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#askNat – concerning Dave Dexter Jr. and the Canadian Beatles LPs

On #askNat this week I’m responding to a great question from Rick in Canada who has questions about the early Beatles releases in his country:

Hi,

I’m a 60 year old Canadian musician, and have a lot of Beatles records. I just have a few questions. Releases like the Canadian only LPs, Beatlemania! With The Beatles and Twist And Shout would have been pressed from the original British masters in 1963, and obviously have no ‘production’ from Dave Dexter Jr. But, what about later LPs like A Hard Day’s Night and Help!? Dave Dexter Jr. is credited on the latter, but not the former. I guess my question is, are the early Canadian releases the same as the UK versions of songs? And when did we (as Canadians), start getting the Dave Dexter Jr. recordings?

Thanks,

Rick

Interesting question Rick. The Canadians hold the distinction of having the first LP by The Beatles in North America. After releasing the same first four Beatles singles that were released in the U.K during 1962-63, Capitol of Canada released it’s own version of the second U.K. Beatles album With The Beatles, with the title Beatlemania! With The Beatles and only a slight modification to the cover to support the new title and also to add a few endorsements about this new and hot group from the British Isles. The album was released within a few days of the British release at the end of November 1963 and was only issued in mono at the time. The track listing was identical to its U.K. counterpart and the mixes were not tampered with in any way.

Beatlemania! With The Beatles issued in Canada on Nov. 25, 1963

Beatlemania! With The Beatles issued in Canada on Nov. 25, 1963

With The Beatles, 2nd U.K. Beatles LP issued on Nov. 22, 1963

With The Beatles, 2nd U.K. Beatles LP issued on Nov. 22, 1963

 

Capitol of Canada were not affected by Vee-Jay Records owning the rights to the recordings on the first U.K. Beatles LP Please Please Me as Capitol in America were, and were free to put out their own version of this album in Canada. On January 13, 1964, they released the Twist And Shout LP which is similar to Please Please Me in the U.K. but replaced two of the songs to make room for the two single a-sides “From Me To You” and “She Loves You.” The two songs omitted were “I Saw Her Standing There” which was already a b-side on the Canadian “I Want To Hold Your Hand” single and “Misery.” The cover art uses the same photo of the Beatles used on their first British EP, also titled Twist And Shout, and released on July 12, 1963. Only three days prior to the release of Twist And Shout in Canada, Vee-Jay had released their Introducing The Beatles with a similar track listing in the U.S. The Capitol of Canada album retained the mixes that were received from EMI in the U.K. Twist And Shout, like Beatlemania! With The Beatles, was initially only issued as a mono LP in Canada.

Twist And Shout, 2nd Canadian Beatles LP, issued on Jan. 13, 1964.

Twist And Shout, 2nd Canadian Beatles LP, issued on Jan. 13, 1964.

Please Please Me, first U.K. Beatles LP issued on March 22, 1963

Please Please Me, first U.K. Beatles LP issued on March 22, 1963

Introducing The Beatles, issued on Vee-Jay Records in the U.S. on Jan. 10, 1964.

Introducing The Beatles, issued on Vee-Jay Records in the U.S. on Jan. 10, 1964.

 

The third Canadian LP Long Tall Sally issued on May 11, 1964, included the two omitted tracks from Twist And Shout, “I Saw Her Standing There” and “Misery” plus other singles tracks and four songs that had already been released on Beatlemania! With The Beatles (see the complete track listing here). The two newest songs, “Long Tall Sally” and “I Call Your Name,” had been released to an EP in the U.K and on the U.S. LP The Beatles Second Album. Like the previous two Canadian LPs, Long Tall Sally was only issued in mono at the time and the mixes were left as they were in the U.K. The cover art used was identical to the U.S. Capitol LP The Beatles Second Album.

Long Tall Sally, 3rd Canadian Beatles LP, released May 11, 1964

Long Tall Sally, 3rd Canadian Beatles LP, released May 11, 1964

The Beatles Second Album, US Capitol release, April 10, 1964

The Beatles Second Album, US Capitol release, April 10, 1964

 

After the third Capitol of Canada LP the releases synced up with the American releases. United Artists released their soundtrack for the first Beatles movie A Hard Day’s Night in both the U.S. and Canada and following that, Capitol’s Something New album was released in both the U.S. and Canada on July 20, 1964. It was at this point in mid-1964 that the Canadian releases used the same mixes as the U.S. mixes. It was also at this point that the Canadian LPs were available in stereo. Capitol of Canada released the earlier U.S. Beatles albums Meet The Beatles! and The Beatles Second Album in 1968.

