Run for the Roses – Paul McCartney & Wings “Red Rose Speedway” Hits 50/Looking Back at the 8-Track, CDs and to the Current 2023 RSD Vinyl Lp

This past week has really put me in a Paul McCartney mood.

Not only am I in a Paul McCartney mood but I’m in the mood for Paul McCartney from the 1970’s – Paul McCartney & Wings as a matter of fact.

You see last weekend I picked up the terrific RSD Half-Speed Mastered vinyl pressing of the second Wings album “Red Rose Speedway” and all week I’ve been binging on ’70’s McCartney music.

Fifty years ago today on April 30, 1973 Paul McCartney & Wings released “Red Rose Speedway” and it seemed to hit the public and critics in a better way than McCartney’s previous two albums “RAM” and “Wild Life”. A lot of that had to do I’m sure with the number one smash “My Love” but overall the album sounded more commercial than anything he’d released as a solo artist so far so that helped restore some of the negative attitudes toward McCartney at the time.

(Note: At the time of the release of “Red Rose Speedway” McCartney was being sort of persecuted in the press for being the one who broke up The Beatles and the negative reviews he suffered for his solo work in this period cast a pale on his music that even though it sold well was seen as a step down from his Beatles material)

That’s not to say that this album has been held in the same esteem as McCartney’s following albums “Band on the Run” and “Venus and Mars” as quite frankly “Red Rose Speedway” seems to be almost forgotten when people talk about McCartney’s solo career these days. And that’s too bad as I really enjoy this album and have played it more frequently then the “Band on the Run” album for example which is seen as the peak of McCartney’s solo career.

I came to “Red Rose Speedway” after having heard the “RAM” album but before discovering the “Wild Life” album. I happened on a used 8-track of “Red Rose Speedway” in the late 1970’s and found this album to be much like “RAM” as it’s a bit quirky and full of interesting and melodic tunes.

Since I loved the  “RAM” album it’s no surprise I took to “Red Rose Speedway” so quickly as two songs, “Get on the Right Thing” and “Little Lamb Dragonfly”, are actually leftovers from the “RAM” sessions.

To me the “Red Rose Speedway” album has always seemed  like a nice blend of the “RAM” and “Wild Life” albums but with a bit more commercial sounding songs. It has the quirkiness of “Wild Life” mixed with elements of sound paintings that fill the “RAM” album.

There’s a sparseness on songs like “Single Pigeon”, “One More Kiss” and “When the Night” much like the material on “Wild Life” plus the ultra quirky “Loop (1st Indian on the Moon)” plus the exquisite grandeur of “Little Lamb Dragonfly” and the pop confection of the medley “Hold Me Tight/Lazy Dynamite/Hands of Love/Power Cut” that both would have fit nicely on “RAM”.

Actually if you want to hear the way that “Red Rose Speedway” was originally envisioned as a two album set you need to check out the Paul McCartney Archive collection with either the 2 CD set or box set or 2 LP vinyl to hear the broad range of songs that would have made the album a much more diverse and interesting collection.

There’s a much more adventurous tone on the proposed 2 LP version of “Red Rose Speedway” than the released single album with songs like the instrumentals “Jazz Street” and “Night Out” plus the blistering live songs “The Mess”, “Best Friend” and the ominous and almost dirge like “1882”. Not to mention terrific songs like “Mama’s Little Girl” (another “RAM”– like song), the b-sides “Country Dreamer”and “I Lie Around” plus Wings superb cover of “Tragedy”.

My go-to version of  “Red Rose Speedway” is now the 2 CD version (see photos above) but the original album still holds a special place in my heart and is a McCartney album I still play a lot.

As far as CD versions of the original album go I’d say hands down the best sounding is the wonderful DCC gold disc version that simply does breath life into the album with nice rich bass and a clarity to the sound that other versions don’t capture. The original UK CD version is no slouch though either and the mastering on the Paul McCartney Archive collection is great too.

The only CD versions that aren’t quite as nice sounding are the original US Capitol CD and the 1993 remaster but frankly neither of those are bad really they are just bettered by the previously mentioned CDs.

And of course if you’re looking for a vinyl version of “Red Rose Speedway” then the current 2023 Half-Speed master on vinyl is one terrific sounding disc and if you can’t find an original UK vinyl version it’s probably the best vinyl version out there.

Well, that’s all for now.

Happy 50th “Red Rose Speedway” and as usual take a gander above and below at some of the different versions of the album in my collection and especially take note of the worn and torn 8-track that was my introduction to the album all those years ago.

Take care and be happy and well and see you soon!

When Is a TV Not a TV? – When it’s a Monkees VHS TV Box!

*** The Monkees Complete Series VHS Box By Rhino Records***

“Hey, Hey We’re the … TV Box”.

The TV Box?

Yes, that’s right. A few years ago, oh say about thirty years give or take, a monumental Monkees box set was issued that featured all 58 episodes of The Monkees TV series released for the first time on the home video market.

VHS you say? Yep, 21 VHS tapes in fact.

This groovy box sets 21 VHS tapes contained not only the complete Monkees series but also the first time release of the unaired pilot episode of the series featuring songs with vocals performed by Boyce and Hart instead of The Monkees themselves plus the release of The Monkees bizarre yet entertaining 1969 TV special “33 1/3 Revolutions Per Monkee”.

This deluxe set also came with a lovely Monkees watch with a bright red watch band as well as a terrific booklet that gave detailed descriptions of each and every episode including listings of all the songs that were originally broadcast with each episode and a lot of really cool photos to boot.

(Note: Even though I rarely if ever look at the VHS tapes nowadays I do love this booklet and still use it as a reference guide when I watch the much superior blu-ray set)

Well let me say that I was drooling at the thought of owning all The Monkees TV episodes in good quality. I didn’t have much access to “The Monkees” series other than the reruns on MTV in 1986/87 and those were in hit or miss quality. And of course those rerun versions featured on MTV were a hodgepodge of original soundtracks mixed with songs from later airings on CBS and ABC from the Saturday morning reruns of the late ’60s and early ’70s.

I had rarely seen the original opening credits for the first season of The Monkees TV show so it was pure delight for me to see a decent copy of that plus the episodes with the original songs all for the princely sum of $399. Yes, you heard right, this limited edition set sold for $399 and even at that price it sold out fairly easily.

