Sister Publication Sound&Vision's Great ATMP Feature is Definitely Worth Reading

AnalogPlanet's "sister publication" Sound&Vision the other day published "The Making of All Things Must Pass" a comprehensive feature by Matt Hurwitz complete with outstanding studio and other photos.

Among the really interesting information—especially for readers looking for the best copy of the original version of All Things Must Pass is that George "Porky/Pecko Duck" Peckham was hired by Apple to master their LPs including the original All Things Must Pass. My 1U pressing does not have a "PORKY" or a "PECKO DUCK" on it, nor does my original James Taylor. However my copy of Badfinger's Straight Up does. I'd never before looked!

According to Hurwitz's story, Peckham said "George was very happy with my cut". According to the story, "Straight copies of the album side reels were sent to territories for pressing, accompanied by Peckham's mastering notes, to ensure a uniform sound around the world—which Peckham was given authority to reject, if they did not comply.

"For the U.S., Harrison brought the album reels himself on October 28, followed by Peckham, to MediaSound Studios NYC as requested by Allen Klein. Peckham supervised veteran cutting engineer Dominick Romeo, who cut the album to his specs—though, he notes, "He didn't like a younger man to be in charge, and I caught him trying to change the setting I had brought with me." There was another issue, something many fans have noted over the years regarding some first U.S. pressings—a noticeable speed variance on some album sides. "They had a problem with their lathe turntable drive", most likely a Scully, which is belt-driven. "It was appalling, and I told their maintenance man it was slipping, and that he needed to repair it, so that we could recut all of the dodgy ones." Though Peckham asked Al Steckler, who ran U.S. Apple Records to try to recall those sets pressed from the bad lacquers, apparently some still made it into stores."

Since the original U.K. and U.S. sets were cut directly from the masters and the rest of the world's were cut from dupes, it's a safe assumption to make that the U.S. and U.K. originals would be best but remember: plating and pressing quality make a big difference and at that time Capitol's plating and pressing were second rate compared to EMI's as anyone who's compared an EMI classical title with the same record on Angel will know.

(I met Al Steckler recently at the home of a woman whose classical record collection belonging to her late husband musicologist Mortimer Frank I helped sell for her. I asked Steckler for an interview but sadly he declined. He must have some great stories! Well, he told me one: when he was at London Records they wanted to release a single from The Moody Blues' Days of Future Past but no one could figure out how to edit it down to a proper single length. Steckler had run the London classical music division and so took a razor to a tape copy of the song, which I think was "Nights In White Satin", and BAM made the successful edit.)

A few other facts worth mentioning that were in the Hurwitz story: Harrison took some of the 8 track tapes to Trident Studios, which had a 16 track machine, and bounced the 8 tracks to the 16. Further overdubs were done at Trident, where Ken Scott worked and Scott oversaw some of the recordings and performed the mixes of the tracks finished there.

One oddity in the story: Ken Scott, who is listed in the credits first as engineer along with Phil McDonald gets short shrift in Hurwitz's story. Not sure why. Scott also gets "engineering" credit for the 2000 30th anniversary digitally remastered edition released in 2001. I emailed Ken and asked him what he thought of the new remix and he told me he hadn't been sent a copy, which I think is pretty shoddy, don't you?

Finally there's the photo at the top. That was supplied by my accountant who was Ravi Shankar's manager and one of the "Concert For Bangladesh" producers. How cool is that?

StonedBeatles1's picture

I recall hearing, way back then (call me crazy, I've been called worse), that Harrison had a suitcase with the master tapes, handcuffed onto him, when he brought them to NYC?
Was this true or utter BS?

shawnwes's picture

It wouldn't surprise me that he brought them over but why would he handcuff them to himself? They weren't the codes to a nuclear arsenal or valued at $1B! Sounds like an urban legend.

shawnwes's picture

Not beyond the realm of possibilities that he flew over with them himself but chained to them as well? They aren't the codes to a nuclear arsenal or valued at $1B.

StonedBeatles1's picture

I don't recall having so much enjoyment over a reissue before (musically not sonically speaking)..
Looking forward to The Let it Be box..

timorous's picture

Just in case any of you are unaware, the Let It Be film has been re-edited by Peter Jackson (Lord of the Rings trilogy), after poring through the 56 hours of 16mm documentary film. He was surprised at the overall fun and humor of the proceedings, in contrast to the somewhat downcast atmosphere that John Lindsay-Hogg portrayed for the original film release back in 1970.

There are many stories in circulation, but here's a good overview:

There's little info on the re-issue of the recordings, though I expect this has already been done by Giles Martin.

Perhaps Michael F. would be kind enough to investigate further...

Keen Observer's picture

Surely you meant Michael.

Lars Bo's picture

Thanks for the heads-up, Michael. Definitely worth the read.

Too bad about the 50th ATMP.

Michael Fremer's picture
To do a sit down listen with Hicks and have him explain why things sound as they do. I can only imagine how it might sound on a mid-bass warm, tubey system. Not good! Maybe on Bluetooth speakers the mid bass translates as "bass" and it sounds full but for whom was this mixed?
Paul Boudreau's picture

Thanks. Too bad the alternate poster wasn’t used!

pchristian's picture

I to was confused by the Ken Scott, I'll call it oversight, in the article. I checked my copies and he is listed on them as engineer as Michael pointed out, so maybe someone (Michael?) can reach out to the author?

Keen Observer's picture

Was that your error or Hurwitz's?