Digging For Some Beatle LPs

A recent post featured some Apple and Beatle-related 45 singles found on a recent crate digging trip to Melbourne. Here are the LPs found during that same trip.

In the early 1980s in Australia and New Zealand the Polydor label issued a series called Rock Legends. Included were a range of artists as diverse as Jimi Hendrix, The Easybeats, The Velvet Underground, Maggie Bell, The Allman Brothers, Thunderclap Newman and Roger Daltry – to name a few.

Polydor Records has long held the rights to the earliest of all Beatle studio recordings. Made while they were as yet unknowns in Germany in 1961, the band was enlisted to back Tony Sheridan, a singer they’d fallen in with while playing the clubs in Hamburg. At the Sheridan sessions they got to record a couple of cover songs themselves, and those tapes have been a goldmine for Polydor ever since. The label could therefore include in its Rock Legends series many years later a coveted Beatle title. It is of course a record that has seen many an iteration around the world, but this version of it is unique to the Australia/New Zealand market.

What we have here though is a little bit different again – it is a re-issue of a re-issue. Once the Polydor Rock Legends albums had run their course the budget Australian music publishers, the Rainbow Music Group, somehow acquired the rights and put out the Beatle recordings one more time on their own Rainbow label. It has the very same cover art (front and rear) as the Polydor release, just the labels are different:

Rainbow seems to have picked up a few other Polydor artists over the years because in 1976 they released Ringo Starr’s Rotogravure album too.

Quite coincidentally we also stumbled across a nice Japanese pressing of the very same material –  but this time on Polydor. It has the exact same track listing and running order as the Rainbow release above, but on the original Polydor label and in a thick cardboard gatefold cover, with an insert:Here’s the gatefold:And the insert, front and back:

Sadly the OBI is missing, but otherwise this record is in great shape.

For some time now we’ve been on the lookout for a couple of early Beatle albums on the Capitol label with cover artwork unique to the Canadian market. There are three main titles that qualify: Twist and Shout, Long Tall Sally, and this one – Beatlemania! 

Of course this one isn’t a first pressing (it originally came out in 1963 on the Capitol ‘Rainbow’ label). The purple Capitol label dates this example to around 1978. It was pretty hard to resist though as it is in near mint condition. If you’re interested in Canadian pressings have a look at The Capitol 6000 website which is terrific.

Finally, a record that we’ve wanted to have in the collection for some time – and quite surprisingly discovered what is probably a more rare Australian pressing:

This is the film soundtrack to The Magic Christian, starring Peter Sellers and Ringo Starr. The movie was released in 1969 and featured songs by Apple recording artists Badfinger, one of which (‘Come and Get It’) was written and produced by one Paul McCartney.

(As usual click on the images to see larger versions)

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McCartney’s Egypt Station – Explorer’s Edition Officially Announced

The rumour mill has been humming for weeks, but it’s now official.

There will be yet another version of the Paul McCartney album Egypt Station to collect. The Egypt Station – Explorer’s Edition is to be released on May 17.

After the super-deluxe, suitcase Egypt Station – Traveller’s Edition was announced many fans who just wanted the new music it contained and not all the trinkets (like jigsaw puzzles, playing cards and the like), were hopeful that stand-alone – and way cheaper – CD and LP sets would be made available. Now, that wish has been granted.

Sporting a cool new colour variation on the original cover art, Egypt Station – Explorer’s Edition is comprised of the original record plus a second album, Egypt Station II. The bonus disc collects all the bonus materials that were to be included in the super deluxe Traveller’s Edition.

The Explorer’s Edition will come in three forms: as a digital download, as a two CD set and as a triple 180 gram “Limited Edition” black vinyl LP. 

There has been speculation that there’d also be a coloured vinyl version, but the official announcement today makes no mention of it.
However, it has popped up as available for pre-order on the Canadian Musicvaultz online music store site – but it’s already listed as sold out – and at the German JPC online store where it is still listed as available:The track listing for the Egypt Station II bonus disc is:
Get Started *
Nothing For Free *
Frank Sinatra’s Party [previously unreleased]
Sixty Second Street [previously unreleased]
Who Cares [full length version]
Get Enough [previously available only as a digital download]
Come On To Me [recorded live at Abbey Road Studios]
Fuh You [recorded live at The Cavern]
Confidante [recorded live at the Liverpool Institute for Performing Arts]
Who Cares [recorded live at Grand Central Station]
* [previously only available on Egypt Station CDs purchased at Target (US), HMV (UK), and some independent record stores, and on the Japanese release of Egypt Station]

Digging For Some Beatle-Related Singles

A recent trip to Melbourne (capital city of the Australian state of Victoria) turned up some more Beatle-related treasure in the form of some nice vinyl singles. (Click here for the results of our previous visit).