I have to admit looking back that I can hardly believe I paid the then (and now) steep asking price for this monster box set. Really I must have been a bit Monkees obsessed to plunk down that kind of change.

(Note 2: that last sentence was totally tongue and cheek as I still am a tad bit Monkees obsessed which you may well know if you’ve ever read this blog before)

At the time of course this set was the only game in town if one wanted to own the complete Monkees series on home video. So at that time I was VERY happy with this set and watched it a lot and enjoyed rediscovering the TV side of The Monkees project which for me had mainly been seen through the lenses of their recordings. Truth be told that’s still the main way I reach for any Monkees fix I need – music first, series second.

Having said that since the fantastic blu-ray set was released a few years ago I can honestly say I enjoy the series much more than I ever have. Yes it’s quirky and weird but even the episodes I enjoy the least are easier to get into with the stunning HD remastered look of the blu-ray set.

(Note 3: Not to mention all the great extras on the blu-ray set. If you’re curious I did an overview of the blu-ray box set and you can look for it with the search button at my home page.)

The blu-ray set was the first time that the complete Monkees series was overhauled from the absolute original negatives and scanned in exquisite quality. (The same VHS box set transfers were also used when the Monkees series came out on DVD which was issued a few years after the VHS set thus it was only marginally better quality than the VHS set).

It’s hard to imagine the appeal of the VHS set now that the new and sparkling HD transfers of The Monkees series exist but it’s still a fun time capsule to look back on and this monster VHS package sure does look purdy. As usual take a gander above and below and if you’ve never seen this set it’s still pretty cool and boy is it hefty – it weighs a ton.

Oh, one last thing. Having looked at some of the VHS tapes on my 48 inch 4K TV I must say the VHS tapes don’t look half bad actually (see screen photos below). Now of course they can’t compete with the newer HD transfers but they are very watchable and not that different from the DVDs except they have less detail overall obviously.

That’s all for now. Just another Monkees blast from the past for a cool spring evening.

Take care and be healthy and more coming soon …

“Pisces, Aquarius, Capricorn & Hype Stickers Ltd.” – The Monkees Fourth Album on Vinyl and CD – With Hype Stickers

Anyone who may have read this blog before knows that it’s obvious I love my hype stickers!

Hype stickers, for those who aren’t familiar, are the little (or sometimes big) stickers on the shrink wrap of vinyl albums or CDs that pretty much hype the new release with various superlatives trying to entice a buyer into purchasing that particular recording.

For me a hype sticker makes the album or CD seem closer to the time it was sitting brand new on a retail shelf. It’s makes it the nearest to traveling back in time to the albums release day. You don’t run into them too often so finding one is a thrill. Most of these elusive stickers were torn off, discarded and forgotten so it’s always a pleasure for me to find new ones as they can be quite rare.

About a month ago I happened to find a really cool hype sticker on an original Colgems mono copy of The Monkees fourth album “Pisces, Aquarius, Capricorn & Jones Ltd.”. The fact that I have never seen any sort of hype sticker on an original Colgems Monkees album makes this discovery even more special.

Now granted, this hype sticker more then likely wasn’t put on the album at the factory by Colgems Records so it must have been used by a small local retailer. I found the album in Michigan so I have no idea if any retailers there used this but whomever put it on it’s a very cool thing to see.

I have also seen two different local retailer type hype stickers online for Colgems stereo pressings of “Pisces, Aquarius, Capricorn & Jones Ltd.” so I’m guessing retailers around the country wanted to make sure buyers knew the albums was by The Monkees. Unless you were quite familiar with the outline of the group members, which I’m sure most young fans were, you may have passed over this album if you walked by it not knowing it was a new Monkees album.

Sure any true fan can see the top of The Monkees guitar logo peeking out of the flowers on the front cover but I’m sure most places that sold records didn’t want to take any chances.

By the time this album was released The Monkees were huge sellers so that meant many small stores selling records wanted their share of those sales. And his album did indeed hit the top of Billboard’s Hot 200 selling over two million copies in the process so I’m sure a hype sticker was a welcome thing.

Anyway, I thought I’d share this groovy hype sticker here as there might be several weirdo fans like me out there who really enjoy this kind of thing. I was also inspired to dig out my other copies of “Pisces, Aquarius, Capricorn & Jones Ltd.” on both vinyl and CD and post photos of their hype stickers as well.

By the time the later vinyl copies and CDs reissues of this album were released the hype sticker had become the norm and almost every reissue of this album post the Colgems release has one. Looking at some of my other vinyl pressings of this album that I haven’t played in ages really takes me back. I especially love the flyer in the Rhino mid-’80s vinyl reissue of the “Pisces” album that advertises Monkees episodes on VHS! I haven’t seen that in years – too fun.

And of course the 1981 Japanese vinyl with the lovely OBI strip is fun to see again as well. If I remember correctly this Japanese pressing sounds only so-so but the Rhino reissue sounds great even though it’s a bit odd in that it contains a mixture of mono and stereo mixes as Rhino couldn’t find the original stereo master at the time. I remember really loving the mono version of “Hard to Believe” with Davy Jones single-tracked vocal at the closing of the song which gives it a very different feel.

So below are all my vinyl and CD issues of the “Pisces, Aquarius, Capricorn & Jones Ltd.” album that feature some sort of hype sticker. Take a gander at the photos below and you’ll see quite a nice range of Monkees hype on display.

Btw, all this talk of “Pisces, Aquarius, Capricorn & Jones Ltd.” has really primed me up for a Deluxe box set treatment of this album along the lines of last years spectacular “Headquarters” set that has recently sold out on

Well that’s all for now. Just thought I’d take a quick trip back to November of 1967 with what I consider to be the high water mark of The Monkees career with the release of this timeless and classic album.

As usual be healthy and well and see you soon.

Recent Beatles Vinyl Finds From Around the World

***Beatles Albums from the Philippines, Spain and the UK***

Maybe I’m amazed at the vinyl you can find in the Midwest … sorry couldn’t resist!

This past weekend I happened upon a dealer in an antique mall and a record store that had some pretty nice and fairly rare Beatles vinyl at reasonable prices. That last statement is uncommon these days as most booths in antique malls see the name Beatles and charge you $50 and up for a totally beat up copy of … fill in the blank.

