Saturday, February 25, 2012

The Capitol Albums Vol. 1

One year after the release of "Let It Be...Naked", the scraping of the bottom of the musical barrel continued. It was decided by Apple to release the nostalgic configurations of the US 1960s releases by Capitol Records in the USA. The idea was to put out the original Capitol artwork and USA mixes to the public (both being sub-par to the UK artwork and mixes).
The first volume of the Capitol Albums was entitled "The Capitol Albums Vol. 1" as a 4-CD set, a short 12 page booklet by Bruce Spizer and a 52 page booklet with introduction by Mark Lewisohn and photos courtesy of Apple and Capitol Records. There is also a credit for Chip Madinger who supplies the Original Album Sleeves (although you would think Capitol had a few copies as well). The Bruce Spizer booklet was added to the set my myself after the fact. The date of release for this set was on or about November 15 (for the UK) November 16 (for North America) 2004.
The first four Capitol LPs include: "Meet the Beatles!", "The Beatles's Second Album", "Something New" and "Beatles '65". The catalogue number for the set is Apple 7243.
The front cover of the box has a flow of yellow (at the top) blending to orange, red and purple (at the bottom). At the top is the Beatles logo in full colours like the background and the title in white with the Capitol logo in white underneath. All this within a round black "label" with a rainbow perimeter. Underneath the "label" is a black and white photo of the Beatles circa 1964. The spine of the box has the band logo, the title (both in black), the 4 CD titles (in white). The Apple, Capitol and EMI logos are featured at the bottom of the spine along with the catalogue number.
The back of the box had the same background colours as the front and spine of the box. The back of the box also states "For the first time on CD...the original 1964 Capitol albums presented in both stereo and mono." Underneath are the front covers of the first four LPs (minus "A Hard Day's Night" which was originally released through United Artists - and minus Capitol's own documentary "The Beatles' Story" 2-LP set). The tracklisting appears beneath the album covers with a small circle showing which tracks are stereo and which are mono. Basically, the tracklist follows the order of the vinyl side one and two repeated first in stereo and then in mono. The tracklisting is followed by the website address for the band. My US copy has the Apple logo, Capitol logo, FBI WARNING logo (I'm not kidding) and the compact disc logo in the lower bottom left. The copyright information is at the bottom lower right. There is also a UPC code at the bottom left.
The actual CD cardboard covers for "Meet The Beatles!", "The Beatles Second Album", "Something New" and "Beatles '65" look like they came from used copies of the original LPs. Maybe that is what Capitol wanted, but they don't look very nice. The "Second Album" cover looks yellowish and colours on the covers look faded. Too bad. I've seen pirate CDs with the stereo mixes that look much better than this official product. The back covers are no better. The reproductions look blurry and all of them have the addition of the CDP catalogue number on the upper right (with the exception of "Second Album" which has it on the lower right). The Apple logo has been added. The tracklisting has doubled on all of them with either "stereo" or "mono" before the songs. All covers have the "file under" print with the solid black dot indicating mono on the original LPs. There are no inners.
The CD labels are made to look like the original Capitol black labels with rainbow perimeter print. All four labels has the "all rights" warning in black along the perimeter of the rainbow. The title at the top and "recorded in England" underneath (with the exception of "Meet The Beatles!"), the catalogue number and compact disc logo at the right, the Capitol logo at the left, the tracklisting at the bottom along with an Apple logo.
All four CDs and booklet come in an inner tray with openings at either end. I remember during the time of release that a lot of consumers were complaining about the CDs falling out of the inner tray due to both sides of the tray being open ended. The inner tray is split in two and can be folded inward. The inner tray mimicks the front cover while the other side of the tray has the four album covers on one side and the tracklisting on the other side.
Finally, it must be remembered that this release contains the USA mixes by the notorious Dave Dexter Jr. (bbboooooo!!!) who actually turned down the first 3 Beatles singles when offered to Capitol. Capitol Records had this guy take charge of mixing the Beatles music when Mr. Dexter Jr. has even been on record saying that he hated the Beatles !!! Anyway, let's look at each CD:
First up is "Meet The Beatles!": Only two songs ("I Want To Hold Your Hand" and "This Boy") are true mono mixes; the rest of the mono mixes for the CD are folded-down from the stereo mixes. All stereo mixes for the songs on "Meet The Beatles" are true stereo mixes with the exception of "I Want To Hold Your Hand" and "This Boy" which are duophonic with highs on one side and lows on the other side; in other words, fake stereo.
Second up is "The Beatles' Second Album": Eight of the tracks "Roll Over Beethoven", "You Really Got A Hold On Me", "Money", "Please Mr. Postman" "I Call Your Name", "Long Tall Sally" "You Can't Do That" and "Devil In Her Heart" are true stereo with reverb added onto them. "Thank You Girl" has a unique stereo mix from the UK (mixed on March 13 1963) with added reverb and additional harmonica. Both "She Loves You" and "I'll Get You" are fake stereo (duophonic). For the mono portion of the CD, "She Loves You", "I'll Get You" and "Thank You Girl" are true mono mixes. "Long Tall Sally" and "I Call Your Name" are mono mixes from the UK mixed March 05 1964. The rest of the tracks are folded-down stereo.
Thirdly is "Something New": The stereo portion uses true stereo mixes for all songs ("I'll Cry Instead" is edited on the stereo mix). The mono portion uses true mono mixes with the following exceptions: "And I Love Her" has an early mono mix (March 03 1964), "I'll Cry Instead" uses a different edit but still a mono mix. "Any Time At All" and "When I get Home" use different (earlier) mono mixes from the UK. "Slow Down", "Matchbox" and "Komm, Gib Mir Deine Hand" have the same mono mixes as the UK "Long Tall Sally" EP and the German single respectively.
Last is "Beatles '65": The stereo portion uses true stereo mixes for all songs with the exception of "I Feel Fine" and "She's A Woman" which use fake stereo (duophonic). The mono portion uses true mono mixes of the songs with the exceptino of "I Feel Fine" and "She's A Woman" which retain earlier UK mono mixes (both from October 21 1964). Both have added reverb although not as much as the fake stereo versions which have TONS of reverb.

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