Another Brick in the Wall – The Beatles “The Capitol Albums Vol. 1 and 2” U.S. CD Sets (Brick Style Packaging)

Well, there’s certainly been a lot going on in the world since I last posted here just a few weeks ago.

During the first week of March there were just a few Coronavirus cases in the States but I knew that things would be getting bad. The horror show that’s developed across the U.S. (the entire world for that matter) plus all the closings and panic have cast a terribly dark pale over everyone’s daily lives.

One of the few things that helps me escape such stress is of course music.

While I can’t control the raging of the world outside of my own back door I can help pass a bit of distraction along that might help folks, even if it’s just for a few minutes, take a mental breather from the world.

Today I thought I’d share what to me are two of the best Beatles CD box sets that ever came out in the CD format – “The Beatles – The Capitol Albums Vol. 1 and 2”.

Many moons ago I did a post here that focused on “The Capitol Albums Vol. 2″  and detailed the story of its mono mix mishap and showed a copy of the set in the tall, slim packaging.

Today  I am posting photos of both Vol. 1 and Vol. 2 in the smaller size packaging also known as the brick style because of its small brick like compact size.

As I stated in my earlier post these two sets comprise eight Beatles albums that came out in America in 1964 and 1965 on the Capitol Records label, The Beatles ultimate U.S. record label.

The thing that makes these sets unique is that they are the only place on can find these eight Capitol Beatles albums in their authentic 1964 and 1965 U.S. mixes that feature duophonic stereo (fake stereo created from a mono recording), reverb a plenty (a Capitol Records trademark) as well as unique U.S. album covers, song selections and mixes.

There have been many, many debates by Beatles fans as to whether or not Capitol Records debased or helped The Beatles music by creating these unique American Lps but as time goes on I think they’re much like classic black and white movies – they are of a time and a place and should be preserved for future generations as a true timepiece of their era.

Plus even though they are dupohonic songs like “I Want to Hold Your Hand” and “She Loves You” just rock like crazy in all their fake stereo glory. The entire “The Beatles Second Album” in fact sounds glorious in its heavily echoed state which is worth checking out as it’s a totally different listening experience than the British versions of those songs on the UK records.

All of these albums actually sound pretty good though a bit distorted here and there but again there’s something special about listening to these two sets as they are exactly how first generation American fans heard this music as well as many second generation fans like myself so they do indeed hold a special place in the hearts of millions.

By the way, the Vol. 2 set pictured above is the first edition with the wrong mono mixes for the “Beatles VI” and “Rubber Soul” albums. I’m a freaky completest so of course I hung onto this set but it’s well  worth tracking down the corrected set with the authentic mono mixes if you’re so inclined (see my long ago post on Vol.2 with the search engine above).

So feast your eyes on these two beautiful sets above and if you’re lucky enough to own one or both today would be the perfect time to take them out for a spin to help ease your mind in these troubled times. Of course any time is a good time to go time traveling but today seems more appropriate then ever.

Hopefully you are all well and safe and until next time be careful out there!

Ta Ta for now.



Dreams Are Nuthin’ More Than … Vacation Finds Part 2

Well, I must say the vinyl revival has really brought old albums out of the woodwork.

I’ve been on vacation this past week and as per usual I’ve found myself in several small thrift and antique stores trolling the shelves for all things vinyl.  A few years ago I might find an old vinyl album here or there but nowadays you find vinyl EVERYWHERE!

I mean I visited some really small and out of the way places this week and even in a store that was stocked with mainly clothes and weird oddities there happened to be a box of vinyl … or two.

And not just crap vinyl but some really choice nuggets worth buying.

Case in point, I was meandering through a small store making my way outside when I spotted a small box of vinyl. Now who in the world would have thought there’d be a promo copy of a David Cassidy album plus another Cassidy album in the shrink wrap, I ask you?

The owner of the shop didn’t even seem to know she had any vinyl as she was surprised when I brought them up to buy. She was under 30 and asked was this the guy from The Partridge Family as her mom had a crush on him when she was young.

When she was young, ouch lol. That’s what forty some years does for you.

Anyway, it’s pretty tough to find Bell Records promo copies and to find one for under $5 is a great day – for me anyway. Both Cassidy albums were under $5 actually so bingo another fun find for the day.

To be honest the promo copy I bought of David Cassidy’s 1973 album “Dreams Are Nuthin’ More Than Wishes” wasn’t in mint shape mind you, far from it.

It was missing the portrait that’s supposed to slide out of the front cover and someone decided to be an artist on the front cover and labels but the vinyl was in decent shape.