Luck with good vinyl buys goes in spurts but today I’m pleased to say that my Beatles luck has been in “Top Gear” recently (sorry again, really this is the last time). I’ve managed to find one really lovely UK black and yellow pressing from the late 1960s (A stereo “Beatles for Sale”) and two great compilation albums from the 1970s – one from the Philippines (the 1976 “Rock ‘N’ Roll Music” 2 LP set) of all places and one from Spain (“The Beatles 1967-1970” 2 LP set).

Not only where each of these albums bought for a decent price they are all three in really good shape for the most part and play excellently!

Let’s take a look at each album:

“Beatles for Sale”

This is a really nice one. I found this lovely pressing in a small record store that had most of their vinyl at very reasonable prices. This particular copy of “Beatles for Sale” was pressed in 1968, I believe, as it has a strange crossed out and corrected 2 in the matrix of Side 1 – YEX 142-1. The original apparently did not have this correction.

I have an early ’70s copy of this album with the “-1” stampers on the silver and black Parlophone label but have not had a black and yellow stereo pressing until now. I must say the “-1” pressings of this album are superb sounding! There is a magic in the mid-range in this pressing and it’s my favorite stereo pressing of this album by far. I love the thick yet punchy sound from the tube equipment it was originally mastered with – easily my favorite ’60s Beatles stereo mix.

Both the cover and the record are in really nice shape and I was surprised to find a black and yellow Parlophone pressing in a record store in the Midwest – a real rarity for me.

I have to say that the original black and yellow Parlophone Beatles albums in good shape are the best way to hear these albums. Even though I love the CD versions of Beatles albums there’s just a magic to the sound of these original pressings that can’t be replicated with the mastering on modern equipment.

“Rock ‘N’ Roll Music” 

Now this record I was truly surprised to see sitting in front of me. I had gone through a large stack of average looking Beatles records at an antique mall when this beauty popped up. I had to check it a couple of times to make sure I wasn’t seeing things.

I have never seen a copy of any Beatles record made in the Philippines so even though the cover wasn’t in the best condition I was thrilled to discover it. At least the vinyl was in near excellent condition and looks largely unplayed. So of course it was a no-brainer for me to snatch this puppy up and add it to my collection.

It appears that this pressing was made from British parts as the sound matches the regular mixes found on the UK copies of “Rock ‘N’ Roll Music” and not the George Martin equalized versions that were found on US copies.

A rare find for me and one of my favorite discoveries this year so far.

“The Beatles 1967-1970”

Shortly after finding the Philippines copy of “Rock ‘N’ Roll Music” I happened upon another small antique mall (I went to a small town that had several unique malls within a five mile radius) and was shocked to find a beautiful copy of the 1973 double album “The Beatles 1967-1970” pressed in Spain.

Because the album was in such good shape I snapped it up before closely looking at it. After I got home I was pleasantly surprised to find that this particular pressing had an alternate track list from the rest of the world. There on Side Three, as I was cleaning the vinyl, the song title “One After 909” jumped out at me and I was flabbergasted – in a good way of course.

I know next to nothing about Beatles records pressed in Spain but apparently the song “The Ballad of John & Yoko” was dropped from this album because of the lyrics “you can get married in Gibraltar near Spain” as there was a diplomatic conflict between the UK and Spain about Gibraltar. I had no idea. I was so happy to see that they substituted the song “One After 909” as it’s one of my favorite songs from the “Let it Be” album and it works really well on this collection.

Had I known that this was the case I would have for sure scooped this pressing up quicker but as it is I’m just happy to have it and it sounds great and is a really fun listen. It’s very close to sound of the original UK copy. I’m not sure if it’s a first pressing or not but I don’t care as I love foreign pressings like this that differ from the norm.

Anyway, that’s my latest update. Feast your eyes, above and below, on my three recent foreign acquisitions.

That’s all for now.

See you soon and I hope you are well and healthy.

Tasting Much Sweeter Than Wine – The Beatles “Please Please Me” Album at 60!

It was sixty years ago today … well, almost.

Tomorrow on March 22 it will be sixty years since The Beatles released their first album in the UK. Sixty years, wrap your mind around that for a moment. I’ve done a lot of fifty year anniversary posts in the last few years but now that we’re up to the sixty year range it’s truly a bit surreal.

When The Beatles “Please Please Me” Lp was released in Britain on March 22, 1963, they already had one Top Twenty hit (“Love Me Do”) released in October 1962 and a second hit (“Please Please Me”) that reached No. 1 (or No. 2) in early 1963 depending on which UK sales chart you followed.

Since The Beatles popularity was rapidly growing making a full-length Lp seemed like the next logical step for their career. I’m sure their record company EMI and producer George Martin felt the same way so the time was right to try a full album.

After spending the day in the studio on February 11, 1963, The Beatles recorded ten more songs to add to the four songs from their first two singles and presto the “Please Please Me” album was born. While it may have only taken a day to record most of the album, the album certainly has stood the test of time.

In 1963 albums weren’t big sellers for the teen market in the UK as they were much more expensive than the average teen could afford in that era. Even EMI I’m sure had not anticipated The Beatles first album not only hitting the top spot on the UK sales charts but spending a whopping thirty weeks at the top which was something unheard of for a new pop group especially one from Liverpool of all places.

(Note: The north of England was looked down upon at that time and no pop groups from port cities like Liverpool had ever become top sellers let alone a world wide phenomena. The Beatles in may ways broke the mold of what a pop group could do and achieve).

So here we are sixty years later and to celebrate I thought I’d share my all-time favorite mono and stereo vinyl as well as CD versions of the “Please Please Me” album that I have in my collection.

First up, the vinyl:

Please Please Me – UK gold label mono first vinyl pressing

What can I say, this first pressing of The Beatles very first album is special in more ways than one.

Firstly it’s the only pressing that features the gold colored Parlophone label, that in itself is really cool. But it is also one heck of a great sounding disc as even if you have a beat up copy these early British pressings were made to last and even a worn looking copy probably sounds great.

Since my pressing is a fairly early copy I think (Matrix/Stampers: Side One XEX 421-1N 1P and Side Two XEX 421-1N 1L) the sound on this pressing just shines; it’s full of life, punch and clarity.

