The greatest of all the albums... and the rarities add fascinating insight to the creation process - the home demos again showing how it all starts.

Convent Girls has a changed time signature and is definitely heavier - electric guitar, but to my ears its not any the worse off for it. Yes, the live version that we know is real quality, but this version is sung here with some passion - it's on repeated listen now for me.

Didn't expect the huge round of applause errupting at the end of the Together Alone title track. It's certainly not on my original 1993 CD version. Was it there on any other editons or just a nice surprise on the new remastered editon?

 

(Not on this album but another variation is the non-fade to "Can't Carry On" on the first album. It faded out on the original Australian vinyl and CD but not on the 5.1 mix - which, let's face it, was a total overhaul of the original mixes anyway! Now on the new version it draws to a full volume close. Interesting.)

Since last week I have been listening to nothing but the Deluxe Editions. 

In true NF style, he has a way of summing up the current mood.

Take Convent Girls:

Where once we talked in confidence

We now shall hide in fear
And the future we imagined then
Is not quite so perfectly clear

Dazz posted:

Didn't expect the huge round of applause errupting at the end of the Together Alone title track. It's certainly not on my original 1993 CD version. Was it there on any other editons or just a nice surprise on the new remastered editon?

Given the solemnity of the song I was unsure about the inclusion of the applause until I heard the distinct Kiwi voice shouting out at the end: "But did you push the record button!?" Brilliant.

Dazz posted:

(Not on this album but another variation is the non-fade to "Can't Carry On" on the first album. It faded out on the original Australian vinyl and CD but not on the 5.1 mix - which, let's face it, was a total overhaul of the original mixes anyway! Now on the new version it draws to a full volume close. Interesting.)

"Can't Carry On" doesn't fade on the US CD.

lavar78 posted:
Dazz posted:

(Not on this album but another variation is the non-fade to "Can't Carry On" on the first album. It faded out on the original Australian vinyl and CD but not on the 5.1 mix - which, let's face it, was a total overhaul of the original mixes anyway! Now on the new version it draws to a full volume close. Interesting.)

"Can't Carry On" doesn't fade on the US CD.

Well that's interesting. I got the first album on vinyl (Australian edition 1986) and CD (Oz edition but bought a decade later) and it's definitely a fade. Could anyone shed some light on why that is the case?

"Tail of a Comet" has long been a favorite of mine. 

I've waited so very long to hear the studio version of "Convent Girls." It's hard to believe it was about 15 years ago at my first Neil Finn show that I got him to sing a little bit of the chorus. I'm ecstatic to say it didn't disappoint! I'll admit to being a bit nervous, especially once I noticed the change in time signature. The nerves quickly dissipated.

Am I the only one drawing a line between the choruses of "Convent Girls" and "Twice If You're Lucky"? It seems Neil loved the "chance once in your life/but...twice" turn of phrase the same way he obviously adored "left hand..."

lavar78 posted:

 

Am I the only one drawing a line between the choruses of "Convent Girls" and "Twice If You're Lucky"? It seems Neil loved the "chance once in your life/but...twice" turn of phrase the same way he obviously adored "left hand..."

Yeah I got that too, really starting to like the studio version. At first I didn't think much of it compared to the live version, but I'm coming around. Blue Smoke still my favourite from this disc.

I'm curious as to why the record company were hellbent on "Newcastle jam" being finished so it could be a single. I mean I guess it sounds fun and was likely to have a broader appeal than something dark like "nails in my feet". But it doesn't have a chorus! I assumed one must have been kicking around.. But it's not on this version.

I also wonder about "convent girls" .."You can touch" and "I am in love" sound kinda unpolished to me as if they had been relegated to b sides before recording but "convent girls" soubds classy. All three have similar sounding guitars though so maybe they were all punched out as b sides. 

Also I love the middle bit of the bonus disc where fingers runs into black and white boy. All that studio chatter takes u there. 

harrytrousers posted:

Also I love the middle bit of the bonus disc where fingers runs into black and white boy. All that studio chatter takes u there. 

