Strange Fruit – The Beatles’ Apple Records

A recent trip to Canberra, Australia’s capital city, afforded a visit to the second-hand store  Flip Side Exchange which specialises in CD’s, vinyl and DVDs.

Found this great DVD there:Strange Fruit frontStrange Fruit rear

It is a 2012 documentary on the Beatles’ record, film, publishing and electronics company Apple. Reviewer Carlos Gonzales wrote at the time of release: “….other than their music, the Beatles tried to do something good for their fellow man, in this case struggling musicians that needed a break, a chance. It was then that they created Apple Records, and the wonderful Strange Fruit -The Beatles’ Apple Records provides us with an honest view and great, historic information about the history of the label and its artists.

The film is quite long (162 minutes), and it is loaded with history and music…..Strange Fruit -The Beatles’ Apple Records [tells] how the label began working on projects, beginning with the production of the film “The Magical Mystery Tour.” They then signed singer-writer Jackie Lomax, Mary Hopkin, The Iveys, James Taylor and others. They also made the Beatles White album. By 1969, the Beatles — pushed by John Lennon — hired Allen Klein, who promised them that he would clean up their finances. That year they signed Billy Preston, The Iveys became Badfinger, and the Beatles began disintegrating as a group. From then on, the filmmakers examine year by year everything that happened to the label, ending in May 6, 1975, when Apple announced that it would cease operations. Along the way, we learn about other groups that were signed by Apple….for example, Ravi Shankar, Yoko Ono, John Tavener, Modern Jazz Quartet, and Brute Force. Of course, we hear some of their music along the way.

The movie has interviews with some of the players, such a Jackie Lomax (who said that Apple Records was ‘utopia’), Ron Griffiths (from the Iveys), Joey Molland (Badfinger), and others. There are also interviews with historians, like Stefan Granados, Chris Ingham, Mark Paytrees, and more. In the end, we are told that Apple was a “curious disappointment in the history of rock music. A revolutionary label that never reached its potential.” And the big lesson, perhaps, is that “artists can not take care of other artists.” You will be the judge. Strange Fruit — The Beatles’ Apple Records is a great document of our times. With no apparent help from or sanctioned by the Beatles, the documentary tells the history of this controversial — for lack of a better word — music label.”

It’s a must for all collectors of the Apple Records releases.Strange Fruit disc

For a sneak preview:

 

Advertisements

Badfinger “Magic Christian” Apple LP Re-issue

On Record Store Day 2012 I went to the huge Glebe Record Fair in search of some collectable treasure and came home with three nice items.

One of them was another in the series of Apple reissues that came out on vinyl in the early 1990s. These are now very rare and you can read all about the background to these here.  At the record fair I stumbled across one of the LPs from that time which I’ve been searching for for a very long time:

This is the original 1970 album “Magic Christian Music” by Badfinger, reissued in 1991 on Apple Records – only this time as a gatefold cover and containing a bonus 12″ disc with two extra songs. It was part of Phase I of a significant series of reissues which included James Taylor’s “James Taylor”, Mary Hopkins’ “Postcard”, Jackie Lomax’s “Is This What You Want?”, and Billy Preston’s “That’s the Way God Planned It”.

These vinyl reissues are now really very difficult to track down so I was surprised to see one at the fair and decided on the spot to get it.  It comes with the original Apple catalogue number SAPCOR 12 and looks to be a European pressing:

One of the distinctive and cool parts about it is that instead of being in a single sleeve it’s a gatefold:

Being a gatefold means there’s obviously space for more photos and information about the release, and that in the second half of the sleeve there’s another 12″ record (a 45 rpm disc) containing two additional songs. On Side 1 you get “Storm in a Teacup”, and on Side 2 you get the previously unreleased “Arthur”:

“Arthur” was later included on the double CD of bonus tracks which came with the Apple CD box set that came out in 2010, only with a different stereo remix.

Next time the other collectable item I discovered. Stay tuned.

Two New Websites: Linda McCartney and Badfinger

News this week about not one but two interesting new Beatles-related websites – one celebrating the life and work of Linda McCartney, the other for the band Badfinger.

Steve Marinucci on his Beatles Examiner page reports there’s a new Linda site been launched documenting her life and career and authorized by Paul McCartney and the McCartney family. This comprehensive new site is populated with Linda McCartney photographs spanning four decades and contains a wealth of text information on her career as a photographer and musician. As an advocate for animal rights Linda also spearheaded the promotion of vegetarianism, created her own vegetarian frozen food line, and authored a series of cookbooks.

The new site includes a biography, a study archive and some of Linda McCartney’s films. It comes ahead of the publication of a new book called “Linda McCartney – Life in Photographs”, published by Taschen Books. Click on the book cover below to take you through to a detailed page with more information about the book:

The book features a selection from Linda McCartney’s huge photographic archive – again made in collaboration with Paul McCartney and their children. The first run is a collector’s edition limited to 750 copies, numbered and signed by Paul McCartney himself ….but with a US$1,000 price tag that’s probably out of the grasp of you and me. However, you can click here to leaf through 100 pages of that special limited edition for free.

Now to Badfinger:

I was contacted this week by the creators of a new website dedicated to the original band.

www.badfingersite.com is a new official site made in collaboration with band member Joey Molland. It went live on Friday, 25 March. On the site you can learn about upcoming tour dates, read the history and news about the group and their journey, and you can ask Joey questions personally. The “Original Badfinger” website pays tribute to the ‘classic lineup’ of the power pop pioneer band and is live now. It has band bios, lyrics, and details of the groups interactions with the Beatles themselves. Images and videos from Molland’s personal collection will be uploaded soon.