The Partridge Family Laurie House 2 LP Set – A Surprise Discovery Filled with Odd Sounding Mixes

Well, 2023 just seems to get better and better at least with music collectibles.

Two days ago I happened upon a really rare Partridge Family record from the Laurie House label. Called simply “The Partridge Family” this 2 LP set was advertised on television in the middle to late 1970s (I don’t have an exact time but more than likely around 1976 or ’77) and consists of Davids Cassidy solo hits mixed with Partridge Family hits and album cuts.

If you’ve ever seen any products by Laurie House form the ’70s they are not what you would call elaborate – cheap may be a better word. I own Laurie House sets from The Monkees and The Archies both of which have the same type of flimsy cover and no frills record labels as this Partridge Family set.

I managed to order The Monkees and The Archies sets from TV back in the day but for some reason I don’t ever remember seeing The Partridge Family Laurie House set advertised in my area. If I did I’m sure I would have asked of it and as of this week I have never seen a copy for sale in person. I’ve seen it pop up from time to time online and usually at a prime price.

(Note: there’s a set on ebay as we speak that they’re asking around $90 for and in less condition then the one I bought. Also, I paid under $20 which I thought was great seeing as how the records are in beautiful shape and the flimsy cover is pretty good as well)

I was expecting this set to sound okay but not great. There’s another terrific 2 LP Partridge Family set called “The World of The Partridge Family” that was released on Bell Records in 1974 that sounds superb so I wasn’t expecting this new set to offer much  other than the fact that it’s rare and a fun find.

Well, let me tell you, after listening to both albums I was truly surprised at how this set sounds.

I read online someone saying it that the set played the songs faster then the regular albums, which I didn’t find, but I do have to say that the songs on this set sound odd – but in a good way, I think.

The first thing I noticed right away was that as the first few songs played they were definitely in mono and not stereo as the labels say. Not totally surprising but the first side sounded pretty good yet a bit more muffled than the Bell Records versions.

It was on Side B that things got really weird!

Here’s my track by track take on how these mixes sound:

“Somebody Wants to Love You” – sounds like a mono mix. The bass sounds nice and full but there is no stereo separation that I can hear yet it sounds really good. Very similar to the mono mix on the original 45

“Cherish”, “How Can I Be Sure” and “Rock Me Baby” – again all sound like mono mixes to me. I must say the guitars really rock and stand out on “Rock Me Baby” yet they definitely sound different to the stereo mixes on Cassidy’s solo Bell albums. Not dramatically different but the vocals and instruments sound like they are at different levels then the mixes I’m used to hearing

“Could it Be Forever” – this one sounds kind of odd. It’s the first of many songs that sound as if one channel of the regular stereo mix was folded down into mono. Not bad sounding but odd

“I Think I Love You” – this mix is where things REALLY gets weird. In fact it’s mostly The Partridge Family songs that sound dramatically different on this set. It’s a mono mix but it’s missing the harpsichord! It’s most notable on the solo where it’s just not there. Possibly a mix down of stereo to mono of just one channel? Still sounds good though, less poppy sounding but so, so different. Weird, and sloppy folding perhaps, but interesting

“Doesn’t Somebody Want to Be Wanted” – again a mono mix and missing some instrumentation. Sounds more rock now, interesting really. I kind of like it

“I’ll Meet You Halfway” – piano very low in the mix, strings much more prominent. Mono. Lovely

“I Woke Up in Love This Morning” – mono mix, sounds like mono mix of one channel of the stereo mix to me. All of these odd mixes or odd mix-downs makes most of the Partridge tracks sound like alternate mixes.

“It’s One of Those Nights (Yes Love)” – Mono mix, doesn’t sound too different but the instruments are lower in the mix

“Twenty-Four Hours a Day” – again, sounds like a mono mix of one channel or an alternate mix but really this many alternate mixes seems unlikely more like a rush job and poor transfers but nonetheless fun to hear. Laurie House seems to not put much thought into their products at all – this time the cheapness made a unique mess that’s kind of fun to hear

“Point Me in the Direction of Albuquerque” – wow does this sound like a legit alternate mix but I’m guessing it’s not. One channel of the stereo mix folded down to mono (again, I’m guessing) really gives this song a different feel. Lovely.

Weirdly on Side C three IS some stereo after the previous sides sounding like mono. At least I can notice the stereo separation on this side.

“Am I Losing You” – it is stereo yet still sounds like an alternate mix. Not terribly different but the mix of the vocals sounds different. Could be my mind playing tricks on me lol at this point

“Breaking Up is Hard to Do” – lovely mono mix as it wasn’t ever mixed into stereo in the seventies. Sounds great and like the regular mix from the “At Home With Their Greatest Hits” album

“Looking Through the Eyes of Love” – another odd sounding mix like one channel of the original stereo mix mixed down to mono. Horns and vocals much louder than the other instruments. The background vocals very loud at the end of the song. Odd

“Friend and Lover” – Sounds like the regular stereo mix but still with stereo separation not as distinct as the “Notebook” album.

“That’ll Be the Day” – Another mono sounding mix that sounds alternate. The organ is nearly missing but there quietly in the background. Sounds good but different.for sure

If these are stereo they have absolutely no separation like the original Bell Records issues. I never expected these to sound different from the original albums but the feel of the entire album is like a stripped down alternate journey through The Partridge Family’s greatest hits.

I’m sure it’s a mistake but they’re really fun to listen to and quite trippy because I’m so used to the original albums.

I played a couple of Partridge Family CDs right after I listened to this set and sure enough for instance the harpsichord on “I Think I Love You” is only in the right-hand channel. It sounds like the left-hand channel of the stereo mix of “I Think I Love You” was mixed down to mono thus the absence of the harpsichord.

I’m guessing most of the album was weirdly done this way but how on earth could the quality control be that bad? Possibly Laurie House could have card less but whatever the case it’s actually a fun listen as the songs really sound a bit less poppy and it’s a fun alternate way of hearing these songs.

There really isn’t much about this album online so I thought I’d describe what my copy sounds like for those who may care – a dwindling number I’m sure. I’m kind of surprised that nowhere online does it mention “I Think I Love You” without the harpsichord (that’s pretty hard to miss!) but whatever the case this set is a lot of fun if you can find one for a decent price.

