Argentina or Bust … The Beatles “Yesterday … And Today” US Capitol Albums CD (A Variation)

 

As a collector, sometimes you stumble onto an interesting vinyl album or CD variation that most (normal?) people would just look at and shrug but to you it’s so cool.

To the uninitiated out there this happens A LOT to record collectors. In fact I’d dare say it happens to collectors of all types.

Anyway, today I thought I’d do a post about a really fun variation for a Beatles CD that came out in 2014 – “Yesterday … And Today” by The Beatles.

The “Yesterday … And Today” album was part of the 50th anniversary celebration of The Beatles coming to America in 1964 and was part of The Beatles “U.S. Albums”; a multi-CD set that contained all the American released Capitol Beatles albums. Most of the CDs in this set were also released on individual CDs as well.

The CD’s that were sold separately from the “U.S. Albums” box set came with nifty black OBI like paper wraps and included all the cool original Capitol inner sleeves and detailed miniature album artwork that exactly replicated the Capitol vinyl pressings.

(Note: the lone CD not sold separately was “The Beatles’ Story” which was exclusive to the “U.S. Albums” box set)

The cool thing about the “U.S. Albums” set was that it took The Beatles American Capitol albums and used the same covers and track sequencing as the original 1960’s vinyl and updated the sound dropping all excess echo, fake stereo tracks as well as all fold-down stereo to mono tracks while keeping most of the unique Capitol mixes that were a part of those albums.

This updating of sound did not sit well with a lot of fans who wanted the EXACT Capitol mixes with added echo warts and all and I can see their point. BUT these U.S. album updates sound great to me and feature the 2009 remastered Beatles tracks in mono and stereo for each album in terrific sound – a win win situation in my eyes.

One of the highlights of these 2014 CD’s is the “Yesterday … And Today” album. Not only did it feature a replica of the infamous “Butcher Cover” but it also contained some of my favorite Capitol exclusive mixes including unique U.S. mono mixes of “I’m Only Sleeping”, “Doctor Robert” and “And Your Bird Can Sing” as well as unique US stereo mixes of “Day Tripper” and “We Can Work it Out”.

Well of course I own the “U.S. Albums” box set but I also have a set of the cool Obi stand alone releases as well. In fact the catalog numbers on the individual discs is different than the catalog numbers in the big set so these really are fun variations to collect.

Which brings me finally to the cool variation of the “Yesterday … And Today” CD that I received in the mail yesterday. I wanted another copy of the CD for my car so I ordered one from Amazon. Since these are out of print and will probably be disappearing I thought I might as well get one while I can.

When the CD arrived in the mail I was amazed to find that this copy of the “Yesterday … And Today” CD was pressed in Argentina! For some reason I thought that all the CDs for these US Capitol Albums collection were pressed in either the EU or the USA. I guess not.

Of course I was thrilled to get another variation and so I thought I’d share it here for anyone else who may care to see it.

There are a few differences on the Argentina pressed CD – the trunk cover of the album is just an insert and not a sticker like the US pressed CD and the disc itself has more of a matte finish and isn’t as glossy as the US pressed CD. Also the inner sleeve of the Argentina CD pressing isn’t quite as bright as it’s made from a thinner type of paper though still looks quite good.

For those Beatles freaks like me who want to see all small the differences I’ve posted several photos of the Argentina disc followed by the US pressed version as well. It’s the little things that excite collectors so pardon my madness and take a gaze above to see for yourself.

The U.S. Albums box set and individual titles are still available but the supplies must be getting pretty limited. If you have any interest in them at all I’d buy some sooner rather than later.

Well that’s all for now.

Until next time be well and see you soon!!!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Partridge Platters Around the World – UK, Germany, Canada and Greece Partridge Family Lps

Okay, today you’re going to see something you don’t often see on the Web. In fact I’ve never seen it (BUT that’s one of the reasons I love doing this blog!).

Anyway, today I’m taking a look at some Partridge Family album pressings from around the world.

Why The Partridge Family you may ask? Why not say I!

