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Old 1st Aug 2020, 8:35 pm   #1
Records
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Default 1950's/1960's music recording

Back in the 1950's and 1960's my 2 favourite eras when music was recorded in a studio i always assumed they used tape as in reel to reel to make the master
recording, was this always the case? as i have been listening to a recording of Johnny Mathis on cd "ride On A Rainbow" from 1959, on the cd it says original recording and i know it was mono because i have the vinyl version, was my late mothers.
Listening to the cd it is a clear recording but it has clicks and pops present on some tracks.
Im thinking in this case original recording means from an lp and not the master tapes, if im way off i hope someone here can help me out.
Thankyou

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Old 1st Aug 2020, 9:55 pm   #2
John10b
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Default Re: 1950's/1960's music recording

I can’t give you a definitive answer, but I would like to comment.
An artist would record a Series of songs for a film, for example, and later do another recording of the same songs, for what ever reason.
I have a number of “original” recordings and this means, to me, the very first recording and not later ones, does that make any sense?
John
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Old 1st Aug 2020, 10:26 pm   #3
GrimJosef
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Default Re: 1950's/1960's music recording

I don't know whether 'direct to disc' ever went away completely but the technique was in use in, for example, 1975. That was the year that Thelma Houston's I've Got The Music In Me album was recorded https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/I%27ve...c_in_Me_(album). As I understand it the musicians were gathered together and mic'd up as appropriate. They rehearsed and the engineers at the mixing desk adjusted their controls until everyone was happy. Then the output of the desk was connected direct to a cutting lathe and the musicians were given the go-ahead. No tape. They played and sang and the result was cut straight into the master disc. They got just one go at it.

I own a copy. I've played it several times at a couple of audio shows and the audience were left open-mouthed. They quite often insisted I play it again immediately. It is exceptionally good.

This really doesn't do it justice

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FWF_o-MnIAY

Cheers,

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Old 1st Aug 2020, 10:37 pm   #4
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Default Re: 1950's/1960's music recording

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Originally Posted by GrimJosef View Post
I don't know whether 'direct to disc' ever went away completely but the technique was in use in, for example, 1975. That was the year that Thelma Houston's I've Got The Music In Me album was recorded https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/I%27ve...c_in_Me_(album). As I understand it the musicians were gathered together and mic'd up as appropriate. They rehearsed and the engineers at the mixing desk adjusted their controls until everyone was happy. Then the output of the desk was connected direct to a cutting lathe and the musicians were given the go-ahead. No tape. They played and sang and the result was cut straight into the master disc. They got just one go at it.
I also have that disc as well as other 'direct to disc' recordings but the OP asks if a CD might be made from copying vinyl. There are a quite a few CD's made that way where no master tape exists. Back in the 60's I was asked to make a 'master tape' from several 45's sent over from America by the record company for release in the UK on a different label. They no longer had any master tapes of the tracks.
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Old 1st Aug 2020, 10:39 pm   #5
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Default Re: 1950's/1960's music recording

From roughly 1950, recordings were made to tape. Rereleases on CD would normally use these tapes. So vinyl like clicks and pops on the CD seems odd. Especially since its been possible to digitally remove clicks for decades. I have a CD reissue of some of Kathleen Ferriers recordings, all recorded to 78 discs originally. A few tracks they must have forgotten to declick. These days any kid in their bedroom could do this. So yes puzzling.
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Old 1st Aug 2020, 10:40 pm   #6
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Default Re: 1950's/1960's music recording

Tape was used from the early 50s, but the 'single take' approach persisted until the early 60s.

