A Compact Disc from the 1980s – In Honor of Barbra Streisand at 80

Time does have a way of sneaking up on you.

Yesterday legendary singer/actress/director/producer Barbra Streisand turned eighty years old and I must say it kind of rattled me for a second.

If Streisand was turning eighty then that means all of her work that I loved most, especially her run of albums from from 1980-1985, must be over or near forty years old. I know I’ve said it before but how on earth can it be over forty years since I first discovered the wonderful Barbra Streisand?!!

(Note: I should probably rename this blog “How on Earth Can It Be?” since all of my favorite music and artists are getting really old and that phrase pops up a lot on here. Oh well, I still love them anyway.)

Of course I knew of Streisand’s work in the 1960s and 70s, I had heard her songs on the radio and had even seen the movie “The Way We Were” on TV, but it wasn’t until 1980 and the release of her “Guilty” album that I actually started buying any of her records.

From 1980 onward every new album Barbra Streisand released managed to make it way into my collection whether it be on vinyl or CD. The “Guilty” album started me on a journey through Streisand’s career that eventually encompassed all of the musical work she has released since 1963.

And that leads me to the focus of today’s post.

In honor of Barbra Streisand turning 80 I thought I’d share with you a CD I recently found of one of her best albums, and one of my personal favorites, “The Broadway Album” which was released in 1985.

As the Covid situation has lessened I have been able to go back out antiquing again (one of my favorite hobbies) and I happened to come across this CD at an antique store still in its longbox. I haven’t seen a sealed CD in its original longbox since the early 1990s so this was a real time machine experience for me.

(Note 2 : Folks who’ve read this blog know that for a few years in the late 1980s and early 1990s CDs were made available to purchase in longboxes. The longbox was a way music retailers could shelve CDs in sections that had previously been used to display vinyl. I have shown many example of longboxes I still own on this blog and if you care to see them type in the word “longbox” in the search on this blog to get a glimpse at a few of them)

The fact that this longbox CD was “The Broadway Album” made it all the better and since the price was right and I had never seen, or don’t remember, the longbox that originally accompanied this album purchasing this CD was a no-brainer for me.

Now I must confess that I already own “The Broadway Album” on compact disc. I have a first issue U.S. CD pressing of the album that was made in Japan (see photos below) but I didn’t buy the album on CD initially as my first copy of the album was on vinyl.

I didn’t really start buying CDs until sometime in 1986 but I still remember fondly listening to this album on vinyl and looking at the inner lyric sleeve plus bonus liner insert as I played the record. You just don’t get the same experience of an album without the larger format album covers and inner sleeves, etc.

Truth be told I may actually prefer the sound of my vinyl copy but the CD issue is what I mainly reach for whenever I get the urge to play it.

I was wondering if the CD inside this new version I found in the longbox would be an early issue made in Japan. I know that the earliest CDs that were sold from say the 1983 to 1985 time frame were made available in what they called blister packs which were made of a hard plastic that had no artwork it was just a clear packing that held the CD and it’s jewel case.

In fact the first three CDs I ever bought were in these blister type packs and all three of those CDs were made in Japan. And naturally the first three CDs I ever purchased were by Paul McCartney – shocker I know.

The reason I like the earlier CDs made in Japan is that they are generally better made than modern CDs and the mastering is usually the same as what was made for the vinyl issue making them sound better than later CD issues of these albums.

I knew that odds were this longbox version may not be the earliest CD pressing of this album and of course since my curiosity won out I opened the longbox to make sure.

As you can see from the photos above this CD isn’t an early issue and was probably manufactured I’m guessing around 1987 to 1989 from the looks of the matrix information. This version does indeed sound nice and sounds like a slightly louder mastering than my early made in Japan CD which I think may sound a tad better but this disc is no slouch in the sound department that’s for sure.

Somewhere I have a remastered version of this album that came out around 2002 or so but I don’t really like the sound of that particular version. It sounds too hot and kind of clips in spots. It’s not a terrible sounding disc but I much prefer the earlier CD issues of this album as they are warmer and more dynamic to my ears.

Well anyway that’s all I have for now. I wanted to celebrate Barbra turning 80 the only way I know how by looking at her music in some of the formats that I own it on.

As usual you can see photos above and below of the various versions I own of “The Broadway Album”. The top section of photos highlight my recent longbox CD find while the bottom photos highlight my vinyl copy as well as the made in Japan copy I found as a used CD a few years after I bought the album on vinyl in 1985.

Until next time be safe and well and hopefully see you soon and Happy Birthday Barbra!

More Monkees to Love – Run Out Groove Hits Another Home Run with Their New “More of the Monkees” 2LP Vinyl Reissue

It’s been a couple of good years recently for all things Monkees related at least as far as new releases and concerts are concerned.

With the recent (and excellent) “Micky Dolenz Celebrates The Monkees” mini-tour just this past month not to mention last year’s “The Monkees Farewell Tour”, featuring Micky Dolenz and Mike Nesmith, plus the stupendous “The Monkees: The Day-By-Day Story” expanded book reissue by Andrew Sandoval in 2021 as well as Run Out Groove’s 2 LP vinyl reissue of “The Monkees” also in 2021 it’s been quite a time to be a Monkees fan – with some exceptions.

The biggest exception of course was the death of Mike Nesmith this past December. Nesmith’s death cast a major pale on all future Monkees activities as there is now only one surviving Monkee left, Micky Dolenz, to carry the torch for the group’s legacy.

The fact that such high quality new releases and concerts are even happening at all now is a very healing thing for most Monkees fans and a welcome mental balm for the realization that time is indeed ticking on faster and faster with each passing year and soon The Monkees will be a complete thing of the past.

BUT not all is doom and gloom this week my friends. A couple of days ago I happened to receive a most groovy and superb new 2LP vinyl numbered reissue of The Monkees biggest selling album “More of the Monkees” from 1967.

The “More of the Monkees” album spent 18 weeks at the number one position on the Billboard Top 200 charts at the beginning of 1967 while managing to also sell a whopping five million copies+ in the process. Looking back those kind of numbers are truly remarkable and show just how popular the so-called “pre-fab” four were for a time in the late 1960s.

So how does this new Run Out Groove reissue of “More of the Monkees” stand up in comparison to previous reissues of this classic album? In a word: marvelously.

First off much like last year’s Run Out Groove reissue of “The Monkees” this new 2 LP version of “More of the Monkees” is a total quality product from start to finish. The artwork, the packaging, the song selection, the mastering (done by the esteemed Kevin Grey) and even the record labels are done with such care and precision that I doubt you ever find a more lovingly put together reissue of this album.

The main album itself on the first disc in this set is a wonderful remaster of the original stereo mix from 1967. Having played this first album a couple of times I can say that for sure this new mastering is really well done but the limitations of the original stereo mix are also very apparent as well.

