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Post Info TOPIC: Freaks Producer
Ian


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Freaks Producer
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Jarvis is quoted in Record Collector in 1994 as saying (regarding Freaks): "The producer disowned it: he didn't want his name on it" yet in "Truth and Beauty", Jonathan Kirk says "I think it's a great record, with some really nice touches. I was proud to have my name on it".

So who is correct? Mr. Kirk is mentioned on the sleeve so could it be that someone else produced some of the songs and didn't want their name on it?



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Master Of The Universe

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I tried to get to the bottom of this one myself and didn't fully succeed. I presented Russell with the two accounts above and his reply was something like "can't really remember, but I think I'd have to go with Kirk's version". And indeed his name does appear on the sleeve, albeit as 'mixing assistant' rather than co-producer.

My best guess is that Jarvis was slightly misquoted and it was actually Alan Walker or Peter Oldfield who didn't want to be credited - they were the owners of Input Studio who would have engineered the the sessions. I can imagine them feeling the record didn't show the studio in the best light - it doesn't sound very good really, and it had become a messy situation with lost/wiped master tapes and unpaid bills and rejected mixes and stuff. You wouldn't blame them for wanting to cut ties with the whole thing in the end.

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Ian


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Thanks, and I agree with the comments on the album to be honest; Jonathan Kirk is quoted just before that as saying how he thought that with more studio time, it could have ended up sounding better. Also, I was listening to one of the live recordings from 1986 the other day and it reminded me how the band's live sound was better than their studio sound around this time and "Down by the River" also serves as a perfect example of what they could have done with more studio time.

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Master Of The Universe

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It's a shame because both the EPs from that period show they could achieve much better things in that studio with a similar timescale and budget (Dogs Are Everywhere EP was done in 2 days!). I do enjoy Freaks but it doesn't reach the same heights that the EPs do at certain points.

Maybe one day we'll get to hear the 'lost' alternative mix of the album that Mark Webber apparently has a cassette of...

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Professional

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I love the Freaks lp as it is.
Yeah, it sounds a little ropey in places. But i really don't imagine a 'lost' mix of the lp could be radically different or better than the eventual release.

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Ian


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Sturdy wrote:

(Dogs Are Everywhere EP was done in 2 days!).


Wow, I never knew that.

And I agree, it would be interesting to hear the alternative mix. For me, particularly "Life Must Be So Wonderful" and "There's No Emotion" falter on the album but with a few tweaks, could have sounded much better. Whilst Jarvis' voice ticks the right boxes for two songs that are most likely about mental illness, I still think that there's something missing that appears in the live versions. Also, I'm not sure if my memory is playing tricks here but I have a recollection of someone (likely yourself) mentioning an alternative version of "Master of the Universe" with handclaps, that would definitely make for interesting listening.



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Master Of The Universe

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Jason wrote:

I love the Freaks lp as it is.
Yeah, it sounds a little ropey in places. But i really don't imagine a 'lost' mix of the lp could be radically different or better than the eventual release.


I know what you mean. No doubt Freaks is flawed for all sorts of reasons (not just the quality of the mix) but it is what it is, for better or worse - it's not like anyone can 'fix' it all these years down the line. We've all made friends with it on its own terms.

That said, I'd still like to hear this other mix!



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Professional

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Yep, definately agree.
The only track i kind of dislike a bit is 'don't you know?
Not really sure why.
I think i prefer the Sudan Gerri version.


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Ian


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Jason wrote:

Yep, definately agree.
The only track i kind of dislike a bit is 'don't you know?
Not really sure why.
I think i prefer the Sudan Gerri version.


I've never been able to make my mind up on that one; I think the album version fits in better due to the keyboards being louder and the "la, la, la" bit being instrumental but the demo could have been fleshed out into something better. As Sturdy says above, it's a bit too late to find out 30 years down the line. I do, however, think that "Sudan Gerri" versions of "The Will to Power" and "Blue Glow" are better, I think that they were perhaps trying too hard with the final versions and the earlier takes come out a little better.

I think the best tracks on "Freaks" are "Fairground" and "Being Followed Home", the former makes you sit up and listen whether you like it or not and certainly succeeds in dragging you into the depressing world of "Freaks" and the latter benefits from the atmosphere it creates.

Also, I think that although "The Never-Ending Story" sounds great within the context of the album itself, it wasn't going to convince people to rush out and buy a copy of the album. They played it on BBC Radio Sheffield in 1987 when it was released but I think that there were at least 7 other songs that could have done the job a lot better. It's always struck me as one of those songs you would enjoy discovering on an album but not something you would hear on the radio.



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Quiet Revolutionary

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I only discovered Freaks during the Great Hiatus, and it kicked my love for Pulp into a whole new gear. Not because of any intrinsic quality - it was just the thrill of encountering unheard material for the first time, and its breadth. I think it was the only album I hadn't bought. I was familar with some of the tracks from the Countdown compilation, but Fairground blew my mind at the time. It motivated me to listen to everything they'd ever recorded, and like many of us here it led to several days worth of bootleg live recordings on my hard drive.

There are still suprises though - I only heard Sink or Swim on the 2012 reissue if It for the first time this evening. Far out.



-- Edited by superchob on Tuesday 2nd of May 2017 08:16:10 PM

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Ian


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If you like "Freaks", and I'm assuming you have also heard everything on "Masters of the Universe" or CD2 of the most recent reissues of "Freaks" then you would probably also like the "Sudan Gerri" demo if you haven't heard it already. "Take You Back" and "Cousins" are nice and dark, "Srpski Jeb" is fun and "Maureen" is probably one of the best things they recorded in the mid-80s. There are also earlier versions of songs you have probably heard already i.e. "Don't You Know". Oh, and if you haven't already heard "Silence", that's there too but I'll let you make your own mind up with that one :p

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Professional

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And as much as i enjoy the pulp versions of Anorexic beauty, the New Model Soldier version is massively superior.

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