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.

The “What If?” Game … “The Partridge Family – “Yearbook” and “Scrapbook” Lp’s from 1974

Okay, let’s have some fun shall we?

Since I’m on a Partridge Family kick I thought I’d continue today with yet another Partridge post (Sometimes when you’re in the mood, you’re in the mood).

My last post focused on some rare and previously unreleased Partridge Family tracks that have appeared on various CDs and that got me thinking. Why look at just a few unreleased tracks? Why not take a look at the motherload of unreleased Partridge Family tracks?

There are almost thirty known songs that for one reason or another were recorded but never made it onto vinyl, 8-track, cassette or CD.  Out there in Webland many of these thirty or so tracks are available to listen to and/or purchase if you know how to find them.

(Note: A bootleg CD compilation entitled “Missing Pieces” in fact contains all of the known unreleased Partridge Family tracks and in good quality stereo to boot. I’m guessing many or most of these tracks come from so-called Screen Gems discs.

Screen Gems discs are vinyl discs made for the cast and crew of The Partridge Family so they could learn the songs to lip-sync to them in each specific episode. Strictly limited to the cast and production crew these discs were not made for public consumption and contained not only many of the unreleased studio Partridge tracks but several alternate versions of well-known and loved tracks that were on the show.

Screen Gems by the way is the name of the company that owned and filmed “The Partridge Family” TV show.)

As I stated in my previous post several songs were recorded and used on the show yet never made in onto an album. As it turns out a nice chunk of those said unreleased tracks came from the later part of the Partridge years from 1972-73.

As fans of this fictitious group know The Partridge Family released eight studio albums from 1970 to 1973. Five of those albums went Gold (500,000 to a 1,000,000 copies sold) plus a greatest hits album called “The Partridge Family At Home with Their Greatest Hits” also went gold and it contained the exclusive track “Breaking Up is Hard to Do” which was the last Top Thirty Partridge hit.

As you can see six gold albums is nothing to sneeze at thus making The Partridge Family one of the more successful groups of the era. It also made David Cassidy one of the leading heartthrobs of the era as well which is why there is still interest in the group and their recordings to this day.

By the time the of the fourth and last season of the Partridge Family TV show (1973-74) sales of Partridge albums and singles took a nose dive. That nose dive in record sales coincided with The Partridge Family show itself being switched from its winning Friday time slot to Saturdays where it was up against the number 1 show at the time “All in the Family”.

With the show’s ratings and record sales down plus younger fans of the group growing older and looking for other music to love the need for new Partridge vinyl came to a standstill.

In the Fall of 1973 the group’s final album “Bulletin Board” was issued and pretty much sank without a trace along with the group’s single from the album “Looking for a Good Time”/”Money Money”.

Seeing as how each season of The Partridge Family generated two albums of studio material what did this mean for all the songs that filled out the rest of season four? Several songs from the last half of season four of The Partridge Family would most likely have been on a ninth studio album had it come out.

Their eight album “Bulletin Board” happens to be one of my favorite Partridge records but it did stray a bit from the more pop oriented sound of all the previous seven albums. Several songs on “Bulletin Board” added a funk and grit that the other Partridge material lacked.

This change in sound was probably due to David Cassidy refusing to be produced by Wes Ferrell, the man who produced all their recordings, and the fact that Cassidy’s solo material was taking the same funkier route.

Some Partridge fans don’t like the direction of “Bulletin Board” but I loved it. So that leads me to what would a ninth album have sounded like? What would it be called? What songs would it include?

Today I decided to create that ninth studio album with songs I think would have been a perfect fit. And since all of the Partridge studio albums have a name that comes from an object I thought since it was the last season of their show what better title than “The Partridge Family Yearbook”.

A yearbook conjures up looking back and remembering and since this was the last season of The Partridge Family this yearbook would have represented a graduation away from the series and the recordings so to me “Yearbook” really works as the title.

Would this album have sounded very different from the previous album? Actually from the unreleased songs from the later half of season four this ninth album, “Yearbook” as I call it, would have sounded very similar to the “Bulletin Board” album but maybe a tad less funky.

Several of the season four songs like “I Wanna Be with You” and the covers of “Crying in the Rain” and “Workin’ on A Groovy Thing” would have fit the “Bulletin Board” perfectly. Ditto for the newer originals “I Was Running the Opposite Way” and “When Love’s Talked About”.

To my “Yearbook” album I’ve added some of the more recent Partridge castoffs like “I Don’t Care”, “Sunshine Eyes” and “Me Loving You” which hearken back to the more pop oriented Partridge sound of the previous albums. “Yearbook” I’m guessing would probably have sounded more poppy than the “Bulletin Board” record but it would still be a good listen for sure.

Below you can see my track listing for the “Yearbook” album. I also added a tenth album that I would call “Scrapbook”. This album would contain the rest of the unreleased material dating from the pilot episode to the present.

