The 2020 Iron Butterfly Thread

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Charlie O.
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The 2020 Iron Butterfly Thread

Postby Charlie O. » 13 Oct 2020, 23:20

I've been wanting to do this for a while. I'm taking Quaco's reappearance as a sign that it's time.

Say what you will about this band/album/song/dinosaur/albratross - it doesn't matter, I've heard it all (yeah, yeah, the Simpsons joke). But they got me when I was young, and they haven't let go yet.

Two exciting things happened on the Iron Butts front this year. Back in January, Mobile Fidelity Sound Lab issued In-A-Gadda-Da-Vida on Hybrid SACD and on audiophile vinyl, and Esoteric has announced a box set coming out late next month that promises to be wonderful.

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There are few albums I've bought more iterations of over the years (including an earlier Mobile Fidelity gold CD, which was crap). I bought the Hybrid SACD, and I've only had the opportunity to hear the CD layer of it, but holy cow - I'm no audiophile, but this is far, far and away the best I've ever heard this album. I have an acquaintance who is very much an audiophile, and he agrees - "How did Atlantic and Rhino screw this up so badly for so many years?" he asks, and it's a fair question.

I love this album, virtually every note of it. It's a comfort food record for me. And this version corrects the harsh EQ of most previous CD iterations, while notably clarifying the bass guitar (which I've always complained was under-mixed - I still think so, but at least you can really hear it now) and even the backing vocals. After all these years (I first heard the album when I was five), this is such a pleasure.

It'll be interesting to hear how the version on the box set compares - although that isn't the aspect I'm most looking forward to...

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This purports to include all of their Atlantic/Atco recordings (as well as at least a couple of earlier ones) in all of their mixes, as well as the Fillmore live set that Rhino Handmade put out years ago. (I say "purports to" because I don't see the mono single masters of "Soul Experience" and "It Must Be Love" in the tracklisting on the website, though that could just be a website screw-up. I'm also surprised that the mono version of Metamorphosis, which Rhino made available as a hi-res download years ago, isn't here.) I'm looking forward to finally hearing the mono version of the first album - and who knew there was a mono version of the live album?? - plus it'll be nice to have the non-LP singles in one spot.

I'm sure the booklet'll be groovy, too.

I don't often get excited about these sorts of things any more, and I realize I may be the only one here who's excited about this one, but - I am.

Feel free to share your thoughts on all things IB here...
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Re: The 2020 Iron Butterfly Thread

Postby Phenomenal Cat » 14 Oct 2020, 02:28

I've never really investigated Th' Butts, and that SACD seems to be long gone already.
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Re: The 2020 Iron Butterfly Thread

Postby Charlie O. » 14 Oct 2020, 04:04

Phenomenal Cat wrote:I've never really investigated Th' Butts, and that SACD seems to be long gone already.

Damn! It seems to be. :(

Feel free to *(cough)*...
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Re: The 2020 Iron Butterfly Thread

Postby soundchaser » 14 Oct 2020, 10:21

I don’t know much Iron Butterfly, but I do so love In A Gadda Da Vida, one of the first great side long epics. I think it’s an incredible piece of work and the flow really pulls you deep into the music. An intro that makes the hairs on the back of your neck stand up and a conclusion that is thrilling. In between, the music is by turns euphoric, involving and frightening.

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Re: The 2020 Iron Butterfly Thread

Postby Walk In My Shadow » 14 Oct 2020, 10:25

I do have the LP it's on but, apart from the behemot, I don't remember much of the other songs.

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Re: The 2020 Iron Butterfly Thread

Postby pcqgod » 16 Oct 2020, 03:29

I like the first two studio albums alright. The last thing I got by them was their live album, which I thought was pretty good, but I'm partial to live albums. I have 'Metamorphosis' but it failed to make any impression on me.
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Re: The 2020 Iron Butterfly Thread

Postby Matt Wilson » 16 Oct 2020, 04:08

Phenomenal Cat wrote:I've never really investigated Th' Butts, and that SACD seems to be long gone already.


