A Different Australian Pressing of the Beatles “From Liverpool” Box

In a previous post we mentioned an Australian pressing on the orange Parlophone label of The Beatles Box (or The Beatles From Liverpool as it is sometimes also known) eight-record box set. This was made available via The World Record Club to its members in March, 1981.the-beatles-liverpoolbeatles-from-liverpool-label

We already had a later version that EMI distributed in November, 1982 through the Reader’s Digest organisation in Australia. That one comes with custom black, white and red Reader’s Digest labels. For more images also see here.beatles-readers-digest-label

The Reader’s Digest set is further distinguished by different packaging. Instead of a flip-top lid it came in a two box arrangement, where an inner box containing the records slides into an outer casing.

In Australia there is a third variation. It is the same 1981 World Record Club release but instead of orange Parlophone labels it is on black and silver Parlophone labels. It’s this version we have just added to the collection. It comes in a lift-top hinged box: liverpool-box-frontliverpool-box-labelloverpool-box-lid

On top of the records there’s a large fold-out poster:

liverpool-box-poster

Like the other releases each disc comes in a custom colour printed sleeve: liverpool-box-1

On the flip side of each is a track-listing and a short article about the songs and what was happening in Beatles history at the time of the recordings by Hugh Marshall:liverpool-box-1a

There are eight discs in all:liverpool-box-2 liverpool-box-3 liverpool-box-4 liverpool-box-5 liverpool-box-6 liverpool-box-7 liverpool-box-8

(Click on an image to see a larger version)

This set has the catalogue number WRC/Parlophone R91103-10.

 

On Valentines Day – A Beatles “Love” Find

What more could you want on Valentines Day than to find a bit of Beatle Love treasure?

Rummaging through some old theatre programs at our local St Vincent de Paul Society thrift shop (the equivalent of Goodwill stores in the US), what should we come across than a thick, lavishly illustrated program from the Beatles/Cirque du Soleil production Love, which is still showing at the Mirage Hotel in Las Vegas.

This is a beautifully produced book, about the same size and shape as an LP record, and it’s filled with photographs, drawings, cast details and information about this long-running success story – which last year celebrated its tenth year in production. love-cover

Inside there are fantastic drawings, illustrations, and photographs from the stage show – like these:

love-1 love-2 love-3

Impressively laid out, with some four page fold-out sections included, this particular theatre program seems to date from around February, 2008 as inside on the credits page in small print it says “Love.02.08”. The photograph of co-Music Director, Giles Martin is a decidedly youthful one:

love-4

Right in the very centre of the book there are two pages of Beatle Love stickers. In the copy we found the previous owners have only removed two – the rest are perfectly intact:love-stickers

Here’s that full credit page in more detail:love-creditsAnd the rear cover:love-rearA nice Valentines Day find……(click on the images to see larger versions).

McCartney and Costello – ‘Twenty Fine Fingers’ Demo

Like collectors across the globe, we’ve bemoaned the fact that there will be a whole CD’s worth of demos only available as digital downloads if you buy Paul McCartney’s forthcoming Flowers In The Dirt Deluxe Edition box set.

However, there will still be some good things in a physical form on CD and vinyl. One example has just gone up on McCartney’s YouTube page. He’s posted a preview of a previously unreleased song called ‘Twenty Fine Fingers (Original Demo)’, featuring Elvis Costello, that will be included with the 4-disc box set. It’s also to be included on the 2-disc “Special” edition, and on the re-issued double LP.

Got to admit, it’s a great little song:

McCartney’s ‘Flowers In The Dirt’ Deluxe: There Will Be NO Extra Disc

When Paul McCartney announced that the deluxe edition of his forthcoming Archive Collection re-issue of Flowers In The Dirt would have a disc’s worth of bonus material as a digital download only, all hell broke loose amongst his fans.

Social media went troppo, and a number of petitions sprang up to try to have that decision re-considered by Paul and his management team. Leading the charge was Paul Sinclair who operates the very informative and interesting site, Super Deluxe Edition.

Paul Sinclair was eventually approached by Scott Roger, McCartney’s manager, who explained the reasoning behind the digital download idea, and confirmed that despite protests, there would be NO physical disc containing the bonus tracks. You can read the full report of their exchange at Paul’s site.

Along with many thousands of other collectors we’d like to register our disappointment in that decision.

Loyal and serious collectors like physical product, end of story. All officially released content associated with significant re-issues such as this one should be physically included in the box set. Completists and avid collectors are the reason that box sets like this exist in the first place. As Paul McCartney says in this clip promoting Flowers In The Dirt, “You can’t ask for anything more than that, man.”

Four discs in the box, and another CD’s worth of material on a hard drive somewhere else is wrong. It is an “Archive Collection” after all. Yes, many will download those bonus songs and burn them to a cheap recordable disc so that they can have the full collection in one place, but they shouldn’t have to do that. It just doesn’t cut it and cheapens McCartney’s product and his legacy.       

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.

Why There Are Two Versions of McCartney’s “Choba B CCCP”

Anyone vaguely familiar with the vinyl editions of Paul McCartney’s 1988 release Снова в СССР on the Russian Melodiya label will know that there are two different versions.