I love that part too.  I love the version of Fingers of Love that has a very "Kare Kare arrangement" (for lack of a better description).  But of course I realize it would not have worked to have two songs with such similar arrangements on the same album.  

 

So what to listen to first?? I went left-field and put on The Same Language As Me. And, utterly fabulous though it is, I notice there are several very loud clicks that aren't on my, um, bootleg.


@Jaffaman, can you shed any light on this? Is it a pressing fault, or is it on the tape that was used? I've been able to clean them up but not everyone will be able to do so. Shame to spoil an otherwise wonderful track.

And I should say, I'm loving the bonus disc. Just track after tracks of incredible music. Together Alone is my favourite album of all time and, usually, bonus discs kinda water down the quality. Despite this being such a good album, the bonus disc actually complements it wonderfully.

Hi Paul. I just checked out Same Language As Me on the bonus disc and I can't hear clicks. Have you tried playing the CD on another player or ripping it onto a computer and checking it out there?

Glad you're enjoying the bonus disc. Probably my favourite too.

Jaffaman posted:

Hi Paul. I just checked out Same Language As Me on the bonus disc and I can't hear clicks. Have you tried playing the CD on another player or ripping it onto a computer and checking it out there?

Glad you're enjoying the bonus disc. Probably my favourite too.

Yes, I popped them into an audio editor and there are visible glitches. The most noticeable one occurs at 1:31.90 but there are three or four others, They seem to coincide with percussion hits, which made me wonder whether they were just the result of too much top in the mastering/tape transfer but, as I say, they're visible as glitches and can be cleaned up.

My speakers are (deliberately) very mellow with tamed highs and the clicks jumped out of them.

What's interesting, is that I can also hear them in the Spotify stream, which is why I thought I'd seek advice before returning the set.

Out of interest,  can you say what the source was for this track? Was it taken from a bootleg, does Universal have the master tape or was it taken from the radio station's own archive?

Haven't got to playing TA yet, have spotted an error in David Hepworth ' s notes though. He'd surely be gutted to know. The band actually came to UK in October and November 93 WITH Paul, rather than 94 without him. So there were 2 tours for TA in UK. As usual the rest of his writing is evocative and impassioned. He's a legendary fan isn't he?

It's more for the Paul association and wanting newer fans to know really. Even though he was moody in places on that 93 tour, the drumming was incredible and it was a special mini tour. Minor issue though because people are likely to get into the band and find out anyway I suppose. ��

Jaffaman , sorry if this has been cleared up already, but I'm a little vague . What has actually been done soundwise to the original albums (not the bonus material) . Obviously , so far I'm hearing Together Alone has a different edited ending, as does "I Walk Away"which I've heard . (I've only got to the end of Woodface so far !) Can you shed some light on why they are different (I approve BTW ) and to what has actually been done to the original albums in the re-issues ? Also does this appy to the vinyl ? I have both . Sorry if this has been covered. I'm a little confused...

The tapes of the original albums were provided by Abbey Road, where they were transferred to high res masters. They were then given to Universal. They decided in the end to boost the levels of the early albums for the CDs as they were so much lower than anything else released in the last twenty years. Don Bartley then ran it all through his gear to give it more body. Neil might have been involved with that too - I'm not sure.

The vinyl was mastered from the same hi res masters but without the processing done for the CDs. Not sure if Intriguer and Time On Earth are new cuts or the same as the originals.

My guess is that "I Walk Away" was faded early during the mastering of the album in 1986 and this was repeated for the DVD-A stereo master and 5.1 mix. 

"Together Alone" is the same mix, as far as I can tell, so I suspect the cheering was cut off during the mastering of the original album and reverb added.

The new vinyl of both will have the extended versions. I don't if Universal intended - or knew - about the differences, but I'm glad most people approve so far. 

thejera posted:
harrytrousers posted:

"I am in love" sound kinda unpolished to me

I thought it sounded 'overly polished' (if that's a thing) on Afterglow, so I really like the versions on Homebrew and the new deluxe editions. 

I'm the opposite - I love the final version. The lovely bass and jangly guitar build-up still blows my mind.

