Wednesday, October 14, 2015

The Who - Jigsaw Puzzle


The Who – Jigsaw Puzzle
(soniclovenoize reconstruction)


Side A:
1.  I’m A Boy
2.  Run Run Run
3.  Don’t Look Away
4.  Circles
5.  I Need You (Like I Need a Hole In My Head)
6.  Showbiz Sonata

Side B:
7.  In The City
8.  Boris The Spider
9.  Whiskey Man
10.  See My Way
11.  Man With The Money
12.  Barbara Ann


This, the second in a series of alternate Who albums, is a reconstruction of the unreleased Who album Jigsaw Puzzle, which evolved into their 1966 album A Quick One (or Happy Jack, depending on your continent).  Originally intended to showcase each member of The Who as a figurehead by allowing each to write their own half of an LP side, the concept was scrapped due to a lack of quality material and was rescued by Townshend’s seminal mini-rock opera “A Quick One While He’s Away”, which replenished the scrapped material  and occupied the remaining LP side.  This reconstruction is all in its original mono—as early Who should!—and uses the best possible mastering available.  Unique mono mixes were made of some songs which never received a proper vintage mono mix.

After the success of The Who’s singles “My Generation” and “Substitute” that emphasized the songwriting talents of guitarist Pete Townshend, the public greatly anticipated the band’s sophomore album.  In June 1966, The Who recorded a trio of solid tracks for the follow-up single to “Substitute”: “Disguises”, “I’m A Boy” and the John Entwhistle/Keith Moon collaboration “In The City."  Although “Disguises” was originally earmarked for single release, its position was overpowered by “I’m A Boy”, the best and probably most idiosyncratic song The Who had in their repertoire at this point.  Originally written as part of a scrapped rock opera called Quads, “I’m a Boy” told the story of a boy whose parents wished he was a girl, and was performed with a dramatic power-pop arrangement that only The Who could muster.  It turned out to be their highest-charting single to date, and The Who began to collect original compositions for an album while simultaneously recording non-original compositions in August destined for their live residency on the Ready Steady Go!  program (“Barbara Anne”, “Man With The Money”, “Batman” and “Heatwave”). 

But Townshend wasn’t alone in the strive to compose original material; manager Kit Lambert (who had asserted himself also as The Who’s producer) secured a new publishing deal that could make the whole band a bit of cash, but the other members were required to write at least two songs each.  Taking Kit’s request to heart, the Jigsaw Puzzle album was originally conceived as a way to exploit this publishing deal by prominently featuring each member of The Who as a lead songwriter, thus making a virtual four-part solo album in which each member of The Who received their half of an LP-side (a concept later revisited in 1973 for the Quadrophenia album). 

Recording at IBA, Pye and CBS studios at the tail end of September and the first week of October, The Who tracked just under an album’s worth of material for Jigsaw Puzzle with the four-part-solo-album concept in mind.  Townshend offered his own “Don’t Look Away”, “Run Run Run” (a song he had originally given to the band The Cat) and “So Sad About Us” (a song he had originally given to The Mercies); lively Keith Moon contributed his snide snub of John Lennon “I Need You” and the instrumental “Showbiz Sonata” (later retitled “Cobwebs and Strange”); stoic John Entwhistle contributed his own compositions “Whiskey Man” and the now-classic “Boris The Spider”; and Roger Daltrey’s sole contribution was his “See My Way.”  The Who also recorded a new, longer and more elaborate version of “I’m A Boy” intended for Jigsaw Puzzle, as well as a cover of “Bucket T” and a new version of “My Generation” coupled with “Land of Hope and Glory”, again both intended for both Ready Steady Go! and it’s accompanying soundtrack EP, Ready Steady Who! 