I would have made the “Scrapbook” album more of a budget release as it’s highly unlikely Bell Records would have been willing to spend much on such a release at that time.

Of course all of this is definitely in the”what if?” category but it’s a fun little exercise in what would have come out if they  had indeed released anther Partridge album.

The unreleased Partridge tracks are a lot of fun and it’s just too bad that more than likely they will never see the light of day. If you can search around online and find these tracks. I think if you like The Partridge Family you’d enjoy hearing these gems.

Also I took the liberty of creating album covers (above) for each of my 1974 albums. I’m no commercial artist but I think the album covers are fun and would have fit the bill nicely for each record.

That’s all for now. Check out my track listings below and the artwork above.

Until next time be well and see you soon!

The Partridge Family

“Yearbook” – Bell Records 1140 (1974)

Side 1:

I’m Into Something Good

I Was Running the Opposite Way

Crying in the Rain

I Wanna Be with You

Sunshine Eyes

When Love’s Talked About

Side 2:

I Don’t Care

Me Loving You

Listen to the Sound

It’s Time That I Knew You Better

Workin’ on A Groovy Thing

Single release: “I Wanna Be with You”/ “I’m Into Something Good”

The Partridge Family

“Scrapbook” – Bell Records 1144 (1974) Budget price release

Side 1:

C’mon Get Happy!

Together (Havin’ a Ball)

Love Songs

Stephanie

Find Peace in Your Soul

God Bless You Girl

Side 2:

Let the Good Times In

Baby I Love, Love, I Love You

Whale Song

Warm My Soul

End Theme

A Pear Tree Full of Partridge Family Rarities – Three Partridge CD’s Worth Seeking Out

“Hello, hello” … a greeting that’s certain to take Partridge Family fans straight back to 1972 to their fifth studio album “Shopping Bag”. The Song “Hello, Hello” was the lead off song on side two of that album and was also featured on The Partridge Family TV show.

Speaking of The Partridge Family, today seems like a good day to take a look at some Partridge Family rarities.

Why, you may ask? Why not I reply.

If you’re a fan of the 1970s TV show “The Partridge Family” or the recording group of the same name then you’re surely familiar with several songs that were featured in various television episodes but never made it to record release.

Songs titles like “Working on a Groovy Thing”, “It’s Time That I Knew You Better”, “All of the Things” and “Together (Havin’ a Ball)”, just to name a few, just may conjure up a memory or two in the recesses of your mind.

(Note: Of course that mind would more than likely be over forty-five years old as all these songs appeared on Partridge Family TV episodes which aired originally from 1970 to 1974. Does that make you feel old? Me too.)

In fact there are over twenty songs that were either featured on the series or just plain left on the cutting room floor of the vaults of Bell Records, the record label that released The Partridge Family recordings.

So where does all that bring me?

In this post today I’m going to look take a look at three particular CD’s that features rare songs by The Partridge Family:

“David Cassidy Partridge Family Favorites” – Slamajama (1998) 

“Come On, Get Happy! The Best of The Partridge Family” – Arista (2005)

“Playlist – The Very Best of The Partridge Family” – Bell Records/Legacy/RCA (2013)

 

Let’s begin with “David Cassidy Partridge Family Favorites”:

This CD was sold through QVC by David Cassidy himself through his own, I believe, Slamajama record label. 

As I remember it this CD was sold along with a current David Cassidy CD “Old Dog New Trick”, also on Slamajama, and made available only on the home shopping network QVC. 

“David Cassidy Partridge Family Favorites” is basically just that, Partridge Family songs that Cassidy himself picked as his favorites.

Besides original recordings of most of The Partridge Family’s biggest hits like “I Think I Love You” and “Doesn’t Somebody Want to Be Wanted” the main draw of this CD for Partridge Family fans is that it contains two of the infamous unreleased Partridge Family tracks from the vaults – “Warm My Soul” and “It’s Time That I Knew You Better”.

Both of these tracks are exclusive to this particular CD and both sound great and are obviously from the studio masters.

“Warm My Soul” is an early Partridge track that Cassidy wanted as their second single and was recorded around the time of the “Up to Date” Partridge Family album.  As it’s a much funkier and more rock oriented song Partridge producer Wes Ferrell passed over the song as a single or album release and thus it remained in the vaults.

The other unreleased Partridge track, “It’s Time That I Knew You Better”, was featured on the Partridge Family TV episode “Where Do Mermaids Go?” from late 1971 that featured guest star Meredith Baxter later of “Family Ties” fame.

“It’s Time That I Knew You Better” is one of the better tracks from the early albums and was and is certainly worthy of release. It would have fit nicely on the “Shopping Bag” or “Notebook” albums so it’s pity it never appeared anywhere until its release on this CD.