The original 1967 stereo mix had a lot of brightness baked into the mix and at higher volumes this new remaster can sound a bit brittle and edgy. I found that for this first disc if I kept the sound a tad bit lower in volume the brightness wasn’t too much of an issue. In fact the album now sounds a bit more punk and/or grungy which gives it a bit more rockier feel than the original Colgems vinyl from 1967.

I will say though that the bass and vocals really shine on this new remaster so while this new reissue isn’t as sonically pleasing as the 2021 Run Out Groove reissue of “The Monkees” the fault lies not in the mastering which is overall superb but the original mix itself.

The second disc features a nice selection of unreleased outtakes and mixes that didn’t come out during the 1960s. This amazing disc contains stereo and mono mixes of songs that for the most part are actually better than several of the songs that did make it onto the original “More of the Monkees” album.

(Note: Not only is the track selection great but the sound really improves on this second disc with no hint of the brightness or edginess of the first disc. Of course these outtakes and remixes didn’t get treated to the same amount of bouncing, etc. that the original album mix did and several of these mixes on disc two are fresh remixes from the multi-tracks which helps to improve the sound).

Take a look at the track listing of disc two:

Side 1:

  1. Apples, Peaches, Bananas and Pears (stereo) 2:18
  2. Don’t Listen To Linda (2017 stereo remix) 2:29
  3. I’ll Be Back Up On My Feet (first recorded version) 2:38
  4. Of You (mono mix) 1:58
  5. I Don’t Think You Know Me (second recorded version – mono mix) 2:20
  6. Words (first recorded version – mono TV mix) 2:49
  7. Valleri (first recorded version – mono TV mix) 2:32

Side 2:

  1. Through The Looking Glass (first recorded version – 2017 stereo remix) 2:34
  2. I Never Thought It Peculiar (mono TV mix) 2:13
  3. Tear Drop City (1966 mono mix) 2:18
  4. Hold On Girl (first recorded version – 2017 stereo remix 2:46
  5. I’ll Spend My Life With You (first recorded version – 2017 stereo remix) 2:32
  6. Mr. Webster (first recorded version – 2017 stereo remix) 2:52
  7. (I Prithee) Do Not Ask For Love (first recorded version – 2017 stereo remix) 3:18

Honestly if you kept this second discs lineup but  swiped out “Apples, Peaches, Bananas and Pears”, “Don’t Listen To Linda”, “I Never Thought It Peculiar” and “Of You” and replaced them with “She”, “Sometime in the Morning”, “(I’m Not Your) Steppin’ Stone” and “I’m a Believer” you’d have an even stronger and improved “More of the Monkees” album.

Actually though there’s not a bad song in the bunch on this second disc so it would really be hard to decide which version of “More of the Monkees” would be best so I’m glad that at least now we have what amounts to another new Monkees 1967 album that is every bit equal to and in some ways superior to the first two Monkees albums that did get released.

And of course the liner notes on this new reissue of “More of the Monkees” are some of the best liner notes on any issue of this album that I’ve ever seen. Monkees manager and historian Andrew Sandoval, who also cut the disc along with Kevin Grey, put a lot of new details from recently discovered court documents from the 1960s from The Monkees themselves that really illuminate what was going on behind the scenes during the making of this album.

A lot of drama and friction between the group and the powers that be (Don Kirshner, Colgems Records, Bert Schneider and Bob Rafelson) are detailed in these notes and really make for a powerful and entertaining read as you listen to the discs. Since a lot of these interviews, especially from Jones and Nesmith, feature new details about the recording process for the first few Monkees discs this new reissue is truly a wonderful peak behind the curtains of the pop world of LA circa 1966/67.

I have to say with the results this good I’m praying that several more, if not all, of the original Monkees albums get this deluxe vinyl treatment as these two Run Out Groove albums now stand as the final word in sound and packaging for these first two Monkees albums – they are truly that good!

As you can tell I’m very pleased with this new reissue of “More of the Monkees” and can’t say enough how good it is and any Monkees fan out there who likes this album and is reading this should run to your local indie record store, if you have one, as they may have the black vinyl version of this album in stock.

(Note 2: The version of the new Run Out Groove “More of the Monkees” vinyl set featured in this blog is the green vinyl version that was exclusive to the Run Out Groove Website and is now sold out)

So there you have it! A terrific new Monkees reissue has hit the shelves and has now landed happily on my own shelf and my turntable as well.

As usual you can see photos of this new reissue of “More of the Monkees” above and below.

Hopefully they’ll be some other new groovy Monkees reissues to spotlight in the near future as Andrew Sandoval has hinted on his Facebook and Instagram feeds. Hint: it has something to do with The Monkees “Headquarters” album/sessions.

Until next time be safe and well and enjoy the warmer weather and may you have a happy door into summer (Sorry, I couldn’t resist. Monkees fans will get it).

See you round these parts soon!

Micky Dolenz Celebrates The Monkees Legacy with a Terrific Performance at the Brown County Music Center – April 8th, 2022

As I’ve said before, some things are better late than never. Today that sentiment is never more true as I reflect on a concert I saw this past Friday. Normally I would have posted my thoughts sooner but I was traveling and not really near a computer and then time slipped away from me so as the saying goes … well, you know.

Now I know it may not come as any big surprise to readers of this blog but I happen to like The Monkees (yes, that’s an understatement lol). So, with that said, what better way to usher in seeing live shows again (I haven’t been to a live show since Covid began in 2020) than with a Monkees show?

A Monkees show you say? I thought there was only one Monkee left? Well you’d be correct as the only surviving Monkee (drummer and singer Micky Dolenz) is doing a short 2022 tour performing a show called “Micky Dolenz Celebrates The Monkees” and that certainly isn’t a Monkees show. Or is it?

I must say after having just seen “Micky Dolenz Celebrates The Monkees” I can attest that this show truly felt like a Monkees concert. I have to state up front that I’m no stranger to seeing The Monkees live. I’ve seen various configurations of the group seventeen times as well as seeing Micky Dolenz perform solo twice, including this past Friday, and trust me when I say this felt like being at a Monkees show.

This “Micky Dolenz Celebrates The Monkees” show is being produced by long-time Monkees historian and manager Andrew Sandoval, who also produced that last several Monkees tours, so of course it has the same feel as many of The Monkees shows since 2011 when Sandoval became actively involved with producing Monkees shows.

Not only were several Monkees songs performed that didn’t originally carry a Dolenz vocal but there were several lovely video montages of each group member (Davy Jones, Mike Nesmith and Peter Tork in case you forgot) plus ample clips from “The Monkees” TV show itself as well as their movie “HEAD”. There were also several previously unseen video gems from Dolenz’ archive including some spectacular footage of The Monkees live in 1967!

