio Editor (manual declicking, EQ subtraction, additional adjustments)
– Audacity 2.3.0 (fades between tracks, split tracks)
– Foobar2000 v1.4.5 (tagging, dynamic range analysis)


Google Drive: https://drive.google.com/drive/folders/1NrAAZemSi5G-tiXGON6jrtTwDWllBWIE?usp=sharing

Enjoy, & feel free to leave a comment below! :)

Sunday, October 27, 2019

The Nebulas - A Mind Where People Smile / I Can Always Love [Original Single]

The Nebulas - "A Mind Where People Smile" / "I Can Always Love"
Original Surfside 7"45 RPM Single
Surfside Records 1010
~ThePoodleBites rip in 96kHz / 24bit FLAC + full high-res scans~

An ultra-cool & ultra-rare garage-psych 45 from an unknown group called the Nebulas. I can't find any information about these guys, but C.F. turned me on to this one and lent out his copy for a transfer for all to enjoy. (Were you in The Nebulas? Please get in contact with me via the email at the side of this page!)

Thanks to C.F. for making this music available for all!


Track Listing:
1) "A Mind Where People Smile" -- 3:14
2) "I Can Always Love" -- 2:43

Dynamic Range: DR12

Lineage:
– Audio-Technica AT150MLx Dual Moving-Magnet Cartridge
– Audio-Technica AT-LP1240-USB Direct Drive Professional Turntable (internal stock preamp/ADC removed)
– TCC TC-754 RIAA Phono Preamp (new regulated power supply, added LM7812 regulator)
– Focusrite Scarlett 6i6 MkII (96kHz / 24bit)
– Adobe Audition CC 2019 (recording)
– iZotope RX 7 Audio Editor (manual declicking, EQ subtraction, additional adjustments)
– Audacity 2.3.0 (fades between tracks, split tracks)
– Foobar2000 v1.4.5 (tagging, dynamic range analysis)


Google Drive: https://drive.google.com/drive/folders/1Ch_HeUhhIE7sl1Swzrl7jmH0TlxzYIqu?usp=sharing

Enjoy, and please leave comments below! :) 

Tuesday, October 22, 2019

Corpus - Creation A Child (1973) [Original Private Pressing]

Corpus - Creation A Child (1973)

Acorn Records LP-1001 (Discogs)
~ThePoodleBites rip in 96kHz / 24bit FLAC + full high-res scans~

After being bamboozled by a counterfeit and thus having to sort out The Acid Archives errors with the help of Josh R., I'm happy to present a pristine restoration of this Texan blues-psych cruiser from an immensely rare original pressing. I first heard Corpus 5 or 6 years ago via "Marriage," whose guitar line immediately hooked this album into my top wants. After years of waiting, I found a beautiful copy that plays clean and was a fantastic source for this project. 

Thanks to Josh for another amazing write-up below!

The mystical, celestial front cover of the sole Corpus LP perfectly describes the music within. 
When it comes to my favorite early 1970s bluesy psychedelic rock, it doesn't seem to get much better than Corpus's "Creation A Child," a self-released record out of (you guessed it) Corpus Christi, Texas. From the moment I heard this LP I was immediately captivated by the soulful, screaming lead guitar which jolts the album with pure electricity. I'd really not heard such commanding guitar on a private press album, which drew me in from the very first listen – this is no one-man guitar hero show LP, this is a full band work with the guitar accenting the songs, yet ends up stealing the show more than once.

Corpus jamming at a local venue, early 1970s. (L to R: William Grate, Frudy Lianes, Rick DeLeon, & James Castillo)
Blasting out of the gate we have "Cruising," and if there ever was a driving-fast-in-your-Camero in the 70s song, this is it. With (supposedly true) lyrics about picking up hitchhikers and getting stoned (and even sleeping with them!) the vibe of the album starts off in full party mode, with bluesy riffing and lead guitar.
Frudy & Beaver locking in TX grooves.

The multi tracked guitar on this album is stellar and professional, with William Grate's black Les Paul dominating the sound, and they achieved great results in the 8-track studio where they recorded it, quite surprising for a local release. Looking at photos, it seems Grate played through a Traynor amplifier, while James Castillo played through a Sunn and Kustom amp with a Fender bass. Rhythm guitarist Richard DeLeon played a red Gibson SG with P-90s through an Acoustic amplifier.