Overall I prefer the mono mix of this album though I do enjoy the stereo as well. This first mono pressing is nice and punchy and jumps out of the speakers and hits on all cylinders. I also own a 1982 repress of this mono mix but this first pressing just has a life and excitement that other pressings lack.

(Note: Mono copies of this album on the regular black and yellow Parlophone  label that were also pressed in 1963 sound just as good. If you can find one of those at a decent price and can’t find a black and gold label copy you’ll be quite pleased.)

I know it’s becoming harder and harder to find a decent copy of this first pressing mono that won’t break the bank but if you can manage to swing it this copy does not disappoint. Even though many of the second issue UK mono copies sound great as well there’s just something special about this first issue that’s well worth seeking out.

Please Please Me – German Stereo vinyl pressing:

This stereo copy from Germany was first released in the late 1960’s on the Horzu label and was titled “Die Beatles”. I guess the first pressings of this album sounded like the UK stereo pressing but later pressings with the matrix numbers SHZE 117-A-2 and SHZE 117-B-2 come from an uncompressed tape that sounds a lot better than any other stereo pressing of this album out there including the first UK stereo pressing.

I’ve read that either an early twin-track tape before compression was added was copied from EMI and sent to Germany or somehow the German record company did some kind of eq to get this result but whatever the case this version is the version to have of this classic album as it’s the best sounding version of this album I’ve ever heard.

My particular copy has the following matrix numbers; Side 1: SHZE 117-A-2 04219-A-2 and  Side 2: SHZE 117-B-2 04219-B-2. This copy is on the Apple label (see photos below) and was released under the original “Please Please Me” title. If you look closely at the photos below you can faintly see the SHZE 117-A-2 and SHZE 117-B-2 matrixes followed by the 04219-A-2 and 04219-B-2 which are easier to see.

Copies without the SHZE 117-A-2 and SHZE 117-B-2 in the run-out groove are out there but they don’t have the uncompressed sound so if you look for this album make sure to check the run-out groove for these matrix numbers.

The CDs:

“Please Please Me” – Mono 2009 CD remaster

The 2009 CD remaster of the “Please Please Me” album which came in “The Beatles in Mono” box set is my go-to version of this album in mono on CD. The original 1987 CD version which was the only official CD version from 1987 to 2009 is actually not that bad but suffers from being mastered on a stereo tape deck instead of a full mono deck which left the sound a bit lacking compared with the 2009 remaster.

Plus the 2009 remaster mono CD comes in a stunning mini-CD cardboard cover that replicated exactly the original UK mono album even down to the correct inner sleeve. I love the flip-back style mini sleeves which really give you a feel for what an original copy looks like and with the better sound it’s my favorite mono CD version of the album.

“Please Please Me” – Stereo 2009 CD remaster (SHM-CD mini-lp CD version):

The 2009 stereo remaster CD of the “Please Please Me” album is the only official stereo version of this album available in the CD format. Like I said previously up until the 2009 remaster the “Please Please Me” album was only available on CD in mono and on an inferior version as well.

The version I’m sharing here is the groovy Japanese SHM-CD mini-lp CD which was a limited release of the 2009 stereo CD in a stunning flip-back style mini sleeve of the original UK stereo pressing of the album.

I know others feel the SHM-CD format is some sort of snake oil but I think this SHM-CD version of the “Please Please Me” CD has better bass and separation that the regular CD so this makes it my go-to version of the stereo album on CD. It’s nice to finally have a decent sounding stereo version of this album on CD and hopefully a box set of the “Please Please Me” album is on the horizon so maybe an even better version of the stereo CD will happen soon.

Well there you have it. This is my special celebration the 60th birthday of the wonderful “Please Please Me” album. I have to say it’s the most dated sounding of The Beatles original albums, which is no surprise, but to me that’s part of its charm.

I remember when I first heard this album on a 1970s Parlophone UK vinyl pressing and thinking that I loved the older sounding songs like “Chains”, “Baby It’s You” and “A Taste of Honey” because that took me to another place and time. To me the energy of the performances on this album still transcend time making this album one of my favorite Beatles albums of their entire catalog.

So happy birthday “Please Please Me” and until next time be well and safe and see you soon! That is all.

Karen Carpenter – A Celebration of Life Forty Years On

As hard as it may seem forty years ago today one of the best female pop singers (IMHO) of the 20th century passed away – Karen Carpenter.

If you’ve never heard of Karen Carpenter or the music she created with her brother Richard under the name The Carpenters you must check them out either online with streaming or on a physical format of your choice – it will be well worth your time! Karen Carpenter’s voice is haunting, soothing, silky, melancholy and most of all memorable.

(Note: I’ve posted a few Carpenters stories here and have been a fan of The Carpenters since I first heard the 45 of their song “Hurting Each Other” in 1971 which I still have to this day in its beat up picture sleeve)

Now I don’t want to make this a morbid post, instead I’d like to celebrate the life of Karen Carpenter whose death forty years ago touched so many people in so many different ways.

I was thinking as I watched a Carpenter’s performance today online, just because Karen Carpenter passed away doesn’t mean her music passed away. In fact, as of late I’ve seen dozens of reaction videos on YouTube from younger people who are just amazed at the quality of her voice and the quality of The Carpenters’ music.

Whenever I see these YouTube videos featuring Karen Carpenter her voice is still as silky, effervescent and pure as it always was and even forty long years since her passing her voice still has the capacity to amaze and delight people from all ages and backgrounds.

So today in celebration of Karen Carpenter’s exquisite life and gift I’m going to share two acquisitions I just found in the last week that highlight her unforgettable voice as well as her brother Richard’s impeccable arrangements and musical performances.

The first thing that I found was this amazing single CD of The Carpenter’s “Gold”. It was mastered with a process I’ve never heard of until now called K2 HD mastering. The CD is made in Japan and features a single-disc version of a two-disc set by The Carpenter’s also called “Gold” which I have on a 35th anniversary CD set (see photos below).

I’ve always enjoyed the selections on The Carpenter’s “Gold” 2 CD set but have found the mastering a little bit hot or compressed and even though it sounded okay it wasn’t my favorite Carpenters collection.

