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!

Venezuela Sky (Orquesta En Fuga) – Christmas week Solo Beatles Vinyl Finds

Well here we are, it’s Christmas week already! I haven’t been to these parts of the Internet for a few weeks so I thought it was high time for another post. 

Unfortunately since my last trip here the world has taken an aggressive turn back into Covid land so hopefully anyone who happens to be reading this finds themselves safe and healthy.

So as a fun sideline right before Christmas I thought I’d share a few solo Beatles vinyl gems that I’ve just recently added to my collection. I don’t know what it is but locally I’ve been finding some really nice Beatles and solo Beatles vinyl. I hope it keeps up but as is life it will probably dry up soon but until then I’m a happy camper.

As luck would have it I found four really superb pressings of solo Beatles albums recently: 

  • An Apple first pressing of “Band on the Run” from Venezuela
  • A UK first pressing of “Ram”
  • An Italian first pressing of “Red Rose Speedway”
  • A later green label single cover of the “Ringo” album

I have to say that each of the four pressings not only look great (the vinyl at least, some of the covers are a little rough) but each of the four sound great. All four are nice and quiet and sound very dynamic.

I was especially surprised by the Venezuela pressing of “Band on the Run”. I don’t have a first UK pressing of this album but I can’t imagine it sounds any better than this pressing. The vinyl is surprisingly quiet with nice rich bass, a lovely clarity to the vocals and the guitars on “Let Me Roll It” just crackle out of the speakers with vibrancy.

Maybe it was the rough state of the cover and its almost xeroxed looking photo quality but I was not expecting this copy of “Band on the Run” to sound as good as it does. I don’t have any other pressings of solo Beatles albums from Venezuela to compare it to but I’m very impressed with the sound of this copy. 

The coolest thing about this copy of “Band on the Run” is that its on a Apple label instead of the specially designed label that accompanied the UK and US pressings. The weird thing is that the full Apple is on the Side 2 songs while Side 1 has the sliced Apple (see photos) which is the reverse of most UK and US pressings. Odd but endearing and the reason it’s so fun to track down obscure foreign pressings of Beatles or solo Beatles records.

The sound of the UK “Ram” and the Italian copy of “Red Rose Speedway” matched my experience with “Band on the Run”. I was actually expecting both of them to sound good and wasn’t let down in the least. Truly I think most UK first pressings of Paul McCartney albums win sound wise hands down and I’m not sure that any other pressing of “Ram” has the depth and warmth that this pressing has in spades.

I have a later UK pressing of “Ram” but this first pressing hands down is the best sounding vinyl version of the album I’ve ever heard.

As for “Red Rose Speedway” it too sounded great but I would say that of the three McCartney pressings this Italian copy didn’t quite have the same dynamic bass as the other two albums. Maybe it’s the way the recording is but whatever the case it still sounded quite good and much better than my first pressing US copy on Apple.

I was surprised to find a UK first pressing of “Ram” locally in such good shape and cheap! In fact all four pressing were under $10 which was another surprising yet happy surprise. It was also weird to find the Venezuela copy of “Band on the Run” but you never know what you’ll stumble on these days.

The last album find was the later budget label copy of Ringo Starr’s best solo album “Ringo”. I have a few of these green label pressings and each of them that I own sound truly wonderful. This copy of “Ringo” looks and sounds unplayed and was just so damn exciting to listen to –  great bass, nice presence and a lovely sound stage.

Of course the original gatefold cover and booklet are missed but as far as sound goes you need look no further than this budget pressing. It actually looks like the original matrix was crossed out in the inner groove of the record so I’m sure this stacks up well to first pressing issues.

I own an original first pressing but it’s not nearly as clean and quiet as this reissue so I prefer the sound of this budge copy for sure.

Well that’s it for now. Just a quick vinyl pick-me-up before Christmas and a nice diversion for the week of glum Covid news.

As usual take a look at some photos of these vinyl gems above and below.