Add in two unreleased Partridge Family era David Cassidy demos, “Sweetness” and “Mystical Lady”, and you have one terrific Partridge CD and one that’s particularly hard to locate though it does pop up for sale from time to time online.

“Come On, Get Happy! The Best of The Partridge Family”:

This CD contains the motherload of unreleased Partridge tracks as it features four tracks that appeared on the TV show yet for some reason never made it to records in the 1970s.

“Together (Havin’ a Ball)” and “Let the Good Times In” were both featured in the pilot episode of The Partridge Family (each without a Cassidy lead vocal) while “Stephanie” and “Baby I Love, Love, I Love You” also came from first season episodes yet were never issued on record.

(Note 2: Both “Together (Havin’ a Ball)” and “Let the Good Times In” are featured in full length versions on the “Come On, Get Happy! The Best of The Partridge Family” CD. They were truncated on the pilot episode and even though these two tracks didn’t include Cassidy vocals they were so well known to fans that they were a much welcome addition to this best of CD.)

I have to say that because of these four unreleased tracks as well as the stellar sound the “Come On, Get Happy! The Best of The Partridge Family” CD is one of the better Partridge CDs out there and well worth seeking out.

It’s too bad that when David Cassidy was alive he supposedly was not very cooperative in having many unreleased Partridge tracks coming out (rumor was he demanded too much money) so to have the six unreleased Partridge Family tracks from the previous two CDs above is fantastic and is probably the only official unreleased tracks we’ll ever get. 

“Playlist – The Very Best of The Partridge Family”

This particular CD doesn’t really contain any unreleased songs but it does include an exclusive stereo remix of the last Partridge Family Top Thirty hit “Breaking Up is Hard to Do” and features what I consider some of the best remastered sound of any Partridge Family CD out there.

It’s hard to beat the songs on this CD:

Tracklist

1   Come On Get Happy 1:04
2   I Think I Love You 2:52
3   I Can Feel Your Heartbeat 2:05
4   Point Me In The Direction Of Albuquerque 3:49
5   Doesn’t Somebody Want To Be Wanted 2:47
6   I’ll Meet You Halfway 3:49
7   Echo Valley 2-6809 3:04
8   I Woke Up In Love This Morning 2:41
9   Summer Days 3:12
10   It’s One Of Those Nights (Yes Love) 3:35
11   Am I Losing You 2:23
12   Breaking Up Is Hard To Do (Previously Unreleased Stereo Mix) 2:32
13   Looking Through The Eyes Of Love 3:04
14   Roller Coaster 2:22
 
It’s a superb sounding CD that has a nice, concise selection of the best Partridge Family hits and album tracks and the addition of the new remix makes this CD a must have if you can locate a copy. It was only available for a short time and is now pretty hard to find.
 
Well that’s all for this journey into some Partridge Family rarities. If you have these CDs enjoy them and if you want to track them down the “Come On, Get Happy! The Best of The Partridge Family” is still readily available while the other two can be tracked down online though they are getting to be a tad expensive if you can find them.
 
As usual check above and below to see some photos of these groovy CDs.
 
Until next time be well and safe and as the man said … Come on, get happy!!!

When You Wish Upon a Rooftop – The Beatles “Get Back – The Rooftop Performance Expanded Edition” CD

Practically on the eve of what would have been the February 8th release of Peter Jackson’s fascinating and exquisite Beatles documentary “Get Back” on both DVD and Blu-ray, Beatles fans were disappointed to learn that the physical disc release of this epic documentary has been delayed.

Why you may ask? Apparently there was some kind of problem with the discs that were pressed or the sound of those discs so the delay was announced last week but currently the new release date is undetermined.

The over eight hour “Get Back” has been streaming on Disney+ since late November of 2021 but since many Beatles fans, including me, were looking forward to perusing the Blu-ray or DVD to isolate their favorite moments from the show this is a big disappointment.

Many people who watched the “Get Back” documentary only got Disney+ during a free trial period thus cramming in all eight plus hours left precious little time to savor the many cool hours of previously unreleased Beatles footage that could be easily isolated and better digested on a physical release.

(Note: For those who don’t know the “Get Back” documentary documents the thirty days that Beatles spent in January 1969 recording what would become their swansong album “Let it Be”. A small fraction of these sessions were previously seen in the 1970 “Let it Be” film but nearly sixty hours of unused footage was restored and compiled to make the new Peter Jackson “Get Back” documentary.

Peter Jackson’s “Get Back” sheds new light on what was once thought to be a totally dreary experience. In the new documentary The Beatles are seen as a still functioning unit that had more good times than bad thus the whole “Let it Be” saga was not quite the end of the road saga that it has been portrayed as since 1970.)

So what brings me to write a blog about a delayed documentary release? Well my fellow Beatle friends just a couple of weeks ago the audio from the famous rooftop concert, the last live performance The Beatles would ever give, was made available to streaming platforms in stunning new remixed sound.