The sound quality is pretty good on that SACD, but "Most Anything You Want," "Are You Happy," and the title track all have the channels reversed. It's a pity Mobile Fidelity doesn't have something along the lines of an editor who can spot these things when they're preparing a release like this.
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Re: The 2020 Iron Butterfly Thread

Postby C » 16 Oct 2020, 10:10

I have about four of their albums

I like them and I should play them more.

I always felt they were a bit like, say, Steppenwolf, in as much as their albums were inconsistent.

That said both The Butts and Steppenwolf had at least two, maybe three, consistent albums each!

I will play some Iron Butterfly today

Thanks for the refocus Chas lad

You mentioned being around Quaco - where....?






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Re: The 2020 Iron Butterfly Thread

Postby C » 16 Oct 2020, 17:21

Chas, I played the first three this afternoon.

The first is the best - isn't it.....?




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toomanyhatz wrote:
scrote wrote:honestly, you need to read back some of your posts. it's always about YOU!

Sorry. I'll try to make them more about you.

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Re: The 2020 Iron Butterfly Thread

Postby Charlie O. » 16 Oct 2020, 17:49

C wrote:You mentioned being around Quaco - where....?

He dropped in briefly on Tuesday, then apparently dropped back out again. I hope this thread didn't spook him.


C wrote:Chas, I played the first three this afternoon.

The first is the best - isn't it.....?

Heavy? You surprise me.

Here's my take: I'd say Heavy is about half very good/great - it's almost as if they found what they were reaching for halfway through the process of making it. "Iron Butterfly Theme" - Doom Rock begins here, no?

As I say, In-A-Gadda-Da-Vida is practically perfect to my ears. Light on lyrical content (as usual) but I can't say that's ever bothered me.

Ball had the unenviable task of following that, and it feels a little unsure of itself at times, but it's basically a very good album. I like it.

There are a few cuts on the live album that I like very much indeed, specifically the takes on "In The Time Of Our Lives", "Filled With Fear", and "You Can't Win"; the rest is okay, but I never bother with the "In-A-Gadda-Da-Vida" side.

Speaking of live albums, there's the Fillmore East set, which catches them immediately before In-A-Gadda-Da-Vida and just months after this line-up had coalesced (half of the Heavy band having left before that album was released). It's very enjoyable, though as it contains all four sets they played that weekend there's a lot of repetition; I just recently put together my own 56-minute abridgement of it. Interesting to hear them still experimenting a little with "IAGDV" (which Doug Ingle pointedly introduces as "In Our Gadda-Da-Vida"), given that the studio version was recorded exactly one month later!

That leaves Metamorphosis, made after guitarist Eric Brann left and was replaced by two new guitarists, one of whom sang. Some of it works a treat, some of it just sounds like generic early-'70s hard rock, and there's a 14 minute... suite, I guess it's supposed to be, that really should have been extensively re-worked if not abandoned altogether. But as the title suggests, the album does represent what could have been a fresh start, a new approach for the new decade, and it might have been interesting to see what they'd have followed it with. Then again, it might not have been.
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Re: The 2020 Iron Butterfly Thread

Postby C » 16 Oct 2020, 20:18

Charlie O. wrote:
C wrote:You mentioned being around Quaco - where....?

He dropped in briefly on Tuesday, then apparently dropped back out again. I hope this thread didn't spook him.


C wrote:Chas, I played the first three this afternoon.

The first is the best - isn't it.....?

Heavy? You surprise me.

Here's my take: I'd say Heavy is about half very good/great - it's almost as if they found what they were reaching for halfway through the process of making it. "Iron Butterfly Theme" - Doom Rock begins here, no?

As I say, In-A-Gadda-Da-Vida is practically perfect to my ears. Light on lyrical content (as usual) but I can't say that's ever bothered me.