I must say was amazed with the sound on this single version K2 HD  CD. It’s definitely an improvement over the 2 CD U.S. set I own especially the bass which is deeper and richer and overall the sound of this disc isn’t very compressed which was a great relief for me as the U.S. version is a bit loud for my tastes.

I must have missed the advent of  K2 HD mastering and even though this disc sounds great I don’t know that I’d go out looking for more K2 HD discs but since I found this used for a decent price I’m very happy with it and it’s a great overview of The Carpenter’s music.

This CD was made in 2007 so I’m guessing that K2 HD mastering must have been a thing in Japan at that time but if I happened to stumble upon another disc with this mastering by an artist I like I may snap it up but I’m sure K2 HD discs are probably expensive to buy new, if they’re still in production, and I’m not sure it’s quite worth a lot of money to buy them but found cheaply enough I would certainly be interested.

The second thing I found was an immaculate copy of the album that was released right after Karen Carpenter’s unfortunate death. Called “Voice of the Heart” this vinyl copy is still in the shrink wrap and even has the hype sticker which I always love to find.

The “Voice of the Heart” album was released toward the end of 1983 just a few months after Karen Carpenter died and is comprised of some of the last songs she was working on at the time of her death as well as some older material that never made it onto previous albums.

Songs like “Now”, Karen’s last studio recording, “Ordinary Fool” and “Make Believe It’s Your First Time” remain three of my all-time favorite Carpenter’s songs and they sound simply superb on this immaculate first pressing of this album.

(Note 2: The album cover always makes me cringe a bit as Karen looks very thin or maybe it’s because the shirt looks way bigger than she is. It’s a nice photo it just makes me somewhat sad. Nonetheless and this is an album well worth hearing and seeking out.)

Anyway it’s a really solid and enjoyable album and quite fitting to find near the anniversary of her passing. I can’t think of a better way to honor Karen than to highlight some of her wonderful recordings especially these two lovely additions to my collection.

Well, that’s all for now.

I just wanted to post something to honor Karen Carpenter’s memory and am so glad that her and her brother’s music are still being discovered and enjoyed all these many years since these songs were recorded and her untimely death.

As usual you can enjoy photos above and below of these new Carpenter’s finds as well as a couple of photos of my U.S. “Gold” 2 CD set.

Until next time be well and healthy and spring is almost around the corner.

See you soon!


The Partridge Family Laurie House 2 LP Set – A Surprise Discovery Filled with Odd Sounding Mixes

Well, 2023 just seems to get better and better at least with music collectibles.

Two days ago I happened upon a really rare Partridge Family record from the Laurie House label. Called simply “The Partridge Family” this 2 LP set was advertised on television in the middle to late 1970s (I don’t have an exact time but more than likely around 1976 or ’77) and consists of Davids Cassidy solo hits mixed with Partridge Family hits and album cuts.

If you’ve ever seen any products by Laurie House form the ’70s they are not what you would call elaborate – cheap may be a better word. I own Laurie House sets from The Monkees and The Archies both of which have the same type of flimsy cover and no frills record labels as this Partridge Family set.

I managed to order The Monkees and The Archies sets from TV back in the day but for some reason I don’t ever remember seeing The Partridge Family Laurie House set advertised in my area. If I did I’m sure I would have asked of it and as of this week I have never seen a copy for sale in person. I’ve seen it pop up from time to time online and usually at a prime price.

(Note: there’s a set on ebay as we speak that they’re asking around $90 for and in less condition then the one I bought. Also, I paid under $20 which I thought was great seeing as how the records are in beautiful shape and the flimsy cover is pretty good as well)

I was expecting this set to sound okay but not great. There’s another terrific 2 LP Partridge Family set called “The World of The Partridge Family” that was released on Bell Records in 1974 that sounds superb so I wasn’t expecting this new set to offer much  other than the fact that it’s rare and a fun find.

Well, let me tell you, after listening to both albums I was truly surprised at how this set sounds.

I read online someone saying it that the set played the songs faster then the regular albums, which I didn’t find, but I do have to say that the songs on this set sound odd – but in a good way, I think.

The first thing I noticed right away was that as the first few songs played they were definitely in mono and not stereo as the labels say. Not totally surprising but the first side sounded pretty good yet a bit more muffled than the Bell Records versions.

It was on Side B that things got really weird!

Here’s my track by track take on how these mixes sound:

“Somebody Wants to Love You” – sounds like a mono mix. The bass sounds nice and full but there is no stereo separation that I can hear yet it sounds really good. Very similar to the mono mix on the original 45

“Cherish”, “How Can I Be Sure” and “Rock Me Baby” – again all sound like mono mixes to me. I must say the guitars really rock and stand out on “Rock Me Baby” yet they definitely sound different to the stereo mixes on Cassidy’s solo Bell albums. Not dramatically different but the vocals and instruments sound like they are at different levels then the mixes I’m used to hearing

“Could it Be Forever” – this one sounds kind of odd. It’s the first of many songs that sound as if one channel of the regular stereo mix was folded down into mono. Not bad sounding but odd

“I Think I Love You” – this mix is where things REALLY gets weird. In fact it’s mostly The Partridge Family songs that sound dramatically different on this set. It’s a mono mix but it’s missing the harpsichord! It’s most notable on the solo where it’s just not there. Possibly a mix down of stereo to mono of just one channel? Still sounds good though, less poppy sounding but so, so different. Weird, and sloppy folding perhaps, but interesting

“Doesn’t Somebody Want to Be Wanted” – again a mono mix and missing some instrumentation. Sounds more rock now, interesting really. I kind of like it

“I’ll Meet You Halfway” – piano very low in the mix, strings much more prominent. Mono. Lovely

“I Woke Up in Love This Morning” – mono mix, sounds like mono mix of one channel of the stereo mix to me. All of these odd mixes or odd mix-downs makes most of the Partridge tracks sound like alternate mixes.

“It’s One of Those Nights (Yes Love)” – Mono mix, doesn’t sound too different but the instruments are lower in the mix

“Twenty-Four Hours a Day” – again, sounds like a mono mix of one channel or an alternate mix but really this many alternate mixes seems unlikely more like a rush job and poor transfers but nonetheless fun to hear. Laurie House seems to not put much thought into their products at all – this time the cheapness made a unique mess that’s kind of fun to hear

“Point Me in the Direction of Albuquerque” – wow does this sound like a legit alternate mix but I’m guessing it’s not. One channel of the stereo mix folded down to mono (again, I’m guessing) really gives this song a different feel. Lovely.

