Saturday, January 26, 2013

A bit of a "rant".

I'm not one to complain (usually), but lately I've discovered that they don't press vinyl like they used to. I recently purchased the new stereo vinyl box set and opened it up in order to play the vinyl (yes, I do that once in a while). I must say that the outer box is nice and glossy with the slipcase, the interior of the box has the foam strategically placed to protect the book and the records. All of the covers were sealed.
I removed the outer slipcase, opened the box, moved the foam and proceeded to open the vinyl records. A bit of a disappointment I must say. First off; the quality control for vinyl record products has gone quite downhill in the last year or two.  I've seen that the cardboard used for the covers is a little thinner than I expected. It's a shame that the company who printed these covers hadn't looked at past quality covers (eg; the Japan "AP" or "EAS" series, for instance). The colours are good and vibrant.
The records themselves have very thin labels and some of them are actually off-center a little. There is a printing mistake on side two of "Magical Mystery Tour"; check it out; it claims that "Baby, You're A Rich Man" is composed by George Harrison !! haha.
I played the entire series and found that the pressings were not what they should be. For the amount of money Apple and others charge for re-issued vinyl that is supposed to be superior to regular past vinyl, this is not the case. The first LP "Please Please Me" has a skip on the second song "Misery" (talking strictly my copy). I was dumbfounded. This is fresh out of the package. I let it play through and then played side two. Once the LP was over, I once again tracked the vinyl back to side one and "Misery". Yes, folks. The anomaly is still there.
Most of the collection played well with the following being evident: My copy of "Revolver" has a "no-fill" issue on the track "Eleanor Rigby". I also found that there is loud popping on side two of "Abbey Road" on the long medley "Sun King/Mean Mister Mustard" section.
After playing the LPs; I read some reviews on various critical sites on the box set and discovered that I got off easy. A lot of people were complaining of "no-fill" on an entire side of "Abbey Road" and some problems with noise on "Sgt. Pepper".
Another issue was when I purchased Paul McCartney's 45 single "The Christmas Song/ Wonderful Christmastime" coloured vinyl. This time "The Christmas Song" played through and it was filled with pops and noise and sounded terrible. Once again, the pressing of these vinyl treasures has deteriorated considerably. A real shame.
I must add that I have checked my audio equipment (all is fine), I even took out some of my older vinyl and all play extremely well. Hopefully the companies that manufacture vinyl will "get their sh*t together" and start a better quality control system.

Saturday, January 19, 2013

Another "Easy Beat"

On July 17 1963 (one day after recording not one, not two, but three separate shows for the BBC), The Beatles returned once again to perform a live show at the Playhouse Theater in London for the BBC program "Easy Beat". This live performance would be broadcast four days later. The host of this particular show was Brian Matthews.
The Beatles performed four songs live in front of an audience consisting mainly of screaming young girls. The first song performed was from the first LP; the opening number in fact; the original Lennon/McCartney composition "I Saw Her Standing There". The next song in the set is a cover of a song originally recorded by Arthur Alexander and is the only time we can hear this song performed live in front of an audience "A Shot of Rhythm and Blues". The third song in the set is another tune that is seldom heard performed live for an audience in the form of the original Lennon/McCartney song from the first LP: "There's A Place". Finally the last song in the set is also the last song featured from the first LP, The Isley Brothers cover sung by John entitled "Twist And Shout".
This show can be found on earlier vinyl bootlegs such as "Wonderful Picture Of You" and "Stockholm" as well as "Meet The Beeb" and "The Beatles at the Beeb w/Pete Best (sic)". It can be found on the excellent Great Dane box set "The complete BBC sessions" as well.

Saturday, January 5, 2013

"Pop Go The Beatles" episode number Ten.

The last of the three shows taped at the BBC Paris Studio in London with the host Rodney Burke on July 16 1963. This evening performance was recorded betwee 08:45 and 10:30 PM and features some covers as well as some upcoming musical gems from forthcoming EMI Beatle LPs and EPs.
Let's take a look at the musical numbers, shall we? First off is another preview of the latest single (at the time) "She Loves You" which is actually the same performance taken from the previous "Pop Go The Beatles" episode nine discussed in the previous blog post. The newer music starts with a Buddy Holly cover sung by John and Paul which would be recorded the following year for the Beatles "For Sale" LP ; "Words Of Love". Following this cover is a George vocal for Carl Perkin's "Glad All Over".  A cover version of the Ann Margaret classic (ha ha) follows with a John vocal in the form of "I Just Don't Understand". This is followed by a cover version of the Donay's "Devil In Her Heart" with the lead vocal by George. The song would be recorded for the follow up LP two days after this performance in 1963. Lastly, a John vocal of the Larry Williams cover "Slow Down" with different lyrics than the recording of the song for the future "Long Tall Sally" EP to be recorded almost eight months later.
"Glad All Over", "I Just Don't Understand" and "Slow Down" have been released commercially on the Apple 2-LP/2-CD "Live at the BBC". "Devil In Her Heart" has also been commercially released as a track for the Apple CD single "Baby It's You".
The entire show can be found on the LP "The Beatles At the Beeb, Volume Five" as well as on the CD Gread Dane box set "The Complete BBC Sessions" on CD 4.
Earlier snippets of songs are featured on early bootleg compilations such as "Yellow Matter Custard" and "Studio Sessions, Volume Two".