Actually the vinyl looked as if it had never been cleaned so I wondered how it would sound. Luckily it cleaned up very nicely and as usual this promo copy didn’t disappoint in the sound department as it sounded terrific!

As I’ve said before I basically ignored Cassidy’s solo work in the 1970’s but this album is really quite good. Even better sounding on a good piece of vinyl like this pressing. His version of Peggy Lee’s “Fever” is crazy good as well as his take on Harry Nilsson’s “The Puppy Song”.

The other Cassidy album, “Cherish” from 1972, was in superb shape inside and out and also sounded quite good. Maybe not as good as the promo copy but very nice.

For fans of The Partridge Family the “Cherish” album sounds almost identical to any Partridge record and really could be included in their work but whatever it’s another gem from the early ’70’s that I was glad to find in such good shape.

It’s just so funny that every out of the way place manages to have a small stash of vinyl these days and sometimes it’s truly amazing the things you might find. I never thought I’d find these two albums but am so glad to add them to my collection.

You can get a glimpse of the albums above and since this is my last day of vacation the thrift stores await. I hope I find something amazing but the last week has been so good that it really doesn’t matter.

Be well and more next time!

All the Leaves are … SHM? – “California Dreamin’/The Best of The Mamas & The Papas” on SHM-CD

The Mamas and The Papas. Love their music but in the CD age it’s kind of hit or miss to find a decent sounding collection of their recorded work.

By far the best sounding CD of The Mamas and The Papas hits came out early in the CD era around 1986 called “16 of Their Greatest Hits” released on MCA records and mastered by renowned mastering engineer Steve Hoffman.

“16 of Their Greatest Hits” truly sounds about as good as this material will ever sound as supposedly most of The Mamas and Papas original masters and multi-tracks are MIA and what’s left is either third or fourth generation tape dubs.

I read somewhere long ago that Steve Hoffman used some alternate mixes for his CD  which were supplied to him by none other than Mamas and Papas lead songwriter John Phillips. That fact along with Hoffman’s remastering skills makes  “16 of Their Greatest Hits” a great place to find most of The Mamas and Papas biggest hits with quality sound.

The only thing that negative I can say about “16 of Their Greatest Hits” is that there are so many great Mamas and Papas tracks left out that I wish it was a 2 CD set.

Of course there are several other Mamas and Papas collections on CD that have been released over the years but a lot of them are mastered too loud or are too harsh sounding and don’t really bare repeated listening.

Luckily in the last month or so I stumbled a nice runner up to the “16 of Their Greatest Hits” CD that I feel sounds truly wonderful and contains all the Mamas and Papas hits plus a couple of key tracks missing from “16 of Their Greatest Hits”.

“California Dreamin’ – The Best of The Mamas & The Papas”  is a Japanese SHM-CD that came out in 2012 I believe and contains 22 of The Mamas and Papas hits as well as a few lovely deep album cuts.

I had read some good things online about Mamas and Papas SHM-CDs as several of their albums have been release din Japan on SHM-CD but I wasn’t sure that I wanted to splurge on buying them as they are kind of expensive.

I found a listing for the “California Dreamin’ – The Best of The Mamas & The Papas” SHM-CD and since it has all the hits plus some of my favorite Mamas and Papas tracks like “Dancing Bear”, “For the Love of Ivy”, “Step Out” and “Safe in My Garden” I thought it might be a good sampler to see how The Mamas and Papas fared in the SHM-CD format.

This set surprised me in that I wasn’t expecting it to sound quite this good. I thought it might sound bright and harsh and loud but was pleasantly surprised at how clean and lively it sounded while not being overly compressed.

This CD was Mastered in Japan by a gentleman named Akihiro Shiba at the JVC Mastering Center and whatever tapes he used he really did a nice job with the sound of this set.

I’m guessing he used the same tapes that are used to master U.S. CDs but the sound is so clean and crisp that I wonder if there are some better sounding Japanese tapes in existence that he may have had access to as this CD has better bass and separation then I’m used to hearing on Mamas and Papas recordings.

Whatever he did it worked as this CD along with the “16 of Their Greatest Hits” are the two best sounding examples of Mamas and Papas material I’ve found on CD.

(Note: I have been talking about Mamas and Papas CDs featuring stereo mixes of the groups material. There is also a superb sounding 2 CD set containing mono mixes of many of the group’s hits called “The Mamas and the Papas: The Complete Singles—The 50th Anniversary Collection” released by Real Gone Music which is a must have collection to own as The Mamas and Papas are best heard in mono as the mono mixes are better sounding than their stereo counterparts.)

