August 13, 2013 – 4:59 am

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Reading 1985 [no label, 1CD]

Live at Reading University, Reading, UK; November 16, 1985 (originally broadcast January 11, 1986). Excellent Pre-FM from transcription disc.

Thanks to bisonrav for sharing these tracks at Dime.

The show taped from the BBC radio broadcast has been circulated among fans but this recording came from the transcription disc.


Two basic original recordings of this concert exists, which was a BBC Radio 1 “In Concert” FM broadcast, first broadcast on January 11, 1986 . They’re distinguishable by the content. All recordings are fabulous, punchy and dynamic.

The BBC issued an official transcription disc copy of the concert, in which “Appetite” is included in place of “Cruel” and “Don’t Sing” is omitted. There is a generic introduction by Richard Skinner.

Original off air tapes omit “Appetite” and have different lead introduction and outro by Steve Blacknell.

At least one CD bootleg was issued with all songs, but with “Don’t Sing” and “Cruel” tagged onto the end of the transcription disk contents. This was also issued as “CD Fanzine #4 - “BBC ‘In Concert’ Live at Reading University”. Trading sites also list “Polishing the Stars” as including this concert and “rarities”. The concert features on the double Japanese bootleg “Sprouted Shows” as the transcription disc songs only.

bisonrav’s notes:

“Almost” ultimate quality Pre-FM copy of this BBC recording. A new transfer using absolutely top end equipment of the BBC transcription disk, which would have been perfect if side 2 hadn’t been a bit worse for wear with scratches and quite a number of problems. Side 1 is straight off the vinyl (up to Lions), Side 2 has had a fair amount of restoration work using a couple of other sources to infill damaged sections including the last version of this uploaded to Dime (torrent 301210) and a master recording of a German broadcast from another copy of this disk.

Upgrades just about everything until a new copy of the transcription disk turns up. Really great cranked up loud.


Main transfer, service provided by an ebay seller, “classicalrecords”.

Recorded at 32bit resolution 192kHz sampling rate and converted to 24bit 192kHz PCM WAV files of side 1 and side 2. The record is cleaned on a Moth MKII wet/vacuum record cleaning machine until ALL debris have disappeared and zapped with an anti-static gun.

The vinyl record is transcribed through a Garrard 401 turntable on a 30mm treble layered Slatedeck type plinth with anti-vibration feet and spikes on a Sound Organisation wall mounted support, Ringmat 330 MKII, Evolution Parallel Tracking Air Bearing tonearm, Shure V15VxMR cartridge, Mullard ECC82/83 valve phono preamplifier, Chord Chameleon Silver Plus interconnects, Russ Andrews mains cables, M-Audio Audiophile 192 high quality 113db soundcard, Cool Edit Pro sound editor software. All for a neutral, uncoloured sound.

Second Source: Torrent #301210. Runs a little fast, lineage unknown but a good 16/44100 transfer mostly.

Third Source: master tape of German broadcast. Nakamichi CR2E->Sweex A/D->44100/16


No restoration to “side 1″ (up to and including Lions). 192K/24 transfer converted to 16bit 44100 using SOX in high quality mode.

Side 2: 2nd and 3rd sources converted to 192K using SOX, inverted and channel swapped to match main transfer. Source 2 used to patch a very short glitch in Wicked Games, quiet parts in Goodbye Lucille #1 and When Love Breaks Down. Unfortunately Source 2 is poor for Appetite, so Source 3 was used to patch out clicks and scratches in very short segments which are noticeable if you listen carefully. In all cases SOX was used to ensure exact matching of patch length to the first source (same sample count) with segments being patched in at zero crossings. Audacity used to stitch the resultant segments together and match where possible the volume. Nothing done to match EQ, it wasn’t really necessary.

Resampling to 16/14K1 of main source using SOX. Audacity for track and flac.

Click on the highlighted tracks to download the MP3s (224 kbps). As far as we can ascertain, these tracks have never been officially released on CD.

Please Do Not Hammer The Links. Due to the size of some of the files, please be very patient when downloading the tracks. It could be that the server was very busy. The tracks should still be around. Please try again later. Kindly email us at [email protected] if you encounter persistent problems downloading the files.

Track 01. DJ Intro (Richard Skinner) (1.2MB)
Track 02. Moving the River (8.8MB)
Track 03. Cars and Girls (7.9MB)
Track 04. Bonny (6.7MB)
Track 05. Faron Young (6.9MB)
Track 06. Hallelujah (6.3MB)
Track 07. Lions in My Own Garden (Exit Someone) (4.3MB)
Track 08. Wicked Things (7.6MB)
Track 09. Goodbye Lucille #1 (10.9MB)
Track 10. Tiffany’s (6.5MB)
Track 11. When Love Breaks Down (7.3MB)
Track 12. When the Angels (9.4MB)
Track 13. Appetite (6.9MB)

Paddy McAloon - vocals, guitar
Martin McAloon - bass
Neil Conti - drums
Wendy Smith - backing vocals
Mike Shipley - keyboards

Click here for Prefab Sprout’s November 7, 1985 show at Cardiff.

Keep a lookout for the new Prefab Sprout album, Crimson/Red, due October 7, 2013. Meanwhile, click here to order Prefab Sprout releases.

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  1. 5 Responses to “PREFAB SPROUT - READING 1985”

  2. Worth a listen. Thanks, bigO!

    By NAMoosedog on Aug 13, 2013

  3. Thanks for posting!! I was a fan back in the 80’s…should be interesting to hear them again

    By DanC on Aug 14, 2013

  4. very sad news -

    By darth on Aug 14, 2013

  5. Thanks Bigo. The version I have has appetite missing and this all sounds better. Poor old Paddy’s not in the best of health so I’m not sure we’ll hear Prefab Sprout live any more. It would be nice to hear a tribute fund raiser. How about Bruce Spingsteen doing ‘Cars and Girls’! Or McCartney doing ‘Electric Guitars’. Thanks again.

    By Big Trev on Aug 14, 2013

  6. Nice to see this being appreciated. Appetite in particular was about 3 weeks work to get listenable.

    By bisonrav on Aug 22, 2013

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