Some Local Beatle Pressings From a Visit to Holland

As mentioned in our previous post, a recent holiday trip took us to Europe (including a first ever visit to the Netherlands) and this presented the opportunity to trawl through a few of Amsterdam’s specialty vinyl record shops – and there are quite a few of them!

Collectors will know that pressings from Holland are fairly common because once upon a time EMI had quite a large presence there and pressed a huge amount of discs (both LPs and CDs). These were not only for local consumption, but also for distribution worldwide.

So, as a travel memento, we wanted at least a couple of Beatle or Beatle-related pressings as a physical reminder of our visit to the Netherlands.

The shops we made it to in Amsterdam included Record Friend, in the city’s Niewmarket area (at St Antoniesbreestraat 64); the enormous Concerto Records (at Utrechtsestraat 52-60); and finally City Records, also in Niewmarket (at Geldersekade 100A). There are many more places to find vinyl – but we had only a limited time.

The Record Friend store is situated below street level and it’s pretty big – and a bit overwhelming when you first walk in:

But it was easy to find the Beatles section and we soon found a nice clean Dutch copy of this double LP in its gatefold cover:

R&R front

We already have this LP (in Australian and US pressings), but this one is made in Holland with unusual grey and silver Parlophone labels, so it’s different. And for us it serves as a reminder of a fantastic visit to a fantastic city:R&R rearR&R label

Country of origin detail on the rear cover:

R&R detailNext we called in to Concerto – which is huge. The store (spread over five shops all joined together in one long line – see photo below) offers a wide selection of new and used vinyl, CDs and DVDs. Surprisingly they didn’t have a huge amount of Beatle vinyl.Concerto_Records

So, after a lengthy browse of their many shelves we moved on to City Records.

There, in a small but very neat and clean store (fairly new and with the owner still in the process of setting up), we found three nice collectable items. We’re always on the lookout for different versions of the 1970 Apple LP John Lennon/Plastic Ono Band. We have quite a few – but to now have an original Holland pressing in the collection is a delight:POB FrontPOB rear

This one had the (censored) paper lyric sheet inner:POB inner

POB labelPOB detailAnd a little surprise added bonus – the cheeky postcard insert from Lennon’s Imagine album which was meant as a rebuff to Paul McCartney’s Ram cover. Not sure how it ended up with this LP, but out it fell when we got home:POB extra

Next out of the crates at City Records was a Dutch pressing of George Harrison’s budget compilation LP The Best of George Harrison. We’ve been looking for a vinyl version of this for some time so it’s good to finally have one, pressed in Holland of course:

Best of frontBest of rearBest of LabelBest of detail

And here’s the final Beatle LP we found at City Records. This version of The Beatles Ballads is a really nice find. This release (which is a Beatles “Best Of” style LP also issued in the UK and Australia) is collectable because it has a front and rear cover unique to Holland and is titled De Mooiste Songs (which roughly translates as The Most Beautiful Songs):

Ballads front1Ballads rear1

Ballads detailThe British and Australian covers for this have a blue border on the front cover:Ballads front2

And a predominantly yellow rear cover:

Ballads rear2

Here’s the Dutch label:Ballads Label1

In Australia this came out originally on the orange and black Parlophone label:Ballads Label2

For more on the background to the special painting done for this cover have a look here.

The owner of City Records was very helpful. Realising these albums had to make the very l-o-n-g journey back to Australia, he offered to put the LPs into a sturdy cardboard mailer to help protect them more fully. A kind gesture very much appreciated.

Next time – what happened on our visit to France……


The Fireman – Fluid Remixes

The music:  This is a 12-inch vinyl disc released in 1999 containing remixes from “Rushes”, The Fireman (aka Paul McCartney and Youth)  LP and CD from 1998. Paul’s Fireman work is electronic, ambient and experimental.

The remixes were done by British musician Nitin Sawhney and this 12 incher contains three of Sawhney’s remixes of the track “Fluid” plus one other song called “Bison”.  All the original versions can be found on the “Rushes” CD and LP.

Back then McCartney was keen to keep as many details of his involvement in The Fireman project as low-key as possible. More recently for The Fireman’sElectric Arguments” CD and LP he’s been much more open about who The Fireman is (see this official site for example). But back in 1993 (for their first outing “Strawberries Ocean Ships Forest“), and in 1998 (for “Rushes“) he was very much incognito and uncredited.

In the UK both “Strawberries Oceans Ships Forest” and “Rushes” came out on the little-known Hydra label. (In the US “Strawberries Ocean Ships Forest” was licensed to Capitol Records to distribute). One small McCartney give-away in the fine print of both these albums and their spin off remixes and singles is that all the songs are copyright to Juggler Music – a veiled reference to the McCartney company MPL Communications and its logo?:

The Cover:  This, like all The Fireman releases so far, is an interesting example of design. It’s a triple-fold cardboard “sleeve” which wraps around the disc and is held together by a custom-made red elastic band. Unusual. No designer is credited, but it seems that Norman Hathaway  (who did the extensive artwork for the “Electric Arguments” project) was involved. The colours used throughout the design have common themes and elements taken from the “Rushes” CD and LP covers. The vinyl disc has custom labels:

I think Paul is having a bit of a laugh with that second label….;-)

The inner cover is very plain, being three panels (moving left to right):

Only 3000 copies were released worldwide….my copy (which I only just got via Ebay) is no. 2658.