Weirdly on Side C three IS some stereo after the previous sides sounding like mono. At least I can notice the stereo separation on this side.

“Am I Losing You” – it is stereo yet still sounds like an alternate mix. Not terribly different but the mix of the vocals sounds different. Could be my mind playing tricks on me lol at this point

“Breaking Up is Hard to Do” – lovely mono mix as it wasn’t ever mixed into stereo in the seventies. Sounds great and like the regular mix from the “At Home With Their Greatest Hits” album

“Looking Through the Eyes of Love” – another odd sounding mix like one channel of the original stereo mix mixed down to mono. Horns and vocals much louder than the other instruments. The background vocals very loud at the end of the song. Odd

“Friend and Lover” – Sounds like the regular stereo mix but still with stereo separation not as distinct as the “Notebook” album.

“That’ll Be the Day” – Another mono sounding mix that sounds alternate. The organ is nearly missing but there quietly in the background. Sounds good but different.for sure

If these are stereo they have absolutely no separation like the original Bell Records issues. I never expected these to sound different from the original albums but the feel of the entire album is like a stripped down alternate journey through The Partridge Family’s greatest hits.

I’m sure it’s a mistake but they’re really fun to listen to and quite trippy because I’m so used to the original albums.

I played a couple of Partridge Family CDs right after I listened to this set and sure enough for instance the harpsichord on “I Think I Love You” is only in the right-hand channel. It sounds like the left-hand channel of the stereo mix of “I Think I Love You” was mixed down to mono thus the absence of the harpsichord.

I’m guessing most of the album was weirdly done this way but how on earth could the quality control be that bad? Possibly Laurie House could have card less but whatever the case it’s actually a fun listen as the songs really sound a bit less poppy and it’s a fun alternate way of hearing these songs.

There really isn’t much about this album online so I thought I’d describe what my copy sounds like for those who may care – a dwindling number I’m sure. I’m kind of surprised that nowhere online does it mention “I Think I Love You” without the harpsichord (that’s pretty hard to miss!) but whatever the case this set is a lot of fun if you can find one for a decent price.

Now maybe there was a first batch that had these odd fold-downs or whatever they are and perhaps it got fixed for another run?  I know this couldn’t have sold that much as I’ve never run across one and I see Partridge Family albums at nearly every antique store and flea market or record store I visit.

I’m guessing the people who bought this set in the ’70s probably didn’t notice or care and frankly the songs still sound good just different.

If anyone else out there owns this album does yours have these same weird sounding mixes?

Overall I’m actually quite happy with this purchase and even though I think this album was just rushed and sloppy these alternate sounding mixes are a hoot and a fun surprise that I may actually play again form time to time as they are really fun to hear.

As usual take a glance above at photos of my copy of “The Partridge Family” from Laurie House and if you happen to discover it somewhere along the line you’ll know what you’re in for if you decide to buy it.

That’s all for now!

Be safe and well and they’ll be more posts here soon.


The Monkees Featured in “KYA Beat” Teen Newspaper from San Francisco – October 8, 1966 and February 25, 1967 Editions

Happy New Year!

I know I’m a few days late with the greeting but since this year isn’t even a week old, it’s better late then never.

As it happens this first week of 2023, while strange in many ways, has gotten off to a good start as far as collecting is concerned. Yesterday I happened upon something really fun that I’ve never seen before and frankly didn’t even know existed.

While I was browsing through a quaint and lovely antique store I stumbled on several issues of an old teen newspaper called “BEAT”. These were all “KYA Editions” of “BEAT”  that came from San Francisco. The issues that I saw came from 1966 and 1967 and boy were they cool.

Not only did these groovy old newspapers have articles about some of my favorite pop/rock groups from the ’60s they had a lot of fun ads and notices from the era which really makes reading them like traveling back in time. Truly a blast from the past and as an extra bonus each newspaper was in fantastic shape especially for newspapers from over 55 years ago.

There were cover stories about The Mamas and Papas and Donovan, I believe, but the two that really caught my eye were issues of “BEAT” featuring The Monkees! Needless to say these were instant buys and well worth it too.

What’s so fun about these Monkees issues is that they’re from the early days of The Monkees TV show. It’s fun to see reports on the group in real time as it happened and these articles are much more fun to read than the articles from the teen magazines of the era; similar but a bit less cheesy then what you may have found in magazines like “16”, “Tiger Beat” and “Datebook”.

Now I don’t know much about the “BEAT” newspaper. Was it published exclusively in San Francisco or was it published in several different cities? Was it West coast only? If it was issued in other cities did local radio stations put their ad on the back of each local copy? How long did was it published?

I haven’t found much on this newspaper so far but haven’t done a through search yet either. It was just fun to discover these gems from the past and after reading them I’m tempted to buy some of the other issues I found in the shop.

Whatever the story is this is one fun newspaper to read. Granted it’s pretty tame stuff but the ads and letters to the editor sections are a hoot and really take you back to a place and time that seems to be slipping farther and farther away with each passing year.

I decided to take photos of each complete issue of the two issues I bought. You can see the October 1966 issue above and the February 1967 issue below. I think the photos are good enough to read each story and get a feel for this wonderful time capsule from the mid 1960s.

If anyone reading this knows more about this newspaper or experienced it firsthand at the time please drop me a line. As I was nearly only one at the time of the October 1966 issue I have no idea if the Midwest (where I’m from) would have had access too this newspaper or not but it was so fun to be able to have a couple of issues to get a feel for the mindset of a teenager in the mid-’60s.

Well, that’s all for now. Just a quick glimpse back to start your new year with some fun. I hope you are well and your year has started out okay.

As usual take a gander at the several photos of these two issues of “BEAT” above and below.

Again, Happy New Year and see you soon!

Paul McCartney’s “Get Back” on Blu-Ray – The 1989/90 Blu-Ray Tour Documentary Is A Worthy Upgrade from The Mediocre DVD

***Plus Photos of Japanese “Get Back” Laserdisc with 12-Page Booklet***

Absence makes the heart grow fonder and that’s certainly the case with Paul McCartney’s 1989/90 Tour documentary film “Get Back”.

