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HiRez Poll Guess Who, The - WHEATFIELD SOUL & CANNED WHEAT [SACD]

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Rate the SACD of The Guess Who - WHEATFIELD SOUL & CANNED WHEAT

  • 7

    Votes: 0 0.0%
  • 6

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  • 5

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  • 4

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  • 3

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  • 2

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  • 1: Terrible Content, Surround Mix, and Fidelity

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  • Total voters
    23

steelydave

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I think you've highlighted one of the most interesting things for me with quad mixes versus there stereo counterparts, and that is when things are different - either in terms of mix balances (like if an instrument or vocal is way more or less prominent) or runtime. Obviously if things you're expecting to be there are missing, it can be a bit dismaying like this case.

These "linkages" you reference are indeed missing on the quad 8 track too, so it's no historical revisionism on Dutton Vocalion's part. When these quad mixes were done, the only delivery format they were intended for was Q8, so they were often mixed and/or sequenced with Q8 playback mind - some of the master tape boxes for these early RCA quad mixes (which I've seen) from the "PQ8" series actually even mention that the mixes are for the "Quad 8" release.

Because Q8's had two 4-channel programs (as opposed to four 2-channel programs on a stereo 8-track) they required twice as much physical tape for the same runtime. So take Canned Wheat for example - the quad program is 41 minutes of actual music, and throw in, say, 3 seconds of silence between tracks (x 10 gaps) which adds another 30 seconds...a 41:30 Q8 has as much tape in it as a stereo tape that has 83 minutes of music on it, and if you add in the missing 70 seconds of excised "linkages" in, you're getting up near 86 minutes of stereo play time which is near the physical capacity of an 8-track tape. So my nutshell educated guess is that the album was simply too long to fit on a Q8 tape, and rather than omit a track, they cut down a few intros/outros so all the songs could fit on the tape, rather than omitting one of the tracks altogether, which is what the Japanese CD-4 LPs of American Woman and Canned Wheat did. I'm sure there were also minor financial concerns at play, both from the perspective of shorter tapes costing the label less money in tape stock, and also shorter tapes being less prone to breaking/jamming meant less returns/refunds from unhappy customers. Additionally, forum member @Q-Eight wrote to Guess Who producer Jack Richardson some years ago (you can probably find the post using the search box) and he claimed that the quad mix of So Long, Bannatyne was abandoned because they realized that the album (which runs nearly 48 minutes plus silent gaps) was too long to fit on a Q8 cartridge, so it definitely seems like the constraints of the format were on their mind at the time. Sadly, this kind of butchery with Q8 tapes wasn't uncommon at all - there are a ton of examples of it, from tracks being edited (like the 20 seconds of missing guitar solo in Lazy on the UK mix of Deep Purple's Machine Head) to being cut in half with "part one" fading out on the end of program 1 and "part 2" fading back in at the beginning of program 2 (like Money on Pink Floyd's Dark Side of the Moon) to track orders being changed (so that the runtime of the 2 programs of the tape were approximately equivalent and there wasn't a long silent gap at the end of one side) to intros and outros being chopped off, like you've highlighted with this Guess Who album. I think the labels viewed the LP as the "genuine article" and with 8-track tapes they felt that people were willing to accept sacrifices like these to the integrity of the music for the benefits the tape cartridge offered, like being able to listen to music in your car, for example.

As for Flavours, as good an album as it is (and I really enjoy the latter-day Guess Who, I think Road Food is now my favourite album) I hate to be the bearer of bad news but the quad mix is a fake, upmixed from stereo simply by putting a delayed version of the stereo mix in the rear speakers along with (if I remember correctly) a little more treble emphasis on the front channels. The same goes for Power in the Music and Artificial Paradise unfortunately, which is a shame, I think they all had a lot of potential from a surround mix standpoint.
 

channelar

Active Member
Since 2002/2003
Joined
Feb 14, 2003
Messages
67
Location
Sydney Australia , Haarlem Netherlands
I think you've highlighted one of the most interesting things for me with quad mixes versus there stereo counterparts, and that is when things are different - either in terms of mix balances (like if an instrument or vocal is way more or less prominent) or runtime. Obviously if things you're expecting to be there are missing, it can be a bit dismaying like this case.