By November 1966 the official announcement was made of Jigsaw Puzzle’s release on December 1st.  The official tracklist was as follows… Side A: I’m A Boy / Run Run Run / Don’t Look Away / Circles / I Need You / Showbiz Sonata.  Side B: In The City / Boris The Spider / Whiskey Man / See My Way / Heat Wave / Barbara Ann.  The problem occurred when astute fans notice a majority of the album had already been heard before: Both “I’m A Boy” and “Circles” had been an A-side and B-side respectively; “Run Run Run” had already been covered by The Cat; “In The City” had already appeared as the B-side to “I’m A Boy”; “Barbara Ann” was already released on the Ready Steady Who EP that same month!  Of the twelve album tracks, half of them were nowhere near being new. 

The Who must have been wise to this fact and that month the album was completely restructured.  Returning to the studio in the midst of touring, the band cut their next single, “Happy Jack” b/w “I’ve Been Away.”  They also cut a song meant to replace the redundant Jigsaw tracks, a song so quintessentially The Who in this period that it could only become the title track of this new, reborn album.  It was a nine-minute epic that functioned as a mini-rock opera, a collection of suites that formed a narrative about infidelity and reconciliation: “A Quick One While He’s Away.”  Using this as well as their fine rendition of “So Sad About Us” from October and a cover of “Heatwave” from their August Ready Steady Who sessions to replace “I’m A Boy”, “Circles”, “In The City” and “Barbara Ann”, a completely new album emerged: A Quick One (although “Heatwave” was replaced with “Happy Jack” in America, and instead being used as the album’s title track).  Although A Quick One became The Who’s sound-defining album of the 60s that initiated the creative trajectory of the band’s entire career, are we able to reassemble this jigsaw puzzle? 

The first step is source material.  It is very relevant that A Quick One signaled the beginning of Kit Lambert as an active producer of the band and the effects of this are immediate.  Although Lambert was a fine manager, music promoter and possibly even filmmaker, he was an awful record producer and the sound quality of A Quick One often sounds inconsistent, moving in and out of clarity.  After A/B’ing numerous masters and needledrops of A Quick One, I have determined that this is just simply how the album sounds, and no mastering of the album will fix “Run Run Run”.  Perhaps it was supposed to sound like garbage?  I have also determined that the very best master of the album is the latest HDtracks 2014 remaster, which features the most rich and robust sound and is often the most pristine, considering the sound of the album. 

The track order is an easy task, as The Who published Jigsaw Puzzle’s initial tracklisting and the songs are all readily available to reconstruct the album.  While at first it appears to be a fairly random assortment of songs The Who just simply had finished at the time, a closer inspection will reveal it’s organization: that Side A are all Townshend and Moon compositions and Side B are all Entwhistle and Daltrey compositions (note that since Daltrey’s original vision of The Who were as interpreters of cover songs, the two covers of “Heatwave” and “Barbara Ann” are included within his section of the album).  In attempt to create a conceptual continuity within this series of alternate Who albums, we will replace “Heatwave” since it was already featured on my previous reconstruction Introducing The Who.  Its replacement will be a different cover song: The Everly Brothers’ “Man With The Money” since it featured a fairly elaborate, album-worthy arrangement, not to mention Entwhistle had specifically stated in an April 1966 article that an Everly Brothers song was intended for their second album! 

As with my previous Who reconstruction Introducing The Who, we will only use the song’s original mono mixes, as that was the way they were intended to be mixed as; any listen to the awkward  stereo  mixes will tell you!  That is an easy task for all but the long October version of “I’m A Boy”, which only has been released as a modern stereo mix.  Luckily, the stereo mix featured elements prominently hard-panned left or right, so in splitting the left and right channels and mixing them separately I was able to create a mono mix that fit the rest of the album, specifically using “I Need You" (which seemed to feature a similar instrumental arrangement) as a reference.  Likewise, a mono mix of “Man With The Money” has not been released, so we collapse the stereo and rebuild a monophonic mix using “Don’t Look Away” as a reference. 

