Thursday, July 16, 2009

Two Sisters (Part 2)

I just went out and bought this record today. It's "High Noon," on Sugarscoop Records, again from 1983. I was curious about it because on the Two Sisters' album, they only include the "High Noon (Remix)." So this, presumably, is an otherwise unheard original version.

Like the album version, this track is co-produced by Paul A. Rodriguez (who did the whole album) and Man Parrish (who only did this one song). And, yes, this is definitely a different version of the song than the album's Remix.

What's more, on the B-side we have "High Noon (Part 2)!" Now, a lot of times, back in these early disco days, "Part 2" was just an overly-promising way of labeling the instrumental version. But here, "Part 2" is nearly three minutes longer than the A-side. And it's not just an instrumental or another "Dub-A-Pella" (see my last Two Sisters post); it's a proper, complete and alternate version of the song.

So, let's break it all down. First of all, just to clarify: the original mix is a bit over 4 minutes, the album version is about 5 even, and Part 2 is a full 7. Now, the original is naturally the simplest, though the basic elements of the song are the same on all versions... they've all got the same drums, bassline and super fast "dit-a-dit-a-dit-a-dit-dit" keyboard riff playing throughout. And the vocals are all the same, naturally. The premise here is that "high noon" is the critical point in the narrator's relationship with a guy; and they have to decide if they're going to pursue a relationship or move in seperate directions. To wit, "it's too late for me and you, our love has hit high noon!"

Part 2, then, is essentially an extended version of the original. It doesn't really add any new elements, but it features more scratching, more breakdowns, more fun stuttered vocals ("high nuh-nuh-nuh-nuh-noon!" And for the sake of laying it all out on the table for you guys, I love that shit!) and more solo'd keyboard elements. There's also a few small bits where they add a stuttering echo effect to the scratches, which is kinda cool. It does feel a bit more natural in this form than on the A-side. To my mind, Part 2 is like the proper version of the song, and the A-side is the forgettable Radio Edit.

The remix (again, that's the one on the album) adds more spacey sound effects and some different scratches. That stuff that sounds like spaceship engines constantly flying by? That's only on this remix. Sometimes this mix xomes off as fresher, but othertimes it feels jumbled and overcrowded, like on the last verse, when they add a new high-pitched keyboard riff just as one of the sisters starts to sing again, and it just sounds noisy, where they're competing for your attention.

So, which version is the best is really going to just come down to personal preference... I think we can safely say that the original mix mostly just boils down to a historical curiosity piece only. But the remix and Part 2 both have their strengths (I think I'm personally leaning towards the latter). But the good news is that the 12" did turn out to have some nice exclusivity, and you can easily find copies of both, so you don't have to choose. :)

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