Ball had the unenviable task of following that, and it feels a little unsure of itself at times, but it's basically a very good album. I like it.

There are a few cuts on the live album that I like very much indeed, specifically the takes on "In The Time Of Our Lives", "Filled With Fear", and "You Can't Win"; the rest is okay, but I never bother with the "In-A-Gadda-Da-Vida" side.

Speaking of live albums, there's the Fillmore East set, which catches them immediately before In-A-Gadda-Da-Vida and just months after this line-up had coalesced (half of the Heavy band having left before that album was released). It's very enjoyable, though as it contains all four sets they played that weekend there's a lot of repetition; I just recently put together my own 56-minute abridgement of it. Interesting to hear them still experimenting a little with "IAGDV" (which Doug Ingle pointedly introduces as "In Our Gadda-Da-Vida"), given that the studio version was recorded exactly one month later!

That leaves Metamorphosis, made after guitarist Eric Brann left and was replaced by two new guitarists, one of whom sang. Some of it works a treat, some of it just sounds like generic early-'70s hard rock, and there's a 14 minute... suite, I guess it's supposed to be, that really should have been extensively re-worked if not abandoned altogether. But as the title suggests, the album does represent what could have been a fresh start, a new approach for the new decade, and it might have been interesting to see what they'd have followed it with. Then again, it might not have been.


Thanks Chas

Yes - I didn't mean to surprise you and I might have even surprised myself.

I have always loved the ubiquitous Gadda but today when I played them both back to back I preferred Heavy.

I was also influenced by something I read where the majority opinion was pointing to the debut as their best.

Interesting.

I enjoyed Ball too it's certainly a while since I played that one!





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toomanyhatz wrote:
scrote wrote:honestly, you need to read back some of your posts. it's always about YOU!

Sorry. I'll try to make them more about you.

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Re: The 2020 Iron Butterfly Thread

Postby Charlie O. » 16 Oct 2020, 20:37

Matt Wilson wrote:but "Most Anything You Want," "Are You Happy," and the title track all have the channels reversed. It's a pity Mobile Fidelity doesn't have something along the lines of an editor who can spot these things when they're preparing a release like this.

Can't say that affected my enjoyment one jot, but I do wonder how that happened. I would think that swapping stereo channels would be a difficult thing to do accidentally. Pure conjecture: maybe this is the way the original master mixes were. Maybe someone, back in 1968, decided (for whatever reason) that those three songs would sound better with the channels swapped, so when they ran off the EQ'd LP master they did that...
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Re: The 2020 Iron Butterfly Thread

Postby Matt Wilson » 16 Oct 2020, 20:40

Could be, I don't know. One of the albums in the complete Warners ZZ Top box (Tres Hombres? I don't recall) has the channels reversed as well. I can't think of too many more discs I own which are like that.
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Re: The 2020 Iron Butterfly Thread

Postby Charlie O. » 16 Oct 2020, 23:11

Maybe the weirdest mastering error of that kind that I've encountered was on a 2004 European reissue of the first two Incredible String Band albums. This one:

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On the second disc - the second album - for each "LP side", the right stereo channel was ever so slightly slower than the left. So tracks 1 and 7 sounded pretty close to normal - the speed difference was that slight - but by the time you got to tracks 6 & 13 (the original side enders) the two channels were wildly out of sync with each other. Robin Williamson's slow, solo "My Name Is Death" (about two-thirds of the way through "Side 2") sounded awesome, though.
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Re: The 2020 Iron Butterfly Thread

Postby Six String » 16 Oct 2020, 23:26

The only album I ever owned was Ball circa 1970. It was part of my “first 100 lps” collection in high school but I am struggling to hear any of the songs in my head and it hasn’t been in my collection in decades. I don’t remember what happened to it. Of course I heard the big hit and Heavy but the hit is all I remember.
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Re: The 2020 Iron Butterfly Thread

Postby C » 05 Nov 2020, 16:02

Charlie O. wrote:Heavy? You surprise me.