Now maybe there was a first batch that had these odd fold-downs or whatever they are and perhaps it got fixed for another run?  I know this couldn’t have sold that much as I’ve never run across one and I see Partridge Family albums at nearly every antique store and flea market or record store I visit.

I’m guessing the people who bought this set in the ’70s probably didn’t notice or care and frankly the songs still sound good just different.

If anyone else out there owns this album does yours have these same weird sounding mixes?

Overall I’m actually quite happy with this purchase and even though I think this album was just rushed and sloppy these alternate sounding mixes are a hoot and a fun surprise that I may actually play again form time to time as they are really fun to hear.

As usual take a glance above at photos of my copy of “The Partridge Family” from Laurie House and if you happen to discover it somewhere along the line you’ll know what you’re in for if you decide to buy it.

That’s all for now!

Be safe and well and they’ll be more posts here soon.

 

The Monkees Featured in “KYA Beat” Teen Newspaper from San Francisco – October 8, 1966 and February 25, 1967 Editions

Happy New Year!

I know I’m a few days late with the greeting but since this year isn’t even a week old, it’s better late then never.

As it happens this first week of 2023, while strange in many ways, has gotten off to a good start as far as collecting is concerned. Yesterday I happened upon something really fun that I’ve never seen before and frankly didn’t even know existed.

While I was browsing through a quaint and lovely antique store I stumbled on several issues of an old teen newspaper called “BEAT”. These were all “KYA Editions” of “BEAT”  that came from San Francisco. The issues that I saw came from 1966 and 1967 and boy were they cool.

Not only did these groovy old newspapers have articles about some of my favorite pop/rock groups from the ’60s they had a lot of fun ads and notices from the era which really makes reading them like traveling back in time. Truly a blast from the past and as an extra bonus each newspaper was in fantastic shape especially for newspapers from over 55 years ago.

There were cover stories about The Mamas and Papas and Donovan, I believe, but the two that really caught my eye were issues of “BEAT” featuring The Monkees! Needless to say these were instant buys and well worth it too.

What’s so fun about these Monkees issues is that they’re from the early days of The Monkees TV show. It’s fun to see reports on the group in real time as it happened and these articles are much more fun to read than the articles from the teen magazines of the era; similar but a bit less cheesy then what you may have found in magazines like “16”, “Tiger Beat” and “Datebook”.

Now I don’t know much about the “BEAT” newspaper. Was it published exclusively in San Francisco or was it published in several different cities? Was it West coast only? If it was issued in other cities did local radio stations put their ad on the back of each local copy? How long did was it published?

I haven’t found much on this newspaper so far but haven’t done a through search yet either. It was just fun to discover these gems from the past and after reading them I’m tempted to buy some of the other issues I found in the shop.

Whatever the story is this is one fun newspaper to read. Granted it’s pretty tame stuff but the ads and letters to the editor sections are a hoot and really take you back to a place and time that seems to be slipping farther and farther away with each passing year.

I decided to take photos of each complete issue of the two issues I bought. You can see the October 1966 issue above and the February 1967 issue below. I think the photos are good enough to read each story and get a feel for this wonderful time capsule from the mid 1960s.

If anyone reading this knows more about this newspaper or experienced it firsthand at the time please drop me a line. As I was nearly only one at the time of the October 1966 issue I have no idea if the Midwest (where I’m from) would have had access too this newspaper or not but it was so fun to be able to have a couple of issues to get a feel for the mindset of a teenager in the mid-’60s.

Well, that’s all for now. Just a quick glimpse back to start your new year with some fun. I hope you are well and your year has started out okay.

As usual take a gander at the several photos of these two issues of “BEAT” above and below.

Again, Happy New Year and see you soon!

Paul McCartney’s “Get Back” on Blu-Ray – The 1989/90 Blu-Ray Tour Documentary Is A Worthy Upgrade from The Mediocre DVD

***Plus Photos of Japanese “Get Back” Laserdisc with 12-Page Booklet***

Absence makes the heart grow fonder and that’s certainly the case with Paul McCartney’s 1989/90 Tour documentary film “Get Back”.

I’ve had a love hate relationship with “Get Back” since I first saw it in the 1990s. Don’t get me wrong it’s a good film but there are some things about it that kind of leave me in the cold.

First off “Get Back” doesn’t include the entire show just a small selection of songs that were performed on that particular tour. Secondly there are several staged shots of McCartney and his band that were shot in a studio to get better close-ups, etc. Directed by famed Beatles movie director Richard Lester, the “Get Back” film while fun is flawed as a complete document of the tour.

Fast forward a few decades, say over three or so, and what seemed like a minor film at the time has become much more enjoyable – at least for me. Sure the flaws are still there but Paul McCartney hasn’t toured with a lot of the members of this line-up since the  early 1990s and I personally really enjoy this band of musicians.

Watching a recently released Blu-Ray I just received of “Get Back” I was surprised at how much I enjoyed the film. Of course McCartney’s 1989/90 World Tour was the first time I had seen McCartney, or any Beatle for that matter, live so that particular tour holds a lot of memories for me.

I remember the excitement clearly as McCartney and his band took to the stage on Sunday, December 3, 1989 which my first Paul McCartney concert in Chicago, IL at the Rosemont Horizon (now called Allstate Arena).

It was memorable show in many ways including the fact that there was supposed to be an opening video that preceded the band walking on stage that night but it wasn’t working (much to my displeasure). McCartney and his band strolled out to the stage calmly without any fanfare waving to the crowd as they proceeded to rip into the opening song “Figure of Eight”, one of my favorite songs from McCartney’s then current LP “Flowers in the Dirt”.

As the song played I was suddenly overcome with a feeling of awe – Paul McCartney was here “IN PERSON, RIGHT NOW!” I remember thinking over and over again that night. It was heady stuff for my twenty-three year old self.

Though the thrill of seeing McCartney live that night was undeniable for the first half of the show McCartney’s voice was a bit rough in spots. Songs like “Got to Get You Into My Life” and “Maybe I’m Amazed” were particularly horse sounding but miraculously by the second half of the show McCartney almost fully recovered.

Luckily I also managed to see another show on this tour in Indianapolis in February of 1990 on Valentine’s Day and McCartney was in much stronger voice. Even though the 1990 show was better the excitement at a McCartney show has never been topped by that first time I saw him in 1989.

