Matt Monro - The SInger's Singer (2011 edition)

Released on 5th September 2011 was a re-release of the acclaimed compilation of hits, albums tracks and rarities by Matt Monro.

This was originally released as a limited edition set of just 3000 at a premium price. It came with a book containing a short biography of Matt. The book has now been superseded by Michele Monro’s Biography also entitled ‘The Singer’s Singer ‘ which is released in paperback form at the same time.

Whist the long form box and the book have gone, the discs have now been COMPLETELY remastered from the EMI and Capitol stereo master tapes. The booklet now contains brief remastering notes and full recording details for all of the tracks.

The set contains 103 tracks, 38 of which were been issued on the acclaimed 2010 release “The Complete Singles Collection” & “Words & Music” from 2011. These tracks are taken from the re-mastered 24bit files used on those releases.

Of the remaining 65 tracks 60 have been transferred from the first generation mixdown tapes transferred at Abbey Road Studios, London, Capitol Studios in LA and at my own studios (All at 24/96). I’ll come to the remaining 5 tracks later

You Keep Me Swinging – Repaired Edit

Stereo has taken precedence on the set as the vast majority of Matt’s recordings were recorded with stereo in mind. The mono tracks were either direct mono recordings (Jingles and tracks from ‘Parade of the Pops’) or Mono mixes where no multitrack or stereo survives.

The recordings received no noise reduction and great care was taken to remove any drop outs and bad tape edits and ABSOLUTELY NO COMPRESSION OR LIMITING!!

Shadow Of You Smile – Comparison between 2001 & 2011 remasters

Of these new remasters several have only been issued from needle drops in the past or from safety copies.  The original CD set also included mono versions of most of the US recorded Capitol tracks from the 2nd  or 3rd generation UK tapes. On this issue the first generation US tapes have been used for the first time. Two modern duets with Matt Monro Jnr used in error on the original set have now been replaced by the solo versions.

You’ve Got Possibilities – Mono to Stereo

Multiple masters have been auditioned in some cases to ascertain the best masters to use.

One track not from the master mixdown tapes was ‘From Russia With Love’ which been remixed from its rediscovered  4 track session tape into a stereo mix using the correct vocal track for the first time. The original multitrack contains the backing on track 4, vocal 1 on track 3, wound up piano on track 2 and 2nd vocal on track 1. The single mix used sections of each vocal track whereas the stereo mix used only the first vocal.

Matt originally recorded his vocal live with the orchestra and a normal piano direct to three tracks of the tape. Due to microphone spill this gave quite a nice stereo spread around the vocal. However the released take wiped everything but the orchestra track and replaced it with the overdubbed the vocals and wound up piano. This posed a problem. I was able to split the bass and percussion to a certain extent from the orchestra and recreate the feel of the original orchestra session with live overdubs. The final result I hope you will find is much more pleasing to the ear than the original stereo that just panned the orchestra and piano left & right and through the vocal in the middle. Of course the Mono is always available on the Singles Collection. 

Clip of new Stereo mix of From Russia With Love

The one 16 bit sourced track is the Woolworths Jingle – this was restored from the tape dub made for the original version of this set. The original did not come from the EMI or Monro estate archives and its origins are unknown. Nevertheless considerable improvements have been made.

The remaining three tracks were sourced from vinyl – the original tapes having been lost. The ‘Go Bowling’ jingle was released as a promo single and dubbed from the estate copy. The other vinyl dubs are from Matt’s 1983 Philippines session. ‘Be My Lady’  and ‘Memory’ were recorded in Manila by Dyna Records but under licence as Matt was still under contract with EMI. (Dyna were EMI’s distributor at this point)

I contacted Dyna and conversed with the label’s owner James Dy. He informed me that all of Matt’s master tapes were transferred to EMI Asia in 1995. EMI Asia searched ALL of their vaults for me but to no avail. I contacted James Dy again to tell him this and ask him to search the Dyna archives just in case it had slipped through the net and to check any paperwork from the transfer. This was met with a refusal to help any further and he also informed that there was no paperwork.  At this point we have to therefore assume that the tapes (both multitrack and mixdown) are now lost.

The next hurdle was getting hold of an original copy of its only release from a master source – this was the Vinyl album ‘The Very Best of Matt Monro – Volume 3’ on EMI/Dyna from the Philippines. This is quite rare, but a fan was able to supply me with a sealed copy (they had several).  The transfer should have then been quite easy. However even though the disc had never been played it was made out of the most shocking vinyl I have every come across – noisy and pot marked (ie small blemishes pressed into the disc) and also slightly off centre.

