Arise Sir Ringo! Knight in a Box – Ringo Record Store Day 45 Box Set


In honor of Richard Starkey (Ringo Starr) being knighted by the Queen of England yesterday I thought I’d celebrate and feature some Ringo love on today’s blog post.

Of course there’s no better way to celebrate any occasion then music and here on my corner of the Internet I’m going to celebrate as I usually do by taking a look at some vinyl –  Ringo vinyl.

Ringo is the second Beatle to receive a knighthood, Paul McCartney received his in 1997, and since being made a knight is quite an honor in the UK I thought it might be a good excuse to take a look at a very nifty Ringo 45 box set that came out a few years ago in 2013 for Record Store Day.

The Ringo 45 box was released in limited quantities (though it’s still not too hard to locate) and featured a sleek black colored box with just a silver star on the front cover with the word Ringo neatly placed in the center.

Inside the box are gorgeous reproductions of three U.S. singles from Ringo’s 1970s hit-making heyday – “It Don’t Come Easy”/”Early 1970”, “Photograph”/”Down and Out” and “(It’s All Down to) Goodnight Vienna”/”Oo-Wee” – that feature lovely reproductions of the original sleeves and labels.

Each of these terrific 45’s look just as they would have had you walked into a record store in the mid-1970’s. Actually, strike that. The covers do look the same but feature a much sturdier cardboard sleeve (unlike the thin paper stock of originals) and thicker vinyl as well.

Not only are the discs and sleeves a bit better quality than the original releases but these singles were newly remastered for this set and the super clean and quiet vinyl is certainly heads above the quality of the vinyl on the 1970’s discs.

Like the recent Ringo Starr Lp reissues from earlier this year these 45’s look impressive with no washed out photos on either the sleeves or the labels and they sound great as well – very nicely done!

The box also features a groovy fold-out poster and a Ringo 45 adapter that comes with the same artwork as the “Photograph” 45.

I know there aren’t as many Beatles fans into collecting Ringo discs as there used to be but these 45’s are so well done that it might be worth hunting down one of these boxes if your a fan of Ringo or The Beatles or ’70s pop/rock.

Anyway, there are some photos above of the Ringo box for all you Ringo fans out there. Take a look at just how nicely the labels and sleeves look – I love me some sweet loooking vinyl!

So, here’s to Sir Ringo, may he live long and prosper! (I know, I know, he’s not a Star Trek cast member but at least it’s got a 60’s ring to it lol!)

Until next time, Peace and Love (Ringo style!!!)







More Around the World – Monkees in Venezuela

Okay, let me start this post with a bit of background.

For years, from say around 1972 to 1985, Monkees records were out of print and not easy to find – at least where I lived. These are what I call the desolate years lol.

This was a time before my city had many used record stores and while used records may have been easier to find at garage sales I wasn’t able to drive until 1981 so it seemed like a barren desert as far as finding new copies of my favorite Monkees albums was concerned.

(Note: I’m just trying to put into context my train of thought as to why I buy multiple copies of the same album. I know, there is a huge therapy bill in my future but at least it makes sense to me!)

Anyway, “More of the Monkees” was the first album I ever owned (I got a copy before  I was three, no joke!) and since I beat my original copy to death playing it over and over again on a small portable record player I’ve spent a lifetime tracking down new and used copies of this album.

Since 1985 there have been several newer reissues of “More of the Monkees” released (both on CD and vinyl) and of course I’ve bought all of those but my favorite finds are vintage vinyl copies whether they are US stereo or mono Colgems copies or RCA pressings from around the world.

Every now and again I do manage to track down an obscure or interesting foreign pressing of “More of the Monkees” and just recently I found a groovy old mono copy of the album from Venezuela!

(Note 2: I must say that I won’t spend a ton of money so the price has to be right or else no deal. At least I’m not completely crazy.)

Now this copy is not in the best of condition, the cover has writing all over the back, but at least the vinyl itself is in very nice shape and cleaned up very nicely.