All four Monkees were everywhere in the theater throughout the night as Dolenz guided the audience through some of the musical highlights of the group’s catalog.

Of course since Micky Dolenz is the lone surviving Monkee naturally this show couldn’t be billed as a Monkees performance but with all the video footage and undiscovered music played in the hall (Sandoval dug up some truly wonderful unheard audio gems especially from Davy and Mike) while Dolenz wasn’t on stage this is as close as you can get to a live Monkees experience.

You get to hear and see each of the other three Monkees so much throughout the evening that at times you feel as if they’ve just left the stage for a quick break and will be back soon. The pacing of the show was excellent and the video tributes were so well done that I was left with the feeling of being with all four Monkees instead of just one.

The set list for “Micky Dolenz Celebrates The Monkees” was excellent touching on all the familiar Monkees hits while adding enough choice album cuts to make it interesting for this long-time Monkees fan.

(Note: To see Micky Dolenz complete set list for the Brown County Music Center show go here: https://www.setlist.fm/setlist/micky-dolenz/2022/brown-county-music-center-nashville-in-7bb68ecc.html)

While the Monkee maniac in me would have loved to hear more obscure songs like “Tear Drop City”, “Mommy and Daddy” or even “Shorty Blackwell” (can you imagine how that would sound live?) overall the set hit all the right notes. Plus Dolenz sang so damn well that even the familiar hits sounded fresh and lively which is quite a feat as I’ve heard them live several times.

The big Monkees hits “Pleasant Valley Sunday” and Dolenz sung versions of “Valleri” and “A Little Bit Me, A Little Bit You” were joined by wonderfully faithful versions of “Take a Giant Step” (the b-side of “Last Train to Clarksville“) and “I’ll Spend My Life with You” (from the “Headquarters” album) as well as a sublime version of “Can You Dig It?” (from the film and soundtrack of The Monkees film “HEAD”) which had been sung in concert for years by writer Peter Tork but was originally sung on record by Dolenz.

I’d have to say the highlight of the evening for me was the second set right after intermission when Dolenz hit his stride with truly magnificent versions of “Porpoise Song (Theme from “HEAD”)”, “I’ll Spend My Life with You”, “Take a Giant Step” and “Me & Magdelena” which was sung as a duet with his sister Coco. These four songs were worth the price of admission alone and make this show a must see for any Monkees fan.

(Note 2: Micky’s sister Coco is a wonder and has a great voice just like her brother. I love seeing and hearing her at these shows and she also has such a fun and graceful presence)

I was amazed at how youthful and strong Dolenz sounded throughout the entire performance. Honestly after seeing him perform live for nearly forty years I think that his voice at this performance may have sounded the best I’ve ever heard it. Truly Micky Dolenz is one of the 1960’s greatest pop voices and time hasn’t diminished his vocal gifts one bit.

Of course the band behind Dolenz was also superb and featured the same players that toured last year with Dolenz and Mike Nesmith on what was rightfully entitled “The Monkees Farewell Tour”.

Dolenz and company also stuck to arrangements that closely mirrored the original Monkees recordings with a slight tweak here and there which was a great thing in my book.

Everything from the songs to the pacing to the video tributes and not least the lovely Brown County Music Center made this an evening I’ll treasure and one of the best performances I’ve ever seen from Micky Dolenz.

This mini tour ends this week but if anyone out there is near one of the remaining dates you must try and go if your Covid situation allows for it of course. I missed last years farewell shows with Mike because of Covid but kind of regret it as of course he died just weeks after the tour ended.

Luckily things Covid wise have calmed down for the moment where I live and this concert was not only the perfect way to celebrate the legacy of The Monkees but it was also the perfect way to celebrate gathering together for live music something that’s been missing from my world these past many months.

I took a few photos, above, but I’m afraid the camera in my phone wasn’t up to the task. If you squint the right way you can make out the figures onstage but at least you get a feel for how the show looked.

Below is a photo of the groovy Monkees Complete Series Blu-Ray box set which was for sale at the merchandise stand at the concert. I own the set already but two discs got damaged so I was thrilled to finally be able to track another copy down. It was supposed to be only for sale at Micky’s shows but has since been made available to purchase online.

(Note 3: Today Rhino has just made this wonderful blu-ray set available again to purchase online. It had been out of print for the last few years so if you want a copy you can get one here: https://monkeesstore.warnermusic.com/the-monkees-complete-tv-series-blu-ray.html)

Well, that’s all for now. Just a few quick thoughts on a wonderful night out. I hope that Micky Dolenz continues to perform and record but if this is the last time I see him perform live it was a spectacular send-off.

Until next time be well and see you soon …

Peter Jackson’s “The Beatles: Get Back” Documentary on DVD – Finally?!!

It was a long time coming but it’s finally here!

The Beatles: Get Back” documentary, directed and produced by esteemed director Peter Jackson, had premiered on the Disney+ channel in November of 2021 and has been streaming there ever since but for some reason it’s journey to physical media has been somewhat rockier road.

This past February 8th “The Beatles: Get Back” was supposed to be released on DVD and Blu-ray.  “Supposed” being the operative word.  For some technical reason the DVD and Blu-ray sets were about a week or two from hitting store shelves when the rug was pulled for their release.

Now here’s the weird part. A few keen Beatles fans managed to make their way to stores like Best Buy and Target on the original February 8th release date and were able to find copies of the set on the shelves!

Most were met with a roadblock when they went to checkout the sets as the stores registers came up with a notice saying this item can’t be purchased. Of course that didn’t dissuade everyone and a few of these “defective” sets were sold.

(Note: Target store employees told some customers that they had to hold onto the discs until this upcoming September and they could sell them then! First off if they’re defective why on earth would they hold them and secondly why oh why even put them out on the shelves in the first place!)

Apparently discs were sent to stores without being stopped by distributors. This is a truly strange situation and leads me to believe this last minute issue was either discovered too late to stop shipments OR Disney had some other wacky (and as yet unknown) reason to keep these sets from retail sale.

Reports online by the few people that did manage to buy these sets claim that they couldn’t detect anything wrong with them. The initial, and only quite frankly, word from Apple or Disney was that the due to a technical glitch the sets had been pushed back with a new release date forthcoming.

Online there has been speculation that there was an issue with the surround sound being mixed down to stereo so there was no true stereo soundtrack on these defective discs but that hasn’t been officially stated as the reason for the sets delay.

Not that there’s been much of anything further officially addressed about this mess other than the discs are delayed. Apple, The Beatles company, and Disney themselves have had little to say about the physical release for “The Beatles: Get Back” and still have not revealed a new release date and you can’t order the set from most online retailers.

