Thursday, February 18, 2016
Dis, Dat, Or De Udder: Singles Vs. Album Tracks
Our pal Steve Simels over at Power Pop posted a track by Stealers Wheel called "Everything'll Turn Out Fine," their follow-up flop to "Stuck In The Middle." He specifically posted the single version, pointing out that the album version had been "hideously re-recorded" for their second album. I focused on the word "hideously" for one reason. I love Stealers Wheel's second album, "Ferguslie Park," especially "Everything'll Turn Out Fine." The entire record is wonderful, no different really than an Emitt Rhodes record. I highly recommend this fantastic record from Gerry Rafferty and Joe Egan, if you're only familiar with the hit. But I digress.
So, what's so hideous?
I'll tell ya.
I had never heard the single version of the song until Steve posted it. It is superior. Definitely not "hideous," but much better. And if I had heard it first, I think I might have felt the way Steve feels. I posted the single version as the Song Of The Day and the re-record above. Take a listen to both, single first, and see what you think.
This also got the wood burning.
I thought about the U.S. single version of "Rebel, Rebel," which I think blows away the too long album version. The 3:00 run time is plenty, and with the added congas and tambourine and backing vocals, the song, for me, becomes less monotonous and plodding. The 45 really takes off.
I also thought about two Elvis Costello 45s- the U.S. version of "Alison," which I think most people, including Elvis, despise. Personally, I think the added strings and harmonies work well. I'm not saying it's better, but it's one I go to occssionally. The other is a lesser known tune from "All This Useless Beauty." The single version of "It's Time" removes the bridge completely and keeps things moving. That bridge is clumsy and it adds over two unnecessary minutes.
While the examples I just gave are not re-records, they do highlight how a few knob tweaks in a studio could make or break a tune. For two examples of how those tweaks broke a tune- check out the horrible edits on the single versions of Bowie's "Young Americans" and 10cc's "I'm Not In Love," the latter having the whole point carved out like a pumpkin.
Do you have any preferred versions? If you can, please no "acoustic" or "live" versions. I'm looking for alternates, whether a single versus an album version, or a re-record.