Not only was the sound remixed but the entire forty minute performance was included which is something most Beatles fans have waited over fifty years to hear in this kind of quality.

Okay, so you may ask?

Well I don’t usually go over to the dark side of collecting on this blog (bootlegs) but since this concert is so fantastic I thought I’d share a CD of this very remixed concert that has just seen the light of day in a remarkably fast fashion (welcome to the 21st Century).

Entitled “Get Back – The Rooftop Performance” Expanded Edition” this newly minted CD-R bootleg not only features the entire remixed rooftop concert in stunning sound it also includes the true 1969 mix of Glyn Johns first “Get Back” album compilation that happened to sneak out in Japan this past November as part of their “Let it Be” SHM-CD Deluxe box set.

(Note 2: Glyn Johns helped supervise and produce the sound on these 1969 sessions. He compiled four versions of a unreleased Beatles album called “Get Back” that features more raw and unissued versions of songs from the January “Get Back/Let it Be” sessions that would eventually make their way to the Phil Spector produced 1970 “Let it Be” album. The 2021 release of the 1969 Glyn Johns mix of the “Get Back” album is the first official release of any of his unissued “Get Back” compilations.)

The 1969 Glyn Johns “Get Back” mix that was released for the rest of the world in their deluxe “Let it Be” vinyl and CD sets contained a mixture of the 1969 version with some1970 mixes that Glyn Johns made thus the very welcome release of this better sounding true 1969 mix on the much, much cheaper bootleg alternative.

I must say that the “Get Back – The Rooftop Performance” Expanded Edition” on VooDoo Records is excellent on every level. The cover is great, everything is well produced and looks very professional (even the fake Apple label on the disc is pretty stunning) and this CD just sounds wonderful!

The remixed rooftop concert is so good that The Beatles company Apple and Universal really should have included the concert in their recent “Let it Be” Deluxe vinyl and CD box sets which is where the remixed rooftop concert was originally intended to be placed.

I really like Giles Martin and respect most of his decisions but I read in a recent interview that he thought rooftop concert worked better with visuals thus the deletion from the 2021 deluxe “Let it Be” box set. To me that’s BS. This concert would have been the highlight of the box and belongs on this set.

But no use crying over split milk – what’s done is done.

I do hope that Apple reconsiders and does a physical release of the complete rooftop concert but quite frankly I doubt they would top this bootleg release as it’s fantastic. The addition of the true 1969 Glyn Johns mix makes this CD the perfect companion to the recent deluxe “Let it Be” box set and truly brightens up the news of the “Get Back” DVD/Blu-ray delay.

As usual you can find photos of this fantastic disc above. As for how one would go about getting the “Get Back – The Rooftop Performance” Expanded Edition” CD? Well the only comment I will say is that all you have to do is some basic Google searching and you should have no problem tracking it down.

Really, it’s an amazing CD of an amazing performance. Who would have thought we’d get any kind of remix of this concert like the one on this disc plus the infamous 1969 Glyn Johns “Get Back” album together on one CD. Truly mind blowing.

Anyway, that’s all for now.

I hope you get to stream either Peter Jackson’s “Get Back” documentary or the audio of the newly remixed rooftop concert. They really are fantastic and I can’t imagine any Beatles fan not being pleased with either of them.

For those of you who crave physical media this disc is out there in the wild so to speak. All you have to do is click your heals or make a wish upon a rooftop and you should find it.

Bye for now and I hope all is well in your part of the world.

Until next time be safe and healthy.

TTFN

 

 

 

Wings’ First Venture Out of the Gate – Celebrating the 50th Anniversary Vinyl Reissue of “Wings Wild Life”

Hello out there in Webland!

Speaking from the snowy white tundra that has engulfed the state where I live I hope this weekend finds you either snowless and happy or snowy yet shoveled and content.  I know there are a lot of people out there who enjoy snow and February but I’m not one of them.

So, what better way to get through this drab and dull February and to celebrate being alive than taking a look at some newly released vinyl. And not just any new vinyl mind you but some new Paul McCartney vinyl!

Well not new exactly but rather a new reissue as yesterday, February 4th, was the release of another 50th anniversary Paul McCartney vinyl reissue – Wings’ first album release “Wings Wild Life”.

Released in late 1971 “Wild Life” was McCartney’s third album release since his split from The Beatles in 1970. To say that this album was greeted with a muted and lackluster reception is an understatement.

Not only were reviews pretty much terrible for this first fledgling Wings release but quite a few McCartney fans to this day still disdain this album and rank it fairly low in all of McCartney’s recorded catalog. McCartney was not in good critical standing after the break-up of The Beatles and this third album didn’t help matters one bit.

What most people didn’t like was that many of the songs on “Wild Life”, especially from side one, seemed rushed and half-finished. To ears accustomed to the fairly recent polished and melodic McCartney of the “White Album” and “Abbey Road” era the songs on “Wild Life” seemed weak and unfocused and down right dull.