Anyway, back to the new Blu-Ray of “Get Back”. This newer Blu-Ray has been available for a few months online as it has been released in some overseas markets but not in the US. I’m guessing that’s because the DVD market in the US has pretty much stalled and sales are way down vs streaming.

As a physical media person though I’ve been tempted a few times to buy this particular Blu-Ray so last week I took the plunge. For those few Beatles freaks out there who are interested here are my comparisons of the previous DVD I own of “Get Back” to the new Blu-Ray version:

DVD:

Packaging: C+ – average, decent cover, standard looking DVD but nothing special

Picture: C – very average, kind of dark and murky, pixelized in spots and blurry. Almost looks like a bootleg copy at times. Not horrible but nothing that makes you want to watch this DVD very often

Screen format: 4:3 so the picture is stretched on Widescreen TVs, if you want the image to fill your entire screen this particular DVD doesn’t look very good stretched

Sound: C – again average sound, kind of low and not a lot of bass. Okay but again nothing to get too excited about

Blu-Ray:

Packaging: B+ – nice cover with nice small box that holds the Blu-ray. I like this cover way more than the DVD – very appealing. I like the dark look of this cover versus the white side panel of the DVD which makes it look cheaper

Picture: B+ – very nice picture, slightly soft but nice color and less murky and way more detailed than the DVD version. Could be better but now is very watchable. You can see the film grain so it’s not overly processed which is nice. An obvious improvement over the DVD

Screen format: 1.66.1 (European widescreen standard). There are small black bars on each side of the screen and the picture looks fuller to me than the DVD and no stretching on widescreen TVs

Sound: A – the sound of this Blu-ray is top notch even though it only has a 2.0 stereo mix and not a 5.1 surround mix. It has a lot of nice bass and jumps out of the speakers without sounding compressed. The sound is so improved over the DVD that it makes me want to watch the disc over and over. I’ve watched it twice so far and have really enjoyed it.

(Note: I bought this Blu-Ray from Amazon and it says Region B on both covers – the cardboard and the actual disc cover. It’s not region B though as that would mean it wouldn’t play on US Blu-Ray players and obviously it plays just fine. I think this version of the Blu-Ray is sold in Australia but if you want to buy it it WILL play on US players so no worries about compatibility)

There you have it. The Blu-Ray is definitely worth getting over the DVD version, at least the one that I own. I never wanted to watch this documentary DVD much because it looks very average and comes across as sterile and plodding with the poorer picture and sound.

The improved picture and sound of this new Blu-Ray helps to get me into the concert footage and really jogs my memory about the shows I saw on the tour.

It’s not the perfect presentation of the tour by any means, I can do without the staged shots, but as time has gone on it’s a terrific document of McCartney’s band at the time which I think is one of his better post Beatles lineups.

I’ve also thrown some photos up of the Japanese laserdisc verison of this film that I also own. It’s been ages since I had my laserdisc player hooked up but as memory serves I thought the picture quality of the laserdisc was good but  I’m guessing I liked the DVD a bit better.

Looking at the DVD today I can’t imagine why as the DVD is a grainy, dark mess at times and not a very good presentation of the film. Take a look of the different screen shots I took of the DVD and Blu-Ray and I think you can tell that the Blu-Ray’s picture is definitely superior.

(Note 2: Check out the groovy 12-page booklet that comes with the laserdisc, it has some great photos and is a great souvenir of the tour)

So if you want to dip your toes into the waters of Paul McCartney’s 1989/90 World Tour the best place to get a nice sampling on video is this splendid new Blu-Ray release. The release I bought from Amazon is from Australia I believe and there looks like there’s another Blu-Ray version available as well from another country but it’s a few dollars more, not sure why though.

As usual there are plenty of photos above and below of the DVD, Blu-Ray and Japanese laserdisc versions of the “Get Back” film that reside in my collection.

Until next time be safe and well and see you soon!

Paul McCartney Selects 80 Singles to Celebrate Over Fifty Years of His Solo Career

***Paul McCartney The 7 Inch Singles Box***

Today is a first for me.

Readers of this blog know that I am an old-fashioned relic who still loves physical media. The name of this blog says it all – Living in the Physical World.

In spite of that however, today I am endorsing a digital product. Digital you say? Ahhhh! Let me explain.

This past Friday, December 2nd, Paul McCartney released a tremendous box set of 45’s called Paul McCartney The 7 Inch Singles Box”. It contains eighty 45’s from McCartney’s long solo career and was curated by McCartney himself. 

Believe it or not Paul McCartney has released more than eighty singles since he left The Beatles in 1970, that’s a crazy number I know, so while this is an enormous box it would have been even bigger if it included all his single releases from 1970 to now!

Now as one may guess the option to buy the physical media version of this box was tempting for me – for about two minutes. As fate would have it the cost was just too severe for me ($611.00 plus shipping) and being released in December truly sealed the deal.

That’s not to say that this box set isn’t a thing of beauty (see photos above). I’ve seen several unboxing photos and videos of the set and I must say it was put together very well and I’m sure all who bought it will love and cherish it.

Besides the actual cost of the physical set I can honestly say that I would only play the records once and that would be to record them to digital. I mean the thought of flipping over eighty 45’s very often also made me realize that this particular set wasn’t for me even though it looks great. It would end up just being a decoration and that’s not what I would enjoy.

And that’s too bad as this collection includes dozens of newly remastered songs that have not been part of McCartney’s Archive Collection which of course was the main reason I was even tempted to buy the box in the first place.

As luck would have it here is a digital download of this set available to buy as well. As per my usual I swore that I would never buy a download set especially one that clocks in over ten hours as this one does. It’s just such a pain to download and then you have to make either CDs or use a USB drive and that didn’t really appeal to me.

That is until I streamed some of the content online. You can stream the entire set for free – free is you subscribe to any of the online platforms like Spotify or Pandora or Amazon. I am an Amazon member but I don’t pay for the extra unlimited thus I can stream parts of the set but not in order and not in its entirety.

I think you can listen on YouTube as well but after hearing some of the lovely newly remastered McCartney songs from two of my favorite Wings albums – “London Town” and “Back to the Egg” – I decided to bite the bullet and try and download a CD quality version of the set.

