Thursday, April 24, 2014

Keltie's added information on The Staccatos/The Guess Who - A Wild Pair

My good friend Keltie sent some more great info on The Staccatos/The Guess Who album A Wild Pair that I recently wrote about. You can see Keltie's comments below:

Great post and a great album as well. A few other points of interest to pass along. Both the Guess Who and The Staccatos recorded radio ads for Coke around the same time. (The GW's spots were re-writes of "Shakin' All Over" and their at-the-time current single "This Time Long Ago". Imagine Burton belting out "Quivers down my back-bone, I got shakes in my thigh-bone and a tremor in my knee-bone, for a Coca-Cola!") The Guess Who spots both have the same production quality (horns, strings) as the Wild Pair album. So here's assuming that Jack Richardson must have played a part (he was an advertising exec at the time.) The Guess Who also did a 2 minute original rock jingle for Honda around the same time, again, with horns and sharp production.

All the recording for A Wild Pair, the Coke and Honda radio spots, and the next 2 Guess Who singles on Nimbus 9 (both preceding "These Eyes") was done at Hallmark Studios in Toronto. At the time Hallmark was one of few studios in town to offer 3 track recording. (As an aside, a very young Glenn Gould recorded some tracks for Hallmark that pre-dates his Columbia debut with "The Goldberg Variations".) And a LOT of the credit of the fresh sound of A Wild Pair has to do with producer/engineer Phil Ramone, who was a friend of Richardson's and brought from New York City to engineer. Ramone owned A&R Studios in New York where Richardson took the Guess Who to record the Wheatfield Soul" LP. Sadly (and I just realized this) Phil Ramone had passed away last year. He leaves behind a legacy of masterfully produced records.

And very funny to think that this album was pressed in stereo only! Considering the target market for this promotion (teens and listeners in their early 20's with crappy record players) and that most Canadian records at the time were still released only in mono, it surely WAS a gamble. My thinking is that Richardson felt that even on a crappy mono record player, the production quality would be a stand-out, compared to other Canadian records of the time, and even kids/teens/young adults would pick up on just how top notch these bands were. Speaking of the pressing, the mastering and pressing of this album was contracted out to RCA in Toronto. RCA had one of the few pressing plants in Canada at the time. Its neat to note that all Nimbus 9 records in Canada were subsequently distributed by RCA and The Guess Who got signed to RCA in the states.

And a minor correction, the Wild Pair recordings of the Guess Who are the same ones as on the "Let's Go" compilation. The band used a mono 7.5 ips dub-down of the tracks and offered that to CBC to use on the show, Hence, the inferior sound quality of those tracks on that release. It was easier (and cost-effective) on the band to just give CBC a copy tape rather than try to re-create the songs in the CBC Winnipeg studio. I wish some video footage of the boys miming to these songs existed.

And I believe (and could be wrong here) that Capitol Records (in both Canada and the US) felt that the band's magic would do well in a "real" studio and all following Staccatos/Five Man Electrical Band recordings for Capitol were done at the Hollywood studios.

You're right, The "Wild Pair" tracks by The Staccatos have been since officially released on the excellent CD by Pacemaker Records called "The Stacatos/Five Man Electrical Band - First Sparks:The Anthology (1965-1969)". They were remastered from a clean vinyl source for this issue and sound great. Its unfortunate the Guess Who tracks haven't been properly reissued, (This writer HAS heard a direct dub of the "Wild Pair" master tape and it sounds so good. I wish I was able to keep a copy.!)

That's about it that I can add to the story. DEFINITELY a watershed moment in the careers of both bands. And an important footnote in Canadian music history.

No comments:

Post a Comment

Note: Only a member of this blog may post a comment.