Hawk57 posted:

Absolutely agree with you there. The final version has something special about it - an atmosphere that makes it a much more interesting listen to me.

It's just beautiful isn't it? I must admit, apart from Intriguer's bonus tracks I've preferred the final versions in all cases. Not to say the other versions are not superb in their own right. I'm still listening and re-listening to everything at the moment.

Jaffaman posted:

The tapes of the original albums were provided by Abbey Road, where they were transferred to high res masters. They were then given to Universal. They decided in the end to boost the levels of the early albums for the CDs as they were so much lower than anything else released in the last twenty years. Don Bartley then ran it all through his gear to give it more body. Neil might have been involved with that too - I'm not sure.

The vinyl was mastered from the same hi res masters but without the processing done for the CDs. Not sure if Intriguer and Time On Earth are new cuts or the same as the originals. 

That's a bit sneaky. The press blurb said that the albums were mastered from the original tapes. Strictly speaking, that's true, but in the strict sense, that's true of most modern albums. The fact that they made a point of it suggested that the vinyl had been mastered directly from the tapes.

Am I right in presuming that the "processing done for the CDs" includes the level boosts? That being the case, the vinyl would be the way to go for anyone wanting a warmer mastering without the loss of dynamic range..?

Working my way through the bonus disc right now. Track 8,  the band demo of fingers of love sounds very reminiscent of stuff from Time On Earth!  I think it's the sparse production heavy on electric piano that does it.. a bit like Transit lounge for example. 

Like someone else said earlier, I'm a bit underwhelmed by this bonus disc vs the others. The band version of Fingers of Love is excellent though, maybe my favourite track on the bonus discs I've heard. I'd be interested in the logic of including the writing demo of Fingers though - at a minute long, it's insubstantial, and is also barely listenable. Plus there are already 2 versions on the bonus disc. On the other hand, I'd love to have a longer version of the Distant Sun demo, which is special, but equally short. 

We included the writing demo of Fingers Of Love because of the story that went with it, as explained in the Deluxe Edition book. I reckon it's magical hearing Neil writing the song while watching the rays of sun through the clouds with the birds squarking. Then you get to hear the progression through the later versions.

I find this to be my favourite bonus disc. Apart from the writing demos, its pretty much perfect. But then, TA is my favourite album of all time by anyone. Truth be told, I love the live rendition of Convent Girls so much I was utterly convinced that the studio take would have to be a disappointment because, frankly, the song couldn't be performed any better. And then it was. I'm amazed it was overlooked for Afterglow. Really, what were they thinking???

Jaffaman posted:

We included the writing demo of Fingers Of Love because of the story that went with it, as explained in the Deluxe Edition book. I reckon it's magical hearing Neil writing the song while watching the rays of sun through the clouds with the birds squarking. Then you get to hear the progression through the later versions.

Thanks for the explanation Jeremy, which wouldn't have been necessary had I read the book! It's a nice story, but those birds ruin the listening experience!!! Just my view though.  As I said, I love the other versions on the disc - they've breathed new life into a song that I initially loved, but have gradually become less fond of. 

I love that idea of how the song developed. What I love about the birds tape is the acoustic strumming too. Neil's an incredibly good player, never hits the strings too hard and lets it flow. Personally I've never been a massive fan of Fingers Of Love but when hearing the changes, it's really made me appreciate the weather on the day they recorded it. Completely different mood!

The alternate versions of Fingers of Love and Black and White Boy, and also Zen Roxy seem to capture perfectly whatever that elusive quality is that draws me so strongly to the Together Alone album.   

I am reminded of an old Beatles bootleg album I have that is about 3 hours of unedited tape from the Let It Be sessions.  I think if I had a similar thing for the Together Alone sessions that my head might explode.   

I decided to make TA the first deluxe to work through. LOVE Blue Smoke, I just wish it was a bit longer. I would love to here a complete band studio version. It is such a pretty song. Also like the studio versions of Newcastle Jam and Convent Girls. Wish they had done one of Comet and Language. All good stuff. If the rest are as good as this one, I'm going to be floating on clouds for quite a while.