Until next time be well and Merry Christmas!!!

ABBA’s First Album in Almost 40 Years Hits All the Right Notes – This “Voyage” Is Definitely Worth Taking

It is hard to believe that after nearly forty years the pop group that dominated the ’70’s and early ’80s, at least in Europe and the UK and to a lesser degree the US, is back with a new 10-song album.

Today ABBA released their brand new album “Voyage” which is both a comeback as well as a finale goodbye as the group has been quoted this week as saying that this is it for the Swedish pop superstars. The end, goodbye, slutet (I couldn’t resist a little Swedish even though I can’t speak it at all).

Of course if you’re at all familiar with pop radio or pop culture of the past forty odd years or so you are surely familiar with ABBA already. “Dancing Queen”, “Mamma Mia”, “SOS”, “Fernando” and “Waterloo” are just a few of the many hits that have graced not only radio airwaves around the world but movie screens and stage productions as well.

So after all this time what can we expect from a collection of ten new songs by such well-known and beloved performers as ABBA? After all it’s been a long time since they last recorded and they as well as the rest of the world have changed dramatically especially after nearly two years of the raging Covid-19 pandemic that has wrecked havoc around the globe.

Well let me say that after listening to this new album that landed in my mailbox just a few hours ago that thankfully it sounds as if nothing has really changed all that much and to me that’s quite a good thing! 

Speaking strictly for me I can only view the group and these voices and these arrangements through the lenses of the child and teen that I was in the ’70s and early 1980s.

I loved ABBA then and I still do now. Yeah they might not have been my favorite group and they sometimes were a bit cheesy but oh those voices and those melodies carried me through some the finest as well as many of the roughest times from the most impressionable years of my life. They are forever linked to my musical psyche.

There is no mistaking an ABBA song. The sound of their voices, especially the voices of the two ladies in the group Agnetha and Anni-Frid, and their catchy melodies and arrangements clearly make ABBA stand apart from practically any other group of the era. 

Their continued popularity to the present though the mega success of their records as well as their “Mamma Mia” movies has helped them to transcend time. And after listening to the new “Voyage” album transcending time to me is the perfect way to describe this record.

Let’s go point by point. How does ABBA sound today?

The voices sound great, they sound like ABBA. Check.

The melodies are strong, the songs are catchy. Check.

There are pop songs, light disco songs, a bit of cheese and bit of grandeur. Check.

The album is good and I want to play it again – that checks every box on my list.

What can I tell you this sounds like an ABBA album and after a nearly forty year layoff that’s quite a pleasant and welcome surprise. And while the group’s vocals are lower than they were forty years ago they are still quite strong and lovely and every bit as capable of expressing a wide range of emotions and textures as they always have been.

“Voyage” sounds like ABBA wants to be nothing more then what they are – a superb pop group making music in their seventies. Good pop music I might add. And what else sound they be? I for one wouldn’t want them pandering to current tastes just to sell a record or just to be current.

The whole album sounds like that they reunited because they wanted to make music. It can’t be for the money because God knows they could have cashed in years ago as fans have been after them for ages to reunite.

This album sounds like ABBA wanted to send one last postcard to fans just to keep in touch. They reunited because they reconnected musically and had a lot of fun doing it. Of course there are threads of their younger selves throughout the album yet “Voyage” somehow manages to sound modern without losing themselves in the process.

This is ABBA reuniting on their own terms doing it themselves for themselves. They wrote, produced and performed everything on the album and have left their fans with a final postscript which is touching as well as entertaining. They miraculously have also managed to do what eludes most reunited groups – they sound damn good and that’s quite a feat.

Out of the ten tracks on “Voyage” I didn’t find a stinker among the bunch, I enjoyed all ten from the first listen. Everything is melodic, well arranged and performed and nothing overstays its welcome.

