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If I Were Redoing the Who's CD Catalog/After the Fire Q
This is how I would handle upgrading the Who's CD catalog if I were in
Studio Albums: Each of the Who's studio albums would feature completely
restored original artwork (including lyrics) and new historical liner notes.
My Generation: Remixed from Shel Talmy's three-track masters. Original UK
running order plus all other Talmy-era (1965) recordings as bonus tracks
(including Substitute, which may not have been produced by Talmy). I'd
actually prefer that the songs be remixed to mono if (as was often the case)
vocals were recorded on one track, instruments on the second, and
percussion/solo overdubs were recorded on the third track.
A Quick One: Remixed to true STEREO. Nearly all the tracks have appeared in
true stereo at some point, and I assume the songs were recorded to
four-track. Original UK running order plus all 1966-early 1967 nonalbum
tracks (incl. Happy Jack and Pictures of Lilly) remixed to stereo. If there
was room, I'd also include the live version of A Quick One from Rock and Roll
Circus. NOTE: The mono mix of the album is currently available on CD in
Europe. Since any Who fan who really cares about mono will have this, I see
no need to reissue the CD as a mono/stereo twofer.
Sell Out: Remixed to stereo with all late '67 era nonalbum cuts (e.g., the
original version of MAWTSH) and outtakes as bonus tracks. I wouldn't mind if
some of the box set outtake material was repeated here (assuming there isn't
additional outtake material available), although I'd prefer that the pre-1994
overdub versions be used. While I wouldn't mind seeing a mono/stereo twofer,
I'll leave that to Mobile Fidelity.
Tommy: Remixed [anyone who thinks that the Ultradisc is as good as Tommy will
ever sound ought to listen to the remixed Tommy Can You Hear Me on TKAA
soundtrack] with deluxe booklet containing extensive liner notes and full
"libretto." This could be packaged like the second Zeppelin box or the
Atlantic gold CD reissues (i.e, in "mini" boxes) or in slip case. In
addtion, there would be a deluxe 25th Anniversary set (modeled after the
Layla 20th Anniversary set) containing the remixed album and bonus discs
containing Pete's original demos and a complete live Tommy set from 1969.
Who's Next: Remixed. As bonus tracks, I would include the Join Together,
Relay, and Let's See Action singles and their b-sides, as well as Pure n
Easy. In 1996, I would release a deluxe 25th Anniversary box set featuring
two discs of studio material and two discs of live material recorded at the
Young Vic theatre.
Quadrophenia: Remixed with extended versions of songs and musical interludes
when possible. Anybody who has a problem with remixing Quadrophenia can
simply hold onto the copy they have now (preferably the Ultradisc version).
With deluxe booklet supplementing the original photo booklet and lyrics
found in original LP with extensive liner notes. Packaged in minibox or
By Numbers: Remixed (maybe the drums will be audible this time). I don't
know of any outtakes from these sessions, but any existing outtakes with be
included, and these can be supplemented with live material from Swansea '76.
Who Are You: Remixed. Again, I don't know of any outtakes, but there's
plenty of live material from the 1977 show and the "staged" concert in 1978,
both done for the Kids Are Alright soundtrack.
Face Dances: Remixed. There's at least one outtake from these sessions (I
don't know the name, but it appears on Horton Hears the Who). Also, there's
the live version of Dancing in the Streets, live performances from the
Concert for Kampuchea, and (I assume) other live recordings that could be
used to supplement this album.
It's Hard: Remixed. I know of no outtakes (although there are incomplete
demos for an aborted '83 Who project). Once again, live recordings could be
used to supplement the album material.
Live at Leeds: Remixed and expanded to 2CDs including all the music
(including the full versions of Shakin All Over and Young Man Blues) and (if
there's room) in between song dialogue. In deluxe slipcase with photo
booklet and reproduction of concert poster.
Who's Last: Deleted (need I say more?).
Join Together: Hmmmmmmmm. Any ideas?
The Kids Are Alright: This set is too long to fit on one CD. But instead of
excluding Join Together/Roadrunner/My Generation Blues, like the geniuses at
MCA did, . I'd leave off the nearly inaudible My Generation & Anyway,
Anyhow, Anywhere, as well as the all-too-familiar studio take of Magic Bus
(if necessary). In deluxe slipcase with deluxe booklet containing all the
artwork and liner notes found on the original release.
Quadrophenia: Since this has been recently reissued by Polygram, I assume
that Charlesworth will leave this one alone. Still, the usually competent
Polgram did this one on the cheap. They used an older, circa 1988 digital
master for this release instead of preparing a new one and wouldn't even
spring for an eight-panel booklet that would accomodate the photos found on
the original album sleeves.
Odds and Sods: Deleted.
Who's Missing: Deleted.
Two's Missing: Deleted.
I'd replace these with a definitive 2CD compilation including ALL
rarities/nonalbum tracks not found on the album reissues (including the
alternate version of Eyesight to the Blind found on the MFSL Tommy) plus
additional material like the studio version of Young Man Blues. Because much
of the material will be from 1968-72, this should be a pretty strong set.
I'd try to salvage Pete's liner notes from Ods and Sods and Who's Missing,
however, which are occasionally informative and alway hilarious.
Magic Bus: Deleted
Meaty, Beaty, Big, and Bouncy: Delted
I'd replace these with a single disc greatest hits compilation and a two CD
singles compilation featuring all released A and B-sides in their original
mixes (or remixed to approximate the original) and edits. Of course, 30
Years of Maximum R&B will continue to be the ultimate anthology.
--A four CD live box set featuring single discs culled from Filmore East '68,
Isle of Wight '70, San Francisco '71, and Swansea '76.
--A two CD live retrosective covering the band's entire career featuring
stand-out performances from shows not covered by previous releases, including
some of the odd material (e.g., Hey Joe, Mary Anne w/the Shaky Hands)
performed on the 1989 tour.
--A one or two disc compilation of BBC recordings. Jimi's got a BBC disc.
So do the Yardbirds. Certainly the Who deserve one as well.
Final question: Why didn't the surviving members of the Who get together and
record After the Fire for the box set? Pete wrote the song for the Who to
perform at Live Aid, but they didn't have time to learn it, and (much to my
surprise) they didn't perform it on the 1989 tour (even though they performed
Dig from Iron Man). What a pity.