I must also say that the cardboard they used on the cover is some of the sturdiest cardboard I’ve ever seen on any pressing of this album!  It seems to have survived fairly intact even though it looks like it has had some serious loving over the years.

Since I’ve never come across any Monkees albums from Venezuela I thought it would be fun to post some photos of this nifty mono copy. It’s not actually that different looking from the regular US Colgems copy but I really like it nonetheless. Love those black RCA labels!

In the future anytime I find a cool or unique copy of a Monkees or Beatles album I will post them here so the other vinyl addicts out there can enjoy my fix as well.

Until next time, be well and good luck with your vinyl hunting!





Three HEADs are better than one … Reissues of The Monkees classic soundtrack

Ahhh, The Monkees “HEAD” soundtrack.

Released almost 50 years ago in November 1968, the soundtrack album to The Monkees only movie has grown into something of a cult classic and deservedly so.

The “HEAD” soundtrack album is filled with not only great music but is also edited together so uniquely with dialogue from the film that the record stands by itself as its own unique experience – trippy, random and odd yet completely mesmerizing.

Songs like “Porpoise Song (Theme from “HEAD”), “As We Go Along”, “Circle Sky”, “Can You Dig It?” and “Long Title: Do I Have to Do This All Over Again” are among the strongest music The Monkees ever recorded and stand out as being some of the most hard-edged songs both lyrically and musically in their catalog.

Now I have been a fan of The Monkees music since I was practically able to speak but for some reason I discovered the HEAD soundtrack several years after having owned and played to death all the other original albums released during the group’s heyday in the 1960s.

Oddly enough  I owned the more obscure “Present” and “Changes” albums right after they were released in 1969 and 1970 but for some reason I didn’t stumble upon a copy of the HEAD soundtrack until the summer of 1976.

I do vividly remember seeing the funhouse-like reflective “HEAD” album cover for the first time when a local record store owner named Smoky Montgomery (of Smoky’s Record Shop) pulled the album out of a box he had of old stock new albums he keep upstairs in his small record store.

I had seen the HEAD album cover on the Colgems inner sleeve that was placed inside the later Monkees albums but didn’t know the cover looked like a mirror and I certainly had no idea what was in store for me when I first put the record on the turntable and played it!

Everything from the cover to the dialogue to the music stood out to me from all the other Monkees albums I owned and I remember playing this album over and over again like it was a newly released Monkees album, a feeling I wouldn’t be able to repeat until the group reformed in 1986.

To this day I find new bits and pieces to enjoy in the dialogue and music on the HEAD soundtrack every time I play it and much like the film its from the HEAD soundtrack has no conventional story but conveys a different narrative feeling each time you play it.

Anyway, above I have pictured three of my favorite reissues of the HEAD album that  I own.

You may see the photo of the Colgems version of HEAD above and say ‘reissue?’ but it is indeed the first reissue of the album – see the RE in the top right had corner of the album?

The first issue of the album in 1968 spelled songwriter and producer Gerry Goffin’s first name as Jerry. This little known reissue copy corrects the spelling of his name thus the RE on the cover.

I had never even heard of this reissue until I stumbled across this copy online a few years ago. The seller had photos of the album and must have had no idea it was a rare version of the album. I was puzzled myself but ordered it because I had never seen a copy with RE on the cover.

To this day I’ve never found another copy of this Colgems RE version and don’t know how many were pressed or when.

I’m guessing it must have come out in 1969 when Colgems changed their logo on the early Monkees albums and I can’t imagine there were very many pressed as HEAD wasn’t one of The Monkees bigger selling albums.

Nevertheless It’s one of my favorite Monkees Colgems pressings and the vinyl itself is practically near mint though the cover is a bit worn but in VG condition.

The other two HEAD vinyl copies above are both colored vinyl – one (the clear one) from the 50th Anniversary Rhino Classic Album Collection and the other (the gold one) is the Friday Music Alternate HEAD Lp which contains alternate versions of the music from HEAD taken from the three CD Rhino box set from a few years ago.

All three versions above sound great and are must have if you’re a Monkees collector.

