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This sounds amazing, and I had no idea how much of a hack job my CD was until I heard it. The most obvious difference is this is longer, and doesn’t edit Sara, which is one of the best songs on the album! Its info can be found here. I did not rip this personally, its lineage/equipment used can be read here. If you ripped this drop me a comment, you did a great job!

It’s a tall order, about 700mb per part. They’re not parts of a single archive so they can extract/play individually, each part ten tracks. They’re higher res than Redbook standard so you have to dither them down to 16/44 to burn them to CD. I’ll leave that up to you.

Again I included an MP3 version of the rip in case you just want to throw it on your iPod and whatnot. iTunes doesn’t play high end FLACs natively, I don’t believe. -Ian!

Like John said a few reviews ago, find this album on vinyl and burn your own cd. That’s what I’ve attempted to do, but my burner is broken. Anyway there are at least two major problems with the CD. Most people know that Sara is edited, and that you can actually hear the edit when it takes place (ouch!). But then there is also a practically new version of I Know I’m Not Wrong, and its horrible. I’m sure there are other differences, but I only played the CD twice, and then immediatly sold it. However, on vinyl, Tusk is a masterpiece. Lindsey Buckingham proves to be an excellent producer/songwriter. Of the 20 songs, 5 are stellar Buckingham songs: Save Me A Place, What Makes You Think You’re The One, That’s All For Everyone, I Know I’m Not Wrong, and Walk A Thin Line. Despite a few extremely slow parts (Brown Eyes, Beautiful Child), the other 15 songs are great. Anyway, YOU WANT THIS. Look for the vinyl. Tusk is BY FAR the greatest FM album, and my #3 favorite album of all time.

-SonOfPFunk, review of the CD

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24/96 FLAC

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I think anyone has mixed feelings at the least regarding Phil Spector. He made gigantic sounds out of mono, and influenced all great studio greats of pop after him. But he was also deranged, abusive, and probably a murderer. It’s with that in mind that listening to his Christmas album brings such a mix of emotions for me. Was it always imbued with such a darkness, or am I applying that retroactively? For me, this stuff was part of the landscape of movies like Goodfellas before I ever heard it completely.

Is it possible to hear this garishly saccharine music, imagining Phil waving a gun around and keeping Ronnie Spector a virtual prisoner, that it was released on the day Kennedy was assassinated… and find a distorted beauty in its facade? Is it just a fascination with the dark underside of American pop culture?

Something I’ve been thinking about this Christmas, when everybody I know is having a bummer of a time or is at some sort of personal crossroads. In my world it just feels distinctly un-Christmas-like this year. No big deal, it happens.

Inside cover to the reissue. Click for enlarged terror.

If you’re altogether unfamiliar, AMG’s Dennis MacDonald offers up the platitudes:

Featuring Phil Spector’s “Wall of Sound” in its prime and his early stable of artists, the Ronettes, Crystals, Darlene Love, and Bob B. Soxx & the Blue Jeans, A Christmas Gift for You From Phil Spector stands as inarguably the greatest Christmas record of all time. Spector believed he could produce a record for the holidays that would capture not only the essence of the Christmas spirit, but also be a pop masterpiece that would stand against any work these artists had already done. He succeeded on every level, with all four groups/singers recording some of their most memorable performances. This is the Christmas album by which all later holiday releases had to be judged, and it has inspired a host of imitators.

Anyway, I posted the mono mix from Spector’s BACK TO MONO box, and a bootleg of the stereo mix on the Phillies Records reissue by bootleg team DR. EBBETT’s. If you get one, make it the mono mix, which is definitive. I include the stereo mix for the curious who already have the mono mix.

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This is an incredible rip of EXILE by PBTHAL, which I believe is not even available on his blog. Anyway, I think everyone should know about the incredible work he’s doing.

This was recorded differently than the THEIR SATANIC MAJESTIES REQUEST rip I posted earlier was recorded, different person! PBTHAL captures at 192khz, way higher than the SATANIC REQUEST guy did. PBTHAL also has arguably better hardware. It is then dithered down to Redbook standard 16bit / 44.1khz. In other words, analog captured as highly as consumer hardware really even allows. Now. Which is insanely better than what was available to studios in 1987, or whenever, when CDs of old albums were being made from master tapes with early, primitive DACs. Even remasters that claim to use original masters now tend to do who knows what to them.

Here’s some literal symbolism for you: look at the sleeve art from the vinyl, and now compare it to the sleeve from the CD version. Notice the difference? The art on the vinyl is a messy patchwork with obvious masking tape holding the pieces together. The CD version smooths everything down until it all looks like one professional layer. Sloppy replaced with the illusion of sloppy.