How does this jigsaw puzzle compare to a quick one?  As with the previous Who alternate album, this listener enjoys it much more!  It is surely missing a quintessential Who track, but I personally don’t believe they’d truly ‘nail’ the title track anyways until at least their 1968 performance of “A Quick One While He’s Away” on the Rolling Stones Rock and Roll Circus, not to mention the penultimate version featured on 1970’s Live At Leeds.  In that case it is a welcomed trade for this superb version of “I’m A Boy”, as well as “Circles” and “In The City”—smaller trees in The Who’s forest they might be, but the pair improve the atmosphere and create a slightly more horn-driven sound.  And although we lose the fantastic “So Sad About Us”, we have a more well-rounded album as a whole.  So what is next for The Who?  Maybe a better question to ask is... who’s Lily? 




Sources used:
A Quick One (2014 HDtracks mono remaster)
A Quick One (1995 Polydoor CD remaster)
Who’s Missing Two’s Missing (2011 Japanese SHM-SACD remaster)

flac --> wav --> SONAR and Goldwave --> flac encoding via TLH lv8
* md5 files, track notes and artwork included

55 comments:

  1. Once again .... nicely done !!!!

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  2. Allways interesting, mainly for a Who addicted guy. Thanks a lot.

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  3. Very cool, love The Who, and there's so much non-album stuff to make "better" versions of their albums.

    My version of this album is the following:

    Run Run Run- A Quick One
    Happy Jack- Meaty Beaty Big & Bouncy
    I Need You- A Quick One
    Don't Look Away- A Quick One
    Substitute- Meaty Beaty Big & Bouncy
    See My Way- A Quick One
    Man With The Money- A Quick One
    So Sad About Us- A Quick One
    I'm A Boy- Meaty Beaty Big & Bouncy
    A Quick One, While He's Away- A Quick One

    I prefer to focus on the Pete songs, and usually exclude the more silly songs.

    I'd love to hear corrections or thoughts on this.

    Keep it up!

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    1. I'm not really interested with much Who material outside of Pete's songs. With a lot of my custom versions personal preference has been known to count more than historical accuracy.

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  4. A nice follow-up to "Introducing the Who". Really looking forward to "Pictures of Lily", which I'm guessing is the Who '67 apart from the Sell Out LP.

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  5. Beautiful, my friend, as always. Digging this alternate history of The Who. The foreshadowing of the forthcoming LP is rather curious. I hope there's plans for a resurrection of Rael.

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  6. Hello,
    Always beautiful with a lot of information. Congratulations for the job.
    Best regards,
    Robert

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  7. Thanks for "Jigsaw Puzzle". Looking forward to "Who's Lily".

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  8. Will the series of Who Reconstructions include the 1968 "Fillmore East" recordings? It would be great if it did!

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    1. I wasn't intending on it, but is that something you guys would want?

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    2. I'm always down with more Who stuff. I don't think I've listened to Who's Next once since you posted your Lifehouse mix.

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    3. Thanks! But FYI an upgrade to my Lifehouse is also a part of this Who series, as there are some flaws I intend to correct from the one I did years ago (one of the first on this blog I think).

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    4. I can't speak on the Fillmore concert but any Who is good Who. Especially if Heaven and Hell or Rock is Dead are planned.

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    5. Awesome news for me.

      That's probably my most listened to reconstruction of yours.

      I greatly look forward to it.

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  9. great stuff, as always. lots of Kinks and Yardbirds to make up some interesting albums as well.....

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  10. Another great job! Thank you so much.

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  11. Would you ever think of doing a full reconstruction of From A Basement On The Hill by Elliott Smith?

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  12. Here’s an album I put together using songs not on other the Monkees’ albums. I figured it would have been released in September of 1968, as it would give the group something to promote on their Far East tour (September/October 1968). The group (or Columbia-Screen Gems) knew when the soundtrack would be ready, they had problems printing the cover, so any product use to promote the group would have been beneficial. Also, soundtracks are considered different from other albums. They have their own number system and just feature only material from the film.
    However, I don’t think an album like this could have come out for several reasons:
    1. Lester Sill’s hatred of “Lady’s Baby.” Not that it’s a bad song, but he was upset about the time and cost used to make it.