While not everything on the album has stuck in my mind as of yet I have to say that “When You Danced With Me”, one of the first singles “Don’t Shut Me Down”, “Keep An Eye on Dan”, “No Doubt About It” (God this would have been a smash hit single back in the day around 1979!) and “Ode to Freedom” are just superb and well worth the price of the album for sure.

As I said the rest are fine as well but the five songs above had me heading for the repeat button right away as they are so damn ABBA and so damn good.

It’s really rare for such a high profile reunion such as this to generate one really good song but a whole album of good material after all this time is such a welcome relief. What a pleasant tonic for the weirdness that is the year 2021. It’s like riding back into the 70’s and grabbing all that was good about ABBA and yanking it back into the present.

I can’t say how any younger person may or may not feel about the “Voyage” album. Will they like it? Will they relate to it? I have no idea. But for me it’s just been the most pleasant and welcome surprise and the prefect way to send ABBA off into the ether with a classy, well-performed album that makes me smile.

And after the crappiness of the past two years it’s such a joy to be reacquainted with old friends who are just as lovely and warm and fun as you had remembered them.

And that my friend’s is all that I ask from music – pleasure and joy.

As usual take a gander above at some pictures of the CD version of “Voyage” that I received today.

Until next time be well and see you soon!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Current “Get Back” Book Shines New Light on The Beatles “Dark” January 1969 Sessions

When I first heard that there would be a new book to accompany Peter Jackson’s upcoming Beatles documentary “Get Back” I had  a “meh” reaction. 

Part of me thought it might be a nice upgrade to the original book that accompanied first UK box set pressings of The Beatles “Let it Be” album but since I own that book the other part of me said “yawn”.

After all there have been Beatles books before that have accompanied massive Beatles projects like the “Anthology” project from the mid ’90s but I’ve never really gone back to them much so why bother with this new “Get Back” book?

Well as happens frequently, I was wrong.

I managed to see a preview of this new “Get Back” book on YouTube (it’s all the current rage to post previews of all the new Beatles projects online) earlier this week and it really intrigued me. Not only did the book look well made with lots of really nice photographs from the January 1969 sessions that became the “Let it Be” album and film but the text consisted mainly of partial dialog from The Beatles themselves from the Twickenham as well as Apple studios filming and recording sessions.

Count me intrigued. Really intrigued. 

To top it off the Target chain of stores here in the U.S. added four exclusive lobby card reprints from the 1970 “Let it Be” film to the copies of the book that they were selling and for me that was all she wrote, I was in.

Having purchased the book a couple of days ago  I must say I’m very impressed. It’s a nice sized hardback book that does indeed contain hundreds of really terrific photos from throughout the January 1969 filming and recording sessions but the dialog transcripts are really the main draw here. They are fascinating and really shed new light on these sessions.

Of course the “Let it Be” film from 1970 helped to paint January 1969 as a very dark and gloomy time for The Beatles. The only moments of joy are near the end of the film when The Beatles take to the rooftop of their Apple headquarters to perform live for the last time in their career which is truly mesmerizing. The rest of the film is disjointed and jarring and The Beatles seem bored.

What’s amazing about reading the dialogue in this book is that The Beatles come across much more engaged and cooperative than  had previously been surmised. That’s not to say that by January 1969 the Beatles weren’t reaching their end as a group but there were a lot more lighter moments then had previously been seen in past documents of these sessions.

In fact having seen the new trailer for the “Get Back” documentary that comes out on Disney+ next month there were a lot of really light and interesting moments that were left on the cutting room floor. There are hours of footage that seems to show a much more well-rounded version of the events then has ever been seen before. This new trailer for the documentary makes me feel joyful and I can’t wait to see this new version.

That feeling of joy also permeates this new “Get Back” book as well. Yes there are darker moments for sure but reading these transcripts is a lot of fun and kind of washes away many of the darker aspects of this whole project that have permeated anything to do with the “Let it Be” film and album.

