About the new 10 " Vinyl LP on the Rollercoaster Records website :
Buddy Holly with The Jack Hansen Combo: THAT MAKES IT SOUND SO MUCH BETTER - 10" vinyl LP.
Buddy Holly's 'apartment tapes' are well-known, particularly the six songs he wrote in December 1958 and recorded on his Ampex 401A tape-recorder. These were heard first in the overdubbed versions produced by Jack Hansen in 1959 and 1960. Many fans prefer Buddy's original guitar and vocal demos to the later overdubbed versions. But the Jack Hansen versions - using some of New York's finest session musicians, who were never really a Combo - are still the ones that most fans remember. There were many flaws in the overdubbing, emphasised by the fact that Buddy Holly never envisaged the tracks he made being used to create commercial releases and thus did not stick to strict tempo timing. And the equipment used to mix the original 3-track tapes was primitive compared to today's computer-based technology. Modern technological advances have enabled us to remix the tracks and errors in timing have also been corrected by producer Chris Hopkins. Chris spent many hours on each track, creating the best versions you will ever hear of the six recordings. All have been remixed into mono and stereo versions ... you will hear instruments you never heard before and the overall quality will surprise you! The LP comes with a four-page illustrated booklet with full details about the recordings and the re-mastering process. Tracks are as follows: Side One MONO: 1. That's What They Say 2. What To Do 3. Peggy Sue Got Married 4. That Makes It Tough 5. Crying Waiting Hoping 6. Learning The Game. Side Two STEREO: 1. That's What They Say 2. Crying Waiting Hoping* 3. Learning The Game 4. Peggy Sue Got Married* 5. What To Do 6. That Makes It Tough (* mono created stereo).
Note from the editor: A CD version has been release in September (RCCD 3060)
There are 2 new gems in my Buddy Holly collection. The above mentioned new LP
From Rollercoaster Records and the CD. Great stuff, all what a real Buddy fan
wants to be happy. Brilliant sound, thanks to Chris Hopkins, who produced the
completely remastered LP and CD. Chris made a great job, indeed.
Recommended to all Buddy nuts by Hans, editor of BUDDY HOLLY LIVES !
Diese neue LP bzw. CD kann ich jedem echten Buddy Holly Fan
wärmstens empfehlen, denn mit der heutigen Technik kann man
die legendären Aufnahmen aus Buddy's New Yorker Apartment
mit den Overdubs der Jack Hansen Combo in einer ganz neuen
Klangdimension erleben, dank Chris Hopkins, der einen verdammt
guten Job gemacht hat. Danke an Chris und an John Beecher,
Chef von Rollercoaster Records !
Producer Chris Hopkins about the "Making Of"
By kind courtesy of John Beecher, President of Rollercoaster Records
and Founder - admin of BHAS-CFC Online
I asked John if he still had access to the string session tapes on 3-track. He did but also had the 4-track tapes from the Hansen overdub session from 1960. He sent me "That's What They Say" so I could begin work on it. There were 3 different tracks, as follows:
Track 1 - Guitar/bass/drums Track 2 - Mainly backing vocals Track 3 - Buddy's voice and guitar demo and an overdubbed rhythm guitar on the solo section.
Back in the old days everything was mixed direct from the tapes via a mixing desk and all fader movements were "Live" so with all the best will in the world and the best engineers, no mix could ever be "perfect". Now, with the rise of PC based multitrack systems, every flaw apparent in the original can be ironed out. When I layed the 3 tracks into my system it was very obvious what was going wrong. Buddy never had any idea that his demo was going to be used commercially so he didn't play with metronome accuracy. The band tried very hard to keep up with his changing rhythms but failed quite audibly on almost every bar. There was a particularly bad lurch just after the line "when that time will be" where the drummer literally skips a beat and hits the hi-hat to get the band back in time. I realised that the first thing I had to do was fit Buddy to what the band were playing rather than fit the band to Buddy. Also, the quality of Buddy's demo on the tape was 3rd generation at best. The first thing I did was replace that with a much clearer copy. The next bit was physically cutting Buddy's demo into 30 ms bits and then, using a piece of technology called audiosnap, fitted it to the band track, literally bar by bar. This process is quite painstaking and it took several hours to achieve. I played it back and it fitted but you could hear the audio edits jittering. I got around that by crossfading each edit into the next which worked beautifully. Now they were all playing for the same team! I then sent a rough mix to John who told me everything was in time but that the echo was too much! This has become a running joke between us now I think. Anyway, I then toned down the volume of the reverb for the final mix. The only problem left was the solo section. As Buddy had never strummed a solo on this demo the guitarist at the overdub session had overdubbed a rhythm guitar part to cover the moments in the track where Buddy doesn't play. The problem was...the guitars didn't match so when you got to the solo section it suddenly went VERY TINNY. I tried using EQ (equalisation) to get the 2 guitars to match sonically but it was never going to happen. So I deleted it and went back to Buddy's demo and physically "cut out" every moment in the track where he doesn't sing. I then had a series of guitar chords less than 1 second in length each. By pasting these together in the correct order I fashioned a rhythm guitar solo out of Buddy's playing. When I pasted that onto the band track, it suddenly came alive. The final job was fixing a "dropout" on the band track in the solo section. (a dropout is when about 20 ms of audio has been lost on the tape due to oxidation). These tapes date back over forty five years and when you view the tracks on the computer screen as a WAV file you can actually see the areas where oxidation has caused drop outs. If one inch of tape is ruined, that equates to about 33 milliseconds of drop out at 30 I.P.S., and that is easily heard when you play the recordings back, especially where it affects more than one track. I fixed this by slightly dragging the 15 ms of audio from the left and right of the dropout and then crossfading. In other words, the same note/phrase from another part of the tape. That done, all that was left to do was a remix. These days you can automate the mix rather than having to mix it live. That means the computer will remember all your fader movements so when you have your basic levels, you can keep going back and "Sweeten" until you have the perfect mix.