Now listen to the original mix. There are tons of mistakes. You hear dropouts, wrong plug-ins, rumbles, sibilance. These aren’t from the medium of vinyl, trust me. Jimmy Miller knew what he was doing. This was an intentionally sprawling mess in concept.

You feel like you’re in the room during Sweet Virginia, I turned my head when the saxophone came in. Hear the deep thud in the right ear during the beginning of Loving Cup. Hey, what was that weird squelch of the vocals as it went into the verse? It was Jimmy Miller or Keith Richards de-pressing a button when layering takes into the mix.

You might find yourself saying, “Ian, come on. There’s distortion during Torn and Frayed!” To which I would say, “Listen closer, idiot! That’s TAPE FLUTTER. From the MASTER TAPE. It’s SUPPOSED TO BE THERE!” This album feels lived in. It creaks like old floorboards.

Guess stuff like that gets washed away in numbing barrage of Noise Reduction during the CD remaster.

This has been THE DEFINITIVE EXILE for me for about a year. Which makes it pretty much my favorite recording of anything, ever. There’s like maybe three albums ever made that top this for me. It’s as good as it’s ever going to get. I’ve taken the liberty of making this rip available in MP3, again, for those people that just want to hear the mix but are unconcerned with lossless fidelity and just want it on their iPods.

Yes, I know. This was pretty much a big slab of hyperbole. But there aren’t reviews specific to the original vinyl, comparing it to subsequent remasters. So I had to write something. Cut me some slack, jerk!

Please consider other excellent recordings of rare vinyl from PBTHAL:

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Something a little experimental. A high-end FLAC rip of an original MONO mix first pressing vinyl of this album, ripped at and presented in 24 Bit / 96 kHz resolution by “Prof. Stoned” (his details here), making this a higher than CD resolution capture of an analog recording on an analog source. It’s also the last Stones album to get a dedicated mono mix in the US. As in, not a fold down of the stereo mix, but created for mono specifically. The stereo mixes are engineered after the fact in subsequent remixes.

Also thrown in is the mono mix of Sympathy For The Devil, for reasons explained in the dealie.

I take issue with the premise presented in the review below. I happen to have always thought TSMR was a psych MASTERPIECE, even surpassing SGT. PEPPER. Though the mono mix of PEPPER did raise it in my esteem greatly just this past year. My point, though, is that the reputation of this album only suffered because it was a STONES album. Had this been recorded by a band like The Zombies or something it would have been forever hailed a masterpiece. But instead, it’s called “the time the Stones made a psych album.”

Anyway, this plays fine in Foobar2000, but if you use iTunes you might want to stick with the regular old MP3 version. I threw in the STEREO ABKCO version, and also an MP3 version of the mono mix taken from the FLAC if you just want the mono mix without the fancy high-end hullabaloo. -Ian!

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What is arguably the worst album the Rolling Stones did during the 1960s has suddenly been transformed into one of the best bootleg releases ever, its reputation salvaged and its songs transformed into superb, punky psychedelia, and it’s all because of the use of the mono mix (virtually unheard by anyone outside of England) and a new transfer that runs circles around the late-’80s ABKCO stereo CD edition. Their Satanic Majesties Request has always been disliked by fans, who perceived it as the Rolling Stones trying to emulate the Beatles during the latter’s psychedelic phase, and generally not sounding terribly good. The mono mix fixes all of that and then some — indeed, all of a sudden, the album sounds great, and is great. The rhythm instruments are upfront and solid, and from the opening bars of “Sing This All Together” through the punchy break on “In Another Land” to the extended jam on “Sing This All Together (See What Happened)” (as it’s printed here), this sounds like the Stones, pounding away hard and heavy, and scarcely like the Beatles at all. As expected, “2000 Man” is the highlight, with a crunchy guitar break that’s right up close and personal, along with Jagger’s vocals over it and Charlie Watts kicking the hell out of his kit while the organ twists little Arabesques around all of them; not far behind in terms of allure, amazingly enough, is “Sing This All Together (See What Happened)” — the horns sound much more integrated into the texture of the track and a lot more dissonant, the Mellotron is more upfront in the mix, holding the piece together much better at the end, and the tom-toms and kettle drums are practically in your lap, while Keith Richards’ guitar, doing strange psychedelic slides in the opening or playing a crunchy rhythm accompaniment to the horns, comes off as a true rock virtuoso performance. The rest of the album pretty much is elevated to a similar degree — oddly enough, only “She’s a Rainbow” isn’t transformed radically — and it’s all more worth hearing than it’s been in decades.

-Bruce Eder,

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