There are Harrison and Beatle Turntables

There was a fair bit of interest last week in the George Harrison Pro-Ject Essential III turntable, announced in conjunction with the big vinyl box set out on 24 February. It will retail for £429.00:harrison-turntable-1harrison-turntable-2-2

However, there was less of a hullaballoo just last December when Pro-Ject also announced a similar Beatle-themed turntable – a decorated Debut Carbon Esprit SB retailing in the USA, only at Best Buy stores, for US$599.00 (that’s about £483.00):beatles-turntable-1beatles-turntable-2-2

The general consensus online is that the Beatle artwork used for this one is fairly drab. It’s meant to commemorate the historic 1964 U.S. tour, with ticket stubs from the legendary tour dotted across the plinth.

By the way, the Pro-Ject Essential III in non-Harrison form sells for a suggested retail price of £279.00, and you can read more about its features here.

The Pro-Ject Debut Carbon Esprit SB in non-Beatle form sells for around £449.00, and you can read more about its features here.

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Being For the Benefit of Mr Kite! – A Mini Documentary

Here’s a little holiday listening enjoyment for you.lennon-with-kite-poster

Australia’s Radio National station (RN – part of the Australian Broadcasting Corporation) has just aired a great little documentary about the John Lennon song ‘Being for the Benefit of Mr Kite!‘. It is part of their PocketDocs series.

You can listen to it here, or download it to your desktop to listen to later.

There’s also an article written by the documentary’s maker, Sunil Badami.

mrkiteposter

Yellow Submarine Lego Kit On Sale Tomorrow

When we wrote about this back in February it was still very much a “wait and see” proposition.

Now it is about to be a reality.

Tomorrow, November 1, the Lego Beatles Yellow Submarine kit goes on sale around the world.yellow-submarine-box

Based on an idea submitted to Lego last year by musician and Beatle fan Kevin Szeto, the kit was brought to reality by Lego designer Justin Ramsden who was given the opportunity to refine Kevin’s initial model: “I€ watched€ the€ film€ when€ I€ was€ younger€ and€ was €really €inspired€ by €how €it €oozed€ so€ much€ imagination€ –€ comparable€ to€ how€ I€ view€ LEGO€ elements.Š €I’m €also €a €massive €fan €of €The€ Beatles ˆ€having €grown€ up€ with €their €music€ all€ my €life ˆ€so €to €see €The €Beatles €in €LEGO €form €is€ a €dream €come €true.”yellow-submarine-figures

The finished model is very close to Kevin Szeto’s original idea, right down to what John, Paul, George and Ringo are wearing. The set contains 550 pieces and will retail for US $59.99 / EUR €59,99 / GBP £49.99, and in Australia $79.99.

To celebrate the release the Beatle mini figures gave Lego a tour of their hometown of Liverpool, including the famous Strawberry Fields:

Lego Beatles on tour in Liverpool - Strawberry Fields © Mikael Buck / Lego

Lego Beatles on tour in Liverpool – Strawberry Fields
© Mikael Buck / Lego

To see the kit up close go to Brothers Brick Lego fan site for a review and lots of pics.

Eleven Early Yoko Ono Albums to be Reissued

Way back in March, 2014 we flagged that there was a thorough Yoko Ono solo reissue program in the pipeline and it was to include all of her early, long-out-of-print Apple and Zapple Record releases. Since that time it has gone decidedly quiet….

Now comes news that it is finally going to happen – and soon:

Chimera Music and the Secretly Canadian label, have just announced that eleven solo Yoko Ono titles will be coming out in three groups of releases over the next twelve months or so.

The first grouping of three reissues is due out on November 11 – on CD, on vinyl, and as digital downloads. First titles are:

Unfinished Music No. 1: Two Virgins (originally issued on Apple in 1968):ono-unfinished-1

Bonus track on the CD, and on vinyl (via a download card), will be ‘Remember Love’.

Unfinished Music No. 2: Life With the Lions (originally issued on Zapple in 1969):ono-unfinished-2

Bonus tracks on the CD, and on vinyl (via a download card), will be ‘Song for John’ and ‘Mulberry’.

Yoko Ono: Plastic Ono Band (originally issued on Apple in 1970):ono-plastic-ono-band

Bonus tracks on the CD, and on vinyl (via a download card), will be: ‘Open Your Box’, ‘Something More Abstract’, ‘The South Wind’, and the never-before-heard ‘Why (Extended Version)’.

The release project overs studio albums issued between 1968 and 1985 and will painstakingly reconstruct the original vinyl packaging, along with never-before-seen photos and ephemera (although from these two “bundle offer” pack shots on the Chimera site it looks like the record labels and CDs will depict grapefruits instead of Apple, and that the vinyl will be white and/or clear):ono-bundle-vinylono-bundle-cd

The audio is re-mastered from the original tapes by Greg Calbi and Sean Lennon. In addition to making the vinyl available for the first time in decades, each album will also be available digitally for the first time. The complete list of titles and release groupings is:

1st group:
Unfinished Music No. 1: Two Virgins
(1968)
Unfinished Music No. 2: Life With Lions
(1969)
Plastic Ono Band
(1970)

2nd group:
Fly (1971)
Approximately Infinite Universe
(1973)
Feeling the Space
(1973)
A Story
(recorded in 1974, released as part of Ono Box in 1992)

3rd group:
Season of Glass
(1981)
It’s Alright (I See Rainbows)
(1982)
Starpeace
(1985)
Unfinished Music No. 3: Wedding Album
(1969)

Splinter – The Place I Love

One of our favourite places in Sydney to crate dig is Revolve Records and Relics, and it has come up with another Beatle-related treasure for the collection.

