Lossless Bootleg Bonanza: The Who – The Fall 1969 Soundboard Tapes

THE WHO
The Fall 1969 Soundboard Tapes
Vol. 1-5
Newly Restored & Remastered 2016 [Prof. Stoned]

Download: FLAC/MP3

I got this off a torrent, but Prof Stoned runs a blog and its well worth checking out. – Mat

Notes from the original uploader:
This collection consists of direct-to-stereo soundboard recordings that were made for possible inclusion on a live album during The Who’s 2nd American tour of 1969. The tapes ended up being rejected in favor of what became Live at Leeds. Pete Townshend drastically tried to prevent the 1969 tapes from being bootlegged by destroying them, but some of the material eventually did find its way into circulation, albeit scattered over various poorly compiled/mastered bootlegs and with very little documentation to accompany them.

Every single circulating recording from this tour has been included here with the exception of officially released material. Furthermore, the best available sources have been selected, the speed of all recordings has been corrected and everything has been newly mastered for optimal sonic consistency. A lot of the dates remain a mystery and probably always will, unless previously uncirculated recordings of this tour show up.

Vol. 1 – State University of N.Y.

01. Heaven and Hell
02. Can’t Explain
03. Fortune Teller
04. Overture
05. It’s a Boy
06. 1921
07. Amazing Journey
08. Sparks (tape drags within)
09. Summertime Blues
10. Shakin’ All Over
11. My Generation
bonus:
12. Young Man Blues

Time: 50m03s
Tr. 01-02, 09-11: unknown place/date*
Tr. 03: unknown place/date
Tr. 04-08: State University of New York, Stony brook, NY – October 18, 1969
Tr. 12: unknown place/date

*has been labeled as “McDonough Gymnasium, Georgetown University, Washington D.C. – November 2, 1969”

Note: Sourced from “Wintertime trip” and “Pure Rock Theatre”. Unlike the 2006 version, the Tommy section has now been put in the middle. I have some doubts whether Tr. 01-02 and 09-11 are actually from the same show, nor have I ever seen convincing evidence that either one of these sections were recorded in D.C. This assumption seems to have arisen from Townshend’s comment before the last song: “Before we go back to England, we’d just like to say; why don’t all you fuckers who wanted to cause trouble, and that includes the cops, why didn’t you go to Washington, because this is a rock ‘n’ roll concert”. Why advice someone to go to Washington D.C., when you are already there?! Furthermore, it would be another 2 weeks (and 13 shows) before the band was supposed to go back to England. My uneducated guess is that this section comes from one of the last four shows of this tour (three of which were in the State N.Y.). Tr. 03 does not belong with the so-called “Georgetown” sections. I just put it there on the 2006 version and have decided to let it stay.

Vol. 2 – Capitol Theater

01. Heaven and Hell
02. Can’t Explain
03. Fortune Teller
04. Tattoo
05. Young Man Blues
06. I’m Free (0m34s, cuts in)
07. Tommy’s Holiday Camp
08. We’re Not Gonna Take It
09. Summertime Blues
10. Shakin’ All Over

Time: 41m57s

Tr. 01-05: Capitol Theater, Ottawa – October 15, 1969 (1st Set)
Tr. 06-10: unknown place/date

Note: Sourced from “Pure Rock Theatre” except for two tracks which appear in slightly cleaner quality on “Wintertime trip”. There is some tape warbling on Tr. 01 & 10 and some of the tracks are faded abruptly. I remedied this by flying in some audience response from a different source to maintain the feel of a live-show. The majority of the Tommy section of this show was officially released in 2013 on the Super Deluxe Boxset version of Tommy, none of which had previously circulated on ROIO or bootleg.

Vol. 3 – Fillmore East

01. Jerry Pompili Introduction
02. Heaven and Hell
03. Can’t Explain
04. Fortune Teller
05. Young Man Blues
06. Overture
07. It’s a Boy
08. 1921
09. Amazing Journey (fragment missing within)
10. Sparks
11. Eyesight to the Blind
12. We’re Not Gonna Take It (1m29s, cuts in)
13. Summertime Blues
14. Shakin’ All Over

Time: 50m26s

Tr. 01-11: Fillmore East, New York, NY – October 22, 1969
Tr. 12-14: unknown date, assumed to be from the same venue

Note: The Who played 8 shows in 6 days at the Fillmore East Theatre from Monday Oct. 20 to Saturday Oct. 25, 1969. Tr. 01-11 were recorded during one of these shows for sure, most likely the third one on Oct. 22, if we go by the remarks Pete makes after Fortune Teller: (“See, we don’t play the same thing every night”, “Every night the same amplifier is always blown up during the solo of the first song” & “We have only done three shows so far”).We can faintly hear Pete have a tantrum over the malfunctioning amplifier after the first song, so this show should probably be counted as one of those three. The announcer has often been mistaken to be the late Bill Graham (legendary promotor, not the TV preacher), but the voice actually belongs to Jerry Pompili, an associate of Graham’s.
Sourced from “Accept No Substitute” & “Wintertime Trip”. The latter only has a part of the Tommy section from the Fillmore shows and was sourced from a tape with better fidelity. Tr. 12-14 might be from another night. This section runs slower than the rest on the “Accept No Substitute” and there’s no sign of the buzzing in John’s amp which can be heard between interludes on the first part. Also, there is a 50 second fragment of an unidentified version of “Amazing Journey” on “Accept No Substitute” between Tr. 11 & 12 (not included here) which doesn’t match with Tr. 09 or the versions from 1969/10/15, 1969/10/18 & 1969/10/19.