These "linkages" you reference are indeed missing on the quad 8 track too, so it's no historical revisionism on Dutton Vocalion's part. When these quad mixes were done, the only delivery format they were intended for was Q8, so they were often mixed and/or sequenced with Q8 playback mind - some of the master tape boxes for these early RCA quad mixes (which I've seen) from the "PQ8" series actually even mention that the mixes are for the "Quad 8" release.

Because Q8's had two 4-channel programs (as opposed to four 2-channel programs on a stereo 8-track) they required twice as much physical tape for the same runtime. So take Canned Wheat for example - the quad program is 41 minutes of actual music, and throw in, say, 3 seconds of silence between tracks (x 10 gaps) which adds another 30 seconds...a 41:30 Q8 has as much tape in it as a stereo tape that has 83 minutes of music on it, and if you add in the missing 70 seconds of excised "linkages" in, you're getting up near 86 minutes of stereo play time which is near the physical capacity of an 8-track tape. So my nutshell educated guess is that the album was simply too long to fit on a Q8 tape, and rather than omit a track, they cut down a few intros/outros so all the songs could fit on the tape, rather than omitting one of the tracks altogether, which is what the Japanese CD-4 LPs of American Woman and Canned Wheat did. I'm sure there were also minor financial concerns at play, both from the perspective of shorter tapes costing the label less money in tape stock, and also shorter tapes being less prone to breaking/jamming meant less returns/refunds from unhappy customers. Additionally, forum member @Q-Eight wrote to Guess Who producer Jack Richardson some years ago (you can probably find the post using the search box) and he claimed that the quad mix of So Long, Bannatyne was abandoned because they realized that the album (which runs nearly 48 minutes plus silent gaps) was too long to fit on a Q8 cartridge, so it definitely seems like the constraints of the format were on their mind at the time. Sadly, this kind of butchery with Q8 tapes wasn't uncommon at all - there are a ton of examples of it, from tracks being edited (like the 20 seconds of missing guitar solo in Lazy on the UK mix of Deep Purple's Machine Head) to being cut in half with "part one" fading out on the end of program 1 and "part 2" fading back in at the beginning of program 2 (like Money on Pink Floyd's Dark Side of the Moon) to track orders being changed (so that the runtime of the 2 programs of the tape were approximately equivalent and there wasn't a long silent gap at the end of one side) to intros and outros being chopped off, like you've highlighted with this Guess Who album. I think the labels viewed the LP as the "genuine article" and with 8-track tapes they felt that people were willing to accept sacrifices like these to the integrity of the music for the benefits the tape cartridge offered, like being able to listen to music in your car, for example.

As for Flavours, as good an album as it is (and I really enjoy the latter-day Guess Who, I think Road Food is now my favourite album) I hate to be the bearer of bad news but the quad mix is a fake, upmixed from stereo simply by putting a delayed version of the stereo mix in the rear speakers along with (if I remember correctly) a little more treble emphasis on the front channels. The same goes for Power in the Music and Artificial Paradise unfortunately, which is a shame, I think they all had a lot of potential from a surround mix standpoint.
Thank you for the detailed response and feedback. At least you have confirmed that the ommissions were from the quad source. I will sleep better tonight.
I might have been tempted to cut 'Fair Warning' in half and leave the linkages in but what would I know. It was obviously done a long time ago. It is still a great release.