McCartney purposely recorded the “Wild Life” album quite quickly and was going for a spontaneous and care-free feel that focused more on a vibe than on being a meticulously crafted and honed product that he was known for in his The Beatles songs.

McCartney’s first two solo releases – “McCartney” (1970) and “Ram” (1971 and credited with his wife Linda) – both sold quite well but were also greeted with scorn and apathy from music critics. Even McCartney’s three ex-band mates through shade at these albums saying he could do much better.

But as time has gone on both “McCartney” and “Ram” are now seen as two of the highlights of McCartney’s now long and winding solo career. In fact “Ram” is now viewed by many fans (me included) as McCartney’s high water mark since leaving The Beatles.

Lo and behold as “Wild Life” reaches its 50th birthday it too has also grown in stature and though not as fondly regarded as his first two solo albums it is now seen by many as a very good record. In fact its because of its looseness and carefree vibe that it stands out among McCartney’s many recordings as a rocking and low key burst of creativity that relies more on feel than structure.

There is quite a large group of younger folks who also love this album and see it as a quite lovely, lo-fi yet terrific album. In fact a lot of people in their twenties and thirties see “Wild Life” as a sort of birth of the indie style, low key album approach that has been very popular in the last twenty years or so.

As for me I’ve always quite enjoyed side two of “Wild Life” very much but as time has gone on since I first heard this album in the late seventies I too am really fond of the whole record. I’ll be damned if it’s not one of the better, though certainly quirkier, releases of McCartney’s solo career.

Long ago I stopped questioning the lyrical content of songs like “Bip Bop” and “Mumbo” and now really enjoy them as a burst of energy filled with that classic rock McCartney vocal style that was at its peak around this era.

Which finally brings me to this new 2022 vinyl reissue of the “Wild Life” album.

“Wild Life” was recently reissued in a lovely deluxe CD box set (see my previous review on this blog) a few years ago in 2018 as well as on a double vinyl set.

I bought the CD box set but skipped the vinyl reissue which is a good thing as this new 2022 remaster is based on that 2018 vinyl transfer but tweaked for this release without any sort of compression from a hi resolution transfer from a digital copy of the original master tape from 1971 (see photos above).

Much like the previous 50th anniversary vinyl reissues of both “McCartney” and “Ram” this new issue of “Wild Life” mimics all the elements of the original UK vinyl release from the cover down to the original labels that graced the first British pressing.

As for the sound you say? The sound of this new 2022 reissue of “Wild Life” is superb. The pressing I got was dead quiet and everything sounded full and alive and nearly perfect in every way.

Much like the original vinyl issue of “Wild Life” this new 2022 pressings isn’t a sonic masterpiece as the original is a bit dull in spots and not the best engineered recording of McCartney’s career yet this new pressing is probably as good as you’re going to get this album to sound and is quite enjoyable and definitely a pleasure to listen to and enjoy.

There is supposedly a digital glitch somewhere in the song “Love is Strange” though I didn’t hear it. I’ll have to pay more attention in the future but really overall I found this new reissue terrific sounding and it stacks up quite nicely to the original  UK pressing that I also own of this album.

My UK pressing is a bit worn so the quietness of this new 2022 issue may make it the better listen overall though pretty much in line with how an original UK vinyl copy sounds.

So there you have it. If you want to brighten up a dull February day and your a McCartney fan than you need to pick up a copy of this new issue of “Wild Life” and have some fun. 

And maybe if you’ve never heard the album you might be pleasantly surprised at how good it sounds and see another side to Paul McCartney that shows off his mastery of pop music even in its rough and ready form instead of the softer McCartney sound from his later seventies and more polished eighties hits.

That’s it for now. As usual take a gander at some photos above of this groovy new “Wild Life” vinyl reissue.

Be well, safe and warm and see you next time!

 

 

January Beatles Roundup – 4K/Blu-Ray “A Hard Day’s Night” and Japanese “Let it Be … Naked” CD

Not only is January the month of snow and cold in my part of the world but since my birthday is January 14th it’s also the time of year I usually gather all my accumulated Amazon gift cards and go shopping online.

You see I always get a few gift cards at Christmas and on my birthday so inevitably that leads to new music purchases and, more often than not, new Beatles music purchases. And it seems like 2022 is right on target for my normal January binge.

This week I received two of these new January Beatles beauties in the mail – the new 2022 4k/Blu-Ray set of The Beatles’ first film “A Hard Day’s Night” and a 2013 Japanese CD reissue of the 2003 CD “Let it Be … Naked”.

The “A Hard Day’s Night” set comes from The Criterion Collection and features a newly transferred version of that company’s 4k scan of the film, the 1964 film that was originally issued by Criterion in 2014. Criterion’s original release was only on DVD/Blu-Ray while this new set contains a 4k Ultra HD disc and a regular blu-ray disc as well.

