The recent takeover of EMI UK with Warner Music resulted in a split in the Matt Monro catalogue. The EMI years now belong to Warner Music, but the Capitol years now belong to Universal.
During the split five compilations by Matt were immediately deleted and there currently are no plans to re-issue them (although they are still available to download).
Two of the casualties were ‘The Rare Monro’ and ‘Matt Uncovered: The Rarer Monro’. It is a bit of a puzzle why these sets were claimed by Universal as the majority of the tracks belong to Parlophone/Warners, The Monro Estate, Mood Media or the BBC. Michele Monro was loath to see so many recordings go to waste, especially as Matt Uncovered had been available for less than a year before it was deleted. So the decision was made to issue a 3 CD set combining both sets but removing all of the Capitol owned material.
‘Matt Uncovered’ was mastered by me, but ‘The Rare Monro’ was not (although I did restore eleven tracks for the release). Because of the different engineers, the sound of the mastering of the two sets was quite different. I set about updating the material from ‘Rare’ to match and in the process took advantage of better sources for some of the songs that have appeared in the seven years since the release of the set and the advances in restoration during this time to improve others.
Some songs were mastered in 2010 for the (also deleted) ‘Complete Single Collection’ and ‘The Greatest’ (yes, that one has been deleted too!). I felt that these could currently not be improved upon so have been added from the 24bit master files used on those compilations and has meant that a few tracks featured on ‘Rare’ in mono are now in stereo.
There was no budget for new transfers from the Parlophone masters, but I took advantage of a small number of new transfers made for other projects. Almost all Monro estate material (the exception being two acetates which were unlikely to benefit) was re-transferred. The rest of the ‘Rare Monro’ material was taken from the 2006 transfers.
The set also includes two recordings that weren’t on the original releases. Love Story from ‘The Greatest’ & ‘Matt at the Movies’ (both casualties of the split) and Bound for Texas which we couldn’t clear in time for Matt Uncovered.
The new set also contains complete recording details for every track for the first time.
Here is a little more detail about the re-mastering of some of the material.
When Love Comes Along. (Alt Take)
This was Matt’s first 4 track session and the orchestra and Matt recorded live to tape. However after completing eleven takes, the backing track was mixed from Take 11on the four track and Matt continued recording further vocal takes straight to Mono tape. Take 15 was eventually chosen. This take features the original live vocal from Take 11 in a first time stereo mix (mixed by Peter Mew during research for The Complete Singles Collection in 2009).
Strike Up The Band
Rare Monro Version
This recording comes from the soundtrack of a lost TV special. Back in 2005 a home recording was uncovered by the Nelson Riddle society and partially restored. This version was used on the original issue of ‘Rare Monro’. In 2008 I took the Riddle Society version and restored it to the best quality possible from the 3 & 3/4 ips tape. In the meantime two new copies of the show have come to light. One from the estate of the late Alan Dell, who recorded his copy straight to 7 & 1/2 ips tape using a special tuner made specifically for recording TV soundtracks (this tape was probably the source of the Riddle Society tape). Last year another tape was found that featured the raw unedited studio recording of the show (audio only, no film of video has surfaced). For the first time in 45 years this track can now be heard in perfect quality.
Matt’s Kind of Music radio shows
Rare Monro version
Tracks 6 to 24 on disc 3 are recordings from Matt’s sadly wiped 1961 radio series ‘Matt’s Kind of Music’ Thankfully Matt himself had kept a few off air tapes although none were complete. Not long after Matt died his widow Mickie found his reels and asked EMI to transfer them to cassette tape for her. Unfortunately the reels were never returned and are not in the EMI archive so presumed lost. The cassettes are now the only source for these recordings. For Matt Uncovered I made brand new 24bit 96k transfers of the cassettes for the eight selections included on that set but having transferred the complete tapes I was able to use these to make superior versions of the eleven tracks I originally restored for ‘Rare’. On that set the tracks were spread over the second disc and I was asked to edit out all of the introductions or voiceovers. For this set all of these have been restored.
Birth of the Blues
Rare Monro Version
Another track where a better source has been found. The original was from a fairly ropey sounding cassette, this new version comes from two versions sent to us by fans, the best one was missing the introduction which has been edited back on from a lower quality source, but it’s still better than the original release.