'Original recording' is a pretty meaningless term. It normally means the reissue is the same recording as the original issue that everybody knows, rather than some knockoff rerecording. The source can be anything from the original recording master tape to some manky commercial issue complete with scratches and groove wear.
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Old 1st Aug 2020, 10:43 pm   #7
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Default Re: 1950's/1960's music recording

You're right that the first UK release of "Ride on a rainbow" ("Heavenly" in the USA) was mono only on Philips' Fontana label. That was when Philips had the contract to release American Columbia (CBS) LPs here but later CBS set up their own operation here and "Ride on a rainbow" was released here in both mono and stereo. I think it's 99.99% certain that it was recorded to tape in stereo. The only CD I can find is on the Hallmark label which was a joint operation of CBS and Pickwick and was, shall we say, at the cheaper end of the market. I can only imagine that somebody wasn't listening when the transfer to CD was made. I suppose it's just possible that the master tapes have disappeared and the CD was made from an LP. Seems very unlikely though. Maybe it's just a crap CD pressing.
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Old 1st Aug 2020, 10:54 pm   #8
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For a time you could buy the same LP in either mono or stereo as stated on the cover. This was when mono cartridges were still in use and playing a stereo disc with them would ruin the disc.
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Old 1st Aug 2020, 10:54 pm   #9
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Default Re: 1950's/1960's music recording

That is the cd i have released in 2011 but the lp was first released on cd for the first time in 1990, i might have to do some searching and find a 1990 copy and compare the two. One of my favourite albums, my mum played it a lot when i was small back in the early 70's. Thankyou for all the responses, always amazes me the great knowledge here,
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Old 1st Aug 2020, 11:07 pm   #10
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Default Re: 1950's/1960's music recording

I've been involved in quite a few reissues where the only recording available has been on vinyl. Usually these are from independent artists who sent their only master off to the cutting studio and never asked for it back.

However I was surprised to hear a Vinegar Joe (Robert Palmer and Elkie Brooks' old band) album on Spotify which had obviously been taken from vinyl. An attempt had been made to clean it up but there were still artefacts that were obvious if you knew what to listen for. I suspect that it isn't the only major label recording where the master tape has gone missing.

Of course the other possibility is that the product is a bootleg.
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Old 1st Aug 2020, 11:20 pm   #11
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Default Re: 1950's/1960's music recording

as someone said Hallmark/mfp where at the cheap end of the market i dont see them selling a bootleg recording, saying that i had to laugh as someone had purchased the cd on amazon and was moaning in the reviews about it being mono, it clearly states on the cd original recording the stereo version came much later.
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Old 2nd Aug 2020, 12:01 am   #12
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Fire, flood, physical deterioration and boneheadedness, to name but four causes, have accounted for many master tapes since the medium became all but universal in the early 1950s. Retrieval from vinyl is a non-trivial process if quality indistinguishable from the master tape is the aim. Record companies being what they are, frequently the quick-and-dirty approach is adopted.
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Old 2nd Aug 2020, 3:33 am   #13
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Default Re: 1950's/1960's music recording

All the tracks from the album seem to be available for free listening on YT courtesy of Sony (CBS). I briefly checked tracks from the original side 1. They are in stereo and sound excellent. So I suspect the problem is confined to the cheapie release from Hallmark.

I think in the late 50's many US studios recorded to 3 track 1/2" tape with the stereo backing on two tracks and the vocal on the third. Maybe this was one of them.

I only read last night that unlike some other companies Sony has invested heavily into preservation of their recorded assets. Universal lost a lot of original recordings in a huge vault fire some years ago, as did Atlantic in 1978.

It was quite some time before The Beatles albums were released by EMI on CD. In the meantime I believe a fellow did a good job transferring their albums from mint vinyl copies to CD (all above board I think). But when EMI released its own CD's from its master tapes with obviously better sound the fellow said "I cant compete with that".

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Old 2nd Aug 2020, 8:07 am   #14
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Originally Posted by TIMTAPE View Post
It was quite some time before The Beatles albums were released by EMI on CD. In the meantime I believe a fellow did a good job transferring their albums from mint vinyl copies to CD (all above board I think). But when EMI released its own CD's from its master tapes with obviously better sound the fellow said "I cant compete with that".
I take leave to doubt that. EMI roused the whole industry to fury and took their case to Europe to get copyright extended by twenty years, all on account of The Beatles. They just don't let third parties near their crown jewel.
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Old 2nd Aug 2020, 9:05 am   #15
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Default Re: 1950's/1960's music recording