Fast forward over two months later to the end of March 2022. What happens to appear as in stock online at Amazon but “The Beatles: Get Back” DVD set! And it’s just the DVD set mind you as the Blu-ray set still says unavailable.

Well of course my curiosity was peaked so I quickly ordered the set and hoped for the best. Now here’s the weirdest part of all – I was just shipped the DVD set of “The Beatles: Get Back” by Amazon and I now have it in my hot little hands!

I’m guessing this is the corrected set but I haven’t seen other retailers show a new release date so I’m not one hundred percent sure. Is this one of the early sets that somehow is still in the pipeline and made it out? Why is Amazon the only place I’m seeing this DVD set in stock? And why on earth would Amazon be sending out “defective” sets at this late date?

Weird is the only word I can think of at the moment. I’ve read other folks have been sent the DVD set from Amazon and it was indeed the earlier “defective” set so this may or may not be a corrected set I don’t know how to tell at this point.

The weirdness with the physical release of “The Beatles: Get Back” is kind of poetic as the original release of this material eventually called “Let it Be” was also delayed several times before it too finally released to movie screens and record shelves around the world.

As for this DVD set I received today, it looks and sounds great. I’ve only skimmed through some of the contents but everything I’ve played sounds and looks just fine. It has surround sound mixes and a stereo mix but are they the correct mixes, I have no idea. All I know is everything looks great and I am happy with my purchase.

The packaging for the DVD set is really bare bones but decent enough. The cover is groovy but the discs themselves are just stacked in the center of the cover with a flyer for the “Let it Be” box set from last fall in the left hand side of the cover. No booklet to be seen but at least all the discs were pristine without a scratch in site even though they’re just stacked together in a pile.

I’m truly glad to have a physical copy of this set. I did managed to do a free trial of Disney+ last November but I rushed through the eight hours of the documentary pretty fast and only watched it once before my trial was over.

Having the physical DVDs is much better for me as I can take my time and slowly digest the contents of this monumental documentary. As a Beatle fan I can see wanting to watch this set over and over as it’s a once in a lifetime window into how The Beatles actually created their music.

There is no other in-depth film of them inside a recording studio or rehearsal hall working out material and creating it from thin air as you see in “The Beatles: Get Back”. I can also see how a casual fan may get bored as it can be tedious viewing at times but for any true Beatles manic this eight-hour documentary is pure gold.

I’m hoping that if Peter Jackson gets his way he’ll be able to release an even longer deluxe set later that could add several more hours of footage which would be great. If he does I would spring for a Blu-ray copy and have this shorter version as a back-up.

So there you have it. Is this “The Beatles: Get Back” DVD set the final version? I guess if it pops up other places soon I’ll know it is but if Amazon is somehow leaking out the earlier pressed sets I would truly be shocked but pleasantly surprised that I managed to get one.

Well, that’s all for now. Just a quick look at the new DVD of “The Beatles: Get Back” set from Disney and Apple. If you’re a Beatles fan and want a copy go to Amazon right now as they still had some in stock. Who knows if they’ll disappear again into the ether and not come up for sale again until who knows when?

And as usual you can take a gander at the set above as I’ve posted several photos of it from every angle.

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

 

 

 

 

 

Promotional Partridge – NOT FOR SALE – Tack That on Your “Bulletin Board”

Cast your mind back to October of 1973, those of you who are old enough to do so.

I was only seven years old at the time but I do remember a few things from that fall of ’73 –  trick or treating (which was a big thing for me at the time), grade school and Scholastic book orders (remember those?) and of course new music from The Partridge Family.

Even at the tender age of seven I watched “The Partridge Family” television show religiously and collected their records.

It just so happens that the last Partridge platter came out in October 1973, “Bulletin Board”, and much to my surprise it featured a more mature sound for the group. This last Partridge album had more in common with David Cassidy’s recent solo work which had Cassidy singing in a more soulful style.

(Note: By this time David Cassidy wasn’t getting along with producer Wes Ferrell who had produced all the Partridge recordings up until now. Respected background singer John Bahler supposedly produced and arranged the “Bulletin Board” album so that may account for the more adult approach that Cassidy preferred at the time.)

Songs like “Money, Money”, “Roller Coaster”, “Looking for a Good Time” and “Where Do We Go From Here” sounded more adult and less poppy than previous Partridge discs. There was also a little bit of added funk to the mix which was something new from the famous TV family.

Of course there were enough poppy songs on the album like “Oh, No, Not My Baby” and “How Long is Too Long” that the new style wasn’t a total shock but one could definitely feel things were different with the songs on this album

Truth be told sales for Partridge Family albums were rapidly falling as the television show was switched to Saturday nights opposite “All in the Family” in the fall of 1973 which caused the Partridges ratings to plummet.

Of course I received a copy of “Bulletin Board” that fall and at first I wasn’t too sure I liked this new sound but gradually the album became one of all-time my favorites and I rank it in my personal top five by the group. I think a lot of fans of the group still find the album less Partridge sounding and tend to not like it but I love this album and play it still to this day.

So why all this reminiscing now about a nearly fifty-year-old album? Well this week I happened to stumble on a promotional copy of the “Bulletin Board” and I must say it’s a beauty.

I often look for promotional copies of Partridge Family albums because they tend to be better pressings than regular stock copies and they sound much better as well.

(Note 2: Promotional copies were sent out to radio stations to gain airplay for the songs on the album. Promo copies were pressed in very limited quantities and since they were marked not for sale they are harder to track down. Plus promo copies tend to be beat up or marked up by radio stations so finding pristine ones can be tough.)

It’s fairly rare to find promo Partridges these days so I was more than thrilled to not only locate a promo copy of “Bulletin Board”, which isn’t even that common to find as a regular stock copy, but the fact that this copy looks like it has never been played is a wonderful bonus!

The other interesting thing about this copy of the album is that it comes with a terrific inner sleeve promoting of Bell Records releases including two other Partridge Family albums (“At Home with Their Greatest Hits” , “Crossword Puzzle”) as well as a solo David Cassidy album (“Rock Me Baby”).

I have never seen an inner sleeve like this and I own original copies of all the Partridge Family and David Cassidy Bell Records albums. Maybe it was just available with promo copies? Or maybe they were only on pressings from certain regions of the country? Interesting.

Anyway, because I rarely see promotional Partridge Family albums I thought it might be fun to show this gem off here. I know I’ve posted about the “Bulletin Board” previously on this blog but this groovy promo copy is too nice not to do a repeat post about it.

As usual take a gander above at photos of the album and inner sleeve.

That’s all for now. Until next time, be well and safe and see you soon!

Micky Dolenz Returns with the Brand New and Excellent “Dolenz Sings Nesmith – The E.P.” on Both Vinyl and CD from 7a Records

Well what have we here, a new vinyl/CD release? Even better a new Micky Dolenz vinyl/CD release you say?