I’ve had a love hate relationship with “Get Back” since I first saw it in the 1990s. Don’t get me wrong it’s a good film but there are some things about it that kind of leave me in the cold.

First off “Get Back” doesn’t include the entire show just a small selection of songs that were performed on that particular tour. Secondly there are several staged shots of McCartney and his band that were shot in a studio to get better close-ups, etc. Directed by famed Beatles movie director Richard Lester, the “Get Back” film while fun is flawed as a complete document of the tour.

Fast forward a few decades, say over three or so, and what seemed like a minor film at the time has become much more enjoyable – at least for me. Sure the flaws are still there but Paul McCartney hasn’t toured with a lot of the members of this line-up since the  early 1990s and I personally really enjoy this band of musicians.

Watching a recently released Blu-Ray I just received of “Get Back” I was surprised at how much I enjoyed the film. Of course McCartney’s 1989/90 World Tour was the first time I had seen McCartney, or any Beatle for that matter, live so that particular tour holds a lot of memories for me.

I remember the excitement clearly as McCartney and his band took to the stage on Sunday, December 3, 1989 which my first Paul McCartney concert in Chicago, IL at the Rosemont Horizon (now called Allstate Arena).

It was memorable show in many ways including the fact that there was supposed to be an opening video that preceded the band walking on stage that night but it wasn’t working (much to my displeasure). McCartney and his band strolled out to the stage calmly without any fanfare waving to the crowd as they proceeded to rip into the opening song “Figure of Eight”, one of my favorite songs from McCartney’s then current LP “Flowers in the Dirt”.

As the song played I was suddenly overcome with a feeling of awe – Paul McCartney was here “IN PERSON, RIGHT NOW!” I remember thinking over and over again that night. It was heady stuff for my twenty-three year old self.

Though the thrill of seeing McCartney live that night was undeniable for the first half of the show McCartney’s voice was a bit rough in spots. Songs like “Got to Get You Into My Life” and “Maybe I’m Amazed” were particularly horse sounding but miraculously by the second half of the show McCartney almost fully recovered.

Luckily I also managed to see another show on this tour in Indianapolis in February of 1990 on Valentine’s Day and McCartney was in much stronger voice. Even though the 1990 show was better the excitement at a McCartney show has never been topped by that first time I saw him in 1989.

Anyway, back to the new Blu-Ray of “Get Back”. This newer Blu-Ray has been available for a few months online as it has been released in some overseas markets but not in the US. I’m guessing that’s because the DVD market in the US has pretty much stalled and sales are way down vs streaming.

As a physical media person though I’ve been tempted a few times to buy this particular Blu-Ray so last week I took the plunge. For those few Beatles freaks out there who are interested here are my comparisons of the previous DVD I own of “Get Back” to the new Blu-Ray version:


Packaging: C+ – average, decent cover, standard looking DVD but nothing special

Picture: C – very average, kind of dark and murky, pixelized in spots and blurry. Almost looks like a bootleg copy at times. Not horrible but nothing that makes you want to watch this DVD very often

Screen format: 4:3 so the picture is stretched on Widescreen TVs, if you want the image to fill your entire screen this particular DVD doesn’t look very good stretched

Sound: C – again average sound, kind of low and not a lot of bass. Okay but again nothing to get too excited about


Packaging: B+ – nice cover with nice small box that holds the Blu-ray. I like this cover way more than the DVD – very appealing. I like the dark look of this cover versus the white side panel of the DVD which makes it look cheaper

Picture: B+ – very nice picture, slightly soft but nice color and less murky and way more detailed than the DVD version. Could be better but now is very watchable. You can see the film grain so it’s not overly processed which is nice. An obvious improvement over the DVD

Screen format: 1.66.1 (European widescreen standard). There are small black bars on each side of the screen and the picture looks fuller to me than the DVD and no stretching on widescreen TVs

Sound: A – the sound of this Blu-ray is top notch even though it only has a 2.0 stereo mix and not a 5.1 surround mix. It has a lot of nice bass and jumps out of the speakers without sounding compressed. The sound is so improved over the DVD that it makes me want to watch the disc over and over. I’ve watched it twice so far and have really enjoyed it.

(Note: I bought this Blu-Ray from Amazon and it says Region B on both covers – the cardboard and the actual disc cover. It’s not region B though as that would mean it wouldn’t play on US Blu-Ray players and obviously it plays just fine. I think this version of the Blu-Ray is sold in Australia but if you want to buy it it WILL play on US players so no worries about compatibility)

There you have it. The Blu-Ray is definitely worth getting over the DVD version, at least the one that I own. I never wanted to watch this documentary DVD much because it looks very average and comes across as sterile and plodding with the poorer picture and sound.

The improved picture and sound of this new Blu-Ray helps to get me into the concert footage and really jogs my memory about the shows I saw on the tour.

It’s not the perfect presentation of the tour by any means, I can do without the staged shots, but as time has gone on it’s a terrific document of McCartney’s band at the time which I think is one of his better post Beatles lineups.

I’ve also thrown some photos up of the Japanese laserdisc verison of this film that I also own. It’s been ages since I had my laserdisc player hooked up but as memory serves I thought the picture quality of the laserdisc was good but  I’m guessing I liked the DVD a bit better.

Looking at the DVD today I can’t imagine why as the DVD is a grainy, dark mess at times and not a very good presentation of the film. Take a look of the different screen shots I took of the DVD and Blu-Ray and I think you can tell that the Blu-Ray’s picture is definitely superior.

(Note 2: Check out the groovy 12-page booklet that comes with the laserdisc, it has some great photos and is a great souvenir of the tour)

So if you want to dip your toes into the waters of Paul McCartney’s 1989/90 World Tour the best place to get a nice sampling on video is this splendid new Blu-Ray release. The release I bought from Amazon is from Australia I believe and there looks like there’s another Blu-Ray version available as well from another country but it’s a few dollars more, not sure why though.

As usual there are plenty of photos above and below of the DVD, Blu-Ray and Japanese laserdisc versions of the “Get Back” film that reside in my collection.

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

Paul McCartney Selects 80 Singles to Celebrate Over Fifty Years of His Solo Career

***Paul McCartney The 7 Inch Singles Box***

Today is a first for me.