Some of these titles we already had, but in pressings from different countries. The others definitely fill some gaps in the collection. As always, click on the images below to see larger versions.

The first two we found were at a flea market – and going very cheaply. Mary Hopkin’s ‘Goodbye’ was produced by Paul McCartney and released in 1969. This one is the UK release:

We already had two other versions of this. The US release – in a picture sleeve:

And the Australian pressing, with two different label variations. One with a Northern Songs publishing credit stamp, and one without:

The other find at the flea market was also a UK pressing – of the Radha Krishna Temple’s ‘Hare Krishna Mantra’, also from 1969:

The pressing we already had of this is probably more rare. It’s the Australian pressing, also nice to have:

After the flea market we headed over to one of our favourite second-hand record haunts, Licorice Pie Records. As usual they had a good selection of used Beatle and Apple artist 45’s. Like this one, an Australian pressing of Paul McCartney and Wings from 1974 with ‘Mrs Vandebilt’:

Despite years of collecting, this single was not in the collection – so it was a good find. As was this next one – Badfinger and ‘Baby Blue’ (again an Australian pressing):

Paul McCartney’s brother Mike McGear released an album in 1974 simply called McGear. On it he had a lot of help (and songs) from his older sibling and members of his brother’s band, Wings. The McGear album is set to be reissued on June 28 on 180 gram vinyl and on a CD + DVD set (with lots of rarities included). The original album saw this single issued with a non-album track on the flip side: Note the McCartney producing credit and the Paul and Linda writing credits on both songs.

The next year, Warner Brothers issued another single, only this time the non-album track (‘Dance the Do’) was the A-side, while the B-side was taken from the McGear LP:

So, all in all a successful trip. Next post we’ll detail the LPs we found.

McCartney to Reissue Professor Longhair’s “Live On The Queen Mary”

Back in 1975 when Paul McCartney and Wings wanted to launch their new album Venus and Mars they did it in style. They threw a huge party on board the famous cruise liner, the Queen Mary at Long Beach in California. The ship was (and still is) permanently moored there as a floating hotel, museum, function centre and tourist attraction.

Among the 200 guests on board were George Harrison, Bob Dylan, Joni Mitchell, Carole King, Marvin Gaye, The Faces, an Everly Brother (Phil), The Jackson Five, Dean Martin, Tony Curtis, Cher, and Monkees Mickey Dolenz and Davey Jones. The party was the first time McCartney and Harrison had been seen in public since the Beatle break-up.

Much of the Venus and Mars album was recorded in New Orleans at Allen Toussaint’s Sea Saint Studios and clearly Paul and Linda had soaked up a lot of the atmosphere of that quintessentially musical town. The launch party therefore saw musical performances from some Crescent City greats like Lee Dorsey, Ernie K-Doe, and Chocolate Milk, as well as The Meters – and the amazing, legendary Professor Longhair.

McCartney had the forethought to have their gigs recorded, and in 1978 the Professor Longhair’s set was released as the album Live On The Queen Mary, co-produced by McCartney.

Now comes news that it is being officially reissued by McCartney’s MPL on the Harvest label across digital platforms, on CD and on newly remastered 180gram vinyl LP – in both standard and deluxe packaging:

The deluxe vinyl edition comes with a bonus double A-Side 7″ single featuring ‘Tipitina’ and ‘Mess Around’, and what appears to be a publicity folder featuring images of Professor Longhair and a facsimile letter signed by Paul McCartney, Linda McCartney and Denny Laine. (As usual click on images to see larger versions).

Live On The Queen Mary will be released on April 5 and is now available for pre-order here.

(BTW – The Meters Queen Mary launch party set was also recorded, and has previously been released as Uptown Rulers: The Meters Live on the Queen Mary.)

McCartney Announces “Egypt Station” Super Deluxe Box Set

The long-expected super deluxe expanded edition of Paul McCartney’s Egypt Station is finally on its way.

It’s called the Egypt Station – Travellers Edition, and comes in a stickered suitcase as a limited edition of 3,000 worldwide. Release date is May 10.

Details from the official paulmccartney.com website:

EGYPT STATION – TRAVELLER’S EDITION BOX SET
Strictly Limited Deluxe Edition of 3,000
To Be Released 10th May

  
Paul has confirmed the release of the Egypt Station – Traveller’s Edition box set out 10th May via Capitol Records. This strictly limited deluxe edition of the #1 album Egypt Station will be a one-time-only pressing limited to 3,000 numbered cases. The Traveller’s Edition arrives in a vintage style suitcase and contains exclusive previously unreleased tracks, hidden rarities and all the essentials needed on your journey to Egypt Station and beyond.

