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:
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.
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.)
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!