Speaking only for me that’s an incredibly good way to brighten up a somewhat dull and rainy week full of otherwise generally grim news. Between the tragic happenings going on in Russia and the still lingering Covid pandemic any new music release is the perfect way to sooth the soul.

Just two days ago I happened to have received the new Micky Dolenz mini-album “Dolenz Sings Nesmith – The E.P.” on the 7a Records label in the mail and after giving it a good listen and I must say I’m impressed.

What’s a mini-album you may ask? Well technically it’s a four song e.p. and not an album. An e.p., for those who don’t know or remember, is an old-school reference to the extended play 45 releases of long ago that usually consisted of four songs vs the normal two songs that comprised a 45 r.p.m. single release.

An e.p. is basically a bonus release and that’s exactly the right word for “Dolenz Sings Nesmith – The E.P.”

So why would Micky Dolenz release only a four-song e.p.?

Well the four songs on “Dolenz Sings Nesmith – The E.P.” are actually left over from last year’s superb Dolenz album “Dolenz Sings Nesmith”. I guess Dolenz and 7a Records, who released both the e.p. and the album, decided to hold these four songs back as they would probably have made “Dolenz Sings Nesmith” a tad too long and they must have felt it worked best as it was released.

Luckily for us Dolenz/Nesmith/Monkees fans the four new songs on this new e.p. not only meet but in one case may exceed what was on the “Dolenz Sings Nesmith” album.

(Note: “Dolenz Sings Nesmith – The E.P.” is available to purchase on CD as well as a lovely looking 10-inch blue vinyl pressing. I of course got both. My vinyl sounds great and may even sound a bit better than the CD. Both are great though and well worth having in either format.)

Song-by-song here’s my quick first impressions of this groovy new release:

“Soul-Writer’s Birthday” – what a treat to get an unreleased 1967 composition of a Mike Nesmith song that was never used for the Monkees or in his solo career.

I like the tune but I’ll have to give it a couple more listens to gain a lasting impression. I read online someone said it sounded like 1966 Monkees. To me it does remind me of the sixties but not the early ’66 Monkees.

The song sounds more to me like a cross between the song “She’s About a Mover” and oddly enough “Star Collector” from The Monkees fourth album “Pisces, Aquarius, Capricorn & Jones, Ltd.” A bit more rock and roll than the other songs on this e.p. but fun.

“Some of Shelly’s Blues” – this is a lovely take on one of Nesmith’s best tunes that Nesmith first recorded for the Monkees and again later for a solo album.

I swear the ghost of Peter Tork must have visited this session as the song is filled with what sounds like banjo to me. Whatever instrument it is it really adds a lot to the song and reminds me of a slower version of the banjo Tork played on the Monkees Nesmith song “You Told Me” from the “Headquarters” album.

Plus the pedal steel guitar solo just sounds so good on this track.

Truly a superb take on a terrific song. Too bad this one wasn’t on the album proper as it’s one of my favorite songs from the whole project.

“The Crippled Lion” – a slower almost mournful approach to this song which works really well. Micky sounds great and the orchestration really lends itself to this arrangement making it a little bit more melancholy than Nesmith’s earlier Monkees or solo version but truly lovely.

Another song that would have fit perfectly on the “Dolenz Sings Nesmith” album so I’m really glad it was finally released here.

“Grand Ennui” – while not quite new, this song was featured as a bonus track on the CD of last year’s “Dolenz Sings Nesmith” album, it’s still a terrific take on a terrific Nesmith song and makes its vinyl and digital debut with its release on this new e.p.

This song has a more blues feel to it with a rock punch as well. Very well done and I consider it a part of the album proper as it was on the CD I have of the album from last year. Great to hear it again here though.

So there you have it. Another superb batch of terrific Mike Nesmith covers by his bandmate and musical brother Micky Dolenz. It’s great to have these four wonderful bonus tracks and now that all the songs from the “Dolenz Sings Nesmith” sessions are out it’s time to ask where’s volume two?

There’s more than enough excellent songs from Mike Nesmith’s esteemed catalog to make a sequel that could stand up to this superb collection of well-performed and produced Nesmith gems.

I sure hope that Nesmith’s son Christian who produced the “Dolenz Sings Nesmith” sessions can get together with Micky Dolenz and comb through Nesmith’s catalog one more time as they’re efforts are stellar and well worth the time and energy to produce another album’s worth of goodies.

If you’re looking to buy this new “Dolenz Sings Nesmith – The E.P.” or even the full “Dolenz Sings Nesmith” album, the best place to track them down in physical form is through either Dolenz’ own Website https://mickydolenz.com/ or through http://www.deepdiscount.com.

(Note 2: You can also buy them through Amazon as well but Deep Discount usually has a better price and more stock on hand as all of 7a Records releases are made in England and imported to the United States.)

Also, if you order through Dolenz’ Website you can get a signed photo with your order if you so choose (see photo above) which is a nice treat for any Dolenz fan.

So whatever medium you choose be it a physical CD or vinyl or even a digital download or stream it’s well worth your time giving this new collection of songs a listen.

As usual take a gander above at both my vinyl and CD versions of “Dolenz Sings Nesmith – The E.P.” and until next time be well and stay safe!

See you soon.

 

UPDATE: Simon & Garfunkel’s Holy Grail of Collectibles – the “Bookends” Mono Vinyl Pressing

 

NOTE: Today I’ve decided to update one of my earliest posts for this blog.

Shortly after starting this blog I happened upon one of my “holy grail” records, a mono copy of Simon & Garfunkel’s 1968 album “Bookends”. Not only is the “Bookends” album my favorite album by Simon & Garfunkel but it’s one of my all-time favorite albums by anyone.

To say I have been searching for a mono pressing of this album would be a major understatement as I have never seen another copy of it in over forty-five years of record collecting until I spotted it in a Midwest record store a few years ago.

The “Bookends” album was released at a time when mono pressings were being phased out so locating a mono copy of this album is darn near impossible!

The copy I bought and featured on this blog is in VG/VG condition but sounds great and after all this time of searching for it it is a true pleasure to own.

Since I originally posted here about my mono “Bookends”, I managed to track down the original poster that was issued with the album – it was missing from my copy. And for some reason my earlier posts lacked a lot of photos so I took a new series of photos of the album so anyone out there looking for one can see what it looks like so they can spot a mono pressing if they happen upon one in the wild so to speak.

I also added a self-made CD of this mono pressing as I don’t want to wear this copy out as I’m sure I’ll probably never locate another copy. By the way the copy I found is a stock copy. I’m guessing it’s much rarer than promotional mono pressings which I think come up more often though are still incredibly hard to find.

Anyway, enjoy this updated post and below is the original text from that long ago post about finding a mono pressing of “Bookends”:

“And here’s to you Mrs. Robinson …”

Good things come to those who wait – or so they say.

