Johnnie Pate at the Blue Note overdub

Some of the early LPs of bassist and arranger Johnny Pate are quite rare because they appeared on small or tiny labels from Chicago (or in one case Evanston, Illinois) that did not last long. So some years ago I was quite happy to acquire a rather beaten up copy of “Johnnie Pate at the Blue Note” on the Stepheny label – so I was able to fill in the details into my discography of Johnny Pate’s early works as a leader.

Up to now, Stepheny MF4005 which was released in 1958 was supposed to be a straight reissue of Salem LP2, an LP probably recorded in 1956 but released only in 1957 on Salem. And in all standard discographies the personnel is given as : Johnnie Pate (b, ldr); Wilbur Wynne (g); Floyd Morris (p); Johnny Whited (dr). Since I really do love that LP (a lot of my friends say it’s too soft, I’d call it subtle), I was always hoping to acquire a better copy with enjoyable sound. So when the original Salem pressing turned up a few weeks ago on ebay, I managed to buy it for less than I had thought. Much to my surprise I found that the Stepheny LP is not quite a straight reissue of the Salem LP.

It turns out that the drums to be heard on the Stepheny LP were overdubbed for this reissue.

Just the trio: The back of Salem SLP2.

Welcome, Johnny Whited: Detail from the back of Stepheny MF 4005.

In the back liner of Salem SLP2 you find the following sentence:

which for the Stepheny issue has been changed to:

The liner notes have also been changed to add a short note about the drummer, but the overdubbing process is not mentioned. I wonder if the adding of drums was Pate’s idea? Or did the Stepheny people think that additional drums might do good?

By the way: You can also get a CD of this music released by spanish company Fresh Sound. Strangely, although using the Salem cover, Fresh Sound took to the overdubbed Stepheny Master (or is it what they call a “Needle Drop”) to produce the CD. Maybe the undoctored master tape does not exist anymore or is out of reach?

So which version one sounds better? I myself think it does not need the drums, but I do not find them disturbing either. But let me know what you think.

First here’s the trio version of Dancing On The Ceiling from the Salem LP:

And here’s the version with drummer Johnny Whited overdubbed, taken from the – unfortunately very scratched – Stepheny version.

 

Enjoy!

P.S.: Thanks to the Shark for helping with this blog post!

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