I reviewed the restored vinyl dubs made for the original edition of the album and found that the same problems were evident in the copy used in 2001 – I couldn’t use those dubs as the processing and restoration was a little heavy handed and the off centre problem had not been tackled.

It took 5 different transfers – forwards/backwards/at low speed/with different cartridges and turntables – to get a transfer that I could work with. Declicking/decrackle were relatively simple but the thumps caused by the pot marks in the vinyl had to be painstakingly removed one by one using spectral editing. The vinyl rumble was removed with several passes to minimise harm to the low frequencies. The usual way to solve the off centre disc is to enlarge the hole – however on this occasion the disc was quite rare so I had to find a turntables where the spindle could be removed rather than harm the disc.

The final result is certainly better than the 2001 release, but not as good as a mastertape – if you listen with headphones you will still hear some imperfections that could not be removed without harming the original sound.

Clip of 2001 remaster and 2011 remaster – Be My Lady

Tracklisting – With changes listed in bold
Disc: 1
1. Music To Watch Girls By
2. Strangers In The Night (Stereo Mix)
3. For All We Know
4. Yesterday
5. On A Clear Day You Can See Forever (Stereo Mix)
6. For Once In My Life
7. He Ain’t Heavy He’s My Brother
8. September Song
9. Love Is A Many Splendored Thing
10. Time After Time
11. What A Wonderful World
12. Georgia On My Mind
13. Alguien Canto  (Stereo Mix)
14. You’re Gonna Hear From Me (Stereo Mix)
15. When Joanna Loved Me (Stereo Mix)
16. Gonna Build A Mountain
17. My Friend My Friend
18. Everybody’s Talkin’
19. The Days Of Wine And Roses
20. I’m Glad There Is You (Stereo Mix)
21. Stardust
22. As Long As She Needs Me
23. The Impossible Dream
24. Over The Rainbow
25. I Will Wait For You (Stereo Mix)
26. I Get Along Without You Very Well (Except Sometimes)

Disc: 2
1. Michelle
2. Portrait Of My Love
3. Somewhere (Stereo Mix)
4. On A Wonderful Day Like Today (Stereo Mix)
5. Born Free
6. The Good Life (Stereo Mix)
7. You’re Sensational
8. The Shadow Of Your Smile
9. No Me Dejes (If You Go Away) (Full Spanish Version)
10. Honey On The Vine (Stereo Mix)
11. You And Me Against The World (Solo Version)
12. Let Me Sing And I’m Happy
13. Sunrise Sunset
14. Let There Be Love
15. This Is The Life (Stereo Mix)
16. Charade
17. Exodus (Main Theme)
18. From Russia With Love (Stereo Single Remix)
19. Singin’ In The Rain
20. Around The World (Stereo Mix)
21. When I Fall In Love
22. Maria
23. Real Live Girl (Stereo Mix)
24. On Days Like These
25. I Have Dreamed
26. Come Back To Me

Disc: 3
1. Fly Me To The Moon (In Other Words)
2. Softly As I Leave You
3. We’re Gonna Change The World
4. Who Can I Turn To
5. Walk Away
6. The Second Time Around
7. Long And Winding Road, The
8. Ebb Tide
9. Fools Rush In (Where Angels Fear To Tread)
10. If I Never Sing Another Song
11. My Way
12. When You Wish Upon A Star
13. Spring Is Here
14. Didn’t We
15. If She Walked Into My Life
16. Till The End Of Time
17. You’ve Got Possibilities (Stereo Mix)
18. The Green Leaves Of Summer
19. My Kind Of Girl
20. People (Stereo Mix)
21. Sweet Talkin’ Hannah (Stereo Mix)
22. Autumn Leaves
23. Todo Pasara

Disc: 4
1. You’ve Made Me So Very Happy
2. No Puedo Quitar Mis Ojos De Ti (Can’t Take My Eyes Off You) (Correct Master)
3. Be My Lady
4. Bridge Over Troubled Water
5. You’re Closer To Me (Stereo Mix)
6. Hava Nagila
7. I Don’t Want To Run Your Life (Stereo Mix)
8. The Sweetest Sounds
9. Memory
10. More (Solo Version)
11. Miss Brown To You (First Time Stereo Mix)
12. The Auction
13. A Place In Paris
14. Fourth Blue Monday (Stereo Mix)
15. Hey
16. L’Etoile Du Sud (The Southern Star)
17. I Should Care
18. I’m A Fool To Want You
19. You Keep Me Swingin’
20. I’ve Got The Moon On My Side
21. Before You Go
22. A Lot Of Living (To Do)
23. Listerine/Hartley’s Peas/Horniman’s Tea
24. Zal/The Wonder Of Wollies/Go Bowling
25. The Party’s Over