Part 2 of a review of the new Jayne Mansfield / Ricky Mason 7" single. I previously reviewed the Ricky Mason track here, what follows now is the Jayne Mansfield -side with "Suey".

The first thing that strikes you is that this "new" single version (the single features an original (1966?) PPX mix according to producer John McDermott 1) includes vocals by Douglas "Jocko" Henderson, one of the composers of the song. Jocko was a well known DJ and all of the lyrics that Jayne Mansfield recites on the track are his on air DJ catchphrases (read more about "Suey" and Jocko here). So it was known that he wrote a large chunk of the song but it was not known that he also participated in the recording. Or, more accurately, "a" recording as it seems that what we actually have now are two recordings of "Suey". A breakdown of the new mix / version follows but first I`ll detail what actually seems to have happened here.

Jayne Mansfield Suey 2018

The new version of "Suey" is edited together from two recordings, one which has Jayne on vocals and another one which has Jocko on it. This is an original contemporary PPX edit by Ed Chalpin, not a later creation, the single label lists the song as stereo but the song is actually in mono.The recording with Jocko was used as the basis for the track with Jayne`s vocal parts from the other recording edited in. The edits are not very smooth and the tempo of the Jocko version varies a lot. To my ears it sounds like editing the two takes together was not a thoroughly planned out job, rather a later idea or something done out of necessity. No idea WHY this was done, why wasn`t Jocko´s vocal just overdubbed on the version with Jayne`s vocal? Jocko`s vocal might also be an overdub done after the two versions were edited together but again to my ears the new version sounds more like two completely separate takes of the song edited together than anything more carefully planned.

I`ll call the two sources used to construct the new 1966/2018 mix the "Jayne" and "Jocko" -tapes.

The "Jayne" tape session
Chalpin may have cut Jayne´s vocals live with a band after all (again, see the Mansfield section for more information). This new version of "Suey" seems to prove this. Chalpin was unable to isolate Jayne´s vocal track which probably indicates that she was cut live with the band. Another possibility is that for some reason Chalpin didn`t have a multitrack to work with and had to use a mono mix of the song when editing the two takes together but that seems unlikely. Unless of course he didn`t actually record it himself in the first place but the track supposedly was a PPX production. What is clear is that the new version of "Suey" features bits of Jayne´s vocals edited in from the version released on the 1967 single. This is clear because bits of the original instrumentation remains as it overlapped Jayne`s vocal and couldn`t be removed from the mix. Chalpin tried to edit these out as well as possible and mask them with effects and overdubs but some parts, especially the distinctive bass parts of the 1967 single version, are still audible.

The "Jocko" tape session
The tracks sounds like a rather loose run through which has more of jam session feel than that of a tightly run recording session. And by the sound of it this version was cut by a completely different band than the Jayne tape. Which of course leads us to the most interesting question: what was Jimi´s involvement?

The only logical conclusion here is that Jimi is NOT playing on the version released as a single in 1967, the take with Jayne´s vocals. The guitar on that one has always been problematic as it´s very basic and there´s nothing that says "Hendrix". Instead Jimi seems to be playing on the new version as part of the band backing Jocko. The playing sounds more like Jimi than the guitar on the 1967 single. There are no solos, it´s still all rhythm but the player puts many little variations in the riff, a typically Hendrix thing to do.

Also, there is nothing to indicate that Jimi would have been in the studio together with Jayne. Chalpin said he wasn`t there for the vocals and Jimi never mentioned recording with Jayne Mansfield. So if Jayne`s vocal was cut live with the band Jimi most likely wasn`t there and hence doesn`t play on the 1967 single recording.

We are probably still far from the end of discussion about Jimi´s involvement but at the the moment it seems that yes, Jimi did play on "Suey" but no, he did not play on the 1967 single version which seems to have been the true original "Jayne Mansfield" -version. If that is correct then this new 1966/2018 version is the first released version of "Suey" with Jimi actually playing on it - but it isn`t the original version which Mansfield recorded. Can`t get much more confusing.

