Apr 152014

This may be well-known around these parts, but Chris Charlesworth is re-running a Crawdaddy piece on his blog that The Who tweeted out this week. He says:

The Who had blazed a trail with their state-of-the-art amplification but as home stereos became more sophisticated in the early seventies their records somehow lacked the clarity of their rivals. To remedy this, for the Who’s Next sessions they bypassed Kit Lambert in favour of the technically more accomplished Glyn Johns, who produced nine tracks of such sparkling clarity that The Who sounded like a new band.

It always bugged me as a kid that Beatles and Led Zep albums just sounded better than The Who albums that were released about the same time. Now I see that the finger is pointed at Kit Lambert. Does anyone know if there are any good remastered versions of the early albums to be found?


  11 Responses to “The Mucked Up Early Who Albums”

  1. misterioso

    Shoot, I thought I posted a comment on this. Well, the gist was that I think the remastered Sell Out sounds pretty good, My Generation sounds about as good as it needs to, and A Quick One is never going to sound good. I think Kit Lambert had ideas about what sound to go for but no skills to achieve it. Or else his idea was for the band to be poorly produced.

  2. I think the early Who is like the early Stones: they should be enjoyed on vinyl, cranked up, as is – no remastering efforts necessary. I think their records are just right with the sounds all crammed and lacking in depth. Drink a couple of cups of coffee and crank up your original copies!

  3. I’ve been reading the Ken Scott memoir ‘Abbey Road to Ziggy Stardust’ and one thing that you’ve got to take into consideration is the incredible explosion of technical resources that arrived in the mid sixties from mixing consoles to transistor radios. Before the Beatles there was no such thing as multitracking – stereo was a novelty. Most music was heard on a portable record player with a 3×5 speaker. Audiophile sound was the province of ‘long hairs’. Chances are nobody knew those early records sounded fooshy until they picked up their Kenwood tuner and Klipsch speakers at United Audio in 1972.

  4. misterioso

    Can someone call Mod and tell him that Neil Young has hijacked his account?

  5. I like the originals too, but the sound difference from other albums circa the same period always made me wonder what was up.

    You know what other albums sound murky to me? Cream albums — or did I just have lousing pressings of Disraeli Gears and Wheels of Fire?

  6. I like the 1996 remixes of Tommy and Who Sell Out. (not the only partially remixed Quadraphenia) I know that even Townshend dismissed these (or I assume sine the originals have been remastered again since)

    The remixes are so much cleaner and have the right punch rather than a remaster which often just highlights the problems with the original mix.

    I know if it blasphemy to even acknowledge a remixed version of a classic record, but in this case they sound great. The new remasters are a little loud, but are overall pretty good as well. Just stay away from the MCA 80’s Cds that are from the cassette masters.

  7. and of course the LP sounds best of all

  8. the remaster of Disraeli Gears sounds great, especially the MONO version (the CD set I have has both stereo and mono versions of the lp)

  9. cliff sovinsanity

    Mod, I hear what you’re saying with the Stones’ comparison, but at least with the Stones a little dirt and fuzz sounds just about right. By the time of a Quick One and Sell Out, I’m sure Townshend was looking for a hell of a lot more clarity and depth.
    Don’t get me wrong, I like the sound of Tommy but imagine the punch Glynn Johns could have brought to that album.

  10. I think the early Who and the early Stones simply sound…funky, if “shit” troubles you – but in a good way. I don’t think modern technology can tear apart and “clean up” weird old records without ruining what made them special.

  11. Sell Out sounds fantastic on both my old, scratchy vinyl and the CD version with bonus tracks. I don’t think they had it in them at that time to sound any richer. I don’t think recording technology could have handled all of Moon’s splashy cymbals for instance. Bands that sounded great in 1966 had tight, concise rhythm sections. Ginger Baker is another guy who overplayed before the technology could keep up with him.

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