Pre-order begins Friday 15th February at 6am PT / 9am ET / 2pm GMT. Due to the limited quantity of this edition, sales will be on a first come, first served basis. 

Egypt Station – Traveller’s Edition contains: 

  • Limited edition concertina tri-fold deluxe 180G black vinyl double LP of Egypt Station
  • Exclusive limited edition bonus 180G vinyl pressing of Egypt Station II in “Night Scene” blue cover, featuring three previously unreleased tracks — ‘Frank Sinatra’s Party’, ‘Sixty Second Street’ and extended cut of the Egypt Station single ‘Who Cares’ — as well as four live performances of Egypt Station tracks taken from Abbey Road Studios, The Cavern Club, LIPA and Paul’s iconic performance at Grand Central Station
  • Limited edition Egypt Station concertina CD
  • Exclusive limited edition collector’s Egypt Station Blue Cassette
  • HD audio of all tracks upon shipment
  • Additional rare performance footage hidden inside

Special Features:

  • Luxury vintage-style embossed Egypt Station artwork suitcase
  • An exclusive copy of a handwritten note from Paul
  • Fold out, vintage-style Egypt Station illustrated map suitable for framing
  • Travel memorabilia including “travel itinerary”, postcards, baggage tickets and first class ticket
  • Egypt Station luggage stickers
  • Travel journal featuring copies of Paul’s handwritten lyrics
  • Two Egypt Station lithographs of Paul’s paintings
  • 500+ piece jigsaw puzzle
  • Egypt Station playing cards
  • And additional hidden surprises and rarities…

No word on price yet, but expect around £315, €350 or US$360. The Daily Beatle site is saying that on May 17 the additional audio content will be released separately in a cheaper package, without all the goodies. 

There is a short “unboxing” style video doing the rounds on social media:

 

Two Interviews Worth Reading

Here are two interview-based articles – one featuring Paul McCartney, the other the John Lennon Imagine re-issue box set from late last year. If you haven’t seen these already they are both worth a look.

The first is from GQ magazine and dates back to September, 2018 when Paul McCartney was very much in publicity mode for his then new album Egypt Station.

In it he’s quite revealing and, as the opening hype paragraph states, the article takes in some familiar ground, but traverses some very new territory too:

“He’s as famous and accomplished as a man can be. He could just stay home, relax, and count his money. But Paul McCartney is as driven as ever. Which is why he’s still making music and why he has loads of great stories you’ve never heard—about the sex life of the Beatles, how he talked John Lennon out of drilling holes in his head (really), and what actually happened when he worked with Kanye.”

One pertinent section deals with his brand new song ‘Get Enough’, which was only made public earlier this month (on New Years Day actually).

The song is right now polarizing listeners because of the heavy use of Auto-Tune as an effect on the vocal. At the time of the interview the song wasn’t yet in the public domain, but what McCartney says about it in the interview gives some valuable context now, shedding light on where he was coming from, why he recorded it, and why he released it:

“McCartney proceeds to tell me that he recently used Auto-Tune on a song—one that’s not even on his new album—and how he worried for a moment about it. “Because I know people are going to go, ‘Oh no! Paul McCartney’s on bloody Auto-Tune! What have things come to?’… At the back of my mind I’ve got Elvis Costello saying, ‘Fucking hell, Paul!'” But then he considered it some more, and what he thought was: “You know what? If we’d had this in the Beatles, we’d have been—John, particularly—would be so all over it. All his freaking records would be…”

McCartney demonstrates a version of how he’d imagine a modern-day John Lennon singing in an extreme Auto-Tune warble, and then he gets out his iPhone and plays me some of the song in question, another collaboration with Ryan Tedder, called “Get Enough”, which has an emphatically full-on Auto-Tuned McCartney vocal, plenty more than would be required to horrify any passing purists. It also sounds pretty good.”

The GQ article is accompanied by photographs of McCartney modelling some stylish and expensive menswear. It’s also associated with a lengthy YouTube video the magazine uploaded to its channel where the songwriter steps through the background to some of his best-known works, both solo and Beatle:

The second article is an interesting (if a little rough around the edges) insight into the recording of John Lennon’s classic Imagine LP – which was beautifully remixed, remastered and re-issued late last year in a number of formats. It provides fans with cleaned-up sound and a wealth of previously un-heard outtakes, demos and more.

The article comes from Rock Cellar magazine and takes the form of interviews with three of the musicians who made key contributions to the iconic recording: bass player Klaus Voormann; drummer Jim Keltner; and guitarist Joey Molland.