Vol. 4 – Electric Factory

01. Heaven and Hell (1m40s, cuts in)
02. Can’t Explain
03. Overture
04. It’s a Boy
05. 1921
06. Amazing Journey
07. Sparks
08. Acid Queen (2m41s, cuts off)
09. Summertime Blues
10. My Generation
bonus:
11. Fortune Teller
12. Young Man Blues

Time: 49m02s

Tr. 01-10: Electric Factory, Philadelphia, PA – October 19, 1969
Tr. 11-12: unknown place/date

Note: Tracks 01-10 are sourced from “Electric Factory 1969”. The recording is marred (or enhanced, depending on your perspective) somewhat by a technical malfunction; the sound of the guitar distorts whenever it is turned up on the P.A. and at the very end of the recording we can hear an English guy mutter “Fucking P.A., bad up here”. The Who played two shows at 4pm and 8pm. This portion is sourced from the late show. Tr. 11 & 12 were compiled from “Who is Tommy?” & “Live at Leeds Rejects”; the latter source has superior sound but misses the first 21 seconds of Tr. 12 plus the lengthy announcement by Pete.

Vol. 5 – Acetates

01. Heaven And Hell
02. Can’t Explain
03. Fortune Teller
04. Tattoo
05. Young Man Blues
06. Summertime Blues
07. Shakin’ All Over
bonus:
08. My Generation

Time: 46m28s

Tr. 01-10: unknown place/date

Note: As mentioned below, these tracks all originate from the reference acetates that were made by Damon Lyon-Shaw at IBC studios in Jan. 1970. Tr. 01-05 & 06-07 are likely from 2 different nights. All are sourced from “Live at Leeds Rejects”. Tr. 08 is of lesser audio quality and comes from “Who is Tommy”. There were two needle skips on this track which I repaired by patching the missing fragments in from “1969 Autumn Acetates”, along with the last 5 minutes of this song. Funny enough, this ROIO does not have the skips even though it clearly originates from the same scratchy acetate.

Some Lo-Fi Extra’s

01. Can’t Explain
02. Fortune Teller
03. Young Man Blues
04. My Generation (6m59s, cuts off)

Time: 20m02s

Tr. 01-04: unknown place/date (Tr. 4 was reported to be from one of the Fillmore shows)

Note: More from the acetates. All are sourced from “Who is Tommy” except for the last track which was taken from an unknown tape source. There is a small fragment missing on Tr. 02 due to a needle skip, which appears on the “1969 Autumn Acetates” version as well, so I remedied it somewhat by replacing it with a piece from earlier in the song. Tr. 03 is the same version as on Vol. 1 but appears in stereo here. I suspect Tr. 01-02 (and possibly 03 as well) are from the same show as Tr. 06-07 from Vol. 5.

Audio sources:

– Accept No Substitute (CD, Big 011, 1992)
Sourced from tape of unknown generation (I suspect 3rd or 4th) and runs a bit slow.

– Who is Tommy? (2CD, Dynamite Studio, DS94-A077, 1993)
Sourced from acetate recordings dubbed to tape of unknown generation. Quality not too great and quite a few skips and surface noise from the acetates.

– Pure Rock Theatre (CD, Hiwatt ZA59, 1996)
Quite clean sound on the 1969 tracks which implies a low generation tape source but digital noise reduction was used heavy handedly during the mastering process, which mostly affects the quieter spots. Runs slightly off-speed.

– Wintertime Trip (CD, Dandelion DL 112, 1999)
Again quite a clean source with a wealth of great material, but this too suffers slightly from a digital noise reduction treatment. Most of the material is off-speed.

– Electric Factory 1969 (CD, NightHawk NH-02013, 2002)
A pretty clean source without noise reduction. Runs off-speed.

– Live at Leeds Rejects (CD, Jack Of Hearts JOH 3, 2003)
A slightly off-speed source but in great quality. Presumably sourced from acetate but no audible skips or surface noise.

– 1969 Autumn Acetates ROIO
Low-fi compilation sourced from a 2nd generation cassette.