Jayne Mansfield Suey 2018

1966 / 2018 version breakdown
Here`s how this new version of "Suey" breaks down. All of the parts that aren`t specifically noted are from the Jocko tape, I´ve only listed the bits of the Jayne tape that have been edited in (the timings are approximate):

0.32 - 0.34
This part is an edit from the Jayne tape. It cuts in with the familiar sliding bass (possibly a timpani) which gives the source of the vocals away, Jayne says "It makes my knees freeze" and there is cut at 0.34 right after the first drum stroke.

0.54 - 0.58
The second edit section from the Jayne tape. Jayne says "It makes my back crack", the start of the bass part after Jayne`s vocal is from the Jayne tape, at 0.58 it switches to the Jocko tape continuing with a different bass part. Listen to the sound of the bass, the first part before the cut is sharper. I`m not a musician so forgive me if this is a dumb suggestion but sounds like the first part is played with a plectrum and the second part without. Whatever the reason the bass sound changes at this spot marking an edit.

1.10 - 1.13
Again, from the Jayne tape. You can hear a short remnant of the 1967 single bass part mixed with the start of Jayne`s vocal. Jayne says "Makes my liver quiver" and the tape is cut again immediately after.

1.33 - 1.37
Jayne says "I`m doing it good like I knew I could". Here the bass part that overlaps Jayne`s vocal on the Jayne tape is not audible but there`s a heavy echo effect applied so that and some eq might have hidden it.

1.46 - 1.48
Jayne says "Puts a dip in my hip". Again heavy echo is applied to Jayne`s vocal, the overlapping cymbal from the Jayne tape seems to be hidden by a new cymbal strike but what couldn`t be fixed is a tiny bit of bass just at the end of "hip" which gives the end edit point away.

2.10 - 2.13
Jayne says "Boogaloo I gotta do it just for you". On the Jayne tape Jayne says "Boogaloo" twice, the edit point at the start is between these two omitting the first one.

So, the track is a quite elaborate construction, one of the edit jobs that Ed Chalpin is so well known for among Hendrix collectors. But is it any good? As with the Ricky Mason side of the single it depends on what you are expecting. As a period 1960s novelty record it´s great. This version is much more exciting and sillier than the 1967 single. It isn`t great main period Hendrix, it´s a historical piece of music and the main appeal is of course Jayne Mansfield, not Jimi. And if this version now actually is the one that DOES include Hendrix it`s an essential early Hendrix track but I`ll leave the final judgement on that for later - after all I did already manage to have the 1967 single listed as "confirmed" on the website...

And finally, a word about the presentation and the vinyl pressing. The liner notes are accurate and make good use of the available space. I would have welcomed all session info that is known including dates and what exists on a multitrack and what doesn`t. Especially since this version is a strange hybrid edit of two takes but let´s hope that will surface later. I very much doubt that this 45 will be the only release of these tracks so why not include some pictures of the tape boxes and session logs on a future cd release? It hasn`t been the Experience Hendrix style to go down the "nostalgia" route with their releases, everything that they have put out has been mainly presented in the form of "new" Hendrix albums instead of archival releases, EH / Sony markets Jimi as a "current" artist. We`ll see if that will change with the upcoming Electric Ladyland deluxe edition. So little is known about these PPX recordings and most of what is know is so confusing that any light in the matter would be most welcome...

The sleeve design is very good, like the rest of the releases in this Sundazed series of singles the design has been executed in 60s style and very successfully so. The single itself sounds great but plays with a bit more surface noise than I´d expect. Might of course just be my copy and I haven`t washed the disc to see if that helps but the other Sundazed singles have had much less noise, at least in my recollection.

So, both tracks on the single are close to essential for fans of early Hendrix. I`ll give the single 5 / 5 stars, it`s a lot of fun.

30 October 2018

1 email from John McDermott 10 September 2018: "That is an original PPX mix of "Suey". "