Chas - I played Heavy again this afternoon and although the In-A-Gadda title track is simply wonderfully robust I find the other album side not as strong as Heavy overall.

I felt that again today.

Horses for courses- each to her/his own and all that

Or as my old grandmother used to say: "it wouldn't be for us to all be the same....."






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toomanyhatz wrote:
scrote wrote:honestly, you need to read back some of your posts. it's always about YOU!

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Re: The 2020 Iron Butterfly Thread

Postby Charlie O. » 09 Jan 2021, 03:36

Got the box set (finally!), and have listened to most of it.

My fears about it not having the single mixes of "Soul Experience" and "It Must Be Love" were unfortunately borne out - a bizarre oversight (especially since their respective flipsides are here). Likewise they missed the stereo mixes of the non-LP tracks "To Be Alone" and "I Can't Help but Deceive You Little Girl" (though it's nice to have the 45 mixes), and one of the three known pre-Atlantic studio recordings, "Evil Temptation", isn't here, although the other two are. There was plenty of room for these tracks, so that wasn't the issue. The In-A-Gadda-Da-Vida disc does not sound as good as the MoFi version (although I've certainly heard it sounding much worse); a higher-generation tape was used, with an added pinch of reverb - but with the stereo channel assignments as they were on the original LP, which makes me think my conjecture on that was probably right (see above discussion with Matt). And Doug Ingle apparently declined to be interviewed for the liner notes (in which I spotted a few errors).

(As long as I'm complaining: I just listened to Metamorphosis and... what I said about it above was possibly over-generous. Two really good songs, a couple of others that are passable - maybe three, if you edit some of the dross out of "Butterfly Bleu" - and the rest is rubbish, pretty much. I'm glad they broke up afterwards.)

Now for the good stuff: most everything else here sounds pretty nifty to my ears, sound-wise. (I didn't actually listen to the Fillmore set; I'll take it on faith that it probably isn't noticeably different from the HandMade release, which I spent a lot of time with just a few months ago, compiling my abridged version.) It's great to have the mono Heavy on CD and to hear the mono Live for the first time, although the latter is in no way an improvement. (Speaking of the Live album, I listened to that "In-A-Gadda-Da-Vida" for possibly the first time since the eighties - in both stereo and mono. The tape edits are still REALLY jarring, but otherwise I found it surprisingly enjoyable! The crowd is a trip; during the drum solo, various hippies can be heard chanting and grunting along, and one high as a kite Janis-wannabe is robustly singing her blues, lost in the rhythm...) The box and booklet are very nice, with lots of previously-unseen-by-me photos, gig posters, picture sleeves and album cover variations.

Interesting tidbit from the liners:

"Ringo Starr and Paul McCartney came to see us at Royal Albert Hall in London when Yes opened for us there in 1971," [drummer Ron] Bushy recalls. (It was 18 January 1971, to be exact.) "After the concert, Ringo and I spent all night together over drinks and dinner at Tramp, an underground private club. This is when Ringo said, 'I hope you don't mind, but I stole part of your drum solo.' And I said 'Are you kidding me? I find that to be a compliment, coming from you." (A truly fitting confirmation that the beats you take are truly equal to the beats you make.)

:D
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Re: The 2020 Iron Butterfly Thread

Postby C » 09 Jan 2021, 21:44

Charlie O. wrote:Got the box set (finally!), and have listened to most of it.

My fears about it not having the single mixes of "Soul Experience" and "It Must Be Love" were unfortunately borne out - a bizarre oversight (especially since their respective flipsides are here). Likewise they missed the stereo mixes of the non-LP tracks "To Be Alone" and "I Can't Help but Deceive You Little Girl" (though it's nice to have the 45 mixes), and one of the three known pre-Atlantic studio recordings, "Evil Temptation", isn't here, although the other two are. There was plenty of room for these tracks, so that wasn't the issue. The In-A-Gadda-Da-Vida disc does not sound as good as the MoFi version (although I've certainly heard it sounding much worse); a higher-generation tape was used, with an added pinch of reverb - but with the stereo channel assignments as they were on the original LP, which makes me think my conjecture on that was probably right (see above discussion with Matt). And Doug Ingle apparently declined to be interviewed for the liner notes (in which I spotted a few errors).