I have never got my hands on any live (barring FTTW) or rare fan club albums, so all rarities on these albums are new to me. So as much as I appreciate the early demos of songs that went on to be released, the real treasures for me are the wholly unique tracks that never saw an official release. This album's gift to me is four great tracks: Newcastle Jam, Same Language As Me, Convent Girls and best of all, Tail of A Comet. Same Language does briefly borrow from the bridge of Private Universe, but it's a unique beast otherwise. Blue Smoke features some nice instrumental work and a decent chorus with somewhat of a lyrical throwback to As Sure As I Am, but the verse is fairly uninspiring. Had the potential for a solid album track if Neil had improved that part of the song.

To be perfectly honest (I realise i'm in the minority), I cannot stand what they did with the closing track of the album. The clapping draws me right out of the experience as compared to the final "stop" of the version we have come to know. I understand why its there, but I find the original version best suited to the intimacy of the album. That's why i've removed the reissued version of the title track from the track list on the iPod and replaced it with the original. 

TryWhistlingThis posted:

To be perfectly honest (I realise i'm in the minority), I cannot stand what they did with the closing track of the album. The clapping draws me right out of the experience as compared to the final "stop" of the version we have come to know. I understand why its there, but I find the original version best suited to the intimacy of the album. That's why i've removed the reissued version of the title track from the track list on the iPod and replaced it with the original. 

Are you in the minority?  I just reread this thread and don't see a lot of discussion about it.  

I agree with you, it changes the feeling in a way that doesn't suit the intimacy of the album.

I much prefer the original mix for the same reason as you, Brownie. I'm not massively upset over it, but it does change the way the album leaves you. 

I also doubt very much that this was a creative decision, but instead a mistake. It makes me wonder who listens to these prior to getting finalised. No-one familiar with the album would let that slip by. 

I like it and I don't like it. Despite my adoration of Together Alone, I've always thought it wasn't quite perfect, and one change I've made to my own playlist is to move Walking on the Spot (which I never liked in its "real" place) to the end of the album. It creates a wonderful "come down" after the intensity of the title track and works fabulously as an album closer. I think the applause at the end of the new version achieves a similar affect. The problem is, that effect is now there and can't be removed without either a) a little editing, or b) reverting to the original album.

If you use iTunes it's super easy to go into the track settings and tell the track to end before the applause. No editing program needed. I guess I'm indifferent to the applause. I don't like them changing the album but I also enjoy a little peak behind the curtain of my favorite album.

I guess I too have always felt the need for a little sense of piece at the end of Together Alone. Back in the day I actually added the wave sounds from the end of "Zen Roxy" to the very end of the title track. So there would be this cacophony of sound and then just quite waves fading slowly away.

Paināporo posted:

If you use iTunes it's super easy to go into the track settings and tell the track to end before the applause. No editing program needed. I guess I'm indifferent to the applause. I don't like them changing the album but I also enjoy a little peak behind the curtain of my favorite album.

I guess I too have always felt the need for a little sense of piece at the end of Together Alone. Back in the day I actually added the wave sounds from the end of "Zen Roxy" to the very end of the title track. So there would be this cacophony of sound and then just quite waves fading slowly away.

I did not know that about iTunes, I'll have to give it a try to maybe edit off some of the brief comments at the beginning/end of some of the tracks. I've also used Audacity, but this sounds easy.

I like the idea of your waves ending TA.

Yes, I forgot about iTunes' ability to truncate songs at either end. But you've still got the faff of working out precisely where to stop/start the track to ensure it's clean. That's arguably more messing around than opening the file in Audacity and just editing it.

I like your idea of adding some ambient sound to the end.

Paul H posted:

I like it and I don't like it. Despite my adoration of Together Alone, I've always thought it wasn't quite perfect, and one change I've made to my own playlist is to move Walking on the Spot (which I never liked in its "real" place) to the end of the album. It creates a wonderful "come down" after the intensity of the title track and works fabulously as an album closer. I think the applause at the end of the new version achieves a similar affect. The problem is, that effect is now there and can't be removed without either a) a little editing, or b) reverting to the original album.

