Blackbird – The Beatles Album – CD Giveaway

Thanks to the good people at Universal Music Classics we have a copy of Blackbird – The Beatles Album, by the fantastic classical guitarist Miloš Karadaglić, to give away to a lucky reader:Blackbird

The album is released internationally today, January 15, 2016, on Mercury Classics/UMC.

Milos is a young guitarist who has received worldwide attention since his 2011 album debut, with coverage in such varied media outlets as CNN, Vogue, Guitar World, Billboard, The New York Times, NPR, and more. In 2011 he was named Gramophone magazine’s “Young Artist of the Year.” He‘s performed at London’s Royal Albert Hall as well as non-traditional venues such as New York’s Joe’s Pub, London’s Camden Roundhouse (for the iTunes Festival), and at Deutsche Grammophon’s Yellow Lounge “club nights.”

For Blackbird – The Beatles Album, Miloš collaborates with celebrated artists from the varied worlds of pop, jazz and classical, including Tori Amos (‘She’s Leaving Home’), Gregory Porter (‘Let It Be’), Anoushka Shankar (‘Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds’) and Steven Isserlis (‘Michelle’).

Brazilian guitarist-composer Sergio Assad did the arrangements on all tracks (with the exception of “Yesterday” which is by the Japanese composer Toru Takemitsu). Tony Award-winning orchestrator and composer Christopher Austin contributed string arrangements on three tracks, and jazz bassist Chris Hill (who has worked with Jamie Cullum, Annie Lennox and others) provided improvised bass parts to several songs.

“The partnership between George Harrison and Ravi Shankar was one of the most important cross culture collaborations in music. Inviting his daughter Anoushka Shankar, who is one of my absolutely favorite musicians, to join me on ‘Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds was a no-brainer.”

The project marks the first time Miloš has worked with pop vocalists. “Recording ‘She’s Leaving Home with Tori Amos was a deeply emotional experience, and it was amazing having Gregory Porter on ‘Let It Betoo. I could not have asked for more”:

Blackbird – The Beatles Album was recorded in Abbey Road’s famous Studio Two, the very same studio where so much of the original Beatle music was recorded. You can read more about Milos and his music here.

OK. Now to our competition.

To win yourself a copy of Blackbird – The Beatles Album using the contact form below you just need to be the first person with the answer to this easy question:

On which Beatles album did the song ‘Blackbird’ originally appear?

 

 

 

Some Christmas Treasure for the Collection

We here at beatlesblogger received some nice gifts over the holiday season.

First up is Ringo Starr’s new book Photograph. It is a beautiful hardback book, in a larger format, coffee-table style:Ringo1Initially released by Genesis Books in a lavish, strictly limited edition, the book has now been released as a more attainable “open edition” for us mere mortals.

That photo you can see of a young Ringo on the cover image above is actually him looking out of a neat cut-out hole around the camera lens on the book’s dust cover. It is a nice little extra production touch:Ringo3

Inside are some fantastic photos taken by Ringo himself over many years:

Ringo4

When you see images of the early Beatles you sometimes see them carrying their own cameras – and there are lots of pictures out there of the band taking photographs of each other and documenting for themselves what was happening around them. Each Beatle therefore would have hundreds of their own great informal shots tucked away – just like we all do – in albums, in storage boxes, or in closets.

Ringo’s personal photos were thought to be lost forever – until one day he re-discovered them. “We finally found them in a basement in storage” he told Rolling Stone magazine. “I was shocked…..we even found two books of negatives.” So now he’s compiled them in this book, along with over 15,000 words of commentary on where and why each photo was taken. Many of the images have never before been published:Ringo5Ringo6Ringo7Ringo8

Ringo2It is fantastic to flip through. Each page has a new surprise.

We also got a copy of the Barry Miles book The Zapple Diaries – The Rise and Fall of the Last Beatles Label:Zapple1

Miles is a frequent Beatle biographer and author, and he’s something of an insider – having been the manager of Zapple Records when it was first (and only very briefly) established back in 1969. Zapple was one of the many subsidiaries of the original Beatles’ Apple Corps Ltd. It was a label responsible for releasing the more avant-garde and experimental bands, poets and performers that the Beatles hoped to champion. As label manager, Miles had a ringside seat observing the ructions of the company, and the Beatles themselves in the process of self-destructing. We read of the big plans he had for the label, and how they were bitterly thwarted.