Splinter was one of the first bands signed to George Harrison’s Dark Horse record label in 1974, and The Place I Love was their debut album:Splinter coverSplinter rear coverThey were a two-man band hailing from the town of South Shields in England. Bill Elliott and Bob Purvis wrote all their own material, were produced by George Harrison, and were joined on this album by Harrison (on guitar, mandolin, bass, harmonium and percussion and using the pseudonyms Hari Georgeson, P. Roducer and Jai Raj Harisein), as well as the likes of Klaus Voormann (bass), Billy Preston (organ), Jim Keltner (drums) and Gary Wright (piano).

The album was recorded at Harrison’s Friar Park home studio.

This is an Australian pressing. The cover is a gatefold, graced with a sepia-toned historic street scene of The London Hotel, taken in the late 1800’s in Splinter’s home town of South Shields.  Splinter gatefold

Here’s the LP’s ever-stylish Dark Horse label:Splinter label

There’s also a single sheet insert with the song lyrics printed on each side:

Splinter insert

And an inner bag made of heavy paper and stamped with the Dark Horse logo to hold the record:Splinter inner

Splinter’s Bill Elliot has another strong Beatle connection. John Lennon had earlier invited him to perform the song ‘God Save Us‘ with The Elastic Oz Band. Released as a 7″ single on Apple Records in the US in 1971. This was a protest song in support of the underground publication Oz magazine, then embroiled in the famous Oz obscenity court case.God Save Us

 

Cool Beatle Art Prints

We’ve just come across a young British artist who does a cool range of Beatle art.

His name is Jay Kelly and he’s recently put out three new Beatles/music collections: Beatles pop art, a Lennon collection, and a sketch collection.

The series we love most are these four Pop Art images:

Lennon Print McCartney Print Harrison Print Starr Print

Good, huh?

Based in Dorset, England, Kelly is a home-schooled and self-taught artist. He’s a graduate of the London Art College with a Diploma of Distinction completed in under seven months at the age of only 15. He is a fan of the 1960s, especially The Beatles.

“I always liked to draw, but got into art more seriously at the age of 13,” says Kelly. “I discovered The Beatles about a year before that when I saw a tribute band play while on holiday. You could say they changed my life, particularly John Lennon.”

“I used to draw only cartoons and caricatures, but The Beatles inspired me to do more than that,” he continues. “I love drawing and painting musicians, and I’m constantly trying to perfect my craft.”

Jay’s works across a range of media including acrylics on canvas, hand-drawn illustrations, caricature, portraiture, graphic design, and acrylic paintings on guitars. His latest works are a collection of pop art canvases featuring various 1960-70s music icons including John Lennon, Jim Morrison, Elton John, as well as a line art collection featuring Paul McCartney, Jimi Hendrix and David Bowie.

Jay Kelly’s art is for sale online, and he also takes specific requests. You can connect with him on:

Twitter: @jaykelly_ART

Facebook: Jay Kelly Art

Ravi Shankar – ‘In Celebration’ 4CD Set

In 1995 George Harrison was producer of an impressive 4 CD compilation box set honouring the musical life and genius of his friend and mentor, the Indian master musician Ravi Shankar. It was called In Celebration and it formed a key part of the celebrations that year marking Shankar’s 75th birthday.

The four CDs trace four distinct aspects of Shankar’s output: Classical Sitar; Orchestral and Ensembles; East-West Collaboration; and Vocal and Experimental.

The set was released on the Angel label (an EMI subsidiary specialising in classical music), and George’s own Dark Horse Records label.

Because it was expensive the following year (1996) there was also an In Celebration – Highlights single-disc version for those wanting a taste from each of the four CDs:Ravi Highlights1Ravi Highlights2Ravi Highlights3

We’ve had a copy of the single disc Highlights for years and have often enjoyed escaping into the world of Indian music. As a result we’ve been on the lookout for a long time for a reasonably priced second-hand copy of the full box set – now long out of print. At last we’ve got our hands on a copy (via eBay and from a seller based in France of all places).

The larger set is a much more detailed and elaborate affair, with silver embossed printing details and individual artwork for each CD. When we say “box set” this is actually presented as a tall, deluxe hard-back book, with the four CDs stored in holders inside the front and rear covers.Ravi 1Ravi 2

In between them is a beautiful 60 page book with a foreword by George Harrison and a lengthy essay, richly illustrated with photographs, on the life and work of Ravi Shankar by Timothy White, a former Editor In Chief of Billboard magazine: Ravi 4Ravi 3

There’s a handy glossary of terms included at the back – a big help in understanding and appreciating Indian classical music, its instruments and main themes and influences.

This is all really nicely done as a package and a great selection of, and tribute to, Shankar’s life and work.Ravi 5Ravi 6Ravi 7Ravi 8_0003