Forums > Queen - Serious Discussion > Ensueno Mistake on the Freddie Boxed Set. BUT...........

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Posted: 18 Jul 08, 06:43 Edit this post Reply to this post Reply with Quote

I have not been here on Queenzone for ages. I thought I'd have a look this morning. Nothing much changes. I see that this question has arisen AGAIN, as it tends to do every other year or so.

It's a fair question/point to raise, for sure it is... but it has been rather done to death now. Never mind; that said, there are of course new members to QZ all the time (presumably) who will not be aware that all or most of this has already been debated in detail - soon after the SOLO box emerged the best part of a decade ago now. And several times since.

Here is my response to THIS Ensueno point... not least because the same principal also applies to various other threads I've seen but cannot find enough enthusiasm to reply to.

This is MY point of view.

The Freddie Mercury SOLO box of 2000, was actually a mammoth undertaking. It contains over a hundred items from multiple sources, and required a HUGE amount of work in order to present it logically and in a nice and 'user-friendly' way.

1. Until YOU guys or girls actually work upon a project of this size, believe me you have no idea of the hundreds of potential pitfalls that lay in wait for you. Much like a bunker (or sand trap) in Golf, certain things will lay in wait, hidden, and sometimes you simply fall into the trap, but never get back to that thing again to change it. You get side-tracked by things like Dave Clark on the phone again making further tiny changes to the text you both agreed on a month ago, but which he wants changed slightly. Or sidetracked by the designer wanting the next sleeve note or lyrics, or credit, or publishing details, or photo detail.

You can have your concentration taken away by phone calls, checking credits or dates, or the spelling of someone's name, or by the transcription of lyrics. A million things can trip you up.

2. There were some mixes that were missed on that box. I think the 7" single edit of Made In Heaven and a further 12" mix of Barcelona. Yes, they got missed. That was regrettable. Not the end of the world though, given ALL THE OTHER mixes of those things. It's not like you went without, or like any track was not represented at all. EVERYTHING was represented, much of several times.

BUT.... hundreds of very wonderful, fabulous out-takes did NOT get missed. I ensured that MANY items made it onto the box, and I researched in detail where each thing was recorded, by whom, and when. Here again, there were hundreds of potential mistakes to be made. But Justin and I worked 16 hour days (very often) in order to check and re-check each other's data and thoughts, and words, and observations. Ultimately, I believe we did an exceptional job. I think that box is probably second to none on many levels.

I wish I had Pink Floyd, Kate Bush, Beatles, Clapton boxes on a parallel with the FM Solo box... compiled with genuine love and affection and meticulous care, and covering SO much ground never ever covered before.

OK, so two virtually identical mixes of Kate Bush's Bla Bla Bla track, might have been put on the box, instead of Bla and Bla... like our Ensueno oversight - BUT, the vast amount of other stuff offerred to me FOR THE VERY FIRST TIME in 30 years, in this fictitious example, would more than make up for that. PLUS 30,000 words of text detailing each item and its origins - which as far as I know is 100% accurate - though one of you people might spot something in slight error that reduces that 100% to 99.99999998%, in the context of the full 30,000 words.

Justin and I (and others of course) spent endless months on that boxed set, putting in the kind of detail that you guys, seriously, could not even imagine - especially in terms of the mixing and other brilliant touches Justin put in all along the process. I was staggered at what he did. And I bet you are not even aware of even a quarter of those details - so easily taken for granted.

For example... we had two interesting versions of Living On My Own. But the disc was too long. One of them had to go. But they BOTH had very fascinating elements... very different to the familiar mix. So... in order not to lose one, and to get the very best of both, Justin conceived the Hybrid idea, and thus you guys got the best of both worlds, and I got to include my sleeve notes for BOTH.

But... do you guys mention these things? Do you compliment me or JSS or anyone on the multitude of GREAT things on the box? No, as usual you focus in only on the oversights.