Disappointing news about 'Flavours'. Back in the day, I had quad LP versions of '#10' and 'Flavours'. I didn't have the correct type of turntable to play them so, although I had them, I never played them in Quad. I will give 'Road Food' another listen. I've had it (and #10) a few months but could only really remember 'Glamour Boy' and 'Wolfman' which I think charted here. The main albums I owned and remember are 'Canned Wheat','American Woman' and 'Share The Land'. I enjoyed the recent release of the latter two, although, despite its success, I found 'American Woman' the most inconsistent of the three. I really only liked the first side although I'm getting used to the whole run of songs now.
 

Q-Eight

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Wheatfield Soul and Laughing/Undun were done at A&R, likely on 8-track. Stereo drums. The rest of Canned Wheat was done at RCA’s NY studio, and if memory serves, mostly has mono drums. My guess would be that was also 8-track.
Wheatfield Soul and Canned Wheat were most definitely 16-track. Confirmed by letters to Jack, emails with Burton and conversations I've had with Randy. I`m not 100% on the "American Woman" album as that was the first one recorded in Chicago, and the stereo mix is standard S.O.P. for an 8 track stereo mix. (Drums in single channel, bass in the other) I asked Randy about this one and he remembered it being 16-track, but when I mentioned the wonky stereo mix, and pestered him further about 16-track tape or merely a 16-track IN, 8-OUT board, he stopped for a second to think and said that it was so long ago, he can't be certain of either. I do have a digital copy of the multitrack for the hit version of "No Time" and it is 8 track. The next album, "Share the Land" is back to 16-track as I have a digital multitrack of "Hand me down World" and it is 16 track.

In March of '69, A&R in New York was most definitely 16-track. RCA's NYC Studios were also 16-track by September '69.
I can find little to no information on RCA's Chicago Studios. According to Wikipedia, they were in Studio B, and a lot of times at RCA Studios, the A-studio got the latest equipment, whereas B-studio usually had older equipment and was updated after the A-studio.
 

ar surround

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New Joisey
I miss the weird intros on CW. And yes, I had suspected that it was due to Q8 limitations. I am hoping that one of you upmix/conversion gurus can use Tate, Penteo, SM or whatever to make a quad of the intros and splice them onto the quads. Those intros on the stereo really sound nice in faux surround, so I‘m sure one of the upmixers would do a great job with it.

I had never heard WS before and was unaware of the psychedelic material...very much a cool period piece.

I have to deduct for the quad mixes on the hit songs as they don’t come across very well to my ears for a number of reasons. So I rate this set an 8.

P.S. The fidelity of the stereo versions of the hits are the best I have heard. I didn‘t listen to the AF greatest hits version in stereo, so perhaps that is its equal...Although greatest hits compilations are often another generation of tape down in the food chain.
 

lukpac

Member
Joined
Jun 15, 2006
Messages
18
Wheatfield Soul and Canned Wheat were most definitely 16-track. Confirmed by letters to Jack, emails with Burton and conversations I've had with Randy.
Is there any session documentation to that effect? Or just recollections after the fact? Neither sounds like a 16-track recording to these ears.

In March of '69, A&R in New York was most definitely 16-track.
Both studios? While the orchestral overdubs were done in A-1, most of the album was tracked in A-2. I'm listening to These Eyes now, and there doesn't seem to be evidence of more than 8 tracks used:

electric piano (right)
electric guitar (left)
bass (center)
drums (left)
drums (right)
acoustic guitar (left)
vocal (center)
orchestra (center)

While I suppose not impossible, it seems unlikely the whole orchestra would have been mixed dead center if it had been recorded to more than a single track.

Also, while the album was *released* in March, it was recorded in September 1968.

And while I'm not certain which studio at A&R it was recorded in, Moondance, recorded a year *after* Wheatfield Soul, was 8-track.

RCA's NYC Studios were also 16-track by September '69.
I can't find any confirmation of a specific date when 16-track became available there. But as you note, not all studios in a complex necessarily got the latest equipment at the same time, and it wasn't a given that the latest equipment would always be used even if available. There are countless examples through the years of famous recordings being recorded on lesser track counts than what was available at the studio at the time.
 

