If you've been following this blog lately, you've probably noticed I've been posting a lot of BBC sessions albums. That's all part of a big project I'm doing. I've explained a little bit here and there, but let me explain my plans in full.
BBC recordings are a great treasure in general, due to their consistently high sound quality. But the 1960s and early 1970s BBC recordings are the greatest treasure of all in my opinion, both because there was so much good much in those years, and because BBC sessions are often the best sounding recordings we have of many musical artists, other than their officially released albums and singles. In fact, in many cases, those are the only other known recordings, period. And not only are all the BBC versions different performances than the studio versions, but many artists played songs for the BBC that they never otherwise recorded at all.
Despite this, the BBC recordings of many artists from that era have never been released. Or, if they have been, they're often incomplete, poorly organized, and/or not at the best sound quality. Furthermore, many such albums have gone out of print, or are very hard to find.
On top of all that, up until about 1970 or 1971, many BBC DJs had the annoying habit of talking over the starts and endings of the songs they were playing. Well, some people like that for the period charm, but it's highly annoying to me. I wouldn't mind so much if there were alternate versions without the DJ talking, but that's almost never the case.
Since I started this blog in 2018, I tried to fix this DJ banter problem with the limited means I had at the time. Mostly, that meant editing the songs by patching in repeated instrumental sections from later in the songs, or sometimes even patching in sections from the non-BBC studio versions. But this was a non-ideal band-aid at best.
Happily, about a year ago, audio editing programs like Spleeter and X-Minus started to emerge. Taking advantage of new AI (artificial intelligence) technology, these programs can split songs into different instruments in ways I'd never dreamed possible before. Using these programs, I found I could almost always completely wipe the BBC DJ talk while leaving the underlying music.
Thus, I've set myself the task of fixing all the important BBC recordings from the 1960s and early 1970s that have this DJ banter problem. That has meant going back to the original sources and redoing all the songs I'd already posted here. While I was at it, I also fixed the volume balance between songs, and changed the way I do the mp3 tags. On the last point, people have complained that I've included all the source info in the album title tags. So, if you're using iTunes or other similar programs, the programs often get confused and treat that as a bunch of albums instead of just one. So I'm putting just the album title in that spot, and moving the rest of the source information to the comments tag.
Fixing the volume balance and mp3 tags has been something I've been working on in general for a few months. It's a slow process, because I've posted over 1,500 albums here, and most have needed fixing. But for all the artists where I've fixed their BBC recordings recently, I've fixed the volume balance and mp3 tags for ALL the albums of theirs I've posted here, not just the BBC ones. If that means something to you, you might want to redownload those.
Here's a list of all the artists where I've fixed their BBC recordings (and volume balance and mp3 tags in general) in recent weeks. I've done a lot of this without announcing it anywhere, but hopefully anyone interested will find out from reading this, now:
Spencer Davis Group
Julie Driscoll, Brian Auger and the Trinity
That's a lot, including many big names with lots of albums. But there's even more to go. Here are the artists that I'm currently working on fixing (I'm happy to say, my musical friend Lilpanda is working on fixing some of these instead of me):
Jeff Beck Group
Richard and Linda Thompson
Most of those are ones I've posted already, and those are my first priority. But some are new, such as Deep Purple, Donovan, the Nice, the Idle Race, Al Stewart, and Tomorrow.
Finally, there's an even longer list of artists who have BBC recordings from the time period I'm focusing on. I may or may not fix and post their BBC material. Some of these I don't like, or I only like a little, but I would consider fixing anyway because this DJ talking problem is so annoying and nobody else seems to be working on it, aside from Lilpanda and myself. Frankly, I don't know how many of these I'll get to before my enthusiasm for this project may run out. So if you feel strongly about getting some of these fixed, please let me know which ones.
And if there are any artists you think I've missed, please let me know that too. Keep in mind that just because an artist put out music from the right time period, that doesn't mean they have BBC sessions. These were mostly limited to British artists, and some just didn't promote themselves through the BBC for whatever reason, or they only had one or two sessions, or the sessions were lost, etc... That said, I'm sure I missed some key ones here and there, because I don't know of any definitive list to consult.
Like the other lists above, this is in rough alphabetical order:
Bonzo Dog Doo-Dah Band
Elmer Gantry's Velvet Opera
Marc Bolan / T. Rex
John Mayall (non Clapton eras)
Mott the Hoople
Simon and Garfunkel
Bridget St. John
Ten Years After
Tir Na Nog
Geno Washington and the Ram Jam Band
Thanks for any and all feedback. I'll update this list and/or repost it if there are significant changes.