3. How much did you guys, dear Queen fans, actually GAIN from that boxed set? How much did you learn about Freddie Mercury in the recording studio? How impressed were you by those beautiful out-takes, studio banter, making music and getting it wrong (sometimes) along the way? How much of a privileged insight into usually SECRET work did you get to hear?

4. What did you lose? The two mixes I mentioned, plus one or two others maybe. And a SLIGHTLY alternative Ensueno/Exercises was missed. How does that compare with the above GAINS, news info, new insights, wonderful never before heard work in progress? Where is the fair balance here?


5. When This Tired Old Body Wants To Sing. Have you heard that? Do things like that - and so many of those Guide Me Home/How Can I go On gems, etc - bring tears to your eyes? Do certain things on that box of 12 discs really MOVE you to the core? Does Freddie make you laugh out loud with his "Oh, I'll never get it!" and "Let's fuck off outta here!" ???

YES. Good. I'm pleased.

See the balance, people. Recognise the endless hours of sheer beauty and unprecedented GENIUS you have in that box, and stop going on and on about the tiny errors we made.

We made a few THOUSAND spot-on, accurate, on the nose, on the money, bloody good and faultless decisions.... while the number of errors we made can be counted on one hand.

NO-ONE else has done THAT kind of detailed job. So please, as I say, have the grace and, as my father would say, "be big enough" to recognise the GREAT and WONDERFUL, instead of the negative.

I love the work of English Victorian novelist H.G Wells. I collect his books. As a matter of fact, The War Of The Worlds, probably his greatest work, is littered with errors. Things that certain scientists (with a greater knowledge of the planets, stars, distances, light years, than Wells had in his time) have since been able to disprove, DO NOT, for me anyway, lessen the impact of a very great book. Yes, he got things a bit wrong. But he got A LOT right.

Yes, there are errors in The War Of The Worlds. A 100 ft high Martian tripod Fighting Machine CANNOT POSSIBLY take the huge stride that Wells described in detail. The physics/maths do not add up. So what!

Indeed, many scientists believe that a three-legged war machine is totally ridiculous and not remotely feasible. So what! The over all story is original and wonderful, and ahead of its time. Many people were influenced by Wells, and copied and mimicked his fresh and innovative ideas - just like they did (and still do) with Queen and Freddie Mercury.

Do I sit and pick holes in Wells' (actually rather charming) oversights? No. The errors and inaccuracies are few and far between, and non-consequential in the entire scheme of things. I see the bigger picture, recognise what the main focus should be. I know a great book when I see it and I don't want to bring it down or destroy it for anyone. Books, boxed sets, it's the same principal.

Mmmmmm! yes we did get it it a bit wrong with Ensueno. And Martain Fighting Machines cannot take 100 yard strides!!! We got a lot RIGHT too. And so did HG!










GB
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Posted: 18 Jul 08, 06:57 Edit this post Reply to this post Reply with Quote

Yes, Greg. Very well done. A large, self-agrandising pat on the back is deserved at this point. Not sure you needed to make SO many excuses when all you needed to say was that the creative decisions and space conspired to simply make certain things unavailable, but should other rarities be unearthed in the future, what was left off the original set would be considered for inclusion on a follow-up set.

FWIW, it's a great set and I MUST dig it out again this week - if ONLY we could have a Queen version :-(


Benn
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Posted: 18 Jul 08, 07:05 Edit this post Reply to this post Reply with Quote

Could you expand on the "brilliant touches" and mixing that went on? I'm very interested in that area.

Thanks,
Adam.

P.s. excellent box set that I love.

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Posted: 18 Jul 08, 07:13 Edit this post Reply to this post Reply with Quote

The FM box is indeed fabulous! The people responsible for this box did an amazing job. You are one of those, Greg, and you have every right to be proud about it. I think every fan who has this item is totally crazy about it.

I think we can all understand that something gets missed in such a vast work.

I wonder why Freddie's final live performance for the Time musical in 1988 was not included. Could you tell us something about that?

