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#askNat – concerning the “Apple Scruffs” harmonica & the Capitol Albums box sets

This time around on #askNat I’m knocking out two questions. The first one came from The Beatles Rarity Facebook site and is from Michael Nieradka who asks:

Who plays harmonica on Apple Scruffs?

“Apple Scruffs,” for those of you who don’t recognize the title is a song on George Harrison’s 1970 blockbuster triple-album set All Things Must Pass and is a tribute song to the hardcore Beatles fans who used to hang out outside the Apple Corps building and at the gates of EMI Studios in London in hopes of seeing or interacting with one of The Beatles. In August I published a BROW about the song that gives further details about the sessions and I share a nice demo of it too (click here for that). But to answer your question Michael – George played the harmonica on the song.

In fact, George plays all the instruments on the track. It is the only track on All Things Must Pass where he plays/sings everything, which along with the harmonica includes acoustic guitar, twin slide guitar, a percussive foot tapping, backing vocals and of course lead vocals.

All Things Must Pass, triple LP set, 1970

All Things Must Pass, triple LP set, 1970

The next question is from Phill Boylett in the U.K. who has this to say:

When the Beatles albums were released in the U.S. in the sixties, the stereo versions often contained duophonic or “fake stereo” versions and not the true stereo mixes. When the two Capitol albums boxed sets were re-issued a while ago they contained mono and stereo versions of the albums. My question is – Do these re-issues contain the same mixes that were issued in the sixties? In other words are they still “fake stereo” or have they been upgraded to true stereo versions?

Phill is referring to the box sets Capitol Albums Volume 1 and Capitol Albums Volume 2.

Capitol Albums Vol. 1 was released on November 16, 2004 and contained 4 CDs. Each CD contained both a stereo and mono version of a 1964 Capitol Beatles album. The albums in this first set were Meet The Beatles!, The Beatles Second Album, Something New and Beatles ’65. The idea behind these sets were that the U.S. mixes of some of these tracks differed from the U.K. versions and there was a demand among mainly first generation American fans who wanted a remastered account of the versions they “grew up with.” So that is exactly what they got with this first set. All mixes on the CDs are the original mixes that appeared on the Capitol albums in 1964.

Similarly, Capitol Albums Vol. 2 was released on April 11, 2006 and contained 4 CDs. Each CD contained both a stereo and mono version of a 1965 Capitol Beatles album. The albums in this second set were The Early Beatles, Beatles VI, Help! and Rubber Soul. Like before, the idea behind this release was to get the U.S. differing mixes issued in a digital format (i.e. on CD). So that is exactly what was planned. However, there was a screw up!

Capitol Albums Box Sets (Vols. 1 & 2)

Capitol Albums Box Sets (Vols. 1 & 2)

On the first issuances of the Vol. 2 set Capitol made a manufacturing error that affected both the Beatles VI and Rubber Soul discs. The mono tracks on these two discs were simply “fold down” mixes (i.e. mono mixes created from the stereo mixes by combining the left and right channels). This mistake may have had something to do with the other two discs (Help! and The Early Beatles) in the set also having “fold down” mixes as well – but for those, that’s the way they were supposed to be since those two were like that on the sixties vinyl. Beatles VI and Rubber Soul, however, had unique mono mixes on the 1965 vinyl albums. Capitol sent out a message that if anyone wished to return their two flawed discs, that they would be replaced with corrected copies (within 60 days of purchase). Click here to see the letter EMI sent out concerning replacement discs. Fortunately, the error was corrected on all subsequent pressings of the set.

You can test to see if you have an incorrect or corrected version. Here’s a few comparisons to try.

Compare the mono and stereo versions of “I’m Looking Through You” on the Rubber Soul disc. If you hear the false start in the intro on both versions, then you have the flawed disc, as the mono version should not have the false start. The fade out should also be slightly longer in the mono mix. If they are the same, you have the flawed disc.

For the Beatles VI disc, you should note that the stereo version of “Kansas City/Hey-Hey-Hey-Hey” has a slightly longer fade out. If they are the same you have the flawed disc. Also on the track “Bad Boy” the drums and bass are mixed a little louder on the mono than they are in the stereo mix. If they sound exactly the same you have the flawed disc.

For another test (with either disc) you might check the running times of each track. If the stereo times match up exactly with their mono counterparts, you very likely have the flawed disc.

Thanks Michael and Phil for two good questions!

Have something to add? Put it in the comments section below and thanks for reading!

Thank you to everyone who has sent in their questions! Keep #askNat going by sending your questions to me in any of the following ways:

1) There is a designated form that you fill out right on the website where you can give your name, location, email address and submit your question. The form is right here and is the same form used to submit requests for BROWs (Beatles Rarity Of The Weeks), but modfied to do both BROW requests and #askNat questions.

2) If you are a Facebook user, you can submit your question right on TheBeatlesRarity FB wall at www.facebook.com/beatlesrarity. If you think about it, try to remember to flag your question with “#askNat”.

3) Similarly, if you are a Google+ user, you can submit your question on TheBeatlesRarity Google+ page at www.gplus.to/beatlesrarity. Google+ supports hashtag searchability so it will be helpful if you preface your question with “#askNat” here too.

4) For you Twitter users, www.twitter.com/beatlesrarity gets you to the right place. Post your question and be sure to add “#askNat” somewhere in the tweet.

Here are some links to Amazon to read more or purchase some of the music related to this post:

1) All Things Must Pass [BOXED EDITION] 2001 2-CD remastered version of original 1970 triple LP with bonus tracks, and containing “Apple Scruffs.”