For the curious the “California Dreamin’ – The Best of The Mamas & The Papas” SHM-CD can be found online to purchase and is well worth it if you’re a fan of The Mamas and Papas and want a decent sounding CD with a nice selection of their best material.

As usual you can take a peak above of some photos of the disc and see its contents. I don’t see many references to this particular SHM-CD and wanted to put a spotlight on it as it really does sound better than most Mamas and Papas CDs out there.

That’s all for now and until next time be well and happy early Spring!

Butchers and Peppers and 8-Tracks, Oh My! – Beatles music finds in Florida

Okay, last week was one of those rare times when, as a record collector, you find such a major find that it makes the  years of fruitless hunts in countless record and thrift stores worth it.

I happened to be on vacation in Florida, the city shall remain unnamed as it’s a goldmine, and as you might guess what is one of the first things I do – go to record stores of course!

Well luckily for me there were plenty of record stores to choose from so on the four days I was in Florida  I managed to peruse five or six record stores as well as a few antique and thrift stores thrown in for good measure.

The first day was pretty uneventful but on the second day I managed to find one of those ultra rare finds that made my whole trip to Florida worth while.

As I was casually glancing at a very nice section of Beatles used albums at a lovely store run by a couple of really nice young guys I spotted a really clean mono copy of The Beatles 1966 album “Yesterday and Today”.

Of course as  I’ve done countless times before I took a close look to see if it could be a butcher cover.

(Note: the “Yesterday and Today” album was initially released with a cover depicting The Beatles wearing butcher smocks with hunks of meat and baby doll parts covering their arms. It has been named the butcher cover and was immediately recalled and most copies destroyed. 

It was replaced with what’s called the trunk cover (The Beatles sitting around a large trunk) and while most copies were to be destroyed to save costs Capitol Records pasted this new trunk cover over the butcher covers thus an instant and highly prized collectible was born.)

It really only took me about five seconds to see the tell-tale sign of a small black triangle in the white section to the right of the trunk.

You see one of the easiest ways to spot a pasted over butcher cover is to look for the black triangle which is the black from Ringo’s shirt that is on the butcher cover photo which can be faintly seen beneath the trunk cover (see photo above).

Sure enough a closer examination of the cover revealed the edge of another cover underneath and the catalog number at the top right of the front cover with hardly any white beneath it (another sign of a paste-over cover).

Not only was the cover in VG++ condition but the record inside looked as if it had never been played. It was completely pristine and looked lovely.

The best part about this whole thing is that the album was marked $27.00 so of course that baby landed in my hands and made it’s way out the door in just a few minutes. Needless to say they go for way more than that on ebay so I was elaited.

My friends who were with me of course know of my record hunting habits and/or madness but even they were kind of excited when I told them the details when I made it outside with my newly acquired butcher cover.

I’ve read stores of people finding paste-over covers “out in the wild” so to speak but after having looked at dozens and dozens of copies of the “Yesterday and Today”  album over the years it never happened to me … until now.

As for the record store owners they were indeed nice guys but the story of The Beatles butcher cover is so well known that it really is their responsibility to check price guides out if they intend to sell used albums.

One of the owners commented on how pristine the vinyl album was but obviously had no idea what a butcher cover was because when you see it in person it’s really not that hard to spot the black triangle, etc. on the cover. I didn’t say anything I just calmly made my purchase and left.

As if this day couldn’t get any better later on I found a sealed 8-track copy of John Lennon’s “Live Peace in Toronto 1969” album and a mono Capitol first pressing of The Beatles “Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band” album for the princely sum of $2 at an off the beat antique store in the countryside.

The mono version is my go to way to hear this album. I love it as it has more punch and many noticeable differences to the more common stereo mix. Plus the mono version is a lot rarer as the mono was phased out in the States within a year of Pepper being issued so any mono Capitol version is a good find especially for $2.

To be fair the cover for this copy of “Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band” was kind of beat up and the record was really dirty. I actually bought it for the inserts (the cut-out sheet and original red inner sleeve inside) but after cleaning the album it played amazingly well (and sounded just great!) and looked as if it wasn’t really played all that much.

Really for $2 it was a no-brainer so I was very pleased. In fact all three finds cost me just $40 making this one of the more successful and fun record hunts I’ve ever had!

As usual you can glance at some photos above to see this collection of vacation gems. Plus if you’ve never seen a paste-over Beatles butcher cover this is what one looks like. In person the black triangle is easy to see but harder to spot in the photo above but it is there.

Anyway have a great week and until next time be well and go out and do some record shopping, you’ll never know what you’ll find lurking on dusty shelf.