In contrast to the GQ offering, Rock Cellar is an online magazine operated by volunteers so the attention to detail is a bit lacking in places. They could really use a good sub-editor to lift the quality of simple things like spell-checking and grammar. But there are some really valuable recollections, insights and information here on how Imagine came together from three artists directly involved at the time:

What were the things that most impressed you about John as an artist, both professionally and personally?

Jim Keltner: Well, he was John Lennon. He always found it interesting and funny when I told him I never liked rock and roll. When he was a young guy, we were all around the same age, Ringo’s a little bit older than me, Klaus is a little bit older too — John was older than me by just a little bit. As we were coming up he was a rocker. Along with Paul and George and Ringo, he loved American blues and rock more than anything, it affected their lives big time.

They dedicated their whole lives to that, and we know what happened. But for me, over here during that same time I was just listening to Miles (Davis) and (John) Coltrane; I didn’t want to have anything to do with any rock and roll. I hated it. John just thought that was so funny. And then when I started playing with him I could tell that he liked my feel. I could feel it because we shared the same kind of attitude about feel. By the time I had gotten with him I made a commitment to understand this rock and roll thing. So I was doing it from my gut, plus I had listened to Ringo so much.Whether you wanted to or not, if you were a drummer you were influenced by Ringo. Whether you even knew it or not you definitely were influenced by Ringo because any Beatles music you listened to it was all about Ringo’s feel.

John and George both told me, John especially, that Ringo was his very favorite drummer. I loved hearing him say that, because he was my favorite drummer too. John was the easiest person to play with. It’s interesting for me because John and Bob Dylan and were on my radar right at the same time. I played with Bob right around that same time with Leon (Russell) and Carl Radle and Jesse Ed (Davis) in New York. I got the same feeling from both of them. They were so strong in the way they played and sang and of course when you’re talking about rising to the level of a good song, if you’re talking about John Lennon or Bob Dylan it’s a no-brainer. You knew the songs were gonna make you wanna play at your best.

You can check out the full interviews here.

John Lennon photo by Peter Fordham © Yoko Ono

Two New McCartney Box Set Downloads

As he has done in the past (for example with Flowers In The Dirt, Venus and Mars, etc.), Paul McCartney has just made available for free download two additional tracks not included in his two current Archive Collection box sets, Wild Life and Red Rose Speedway.

For fans and completists who simply must have everything officially available, these additional downloads when offered are welcome little “Easter Egg” extras to add to the materials in the box sets.

The reason behind why these two tracks didn’t quite make the final cut is explained at paulmccartney.com:

“When MPL began the research for Wild Life and Red Rose Speedway, they had a good idea of what they would find in the audio archives. But, you can never be quite sure. The paperwork for the release was in good order, but often the more you look, the more gems you’re able to find. So, to make sure no stone went unturned, Paul’s audio team spent weeks listening to several days’ worth of material. Eventually this was whittled down to Paul’s preferences and what made sense for the story being told.

And sometimes you just end up having too many songs! So, as a thank you from us to you, we are happy to offer fans free downloads of two of those songs that did not make the final tracklisting…”

The first track is ‘Dear Friend (Orchestra Up)’. It’s an alternate version that comes from the Wild Life sessions:

“When Paul instructed arranger Richard Hewson about how to score the touching ‘Dear Friend’ – a note to former songwriting partner, John Lennon – he suggested it should sound, “as if there was an orchestra just over the hill. It wasn’t in your face. And when you’re at the top of the hill, there it is, full blown”. As often happens with a song, a number of mixes of ‘Dear Friend’ were done, to get the tone just right and, in this case, one of those mixes featured the orchestra playing a more prominent role.

For the release of Wild Life, it was decided to go with a version where the orchestra is a little more subtle, and today we’re happy to let you hear how it could have sounded.”

The other is ‘Hands Of Love (Take 2)’ from Red Rose Speedway:

“One of the – many! – highlights of Red Rose Speedway is the 11-minute medley that closes the release. Paul has mentioned previously how he enjoys writing medleys as it’s a challenge to make them fit together (it’s not always easy to go from one key to another, a certain amount of musical gymnastics are involved!). But even though a medley may be comprised of a number of songs, it doesn’t mean they’re recorded in one go. Often they’re pieced together after the recording. It’s a fascinating and chin-stroking process. The version of ‘Hands Of Love’ used in the medley of Red Rose Speedway was cut from the original tape and mixed with the other tracks to make the medley. However, we found the original tape had alternate takes, and this was our favourite.”

To get these downloads you’ll need to register as a user on the official Paul McCartney website, then go to his Download page and follow the prompts.