    2. Too many group originals. I don’t think Colgems would release something without a strong “stable” writer (one from Columbia-Screen Gems).

    For what it’s worth, here it is:

    Side A
    1. Rosemarie (Instant Replay bonus track)
    2. It’s Nice To Be With You
    3. Propinquity (I’ve Just Begun To Care)
    4. Shake ‘Em Up And Let ‘Em Roll (Missing Links 3 vocal)
    5. Look Down
    6. Lady’s Baby

    Side B
    1. Smile
    2. Carlisle Wheeling (Instant Replay bonus track)
    3. Tear The Top Right Off My Head (or Come On In)
    4. I’m Gonna Try
    5. Alvin
    6. D.W. Washburn
    7. St. Matthew

    I figured “Come On In” could replace “Tear The Top..” since I think it master tape is in Rhino’s possession. I also tried to include “Nine Times Blue” but it didn’t seem to flow as well.
    Couldn’t come up with a good title – that was almost always a PTB (powers that be) decision. Any suggestions?

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  16. I don't think "Do No Ask For Love" was a finished version - more of a run through. Peter's finished tracks had a full band and would have probably been made and remade several times. It is the template, however, for his performance of it on "33 1/3 Revolutions Per Monkee."

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  17. Yeah I usually listen to the 33 1/3 version. On another note Jigsaw Puzzle pairs nicely with a

    Happy Jack EP

    1. Happy Jack
    2. Disguises
    3. So Sad About Us
    4. I've Been Away
    5. Bucket T
    6. A Quick One While He's Away

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  18. I personally enjoyed the 10 song A Quick One/Happy Jack hybrid from MCA released in 1970's on lp and on CD in the mid-1980's. It is the "A Quick One" album with Happy Jack placed after A Quick One, While She's Away.

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  19. I posted this on the "Who's For Tennis?" entry, but maybe here is good since it has a number of 1966/"Jigsaw Puzzle" Who tracks.

    How a about of version of "Magic Bus - The Who On Tour" without the repeated tracks. I propose:

    Side A

    Disguises
    Batman
    Dr, Jekyll And Mr Hyde
    Dogs
    Circles
    Call Me Lightning

    Side B

    Magic Bus
    Barbara Ann
    Someone's Coming
    Doctor, Doctor
    Bucket "T"
    Pictures of Lily

    An album of 12 songs released, but with non-album tracks with no repeats. If one wants to create a 14 track version "The Last Time," "Under My Thumb," and the B-Side version of "Mary Anne With The Shaky Hand(s)" are available and good choices to use. I just tried to the use the rest of the "Ready Steady Who" songs not included on the original release. All previous "Magic Bus" tracks stay in the same place except for "Someone's Coming." I moved it down one to fit in "Barbara Ann." I think "Circles" would been used, since the Decca (MCA) people were probably clueless (or just didn't care) that they released the a version of this song , but with a different name, "Instant Party," two years earlier.

    While not popular now, it was the first Who album to break the top 40 in America. It also kept them in the public eye as Tommy was being recorded.

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  20. While i know you're working on the "alternate" Who discography series, and this is a great series in all aspects. I went and re-visited others suggestions regarding the Anthem/ Aoxomoxoa songs, and assembled them in an order of how they were performed live.

    Side 1:
    The Other One > Cosmic Charlie (Short Segue)> New Potato>Born-Cross-eyed(single version)>Drums>Alligator>Caution

    Side 2:
    Mountains Of The Moon> Darkstar (Single Version)> St. Stephen(Outtakes version)>China Cat >The Eleven (Outtakes version)>Feedback

    This version would more accurately show the segues that the band were doing in 67/68/69ish at the time. Some studio editing would also be done (in my own preference) if they didn't do the Live version attached on) (i.e. shortening Alligator to just 4 -5 minutes crossfading into Caution (and shortening that as well.)

    live transitions from one song/ crossfades into the next, just shorter than whats on the official albums.

