The Decca Tapes Speed Corrected (Extract Factory EXT 001)
Like Dreamers Do / Money ( Thats What I Want ) / To know Her Is To Love Her / Memphis / ‘Till There Was You / Besame Mucho / Love Of The Loved / Hello Little Girl / Three Cool Cats / September In The Rain / Take Good Care Of My Baby / Crying, Waiting, Hoping / The Sheik Of Araby / Serchin’
One of the Beatles most revered sets “The Decca Tapes” have been through as many permeations as the “Get Back” Sessions & has been almost as fragmentary in their presentation. Wikipedia mentions “The Beatles performed fifteen songs that were recorded at their audition for Decca Records on 1 January 1962 (three Lennon/McCartney compositions and twelve cover versions). Five of the songs were included on Anthology 1.
Fourteen of the fifteen tracks appeared on a series of coloured vinyl singles with picture sleeves, released in 1978 on the Deccagone label through Strawberry Fields Forever, Joe Pope’s fanzine. The following year, all fifteen tracks appeared on the Circuit Records bootleg album The Decca Tapes.
Due to the questionable copyright status of these performances (recorded prior to the group’s EMI contract), the Decca audition was commercially distributed in various configurations starting in 1981; some of these “grey market” albums omitted the three Lennon/McCartney songs. By the late 1980s, legal action by The Beatles had halted commercial availability of the albums. In addition to continued inclusion on bootlegs, a small U.S. record label issued the songs on CD through mail order in 2007 as The Lost Decca Sessions, which it described as legal and licensed.”
This issue comes from a torrent from the internet titled “The Decca Tapes – The Definitive Edition” by Remasters Workshop that proclaims that it has corrected the pitch, level & phase of the sound & they all sound perfunctory enough. Apparently formed from the original Masterdisk CD release then it has been re-patched or fixed from other sources, slowed down by a milli-second, etc .. totally re-corrected by an audiophile who seems to have hitched every second up, held it under the spot light & touched up the errors & flaws within the material. The sound is very much of it’s time – a muted & safe sound that cloaked the rest of the British pop output but made it a particular sound to it’s country / era.
Unfortunately this tweaking & transferring seems to have rankled a few within the forums & boards of the internet – People have noted that the Dr. Ebbetts version sounds better than this reproduction & others think that this release tops THAT one. While it does sound wonderful it would seem that beauty is in the ears of the listener & that you would have to make your own decision as to which you prefer best.
It has been mentioned that a tape source closer to the source exists & may see the light of day before the end of 2010. As this disk suffers from the flaws of it’s sister release “Spicy Beatles Songs” ( Interminable skipping part of the way through “Money” ) then you might be better waiting until Extract Factory re-releases this disk sans flaws or if we ever hear this recording nearer the source.
The Packaging is quite lovely though – taking the look of an early vinyl bootleg, printed using think laminated card with the front utilizing a very early shot of the band dressed in their Hamburg leathers, the back using more promo photos from the early Beatles days & one of John & Paul at a concert in their casuals. The inner sleeve uses the same photo as the one used on Mojo magazine no. 98 of a very boyish George Harrison while the tray shows John & Paul enjoying a little down time.If you liked this review, buy me a cup of joe. (Suggested: $3 a shot or $7.5 for a double)