I’m guessing that it’s the time after the filming and recording of these January 1969 sessions when The Beatles really began to have business issues that colored everything in their minds for that period with a negative view. By the time The Beatles needed to go back and make these film and audio recordings into a unified album and film they had little interest in the project thus began the really dark association with what became “Let it Be”.

No disrespect to Michael Lindsay-Hogg, the director of the original “Let it Be” film, but I’m so glad that Peter Jackson was given the task of making something out of the fifty-something hours of used footage from the “Let it Be” film. This new “Get Back” documentary really does make the January 1969 sessions a pleasure to watch instead of the sour experience that the original film depicts.

Also after listening to the new “Let it Be” box set that comes out today I definitely have a more positive view of the whole time period and there is a lot to enjoy from these sessions that hasn’t seen the light of day until now.

By the way I also really enjoyed reading Peter Jackson’s forward in the book. I love how he describes not hearing The Beatles much in his youth and the story of his dad bringing home one of the only 45’s he ever bought, a cover of The Beatles “Something” by Shirley Bassey. 

It wasn’t until Jackson saw the 1973 Red and Blue Beatles greatest hits albums in a store window that he truly discovered the group’s music. That was my way into the group’s catalog as well so it was fun reading how Jackson became a Beatles fan.

Anyway, the new “Get Back” book is good, really good. If you’re a fan of The Beatles and the “Let it Be” album and film then you need to grab a copy of this book, it’s a very interesting read.

As usual see photos of my copy of this new book above and below.

I really think that the Target exclusive “Let it Be” lobby cards are a terrific bonus so if that kind of thing floats your boat then make sure you grab a copy of this book from a Target store or from http://www.target.com. There are other places offering bonus photos as well but to me the lobby cards are more interesting.

If you have no desire for any bonus goodies then buying the book online or at your nearest bookstore would be your best option.

Well that’s all for now.

Until next time be well and see you soon.

The Beatles Deluxe “Let it Be” 5 LP Set is A True Gem and Won’t Let You Down (At Least for the Majority of Beatles Fans)

I think I’m going to call this my “Get Back” week. 

First there was the release this past Tuesday of The Beatles “Get Back” book (more about that coming soon to this blog) then the release yesterday of the official trailer for the upcoming new six-hour “Get Back” documentary by Peter Jackson on Disney+ next month and now the release tomorrow of the newly remixed and remastered “Let it Be” album.

Ahhh that’s my kind of week!

Well as fate would have it I have managed to get ahold of one of the many new “Let it Be” configurations coming out tomorrow – the 5 LP “Let it Be” which includes an impressive 100-page hardback book as well as four full LPs and one 4 song (45 r.p.m.) LP-sized EP.

There are other formats of this new “Let it Be” album as well including a single CD, a 2 CD set, a 6 CD/Blu-Ray set as well as a single LP but this review will take a look at this most impressive new 5 Lp box set.

As usual this new “Let it Be” box set, like many of the Beatles box sets that have been released in the past few years, is a thing of beauty and is full of previously unreleased outtakes along with the main album newly remixed afresh by Giles Martin (son of legendary original Beatles producer George Martin).

The first thing that struck me when I held this set in my hands was not only the hefty weight of the set but the lovely die-cut front cover which looks just amazing in person. It struck me at first glance as sort of a window into the famed “Get Back” sessions from 1969 and after listening to the set I think that’s an apt description.

I must say first off though that this set is by no means a complete chronicle of the almost mythical sessions from January 1969 which consisted of several hours of off the cuff as well as studio performances. 

I read that Giles Martin chose sparingly the outtakes for this set and wanted to make a collection that was easy to digest and listen to repeatedly without the tediousness of listening to every single note and breath that was recorded on the hundreds of hours of audio tape that exist in The Beatles vaults.

I know some Beatles fans will be upset that there isn’t a lot more of the Twickenham Studio audio that’s been bootlegged to death over the years but after having perused this new set I must say I think Giles Martin chose well and this set is indeed a nice window into these sessions and very entertaining. Your mileage may vary but for me this set hit my sweet spot for the “Get Back” sessions and I find it a nice overview.