I know, I know I could probably buy an almost entire year of streaming on one service for the cost of the download of the Paul McCartney The 7 Inch Singles Box” but if I am going to listen to this mammoth set I’d rather have it so I can play it on my stereo or car without continually subscribing to a streaming service.

So … I’m here to report that over the weekend I did indeed download the entire set in CD quality from Qobuz, a respected HiRes audio download site.

I must admit that the entire process was much easier than I expected. It only took about a half hour to download the 159 songs and even though they were downloaded in the FLAC file format it was easy enough to convert them to either WAV or Mp3 format and then put them on a USB stick and my Ipod.

(Note: It was easy but it was also a bit time consuming – one of the downfalls of downloading)

I have a TEAC CD player that will play my USB or my Ipod so I have listened to a few hours of this set on both my stereo as well as my car which also uses both my USB stick and Ipod (again, see photos above).

After having spent some time with this set, I haven’t had time to listen to all ten hours of it, I must say I’m pretty impressed with the sound as the mastering is overall very, very good. There are a couple of songs that I thought were just okay but mostly the newly remastered songs sound great.

There are also some mixing oddities on some of the songs that others have pointed out – a different sax part on the song “Only Love Remains” (a single remix from the “Press to Play” album from 1986), a slightly different edit on the live version of “Coming Up (Live at Glasgow)” from 1980 as well as having the “Tug of War” tracks remastered here from their original mixes as opposed to the so-so remixes from the recent McCartney Archive release of the “Tug of War” album.

Highlights of the set so far for me include all the songs included from the “London Town” and “Back to the Egg” albums such as “London Town”, “I’ve Had Enough”. “Deliver Your Children”, “Girls School” (the b-side of “Mull of Kintyre”), “Old Siam, Sir”, “Getting Closer”, “Spin it On” that have yet to be issued as part of the McCartney Archive collection.

Also songs like “Tough on a Tightrope” (b-side of “Only Love Remains”) and the single remixes of “Pretty Little Head” and “Only Love Remains” all from the “Press to Play” album and the truly wonderful b-sides like “Rainclouds” (recorded the week John Lennon was shot and b-side to McCartney’s 1982 monster hit “Ebony sand Ivory”) and “It’s Not True” (b-side of the 1986 “Press” single) which is one of my all-time favorite McCartney songs.

Not to mention all the “Off the Ground” era songs and the lovely new remasters of the 1990s live tracks like “The Long and Winding Road”, “C Moon”, “Birthday” and “Good Day Sunshine” to name just a few of the gems on this set.

McCartney and his team focused on singles released around the world, and in one case a single that never actually came out (“Love is Strange” b/w “I Am Your Singer” – a single that never was from Wings “Wild Life” album from 1971), so that you get a broader spectrum of songs from throughout McCartney’s solo career than just the singles released in the UK and the States.

So there you have it. I’ve joined the digital age as much as I’d like to and I have to admit it wasn’t really a bad experience. Honestly I’d rather have a ten CD box set of this material with a nice booklet but everything sounds so good and you get a lot of rarely heard McCartney tracks from these singles that it really is a nice set to spend some time with and enjoy.

I didn’t think I would enjoy this set as much as I have over the last three days or so and now that I’ve gotten it downloaded and listenable I’m very happy.

I realize the day may soon come when this kind of thing is the only option for archive music so when that day comes at least I’m ready lol. I do wish though that they had included a PDF of the booklet from the physical set but as far as the music goes this set is a real winner!

As usual I have included some photos but this time it’s just a photo or two of the physical set which I don’t own and photos of the adventures with my USB stick in my CD player and my car. It’s nice that on my TEAC CD player I can program the tracks on my USB and on my car I can shuffle the tracks so either way it’s very similar to playing a CD and with CD sound quality to boot.

And for all you folks out there who aren’t crazy enough to buy this huge set either physically or digitally go to your favorite streaming site and give some of these tracks a listen – they’re so worth it!

Now that I’ve actually joined the 21st Century I’d love to see some really groovy McCartney Archive set come out on CD!!!

Until next time be healthy and well and see you soon!

 

StarrShine – RSD Ringo “Old Wave” CD and New CD/Blu-Ray Ringo And His All-Starr Band Live at the Greek Theater 2019 Set

Well happy day after turkey day, otherwise known as Thanksgiving, for all those reading this in North America!

As it happens this fine sunny Friday is also the infamous Black Friday, the start of the Christmas season sales madness, but it also  happens that it’s another Record Store Day around the world as well.

And as you know if you’ve read this blog that Record Store Day is much more fun for me then attempting to fight the crowds at all the Black Friday retail sales so as per usual I managed to slide into one of my local record stores and happened upon some fine Beatles-related booty.

This Record Store Day had one particular CD I was looking for and manged to find – a very limited reissue (500 copies) of Ringo Starr’s 1983 album called “Old Wave” that’s being released exclusively to indie record stores.

(Note: The “Old Wave” album is also being released as an exclusive RSD vinyl LP as well. I happened to avoid the crowds at my record store by going a couple hours after they opened and they luckily had one copy left of “Old Wave” on both vinyl and CD)

As any Beatles fan knows the original release of Starr’s “Old Wave” album was itself very limited as the album didn’t even get a U.S. release at the time. Ringo was at the lowest point sales wise in his solo career in the early 1980s and while the album wasn’t very easy to find I did manage to get obtain a vinyl pressing from Germany on the Boardwalk label.

I’ve always enjoyed the “Old Wave” album and thought it was unjustly overlooked. Sure it’s not on the same quality level as Starr’s wonderful “Ringo” and “Goodnight Vienna” albums but for me it’s a much better record than his other late ’70s albums and the addition of Joe Walsh’s distinctive guitar throughout really makes this album a fun listen.

I’ve always been particularly fond of the single from the album “In My Car”. I’m not sure why it wasn’t released in the U.S. as it had potential to be a Top Fifty hit if given the chance at radio. I find it very catchy and though it’s not quite as catchy as Ringo’s 1981 single and last Top Forty hit  “Wrack My Brain” it’s nonetheless a fine single.