I know The Partridge Family recordings are not seen by many “serious” rock/pop music fans as anything but fluff and not worth the time to play but on the contrary they’re damn fine pop records and have stood the test of time.

I have always loved these records and I always will – nuff said.

In the last year or so I’ve found a few really interesting Partridge pressings from the UK, Canada, Germany and of all places Greece!

Since most Bell Records US pressings of The Partridge Family are hit or miss I wondered how pressings round the world fared compared to the often noisy and sometimes badly pressed US copies.

Pressings from Europe tend to be quieter and better pressed than the States and in the case of The Partridge Family that is certainly true.

The drawback to foreign pressings is that more then likely they are a generation or two removed from the sources that are used to press the US Partridge albums as The Partridge Family originated in the States and then foreign countries were sent copy tapes to press their records.

I have the following albums from different countries and will comment on each:

The Partridge Family Album – UK pressing – This is the first Partridge platter released and sure enough this UK pressing is nice and quiet and sounds really nice. It tends to lack a bit of high end, probably from a lower generation tape, but sounds very good. A clean US pressing will sound better if you can find a decent pressing

Up to Date – UK pressing – The second Partridge Family album to be released and this UK copy is much like the previous disc – nice pressing and decent sound. Even though it may not be as detailed as a US pressing this UK version is much quieter than my US pressings so it may win out in the end.

Sound Magazine – a Canadian pressing and a pressing from Greece – This is where it gets interesting.

  • Canada: This pressing is superb! It easily beasts my US copy. It’s not only quiet but sounds not only just as good as a US copy but in fact this may be the best pressing of this album I’ve ever heard. The cover is also super sturdy and the quality of the colors and photos is excellent as well.
  • Greece: This album is an interesting combination of songs from the first three US Partridge albums with “It’s One of Those Nights (Yes Love)” thrown in for good measure. While the color quality is lacking especially on the front cover I was surprised to find out how good this pressing sounds. There may be a slight boos tn treble as compared to the UK copies which makes this sound quite close to a US copy. Very nice sound a I love the weird selection of songs.

Hits Aus Der Fernseh-Serie:  “Die Partridge Famile” – Unique German album and pressing – Speaking of weird song selections, this album contains songs from the first two US Partridge albums and throws in “Breakin’ Up is Hard to Do” oddly enough. I must say I do love the song selection though and I love the glossy cover and this Lp sounds great – better than the UK Partridge albums and very quiet and a great pressing as well.

The Partridge Family Christmas Album – UK pressing – This is a budget UK pressing of the US “Christmas Card” album that is far and away the best sounding UK Partridge album I own. In fact I’d say it hands down beats the US version – great sound, quiet pressing and also handily beats the sound of the CD pressing as well.

So there you have it. Just a brief overview of some really interesting Partridge Family discs that might peak the curiosity of any Partridge or David Cassidy fan or even fans of good ’70’s pop music.

If you’re a Partridge Family fan it’s well worth trying to track down some foreign pressings of their records as they tend to be much quieter than US copies and there are plenty of unique variations out there that are fun to look at as well as play.

These recordings just shine on vinyl and are a blast to play if you happen to own any or find them online or wherever you may stumble across them.

As usual there are plenty of photos above.

Until next time take care and be well and enjoy the sunshine if you have it!

 

 

 

FIRST LOOK! Paul McCartney “Egypt Station – Explorer’s Edition” 2CD Set

 

Well, a new Paul McCartney CD has arrived – yay! Err, well sort of.

You see last Fall Paul McCartney released his latest (and most FAB I must say) album “Egypt Station” and tomorrow a new 2CD version of that album comes out entitled “Egypt Station – Explorer’s Edition”.

What, you may ask, is so special about this new Explorer Edition?

Well, it contains three new songs from the recording sessions from the album as well as some new live versions of four songs from the album that were recorded last year.

The first CD is the same as the standard “Egypt Station” CD but this new edition contains a separate disc full of new studio cuts as well as live material.