Bound for Texas (from the Chaplin Revue)
Original Soundtrack Album Version
This track was originally supposed to be included on ‘Matt Uncovered: The Rarer Monro’ but EMI wanted to clear the track through Universal, especially as they were (briefly) owned by them at the time. However despite the Chapin Revue soundtrack being originally issued by Decca, they could find no record of it. However the track is officially public domain in the UK and as nobody wants to claim ownership, it was decided that we should include it on this new set.
The original soundtrack album was compiled from the optical soundtrack of the movie rather than from a tape source, which indicates that even in 1959 the tapes hadn’t been kept – the recent DVD reissues are no better.
I have been able to remove some of the inherent distortion and crackle and boost the high frequencies, but it’s not exactly ‘hi-fi’
I Hear Music
Strange Lady In Town
It's Only A Paper Moon
Everything I Have Is Yours
You're Getting To Be A Habit With Me
My Funny Valentine
I've Got The World On A String
Birth Of The Blues
Amor Amor Amor
The Nearness Of You
Did You Ever See A Dream Walking
I'll Be Around
I’ve Got My Eyes On You
Chattanooga Choo Choo
What Makes The Sunset
The Clouds Will Soon Roll By
Old Devil Moon
It Can’t Be Wrong
I’ve Got You Under My Skin
You Make Me Feel So Young
The Heart Of A Man
Twixt Twelve and Twenty
These Things Happen (New transfer 2013 Remaster)
Fare The Well My Pretty Maid
During One Night (2013 Remaster)
Easier Said Than Done
No One Will Ever Know (1st Version)
Everything is Nothing Without You (New transfer2013 Remaster)
There Are No Words For Love (1st Version)
The Wrong Time (It’s Alright With Me) (2013 Remaster)
Floral Dance (2013 Remaster)
Sitting On Top Of The World (2013 Remaster)
Mirage (Alan Clare) (2013 Remaster)
Love Is The Same Anywhere (Alt Version)
Is There Anything I Can Do? (Remastered for Singles Collection 2010)
When Love Comes Along (Alternate Take) (First Time stereo issue and 2013 Remaster)
By The Way (Remastered for Singles Collection 2010)
(Won’t You Come Home) Bill Bailey
A Few Tender Words
I’ve Got Love (Remastered for Singles Collection 2010)
Once In Every Long And Lonely While (Early Version)
Walk Into The Dawn (2013 Remaster)
I Love You Too (Alternate Take) (2013 Remaster)
All My Loving (Early Version)
Ten Out Of Ten (Unedited)
Beautiful Beautiful (Unedited)
Let’s Find An Island
Strike Up The Band (New transfer from newly discovered tapes -2013 Remaster)
Let Me Choose Life (2013 Remaster)
Time To Go
Oh My Child
Only Friends (2013 Remaster)
Love Story (Remastered for ‘The Greatest’ 2010)
Didn’t We (Early Version)
How Can I Live Without Your Love
It’s That Time Again (2013 Remaster)
I’ve So Much To Be Thankful For (2013 Remaster)
How Could I Ever Leave You (Remastered for Singles Collection 2010)
So Little Time (Remastered for Singles Collection 2010)
One Last Try
For The Touch Of Your Love (2013 Remaster)
Alone Am I (2013 Remaster)
You Came Along (From Out Of Nowhere)
The Folks Who Live On The Hill
Your Driving Me Crazy/The Song Is You
You’ll Never Know
What Is This Thing Called Love
Day By Day
Younger Than Springtime
Breezing Along With The Breeze (New Transfer and 2013 Remaster)
All Of You (New Transfer and 2013 Remaster)
Blue Moon (New Transfer and 2013 Remaster)
Makin Whoopee (New Transfer and 2013 Remaster)
Row Row Row (New Transfer and 2013 Remaster)
Day In Day Out (New Transfer and 2013 Remaster)
Till ((New Transfer and 2013 Remaster)
In The Still Of The Night (New Transfer and 2013 Remaster)
Taking A Chance On Love (New Transfer and 2013 Remaster)
Lulu’s Back In Town (New Transfer and 2013 Remaster)
Lazy River ((New Transfer and 2013 Remaster)
Birth Of The Blues (New transfer from new source – 2013 Remaster)
New York New York (2013 Remaster)
Bound For Texas (2013 Remaster)
Babycham (New Transfer and 2013 Remaster)
Pop Gear (New Transfer and 2013 Remaster)
Let The Train Take The Strain (New Transfer and 2013 Remaster)
Zal (1970’s version)
Kenny Everett sketch (featuring We're Gonna Change the World)