One, the earlier more limited release, came with 11 tracks, and a different rear cover:choba-b-cccp-1-frontchoba-b-cccp-1-rear

The second, and far more common edition, has 13 tracks: choba-b-cccp-2-frontchoba-b-cccp-2-rear

The two additional tracks are “I’m Gonna Be A Wheel Someday” (track # 7, the last on side 1), and “Summertime” (track # 2 on side 2).

Why this is so has never been fully explained – until now.

Friend and Russian Beatle collector Andrey has been doing some detective work and discovered this article from the time in the newspaper Sovetskaya Kultura (The Soviet Culture). It is dated July 15, 1989:%d1%81%d0%ba-1989-07-15-%d1%8110

In answer to a reader’s question to the newspaper a representative of Melodiya Records explains the existence of the two variations. Andrey’s translation of the Russian text follows:

READER ASKS A QUESTION – A MYSTERY OF TWO RECORDS

I bought the record of Paul McCartney’s Снова в СССР. After a while I saw it again on a shop counter and could not resist of buying it again. For good reason! It turned out that there are 11 songs on the first record, released on September 14, 1988, and the second one which was released on January 1, 1989, carried 13 songs. What a mystery!
A. Bogdanov.
Severodvinsk,
Arhangelsk region

With the request to clarify this mysterious story, we asked the chief editor, Deputy Director of the All-Union Recording Studio of “«Melodiya» Firm”, All-Union Creative-Production Association, Ivan Dmitrievich Nesvit:

– First of all I want to say that your reader is lucky. Why? Just how you will soon understand for yourself. According to the contract, this licensed disk should have consisted of 13 songs, and a special contract clause stipulated that the artist’s desires would be accepted in the design of the sleeve. However, «Mezhdunarodnaya kniga» (our intermediator) provided us with a tape with eleven songs. The recording fit with the Soviet State Standard in terms of running time and so we began working with it. According to the requirements of the contract, a test record and sleeve were sent to Mr McCartney. He studied them and made a few remarks. Although Leningrad Plant had already started pressing and distributing copies, we could not ignore these remarks. Corrections were therefore made to the design, the initial sleeve notes were replaced, and besides this we were sent the recordings of two more songs to include. For this reason the extended record plays longer than any domestic discs [i.e. Melodiya in its working history had never released any LP playing longer than the 13-track McCartney СНОВА В СССР].  And so two records with the same title appeared. By the way, the first record because of its “shamefulness” appearance and limited edition, became a rarity desirable for record collectors, especially abroad since it was intended for sale only in our country. As far as we know, in the USA and Europe 200-250 dollars were paid for this record. So the reader of «Sovetskaya kultura» became the owner of discophile rarity.

So, a little bit more information on the mystery as to how two different records (with the same catalogue number) came into existence.

For a full explanation of all the variations between the two editions and more see the excellent Russian site beatlesvinyl.com.ua. It contains intricate detail of every Russian Beatle release.

For the 11 track, first edition version of Снова в СССР click here.

For the 13 track second edition versions click here.

 

George Harrison – The Vinyl Collection 1968-2002 – Box Set Announced

Long rumoured, now official. The Harrison family has announced the release of George Harrison – The Vinyl Collection box set containing all of George Harrison’s solo studio albums on 180 gram vinyl in one collection for the first time:

The box set LPs (also available separately) will be in their original packaging, faithfully reproduced with all the original inserts, posters, etc. included.

However, it’s not clear if Universal Music is releasing the Somewhere In England LP as a separate album with its original black and white image of George’s head superimposed on a map of England. This makes it different to all the images shown for the box set version. Collectors should note that both the Harrison online store and the Universal music website for the individual albums currently show the alternative cover if you are buying it as a single LP….

Exclusive to the box set will be two 12″ bonus picture disc singles (‘When We Was Fab’ and ‘Cloud Nine’), housed in their own custom box.

Not only that, for an additional £429.00, there’s a cool-looking, custom-made Pro-Ject turntable to play your LPs on, plus there’s to be a re-issue (in expanded form) of the book  I Me Mine.

harrison-turntableharrison-book

Early birds who place orders for the 13-album box set online at the georgeharrison.com store will also get a limited edition set of enamel pins. harrison-pins

All the discs are housed in a high-quality two-piece rigid slipcase box with a 3D lenticular front cover image:harrison-lenticular

The original analogue master tapes were used for the new re-masters and were cut at the legendary Capitol studios to ensure exceptional audio quality throughout.

Wonderwall Music (1968)
Electronic Sound (1969)
All Things Must Pass (1970) (3 LP)
Living In The Material World (1973)
Dark Horse (1974)
Extra Texture (1975)
Thirty Three & 1/3 (1976)
George Harrison (1979)
Somewhere in England (1981)
Gone Troppo (1982)
Cloud Nine (1987)
Live In Japan (1992) (2 LP)
Brainwashed (2002)
Bonus 12” Picture Disc Singles (‘When We Was Fab’ and ‘Cloud Nine’)