Friday nite my Beatles Mono Box arrived. I will only say that if you haven’t bought a version of the remasters yet, Mono is the one to get. Exquisite packaging. So, very late last night, I set up my single disc CD player, which had been unhooked from my stereo system since 2003. I plugged it into an outlet by my bed, used the headphone input and my noise canceling headphones and spent several hours absorbing perhaps the best pop music ever written.
I’ll write a full review of the set, but I wanted to share one revelation that brought home how important and how great this remastered set is. I have listened to ‘Rubber Soul’ thousands of time in all different formats. I like almost every song on the album [never cared for ‘What Goes On’, sorry Ringo]. So, I’ve heard the song ‘You Won’t See Me’ countless times. Last night, it was like I finally HEARD it for the first time. Let me explain.
The focal point of the song before last night had always been the piano and the harmony vocals, plus the fact that John’s voice cracks repeatedly during the ‘Ooh La La La’ background vocals. Hearing the song in mono though, with everything in both speakers [finally!] the earth-shattering moment came when I realized that Paul plays lead bass throughout the entire song, leading the changes. The guitar is only used to accent the snare, but the bass [especially on the verses] is all over the place, taking charge but staying funky enough to never play the exact same thing on each verse. It really made me sit back and say out loud ‘Oh my God! He’s playing lead bass!’ and I then listened to the song eight or nine times in a row.
If you have ANY version of the song, cue it up and hear what I am talking about. If you have the stereo disc [old or remaster] the bass is in the left speaker and a bit buried, but you can still hear how much work he’s doing. If you have the Mono Box [Lisa! ;)] then cue it up and ‘hear it again for the first time.’
Every instrument benefits from the remasters but in my opinion, I think Ringo and Paul benefit most because, probably for the first time since the original 1960s vinyl mono releases, The Beatles have their low end back!
Just wanted to share. I am sure there are other moments like this on every record. There’s a lot here to take in.