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  21. Also the 1967-68 album that the Hollies made of recordings with Graham Nash, before he left, would be another great listen (What if album) as most if not all songs from that era are released now in great quality.

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  22. Thank you for having too much time on your hands! Very well done and much appreciated.

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  23. Absolutely amazing! I love these alternative Who albums. I've always felt that, outside of Happy Jack and Boris, the novelty tunes got kind of shorted. I'd love to see a Townshendless release that only contains the goofy writings from the other band members. This is right in my favorite era of the band, before they became an overblown arena act.

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  24. Lovely, works well! Lose one mark for still having the 'non-existant' titles on the jigsaw front cover, mind!

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  25. I don't really know if it's even possible given the limited sources, but a remake of Brian Loves You (1977), with only Brian's lead vocals, would be a wonderful Xmas gift. With a newly remastered version of Lazy Lizzie as a bonus track (I must be out of my mind..) If only I knew how to use mixing software.

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  26. I'd propose that in addition to the Brian-sung tracks, the "Adult/Child" recorded in late 1976/early 1977 (which is on another link).

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    1. It'd make a nice playlist, for sure, but those two albums have two very different sounds and therefore it would be a little disjointed. I don't think the purist in me would be satisfied. Not to mention, sadly, over half of the tracks on Love You don't even have Brian on lead, so it would be mostly Adult/Child tracks.

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  27. What about a MONO mix of The Grateful Dead's first proposed album with all original tracks recorded between 65-67, instead of the mostly covers album that Warner Bros put out ?

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  28. Would you be able to compile the "ORIGINAL" version of "Chunga's Revenge" that Frank Zappa intended to release in 1970 ??? more info here: http://globalia.net/donlope/fz/notes/Chunga's_Revenge.html#UnreleasedChunga

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  29. Lily was Lillie Langtry. Pete's girlfriend at the time (later his wife) had her pictures on the wall. She really has been dead since 1929

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  30. What about a 1969 Jimi Hendrix Experience album? It would have been released between Electric Ladyland and First Rays. My version goes like this:
    The Jimi Hendrix Experience - The End Of The Beggining
    Side A
    1. (Here He Comes) Lover Man
    2. Somewhere
    3. Tax Free
    4. My Friend
    Side B
    1. Look Over Yonder
    2. Stone Free
    3. Gloria
    4. Hear My Train A-Comin'

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  32. What about these: Stampede - Buffalo Springfield
    1862 - The Small Faces
    Could You Walk On Water? - The Rolling Stones
    Dream Factory - Prince & The Revolution

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    1. I will look into 1862 and Stampede, they could be promising. Thanks for the tip!

      I already finished Could You Walk On Water 18 months ago! I just never uploaded it because it continually got bumped by projects I was more excited about at the time! I will try to get it up for you guys in 2016.

      I will never ever do a Prince album because I am afraid of his lawyers.

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    2. Thank you very much for everything that you do! I agree with your response as to why No Prince albums haha, don't want lawsuits etc... also It must be stressful working in 4 bands, holding down a job, and kids. Where do you get the time to do all this stuff! Keep up the great work!

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  34. Sorry to ask, but any word on when the next album is coming?

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  35. Sorry for the delay folks. I meant to upload the latest one a few weeks ago in November, but I didn't get a chance. Even though this blog is prefaced with a note claiming that "I have too much time on my hands", that is not true; two of the four bands I'm in started work on recording albums and that has taken much of my spare time that's not devoted to my job or my kids.

    I should have the next one uploaded this week. Stay tuned!

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    1. Could you give us a hint as to what the next one is going to be? :-)

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  36. Well that's all fine and dandy - How about ya release Could You Walk On Water as a bonus one for this month eh!

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    1. A great idea indeed. It would be a great christmas gift

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  37. Thanks - your work is unbelievably creative and awesome.

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