Q-Eight

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If you listen to the Quad mix of "These Eyes", the horns and strings are separated. Also, there's a xylophone or vibraphone that appears here and there as well.

Drums would've been spread across minimum three tracks (kicker, snare, overhead) bass on two (direct and amp'd), electric guitar, acoustic guitar, xylophone, electric piano, strings (two tracks), horns (two tracks), which would've left 3 tracks open for vocals and incidentals.

"There are countless examples through the years of famous recordings being recorded on lesser track counts than what was available at the studio at the time." Absolutely. There's also instances where we've learned that songs with really strange stereo mixes (for example: Buffalo Springfields' "For What it's Worth") had rumoured to be recorded on as little as 2-track turned out to have been recorded on 8 track. Again, I have the multitrack to that one as well. I even made a Quad mix out of that one for my personal use.
 

skherbeck

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If you listen to the Quad mix of "These Eyes", the horns and strings are separated. Also, there's a xylophone or vibraphone that appears here and there as well.

Drums would've been spread across minimum three tracks (kicker, snare, overhead) bass on two (direct and amp'd), electric guitar, acoustic guitar, xylophone, electric piano, strings (two tracks), horns (two tracks), which would've left 3 tracks open for vocals and incidentals.

"There are countless examples through the years of famous recordings being recorded on lesser track counts than what was available at the studio at the time." Absolutely. There's also instances where we've learned that songs with really strange stereo mixes (for example: Buffalo Springfields' "For What it's Worth") had rumoured to be recorded on as little as 2-track turned out to have been recorded on 8 track. Again, I have the multitrack to that one as well. I even made a Quad mix out of that one for my personal use.
I just wanted to thank you for all the information you've shared over the years. Reading through various threads, I can see that you've had to put up with a lot of second-guessing. I appreciate your input and have found your insight very useful personally :)
 

Q-Eight

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Sadly, this kind of butchery with Q8 tapes wasn't uncommon at all - there are a ton of examples of it....
The seriously edited-down "Mercury Blues" from Fly Like an Eagle, not to mention the truncated "Space Intro" at the top of that album. Back to the topic of The Guess Who, interestingly enough, we get some extended versions like with "No Sugar Tonight/New Mother Nature" where the stereo version fades out, the Quad mix plays to a cold, almost breakdown finish. Alternatively, (no pun intended) "Bus Rider" features some differences during the coda and fadeout with Burton shouting phrases like "I see you runnin' but I'm-a keep on ridin' " or "Riiiiide! Ride little man!". The order in which the phrases come is not the same stereo to Quad, and the Quad runtime is ever so slightly longer. There must've been some editing done to the stereo tape that wasn't done to the master multitrack and was omitted (or forgotten about) when the Quad mix was done.

Or how about the Live Poco album or Best of the Doors where the engineers speed the last track up in an effort to fit them onto the tape! Granted, I like the Doors version because it gives "Light My Fire" a sense of urgency - after 7 minutes, you just want that song OVER WITH.

Ahh, the glory that was Gershwin..... I mean Quad. :LOL:
 

lukpac

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Messages
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If you listen to the Quad mix of "These Eyes", the horns and strings are separated. Also, there's a xylophone or vibraphone that appears here and there as well.
I haven't heard the quad mix, but if that's the case, then 16-track is definitely likely.

Drums would've been spread across minimum three tracks (kicker, snare, overhead) bass on two (direct and amp'd), electric guitar, acoustic guitar, xylophone, electric piano, strings (two tracks), horns (two tracks), which would've left 3 tracks open for vocals and incidentals.
Unless you have direct evidence of that, I wouldn't say that's a given. Even in the 16-track era, it was common to combine things, especially drums. Even if a drum kit had 4, 5, 6, or more mics on it, those would still often be mixed down to a stereo pair on the multitrack.