Other songs on the album that I love include “Be My Baby” (which features some lovely guitar work from Walsh), “She’s About a Mover”, “I Keep Forgettin'” (a good song choice for Ringo as it fits his style very well) and “Picture Show Life” which I think would have been a good single if in fact Starr could have gotten any airplay at the time.

I think this new CD reissue by Culture Factory sounds really good and probably on par with the Right Stuff reissue from 1994 (it also has the same bonus track as the Right Stuff CD). I haven’t compared them side by side yet but the sound of this reissue isn’t compressed or shrill and revisiting this CD again today reinforces to me that it’s a very solid Ringo offering and well worth seeking out.

The Mini-Lp cardboard sleeve and vinyl looking black disc (see photos above) are nice touches and any collector out there who doesn’t own this album would be happy with this reissue, I know I am. The one thing I thought was amusing was that on the OBI type sleeve it says this album was originally issued in 1971 – oops – but otherwise this is a lovely reissue.

The other thing new I got today is a nifty 2 CD/Blu-Ray set of “Ringo Starr and His All-Starr Band Live at the Greek Theater 2019”. This particular show is being released today on an exclusive RSD 2 LP yellow vinyl set (nice looking but I passed on it) as well as a non-exclusive 2 CD set, a single DVD or single Blu-ray or what’s in my opinion the best deal out there this 2 CD/Blu-ray combo set.

Yes, I know that there are a million Ringo and His All-Starr Band shows out there but after having just watched the Blu-ray this is one of the better All-Starr shows available and the Blu-ray is one of the better looking and sounding Ringo live collections and a joy to watch.

I’ll probably watch the Blu-ray more than listen to the CDs so that’s why I passed on the groovy 2 LP yellow vinyl set though I’m sure it’s a great set to own.

For me the 2 CD/Blu-Ray combo set.is the best of both worlds and now that I’ve watched it I think it will definitely be something I pull out form time to time as it’s a very entertaining show and with Ringo having to cancel his current 2022 tour due to Covid issues it’s a great reminder of how entertaining this show is and a wonderful way to see his current show if you missed one of the cancelled performances.

Well that’s all for now. Just a brief RSD Beatles-related update. As usual check out photos of these two new releases above and until next time be healthy and well and have a great holiday season!

Be back with more posts soon so until then see you soon.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

“The Birds, The Bees & The Monkees” (Mono) on Installment Plan – The Mono Mexican EPs

Sometimes it’s the elusive search that, while frustrating, is actually the most fun.

Case in point, for years and years I’ve been searching for a mono copy of The Monkees fifth album “The Birds, The Bees & The Monkees” but to no avail. The LP was released in April of 1968 and by that time the mono format was on its last legs.

You see by the beginning of 1968 most U.S. record companies had begun to press very few, if any at all, mono records as stereo had become the main way people wanted to hear their music.

Up until that time pop music especially was pretty much a mono format. Radio up until 1967 was still dominated by mono 45s which became hit singles. Pop/rock recording acts of the late ’50s and early ’60s relied on the hit pop single to make their careers and hopefully have those hits turn their album sales into gold.

It wasn’t really until the advent of The Beatles in 1964 that pop/rock albums sold in huge numbers so by 1967 album sales had become vital as they sold in large enough numbers that they were a very profitable thing for pop/rock groups.

Plus by 1967 the dawn of FM radio helped push the stereo format as many album cuts were broadcast in stereo and young listeners began to search out the stereo versions of their favorite pop/rock albums even though they were a dollar more than the mono versions of the same album.

Long story short, “The Birds, The Bees & The Monkees” album reached number 3 on the Billboard Hot 200 charts and sold around 500,000 copies in 1968. While not nearly as big a seller as the four previous Monkees albums it landed the group their fifth gold album and contained two Top Ten hits singles – “Daydream Believer” and “Valleri”.

It’s not known exactly how many mono copies of “The Birds, The Bees & The Monkees” were pressed but I’ve read that a likely figure would be around ten percent of the stereo version which would make the mono pressing fairly rare with around 50,000 copies out in the wild.

And as the tides of time have flowed on how many of those say 50,000 copies of “The Birds, The Bees & The Monkees” remain out there to find? I’d have to say not many as I’ve never seen a mono copy in person for sale and believe me I’ve looked.

I keep reading stories of people finding them in a yard sale or record store but as of today I’ve never managed to come across one for sale. There are foreign copies of this elusive mono mix as well but they are pretty expensive and really not that easy to locate much like the U.S. Colgems pressing.

So what options do Monkees fans have to get this groovy mono mix if you don’t want to spend an arm and leg tracking down a U.S. or Mexican, Australian or Puerto Rican mono copy? Well, one solution is to track the mono mixes down piece meal on foreign EPs or 45s.

This leads me to today’s post – two Mexican mono 45 EPs – MKE 1033 and MKE 1034.

You see Mexico is one of the countries that released a true mono mix of “The Birds, The Bees & The Monkees” album (many countries released mono copies of the album but most of those were not dedicated mono mixes but stereo fold-downs).

Mexico also managed to release ten of the twelve tracks from the album in the EP format. All the tracks on these Mexican  EPs contain the true dedicated mono mixes of the songs just like the Mexican mono pressing of “The Birds, The Bees & The Monkees”.

A couple of years ago I tracked down the first “Birds and Bees” Mexican mono EP, MKE 1033, but just this week I received the second “Birds and Bees” Mexican mono EP, MKE 1034, in the mail. Between these two EPs I now own superb sounding true mono mixes of eight of the tracks from “The Birds, The Bees & The Monkees” album. I threw in the 45 mono mix of the Colgems single “Daydream Believer” and now have nine of the twelve tracks from the mono album on vinyl.

Now of course Monkees fans know the true mono mix was included on the Rhino Deluxe CD version of “The Birds, The Bees & The Monkees” from 2010 but that itself was mastered mostly from a vinyl source and while decent doesn’t sound nearly as vibrant and alive as the songs on these two Mexican mono EPs.

Unfortunately the original Colgems master tape of the true mono mix of “The Birds, The Bees & The Monkees” is missing thus the extreme prices for vinyl copies as that’s as close as you can get to having the album from the master tape.