If you’ve never heard of the Colgems HEAD RE version, keep an eye out for it if you see a used copy of the HEAD album. I know I do as I’d love to find one in NM condition though I think the odds are fairly low of finding it again as I this is the only one I’ve ever seen!

Until next time, be well.

More 50th anniversary Beatles and Monkees posts coming soon!









Monkees on Laser – Rarely Seen Monkees LaserDiscs


Monkees LaserDiscs?

Never heard of LaserDiscs you say?

Okay, let’s hit rewind and take a quick look at the LaserDisc and why on earth anyone would have owned them.

You see LaserDiscs were a format of video first released in the late 1970s and were in production until the dawn of the DVD era with the last North American LaserDisc being produced in 2000.

The LaserDisc looked like a giant compact disc and contained video as well as audio.

Usually the discs were two-sided and contained movies, TV series, concerts and documentaries and were aimed at video enthusiasts who wanted the best quality copy of their favorite movies or TV shows or what have you that they could purchase.

The main advantage of the LaserDisc was that it had much superior video and audio quality as compared to VHS tapes which were the most popular video format competing with LaserDiscs at the time – that is until the creation of the DVD.

Now I have a little bit more of a sentimental attachment to LaserDiscs then most as my father was an electrical engineer for Magnavox back in the 1970s and he brought one of the machines home (with a LaserDisc containing the movie “Jaws”) for awhile and we got to see the amazing video quality of the LaserDisc before the players hit the market.

We tested Maganavox equipment from time to time but I distinctly remember being AMAZED at this crazy new format and how cool it was to watch a movie at home. I saw the LaserDisc  player way before we had an VHS player so the LaserDisc was implanted in my mind as THE video format.

Anyway, this brings me to Monkees LaserDiscs.

As you can imagine, I too had a LaserDisc player (surprise, surprise) that I bought somewhere in the 1990s and purchased Monkees and Beatles discs as well as a few movies and other fun stuff that came out on the LaserDisc format.

The Monkees discs I’ve pictured above are a remnant of the few years I was into the LaserDisc.

I still have my LaserDisc player, which works, but rarely hook it up nowadays but I’ve managed to transfer these Monkees discs to recordable DVDs and still watch them from time to time and I must say the quality is still pretty darn good.

The recent Blu-Ray release of The Monkees TV series blows these discs away but they’re on par with the quality of the Rhino DVD sets that are still in print. In fact, the two Rhino LaserDiscs pictured above are from the same transfer as the DVDs and look pretty much the same which tells you why video enthusiasts liked the LaserDisc format.

The major downside of the LaserDisc format was the weight of the discs (you think records are heavy!) and that it was a pain to have to switch sides constantly unless you had a high end player which flipped the sides for you.

And of course LaserDiscs were really expensive which was most likely the reason the format never gained too much traction in the marketplace.

So, take a look at the Monkees LaserDiscs I still own.

You rarely see them these days and I thought it might be a fun thing for Monkees fans to see or for anyone curious about LaserDiscs.

Until next time be well pass the popcorn, it feels like time to watch some TV …






The Beatles 1962-1970 – The “Red ” and “Blue” albums on CD

The Beatles are one of the only rock groups who would need two, count them two, double albums to cover their greatest hits!

First released in 1973, these collections called “The Beatles 1962-1966” (the ‘Red’ album) and “The Beatles 1967-1970” (the ‘Blue’ album) cover the entire span of The Beatles recording career and have been huge sellers in all formats they’ve been released on from vinyl to 8-Tracks to compact disc and even the dreaded download (he said with a smirk).

They’re a great place to start if you’re new to The Beatles music and they’ve served as great starting points for several generations of “Fab Four” freaks – me included.

You see the first Beatles record I ever owned was the “1962-1966” set which I got in 1975, a couple years after it was released. I remember staring at the front and back cover of the album as it played and being amazed at how much the band’s image had changed over such a short time.

Of course I knew most but not all of the songs already and played that set over and over again that year as my love of the Fabs music grew from a spark into a raging wildfire!