Anyway, here’s a quick look at the 5 LP set.

The first LP, the 2021 “Let it Be” remix:

I have to say I was really surprised to find that this new 2021 remix sounded very true to the original 1970 Phil Spector mix. Yes there are several nice new moments with more up front vocals and some instruments peaking out here and there but overall this new remix sounds very close to the original LP.

This is probably my favorite of all of Giles Martin’s Beatles remixes. I’m sure other people may think he should have gone farther but to me this just is a much clearer and cleaner sounding version of the original mix. You definitely don’t feel as if Martin is making this sound anything other than the original “Let it Be” album we all know and love but enhanced.

At least on vinyl this album doesn’t sound dramatically different to me and in my opinion that’s a good thing. I’m always afraid of some overly compressed mess that drowns the album of its original charm but that’s not the case here.

(Note: Also I have to say that all the records in my set were pressed very well (no warps) and are very quiet and sound great! Nothing sounded overly compressed or muddy to my ears. One of the better Beatles box sets sound wise in my opinion.)

Here are a couple of mixes that sounded slightly different to me:

Across the Universe – This is the first of the remixes that really stood out to me as sounding a bit different. The vocal is more prominent, a little clearer with a little bit more echo. The orchestration is much more noticeable and you can hear it much better as the various instruments stand out more. Lovely remix and you actually hear more of Specter’s touch with this one. Actually all the songs that contain Spector’s orchestrations stand out a bit more in this new remix.

One After 909 – While not dramatically different sounding this mix is a bit cleaner and sounds a little bit rockier than the original mix. There’s a nice punch to this mix without being overly compressed. I love how live the vocals sound. I may prefer this mix to the original actually, very nice.

The Long and Winding Road – Much like “Across the Universe” this new remix highlights the sound of the orchestration. If anyone was hoping for a de-Spectorized take this is definitely not it. Paul’s vocal also sounds a bit more up front but the orchestration really sounds lovely. It does sound as if they took down the heavenly choir vocals a bit but the orchestration is a little bit cleaner and clearer which was kind of surprising but sounds good.

The rest of the album has its moments of a bit cleaner vocals and better separation of instruments but overall it actually sounds very very faithful to the original 1970 mix. All of the rockier songs tend to have a bit more punch and a little bit cleaner presentation than the original mix which makes them sound improved in my mind but they’re not dramatically different from their original mixes.

Get Back – Apple Sessions, Rehearsals and Apple Jams:

While I haven’t listened to both LPs in full yet what I’ve sampled so far has been a lot of fun. Again not dramatically different versions of these songs but this is a nice sounding collection of outtakes from the sessions.

I’m actually glad that Martin focused on the studio takes rather than put too much of the Twickenham songs in this collection. It’s fun to hear The Beatles in the studio in nice clean and punchy sounding works in progress. The mono Nagra sound pretty good but for repeated listening I prefer the studio takes.

Some highlights so far:

Let it Be/Please Please Me/Let it Be (Take 10) – A very soulful early take of “Let it Be” that I really enjoyed. I must have missed the “Please Please Me” bit because I didn’t hear it but a lovely early take that’s great to hear.

Dig a Pony (Take 14) – Another fun take that while not perfect sounds great. I especially love how Lennon at the end sings that this take wasn’t as good as a previous take and let’s do “Get Back”. Fun stuff and sounds very nice.

One After 909 (Take 3) – A really nice take with much more prominent boogie woogie piano. Again not dramatically different but different enough to be interesting. For some reason this take reminds me of The Rolling Stones, a bit more bluesy.

Don’t Let Me Down (First Rooftop Performance) – Despite the slight lyric goof this is a superb take and nice to have the complete unaltered live take. I enjoy the version of this from “Let it Be … Naked”album which made a composite mix of both live takes but it’s great to have the full unaltered first take sounding as good as this does. More rooftop takes please, thank you.