And like others pointed out and will point out now: now it's only waiting for a Queen box. I hope that will be even better. If you guys put in the same work, that will be for sure be the case!

Also, a box with audiorecordings of the best seventies shows would be great. And a wonderful, womplete BBC set. These 2 things are the products I would like most.


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Posted: 18 Jul 08, 07:17 Edit this post Reply to this post Reply with Quote

Benn wrote:

Yes, Greg. Very well done. A large, self-agrandising pat on the back is deserved at this point. Not sure you needed to make SO many excuses when all you needed to say was that the creative decisions and space conspired to simply make certain things unavailable, but should other rarities be unearthed in the future, what was left off the original set would be considered for inclusion on a follow-up set.

FWIW, it's a great set and I MUST dig it out again this week - if ONLY we could have a Queen version :-(




Benn... I won't tell you how to write, or what to write, or how best to offer your thoughts, or cleverly suggest how else you could phrase things, if you don't do the same for me.

I think I'll write things how I want to, you patronising sod, rather than how things should be according to the all-important and very clever Benn.


GB
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Posted: 18 Jul 08, 07:24 Edit this post Reply to this post Reply with Quote

Adam Baboolal wrote:

Could you expand on the "brilliant touches" and mixing that went on? I'm very interested in that area.

Thanks,
Adam.

P.s. excellent box set that I love.




Adam, I spent probably 3-4 entire months with Justin watching him do his 'thing' with enormous care. Far too much to remember. And Josh did some great stuff too of course. But I do recall that LOMO Hybrid day very well. And I recall hearing the final mix of LET'S TURN IT ON... just Freddie's voice. A lot of tiny touches to make it sound the very best it could, and eradicate little sounds that could be heard in Freddie's headphones. Those things did not miraculously disappear. They were painstakingly removed by hard-working people who genuinely and clearly CARE A LOT.

I probably could have said this more concisely, in one sentence maybe, but I like to express myself how I do. That is, after all, one of the few free privileges left to us in this country. Spoken words are not being taxed, yet!


GB
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Posted: 18 Jul 08, 07:34 Edit this post Reply to this post Reply with Quote

Well, since you're online again, Greg, could you give us a list of which shows have been recorded by Queen? Audio that is (about 40 shows, as you stated).

Here's the topic: http://www.queenzone.com/queenzone/forumnew/forum_topic_view.aspx?Q=1027435




John: "It's the one thing I wish I could do - sing."

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Posted: 18 Jul 08, 08:37 Edit this post Reply to this post Reply with Quote

Thanks for the info. If you expand on that particular day, that'd be marvelous! Why don't people here ask you these kind of things instead of arguing about...stuff?!

Adam.

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Posted: 18 Jul 08, 09:11 Edit this post Reply to this post Reply with Quote

Queen Archivist wrote:

I have not been here on Queenzone for ages. I thought I'd have a look this morning. Nothing much changes. I see that this question has arisen AGAIN, as it tends to do every other year or so.


Mmmmmm! yes we did get it it a bit wrong with Ensueno. And Martain Fighting Machines cannot take 100 yard strides!!! We got a lot RIGHT too. And so did HG!












I'm afraid I agree with Benn. This sounds like a tribute to yourself, and self praise is no praise. And just for the record I don't have the box set, so can't comment. All I know is that only a cocky person could write that.

Adam Baboolal user not visiting Queenzone.com
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Posted: 18 Jul 08, 09:31 Edit this post Reply to this post Reply with Quote

You know what, being proud of something you were a part of and speaking so up front about it is a good thing. Self praise indeed - however, here, it's well earned.

This is why there are always threads that descend into fighting and arguing - because of little jabs and pokes at others. Where are the happy folk in QZ town these days???

Adam.

