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The Who - Odds & Sods:

Album: Odds & Sods

LPs (vinyl) Sampled: Polydor (UK), MCA (USA), Yegpin (Korea), Union (Taiwan), Sony (Japan)

CDs (original mix) Sampled: Polydor (Germany), Polydor (Japan), MCA-1st pressing (USA), MCA-2nd pressing (USA)

CDs (remix) Sampled: Polydor (Germany), MCA (USA), Polydor (Japan)

LP Comments: The Sony (Japan) LP is probably the best sounding Who recording in their entire catalog. Unbelievable clarity and power. The MCA (USA) sounds good and the Polydor (UK) sounds even better - but neither is close to the Japanese version.

CD (original mix) comments: The Polydor (Germany) copy sounds great. The Polydor (Japan) sounds decent, but disappointing. Since the original Japan LP release was on the Sony label, I suspect that Polydor (Japan) may not have used 1st generation tapes for this release - there seems to be something missing. Unfortunately, MCA (USA) never got their version to sound good at all, even on two attempts.

CD (remix) comments: The odd thing about this one is that on the MCA (USA) copy, the previously unreleased tracks sound good and on the Polydor (Germany) copy, the original tracks sound better than they do on the MCA (but the previously unreleased tracks sound worse). Overall, the Polydor (Japan) copy sounds more even throughout. The problem with this reissue is that the remastering is very uneven and inconsistent. As a result, the different record company's manufacturing process seemed to enhance some parts of the mastering, while making other parts worse.

Summary: If you want one Who album based on sound quality alone, get the "Odds and Sods" Sony (Japan) LP. Otherwise, for the original mix, the Polydor (Germany) CD is your next choice.

The original "Odds & Sods" is one of the best sounding Who albums. Overall, there's something that someone (perhaps John Entwistle, who remixed this collection of songs) did to make this record sound as good as it does. The reissue version loses the quality of the original and should be done over again to get it right. There's some great remixing on the previously released tracks, but the mastering clouds it. If you had to pick one from the remixed/remastered series, then go with the Polydor (Japan).

Other Comments: The original Polydor (UK) LP pressings features the song titles in Braille on the back cover.

The liner notes for the reissue are grossly inaccurate, ranging from the dates of the recordings to mislabeled descriptions of the recordings. For example, the version of "Young Man Blues" included on this disc, is not the original version from "The House That Track Built" LP as indicated, but an unreleased version. Other mistakes in the reissue include an unfinished version of "Under My Thumb" without the lead guitar.

Promo CDr versions of the remix, contain another unreleased song, "Sodding About", (an instrumental, circa 1967). Apparently left off due to space concerns.

The 2011 Japan CD is the original mix of the album, with added bonus tracks - including some variations that were previously unreleased (i.e. "Young Man Blues" studio version).

About: Odds & Sods
 
I actually reminded myself that before I discovered the stereo A Quick One and "fell in love" with Quadrophenia - "Odds & Sods" was my favorite Who album.
 
What's special about "Odds & Sods" ?
 
Everything!
 
Imagine if John Entwistle didn't decide to go rummaging through the Who's tape library and dig these great songs up.
 
"Pure & Easy", "Now I'm A Farmer", "Little Billy", "Glow Girl"... "NAKED EYE" !!! (and then some!)
 
Not only did "Odds & Sods" have a great song selection, but it also sounded fantastic. The first copy I ever had was a circa 1980 MCA reissue - and gee, it sounded really good! Later on, when I discovered the Japan LP on the CBS/Sony label that blew the other one right out of the water - wow!
 
In 1998, the tracks from "Odds & Sods" were remixed and "mixed" in chronological order with newly mixed, "bonus" tracks. Rather than maintain the same "feel" of the old, it became a "new" album again.
 
This new album had some great intentions and inclusions ("Time Is Passing" - how could something as fantastic as this remain buried for so long? "We Close Tonight" - an unreleased
Quadrophenia track, featuring both John and Keith on vocals - wow!), but also had its share of "boo boo's" ("Under My Thumb" - oops! Nice true stereo - but an unfinished version without the lead guitar!, "Young Man Blues" - this was a S L O W, bluesy version. It was intended to use the The House That Track Built version, but much to everyone's surprise, there's a bunch of these sitting in the vaults!)
 