Anyway, I thought I’d post some photos of these two Mexican EPs, above and below, and there’s also a list of the tracks they contain below:

MKE 1033

  1. Valleri
  2. Auntie’s Municipal Court
  3. Tapioca Tundra
  4. P.O. Box 9847

MKE 1034

  1. I’ll Be Back Up On My Feet
  2. We Were Made For Each Other
  3. Dream World
  4. The Poster

Again, throw in the “Daydream Believer” 45 mix from a Colgems single and you have pretty much the entire “The Birds, The Bees & The Monkees” album minus the songs “Writing Wrongs”, “Magnolia Simms” and “Zor and Zam”. And actually the song “Zor and Zam” is available on another Mexican mono EP, MKE 1060, which also includes the repeat of “Dream World” from the MKE 1034 EP.

I haven’t tracked the MKE 1060 EP down but if I do then I’d only be missing two mono tracks to make a complete “The Birds, The Bees & The Monkees” mono album.

Luckily I found both of these Mexican EPs pretty cheaply, much cheaper than an original Colgems mono album. In fact I bought the  MKE 1034 from a seller online who said the EP was just VG with lots of crackles but no skips. After a good cleaning to remove the dirt the EP played a solid VG+ and all four songs sounded really great.

The three tracks that really sound quite different in their mono form are “Auntie’s Municipal Court”, “Tapioca Tundra” and Dream World” all of which are found on these two Mexican EPs.

In fact I’d say that all the really different sounding mono mixes are on these EPs plus these eight songs are my eight favorite songs on the album plus the “Daydream Believer” single mix as well.

Any Monkees fans out there looking for a mono copy of “The Birds, The Bees & The Monkees” should also keep an eye out for these two Mexican EPs. I bet you can actually track them down online for a fraction of the cost of the mono album and have most of the album in great fidelity without spending a fortune.

(Note: As of this post both EPs are for sale on Discogs)

You’ll probably have to do some searching but I’ve found that these are not only more affordable but can be tracked down without too much hassle – if you’re patient enough.

So the search continues for a Colgems mono “The Birds, The Bees & The Monkees” or one of its foreign cousins but only if it’s reasonably priced. I have most of the mixes now but the fun of the search keeps me going to record and antique stores just in case I happen to find one.

Well, that’s all for now.

Until next time be well. They’ll be more posts coming soon!

More Beatles – “Revolver” (2 CD Deluxe Edition) – Happy “Revolver” Day!

Welcome to the official release day of the brand new remix of The Beatles classic 1966 album “Revolver”.

A couple of days ago I posted a first look at the 5 CD Super Deluxe set of “Revolver” that I got early but today I wanted to share some photos of the Deluxe 2 CD version as well.

This new 2 CD Deluxe version may be a better way to experience this new version of “Revolver” for most fans as not only does it include the new remix on the first CD but the second CD is a terrific alternate version of the album filled with highlights from the two sessions discs from the bigger Super Deluxe box set.

The track listing for the 2 CD set – from http://www.thebeatles.com:

CD 1: REVOLVER 2022 Stereo mix by Giles Martin and Sam Okell
1. Taxman
2. Eleanor Rigby
3. I’m Only Sleeping
4. Love You To
5. Here, There and Everywhere
6. Yellow Submarine
7. She Said She Said
8. Good Day Sunshine
9. And Your Bird Can Sing
10. For No One
11. Doctor Robert
12. I Want To Tell You
13. Got To Get You Into My Life
14. Tomorrow Never Knows

CD 2: REVOLVER Sessions Highlights
1. Paperback Writer (2022 Stereo)
2. Rain (2022 Stereo)
3. Tomorrow Never Knows (Take 1)
4. Got To Get You Into My Life (Second Version / Unnumbered Mix)
5. Love You To (Take 7)
6. Doctor Robert (Take 7)
7. And Your Bird Can Sing (First version / Take 2)
8. Taxman (Take 11)
9. I’m Only Sleeping (Take 2)
10. Eleanor Rigby (Take 2)
11. For No One (Take 10 / Backing Track)
12. Yellow Submarine (Take 4 Before Sound Effects)
13. I Want To Tell You (Speech & Take 4)
14. Here, There And Everywhere (Take 6)
15. She Said She Said (Take 15 / Backing Track Rehearsal)

As you can see from the track list and the photos above if you’re not a Beatles nut and don’t want to wade through all the outtakes in the bigger box this set really comes through with all the true highlights from the sessions discs plus a superb scaled down version of the book from the Super Deluxe set.

Since “Revolver” is my favorite Beatles album I thought I’d get both sets and share them here (not that I wouldn’t have been tempted even if it wasn’t my favorite lol).

As usual the photos above show you what you can look forward to if you decide to go the physical route with the 2022 “Revolver” album.

Just a quick postscript to my earlier post.

Take care and be well and see you soon!

 

FIRST LOOK! – The Beatles Special Edition Super Deluxe “Revolver” 5 CD Set

What have we here – a new Super Deluxe Edition CD box set? A 5 CD box set possibly? A new BEATLES Super Deluxe Edition 5 CD box set perhaps? In a word … yes.

You see this upcoming Friday a groovy new box set of The Beatles 1966 masterpiece “Revolver” is due to hit store shelves along with a variety of different formats for fans of every budget.

As with all the recent Deluxe Beatles sets that been issued in the past few years this new set is highlighted by a new 2022 stereo remix of the “Revolver” album (on CD one) along with session highlights/studio chatter and demos (on CDs two and three), a new transfer of the 1966 mono mix of  the“Revolver” album (on CD four), a CD single featuring new stereo remixes and mono mixes of the 1966 single “Paperback Writer”/”Rain” (on CD five) as well as a lovely hardback book with text and photos that detail the albums history.

Along with this CD box there’s also an LP version of the box set (featuring 4 LPs, the bonus single and the same hardback book as the CD set) available to purchase as well as a 2 CD version (the remix on one CD plus a CD of session highlights), a single CD version featuring just the new 2022 Giles Martin remix of the album plus a single disc vinyl version of the 2022 remix and to top it off  a picture disc vinyl version containing the new 2022 remix!

Whew – at least Beatles fans have a choice in how much more of the “Revolver”album they want to add to their collections if they chose to add anything at all.

As luck would have it I managed to get a copy of this 5 CD box set a bit early and boy I have to say the wait was certainly worth it. Not only is this box set a thing of beauty but it’s packed full of what I consider to be The Beatles at their absolute peak as writers and performers on a magnificent collection featuring some of their best songs.