In the U.S., Capitol’s Dave Dexter, Jr. oversaw The Beatles U.S. releases for several years compiling the albums for the American market, where they tended to be shorter and where singles tracks were customarily included on albums, unlike what was in common practice in the U.K. Dexter frequently remixed many of the tracks, adding echo and altering the stereo picture. As stated above the Canadian LPs were not affected by this until the U.S. and Canadian catalogs were synced in mid-1964.

Thanks for a great topic, Rick! If anyone has anything to add, I welcome your comments below.


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 Amazon links to read more on, or purchase music related to this post:

1) With The Beatles – 2009 stereo remaster of the second UK LP by The Beatles. Identical track listing to first Canadian Beatles LP Beatlemania! With The Beatles.

2) Please Please Me – 2009 stereo remaster of the first LP by The Beatles. Very similar to track listing on second Canadian Bealtes LP Twist And Shout.

3) Past Masters – 2009 2-CD remaster of 1988 compilation of all of The Beatles non-UK-album tracks. Features stereo mixes of a few songs included on the first three Canadian Beatles LPs.

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

5) Beatles Music: The Beatles, John Lennon, Paul McCartney, George Harrison and Ringo Starr.

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7 Comments

  • YouKnowMyNameLookUpThe# says:

    I recently read an article on beatlesnews.com that talked about the man who was responsible for bringing the Beatles to Canada. He was the guy who compiled their Canadaian LPs, singles, EPs and arranged cover art etc. I believe he recently passed away which was the reason for the article. Ties together with this post perfectly.

    I would like a nice book with artwork from around the globe for their albums/ep’s/singles. I don’t need great details about each, other than track lists and from which current CD you should pull the mix from to be as accurate as possible, but I would find it fun to have albums from around the world of The Beatles. Even if it’s just running track lists with the album cover art. I know the track lists are easy to find but the artwork is NOT. Not in high quality forms anyway.

    The US album configurations get a bad rap about “butchering” their albums to better serve their market, but I think they did so just fine. In fact, I find some of the US track lists better than their original UK lists. For one thing, they had a tiny bit of hindsight which allowed for putting the best available tracks in one place. I mean, you get two albums plus an EP and a couple singles and make one album from that to re-start your career, you’d have to have a better album if only slightly, right?

    As for Dexter’s use of reverb on already mastered albums, I kinda like it. Martin did a great job of recording them, but honestly, that bit of reverb makes some tracks that much stronger, in my opinion. I don’t find them offensive. I do see that Martin would find it offensive he took credit for “producing” the album, but he did do something and there should be some kind of credit for what he did. I guess he didn’t have a better title for it in 1963/64 when he did it? When I hear “less than officially released tracks” from The Beatles I find it funny how “dry” they can sound sans echo/reverb. Reverb was always what set apart professionals from amateurs because it sanded out the rough edges. And the Beatles had some rough edges from time to time, especially early on when they recorded virtually direct to tape.

    The one thing I don’t like about the Canadian album cover for Beatlemania! is the “hype” written on the front cover. It sort of detracts to me, but I am sure it looks perfectly normal to a Canadian who grew up seeing it that way. It’s gotta look naked to you as “With The Beatles”. lol At least Dexter usually didn’t screw around much with album cover art. Oh and before anyone talks about the whole butchering thing Capitol US did, they did have some valid reasons. First, the 12 tracks instead of 14 was a simple one. In the UK you paid a flat royalty rate per album regardless of the track count of an album. In the US you paid per track. So, they’d have to raise the price of albums in the US to pay for the publishing rates being higher per album and in 1964 neither kids (nor adults for that matter) were used to buying albums of new material from ANY artist. They would buy greatest hits compilations on LP or classical LPs but pop didn’t grow to that status until the Beatles made albums worth buying (Rubber Soul/Revolver/Sgt. Pepper).

    That was a fun question. I don’t know much about the Canadian market where the Beatles are concerned so it’s fun to read about something new to me. Great response as usual Nat!

    • Rick says:

      Thanks for the in depth and informative reply to my question concerning the early Canadian Beatles recordings, Nat.