What was even more odd, was that the different tracks (bonus tracks vs. original tracks) sounded a little better or worse, depending if you played the USA, Germany or Japan CD versions.
 
Fast forward to the 2011 Japan CD...
 
This version uses the original mixes from 1974, with new mastering. It maintains the original song order (the bonus tracks follow thereafter). The packaging even has the "braille" back cover and includes artwork for the
Japan promo LP box as well as a poster, etc...
 
I played this version first and then pulled out my 1988 Germany Polydor CD after (to compare sound quality).
 
The new(er) Japan CD sounds pretty good. For the original <1974> tracks, I prefer the 1988 CD. It has a bit more detail to it and a tad more ambiance (seems to be a "buzz word" lately).
 
The bonus tracks seem to be mostly original mixes of the 1998 CD, with a few differences.
 
* Mary Anne With The Shaky Hand - they made the same mistake here as the original 1980's "Who Rarities Volume 1" LP - On the latter, "The Who Sell Out" LP version of the song was placed on the album, then quickly replaced by the "I Can See For Miles" "b" side version. However, on this CD, it's just "The Who Sell Out" album version. (Huh???
)
 
* Young Man Blues - I believe the intention here was to use the original,
The House That Track Built (THTTB) version (vs. the s l o w, bluesy version that was used on the 1998 CD). However, we now have yet another version for our respective collections. This version seems actually a little faster than the THTTB version. I believe that the THTTB version is what is on the "Tommy" Deluxe 5.1 CD, but with a 5.1 mix (squished back to 2.0) is somewhat different and not quite the same. All of these are *great*, but at some point it would be very nice to get THTTB version onto an official CD.
 
* We Close Tonight - I maintain that the original 1973 "Quadrophenia" mix is "dull" (compared to the 1996 remix of "Quadrophenia"). This version of the song is the 1973 mix and... (It sounds a bit dull in comparison to the 1998 remix of this song).
 
* Love Ain't For Keepin' - Since this track is now on the "Who's Next" (Deluxe Edition) CD, I probably would have preferred to eliminate its inclusion here for another "rarity". With all the changes to the albums over the years, it's probably difficult for anyone to remember who did what and where "what" actually is these days.
 
So what does all of this mean?
 
From my point of view, if you really want to put together the "best of" "Odds & Sods", you need several different sources. If you don't have a great turntable and tube pre-amp, you may want to skip the Japan LP version and just search for a 1988 Germany Polydor CD. (And then start getting all of the rest of the CD versions so you can make up your own mind which you prefer and which you don't.)

Track Listing:

Original Mix: Postcard, Now I'm A Farmer, Put The Money Down, Little Billy, Too Much Of Anything, Glow Girl, Pure And Easy, Faith In Something Bigger, I'm The Face, Naked Eye, Long Live Rock.

Remix: I'm The Face, Leaving Here (previously unreleased), Baby Don't You Do It (previously unreleased), Summertime Blues (previously unreleased), Under My Thumb (missing guitar mixópreviously unreleased), Mary Anne With The Shaky Hand (stereo mix of "b" side of "I Can See For Miles" version), My Way (previously unreleased), Faith In Something Bigger, Glow Girl, Little Billy, Young Man Blues (previously unreleased), Cousin Kevin Model Child (previously unreleased), Love Ain't For Keeping (previously unreleased), Time Is Passing (previously unreleased), Pure And Easy, Too Much Of Anything, Long Live Rock, Put The Money Down, We Close Tonight (previously unreleased), Postcard, Now I'm A Farmer, Water, Naked Eye.

2011 Japan CD: Postcard, Now Iím A Farmer, Put The Money Down, Little Billy, Too Much Of Anything, Glow Girl, Pure And Easy, Faith In Something Bigger, Iím The Face, Naked Eye, Long Live Rock, Leaving Here, Baby Donít You Do It, Summertime Blues (Studio Version), Under My Thumb, Mary Anne With The Shaky Hand ("The Who Sell Out" album version), My Way, Young Man Blues (Studio Version), Cousin Kevin Model Child, Love Ainít For Keeping, Time Is Passing, We Close Tonight, Water

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