But it is "Joy" where the moody, dreamy tone sets in, with aching lead guitar that invokes a midnight vibe few albums can muster. It may come as a surprise to listeners of this album that the band consisted of teenagers - the swagger and confidence indicates a group much older and wiser. Mature lyrics about marriage are unusual for a group this young, and indeed they had a lyricist penning the words to the tunes. Going into "Marriage" we have a twin-lead guitar riff rocker with realistic view of the union of two partners yet also ponders the yearning for a woman with no strings attached.

The closing song of Side A, "Creation A Child" is a slow-burning psych delight with a loping, mellow guitar riff until about halfway through, when they kick things up a notch into a total scorching rocker.

Side B opens with a pair of boogie rockers - "Just A Man" features roadhouse dual overdubbed smoking guitar leads and continues the themes of man and woman as well as "We Can Make It, Luv." One can imagine "Just A Man" or "Cruising" made nice live show openers for their presumably hot live shows. "Not Mine" is a softer downer track that is a bit of a break from the boogie rockers [tpb: and sounds great with a few tokes of your favorite tea!].

Rick DeLeon playing rhythm while voicing along.
"Where Is She" is a more generic blues rocker, and feels like a bit of a filler track, but soon we are lifted by the masterful closer "Mythical Dream.” One of the highlights of the album to me, an absolutely dreamy loping soft psych cut with lyrics inspired by the Greek gods and goddesses. Slow, stoned and haunting, the slight vibrato warbles of the lead guitarist are entrancing and show Corpus were just as good at going for slower moody ballads as they were doing their quick boogie-best rockers.

Not much is known about what became of Corpus, as this was their only vinyl offering. There has been some confusion about the release date, and the years 1970-1972 have been stated. However, the Houston Records numbers where the album was pressed clearly point to 1973 (which I trust more than hazy memory.) They didn't last much longer, due to drugs and personal issues, as is the case with so many of these hometown bands that were lucky enough to cut a record back in the day. It's difficult for me to encapsulate why I enjoy Creation A Child so much, but I believe the vibe, stellar lead playing and recording quality and confidence make it close to, if not a Top 10 private press favorite for me, and is the type of album people will easily pay $100+ for a bootleg copy. Although they were planning a 2nd LP, it never materialized, but at least they left us with this incredible piece of wax wrapped in a spooky hand-drawn cover. [JR]


Josh R. is a well-respected private press enthusiast and
scene specialist on rare & obscure records from yesteryear.



















Unfortunately while my Corpus disc is very clean (as you are about to hear), the cover has some ring wear from bouncing around in a box for decades. My old pink-label bootleg LP had no such wear, so I've included scans of that copy as well for ultimate completists, although most will probably find this addition unnecessary and redundant.

Personnel:
William Grate - Lead Guitar, Background Vocals
James Castillo (Beaver) - Bass
Frudy Lianes - Drums
Richard DeLeon (De-De) - Rhythm Guitar, Lead Vocals
Gilbert Pena, Jr. - Lyrics

Track Listing:
1) "Cruising" -- 3:46
2) "Joy" -- 6:25
3) "Marriage" -- 3:36
4) "Creation A Child" -- 6:55
5) "Just A Man" -- 3:17
6) "We Can Make It, Luv" -- 2:30
7) "Not Mine" -- 3:30
8) "Where Is She" -- 3:36
9) "Mythical Dream" -- 4:58

Vinyl Condition: M-
Dynamic Range: DR 13

Lineage:
– Audio-Technica AT150MLx Dual Moving-Magnet Cartridge
– Audio-Technica AT-LP1240-USB Direct Drive Professional Turntable (internal stock preamp/ADC removed)
– TCC TC-754 RIAA Phono Preamp (new regulated power supply, added LM7812 regulator)
– Focusrite Scarlett 6i6 MkII (96kHz / 24bit)
– Adobe Audition CC 2019 (recording)
– iZotope RX 7 Audio Editor (manual declicking, EQ subtraction, additional adjustments)
– Audacity 2.3.0 (fades between tracks, split tracks)
– Foobar2000 v1.4.5 (tagging, dynamic range analysis)




Google Drive: https://drive.google.com/open?id=17_5Xg12B3lPv51QAhkV0A5rFqkvsX9Xt


Enjoy, and please feel free to leave a comment below!