      As a 10 year old in 1962-3, I distinctly remember hearing those early Beatles singles, although none of them were ‘hits’ until ‘She Loves You’. There was a radio show called “Direct From London”, or “Live From London”…something like that, which I think was a CBC broadcast, where they played those cuts. I remember being amazed and confused after ‘She Loves You’ made the charts, that great singles like ‘All My Loving’, ‘Please Please Me’, ‘From Me To You’ and ‘Roll Over Beethoven’ were finally included. (And ‘Love Me Do’, but I don’t personally consider it to be a ‘great’ tune). At one point, the top five singles in Canada were the Beatles’ songs. I think I still have my ‘CHUM’ radio chart to verify that fact.

      Coincidentally, there was an interesting article in The Toronto Star about Capitol A&R man at the time, Paul White, just a few weeks ago. Here it is….

      http://www.thestar.com/entertainment/music/2013/02/18/how_the_beatles_got_their_start_in_canada.html

      Thanks again,
      Rick

  • ODIrony says:

    I grew up with the US records, but by the early 70s was converting my collection to UK imports. I think there are pluses and minuses to the reverb question. For example, the first time I heard the UK version of Rollover Beethoven i nearly flipped my wig; that opening guitar and all instrumentals in the left channel versus only handclaps in the right until the drumroll just before George’s first line blew me away. But some US versions sound more “live”-like due to the reverb; they give one the impression of being recorded live in the studio, even though after Please Please Me there were considerable overdubs everywhere.

    As to track selection, I have to say that Rubber Soul is still the double version classic for me. I would go so far as to suggest that people raised solely on th UK version give the US tracklist a try and listen to one of the most enjoyable Folk Rock sounding records of the 60s. At the same time, I still remember the first time I heard the UK version and sat back in shocked awe at the intensity of the whole experience. (By the bye, Rubber Soul was my first UK purchase and the one that sparked my interest in the UK catalogue.)

    Ah! Would that there were a Volume III to the Capitol collection. It would be a treat to hear Yesterday … and Today, and Revolver (perhaps even Live at the Hollywood Bowl) with CD clarity.

    Then again, I’m still holding out for Strawberry Fields Forever in the original Stereo mix. When you featured it a while back it nearly blew my mind. That wash from left to right at the edit point brought back surprising memories and made me wonder why on earth anybody – even George Martin – would dare to fiddle it away.

    • YouKnowMyNameLookUpThe# says:

      I hold out hope for a Capitol Volume 3. I’d even take some kind of compilation containing the bastard mixes or released mono/stereo/duophonic versions which present differences which do not appear elsewhere within their catalogue. And thank you for saying CD clarity! Too many vinyl junkies who think their $100 turntable and $60 cartridge is giving them better results than any $25 CD player. lol Heck, I use $150 headphones and they probably aren’t good enough to hear differences!

      I never had a complete collection of US or UK albums until CDs came out. I heard of the UK Beatles LPs but they were expensive to a kid in the 70s. My father heard about them from a audio buff he worked with but we never bought any. By the time I started to know anything about the differences, (early to mid 80s?) it was time to buy their CDs anyway in 1987. So I decided consciously to collect CD releases. So I have 3″ CD singles from the US and UK and 5″ singles and EPs from the UK as well as their entire first run of CDs in 1987/88. I have just a few vinyl pieces and if I hit the lottery, I’d only have a few more.

      There are true stereo mixes of just about everything they claim doesn’t have one. It may only be on a German album, bit it’s out there! lol

  • Rick says:

    Hi, “ODIrony” has obviously confused mono and stereo mixes of “Roll Over Beethoven”. The original UK version does not have a Left/Right Channel division of guitar/hand-claps/voices, since it was recorded in ‘mono’, not ‘stereo’.

    As far as Dave Dexter’s mixes are concerned, the original Beatles Parlophone recordings have a clarity and ‘band mix’ that Dexter didn’t realise. He thought that pop bands should have the vocals out front, and channeled the mixes to be that way, adding reverb for what he thought was a lack of depth. But, what he did was water down the attack and intensity of the band.

    To…YouKnowMyNameLookUpThe# ….

    Yes, there is a difference between vinyl and digital recordings. Simply, music is made with natural wave forms, like the waves of a sea. If you try to digital-ize it, it becomes pixelated. Thus, you can’t fit a natural wave form into a digital wave form without causing a distorting effect.

    That’s why hearing music ‘live’ is better than hearing it on a recording of any kind. That being said, recording on ‘tape’, and listening to it on vinyl, will give you more of the natural sound than transferring it to a digital format.

    You might get more false clarity, but you won’t find the depth.

    You’re welcome,
    Rick

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