"There are countless examples through the years of famous recordings being recorded on lesser track counts than what was available at the studio at the time."
Absolutely. There's also instances where we've learned that songs with really strange stereo mixes (for example: Buffalo Springfields' "For What it's Worth") had rumoured to be recorded on as little as 2-track turned out to have been recorded on 8 track. Again, I have the multitrack to that one as well. I even made a Quad mix out of that one for my personal use.
Eh, I certainly never heard a rumor that it had been recorded on 2-track, and it's been known for years that it was recorded at Columbia, which had 8-track facilities. Just like I don't think anyone has ever suggested that Rubber Soul was recorded on anything other than 4-track due to its similar stereo spread.
 

Q-Eight

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Unless you have direct evidence of that, I wouldn't say that's a given. Even in the 16-track era, it was common to combine things, especially drums. Even if a drum kit had 4, 5, 6, or more mics on it, those would still often be mixed down to a stereo pair on the multitrack.
There's this wonderful thing called "Standard Operating Procedure"; a.k.a. "S.O.P." Yes, I agree with you that engineers would do all sorts of crazy things. I have a 16-track multitrack from MOTOWN that has drums mixed down to a single track. I'm going to assume they needed the space. Some of the Queen multis when they were using 24-track had five or six tracks dedicated to drums. Standard operating procedure was to capture the drums on at least 3 tracks in the 16-track era. This granted the engineers and producers the greatest flexibility during mixing. Want more hi-hat? Just crank it up. Kicker too powerful? Pot that sucker down. Did the drummer drop a stick and shout "FUCK!" ?
Well we just might could edit out that part. ;)

Proof? Sure!! Here's a wonderful snapshot of the Doobie Brothers 16-track multi for "Long Train Running". Closeup of the drum tracks: kicker, snare and overheads. The toms were mixed into the overhead track.
 

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lukpac

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Joined
Jun 15, 2006
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There's this wonderful thing called "Standard Operating Procedure"; a.k.a. "S.O.P." Yes, I agree with you that engineers would do all sorts of crazy things. I have a 16-track multitrack from MOTOWN that has drums mixed down to a single track. I'm going to assume they needed the space. Some of the Queen multis when they were using 24-track had five or six tracks dedicated to drums. Standard operating procedure was to capture the drums on at least 3 tracks in the 16-track era. This granted the engineers and producers the greatest flexibility during mixing. Want more hi-hat? Just crank it up. Kicker too powerful? Pot that sucker down. Did the drummer drop a stick and shout "FUCK!" ?
Well we just might could edit out that part. ;)

Proof? Sure!! Here's a wonderful snapshot of the Doobie Brothers 16-track multi for "Long Train Running". Closeup of the drum tracks: kicker, snare and overheads. The toms were mixed into the overhead track.
But...there's no such thing as "Standard Operating Procedure" when it comes to recording. You already noted a Motown 16-track having mono drums, and I pointed out the Layla sessions have drums recorded to 2 tracks. Unless you have direct evidence, which it doesn't seem you do, we don't know how many tracks were used to record drums on certain Guess Who songs.
 

par4ken

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492
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NW Ontario
As for Flavours, as good an album as it is (and I really enjoy the latter-day Guess Who, I think Road Food is now my favourite album) I hate to be the bearer of bad news but the quad mix is a fake, upmixed from stereo simply by putting a delayed version of the stereo mix in the rear speakers along with (if I remember correctly) a little more treble emphasis on the front channels. The same goes for Power in the Music and Artificial Paradise unfortunately, which is a shame, I think they all had a lot of potential from a surround mix standpoint.
While I never cared much for Flavours anyway, I'm very disappointed to hear that Power In The Music was faked, it sounded good to me. I would still buy a 2-fer of these anyway. Sad that So Long Bannatyne was abandoned due to length. If the original multi tracks still exist maybe we could get a S.W. 5.1 mix done? One can only hope and dream.
 
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