The ending reminds me of the ending of Within You Without You from Sgt pepper. I like it . I agree about loving TA while realising it could have been even better. How You Can Touch could be left out is beyond me. I think Skin feeling should have been a B side , and I've never understood the love in for Catherine Wheels - it just meanders on and never really goes anywhere...

Add You Can Touch , I am In Love , and Blue Smoke for that matter at their expense , and you have a near perfect album in my opinion.

Still adore TA though !

Inetersting thoughts, guys... I have always considered TA perfect as it is and my nr.1. album ever, anywhere, from anyone. Didnt hear Blue Smoke yet, but I have always somehow been gratefull to those guys who decided to put I am in Love and You can Touch out of album. And it would be maybe the one and only album for I could say that... love that songs on Afterglow, but I dont have any place to put them on TA album...to me they are just dont fit to it... plus, I was surprised that I am in love was even from that era, tottaly out of it, to me...and sorry to hear that someone dont enjoy Catherine Wheels - to me its just perfect song, one of the best Neils voice and singing ever, one of the best turns ever in Neils songs, made from emerging two songs into one, apparently..just beautifull to my ears...

I would add "Zen Roxy" to Together Alone. As the opening track. I agree with Mariola that the other b-sides just don't suit the album. But "Zen Roxy" really takes you away to that misty valley and black sand beach. It's no pop song but like "Kare Kare" it really puts me into the headspace that I want to be in to maximize the listening experience. 

I do think "Skin Feeling" is a weak track, but the atmosphere of the album elevates it for me. I don't think the album would have suffered if "Skin Feeling" had been left off, but I'm mostly OK with it being there.

I agree that the verse of Skin Feeling is a little weak but the sheer joyful exuberance of the chorus lifts my mood every time I hear it. I couldn't lose it. (It's worth it's place just to hear Mark's stream of conscience ad libs at the end )

stuartjb posted:
I've never understood the love in for Catherine Wheels - it just meanders on and never really goes anywhere...

 

Mariola posted:

sorry to hear that someone dont enjoy Catherine Wheels - to me its just perfect song, one of the best Neils voice and singing ever, one of the best turns ever in Neils songs, made from emerging two songs into one, apparently..just beautifull to my ears...

I'll go in to bat for Catherine Wheels too. It's a gloriously delicate song that doesn't need to crunch through different gears at great speed. I'm more than content to hear Neil's vocals meander about.

Catherine Wheels is not the usual tightly-structured song we're used to from Neil. It's more rhapsodic, 2 or 3 half-songs cooked into one. I think the atmosphere is amazing at times, but I do find the lyrics frustratingly (rather than intriguingly) vague. The climax section (with the big upward-sliding guitar) is really lovely and satisfying though.

A lot to like in that song but I can see why some wouldn't connect with it.

Two years ago, I edited many mini-audio documentaries about Together Alone for publishing on Crowded House Facebook, but only a few went online. As with the other album docos, they feature Neil and Nick talking about the songs, the sessions and art work, along with audio from the recording sessions.

On the album’s 25th anniversary two days ago, I remembered I still had these unpublished episodes on hold, so am sharing them one by one at http://www.neilfinn.com/together-alone throughout the next few weeks. 

Track 1: Finding the album’s producer, Youth, and moving into Karekare for the recording of the album. 

Lovely snippet about a lovely song. (It still sounds beauitfully fresh).

well done.

it gives me something to add to my bucket list - a trip to kare kare to listen to the album as per neil’s suggestion.

i do love hearing all these snippets of the boys interacting so many years later.

nice.

Didn’t make a full length radio documentary for Temple Of Low Men because I didn’t have enough strong interview material for it. But there are mini-docos of the album on Crowded House Facebook and the Crowded House YouTube TOLM video album playlist. 

silent stream posted:

it gives me something to add to my bucket list - a trip to kare kare to listen to the album as per neil’s suggestion..

Been there, done that. And you should too. A genuinely moving experience that is well worth the hike.

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