I loved the early years of The Beatles so much that the next Beatles album I acquired was an Apple pressing of the Capitol album “The Beatles’ Second Album”. I didn’t get the “1967-1970” collection until a couple of years later but I remember checking it out from my local library before I bought it.

At that young age, nine years old, I liked a lot of the songs on the “Blue” set but was kind of perplexed by some of the more adventurous tunes like “Strawberry Fields Forever” and “I Am the Walrus”.

By 1977 The Beatles later years had become some of my favorite music they ever produced and I ended up playing the “Blue” set a bit more than the “Red” one over time but my love of all things Beatles started with the “1962-1966” set so it has always remained a favorite of mine to this day.

Nowadays I tend to reach for a specific Beatles albums when I want a “Fab” fix because there’s so much more to The Beatles catalog then just their hits but I have to admit that these two collections hold a special place in my heart for sure.

Today I’m highlighting the CD versions of these sets that have been released over the years along with some groovy promo CDs that were put out to promote them.

The first time these albums made it to store shelves in CD form was 1993 and I remember fans being very perturbed that the “Red” set was released as a two CD set when in fact it could fit onto just one CD.

The Beatles company Apple stated that they wanted the albums to go out as they originally did on vinyl as double sets but that didn’t sit well with most hardcore fans though of course these CDs ended up selling well of course.

I wasn’t too concerned about the two CD controversy as I was (and still am) a rabid Beatles collector and very sentimental about these albums and welcomed their release on CD.

The thing I really loved about the 1993 CD version of the “Red” album was that it was the first time five early Beatles songs were released on CD in stereo – “All My Loving”, Can’t Buy Me Love”, “A Hard Day’s Night”, “And I Love Her” and “Eight Days a Week”.

I LOVED hearing the stereo versions of these songs and it whetted my appetite for all The Beatles early albums to be released on CD in stereo.

(Note: in 1993 the first four Beatles albums were only available on CD in mono and Apple at the time wasn’t too concerned about getting early Beatles music out on CD in stereo though this was a step in the right direction)

I still think these five tracks sound really nice on the 1993 CD especially “A Hard Day’s Night” which is the best stereo version of this song available on the CD format (the 2010 remaster is a bit too muted compared to this version).

The “Red” and “Blue” sets were re-issued again in 2010 this time taken from the 2009 remasters of The Beatles work in which all stereo and mono mixes were made available on CD.

I tend to reach for the 2010 remastered versions of these sets if I play them as I think overall the 2009 remasters sound great.

Of course my CD of choice for these albums are the lovely 2014 Japanese SHM-CD mini-lp CDs versions of these sets that have been released as limited editions in the Land of the Rising Sun.

I’m not going to go over the whole “do SHM-CD’s sound better bit” but needless to say these sets LOOK fantastic as they faithfully re-create the original UK vinyl versions of these albums to a tee down to the correct inner sleeves and disc labels.

If you’re going to collect physical media then why not get the best and most attractive versions of your favorite music – says the great rationale(r) lol.

As usual above you can see photos of all these CD variations I’ve mentioned in this blog post.

I’ve also thrown in two promo CDs for these sets that came out in 1993 to promote the original CD releases of these albums.

The first promo CD is a radio sampler featuring six songs from the “Red” and “Blue” sets and the other one is a UK promo CD that features a nice interview with Beatles producer George Martin talking about various songs on both albums.

You don’t see the interview promo CD much these days so I thought other Beatles collectors might get a kick out of seeing it.

Hopefully you’ll enjoy this Beatles geekout on these two wonderful collections and if you’ve never sampled any Beatles music these two sets are a great place to start even if you’re not into physical media and want to sample them online.

And if you do want to dip your toes into the physical media water these two sets are plentiful in used bins around the country in either vinyl or CD so this again makes a great place to start a Beatles fixation … err, collection.

Until next time, be well and sit back and relax with one of these albums playing in the background – ahhh!!!






Happy 75th George Harrison! – “Concert for George” 2018 2 CD/2 Blu-Ray Review


Happy Birthday Mr. George Harrison!