The track list for the new bonus CD is as follows:

1. Get Started

2. Nothing For Free

3. Frank Sinatra’s Party

4. Sixty Second Street

5. Who Cares [Full Length]

6. Get Enough

7. Come On To Me [Live At Abbey Road Studios]

8. Fuh You [Live At The Cavern Club]

9. Confidante [Live at LIPA]

10. Who Cares [Live At Grand Central Station]

Two of the tracks on the bonus disc – “Get Started” and “Nothing for Free”– came with a Target store exclusive CD but are new here for people who didn’t buy the “Egypt Station” CD from Target.

Both of these tracks are well worth owning with “Nothing for Free” especially nice. This is one of the modern production songs that works really well and should have been on the main album. It’s a much better song than say “Fuh You” by the same producer and would have had a better chance for modern airplay if it had been on the regular album.

As for the new studio tracks here I really love “Sixty Second Street”, it’s the kind of slightly jazzy track McCartney does well and is laid back and lovely with ringing acoustic guitars with a ’40’s vibe mixed in toward the end as well – terrific track!

The second new song “Frank Sinatra’s Party” is a solid track as well that sounds to me like it could be an outtake from the 1993 era, “Off the Ground” period. A very solid track that may not have fit the “Egypt Station” album proper but well worth releasing for sure.

“Frank Sinatra’s Party” also has really nice vocals from McCartney which sound as if they were recorded some years ago leading me to believe this has been a leftover in the vaults that he recently pulled out to redo. Good choice no matter what and well worth owning.

The last completely new track called “Get Enough” is one that will take me a bit to get used to in that the processed vocals on it which sound very current sort of obscure a good tune underneath. Not a bad song but the modern production is meh. This one may grow on me – time will tell.

The live versions of the four “Egypt Station” songs sound really good as well – not really crucial but certainly fun to have which can also be said for the extended version of “Who Cares” which I happen to love anyway so more the merrier. The more I listen to it the more I like it, this long version may win out after all.

McCartney’s voice holds up really well in concert with his newer material so these new live versions are fun to hear. Too bad he isn’t doing more songs from the new album live but I guess there’s only so many new songs the general public is willing to sit through – errr but that’s life.

I must say I also really love the groovy new look to the album cover on this Explorer’s set as well – it really should have been this color from the start. I also don’t miss the concertina type cover from the first CD issue and prefer the fold out insert included with this set.

All in all a super nice package that any McCartney fan will appreciate. I must say though that McCartney is pushing the limits with the marketing for this album as it’s been released in a gazillion formats but this new 2 CD set is at least affordable.

There was a Super Deluxe version of “Egypt Station” released last week through McCartney’s Website for $400 that came in a suitcase with lots of trinkets and other material that even I had to bulk at buying. Fun looking set but it’s the music that interests me more than the swag items.

Fortunately this new 2 CD set contains all the new unreleased music that was a part of that set so all is well for the McCartney collector.

As usual take a look a photos of the new set – above. It’s really a terrific set and if you’ve never bought the album this one is for you!!!

I will be seeing McCartney live in two weeks so this new set is the perfect primer for getting ready for the show. I can’t wait to hear some of these new “Egypt Station” songs live in concert and from what I hear on this new bonus disc it will be a great show – as usual.

Until next time, ta ta for now and be well!

 

 

“Roll Up, Roll Up – Satisfaction Guaranteed” / The Beatles UK Albums on SHM-CD

 

Well, well, it’s almost Memorial Day.

The weather is warm (today at least), the pollen count is up and spring is about to give way to summer.

And what does this make me think about … CDs of course. Beatles CDs. Beatles Japanese SHM-CDs to be exact.

Ladies and gentlemen, today I’m taking a look at the supreme, the best sounding and certainly most beautiful Beatles CDs out there (in my humble opinion) –  the limited edition Japanese 16 CD collection of all The Beatles UK albums.

(Note: These SHM-CDs are fairly rare in the U.S. so I thought it might be fun to get a much closer look at them and see some of the details that aren’t readily available on most Websites.)