Last week, I was on vacation and in my usual round of record store hunting (sorry Doug! lol) I found a vinyl album that I have been searching for for over twenty – yes twenty – years. Okay, you have to be a record fan or you might have a bit of a queasy stomach about now.

BUT, I happened upon a mono pressing of Simon and Garfunkel’s best (in my opinion) album called “Bookends”. To say this album in mono is rare is a major understatement. It was released in April 1968 at a time when mono records were being phased out. Thank goodness this copy was under $40 as it tends to go for well over $150 to upwards of $300 if you can even locate a copy. This is the first copy I’ve found out in the wild as they say and not on ebay.

Okay, lesson time: In the 1960’s, pop music was available in either mono or stereo versions or mixes. Mono (one channel) had the sound dead center (all instruments and vocals coming out of the center if you listen on a two speaker stereo system) and stereo had two channels with the instruments and vocals spread out across the two speakers.

Modern stereo includes surround sound with sound coming out of your ears, under your seat and every direction known to man but in the 60’s it was either one or two channels.

Now, readers who aren’t music geeks – gee I’m wondering if you’re still even reading – need to know that most pop/rock music before 1968 was produced to be heard on tiny AM radios or small record players with tiny speakers and was predominately mixed in mono.

Mono generally is more in your face, louder and more shall I say it ballsy then stereo especially pre-1965 as stereo was a newer format and producers weren’t used to mixing in stereo. The mono mixes tended to sound more alive and cleaner and were meant to cut over the din of the tiny speakers people were using.

Anyway, back to “Bookends”, the mono mix of this landmark Simon and Garfunkel album is really quite lovely sounding. In fact any young readers out there (or anyone interested in vinyl frankly) should check out the first five Simon and Garfunkel albums which are available in mono – “Wednesday Morning 3 a.m.”, “Sounds of Silence”, “Parsley, Sage, Rosemary and Thyme”, “The Graduate” (another really rare mono pressing) and “Bookends”.

The only way to get these albums in mono is to track down the original 60’s vinyl pressings and it’s well worth it. For some reason it’s rumored that Paul Simon won’t allow the Simon and Garfunkel mono versions to be reissued which is a shame if true.

Simon and Garfunkel in mono sound superb. They are punchier, the instruments – especially Paul Simon’s guitar work – really pop out at you as if you are in the recording studio with them. The stereo vinyl isn’t bad at all mind you. In fact the stereo mixes are great too it’s just that I have a preference for the mono mixes of these albums.

Another note, Columbia Records who own and release Simon and Garfunkel recordings had a practice in the 60’s and 70’s I’ve read in which they used the original master tapes (used to make the vinyl pressings) over and over again instead of making a dub thus wearing out the original tapes.

So if you want to hear Simon and Garfunkel closest to how the masters sounded when they were released, track down original stereo or mono pressings if you can find them in decent shape.

As for this pressing I just found last week, the cover is kind of worn but the vinyl is in nice shape thank goodness. The album is here in all it’s analog glory.

For those downloaders or streamers out there, you hear in analog and I think the reason some people are attracted to vinyl again is that the analog mixes are much easier on the ears and nervous system.

Instead of the one version available to download, each pressing of an album is unique and can sound different depending on the part of the country it was pressed in, the plant, the engineer, etc. It’s like a treasure hunt finding the best sounding version (okay, okay a tad obsessive I know but that’s what makes collecting fun!).

The mono mix which I first heard on a bootleg CD, which can probably be tracked down somewhere on YouTube, is really the way to hear this album. The opening song “Save the Life of My Child” sounds much more urgent and exciting and the female voices cry out as if from some pit of agony.

“A Hazy Shade of Winter” has much more bite and “Fakin’ It” has a more three dimensional sound if you can believe it and the English interlude has a much different feel than the stereo version. Every song has noticeable differences to their stereo counterparts with vocals and instruments popping up in different levels and places throughout the songs.

If you’re lucky enough to come across a mono copy of this album grab it! I’ve read the promo copy of this album in mono may be a tad more common than the stock mono copy which I bought. Though either would be a treasure in any record collection.

Well, that’s it for now kids. If you’ve made it this far, tune in next time (same Bat Channel, same Bat Blog) for some Rice Crispy records? No really, pass the milk …

Until then, check out some photos of this copy of “Bookends” above.

Bruce Spizer to the Rescue! – A Lovely Four Book Collection Called “The Beatles Album Series By Bruce Spizer: Sgt. Pepper, White Album, Abbey Road, Let it Be” By 498 Productions and Imagine & Wonder Books

Sometimes you stumble on the most unexpected things.

Take today for example. I was doing a little shopping at a bookstore called Half Price Books when all of a sudden from the corner of my eye I spotted a groovy little box I had never seen before. 

Granted I was almost across the store from the display that held the box but even from a distance I could see some very familiar pictures. As I rounded the corner to make my way to the display the image of four Beatles albums became clearer and clearer.

“What on earth is this?” my mind wondered as I reached for the display. The box wasn’t quite the size of an album so what on earth could it be?

As I picked the quite heavy box up I noticed that it contained four books by one of my all-time favorite Beatles authors Bruce Spizer. The box went by the title “The Beatles Album Series By Bruce Spizer: Sgt. Pepper, White Album, Abbey Road, Let it Be” and contained four smaller paperback versions of his books about these very albums.

Now as hardcore Beatles fans know Bruce Spizer has put out a series of lovely and somewhat pricey books on The Beatles that he self-publishes and sells at his Website http://www.beatle.net.

Books such as “The Beatles Records on Vee-Jay” and “The Beatles’ Story on Capitol Records – Part 1 & 2” have understandably been lauded as great reference books that any diehard Beatles fan should have in their collection.

I’ve purchased quite a few of Bruce Spizer’s books and can attest that they are superbly written and are also filled to the rim with great photos and are bound so beautifully that they are truly worth every penny of the asking price.

In the last few years Spizer has begun a new series of books that detail specific Beatles albums. I believe he started this new series when the newly remixed version of The Beatles “Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club” album came out in various formats in 2017.

Since then Spizer has also tackled books about the “Magical Mystery Tour”, “The BEATLES (White Album)”, “Abbey Road” and “Let it Be” albums usually as those said albums have been remixed and reissued in spectacular multi and double CD or vinyl box sets.

Because many of these fantastic newer Beatles CD and vinyl box sets also contain nice hardback books detailing that particular album (“Sgt. Pepper”, the “White Album”, etc.) I decided that even though I love Bruce Spizer’s work I’d sit his new album series books out at least in physical form.

(Note: I did manage to get a couple of his album series books in digital form (great books as usual) but until today I had thought I’d totally pass on the physical forms of these books … famous last words.)