2) The Capitol Albums Vol. 1 – 2004 remastered 4-CD box set containing stereo and mono versions of 4 1964 Beatles records: Meet The Beatles!, The Beatles Second Album, Something New and Beatles ’65.

3) The Capitol Albums Vol. 2 (Brick) – 2006 remastered 4-CD box set containing stereo and mono versions of 4 1965 Beatles records: The Early Beatles, Beatles VI, Help! and Rubber Soul (note: these discs have been corrected to contain the correct mono mixes).

4) Any of your favorite Beatles-related music: The Beatles, John Lennon, Paul McCartney, George Harrison and Ringo Starr.

13 people think this is FAB!

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  • Jerry says:

    Thank you for these articles. I always enjoy them. Is there any hope at all of the Volume 3 set? Are those mixes considered too close to the UK versions to make the set worth doing? It would be worth it to me just to see Capitol make little butcher covers hidden under the white paste over! Maybe the ‘completist” in me wants four more to make the set whole. I’m not holding my breath by any means, but it would be nice.

  • Steven says:

    So, apparently I have the flawed disc of Rubber Soul. Since it is way past the 60 days of purchase, what recourse do I have, or am I just stuck with it?

  • YouKnowMyNameLookUpThe# says:

    Since I bought two of each set, I opened one and kept the other closed. I contacted EMI in Jackson, Illinois and asked if I sent the whole set back would they replace the entire set with the corrected one? They did. So I have one sealed and one unsealed version. I did notice, however, you can also use the CDP number on the sticker on the set to tell before you bought it as to which set was contained in the package. I wrote the number down to see if any stores were selling the wrong mixes and told them. At one store, FYE, they sold the wrong mix set until the day they closed!

    I considered keeping one bad set, but really, who wants a defective set? If they had alternate mixes, I’d have kept it, but fold-downs are easy to create (or keep a burned copy of before you sent them back for replacement).

  • YouKnowMyNameLookUpThe# says:

    As for the comment from the original question, about Duophonic mixes, that’s interesting. From what I believe to be true, Bruce Spizer wrote it so it must be, the only songs in “fake stereo” were the songs prepared for singles as they were always mixed in mono until Something/Come Together and Get Back were released. So for the songs on US albums which were issued as singles and B-sides they were Duophonic or “fake stereo” also known as re-channeled stereo.

    If you aren’t familiar with the terms or the process, they take a mono source tape then use EQ to separate the mono track into two tracks by making one track feature a higher end of the audible spectrum and the other feature a lower end of the spectrum. Then, they add some echo or reverb to it to give it a nice albeit fake stereo effect.

    Since Capitol Records was behind the 8 ball issuing albums and singles in the US initially because VeeJay Records had the rights to some songs, they would issue songs as singles AND (as practiced anyway in the states), as album cuts so kids would have songs they knew on the albums and thus bump album sales. The UK albums didn’t have the singles on them so when they made a new track lineup for the US albums they’d add the singles to their track lineups. Thus having to use mono sources even on the stereo albums. Hence the need to create a “faked” stereo cut for their stereo records.

    Now Nat will back me up on this, and probably point to a track or two here which comes from this version of the album, but Yesterday & Today was issued in 3 different incarnations. First, in mono. Second in Stereo. Third, Duophonic. So an entire album had the mono mixes made into duophonic. So that may be one sticking point to having a third box of US issued albums on CD. How do you account for 3 different issues of similar material? Of course, i say issue it once with a Butcher cover, once with a pasted over cover and once with the final cover or the third variation and rare, but unused cover for this album. I still hope they take my idea and use a removable yet replaceable cover to recreate the paste over effect. lol Sorta like Post-It notes.

    • Happy Nat says:

      Actually Yesterday…And Today has a (1) mono mix, (2) original stereo mix with “And Your Bird Can Sing,” “Doctor Robert” and “I’m Only Sleeping in fake stereo and (3) remastered stereo with true stereo mixes of same three songs and everything else the same as earlier stereo mix. The mono mixes of those three tracks on the U.K. Revolver albums are later improved mixes. The stereo mixes for the remastered Yesterday…And Today for “Doctor Robert” and “I’m Only Sleeping” are different from the UK Revolver mixes too but Capitol used the existing (UK) stereo “And Your Bird Can Sing” mix for the remastered stereo Yesterday…And Today. More info here, here and here.

      • YouKnowMyNameLookUpThe# says:

        Right, three different configurations. One had some duophonic mixes, right? I had read an article that there was an actual limited run of a Duophonic version of that LP but it was in limited numbers.

        The 1960s configurations had one set of mixes and the later remastered version when they revisited them in the 1970s had another set of mixes for some tracks. I thought they had redone the whole LP in the 70s. I just know what I listened to was the mono version from the 60s. It had the rainbow circle label. When I got the rarities LP those mixes sounded different because they were actually the final mixes from the UK which Capitol couldn’t wait for to place onto Y&T. They were approved yet early “final” mixes from Martin which were used. It all gets so confusing I lose track of tracks. lol

        No matter what, I’d like to see a third Capitol Albums set come out.

        • Happy Nat says:

          Yeah, I believe we are referring to the same thing YKMN. I am using the term “fake stereo” and you are using the term “duophonic” but it’s the same thing you described (i.e. starting out with two identical mono channels and tweaking the high frequency sounds in one and the low frequency sounds in the other). This only applied to the early stereo release of the album for the three songs listed above though. My point here is if they did a third Capitol box set that included this album, they wouldn’t have to make three albums – just the original mono, original stereo and three bonus tracks for the true stereo mixes used for the replacement.

  • YouKnowMyNameLookUpThe# says:

    Any kind of third box set would be fine with me! lol

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