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I have always thought one reason why multiple takes were recorded
was because a wax recording could not be played back without being
damaged.  Thus the best performance would not be played at the time
of recording.  This would be a compelling reason for making several
recordings, to have a alternate in the event of a technical defect which
would not become evident until after plating.  Of course, there were  
other
reasons, such as the need for additional metal parts, which Mike  
mentions.

DOug

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> Date:    Wed, 24 Jun 2009 23:22:52 -0400
> From:    "Steven C. Barr" <[log in to unmask]>
> Subject: Re: Recording Innovations
>
> ----- Original Message -----
> From: "Michael Biel" <[log in to unmask]>
>>  Most other companies recorded two, three, or more
>> takes but they usually select one take as the primary approved take.
>> Alternates get ISSUED by those other companies when something  
>> happens to
>> the master of the primary approved take, there is a mistake in the
>> factory, a leasing agreement with another company might provide them
>> with alternates,  the thing is such a big hit they need more stampers
>> right now and using an alternate will speed up the process, or years
>> later when a new edition or a reissue is being done the guy in the
>> warehouse sends the producer the better-looking less-worn master.   
>> (When
>> I congratulated Vince Giordano for finding and issuing Paul  
>> Whiteman's
>> "Charleston" without the Chinese scat vocal on the Buddha "Time  
>> Capsule"
>> CD, he admitted that, yes, the vault sent him the best looking  
>> master!)
>>
> Victor normally used the "best" take for issue...but "held" other  
> presumably
> "almost as good" takes as well. These were often used for later  
> issues of
> the
> recording, simply because they were in better condition than were the
> issued takes; this resulted in never-before-heard performances  
> finally being
> made available...more or less "by accident!"
>
> Meanwhile, CBS intentionally used alternates for re-issues; the  
> labels made
> it clear buyers were getting a "never before heard" performance on the
> re-issue disc!
>
> I don't know if Victor eventually figured out that they were to  
> some extent
> "sitting on a gold-mine" with their many alternate-take masters,  
> and started
> intentionally issuing those...or not...?!
>
> Steven C. Barr