It’s not that I didn’t think Spizer’s Beatles album series books would be great but I’ve been trying to cut down on the physical books that I buy and the size of most of Spizer’s books seemed to be too much for me seeing as the deluxe Beatles sets already contained great books.

Until I walked into Half Price Books today I had no idea that Bruce Spizer had published smaller versions of his latest series and in paperback to boot. While these books do contain Spizer’s 498 Productions logo which is on all his self-published books this new set also says its being published along with Imagine & Wonder Books.

I took a glance online and it seems that this particular book set was released in August of 2021 with a pressing of 10,000 copies (the sets I saw were numbered but check out the number in the photo above, not quite under 10,000).  The price online is $80.00 for the set and I did manage to see if for sale online others places like Target around $60.

(Note 2: I do see this set for sale on Amazon with a price of $60.00. Amazon says the set came out in December of 2021 while Imagine & Wonder Books says it was released last August)

I’m sure other Beatles fans out there may have heard of this new and smaller collection of four of Bruce Spizer’s Beatles album series but it was a very welcome surprise for me. And to add to the excitement Half Price Books is selling this set for $39.99 which comes to $10 apiece for the four books in the set. That’s a fantastic deal!

Now the original hardback versions, which are still for sale on at http://www.beatle.net as well as other online sellers at $30 apiece, may be a bit more sturdy and printed on better stock but the four paperback books in this set are really beautiful and at that price a no-brainer for me and I’m sure others out there who may be interested in buying these books.

As for the books in this set they are all four very well done and like all of Bruce Spizer’s books worth the price of admission. If you happen to live near a Half Price Books (or check their Website) the $39.99 price is a steal and well worth adding this set to your collection.

I love the smaller paperback format for the books as they are much easier to hold and peruse and they are still full of great text and photos and these books are truly wonderful to behold in a physical format. Even the digital copies of these books sell for $20 each so this set is really a great purchase.

I wonder of Spizer will reissue some of his other Beatles books in smaller sets like this? Probably not but I love that he did with this album series and when he continues the series I hope he puts out another collection just like it for his future installments.

Well, that’s just a quick update on my latest Beatles find.

As usual take a gander above at this new collection and if you’re a Beatles fan it may be worth hunting this set up as these books are a great read and very informative.

Until next time be well and see you soon!

 

 

SEEING DOUBLE – The Beatles “Something New” Times Two

Today I’m going to start a new feature called Seeing Double.

The gist of these Seeing Double posts is that I will highlight two versions of a particular album from one group, in this case The Beatles, and show copies of that album as they were released in two different countries.

More than likely the two versions of the albums I show won’t be very different, like the examples today, except for some minor cover and record label differences. Also these double versions will mainly consist vinyl pressings from around the world but from time to time I may add different CD versions of the same album from different countries as well.

So let’s get started with today’s first Seeing Double – The Beatles “Something New”.

For those of you out there who are in the know and are Beatles fans you may already be aware that the “Something New” album from 1964 is one of Capitol Records hodgepodge records which were made up of stray Beatles tracks from various UK releases.

(Note: Capitol Records released The Beatles recordings exclusively in the U.S. starting with the “Meet the Beatles” Lp in late 1963. Instead of using the UK versions of The Beatles’ albums, which were put together by the group and their music producer George Martin, Capitol Records created shorter Beatles albums with a variety of songs that didn’t necessarily match the UK albums.

Because of this the U.S. had many more Beatles albums released than the UK and with different song lineups and covers. Much to the chagrin of The Beatles themselves these U.S. albums not only looked different but sounded different too as Capitol also processed the sound for what they thought the U.S. audience would enjoy.

When talking about The Beatles Capitol albums just be aware that the Beatles albums that Capitol released from 1964 up until 1967 were very different from their UK counterparts.)

“Something New” is the third Beatles album that Capitol Records put together in 1964.

It consisted of songs from the group’s first film “A Hard Day’s Night” plus stray tracks from the UK “A Hard Day’s Night” LP plus a couple of songs from a British EP as well as a German version of their breakthrough US smash “I Want to Hold Your Hand” entitled “Komm, Gib Mir Deine Hand”.

Because United Artists, the film company that released “A Hard Day’s Night”, had the exclusive rights in the U.S. to release a soundtrack for The Beatles first film Capitol Records had to figure out a way in which they could also use some of those same tracks without calling it a soundtrack.

The “Something New” album as released in the U.S. used five songs from the film plus several spare Beatles tracks that Capitol had access to making the album a more complete Beatles experience. The United Artists “A Hard Day’s Night” soundtrack by comparison contained only seven Beatles songs plus instrumental music from the film.

(Note 2: The British “A Hard Day’s Night” album was a much better deal for fans as it contained seven songs from the film “A Hard Day’s Night” on side one and six extra Beatle songs on side two. Compared to the United Artists soundtrack which has only seven measly Beatle songs on it plus instrumentals.)

Thus while “Something New” wasn’t an official soundtrack album for “A Hard Day’s Night” it did serve its purpose as Capitol’s unofficial soundtrack in the process creating another monster selling album for both Capitol and The Beatles.

In actual fact while I do enjoy the “Something New” album it isn’t really one of Capitol Records better hodgepodge collections. I must admit the thing I like best about the album are some of the unique mixes on the mono version of the album (“I’ll Cry Instead”, “And I Love Her”, “When I Get Home”, “Any Time At All”) that were exclusive to this collection.

And so today I thought I’d share a couple of versions of “Something New” that I’ve happened to locate in the last couple of years – one copy which is an original mono pressing from Canada and the other which is a first pressing stereo copy from Germany.

I love having both mono and stereo pressings of Beatles albums as they each are fun to listen to and each one has a variety of mix differences which are interesting to contrast and compare.

As you can see from the photos above both the Canadian and German copies of “Something New” use basically the same front cover artwork and track listings as the U.S. Capitol pressing of the album. The German stereo copy though does add its own unique rear cover which is a fun change and one of the best parts about collecting foreign Beatles pressings.

As for sound I’d say that both of these copies pretty much stack up to their U.S. counterparts. While the original Capitol pressings may have a bit more punch and sound a bit more open both of these pressings sound pretty good and also sound like they use copies of the same tapes that Capitol used for their U.S. versions.

Actually of the two I’d say that because the Canadian mono copy hasn’t been played as much it was a better listen than the German stereo but really both are very decent sounding and make nice alternatives to the original U.S pressed copies.

I also love the unique inner sleeve to the German pressing with its photos of other albums including the German version of the “With the Beatles” album.

(Note 3: The German copy sounds like the master it used may be a generation lower than the U.S. Capitol version as it sounds bit more muffled than a U.S. pressing though is still sounds pretty decent.)

