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A&M 787-Tijuana Taxi

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Rocketman

Well-Known Member
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First I want to thank the person responsible for compiling the TJB list of 45's, since it introduced me to all their non-album cuts. I just picked up a copy of A&M 787 in order to get the live version of Zorba the Greek. I played the flip side as well and Tijuana Taxi also sounds different from the album track. There are additional taxi horn blasts in the intro and the marimba solo. Does anyone know why this version is different than the album track? Is it just an alternate take?
 

Harry

Charter A&M Corner Member
Staff member
Site Admin
Welcome Rocketman. The TJB singles discography was created by our resident expert and completist, Steve Sidoruk. I can recall the thrill I had five years ago discovering this site and that list and beginning the process of finding those non-album tracks I'd missed all those years ago.

AM-787, "Zorba The Greek"/"Tijuana Taxi" does indeed have different sounding tracks from their album counterparts, but both use the same basic recordings. The "Zorba" track was shortened for AM radio's short attention span back in the 60s. It was pretty common then that no record exceed the 3 minute mark by very much or it simply wouldn't get played on the air, so the powers that be at A&M decided to shorten the "Zorba" track when releasing it as a single. In addition to making it shorter, they also added more crowd noise and equalized the track, addind a bit of reverb, whick gives it more of a live feel, and punches through better on AM radio. The same audio tweaking was added to "Tijuana Taxi" in addition to the extra horn honks.

Both tracks, in their mono, augmented form, were later to appear on a promo-only album released to radio stations, officially called THE BEST FROM HERB ALPERT & THE TIJUANA BRASS, but unofficially dubbed the DEE JAY SAMPLER. The purpose of that album was to give radio stations a fresh LP copy of all of the TJB singles to date (up through "This Guy's...), and it came in two versions. The mono version of the album contained the tracks from AM 787 as described above, but the stereo edition used the standard album tracks.

Harry
...recalling the happy day he finally found AM 787, online...
 

Rudy

¡Que siga la fiesta!
Staff member
Site Admin
To add more punch, they also compressed these two tracks substantially. It's the only A&M single I know of that was as highly "modified" as this one, where it was obviously targeted to make an impact. IMHO, it could have been part of a big push to make "Tijuana Taxi" a bigger single than it ended up being (a shot at the coveted #1, perhaps?). It's funny, in retrospect, seeing that the TJB set records on the Billboard album chart that still stand to this day.

I still don't know the thinking behind the phony "live" sound of "Zorba," though. It may have been another odd twist to make a Greek-flavored song sound like it was in the bullfighting ring...? :confused:

-= N =-
...aka Mr. Lister this weekend...
 

W.B.

Member
I've seen lacquers from two different disc-mastering houses on different copies of this release. My copy, both sides' lacquers were mastered at Columbia's Hollywood studios. I'd appreciate any info on other disc-mastering studios (besides A&M's own; RCA-Hollywood on Monarch-pressed A&M releases prior to '65; the Capitol Tower on some "regular" A&M LP's--as opposed to Capitol Record Club offerings--and Sterling Sound on some 1970's LP's and 45's) that cut such lacquers for A&M, especially in its first decade.
 
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