(Note: 4k is the amount of screen resolution which equates to 4000 pixels. That’s may times more resolution than a regular DVD or blu-ray thus it usually has more details, color, etc. than other versions.)

All of the content and features are the same on this new 2022 set I believe but the film has been transferred in its native 4k format on the 4k Ultra HD disc which does provide a better picture than the standard blu-ray disc. I believe the blu-ray disc is very similar to the 2014 version but with maybe a touch better picture but it looks pretty much the same to me.

The main reason I bought this though was that even though I don’t own a 4k player or TV I do know a friend who does so I’m going to try and watch it on their set in the future. I was hoping that the newer transfer on the regular blu-ray may be better too and though it may look a tad bit better both it and the 2014 version both look terrific so if there’s a difference it’s negligible, to me anyway.

I would say the main reason to buy this 2022 version is if you own a 4k set-up or if you’re one of those nutty Beatles completists like me. I’ve always loved “A Hard Day’s Night” and this Criterion transfer blows away any previous version not only picture wise but it’s the only release that contains the original theatrical mono soundtrack along with the newer 5.1 remix as well as a stereo soundtrack.

Of course I prefer the original mono soundtrack so along with the picture this Criterion Collection transfer is a must have for any Beatles fan. If you own the 2014 version I’m sure that will be plenty enough for most people but if you do have a 4k set-up than this new set may be something you would enjoy.

The other lovely Beatles nugget I got this week is a 2013 Japanese reissue of the The Beatles stripped down remix of their “Let it Be” album from 2003 entitled “Let it Be .. Naked”.

“Let it Be .. Naked” exists to show how the “Let it Be” album would sound without the Phil Spector touch (or heavy touch depending on your tastes) that many feel hampered the original “Let it Be” album that was released in 1970.

I for one have always really enjoyed “Let it Be .. Naked” and though I really do love the new 2021 Giles Martin remix of the “Let it Be” album I think that this “Naked” version is well worth owning and I really love some of the remixes on this collection.

I know a lot of Beatles fans online really crap on “Let it Be … Naked” but to me its an essential release and well worth owning.

I read somewhere that “Let it Be … Naked” was remastered around 2013 for streaming services so I was hoping that this 2013 Japanese CD may contain that remastering. After listening to it I don’t think it’s a remaster but as usual with Japanese issues I did feel that this disc sounded a bit more open and full than my original US 2003 CD thus I am very happy with it.

Is it worth upgrading from a UK or Us 2003 CD? For most people I’m guessing not but I personally love this Japanese issue and really also enjoy the huge case that comes with it and the usual superb packaging that the Japanese are known for with their CD issues.

After all part of the fun of collecting physical media is the presentation and hands down the presentation of this 2013 Japanese issues wins hands down thus this CD for me is a great purchase.

Well there you have it. I know that this particular post will appeal mainly to all the
Beatle nerds out there but that’s one of the reasons I do this blog. I love to see photos of releases like this as there are precious view sites that do that out there in Webland.

As usual take a gander at the photos of these items above.

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

Sealed or Unsealed, That is the Question – A Sealed 1974 Copy of “Cassidy Live!” By David Cassidy With a Case of Vinyl Acne

Any record collector out there knows the thrill of finding a vintage sealed copy of an album by an artist they like and admire. That thrill is amplified when the said copy of that particular sealed vinyl is also obtained for a cheap price – win, win you say.

Of course there’s also the question of should you leave said vintage album sealed as a pristine piece of memorabilia or should you slit the side open and pop that baby on the nearest turntable?

As in everything in life there are different opinions on this scenario.

On the one hand there’s the type of collector who loves the look of pristine sealed vinyl. It takes them back to their childhood when they saw racks of sealed albums just like that at their local Kmart or Woolworth’s way back in the day.

It’s almost as if time has stood still and there is actually air from the past sealed inside that album cover along with the vinyl that features some of your favorite songs from many years ago. Okay, maybe not quite that dramatic but you get the picture.

The other type of collector is just looking to find the best sounding copy of a vintage album and what better way than to hear your favorite album than to place a pristine copy of that album from the time of its release that hopefully has no blemishes with sound that knocks your socks off from the first moment your turntable needle hits the vinyl.

Well of course I can see both sides of this scenario and respect each collector’s choice. As the years go by though I’ve recently been leaning on the side of life is too short so let’s take that pristine baby out and have some fun!

As luck should have it I just came face to face with this very dilemma as I purchased an old stock copy of David Cassidy’s 1974 album “Cassidy Live!” which came out on Bell Records in 1974.

As readers of this blog know I’ve loved David Cassidy’s music since I was four years old when the first Partridge Family single and album came out in 1970 and I gladly played to death and beat up several copies of various Partridge and Cassidy records.