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Posted: 18 Jul 08, 09:55 Edit this post Reply to this post Reply with Quote

Greg, your work on the FM boxset (and Jeff Wayne's WOTW-set too) is excellent. It's just a shame that it's not the DEFINITIVE box. Same thing happened with Genesis - they decided to leave of some officially released b-sides on their last 1983-1998 box. I couldn't care less about those tracks - but if it's supposed to be a definitive box they should've been included. Same thing goes for Exercises/Ensueno, MIH 7" mix etc.

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Posted: 18 Jul 08, 09:55 Edit this post Reply to this post Reply with Quote

BTW, any chance that you can shine a light on the contents of the forthcoming SINGLES boxset (Nov. 4th release)?

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Posted: 18 Jul 08, 09:59 Edit this post Reply to this post Reply with Quote

Yes Greg, well done with the FM box set from 2000, Any News when the Queen one will be ready?


Joyful the sound
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Posted: 18 Jul 08, 10:13 Edit this post Reply to this post Reply with Quote

I think that no one would complain about the minor faults on box sets such as the Freddie Mercury one, if further installments (i.e. QUEEN BOX SETS) didn't keep getting delayed indefinitely.


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Posted: 18 Jul 08, 11:13 Edit this post Reply to this post Reply with Quote

I just had a great idea. Not sure if anyone else thought or / suggested this ever.

Why not take all of the tracks that were missed, skipped, overlooked, found since, etc.

And put together an "in addition" - "the missing tracks" supplementary disc that could be done in the same style (label, cover, packaging wise) along with liner notes like in the full set.

that way we could have official releases of all the missed tracks and it still looks like it belongs.

not that QP would do that...seeing as they so very rarely give the fans what they acctualy want....but its another thing they could put on the list of "things we should do but never will"




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Posted: 18 Jul 08, 11:33 Edit this post Reply to this post Reply with Quote

but i would also like to point out
that i ABSOLUTLY LOVE the freddie box set. it is one of my most prized possesion, queen related and otherwise and is on promenant display in my home.

I am SO very thankfull for all the work and care that went into it.

If we cant have the missed tracks...I am still so gratefull for what we do have.
And on top of my (an many other peoples) complaint about QP just giving us crap...they have given us alot of good stuff too.


Queen+PR Vancouver 13/04/06 anyone? Please FIND and SHARE it!
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Posted: 18 Jul 08, 13:12 Edit this post Reply to this post Reply with Quote

God I love it when people try to validate themselves.

Lots of work went into the Freddie boxset. Good for you, GB. But don't get too obsessed about it all. As time goes by it might start to affect your personality; and we wouldn't want that.

:/ Move on!


"Your not funny, your not a good musician, theres a difference between being funny and being an idiot, you obviously being the latter" - Dave R Fuller
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Posted: 18 Jul 08, 16:32 Edit this post Reply to this post Reply with Quote

Interesting idea Phil. How many tracks were missed out?

Adam.

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Posted: 18 Jul 08, 20:28 Edit this post Reply to this post Reply with Quote

Dear Greg,
In mi case, I think I have always been aware of the hard work creating the FM box set was.
I remember buying it the very same day a copy arrived to my town, and loving every single second of its music and video stuff.
Since those days I have always wanted to know if we would finally listen to the Time 88 musical live tracks as well as the Victory song with Michael Jackson.
Can you also tell us about the reason those recordings could not be part of the box then?

Greg, from one Queen fan to another, thanks for your time.
I hope another post like this can be read soon about the good the Queen box sets have been!!!

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Posted: 19 Jul 08, 05:11 Edit this post Reply to this post Reply with Quote

In this world of digital downloads, why not just sell the missing tracks on Queen Online?
It would save EMI manufacturing costs.

This is where I get my head bitten off, but does anyone ever listen to that appalling remix album that was included as part of the boxset?
There's a whole 74 minutes of space that could have been put to much better use containing "proper" Freddie tracks, not someone elses remixes.

On a more positive note, I love the Barcelona Sessions disc. If only EMI had allowed more discs in the set...