Recording Setup/History:

All 33 shows of The Who’s 2nd North-American tour in 1969 were recorded directly to stereo on a Vortexion tape recorder by the band’s long-serving (and long-suffering) live-soundengineer Bob Pridden. Pete Townshend had hoped to compile a live-album from these tapes, as had been requested by American record-company Decca. The setup was very simple: Pridden used the mono P.A. mix (heard within the center of the stereo panorama) and supplemented it with two strategically placed mics on the stage which picked up the guitar, bass and drums in stereo. Pridden adjusted the balance on-the-fly and the overall results were quite decent. Townshend was pleased with the quality when he got to hear some of the tapes during the tour.

After the tour, Townshend asked Pridden to review the recordings. Shortly after Christmas 1969, when the two met up again to discuss the project, it turned out that Pridden had listened to all the tapes but had neglected to make notes and was unable to give directions on what material he deemed useable for release. Another 7 British shows had been added to the pile at this point and Townshend did not feel like wadding through 70+ hours of concert footage. So he told the soundengineer to hire a mobile recording unit to record two dates in February 1970 instead. When asked what to do with the 1969 stereo tapes, Townshend ordered all of them to be destroyed. Pridden dutifully burned all reels in a bonfire in his garden and kept only or two tapes in his archive.
However, this was not before 2 master reels of selected material were prepared on January 6, 1970 by Damon Lyon-Shaw (resident engineer at I.B.C. Studios). A tapesheet of the first reel as pictured in the “Anyway Anyhow Anywhere” book by Andy Neill & Matt Kent can be seen below. The tracks on Reel #1 were: “Young Man Blues” #1 “Can’t Explain” “Fortune Teller” “Young Man Blues” #2 “Summertime Blues” “Shakin’ All Over” “Tattoo” & “My Generation”^.

The main reason why Pete Townshend had wanted the tapes destroyed was fear of bootlegging. Such was his paranoia, that he made a point of warning Pridden that if the tapes were ever to be bootlegged, the soundengineer would be held responsible. Townshend came to regret his decision later on and even called it one of his greatest mistakes in his autobiography. The ultimate irony in this story is that some of the material did eventually find its way to bootleggers over two decades later. Most likely, these fragments originated from tape copies made in late 69/early 70 when the tapes were being reviewed. The band and Bob Pridden seemed to have no prior knowledge of the existence of these recordings.
In 2013, the band finally released a portion of one of their surviving tapes officially on the “Tommy” Super Deluxe Edition. The fact that the producers failed to find any versions of the last three Tommy tracks from the Fall 1969 tour to round out the disc, makes it seem like indeed almost nothing from the 40 recorded shows has survived in the official Who archives*.

^ (This might very well be the material that can be heard on Vol. 5, even though there’s no sign of “Heaven and Hell”. “Young Man Blues” #1 could be the version on Vol. 4. Whatever the case, a number of recordings were mastered to acetate, including a couple of alternative versions of the same tracks, among them the bonus tracks on Vol. 01+04, Tr. 01+02 of “Some Lo-Fi Extra’s” and the version of “Fortune Teller” on Vol. 4.)
* (among these was the Coliseum, London show from December 14, 1969 which had been filmed by Kit Lambert & Chris Stamp and was eventually issued in full on DVD as a bonus to the 1977 Kilburn show. The soundtrack seems to exist in lo-fi mono only. The film footage itself was also nearly thrown out until Jeff Stein saved it from a garbage can at the Track Records headquarters in the late 70’s.)

It has been 10 years since I first started this series. As you may know, Vol. 4+5 did not get completed at the time, even though the first 3 volumes were (and continue to be) quite popular. All three ended up being professionally bootlegged on various CD’s and Vol. 1 even made it to some lavishly packaged colored vinyl release in 2013 (no, I did not buy it.)

So why revisit this now? Quite frankly; I felt the mastering work on the 2006 volumes could be improved upon. But that’s not the only reason; the requests to finish the series never really stopped and there was still some great material left that I had received from a few helpful people. Luckily, I kept my notes from 2006 which made it a lot easier to complete Vol. 4+5. I pieced Vol. 1-3 together again from scratch, rather than using the original unmastered files and this has led to some new insights which helped improving the overall quality.

Enjoy,
PS
Oct. 2016

All original recordings made by Bob Pridden.

Research, Notes & Sound Engineering by Prof. Stoned, Sept. /Oct. 2016

Information & additional audio sources provided by Howard, Everett, Joe, Roland, Tim, Luke.

Special thanks to C.G. Whitman, whose research inspired this series.

Lineage/Mastering note:

SDB > ? > Silver bootleg CD* > EAC > WAV > Mastering > FLAC (lvl 8, SBE aligned)

* with the exception of Electric Factory which was sourced from a 1st generation securely burned CDR.

Mastering was done using Cubase 5, using Universal Audio Hardware (See: http://www.uaudio.com/store/plug-in-bundles/precision-mastering-bundle.html).
Playback on PMC IB2s monitors.

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