Anyway, there you have it. I thought it would be fun to see photos of each of these unique versions of the “Something New” album as you never really see many detailed photos of these kind of pressings online.

As usual take a gander at the photos above and until the next installment of Seeing Double be well and safe and I hope you’ve been surviving the month of February which is the worst month of winter in my humble opinion.

Take care and see you soon.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Poppin’ Fresh Beatles – The Beatles Collection “Bread Box” CD Set Along with a Slice of Compression

Once upon a time my young friends there were these small silver discs called CDs …

Okay maybe a tad bit dramatic but actually that’s not too far off base.

Of course, CDs are still among us – barely. Every day that goes by though the death of physical media looms like a hawk in the night waiting to swoop down and take our beloved musical objects.

Alright, lol, I’ll stop with the hysterics.

I do feel though that the point of this blog is to share some of what it was like collecting music in the late twentieth and even the early twenty-first century. I’ve spent years putting together a nice physical media collection and it’s hard to just switch gears and go strictly non-physical digital. 

For me collecting music from say 1986 until now involves collecting mainly compact discs, CDs for short. CDs are no hassle to play, they can be programmed, they sound great and there are no pops and groove wear and don’t need to be endlessly cleaned.

Plus the artwork is carefully protected by a plastic jewel box that can be thrown away if it gets broken and easily replaced – what’s not to love?

For you streamers out there one of the other major bonuses of collecting physical media is the fact that over the years there have more than likely been several different “masterings” of most kinds of music released on say either vinyl, cassette, CD or what have you.

What is mastering exactly you say and why is it important? Those are good questions.

Mastering music involves processing the mix (either mono or stereo) into its final form to be listened to on a physical or digital medium. The mastering of the music determines how loud the songs are, how dynamic they are and how they sound when played on different audio devices.

Mastering of music after say 1995 or so usually involves making the music sound very compressed. This compressed sound sucks the dynamics of the music being played making it sound louder and more aggressive.

This modern approach to mastering the sound of most pop/rock music louder is because of the advent of earbuds and music being played in cars or ipods or more likely nowadays phones.

Music sounds better in a pumped up state on these smaller devices but for people like me who grew up listening to music on home stereos the modern approach to mastering music is a major assault on the ears.

Older music especially loses a lot of its magic and majesty when songs you’ve known for years and years sound louder and less dynamic. People say they’ve lost their interest in music but is it actually the music itself or the way it’s been mastered that changes ones perception of the quality of the music?

The reason that modern compressed mastering matters to people my age (over fifty, yikes!) is that a lot of the music that I love and purchase was recorded and released before 1980.  The previous issues of this music on physical media (vinyl, cassette, eight-track and pre-1990 CDs) retain their full dynamics so people my age and collector’s seek out the older masterings of this music as they sound better.

So where does this lead me for today’s blog post? Well today I’m sharing a lovely black “bread box” style CD collection called “The Beatles Collection”. The reason I’ve been sort of ranting about sound and compression is that this bread box, as I like to call it, is filled with the first issue CDs of the entire Beatles catalog.

Let me back up a bit for a minute.

The Beatles catalog was first issued on CD in 1987/88. In late 1988 or 1989 a complete collection was put together and sold in these black box cases (see photos above and below). Not only was “The Beatles Collection” box set available on CD but it was also made available on cassette and vinyl as well and each in a different size black bread box.

By the way all of the various bread box sets were derived from the then current 1987/88 digital masters.

(Note: you could also call these box sets roll-top style boxes but I like the sound of bread box better.)

As for these first digital masters I view the sound of many of them as really quite good and much less compressed and easier to listen to than the more current remasters that were issued on CD in 2009 (and on 180-gram vinyl in 2012).

From the “Revolver” album onwards I’d say that these 1987/88 CD versions are superior in sound to the more current remasters. Don’t get me wrong, the 2009 Beatles remasters sound good but these first issue CDs retain more of the dynamics of the original recordings and aren’t fiddled with like the 2009 remasters.

(Note 2 : the 2009 Beatles remasters while not using noise reduction have eq settings and digital processes that take out vocal pops and mistakes thus altering the sound of the original masters, cleaning them up so to speak.

The 2009 remasters are by no means bad but albums like “Sgt. Peppers Lonely Hearts Club Band” and the “White Album” especially sound much more natural and dynamic with less bloated bass on the 80’s CDs thus sound a bit better to my ears.)

Weirdly enough the bread box set I own is not the set that was put out for sale originally. You see some of these bread boxes were made available by themselves without the CDs inside, or so I was told.

About twenty years ago I purchased an empty bread box still in its packaging (see photos) that did not contain the small booklet that was issued with the set and no CDs inside.

This empty box, according to the person who sold it to me on ebay, was bought from the UK directly from EMI. I don’t know how many empty sets were sold or if indeed this set was sold empty or if the ebay seller got rid of the CDs and sold an empty box but whatever I received a brand new empty “The Beatles Collection” bread box.

A few years later I managed to also score the small booklet that originally came with the full set, also on ebay btw, at a decent price so I now have that booklet included it inside my box.

Since my box was empty I decided to fill it with a grab bag of original issue 1987/88 CDs.

The CDs from “Please Please Me” to “Revolver” in my bread box collection are all first issue West Germany CD pressings while my “Sgt. Pepper” and “Magical Mystery Tour” CDs are original UK CDs and my “White Album” is a later Canadian CD issue with the original 80’s first CD mastering.

My copies of “Yellow Submarine”, “Abbey Road” and “Let it Be” are all first issue US pressed CDs and both my “Past Masters” are also first issue US CDs but they were made in the UK.

And of course I still own the original long boxes for these CDs as well just in case you were wondering but I prefer to keep these early CD pressings together in this lovely old style black bread box.

Anyway, I thought it would be fun to take a look at some of these early Beatles CDs and see some photos of the cool black box “The Beatles Collection” CD set that resides in my collection.

I also wanted to give some sort of perspective why collectors chase down different issues of CDs and vinyl. There are sometimes many different masterings of particular albums and the fun is tracking down these different issues and comparing the sound.

Unfortunately those who go the streaming route are most likely stuck with the latest and loudest version of a particular album or recording which is a shame. Granted younger listeners probably won’t care but for those who want to seek out the best sounding versions of not only The Beatles recordings but many others artists as they’ll have to go to physical media to hear how good these albums can truly sound.

Rant over.

Just a quick look at the fading but to me still alluring compact disc and one of my favorite CD box sets of all-time!

As usual you can see photos of this groovy box set and its CDs and if you’re curious these 1980’s Beatles CDs aren’t hard to track down and are a fun listen if you decide to pick one up and give it a spin.

Well, that’s all for now.

Until next time be well and safe and I hope you had a happy Valentine’s Day yesterday!

See you soon.