Back in the day I pretty much had all the original vinyl pressings of Partridge Family as well as David Cassidy solo records, at least on the Bell Records. All that is except for “Cassidy Live!”. For some reason that particular Cassidy record never came into my line of view and I had never heard of it until many many years after it was originally released.

I did eventually get “Cassidy Live!” when it came out on CD and I was pleasantly surprised by how well it was recorded and how good an album it was even without containing many of the most famous songs Cassidy sang lead on.

Like I said as luck would have it about a week and a half ago I stumbled upon a still sealed copy of “Cassidy Live!” on the Etsy Website, of all things, and since the price was right I decided to buy it and after nearly 48 years add it to my collection of original Cassidy records form the 1970s.

Admittedly many Bell Records pressings form the 1970s are hit and miss – some good but most noisy and full of ticks even sealed so I knew it was somewhat of a gamble buying this copy but I went ahead anyway.

Every so often I’ve come upon a vintage sealed album either in person or online and only one other time in over fifty years of collecting (I once bought a sealed album by mail order that was cracked in two – ugh) have I ever been disappointed in the quality of the record or how it sounded. That is until now.

I just today received this lovely sealed example of “Cassidy Live!” and as I took it out carefully from it’s sealed tomb of nearly 48 years I was dumbfounded to find that as I slide the vinyl out of the inner sleeve I could see what I can only describe as vinyl acne.

There were large swaths of these small sort of acne looking ripples in the vinyl on both sides of the record. Ahhhh! Side one wasn’t too bad actually but side two was full of them. WTF was the only thing that ran through my mind. I have never in all my days of collecting vinyl – and that stretches back to 1969 – seen anything like it.

I was dreading putting this particular copy on my turntable as I feared a million skips and Gods knows what kind of sound may come from my speakers if I played it.

Well I sat for a few moments looking at the cover and of course my curiosity got the best of me and I decided what the hey I’m just going to take a leap of faith and play it.

Why not? It’s not as if the seller would have known the vinyl would look like that. The record was obviously an original sealed pressing that must have had some sort of weird life between 1974 and now even though it was sealed and supposedly protected.

Well funny enough barring two songs on side two the record didn’t sound have bad! In fact mostly it sounded pretty darn good. Unfortunately the last three songs on side two do have audible ticks throughout the songs but nothing unlistenable. Not great but not horrible.

That my friends is the gamble of buying a sealed record that’s been sealed for over forty years. You have no idea what kind of temperatures this piece of vinyl encountered over the years or how it was stored, all of which can lead to this kind of situation.

Of course it could just be a bad pressing but I’m guessing somewhere along the line this album probably met with some sort of heat or something that caused it to have a chronic case of vinyl acne.

At least I didn’t spend a fortune on it and three fourths of it sounds pretty good. Small comfort but after 48 long years I’ve finally added a copy of “Cassidy Live!” to my collection but too bad it had the completion of a teenager.

Honestly though I’ve never even seen another vinyl copy of “Cassidy Live!” in person so I guess it wasn’t a total waste. At least it never skipped!

At least I got to share this here as an example of what can happen when you open a vintage sealed album. It’s rare, at least in my case, but sometimes things don’t always turn out like you plan even with a brand new sealed record.

Anyway, that’s all for now.

Take a gander of this album above and until next time be healthy and well and if you buy vinyl always remember – buyer beware lol!

 

 

 

 

 

These Ears Are Starting 2022 Off Right With a New Stereo Vinyl Reissue of The Monkees’ “Pisces, Aquarius, Capricorn & Jones, Ltd.” on Rhino Records

It’s hard to believe (sorry, I couldn’t resist – Monkees fans will get it) that it’s nearly one full month into 2022 and this is my first blog post of the year.

What can I say, it’s been a weird start to the year already (thank you Covid) but since my birthday happened to be last week (January 14) and by coincidence there also happened to be a new vinyl reissue of one of my all-time favorite albums I thought I would buy a copy and share my thoughts on it as my first post of 2022.

This past January 14th Rhino Records released a new stereo pressing of The Monkees’ fourth album, and I’d say their overall best, “Pisces, Aquarius, Capricorn & Jones, Ltd” as part of their “Start Your Ear Off Right” series for 2022.

This spiffy new pressing comes on lovely translucent green vinyl and features the original Colgems logo on the cover as well as the typical Rhino recreation of the original red and white Colgems record label (see photos above).

Now as many of you who may read this blog know I am somewhat of a Monkees fan, to say the least, so needless to say I already own a copy or two of the “Pisces” album. Not only do I own the original ’60s’ stereo and mono Colgems pressings but I also happen to have original RCA German and UK stereo copies as well as a 1980s Japanese Arista repressing along with the various Rhino Records and Friday Music vinyl reissues from the 1980s onward.

