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Saturday, March 18, 2023

The Travel Agency - What's A Man / She Understands (1969) [Mono 45]

The Travel Agency - "What's A Man" b/w "She Understands"

Original promotional monaural 45 RPM single
Viva – V-637  (Discogs)
~ThePoodleBites rip in 96 kHz / 24 bit FLAC + full high-res scans~

Two of the best tracks off the self-titled Travel Agency album were picked for inclusion on this promotional 45, which offers unique mono mixes. "What's A Man" is the highlight, with a significantly different mix including extra vocal harmonies and a truncated introduction, where the guitar comes in at an unusual time. The mono "She Understands" is closer to the stereo version, but has earlier fades, more cymbals and less bass. This post offers a significant improvement in sound quality from any previous digital version of these mono mixes.

Much like the superior pressing of their full-length LP, this single was manufactured at the Monarch pressing plant in the band's home turf of southern California. That unfortunately means that this disc was made on styrene, a cheap vinyl substitute which has ensured that these discs all have varying degrees of groove burn today. I used the better of two mint-looking copies to make this digital master, but there were still countless hours of manual work involved in making them sound clean. These files have been in-progress since September 2020! Nonetheless, I'm quite satisfied with the results.

Both of these 45 versions have been compiled on the U-Spaces bootleg California Love-In Volume 2, with inferior sound quality, but have never reappeared from the original tapes in any form. These tracks offer lower fidelity than the stereo LP; this is a result of their manufacture, and not from any restoration technique. "What's A Man" has a treble roll-off around 14.5 kHz, and for "She Understands" it's even lower, around 11 kHz: that's perfectly acceptable for AM radio, but rather disappointing to hear on a hi-fi setup. Still, for fans of this band's music, these alternate versions are absolutely necessary additions to the digital archives, and make very nice bonus tracks. 

1) "Whats A Man" -- 3:16
2) "She Understands" -- 3:04

Vinyl condition: M-
Dynamic range: DR 12

Equipment Lineage:
– Audio-Technica VMN40ML stylus on AT150MLx dual moving-magnet cartridge
– Audio-Technica AT-LP1240-USB direct drive professional turntable (internal stock preamp/ADC removed)
– Pro-Ject Phono Box S2 Ultra preamp with dedicated Zero Zone linear power supply
– Focusrite Scarlett 6i6 MkII (96kHz / 24bit)
– Adobe Audition CC 2020 (recording)
– iZotope RX 10 audio editor (manual declicking, EQ subtraction, additional adjustments)
– Audacity 2.x.x (fades between tracks, split tracks)
– Foobar2000 v1.6.16 (tagging, dynamic range analysis)

B-side also available on YouTube here:

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!

Enjoy these alternate mixes!


  1. Wow, many thanks for another fantastic post TPB, can't get enough of your rips of garage/psych gems, much appreciated !!

  2. Very nice! What an unexpected find, thanks so much.

  3. Thank you -- your hard work restoring these treasures is much appreciated!!

  4. Definite upgrade from the versions I had already which I assume come from the source you mention.
    Thanks for the post

  5. amazing work! looked at their discography on discogs; does the What's A Man/Sorry You Were Born single have the same mixes as the album versions, if you know? That leaves two singles from 1966 with unique songs if I'm not mistaken.

  6. Will wonders and amazements cease to exist? Not with The Poodle !!! .... cheers !

  7. Thank You, TPB, for Your work - again! - and for another beautiful tune.

  8. Nice work again: it is hard to think it comes from a styrene medium.
    Great artwork too.
    Your "Travel Agency" LP too is superb all the way.
    Maybe it would have been nice to have the full vinyl displaid rather than partly hidden behind the paper sleeve.
    Impressive is the superb sound(stage) your work provide.
    Being very concerned with the width and height in the staging, I can say you do it great, for that too, as it's a point I rarely see discussed anywhere even in the "sister" sites.
    Sincerely yours with best regards.