“A Hard Day’s Night” in France and Mexico

There’s nothing more exciting in Beatledom than the blaring of the opening chord from the song “A Hard Day’s Night”.

That chord signaled all the excitement and energy of early Beatlemania and I never get tired of hearing it.

Today I’m going to take a look at two fairly rare albums in my collection that feature songs from “A Hard Day’s Night” – “4 Garcons Dans Le Vent – Chansons Du Film” (Odeon LSO 101 S) from France and “The Beatles Vol. 4” (Musart D-945) from Mexico.

Both of these albums are in mono and both highlight the music from “A Hard Day’s Night”.

The French Lp is a clone of the UK mono Lp while the Mexican Lp is sort of a cross between the US “Something New” Lp (same front over artwork) and “A Hard Day’s Night” featuring a shortened version of the UK Lp with “Long Tall Sally” thrown in for good measure.

I actually stumbled upon both albums in the last year or so and luckily both albums were pretty inexpensive and both are in excellent shape!

The French Lp plays super quiet and is a superb pressing! It sounds pretty much equal to a first pressing UK mono “A Hard Day’s Night” with a nice warm and punchy sound and not a pop or scratch in sight.

I looked online and it seems this pressing may come from around 1966 but I’m not positive.

I have a couple of other French pressings from the 1970’s which also sound nice so it’s definitely worth tracking down pressings made in France as they sound wonderful. Love the cover art too with the nice flipback style sleeve and nice pictures from the film on the rear cover.

The Musart “Beatles Vol. 4” album I guess is fairly rare. I found it at an antique store a couple of hours from where I live and couldn’t pass picking it up as I’ve never seen any Musart Lp’s in person and it was in such great shape I simply had to buy it! (I do love to rationale all record purchases!)

The Lp plays really nice with just a few pops and crackles occasionally but nothing that would distract from enjoying it.

I would say its a tad bit more muted sounding than the French Lp, maybe a generation removed from the tape source used for the France pressing, but still extremely nice sounding and a fun listen.

I love the artwork on the Mexican cover and especially love the Musart yellow sticker attached to the back of the jacket. I also have to say that the cover for this Lp is also one of the sturdiest covers I’ve seen on any Beatles Lp – very thick cardboard and very durable.

Both albums have that nice analog warmth and are probably cut from tube equipment which some folks may find duller sounding but I think sounds just great. For some reason some pressings of “A Hard Day’s Night” sound very thin with a bit too much treble but I found both of these to sound just right.

As usual I’ve put up a gallery of photos of both albums (above) as you rarely see these albums posted online and usually never with the labels and inner sleeves which are fun to peruse.

Enjoy this trip around the world with “A Hard Day’s Night” and future posts will highlight other Beatles albums I own from around the globe.

TTFN until the next time!







Billy Shears in Vienna … Ringo Starr 2018 vinyl reissues of “Ringo” and “Goodnight Vienna”

Well his name is Billy Shears and it certainly has been for so many years.

Do you know who I’m talking about?

Ringo. Ringo Starr. Drummer for The Beatles?

It’s hard to imagine now but in 1973/74 Ringo Starr was not only known for being one fourth of The Beatles, he was also a virtual hit-making machine with a steady stream of radio friendly hits filling the airwaves.

In the first few years after The Beatles broke up, Ringo had one of the best hit-making averages of all the ex-Beatles, just behind Paul McCartney. Nowadays Starr tends to be forgotten as a hit-maker in his own right but in the early 1970’s he was huge!

“It’s Don’t Come Easy” and “Back Off Boogaloo” landed in the Top Ten in 1971 and 1972 respectively and then the dam really began to break in 1973 with the release of Starr’s acclaimed “Ringo” album which produced another three Top Ten hits.

By the end of 1974, Ringo had amassed seven Top Ten hits singles as well as two smash hit albums – 1973’s “Ringo” album and 1974’s “Goodnight Vienna”.

Those two albums (“Ringo” and “Goodnight Vienna”) are considered by many to be the artistic peak of Starr’s entire solo musical career and held up to this day as the yardstick to which his work is measured.

(Note: in my opinion Ringo’s later career albums from 1992 to today have produced work equal to these albums but these two are certainly among his best).

The “Ringo” album was Starr’s first true rock album (his first two solo albums featured standards and country tunes) and also featured a slew of famous musicians helping Ringo out.

Of course it didn’t hurt that the “Ringo” album also happened to be the closet thing the four ex-Beatles came to making a reunion album.

All four Beatles played and wrote songs for the “Ringo” album including one track, the Lennon-penned “I’m the Greatest”, that featured all the ex-Beatles (minus McCartney) playing together in the studio at the same time.

Produced by Richard Perry, the “Ringo” album is chock full of great tunes and terrific performances including two number one singles ,”You’re Sixteen” and “Photograph”, as well as the Top Ten smash'”Oh My My”.

1974’s “Goodnight Vienna” followed the same formula as the “Ringo” album (produced by Perry with ex-Beatles and famous friends helping out in the studio) and while successful didn’t quite reach the heights of its predecessor though still producing two more Top Ten hits “Only You (And You Alone)” and “No No Song”.

Now all these years later in 2018 these two stellar Ringo albums have been reissued on sparkling new 180-gram vinyl pressings.

Pressed in France, these two reissues came out last Friday (February 9th) and not only sound amazing but have some of the best reproductions of covers and labels I’ve ever seen on solo Beatles releases.

Both albums have bright, clear covers with nice color reproduction and every detail correct down to the nice booklet that came with the “Ringo” album and the specialty labels for each album looking as good if not better than original pressings.

(Note 2: the booklet in the “Ringo” album is printed on glossy paper stock not textured like originals but still looks terrific).

And the vinyl sounds superb – nice and quiet pressings and lovely sound. I’ll have to drag out my original pressings to compare but I doubt the originals sound dramatically better as these discs sound great to my ears.

It’s nice to see these two albums treated so respectfully and well worth tracking down if you’re a fan of Ringo’s work and are looking for stellar vinyl copies to play and enjoy.

As usual I took several photos (above) of both albums. Take a look and see how nice these reissues turned out.

Other Ringo Starr albums have been reissued on vinyl recently but these two reissues are head and shoulders above the others not to mention being better albums as well.

Until next time – Goodnight Vienna!