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Subject Topic: Marvelettes - Please Mr. Postman Post ReplyPost New Topic
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crapfromthepast
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Posted: 10 May 2022 at 9:23pm | IP Logged Quote crapfromthepast

Covered by both the Beatles and the Carpenters! The only other Carpenters/Beatles overlap I can think of in the time it takes me to type this sentence is "Ticket To Ride". (And "Calling Occupants" if you really need to dive into the Klaatu rabbit hole.)

Mono version

This was the hit. The 45 was in mono (as were all 45s in 1961), and ran 2:27.

It's hard to say which CD included the song first, but I'm going to vote for Motown's Compact Command Performances (1986). This Motown series of single-artist discs is generally acknowledged to be the first batch of single-artist CDs from the legacy Motown acts. The same analog transfer is used on:
  • Motown's 25 #1 Hits From 25 Years Vol. 1 (1985; yeah, the dates don't quite work out but I still think CCP came out on CD first) - digital clone (null test sums to dithering noise)
  • Motown's Every Great Motown Song The First 25 Years (1986) - digitally identical (null test sums to zero)
  • Motown's Motown 9000 Series (1987) - digital clone, about 0.2 dB quieter
  • Time-Life's Rock 'N' Roll Era Vol. 4 1961 RE-1 reissue (copyright 1987; unusure of actual RE-1 release date) - only the RE-1; the original non-RE-1 pressing uses a different analog transfer and sounds abysmal
  • Motown's 16 #1 Hits From The Early '60s (1987) - digital clone, about 2.8 dB quieter
  • Rhino's Billboard Top R&R Hits 1961 (1988 original release only; not on the 1993 reissue) - differently EQ'd digital clone
  • Time-Life's Rhythm And Blues Vol. 14 1961 (1992) - tail of fade is about 4 beats shorter
  • Time-Life's Solid Gold Soul Vol. 19 1961 (copyright 1992) - is a repackaging of Rhythm And Blues Vol. 14 1961, so tail of fade is about 4 beats shorter
  • Motown's Motown 40 Forever (1998) - differently EQ'd digital clone and WAY too loud; avoid
There's a new analog transfer on Motown's superb 4-CD Hitsville USA Vol. 1 (1992), which is one of the very best multi-artist compilations ever assembled. The set is mastered by Bill Inglot and Dan Hersch, with superb sound overall. Here, it runs about four beats longer than Compact Command Performances. The same analog transfer is used on:
  • Motown's Motown Classic Hits Vol. 1 (1994) - differently EQ'd digital clone
  • Hip-O Select's gigantic The Complete Motown Singles Vol. 1: 1959-1961 box set (2005) - mastered a little loud, possibly with extra compression/limiting
There's a new analog transfer on Motown's superb Marvelettes collection Deliver: The Singles 1961-1971 (1993). This collection is one of three two-CD sets released in 1993 (along with Mary Wells's Looking Back: 1961-1964 and Martha & The Vandellas' Live Wire! The Singles 1962-1972). These three two-CD sets are the best Marvelettes, Mary Wells, and Martha & The Vandellas collections released to date. I suspect that this disc uses the same source tape as Hitsville; the sound is very close but there's a teensy bit less tape hiss here and the high end is just slightly muffled as a result. There's a digital clone on:
  • Rhino's Girl Group Greats (2001) - about 1.7 or 1.8 dB louder
Each of the following discs has its own analog transfer:
  • Motown's Ultimate Collection (1998) - sound is better than most late '90s releases
  • Time-Life's 2-CD Glory Days Of Rock 'N' Roll Vol. 7 Girl Group Sound (1999) - tail of fade is truncated
  • Time-Life's 2-CD Classic Rhythm And Blues Collection Vol. 2 1960-1963 (2000) - fade is about 8 beats shorter than Hitsville, and left/right balance is slightly off
  • Time-Life's 2-CD Rock And Roll The Legendary Years 1961-1964 (2004) - digitally identical to Classic Rhythm And Blues Collection Vol. 2 1960-1963, so same issues as that disc
If you're looking for the mono version on CD, go with Motown's Hitsville USA Vol. 1 (1992). (In general, if the song is on Hitsville USA Vol. 1, it's likely my go-to version for sound quality.)

Stereo versions

It turns out that the 45 is edited from the full performance of the song, with 32 beats being deleted at about the 1:59 mark (in Hitsville). Those deleted 32 beats include the lines "Don't pass me by/You see the tears in my eyes", which don't appear anywhere in the mono version of the song. The full performance runs 3:02, and is available in a 2005 stereo remix by Tom Moulton (yes, the same Tom Moulton who essentially invented the 12" single in the mid-'70s!) on Shout Factory's 4-CD The Motown Box (2005).

Thanks to DC's research on the Both Sides Now website, we know that the song first appeared in stereo in 1966 (five years after it was a hit) on the Marvelettes' Greatest Hits LP (released Feb 1966), then on the stereo issue of Motown's multi-artist A Package Of Original 16 Big Hits (released Aug 1966 in stereo; the LP was released in mono in 1963). This 1966 stereo mix didn't edit out the 32 beats at 1:59, so the lines "Don't pass me by/You see the tears in my eyes" appear at about 2:11 where one would expect "Deliver, D-letter, the sooner, D-better", then the song fades before reaching the actual "D-letter" line in the performance. The 1989 CD issue of A Package Of Original 16 Big Hits runs 2:20, but I don't know if that's the same version that was released in 1966.

I have a stereo version running about 2:30 on Silver Eagle's 3-CD Motown 25th Anniversary (copyright 1983; one of the worst-sounding CDs I own) and Heartland/Warner Special Products' 2-CD Real Rock (1987; better, but still sounds terrible). It has the lines "Don't pass me by/You see the tears in my eyes" at about 2:11. I don't know where this version comes from.

There's another modern-day remix on Motown's Marvelettes collection Best Of: 20th Century Masters - The Millennium Collection (2000). It's mastered by Suha Gur; unclear who remixed the song, and unclear if this version originally appeared on this CD or elsewhere. This version runs 2:27, and includes the proper edit so that the lines "Deliver, D-letter, the sooner, D-better" appear at about 2:11 and match the mono version.

Hopefully others can clarify any of the stereo-version info here. I haven't dug too deeply into stereo versions of early-'60s songs, but I sense that every big hit out there will have its own rat's nest to untangle. Bleh.

Edited by crapfromthepast on 13 May 2022 at 12:05pm


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LunarLaugh
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Posted: 10 May 2022 at 9:30pm | IP Logged Quote LunarLaugh

I assumed the mix appearing on 20th Century Masters was
done by either Suha Gur or Kevin Reeves as those seem to be
the two names that pop up the most on the Universal/Motown
releases and reissues from 2000 onward.

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davidclark
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Posted: 11 May 2022 at 1:13am | IP Logged Quote davidclark

The stereo edit from "Best Of: 20th Century Masters - The Millennium
Collection" (the first issue of this edit AFAIK) is close to the 45, however it has
a different edit for the word "better" in the line "you better wait" at 2:00.
Someone sent me a corrected stereo 45 version back in 2012 (can't recall
who).

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