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#646602 - 01/29/07 08:01 PM Who bought the "Recording The Beatles" book?
Herr Doktor Offline
Planeteer


Registered: 11/15/99
Posts: 6061
is it worth all the danged money?

Does it add much that wasn't covered in the "Beatles Gear" by Andy Babiuk?

I've also read "The Beatles Recording Sessions" by Mark Lewisohn, which was pretty good, but somewhat incomplete, and also had more than a few errors -- which could have been avoided if Lewisohn had only been a guitar player instead of a writer, and if he'd only had good enough ears to tell the difference between their voices. To my ears it's not that difficult to tell who is singing what, or who is playing what. In most cases.

But at least it doesn't have as many errors as "Revolution In The Head" by Ian MacDonald. Makes me wanna swim over to England and slap that sumbitch. (Maybe I can get Rolf to do it for me...)
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#646603 - 01/29/07 08:03 PM Re: Who bought the "Recording The Beatles" book?
CLEAN Offline
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Registered: 04/24/00
Posts: 9678
Loc: CA
I think Flatcat has it.
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#646604 - 01/29/07 08:15 PM Re: Who bought the "Recording The Beatles" book?
flatcat Administrator Offline
Loquacious Planeteer


Registered: 07/11/01
Posts: 30097
Loc: Westborough, MA, USA
Yes, I have it. It's incredibly interesting. It's much more focused on the equipment and methods the Beatles used to actually make their records. For example, Lewisohn talks about what they did at a particular session; these guys don't talk about individual sessions so much (though there is a little of that, sort-of a "deep dive" on a particular track or two during a particular year).

The first section is about Abbey Road itself as a facility - how it was built, why it was built, what the facility as a facility is like.

The second section talks about the the equipment used by the Beatles at EMI throughout their career - tape machines, desks, outboard gear, speaker cabinets, pianos, and so on. All the stuff Babiuk doesn't really talk about.

The other studios where the Beatles recorded are also documented - what was used, where they went, what the facilities were like, and so on.

Then there's the analysis of what recordings were done and when, with the aforementioned deep dives into sort-of "typical" recordings of the time.

There are a couple of typos I've found, but no real egregious errors in terms of the scholarship. These guys intereviewed all kinds of people who'd never really talked about their experience of working on Beatles records or about being around EMI during that time.

It's VERY interesting, lots of fascinating stuff in there. If you're really interested in knowing about how those recordings were *engineered* - not what track was recorded when, but, for example, why they were panned the way they were, why the album Abbey Road sounds different than other Beatles records (besides the Moog synthesizer - hint: transistors versus tubes), that kind-of thing - you might really enjoy this book.

I think it's really interesting, really fascinating. Not for everyone though.
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The internet, and the whole technology sector on which it floats, feels like a giant organ for bullshittery—for upscaling human access to speech and for amplifying lies. - Ian Bogost

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#646605 - 01/29/07 11:06 PM Re: Who bought the "Recording The Beatles" book?
Herr Doktor Offline
Planeteer


Registered: 11/15/99
Posts: 6061
Thank you for the review, Flatcat! Just what I needed to know.

I definitely wanna read that baby.

And I definitely don't need to buy it right now.

Maybe I can get the public library to buy a copy.
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#646606 - 01/29/07 11:22 PM Re: Who bought the "Recording The Beatles" book?
flatcat Administrator Offline
Loquacious Planeteer


Registered: 07/11/01
Posts: 30097
Loc: Westborough, MA, USA
OK, here's a stupid little factoid that I learned from reading this book:

Everyone goes on and on about how people used to wear lab coats until the mid-60s at EMI, and how geeky and all that it was.

Except that a lot of folks, particularly the tech people, *liked* wearing them, because it kept their clothes from getting too dirty while crawling around under and around desks and on the studio floors.

That never occurred to me - I always thought it was affectation. Stupid of me to think so.

Also - you know, there's a lot of talk about the Fairchild limiters and everything...I think people don't realize - I certainly didn't - the degree to which equipment was modified when it was purchased (as opposed to developed in-house). I mean, they changed the voltages, the power supplies, etc etc...all this internal work was done on those to make sure that each limiter matched the EMI specifications. All that stuff affected the sound of the units. Even if you had a Fairchild, you wouldn't necessarily even be able to get "that sound" - because the whole signal chain was modded to EMI specs, the desks were built by EMI, and so on.

It just made me appreciate the degree to which that stuff just...can't be replicated.

Recordings - even if they're multi-layered and multi-tracked - are still a moment frozen in time.

It's a very interesting book, though. I think I'm going to give it to my brother when I'm done, I think he'd really enjoy it. I wanted to get him one for his birthday, but it was sold out.
_________________________
The internet, and the whole technology sector on which it floats, feels like a giant organ for bullshittery—for upscaling human access to speech and for amplifying lies. - Ian Bogost

Professor Truth T. Sweetness says,"Mind your manners!"

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#646607 - 01/31/07 05:29 AM Re: Who bought the "Recording The Beatles" book?
Brian Glock Offline
Planeteer / Artist # 451
Planeteer


Registered: 04/29/01
Posts: 2741
Loc: Baltimore
I also own it, fun book with lots of cool information. As Flatcat said it's not for everyone. Brian Kehew and Kevin Ryan did a nice job researching and writing the book, you may have seen the article Tape OP did several issues ago.

For now the book is only available from the publisher, would be cool if a library bought a copy. There are a lot of cool extras that come with it, the book is in a 2 inch tape box, on the back where you would list track information the chapter titles, number "start" and "finish" page numbers are written in. \:\) Pretty cool \:\) . There's also post cards, track sheets, a poster of the mixing console \:\) ....for me it was well worth it, while I haven't had a chance to read much of it yet, I've enjoyed the pages I have glanced at. It's a book you can keep going back to for years to come.
Brian

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