The Long and Winding Road (Take 19) – A truly wonderful take that sounds so great without any orchestration. I actually may prefer this version over all the others it’s so haunting and subdued and great to have in my collection.

All Things Must Pass (Rehearsals) – The mono Twickenham songs actually sound pretty darn good but I do prefer the studio takes to these mono recordings. It’s just so sad that the Beatles never finished a complete take of this song as these rehearsals are true gems. This would have been one of the highlights of these sessions if they completed a full studio take.

On a side note I love how the inner sleeve uses the same photos and layout as the US “Let it Be” LP but in black and white. Looks very classy and very White Album, I love it.

The unreleased Glyn Johns mix of The Get Back lp:

It’s nice to finally have a great sounding version of this rejected Glyn John’s mix of what became the “Let it Be” album. I’ve always enjoyed this album and it’s nice to finally see it part of a Beatles official package. I’m not sure if this is all the 1970 Glyn Johns mix or if this is actually a mixture of his 1969 and 1970 mixes but whatever it sounds really good and it’s nice to have it.

I must say that this mix is a bit more harsh sounding than all of the other mixes found in this collection. Don’t get me wrong it’s  really interesting and fun album to have it just sounds a little bit brighter than the other outtakes that Giles Martin mixed for this set.

While Glyn Johns’ mix has a more loose feel to it and a more warts and all approach it’s still a good listen and well worth adding to any collection. Actually I would have preferred some of the outtakes Martin chose added to Johns album but it’s still an essential listen.

Plus the album cover recreation of what would have been the “Get Back” lp is just superb and well worth having in full LP size. This alone is worth getting the vinyl set for this album as it’s a legendary version that almost came out instead of “Let it Be”.

The EP:

Across the Universe – An interesting unreleased Glyn Johns mix of one of my favorite Lennon songs. It contains the offbeat background vocals from the first released version of the song mixed lower but still there nonetheless. Not my favorite mix of this song but not bad. It’s basically a better remix of the Wildlife charity album mix.

I Me Mine – A nice mix if this song. Not overly different but minus the Phil Spector orchestrations and much shorter as well.

Don’t Let Me Down – This new Giles Martin mix of the single version of the song is superb. I love the extra added speaking at the beginning. A very powerful and clean sounding mix of this song. May be my favorite of the new remixes.

Let it Be – Another Giles Martin 2021 mix of the single version of this song. Much cleaner than the original mix. It would have been nice to have these two remixes snuck on the earlier album but it’s still great to have them and this is a nice remix as well.

The Book:

The hundred-page hardback book in this set is superb much like the books from Sgt. Pepper and The White Album sets. This is the type of book I was hoping for in the “All things Must Pass” CD set but at least it’s a part of this set.

This book is loaded with great pictures and nice text especially by Kevin Howlett. I love the LP size of this book as it’s the perfect size for the pictures and makes the text easier to read as well and easy to handle.

It’s very well done and really makes this set worth the price I paid for it. The hardback book really makes this set sparkle as it is very high quality as are the covers and labels on the LPs in this set.

Grade: A

Overall I have to say that this new “Let it Be” set is a real winner. It’s packaged well (see the photos above and below), it sounds great and it’s a nice overview of The Beatles “Get Back” sessions. 

(Note 2: The “Let it Be” poster in the photos above is being handed out for free at independent record stores for those who purchase any configuration of this new reissue.)

If you’re a Beatles fan what’s not to love? (Err, I’m sure online there will be plenty of bitching about this and that but to me this set is done just right).

So there you have it. If you’ve been looking forward to this set odds are you’ll find it very enjoyable like I did. The price isn’t too bad (I got mine for around $130) and the content is great.

Well, that’s all for now but more Beatles soon!

Until then be safe and well and I hope you get a chance to hear this new remix of “Let it Be”.

See you soon!