So after a spending some time wading through this fine new collection here are some of my first impressions:

The REMIX:

As with the last Beatles Deluxe box set that Giles Martin compiled, 2021’s “Let it Be”, this new 2022 remix is one of the better remixes I’ve heard from Mr. Martin.

Like “Let it Be” this new remix enhances the sound of the album without making it sound like Martin transformed the sound into something too modern or overly compressed.

Yes the mixes are a bit louder than the original 1966 mix (I about jumped out of my skin with the bass at the beginning of “Taxman” until I turned the sound down a bit) but not so much that it’s distracting or annoying.

It sounds like the “Revolver” album we all know and love albeit with instruments much more clearly exposed and an overall clarity that lifts some of the murkiness of the original mix.

Most of that clarity and punch is due to a new technique that came from Peter Jackson’s work on the recent “Get Back” documentary that allows computer technology to separate or sounds that were once mixed together and cleanly place them separately in the mix without making them sound artificial or fake.

Highlights of the new remix for me are “I’m Only Sleeping”, “Here, There and Everywhere” (what a beauty and the voices just sound so good on this mix), “She Said She Said” (I’ve read other people dislike this mix but to me this is a fantastic new version that really highlights Ringo’s drumming), “For No One” (another one with stunning clarity – another beauty), “I Want to Tell You” and the stunning “Tomorrow Never Knows”.

I’ll also throw in the remixes of “Paperback Writer” and “Rain” from the bonus CD single as well. It’s clear in comparing them to the original mono mixes of these songs how much more clarity and punch Martin draws out of these songs.

While I still love the original 1966 mono mixes of these songs they do sound a bit claustrophobic in comparison to their 2022 stereo cousins.

The Outtakes:

Wow, I have to say that the outtakes featured in this new set may turn out to be some of my favorite Beatles alternates of all-time.

From better sounding versions of well-known early takes from the Anthology project (“Got to Get You Into My Life” First Version – Take 5 and “Tomorrow Never Knows” – Take 1) to stunning new early takes (a fuzz filled “Got to Get You Into My Life” – Second Version Unnumbered Take that’s just magnificent, the superb stripped down Take 1 of “Love You To” featuring Paul’s great supporting vocals and the revealing Songwriting Work Tape Takes of “Yellow Submarine”) to the terrific backing tracks (“Rain” – Take 5 Actual Speed, “For  No One” – Take 10 Backing Track and “She Said She Said” Take 15 Backing Track Rehearsal) who would have though that all these gems would have been left languishing in the vaults for over fifty years!

Really even though there is some repetitiveness with multiple takes of certain tracks I found both of the outtakes CDs a joy to listen to and the main reason for buying these sets. I love to see how the tracks were formed in the studio and these great sounding alternates and outtakes really take you inside the recording process for this album which is my favorite thing about buying these archive releases.

(Note: I briefly sampled the mono 1966 mix CD and it does sound very nice. I haven’t listened to the whole disc yet so I can’t say how it compares to the 2009 mono CD version or the 2014 vinyl version. 

I listened to “For No One” and “Tomorrow Never Knows” in full and both sounded very impressive. Nice bass and very well mastered. I’ll have to dive into the whole disc more to really give an impression but what I heard sounded good.)

The Book:

What can I say, this 100-page hardback book is filled with some terrific photos and is a great read while you listen to this set especially the outtake discs.  It’s one of the better hardback books in the entire Beatles Deluxe Edition series and another reason that I look forward to buying these Beatles archive sets.

It’s well made, sturdy and really I can’t imagine any fan not finding something to love. It may not be as informative or thorough as Mark Lewisohn’s books but it’s a good read nonetheless and makes this set an attractive purchase and goes a long way to soften  the sting of price of this set. 

Grade: A solid “A”:

Overall this is one terrific set. My one criticism is that this set doesn’t include a Blu-Ray disc like previous Beatle deluxe sets which is a real shame. It would be nice to have a 5.1 mix or an Atmos mix and since it”s priced the same as previous Beatles sets I think that some effort should have been made to include a Blu-Ray disc.

(Note: There will be a digital download version available to purchase as well and that will contain a hi-res 96kHz/24-bit stereo and a Dolby Atmos mix.)

It would have gone a long way by making this set retail for around $95 list but even without the Blu-Ray disc it may turn out to be one of my favorites of all The Beatles Deluxe Editions just because the album and the outtakes from the “Revolver” sessions will always be among my favorite recorded music by anyone.

Well there you have it. Just a few first impressions of this terrific new set. I’ll have to give it more time to really absorb the contents but needless to say if you’re a Beatles fan you owe it to yourself to track this set down (or one of its variations) or God forbid at least stream it somewhere lol.

That’s all for now.

More coming soon and until next time be well and safe and see you soon!

Longbox and Loaded: My Beatles CD Longbox Collection

Sometimes collecting looks a lot like hoarding – I’ve said that many times before but it’s true.

The reason I bring that up is that a friend of mine once saw my CD longbox collection and said it was a bit much, more like hoarding than collecting (obviously NOT a collector lol). They may have a case but to me CD longboxes are much more like 45 picture sleeves from the 1960s and well worth collecting.

(Note: All my CD longboxes, with the odd exception here and there, are from the early era of the compact disc and were purchased along with the CD. I haven’t sought out longboxes that I never owned but have been tempted from time to time though they aren’t very east to locate)

Anyway, not familiar with CD longboxes?

I guess it depends on how old you are but I certainly remember them as this post will attest. You see CD longboxes were common at the beginning of the CD era.

When CDs were first being sold in stores, sometime around 1983/84, they were taking over retail space from vinyl records. Vinyl records were much taller and wider than CDs so the retail space designed for browsing vinyl didn’t work that well for browsing CDs.

Not only were CDs hard to browse in the bigger retail spaces but they were easier to steal as well.

So the record industry came up with a solution to that problem – the CD longbox. The CD longbox made compact discs fit easier in the old retail space made for vinyl while making it harder to walk out the door with a CD in your purse or coat as the packing was a bit bulkier.

Today I am posting an overview of all of my Beatles CD longboxes that have survived the ravages of time. The oldest ones are now some thirty-five years old – ouch. Hard to believe but it’s true.