This set which came out at the very end of 2014 features Japanese SHM-CDs of all The Beatles albums (which were remastered in 2009) in stunning mini-Lp sleeves which feature every gatefold, inner sleeve, booklet, label and poster that came with the original UK vinyl pressings from the 1960s.

I know that CDs are now being poo pooed as un-collectible and passe and yesterday’s news but these SHM-CDs are truly a thing of beauty to behold and are among the best mini reproductions of the original Beatles albums that you’ll probably ever see – at least in this lifetime.

Not only is the artwork superb but I feel – as I’ve said many times before – that these SHM-CD issues have an edge sound wise compared to their non-SHM-CD cousins with richer bass and better separation thus making these CDs the ultimate Beatles releases to track down for collectors and fanatics.

When this set of 16 SHM-CDs came out they sold out fairly quickly and were issued again with slightly different OBI’s but I believe also came with the same high quality covers and inner sleeves, etc.

Take a gander above at several photos of these CDs and notice how well they were made and how nice they look.

I’m especially impressed with how they got the texture and cardboard for “Magical Mystery Tour” dead on to an original Capitol pressing as well as the completely groovy flipback style UK sleeves that were on all original UK pressings as well as the original Parlophone and Apple record labels.

If any of you out there own “The Beatles in Mono” CD set which has equally beautiful mini-lp recreations you’ll know how fun it is to see these albums in such high quality in the CD format.

For those of you who still like CDs and have never seen these SHM-CDs before I believe you can still track them down (if not the first issues than the reissues) and really even if you just grab a couple of your favorites albums there’s no way you’d be disappointed as the quality is totally first rate.

Of course I would say that but see for yourselves.

Well, that’s all for now in Beatleland. This was just a brief Beatles oasis in a sea of politics and ugliness so however brief I hope it was a nice distraction – you’re welcome.

Until next time be well and PLAY SOME MUSIC!!! (Beatles preferably and on CD to boot!)

 

Wings’ “Back to the Egg” Lp Hits 40 – EggStravaganza (Part 2)

My how time flies.

Forty years ago this month, on May 24, 1979 to be exact, Paul McCartney and Wings released what would become the last Wings album ever issued entitled “Back to the Egg”.

Ahhh “Back to the Egg” I remember it well.

I was thirteen years old the spring when this album came out and I remember stumbling upon it in a mall in the Chicago area as my family were in Illinois for a graduation celebration.

In those dark days before the Internet I didn’t know the album was out yet but had heard the first single from the album, “Getting Closer”, on the radio so I knew it would arrive soon.

I remember seeing the album cover for the first time in a huge display featuring the album at a Musicland store (remember them?) and loving its sci-fi-ish look and wondering how it would sound. I loved the first single and was anxious to hear how the rest of the album stacked up against it.

Nineteen seventy-nine was of course the end of the disco era and punk and harder rock were in vogue at the time as well. I wasn’t particularly a huge fan of any of them so I loved it when a new McCartney album came out and couldn’t wait to slap that baby on a turntable and give it a listen as I knew he would create something really special – as he usually did.

As luck would have it the friends we were staying with allowed me to indulge myself and I played the record that weekend after it came out.

From the very first listen I loved the entire record and kept telling my older brothers how much the album was a return to form and rocked pretty hard. They of course were into The Clash and Bob Seger and thought the album wasn’t ballsy enough but I disagreed – of course.

I also remember reading some fairy nasty reviews of the record at the time as well which of course I thought wasn’t warranted but I was used to the press slagging McCartney’s work so that didn’t bother me at all, I loved the record then and I still love it now.

Is it McCartney’s best work? No, but it’s still a very good record. It has some short-comings yes but it’s still a solid collection of songs.

I will admit that some of the lyrics could have been polished a bit more, “Getting Closer” comes to mind, yet the album does contain some of my all-time favorite Wings moments including “Arrow Through Me”, “So Glad to See You Here”, “Winter Rose/Love Awake”, “To You”, “Old Siam, Sir” and the ’40’s style lovely piano ballad “Baby’s Request”.

