Saturday, September 1, 2012
30 Nostalgia Hits - The Beatles
30 Nostalgia Hits
I know the Beatles and their heirs are as rich as Croesus and probably don't give a damn, but it is amazing how poorly the Beatles catalog is being exploited. How is it possible that "Sgt. Pepper" is not available on vinyl or any other original Beatles album besides "Abbey Road" for that matter? The Ventures and Dick Dale currently have more vinyl in print than the greatest band in the history of the universe. Have they seen what used Beatles vinyl is going for nowadays? These guys should take lessons from the Jimi Hendrix estate, that bunch could squeeze blood from a turnip. Put me in charge Sir Paul, I'll fix that for you speedy quick. My first act would be to reissue the entire catalog on vinyl using the original art work and Parlophone sequencing and in mono editions as well when applicable. I'd issue "Let It Be" in the Glyn Johns mix and sequencing and I'd put out bonus LPs of the best outtakes from those sessions. I'd issue all the BBC sessions in their entirety. I'd reissue "The Beatles Christmas Album." I'd issue the Hollywood Bowl concerts in their entirety, not cherry picking through them like Capitol did. I'd put out a bunch of other concerts as well, certainly all the ones that have decent sound as well as the historic ones like Shea Stadium and Candlestick Park. I'd put out the Kinfauns demos and the Decca audition tape. I'd issue DVDs of the Shea concert and "Let It Be." I'd even release the Saturday morning Beatles cartoon series. In short I would put the bootleggers out of business and Beatlemaniacs would not have to rely on crummy bootlegs like this to get their fix. Actually by bootleg standards this isn't all that crummy. It is a two record set generously filled with tunes (29 not 30 as advertised) and it is a decent pressing from good sources. Record one is the 1964 Hollywood Bowl concert. It runs without interruption and includes the stage patter which is how I recognize what it is, since the record has no notes aside from the song listings. You can hear some of the same patter on the official Capitol release of "The Beatles at the Hollywood Bowl." This doesn't sound nearly as good as the Capitol version, but it is not bad and at least the whole show is here. The set list is: "Twist and Shout," "You Can't Do That," "All My Loving," "She Loves You," "Things We Said Today," "Roll Over Beethoven," "Can't Buy Me Love," "If I Fell," "I Want To Hold Your Hand," "Boys," "A Hard Day's Night" and "Long Tall Sally." It is a tremendously exciting performance, I wish I could have been there. This concert alone justifies this record's existence. Record two is more dubious. Side one and the last two tracks on side two are devoted to the Beatles' June 30, 1966 concert in Tokyo. The entire concert is included except for "Nowhere Man" for some reason, that's probably the missing 30th song. This concert is well-known among Beatlemaniacs as it has been heavily bootlegged. It was recorded for broadcast by Japanese television so it has really good sound quality and there isn't a lot of screaming since apparently the Japanese crowd was too polite to scream a lot during the songs. The concert has a bad reputation among Beatle buffs because the Beatles perform rather sloppily although I believe most of the songs sound okay although Harrison's vocal and the guitar solo on "If I Needed Someone" are laughably poor. Personally I prefer the Tokyo show from July 1, 1966 which also was professionally recorded, I think that performance is a little better even though Lennon forgets the words to "Nowhere Man." Regardless, there aren't many quality tapes of the 1966 tour so I still think this is pretty special. The set list is "Rock and Roll Music," "She's A Woman," "If I Needed Someone," "Day Tripper," "Baby's In Black," "I Feel Fine," "Yesterday," "I Wanna Be Your Man," "Paperback Writer" and "I'm Down." The record is fleshed out with some miscellaneous unsourced songs. "Ain't She Sweet" appears to be the version from the Tony Sheridan session which was released on Polydor. I don't think it is particularly rare, I don't know why it would be bootlegged. "P. S. I Love You," "There's A Place," and "Misery" appear to be pirated off the Beatles' debut album which is both heinous and stupid. "Dizzy Miss Lizzy" appears to be the 1965 BBC session for "The Beatles (Invite You To Take A Ticket to Ride.)" It is a smoking hot version that is arguably better than the version on "Help!". "This Boy" and "From Me To You" are from the band's second appearance on the Ed Sullivan show in 1964. This is obviously still stealing, but at least it is useful stealing, ha-ha. I'm not going to defend a bootleg especially one that pirates legitimate releases, but until the Beatles put out some of this stuff themselves, fans are going to want this stuff in some format. The Hollywood Bowl concert is an essential recording and the Tokyo one is worthwhile too. You can find them on better bootlegs though. I see this one selling for a ridiculous amount sometimes and it just isn't worth it. Recommended to idle executives at Apple looking for a reissue project, I mean really is it so hard to find something to do?
Post Script: I guess the Apple boys were reading my blog, because a few weeks after my screed, they announced the release dates for the vinyl reissues of the Beatles catalog. I know that these records have been in the works for ages, I'm glad it just took a little push from me to get them finally finished, ha-ha. I don't really need them, but I'm glad they are coming out and I may pick up a couple at some point to see if they really sound any better than the originals, but I'll probably just wait for the mono versions which will supposedly be coming out next year.