Further to my post #2.
Artists after achieving fame via their original hit recordings etc, gave radio or concert broadcasts, which were often recorded, and released, on records, in my day, and later cassette and cd etc.
I fully appreciate the technical debate, but I still take the view that “original” recordings to mean just that and not perhaps recordings made at some later date.
I’ve had a long debate with a well known company about trying to get an LP pressed, with original art work, in readiness for a Late singers anniversary, I asked if it was possible to do the cutting from the master tape, to get the highest quality possible, he went on to explain that all he would be able to get would be a CD! So basically if the anniversary LP was to be made it would be a copy of a copy etc.
John
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Old 2nd Aug 2020, 9:42 am   #16
cheerfulcharlie
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Default Re: 1950's/1960's music recording

Wasn't there a push in the 1980s to convert analogue masters to digital using a process with a Umatic video cassette? in which case IIRC old digital can give clicks and pops just like vinyl.
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Old 2nd Aug 2020, 10:13 am   #17
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Default Re: 1950's/1960's music recording

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Originally Posted by Ted Kendall View Post
Fire, flood, physical deterioration and boneheadedness, to name but four causes, have accounted for many master tapes since the medium became all but universal in the early 1950s. Retrieval from vinyl is a non-trivial process if quality indistinguishable from the master tape is the aim. Record companies being what they are, frequently the quick-and-dirty approach is adopted.
Ted is of course the master (pun intended) in this, but I have had occasion to remaster vinyl for vinyl release owing to the loss of a master in fire and subsequent flood. Deficiencies which could only be from tape came through and were (with permission) corrected. Putting a stylus down on an LP, a copy of which sold for £3,560 in 2015, took a little courage! I should have taken the two copies and run...
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Old 2nd Aug 2020, 10:21 am   #18
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Originally Posted by John10b View Post
Further to my post #2.
Artists after achieving fame via their original hit recordings etc, gave radio or concert broadcasts, which were often recorded, and released, on records, in my day, and later cassette and cd etc.
I fully appreciate the technical debate, but I still take the view that “original” recordings to mean just that and not perhaps recordings made at some later date.
I’ve had a long debate with a well known company about trying to get an LP pressed, with original art work, in readiness for a Late singers anniversary, I asked if it was possible to do the cutting from the master tape, to get the highest quality possible, he went on to explain that all he would be able to get would be a CD! So basically if the anniversary LP was to be made it would be a copy of a copy etc.
John
One company specialises in facsimile editions of rare vinyl, largely classical and jazz - original analogue master tapes, valve cutting chain, original labels, pressing profile, sleeve design and lamination. Beautiful job. Price? To you, chief, about three and a half grand a pop.
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Old 2nd Aug 2020, 10:47 am   #19
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Default Re: 1950's/1960's music recording

If you're talking about the Electric Recording Company their price for a single LP is £300 rather than £3000. They did do a 7-LP Mozart set which cost £2500. All their issues are limited to 300 copies and they all appear to be sold out. I suppose it's comparable to the companies who are reissuing reel-to-reel recordings on NAB 10.5" reels at 15ips and charging £400 a pop.
Interestingly Mobile Fidelity, the audiophile label, did a reissue of the Johnny Mathis recording we are talking about but under its US title "Heavenly". I don't know if it came out on vinyl but their Japanese subsidiary put it out as a CD ; and there is currently a Sony "Original Master Recording" CD with the same artwork as the Mobile Fidelity on sale on eBay for £14.50. Did Sony buy Mobile Fidelity?
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Old 2nd Aug 2020, 11:31 am   #20
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ted Kendall View Post
Quote:
Originally Posted by TIMTAPE View Post
It was quite some time before The Beatles albums were released by EMI on CD. In the meantime I believe a fellow did a good job transferring their albums from mint vinyl copies to CD (all above board I think). But when EMI released its own CD's from its master tapes with obviously better sound the fellow said "I cant compete with that".
I take leave to doubt that. EMI roused the whole industry to fury and took their case to Europe to get copyright extended by twenty years, all on account of The Beatles. They just don't let third parties near their crown jewel.
And neither should they or anybody else. I wasn't aware of the copyright situation you described. Thanks , Tim.
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