Last year I posted a selection of some of the “Back to the Egg” CDs I own but today I thought it might be nice to take a look at my vinyl and 8-track copies as these were the ones available at the time and these were the ones I played at the time.

Above you can see photos of the Columbia Records press kit for the album, a promo copy of the Colombia album, a nice copy of the regular edition of the Colombia album still in the shrink wrap with a rare yellow and white hype sticker (which I just found this past weekend for $5!), a German copy of the album on the EMI label, a Wings Fun Club issue featuring the album and a copy of my original 8-track of the album which I bought in 1979 to play in the car.

Whew, that’s a lot of egg!

I don’t know what it is but the McCartney albums from 1978 to 1984 really stick closet to my heart and all of them really bring me back to that era vividly so that music will always remain a time capsule for me of my youth and better (or so it seems?) times.

Of course “Back to the Egg” is no exception and is one of my most played McCartney albums which to this day remains one of the highlights of his esteemed catalog.

So on this 40th anniversary of the last Wings album feast your eyes above and until next time be well and as the man said … carry on, carry on!

 

 

 

 

 

Egypt Pepper Bowl – An SHM-CD Roundup!

 

Another Friday is finally upon us!

With the weekend looming what better way to sit and relax this weekend than listening to some CDs. Some Beatles CDs. Some SHM-CD Beatles CDS!

Today I thought I’d take a quick look at three SHM-CDs that I bought in the last couple of years or so that are truly amazing to look at as well as listen to on a nice stereo.

(By now any reader of this blog is pretty much familiar with Japanese SHM-CDs. If not go to the search on the home page of this blog as I’ve written about them quite a lot.)

The three SHM-CDs I want to take a look at today are the following (newest to oldest that I acquired):

Paul McCartney – Egypt Station

The Beatles – Sgt. Peppers Lonely Hearts Club Band (2 CD Deluxe Edition)

The Beatles – Live at the Hollywood Bowl

To say that I enjoy these three albums is an understatement. All three of these SHM-CDs have been in constant rotation since I received them and I view each of these discs as my preferred way of hearing each of these albums.

I of course own the regular U.S. CD versions of these albums as well but as is usually the case, in MY opinion, these SHM-CD versions have a deeper, more fluid bass sound and nicer separation than their regular CD cousins.

On “Egypt Station” and “Sgt. Pepper” especially these Japanese SHM-CDs have an extra something to the sound that draws me in more than the regular CD versions. I’m not saying night and day different but better for sure.

Again, I’m not going to argue with those who feel this is all snake oil and that SHM-CDs don’t sound any different to regular CDS but in my experience they do.

In the case of McCartney’s “Egypt Station” the SHM-CD version does contain the two bonus tracks that were only available in the U.S. on the Target Stores exclusive CD which is a nice bonus.

(Note: On May 17th “Egypt Station” is coming out in a 2 CD Explorer version which has an extra disc with these two bonus tracks plus 8 more studio and live tracks. I’m hoping they’ll be an SHM-CD version of that – stay tuned.)

As for the Sgt. Peppers Lonely Hearts Club Band (2 CD Deluxe Edition) if you own the 4 CD version you’ll be happy (or not) to know that the 2 CD version has some differences in sound on certain songs.

Some of the tracks are mastered a bit quieter than the massive 4 CD set (which I’ve reviewed on this blog – see search) so for the Beatles obsessives out there this 2 CD set does give you something a bit different and is well worth seeking out.

Again, the SHM-CD sounds like an improvement to me so it might be worth hunting down if you’re into collecting Beatles CDs or music.

The “Live at the Hollywood Bowl” also sounds quite good but this is the one that sounds only marginally better than the regular CD version. The bass does sound better but it’s not as noticeable as the studio CDs.

Again, lovely packaging and a slight improvement but for this one the SHM-CD may be a bit of a stretch unless of course you’re a Beatles nut like me, then hands down go seek one out.