Tomorrow, February 25th would have been George Harrison’s 75th birthday (he passed away in 2001) and to celebrate I thought I’d post a review of a new 2 CD/2 Blu-Ray reissue that just came out featuring Harrison’s music – “Concert for George”.

The Concert for George took place at the Royal Albert Hall in the London on November 29, 2002 and was a celebration of the life and music of George Harrison that featured a host of Harrison’s famous friends (and legendary musicians) playing Harrison’s music and sharing personal memories of him.

The concert performers included former Beatles band mates Paul McCartney and Ringo Starr as well as Harrison’s Traveling Wilbury cohorts Jeff Lynne (of ELO fame) and Tom Petty (and the Heartbreakers) as well as Harrison’s dear friend Eric Clapton plus Bill Preston and Harrison’s only son Dhani Harrison.

Needless to say the concert is a stellar representation of George Harrison’s music that features some of my favorite live performances from Paul McCartney (“For You Blue”, “Something” and “All Things Must Pass”) and Ringo Starr (“Photograph” and “Honey Don’t”) as well as a killer live version of “While My Guitar Gently Weeps” that features not only McCartney and Starr but Eric Clapton who played guitar on The Beatles original studio recording.

Really all the performers shine in this concert and it’s an emotional and joyful celebration and a perfect tribute to the life and music of George Harrison.

In observance of Harrison’s 75th birthday, the George Harrison estate decided to reissue “Concert for George” in several new configurations.

The “Concert for George” had previously been issued by Rhino Records in 2003 (CD and DVD) and 2011 (Blu-Ray) but the new versions released yesterday include: CD, 2 CD/2 DVD set, 2 CD/ 2 Blu-Ray set and 4 Lp vinyl set as well as a sold out more expensive vinyl set with deluxe extras that was available strictly through

Now, I own the previous versions of this set and was not really overexcited by this re-release but I did manage to pick up a copy of the new 2 CD/ 2 Blu-Ray set to compare and see if there was any improvements to previous releases.

The most recent release of this concert from 2011, a 2 Blu-Ray set, was my preferred version of this concert – until now.

While the credits in the booklet only mention a remastering of the audio (I think) I compared the Blu-Ray’s in the new set to the 2011 version and I could see a definite improvement in the clarity of the picture on this new set.

The old one was no slouch but it did tend to look a bit blurrier on certain shots and softer then this new set.

I particularly noticed things like the fabric and light on the backdrop of the stage on the first rock song “I Want to Tell You” seemed to stand out more with better clarity and texture.

I also noticed that Ringo Starr’s jacket was a richer shade of red and again seemed clearer than the previous Blu-Ray and McCartney’s clothes also seemed to have a sharpness that was somewhat lacking in the previous Blu-Ray version.

Not to say the previous one was bad and that it’s a night and day difference but the new Blu-Ray set was a joy to watch and going back and forth with the old Blu-Ray seemed to confirm that the new set overall had better clarity for sure.

The sound on every edition is superb and the new set is no different. I’ve always liked the sound on the Blu-Rays better then the CDs which is still the case here.

The CD version is a bit flatter or glassy sounding to me compared to the surround version on the Blu-Ray but not bad by any means.

I didn’t notice a huge difference in sound quality on the new CD version but will have to spend more time with it to see if it’s much different at all.

I will say if you’ve never seen or bought this concert before then this new set is a MUST as it’s a terrific concert filled with one stellar performance after another.

If you own previous versions it’s not night and day better but I do think the new Blu-Ray’s do look better. It’s up to whether or not you’re a huge fan of Harrison or his music (or if you have ‘collectoritis’ like me) as to whether it’s worth buying this once again.

As usual there are photos above of the new set and a couple of screen shots which unfortunately won’t help you see the crispness of the picture but I thought I’d throw them in for grins anyway.

Even if you don’t get this set take a minute tomorrow to play a George Harrison song or two in celebration of Harrison’s 75th.