So what drove me to buy yet another copy of this terrific album you may ask? Well, if you’ve read this blog at all in the past you wouldn’t even ask that lol but this new reissue did come out on my birthday and it does come with such a nice cover reproduction and a such groovy looking colored vinyl that I bit the bullet and purchased it.

(Note: there really is no logic to a collector’s mentality so if you’re seeking logic go elsewhere)

Now that I own the vinyl and have given it a through listen, what do I think?

First off this new vinyl pressing is dead quiet. I mean there’s not one pop or crackle to be had from the first notes of the opening track “Salesman” to the last fading beeps and whistles of the closing song “Star Collector”. So pressing quality rates a solid “A”.

I’d also have to rate the cover reproduction as a solid “A” as well as it looks great and the back cover photos are reproduced very nicely and Rhino gets a bonus for using the original Colgems label as least on the front cover of the jacket.

Now as for the most important part, how does this new pressing sound?

Well frankly it sounds great! There’s a nice rich sound to the bass on all the tracks without being overblown and the vocals as well and all the subtle percussion touches really shine. Songs like Davy’s “Hard to Believe” and Mike’s “Don’t Call on Me” both have such nice percussion elements that really float out from the speakers sounding nice and crisp – really it’s an impressive sounding disc.

Now I have to say that most time these days I listen to both vinyl and CDs from a small system I put together that consists of an older 1991 Sony Receiver (with a loudness button – love that feature) and vintage 1970s Sony speakers that have 12-inch woofers as well as a decent Audio-Technica manual turntable that is no means high-end but fits my needs perfectly.

This smaller system sounds a bit more vintage to me and tames the sound of some of the hotter new remasters as the bass these old Sony speakers puts out isn’t quite as in your face as newer or more high-end gear so while I think this new vinyl sounds just great on this system if you have a high-end system I’m not sure if you would have the same results – just an fyi. My older fifty-something ears really appreciate a system that sounds a bit more vintage.

Is this pressing taken from the original Colgems stereo master? Sounds like it to me. It’s definitely the original 1967 stereo mix and it just sounds so full and rich that it must be from the original master that Monkees archivist and manager Andrew Sandoval found for one of his Rhino CD reissues.

(Note 2: I forget when the original master was finally located but I think it was around the time of the release of the double Rhino CD “The Monkees Anthology” in 1998. I seem to remember the “Pisces’ tracks on that CD set were the first time they were issued from the original master since the 1960s)

So I would definitely give the mastering from this new vinyl reissue a solid “A” as well.

Is this new reissue from an analog or digital source? I don’t know for sure but I’m guessing it’s probably from the digital master the came from a CD reissue as it is a bit louder in volume than some of the analog reissues I’ve heard but it also sounds so good that I wouldn’t be shocked it was from analog but I kind of doubt Rhino would go to the trouble and expense of a new analog transfer but whatever the case this new reissue sounds superb.

In fact the only flaw I heard on the entire album was a bit of sibilance on Micky’s first vocal appearance on the song “Words”. It lasted just a couple of seconds so it didn’t ruin the song but it was there for sure.

Other than that this new vinyl pressing sounded so good I want to play it again. Honestly I would say it’s one of the better sounding pressings I’ve ever heard of the album. If the original Colgems pressings were this quiet I may opt for the original stereo pressing as the best source for this album but this new reissue is no slouch sound wise that’s for sure.

Oh and the only other interesting things about this new reissue is the odd addition of Leiber and Stoiler to the songwriting credits of “She Hangs Out” (wth?!!, I’ve never seen that one before) and the fact that this new reissue was made in Argentina. I’ve also not seen many pressings come from Argentina but if they sound as good as this one bring more Argentina pressings please!

For those who are interested, here is the matrix info for this new pressing (this may be the same mastering as the 2016 Classic Albums Rhino vinyl box of this album):

Side 1 – R1-552706-G
G1 then symbol that looks like a chair with an S in it then 25446.1(3)…

Side 2- R1-552706-H
G1 then symbol that looks like a chair with an S in it then 25446.2(3)…

Well, there you have it Monkees fans. If you’re a fan of the group or this album in particular and are seeking a decent vinyl copy of this album then you certainly can’t go wrong purchasing this lovely new translucent green Rhino pressing.

If you’re an old-time Monkees fan like me do you really need this?

Probably not but it really does sound nice and isn’t as overpriced as the recent Friday Music mono pressing of this album that came out a few months ago. I tend to avoid Friday Music vinyl as it usually doesn’t sound as good as Rhino pressings.

Besides this new stereo Rhino reissue is ten dollars cheaper than the Friday Music offering so if you decide to get a great sounding colored vinyl pressing of “Pisces, Aquarius, Capricorn & Jones, Ltd” I would personally opt for the Rhino pressing unless you need a copy of the mono mix and can’t find a decent 1967 mono pressing.

That’s all for now folks! See you next time and until then be well and I hope you’re having a great new year so far!