The book is richly illustrated. It tells the story from the perspective of someone very close to the action:Zapple4Zapple5Zapple3

This is probably more one for aficionados of the Apple Records label, its establishment, aims and objectives, and some of the more obscure of its releases, but I’m looking forward to reading this book, cover-to-cover:  Zapple2

Lastly, a great new book of interviews with Paul McCartney by journalist, author and long-time Beatle expert, Paul Du Noyer:Paul 1

As the title suggests, this is a new collection of Conversations with McCartney, over the period 1979 to the present. Du Noyer has spoken with him numerous times over that period – mostly for independently commissioned pieces for some of the best UK music magazines. It should be said however that Du Noyer has also been employed by McCartney’s MPL Communications company to produce content for them (tour magazines, album sleevenotes, etc.), and the book was done with the company’s assistance. Nevertheless, this looks to be a unique insight into what it means to be Paul McCartney and a very interesting work. Paul 2

Happy Crimble from The Beatles

Very surprised to see this full page advertisement in my local newspaper (The Sydney Morning Herald) this morning:

Beatles streamingThe Beatles Youtube channel has this, too:

And The New York Times reports:

Happy holidays from the Beatles: As of 12:01 a.m. on Dec. 24, the band’s music will finally be available on streaming services worldwide.

The group announced the news in a 35-second video featuring a medley of its biggest hits that kicks off to the sound of the 1963 single “She Loves You.” An accompanying news release simply said: “Happy Crimble, with love from us to you.”

However, the surviving members of the group, Paul McCartney and Ringo Starr, along with Universal Music Group, which controls the band’s recorded music, made no statements other than the fact that the Beatles’ catalog — 13 original albums and four compilations — will now be playable on nine subscription streaming music services: Spotify, Apple Music, Google Play, Amazon Prime Music, Tidal, Deezer, Microsoft Groove, Napster/Rhapsody and Slacker Radio.

Known as singular holdouts in the digital era, the Beatles, the best-selling group of all time, resisted offering its songs on iTunes for more than seven years before coming to an agreement with Apple in 2010. “It’s fantastic to see the songs we originally released on vinyl receive as much love in the digital world as they did the first time around,” Mr. McCartney said at the time. The band sold 450,000 albums and two million individual songs in its first week on the service, according to Apple.

Abbey Road Beatles Pianos Sampled

For any musicians out there looking to recreate the exact piano sounds found on many iconic Beatle recordings, it is now possible.

A company called Cinesamples, working directly with Abbey Road Studios, has been given complete access to two of the vintage upright pianos in Studio 2.

One is called the Challen Studio piano (as played by the Beatles on several albums), and the other the “Mrs Mills” piano (again used extensively by the Beatles). Both pianos have also featured on countless recordings by numerous other famous acts:Challen-IMG_9908The samples were recorded in-house by Abbey Road’s studio engineers, in the same studio the Beatles used as well. You can’t get any better than that! These samples can now be purchased and played by anyone – using software developed by Cinesamples:abbey-road

There are two pianos but three main sounds which can be reproduced: the Challen, the Challen Tack, and the Mrs Mills. Here Mike Patti from Cinesamples demonstrates the upright Abbey Road Challen pianos:

According to reviews, these two pianos – three if you count the harder-edged and more jangly Challen Tack version – sound flawless. These are really some pretty special instruments, with piano sounds that are just not available anywhere else. Given the impossibility of ever getting near one of these two pianos yourself, if you’re a musician this software provides a remarkable way to get the exact same sounds that the Beatles made onto your own recordings – or in live performances.

Apple to Reissue The Beatles USB?

Is Apple doing a limited reissue of The Beatles Stereo USB?

The UK online store Spin CDs has just listed it, with a release date of 30 October…… Beatles Stereo USBDetails on their site are sketchy so if anyone else knows about this let us know.

Originally issued in December, 2009 as a limited edition of 30,000 units, the small metal Apple contains a USB drive with all 13 of the band’s studio albums, plus all the Past Masters songs. Also included are the 13 album mini-documentaries which came with the remastered CDs, and the complete digital booklet artwork. The USB has all songs in stereo in both FLAC format (24 bit 44.1 kbps) and MP3 (320 kbps).