A Beatles Late October CD Roundup: “Abbey Road” 2 SHM-CD set and Paul McCartney “Hey Grandude!” Book on CD Edition

 

 

Okay, I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again. I LOVE SHM-CD’s!

I know, I know, many out there in sanity land (the majority of people) think it’s crazy to buy these Japanese versions of CD’s that you can buy at any store in the U.S. but I swear they sound better.

I don’t know what’s going on – wishful thinking, psychosis or what – but sometimes when I buy these SHM-CD versions I’m surprised at just how smooth and clear they sound as compared to the regular CD versions.

This latest blog is the perfect example.

I just got the 2 SHM-CD version of The Beatles recent “Abbey Road” Deluxe 2 CD set with the first CD containing the 2019 remix and the second CD containing some choice outtakes from the sessions and i must say it’s impressive.

Not only does it sound great but as usual the Japanese version is made and packaged better than the standard CD issues which seem to me to be getting more cheaply made which leads to problems playing them as I have seen reported online.

This new SHM-CD set plays well and looks like much more care was taken in its production which alone makes the SHM-CD version worth tracking down in my humble opinion.

When I first sat down to listen to the set I surprised at how much better I liked the 2019 remix on this SHM-CD as compared to the standard CD. First off it didn’t seem quite as loud to me. For example when I played the remix disc in the big set (see my previous post of the 3 CD/Blu-Ray “Abbey Road” set) it sounded very pumped and in your face.

This new SHM-CD didn’t hit me in the same way. It sounds much more in line with the blu-ray from that big set which definitely sounds better than its CD counterpart.

I don’t do the technical waveform readings that I see online so I can only go by my ears but my ears tell me this new SHM-CD sounds better than the regular CD pressing for sure and certainly better than the 2019 remix CD disc from the big set.

Playing this new Japanese version has made me a much bigger fan of the remix as I feel I can take it in more and enjoy it more than the regular CD version. It feels a bit more relaxed to listen to and while a bit loud not quite as loud as the regular CD version.

I said a coupe of blogs ago when I reviewed the big “Abbey Road” set that this new 2019 remix was my least favorite of the recent Beatles album remixes but as time has gone on I think it’s now my favorite.

The 2019 remix isn’t a drastic remix but adds more clarity and I enjoy the way the background vocals pop out unexpectedly on certain songs and the small differences in the placement of instruments that it makes this album seem to come alive to me in a fresh way.

To me the original mix will always be the canon version but I truly can say that I love this new remix and would love to see a remix like this for both “Let it Be” and most certainly my favorite Beatles album “Revolver”.

I’m not always a fan of the remix phenomena but if they’re done as well as this disc then I’m excited to see more. I certainly hope these don’t replace the original mixes as they are a time capsule of their creation but these new mixes can be fun.

Besides my now triple dip into the new “Abbey Road” experience I also managed to get a hold of the new Book on CD for Paul McCartney’s new picture book “Hey Grandude!” I haven’t bitten the bullet and bought the actual book yet as I would rarely ever read it but I read online that there was a CD version read by McCartney himself with some new McCartney incidental music on it so I thought why not?

I didn’t see the CD version available stateside but it is readily available online from Amazon UK. If you’re a McCartney fan I’d say definitely try and track it down as it’s a lot of fun.

On first listen I was pleasantly surprised at how much I enjoyed playing the “Hey Grandude!” CD. It’s only about 11 minutes long but features McCartney doing an excellent job of reading and acting out his book along with some typically lovely McCartney guitar noodling.

Though I wouldn’t say it’s quite a full song the short guitar piece he does play is very melodic and enjoyable and sounds great. Besides any time I get to hear some new McCartney music is fine by me!

Well there you have it. A late October Beatles collecting update. For those of you out there who still enjoy physical media there’s a lot of Beatles goodies to feast on lately and these two gems should be on your list for sure if you decide to track them down.

There are the usual photos above so feast your eyes and enjoy.

Until next time be well  …. “And in the end, the love you take is equal to the love you make”.

 

 

A Partridge Flies Solo – David Cassidy “The Bell Years 1972-74” 4-CD Set

Can I be honest here?

Growing up I was a huge fan of The Partridge Family (as I’ve stated many times before). To this day I still enjoy pulling out those old recordings with the lush vocals of both David Cassidy as well as the background singers. It was Class A, old school ’70’s pop music, the likes of which will probably never come again. Ahhh what could be better.

BUT, having said that, I was never really a fan of Cassidy’s solo work from that same time period all that much … until recently.