(As long as I'm complaining: I just listened to Metamorphosis and... what I said about it above was possibly over-generous. Two really good songs, a couple of others that are passable - maybe three, if you edit some of the dross out of "Butterfly Bleu" - and the rest is rubbish, pretty much. I'm glad they broke up afterwards.)

Now for the good stuff: most everything else here sounds pretty nifty to my ears, sound-wise. (I didn't actually listen to the Fillmore set; I'll take it on faith that it probably isn't noticeably different from the HandMade release, which I spent a lot of time with just a few months ago, compiling my abridged version.) It's great to have the mono Heavy on CD and to hear the mono Live for the first time, although the latter is in no way an improvement. (Speaking of the Live album, I listened to that "In-A-Gadda-Da-Vida" for possibly the first time since the eighties - in both stereo and mono. The tape edits are still REALLY jarring, but otherwise I found it surprisingly enjoyable! The crowd is a trip; during the drum solo, various hippies can be heard chanting and grunting along, and one high as a kite Janis-wannabe is robustly singing her blues, lost in the rhythm...) The box and booklet are very nice, with lots of previously-unseen-by-me photos, gig posters, picture sleeves and album cover variations.

Interesting tidbit from the liners:

"Ringo Starr and Paul McCartney came to see us at Royal Albert Hall in London when Yes opened for us there in 1971," [drummer Ron] Bushy recalls. (It was 18 January 1971, to be exact.) "After the concert, Ringo and I spent all night together over drinks and dinner at Tramp, an underground private club. This is when Ringo said, 'I hope you don't mind, but I stole part of your drum solo.' And I said 'Are you kidding me? I find that to be a compliment, coming from you." (A truly fitting confirmation that the beats you take are truly equal to the beats you make.)

:D


Nice post Chas

Sounds interesting






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toomanyhatz wrote:
scrote wrote:honestly, you need to read back some of your posts. it's always about YOU!

Sorry. I'll try to make them more about you.

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Re: The 2020 Iron Butterfly Thread

Postby Quaco » 14 Jan 2021, 05:35

Hi everybody! I've always found Iron Butterfly easy going. Side one of In-A-Gadda-Da-Vida is great pop music with acid-rock influences, and it clicked with me immediately. Doug Ingle's exaggeratedly soulful vocals — a precursor to Barry White — are entertaining and actually moving. He really does care; he really wants you to be happy!

The follow-up, Ball, also didn't take much work to get into for me. It's a little heavier-sounding overall ("In the Time of Our Lives"). But then there's "Belda-Beast", which actually goes into a prog direction (as if Rick Wright and Steve Hackett had done a track together in 1968).

Heavy was the next one for me. GREAT album cover! Being their first, the album is understandably a bit more derivative of the "groovy" styles of the day. With songs like "Get Out of My Life Woman", it feels like their set from the Whisky days. I do find it a bit less appealing because half of the album —the second half to be precise, it's odd how they arranged the tracks that way — features a different singer. But the "Theme" is indeed a landmark track.

I don't love Metamorphosis, but to me there's nothing wrong with it. I kinda like the getting-lost feeling when you're in the middle of "Butterfly Bleu" and he starts with the talkbox thing. It's like those suites on Black Sabbath's debut, where you lose track of time.
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Re: The 2020 Iron Butterfly Thread

Postby Quaco » 14 Jan 2021, 05:36

Amazing to hear that Ringo was thinking "In-A-Gadda-Da-Vida"!

I don't know that I need the box set, but if I see it in a store, I may not be able to help myself!
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