Friday, May 25, 2012
"Mono" : THE WEEKEND MIX
Remember the first time you heard a compact disc? Didn't you think, "Holy Moly, Myrtle. Can you please help me throw all my records away?"
Then, there were the purists. They knew. They weren't buying this 5" piece of aluminum with compressed music and no liner notes. As much as those damn purists can suck the life out of a perfectly fun conversation about music, they had a point.
So here we are 30 years later, and that elusive mono copy of Simon & Garfunkel's "Bookends" that you tossed into a box with your comic books, Bonanza lunch boxes, and Beatles nodders, is now a hot item and the bane of my existence I might add, while your CDs with their remastered sound and bonus tracks, barely sell for a buck or two on the used market.
Vinyl is hot. Mono vinyl is hotter.
Mono sounds better...to some. (Not to Al Kooper. Trust me.) I'll take a mono LP over a stereo pressing anyday. If you have the opportunity, compare the stereo vs. mono pressings of the following:
Aretha Franklin- I Never Loved A Man
Rolling Stones- Now
Beatles- Rubber Soul
The Who- Sell Out
Otis Redding- Dictionary Of Soul
The mono wins every time. But then again, it's all in the ears of the beholder. For me, all the mono Stax/Volt and Atlantic soul records of the 60s pack a bigger wallop. The rhythm section has a snap, a punch that you can feel in your chest. (It is all about the bass and drums, isn't it?) "Green Onions" by Booker T. & The MGs? Mono, please!
There are subtle differences, like Paul's harmony vocal on the mono version of "I'm So Tired," which is barely audible on the stereo version. Or not so subtle differences, like the stereo version of "Surrealistic Pillow" which sounds like it was recorded in an airport bathroom, as opposed to the warm, reverb-free mix of the mono LP.
For years I had been listening to "World" by the Bee Gees, wondering what happened to the last chorus where all 3 brothers harmonize. It was the mono single, the one that got played on the radio, and not what made the hundreds of Bee Gees compilation CDs in stereo. It had a longer fade-out. (Even the deluxe CD edition of "Horizontal," which includes the whole album in stereo and mono, does not do the original vinyl justice.) Speaking of longer fades, the mono "Mrs Robinson" has just a tad bit more at the end.
I guess you may have gleaned from what I've written so far, the theme of this Weekend Mix.
Here is your mono playlist.
Like A Rolling Stone- Bob Dylan
I'll Feel A Whole Lot Better- The Byrds
Bus Stop- The Hollies
Somebody To Love- Jefferson Airplane
You Need Loving- Small Faces
I'm So Tired- The Beatles
World- The Bee Gees
Brown Sugar- Rolling Stones
Sunshine Of Your Love- Cream
Green Onions- Booker T. & The MGs
Bold As Love- Jimi Hendrix
Celebration Day- Led Zeppelin
Stand- Sly & The Family Stone
Feelin' Alright- Traffic
I Can See For Miles- The Who
Tapioca Tundra- The Monkees
Uncle Albert/Admiral Halsey- Paul McCartney
Waterloo Sunset- The Kinks
Time Of The Season- The Zonbies
Mrs. Robinson- Simon & Garfunkel
Hope ya like it!