Back in the day I had his “Cherish” 45 which I always loved (it really could have been a Partridge Family track for sure) and also owned vinyl pressings of “Rock Me Baby” and “Dreams Are Nuthin’ More Than Wishes”. But truth be told though they both kind of left me flat.

Where were the lush vocals? Why was Cassidy’s voice so much more raw? Why did his voice sound so, so .. different?

In my younger years I was all about pure Top Forty pop and didn’t really give these fine albums a chance. They were somewhat like the Partridge recordings but more rock oriented which Cassidy obviously wanted but as for me – meh.

So with David Cassidy’s untimely passing in late 2017 I decided to try his solo work once again. I bought these albums on CD (as well as his RCA work) and decided to give them a reexamination.

Boy am I glad I did! This time I was really impressed – they were actually pretty darn good. And Cassidy’s vocals though different from his Partridge persona were also mighty fine. Damn fine in fact.

This brings me to the latest reissue of David Cassidy’s solo work – “The Bell Years 1972-74” from Cherry Red Records in the UK.

It’s a four CD set and contains all of the Bell Records solo albums Cassidy recorded in his Partridge Family years and includes the following albums: “Cherish”, “Rock Me Baby”, “Dreams Are Nuthin’ More Than Wishes” and “Cassidy Live!”.

This nifty set comes in a small cardboard case and all four CDs are represented in lovely mini-lp style cardboard sleeves that replicate the original vinyl pressings.

The real bonus for Cassidy fans are three bonus tracks from Bell 45’s – “All I Wanna Do is Touch You” (the flip-side of “Cherish”), and the 1974 single “If I Didn’t Care”/”Frozen Noses”. Both “All I Wanna Do is Touch You” and “Frozen Noses” are making their CD debut here and are enough to justify getting the set alone as they are truly fine performances.

If you’re a Partridge Family fan the “Cherish” album most certainly will be appealing as it’s basically a Partridge album done under Cassidy’s name. Same type of songs, same producer and same background singers.

It’s really on the “Rock Me Baby” and “Dreams Are Nuthin’ More Than Wishes” albums where Cassidy changes his vocal approach to a more rock oriented and less polished sound. In my younger years that bothered me but now these alums sound fresh and fun and boy could Cassidy sing any style of music well.

Of all the albums in this set, it’s really the “Cassidy Live!” album that surprised me most. I never knew this album existed growing up and I was really thinking I might hate it. I’ve seen footage of Cassidy live in the ’70’s and it seemed to me that he sounded rushed and breathless and couldn’t be heard well over the din of screaming.

What a surprise when I finally popped this CD in that not only did it sound really nice, the best mastering of the four CDs in the set, but it was a truly fine live recording that really showcases how good Cassidy was as a live performer in his prime.

By keeping the track listing light on well known hits this live album comes across as a nice sampler of Cassidy’s solo work from the early ’70’s with songs like “It’s Preying on My Mind”, “Some Kind of Summer” and covers of “How Can I Be Sure” and “For What It’s Worth” really standing out and feature Cassidy as a truly talented rock performer.

As for the rest of the set, the mastering is decent though it sounds like it’s slightly tweaked versions of the CDs that were put out by Sony. They are a bit loud but I think they sound somewhat better than the earlier CD reissues of some of these albums by 7T’s Records (a division of Cherry Red Records).

As for the bonus tracks I can’t tell if “All I Wanna Do is Touch You” is a needledrop as it sounds like a mono mix like the original 45 but if it is it still sounds nice here. Both “If I Didn’t Care” and “Frozen Noses” though sound like they come from a tape source and in fact the booklet (above) shows a photo of a tape box for these songs so I’m guessing that’s the case.

For the price, if you are curious about exploring David Cassidy’s solo recordings and are still a fan of physical media and/or Cassidy then it’s well worth your time to look this set up.

It has a lovely small booklet that comes inside the box and the mini-lp’s sure do make it feel as though your stepping back in time – for me at least anyway.

I can see why I didn’t take to these albums in the ’70’s and why they didn’t sell as well as The Partridge Family albums. Cassidy was trying to stretch out and become his own performer leaving the pure pop behind somewhat.

Too bad I didn’t pay more attention at the time as these records are really quite good. Cassidy sings them so well and the material is mostly first rate as well.

Better late then never and it’s always fun for me to discover some “new” pop nuggets from the ’70’s as they sure are a much needed respite from the crazy fake news world we live in now.

Well that’s all for this blog from my side of the Web.

As usual you can catch some photos of this set (above) and until next time be well and enjoy the early Fall!