Readers of this blog know that I am an old-fashioned relic who still loves physical media. The name of this blog says it all – Living in the Physical World.

In spite of that however, today I am endorsing a digital product. Digital you say? Ahhhh! Let me explain.

This past Friday, December 2nd, Paul McCartney released a tremendous box set of 45’s called Paul McCartney The 7 Inch Singles Box”. It contains eighty 45’s from McCartney’s long solo career and was curated by McCartney himself. 

Believe it or not Paul McCartney has released more than eighty singles since he left The Beatles in 1970, that’s a crazy number I know, so while this is an enormous box it would have been even bigger if it included all his single releases from 1970 to now!

Now as one may guess the option to buy the physical media version of this box was tempting for me – for about two minutes. As fate would have it the cost was just too severe for me ($611.00 plus shipping) and being released in December truly sealed the deal.

That’s not to say that this box set isn’t a thing of beauty (see photos above). I’ve seen several unboxing photos and videos of the set and I must say it was put together very well and I’m sure all who bought it will love and cherish it.

Besides the actual cost of the physical set I can honestly say that I would only play the records once and that would be to record them to digital. I mean the thought of flipping over eighty 45’s very often also made me realize that this particular set wasn’t for me even though it looks great. It would end up just being a decoration and that’s not what I would enjoy.

And that’s too bad as this collection includes dozens of newly remastered songs that have not been part of McCartney’s Archive Collection which of course was the main reason I was even tempted to buy the box in the first place.

As luck would have it here is a digital download of this set available to buy as well. As per my usual I swore that I would never buy a download set especially one that clocks in over ten hours as this one does. It’s just such a pain to download and then you have to make either CDs or use a USB drive and that didn’t really appeal to me.

That is until I streamed some of the content online. You can stream the entire set for free – free is you subscribe to any of the online platforms like Spotify or Pandora or Amazon. I am an Amazon member but I don’t pay for the extra unlimited thus I can stream parts of the set but not in order and not in its entirety.

I think you can listen on YouTube as well but after hearing some of the lovely newly remastered McCartney songs from two of my favorite Wings albums – “London Town” and “Back to the Egg” – I decided to bite the bullet and try and download a CD quality version of the set.

I know, I know I could probably buy an almost entire year of streaming on one service for the cost of the download of the Paul McCartney The 7 Inch Singles Box” but if I am going to listen to this mammoth set I’d rather have it so I can play it on my stereo or car without continually subscribing to a streaming service.

So … I’m here to report that over the weekend I did indeed download the entire set in CD quality from Qobuz, a respected HiRes audio download site.

I must admit that the entire process was much easier than I expected. It only took about a half hour to download the 159 songs and even though they were downloaded in the FLAC file format it was easy enough to convert them to either WAV or Mp3 format and then put them on a USB stick and my Ipod.

(Note: It was easy but it was also a bit time consuming – one of the downfalls of downloading)

I have a TEAC CD player that will play my USB or my Ipod so I have listened to a few hours of this set on both my stereo as well as my car which also uses both my USB stick and Ipod (again, see photos above).

After having spent some time with this set, I haven’t had time to listen to all ten hours of it, I must say I’m pretty impressed with the sound as the mastering is overall very, very good. There are a couple of songs that I thought were just okay but mostly the newly remastered songs sound great.

There are also some mixing oddities on some of the songs that others have pointed out – a different sax part on the song “Only Love Remains” (a single remix from the “Press to Play” album from 1986), a slightly different edit on the live version of “Coming Up (Live at Glasgow)” from 1980 as well as having the “Tug of War” tracks remastered here from their original mixes as opposed to the so-so remixes from the recent McCartney Archive release of the “Tug of War” album.

Highlights of the set so far for me include all the songs included from the “London Town” and “Back to the Egg” albums such as “London Town”, “I’ve Had Enough”. “Deliver Your Children”, “Girls School” (the b-side of “Mull of Kintyre”), “Old Siam, Sir”, “Getting Closer”, “Spin it On” that have yet to be issued as part of the McCartney Archive collection.

Also songs like “Tough on a Tightrope” (b-side of “Only Love Remains”) and the single remixes of “Pretty Little Head” and “Only Love Remains” all from the “Press to Play” album and the truly wonderful b-sides like “Rainclouds” (recorded the week John Lennon was shot and b-side to McCartney’s 1982 monster hit “Ebony sand Ivory”) and “It’s Not True” (b-side of the 1986 “Press” single) which is one of my all-time favorite McCartney songs.

Not to mention all the “Off the Ground” era songs and the lovely new remasters of the 1990s live tracks like “The Long and Winding Road”, “C Moon”, “Birthday” and “Good Day Sunshine” to name just a few of the gems on this set.

McCartney and his team focused on singles released around the world, and in one case a single that never actually came out (“Love is Strange” b/w “I Am Your Singer” – a single that never was from Wings “Wild Life” album from 1971), so that you get a broader spectrum of songs from throughout McCartney’s solo career than just the singles released in the UK and the States.

So there you have it. I’ve joined the digital age as much as I’d like to and I have to admit it wasn’t really a bad experience. Honestly I’d rather have a ten CD box set of this material with a nice booklet but everything sounds so good and you get a lot of rarely heard McCartney tracks from these singles that it really is a nice set to spend some time with and enjoy.

I didn’t think I would enjoy this set as much as I have over the last three days or so and now that I’ve gotten it downloaded and listenable I’m very happy.

I realize the day may soon come when this kind of thing is the only option for archive music so when that day comes at least I’m ready lol. I do wish though that they had included a PDF of the booklet from the physical set but as far as the music goes this set is a real winner!

As usual I have included some photos but this time it’s just a photo or two of the physical set which I don’t own and photos of the adventures with my USB stick in my CD player and my car. It’s nice that on my TEAC CD player I can program the tracks on my USB and on my car I can shuffle the tracks so either way it’s very similar to playing a CD and with CD sound quality to boot.

And for all you folks out there who aren’t crazy enough to buy this huge set either physically or digitally go to your favorite streaming site and give some of these tracks a listen – they’re so worth it!

Now that I’ve actually joined the 21st Century I’d love to see some really groovy McCartney Archive set come out on CD!!!

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