I’m so glad to have run into a few fellow collectors who love the SHM-CDs as much as I do. I’m sure it’s an acquired taste, or sickness whatever the case may be, but I also think it’s fun to have photos of the sets as you rarely see them online (thus my reason for doing this blog!).

Anyway, enjoy the photos above and if you’ve never tried an SHM-CD order one and see what you think. (Okay, I know I’m talking to folks around my age as younger people look at you as their heads pin when you talk about actually BUYING music.)

Until next time, be well and Happy Weekend!!!

 

 

 

 

 

The Partridge Family At Home With Their (Multiple Format) Greatest Hits

 

Maybe it’s the time of year (rainy and blah today) or maybe it’s the times we live in but lately I’ve been thinking of the past. Okay, truth be told I do that any time of year but even more so lately.

I think growing older does that to a person, things from the past seem shinier, happier and somehow better. I’ve been afflicted with “pastitis” as I call it since I was a child and because I’ve always felt like an old soul I’ve grown fonder of things from my youth more than ever before.

An illusion I know but here I go again  …

Today I’m taking a look back at an album from 1972 called “The Partridge Family At Home With Their Greatest Hits”.

Ahhh 1972.

Nixon, Watergate, “All in the Family”, “Maude”, the Munich Olympics Terrorist Attack and among all the turmoil a little family show about a family rock group called The Partridge Family.

I remember getting “The Partridge Family At Home With Their Greatest Hits” as a gift in 1972 but I didn’t really play it all that much as I owned all the other Partridge Family  albums and listened to those quite often.

This greatest hits album did however contain one of the last Partridge Family Top Forty hits, their cover of Neil Sedaka’s “Breaking Up is Hard to Do” which reached number 28  in the Billboard Hot 100. The song was only available on “The Partridge Family At Home With Their Greatest Hits” album and the 45. If I played this album I usually played the side that song was on if I played the album at all.

(Note: the version of “Breaking Up is Hard to Do” on this lp is actually in mono. It wasn’t mixed into stereo until a recent CD release called Playlist: The Very Best Of The Partridge Family” which came out in 2015. This CD is the only source for a true stereo version and is well worth seeking out. The entire CD was mastered by the esteemed Bob Ludwig and is one of the best sounding Partridge CDs out there.)

Looking back as an adult I took the album out recently and was pleasantly surprised at how good it sounded on vinyl and now give it a spin every now and again as these songs just sound right on vinyl.

Funny enough what prompted this blog post was my recent acquisition of two other formats of this album that came out on in the 1970’s – an 8-track tape version and a truly rare reel to reel version.

Unfortunately I can’t play either version – yet, lol – but since when has logic ever stopped me from collecting music!

At one time I used to own this album on 8-track as my family did have an 8-track player in the 1970’s and I remember owning a few Partridge as well as many other 8-tracks which I played often.

I have no idea where the original tape I owned all those years ago ended up but about 9 months ago I spotted a lovely near mint copy at a thrift store for a $1 so nostalgia took over and voila I have it on 8-track again.

I have a box of about 15 8-track tapes I’d love to play someday so if I ever find a working player for cheap this is one of the first tapes I’m going to play, as long as it still works and hasn’t dried up yet.

(Note 2 : 8-track tapes are prone to having the pads that hold the tape dry up and crack making the tape unplayable.)

My most recent copy of “At Home With Their Greatest Hits” I found on Amazon just two weeks ago. Someone had posted a vinyl copy of the album but when I went to look at the listing it showed a photo of the reel to reel tape version.

It was really inexpensive so I ordered it and to my surprise an unplayed reel to reel copy appeared in my mailbox just this week.

I do have access to an old reel to reel tape player (my father was a Magnavox engineer and I have his old reel to reel player) but it hasn’t worked in years so maybe if I get it fixed someday I’ll pop this baby in to see how it sounds.

Anyway, I thought it might be fun to see the different formats side by side. At least it is for me. I’m sure there are other obsessives out there who may enjoy it as well!

Until next time, be well and remember … Come on, Get Happy!!!