June 20, 2021

Rael 1

[Backing track recorded in London on or prior to July 5, 1967. Vocals recorded at Talentmasters Studios, New York, second week of July 1967. Additional mixing and mastering at Gold Star Studios, Los Angeles September 5, 1967. Final mix at IBC Studio A with Rael 2 as "Rael (1&2)" October 20, 1967. Cut down to Rael 1 only on October 26, 1967.]
Organ played by Al Kooper.

Kooper: "We recorded most of the song in one day and then adjourned for a noon start the next day. We left rather hurriedly because we were fried from working so intensely…evidently the multitrack tape of ‘Rael’ was left on the counter unboxed. The cleaning woman came in and threw it in the trash but didn’t empty it, so it lay there with soda and cigarette ash all over it. When (engineer) Chris Huston came in next morning…he was horrified. The first 15 seconds of the track had been compromised and would have to be done again. He was the one who was gonna have to tell Townshend. I wanted to see this encounter. So Pete comes boppin’ in about 12:15 and Chris takes him in a corner and is talking very hushed to him. All this is audible are Chris’ last words, "Pete, I’m sorry but sometimes these things happen…" Townshend is pacing back and forth inside the control room, when all of a sudden he picks up the engineers’ chair and throws it through the control room glass partition, damage of roughly $12,000. Then he turned to Chris and said, "Don’t worry Chris…sometimes these things just happen."

[A great story, but according to engineer Chris Huston it didn’t happen that way. Here’s his recollection:
"We worked hard, and by the end of this particular session, we were all pretty tired. As was customary, if my session would be continuing the next day, I put the tapes that I was working with on top of a small side shelf in the Control Room. This evening, for some reason, I neglected to put the tape in its box, instead leaving it on top of the box. Back then, to save money, many studios bought tape on ‘flanges’. That is, the tape was on a metal hub, but didn’t have the protective metal side flanges. Talentmasters was one of those studios.

"When I came in the next day, an hour or so before the session, I could not find the ‘Rael’ Master. I searched every nook and cranny, including the obvious places like the tape library. It was gone! It was only then that I thought to contact the young guy, from Harlem, who did our cleanup. That was a nightmare. He didn’t have a phone. I was eventually able to get in touch with him through a relative. I found out that he had taken upon himself to declare this tape garbage, and had taken it down to 41st (the back of the building) and put it in the dumpster. But not before breaking it off the hub. Panic ensued. I searched frantically through the dumpster and was able to retrieve all the pieces, and there was a lot of them. The take itself was in 4 or 5 sections that I was able to splice together. However, the intro section of tape was stretched beyond redemption. Fortunately, The night before I had taken home a mono mix – Back then there were no cassettes. We ended up copying the mono intro onto the master. Pete was pissed-off and rightly so! But he did not throw a chair through the Control Room window as Al would have the legend go. Further Al saying that the window and related damage was around $12,000 makes me laugh. The truth is, the whole Control Room didn’t cost that much to build, and there was only one pane of 3/8" glass in the window."

For this reason, all stereo versions of the song have the opening and first line in mono only (except for two vocal overdubs obviously added after the tape was recovered spaced center and right. Thanks to Luke Pacholski for catching that). The song’s second line was not in the original version and was restored for the boxset. This track was known simply as "Rael" and, with the exception of the "Track Records" cut, concluded the original album.]