Until next time, you say it’s your birthday




Wouldn’t It Be Nice – Beach Boys “Pet Sounds” 2018 Colored Vinyl Review


Okay, what do you think of when I say The Beach Boys?

Surf? Sun? Surf boards?

Well, there’s much more to The Beach Boys music than “Fun, Fun Fun” and “Surfer Girl”.

Don’t get me wrong, I LOVE the early Beach Boys records but if you look beyond the classic surf-themed hits you’ll find a treasure trove of some of the most original and creatively written (and produced) pop music EVER!

Yes, I said ever.

You see Brian Wilson (the main Beach Boys songwriter and producer) is one of the most talented and complex figures of the rock era and he spearheaded the creation of what some say may be one of the best pop albums ever made and I’m inclined to agree with that statement.

In 1966, Wilson created the landmark Beach Boys album “Pet Sounds” which featured not only some of the best songs The Beach Boys ever recorded including “God Only Knows”, “Wouldn’t it Be Nice”, “I Just Wasn’t Made for These Times”, “I Know There’s an Answer” and “Caroline, No” but some of the most unique production and arrangement choices that to this day are still impressive.

For those of you out there who’ve never listened to the “Pet Sounds” album beyond its three big hits, the album is full of subject matter (and melodies) that embrace introspection and melancholy just as much as joy and cheerfulness which were the trademarks of Beach Boys music up until around 1965.

Wilson has said that the “Pet Sounds” album came from God and one certainly gets a sense of the spirit or at least a sense of self-discovery when listening to the album – at least I experience the album that way.

I’ve been a fan of “Pet Sounds” since I discovered it in the late 1970s and have owned it in several different configurations (shocking I know lol).

I own this album in box set form (two to be exact), gold CD (also two), DVD-A audio disc with surround sound and a special 40th anniversary edition with a fuzzy cover but for some strange reason I’ve never owned this album on vinyl – until now.

Just this month Universal Music (who now owns and releases The Beach Boys music) has offered a limited pressing of 2,000 copies of “Pet Sounds” on green and yellow vinyl exclusively from this Website –

Well of course that was just enough to push me over the edge, the collector in me won out and I finally bought this new colored vinyl edition which I received in the mail this week.

This new 2018 pressing features the stereo version of the album that was created in the late 1990s.  Brian Wilson only made a mono mix of the album originally and that’s my preferred choice for listening to “Pet Sounds” but I must say I’ve grown to really enjoy this stereo version as well.

I am used to hearing the stereo version on CD and I originally thought it was just okay until it was reissued by the MFSL label a few years ago and I found that version much more warm and musical sounding.

This new 2018 pressing sounds much like the MFSL stereo version, warm and smooth and with a nice depth to the sound stage, which is different from the more closed in mono mix but just as enjoyable. I’d say that both the mono and stereo versions are equally enjoyable ways of listening to the album – just different.

In fact I’d now say this vinyl version is my preferred way of hearing the stereo mix of the album as it is even warmer sounding than the CD versions yet still very dynamic.

I read online someone else had bought this new colored vinyl version and said it was dreadful – super noisy with lots of distortion. I must say that on my first play of this 2018 pressing I too was shocked at how much noise and dirt seemed to be present on the vinyl.

Luckily after three cleanings and letting it dry for a couple of days I returned to play the album and found it sounded just great! I’m kind of dismayed that this nice limited edition pressing would come out of the pressing plant so dirty but once it was cleaned it sounded just fine.

There was just a tad bit of crinkle on at the beginning of side 1 but after that the rest of the album was practically noise free and really wonderful sounding.

If you’re a fan of the album or The Beach Boys and want to grab one of these before they’re gone just remember to give it a really good cleaning before you play it.

Everything else about this vinyl version is just fine – nice sturdy cover with lovely colors and not blurry at all and the vinyl has this nice sea of green spilling into the yellow in waves on my copy which looks lovely.

Take a peak at the 2018 vinyl in the photos above.

As I said I will feature more about “Pet Sounds” and other Beach Boys release in future blog posts.

Until then be well and TTFN