I’ve posted photos of several of my CD longboxes previously but someone recently said to me they had never seen all The Beatles CD longboxes so I thought I’d share a post with all my entire Beatles (not solo Beatles, that’s coming up – like a flower) longbox collection.

As you can tell the CD longbox usually contained the same graphics as the CD that came inside but as they became more common they also became more elaborate. The “Sgt. Pepper” CD longbox in the photo above added the artwork of the insert that came with the vinyl album from 1967 which was a bit unusual but nice to see.

Too bad the US didn’t get the groovy small box with the expanded booklet and size of “Sgt. Pepper” CD that the UK got – that was really nice.

I think the rarest CD longbox I own is the box that came with K-Tel’s CD of The Beatles Hamburg live recordings. The CD itself is pretty hard to locate and I’ve never seen the longbox except for the one that I own.

The other fairly rare box is the limited edition longbox for Sam’s Club exclusive CD of “Let it Be … Naked”. I believe that longbox was a Sam’s Club exclusive, though I’m not one hundred percent sure. That box came out in 2003 well after the demise of the CD longbox which happened in the early 1990s so seeing one at that time was not common.

The “Let it Be … Naked” is very cool and I’m glad that I managed to snag a couple of them.

The “Anthology” longboxes above which came out in 1995/96, in two different sizes, also came out after the longbox form had died but were fairly easy to find as stores like Target and Kmart, etc. used these packages to display the then-hot “Anthology” releases.

Well that’s pretty much it for now. Feast your eyes above at the photos of these relics from a different era.

I’m not sure that many people seek these longboxes out but I still think they’re a fun product of a now bygone era. They are physical media remnants that I still enjoy and take out time to time just for the nostalgia factor.

As usual I hope you are well and healthy and see you soon … Same longbox time, same longbox channel!

 

 

 

 

“Love Me Do” at 60 – The Beatles First Single Hits Landmark Anniversary

I can’t believe it but a Beatles anniversary has finally hit the magic sixty year mark  – wow (though yikes may be more like it!).

Sixty years ago today, October 5, 1962, The Beatles first 45 release “Love Me Do”/ “P.S. I Love You” hit stores shelves for the first time in the UK and managed to climb to a respectable #17 in the UK charts.

Now for those who aren’t in the know or weren’t fortunate enough to be there a group from the north of England from an industrial seaport town called Liverpool making any kind of impression on the music charts was an almost unheard of event.

As these past sixty years have shown the group’s breakthrough with “Love Me Do” was just the first of many unheard of and remarkable events that went on to create one of the most popular, influential and long-lasting careers in music for the massively successful, both artistically and commercially, foursome from Liverpool – The Beatles.

I know I do a lot of anniversary posts but this particular anniversary is sobering. Sixty years is a LONG time. It actually boggles the imagination that a pop group from sixty years ago could still garner any kind of press or sales, or nowadays streams, for over sixty years.

Thankfully The Beatles music was fresh enough and good enough to weather six decades while still remaining a vital musical force that still attracts new listeners all these years later.

So today in celebration of “Love Me Do” and The Beatles big 60th anniversary I thought I would share a few photos of some fun “Love Me Do” releases that I have in my collection.

First and foremost is the actual first UK single issue of “Love Me Do”/ “P.S. I Love You”. This 45 is one of the crown jewels of any Beatles collection as it’s really the best way of hearing these two songs.

You see the original UK 45 has the only version of “Love Me Do” with Ringo Starr on drums. There were two versions released in the 1960s, this 45 version as well as the version of “Love Me Do” from the The Beatles first UK LP “Please Please Me”.

(Collector’s note: The original first pressing UK single is on a red parlorphone label. It has been re-released a couple of times on anniversary issues that also use the red label but to see how the original label looks check out the photo above.

The reissues change some of the credits so be careful to check the label thoroughly if you’re trying to purchase an original copy.

The original Red label pressing is becoming quite rare but well worth seeking out as it’s the best source for these two songs.)

Regretfully the version of “Love Me Do” from that LP has Ringo Starr playing tambourine and features session drummer Andy White playing the drums.

As the story goes Beatles producer George Martin had heard the Beatles original drummer Pete Best and  thought he wasn’t a strong enough player for their recording sessions. Best drummed on the Beatles initial EMI recording session which wasn’t used for record release.

Shortly after that first EMI session The Beatles replaced Best with Ringo Starr and though Starr did drum on the version of “Love Me Do” that was released as a 45, before Martin chose that version for the single he brought in session drummer Andy White who played on another version of “Love Me Do” that wound up being released on the LP.

(Note: the LP version of “Love Me Do” was the predominate version of the song until the 20th anniversary release of “Love Me Do” in 1982 which reinstated the Ringo version of the song into more prominence in The Beatles catalog)

To make things a bit stranger while the Ringo version of “Love Me Do” was available for many years on 45 in the UK EMI for some strange reason decided to destroy the master tape featuring Ringo’s version thus the only master tape version  of “Love Me Do” in EMI’s vaults features Andy White’s drumming.

Any version of the original 45 version of “Love Me Do” that has been released since the UK 45 has been dubbed from an original vinyl copy of that first UK 45 version.

Because the master tape is now gone the best way to hear the “Love Me Do” 45 songs is from an actual first issue copy of the single. It’s the closest sound to the original master tape and even though the dubs on CD sound good there is an extra sparkle and warmth on the original 45 that isn’t found on any other version of these two songs.

Plus the original UK 45 of “Love Me Do” features drier mixes of both songs including the version of “P.S. I Love You” which is found on the “Please Please Me” LP (the 45 version of “Love Me Do” is a completely different version anyway but still drier sounding than the LP version).

Still with me LOL?

Anyway there are a few different versions of “Love Me Do” from my collection featured in the photos above including the now thirty year old (double yikes) 1992 UK and US CD 30th anniversary editions of the “Love Me Do” 45 plus a mini CD version from the mini CD box set of “The Beatles Singles Collection” box set.

So Happy 60th to both The Beatles and “Love Me Do”! Here’s to another sixty more years though God knows what the world will look like sixty years from now. I won’t be here but I hope it’s a better world and The Beatles still have a place somewhere in the culture.

That’s all for now.

Until next time be well and see you soon.