Comprehensive New Russian Beatles Books Released

We have a lot of Russian readers and so it’s appropriate to mention what looks like a very comprehensive, two-volume Beatles book published recently in Russia.

Earlier this year Vladimir Bokarev and Yury Mitrofanov released the two-volume book called ИСТОРИЯ “БИТЛЗ” В СССР (1964-1970 гг). That translates as The History of the Beatles in the USSR (1964-1970). Here’s the cover of Volume One:Том1

And here’s Volume Two:

Том2

These publications form a forensic, historical research of the Beatles as a phenomenon in Soviet society. Through examining numerous historical sources the authors show the evolution and rise of the popularity of the Beatles in the Soviet press, Beatle art in the Soviet Union (for example through their records, printed music, lyrics and translations, concert performances by other artists, films, etc.), and the influence of the Beatles on Soviet youth.

Record images and other items shown in the books come from the collections of Andrey Lukanin (Russia), and Vadim Legkokonets (Ukraine). As well there’s a wealth of information provided from these two great websites:
http://www.beatlesvinyl.com.ua/
http://beatlespress.com.ua/

To order this set of two books (published only in Russian) write to beatera@yandex.ru

The authors plan to continue the work and publish a further book on the same theme – but about the years 1971-1980.

A Visit to Some San Francisco Record Stores – Part 2

OK. In Part One I detailed the four main record stores I was able to visit while in San Fran.

Now some detail on what I found and brought home to join the collection. Firstly, the vinyl.

At Rasputin Music on Powell (near Union Square) I found a very clean copy of George Harrison’s Living in the Material World. It was a US pressing I didn’t have – a budget re-issue on the green Capitol label:LITMW1LITMW2LITMW3As you can see, it’s a nice clean copy and the vinyl is mint.

Also at Rasputin there were two Ringo Starr LP’s I liked the look of and they were both very reasonably priced. I have Australian pressings of both of these, but good US copies like these were a welcome addition to the collection. They are both on the Apple label and original throughout. This gatefold copy of Ringo (1973) was complete with its book of lyrics and wonderful line drawings by Klaus Voormann (who also played bass on the album):  Ringo 1Ringo 2Ringo 3

The Fab 4 Free 4 All Beatle podcast recently reviewed the Ringo album and raved about it (see episode 60, “Ringo” – Analysis and Review). Also at Rasputin was a copy of Ringo’s Blast From Your Past which came with the original inner sleeve of photos on one side and lyrics on the other:Blast 1Blast 2Blast 3

Later in the week I got over to the Haight-Ashbury district were there were three stores in close proximity (Recycled, Rasputin and Amoeba – all on Haight Street).

The first I visited was Recycled Records. They had some vintage Beatles LP’s, but to be honest they were fairly expensive….and so I concentrated on the Beatles as solo artists. I’ve always been keen on collecting variations of Paul McCartney’s “Russian” album called Choba B CCCP. Well, Recycled was a bit of a treasure trove as they have numerous copies in their bins and tucked away underneath on shelves. There were thirty to forty copies in all, and so I set about identifying some versions I didn’t have. There are so many variations of this particular record because it came out firstly as an 11-track album, followed later by a 13-track version. And they were pressed in about six different Russian pressing plants, each with its own label styles and variations (sometimes subtle) within those labels. I turned up four distinct copies I wanted, and they were all very reasonably priced (between US$6.00-$10.00 each). There was one 11-track version (from the Aprelevka pressing plant), two 13-track versions (Tbilisi plant and Riga plant), and one “hybrid” that had an 11-track cover but a 13-track LP inside (which I didn’t realise until I got home). Both the cover and LP are from the same factory (the Riga plant) so I’m not sure if this is legit or just a mistake….

CHOBA B CCCP 1

The rear cover of the 11-track version is identified by its yellow colour:

CHOBA B CCCP 2

However, this one has a 13-track LP inside – on a plain white Melodyia Records label, made at the Riga pressing plant where the cover was made too:CHOBA B CCCP 3

So. A mystery there. If anyone knows if any other copies like this exist let me know. These are the labels from the other copies of Choba B CCCP purchased at Recycled:

CHOBA B CCCP 5

CHOBA B CCCP 7CHOBA B CCCP 9Of course for the full detail on all Russian Beatle and Beatle-related vinyl releases you need to visit this one, fantastic central repository.

Further down Haight Street is another Rasputin Music store and so I ducked in for a look. No vintage Beatles here, but lots of copies of the latest remastered vinyl at good prices. I did find an interesting re-issue copy of the John Lennon/Plastic Ono Band’s Live Peace in Toronto LP however, complete with a reproduction of the 1970 calendar which was included with original copies. It is brand new, still sealed, looked like a good buy and so I got it:

Plastic Ono 1Plastic Ono 2I think this re-issue was released in 2012 through a company called Hi Horse Records (which is a subsidiary of City Hall Records). It’s on the original Apple label and has the same SW 3362 catalogue number. If anyone has any other info on this one it would be very welcome. Please drop us a line.

Then it was on to Amoeba Music’s Haight Street store – which is an enormous warehouse of a building with thousands of LP’s, CD’s and books…however, not a lot of vintage Beatles on display here either, but two very good vinyl buys none-the-less. The first was Paul McCartney’s first solo LP simply called McCartney. It is a US copy, a re-issue in very good condition and on the black Capitol label:McCartney 1McCartney 2

And last but not least a really nice copy – practically mint throughout – of George Harrison’s The Concert for Bangladesh. I already have an Australian and an unusual South African pressing of this, but have been on the lookout for a good UK copy, and of course a US example as well, which is what we have here. Amoeba had this priced at just US$14.99, which for a triple album set in such excellent condition was an absolute bargain. It came with a mint copy of the original 64-page book, and all the LPs were housed in their original brown paper inner sleeves:Bangladesh 1Bangladesh 2Bangladesh 3Bangladesh 4

So, that was a quick summary of the vinyl found in four San Francisco record stores during a short visit there last week. Next time a look at the CD’s and DVD’s I found and added to the collection.

Where “Made in the EU” Vinyl Might Be Pressed

These days a lot of Paul McCartney’s and the Beatles vinyl LP’s and CD’s have the term “Manufactured in the EU” or “Printed in the EU” on the back cover – even some that are for sale in the US. Here are just a couple of recent vinyl examples from my collection:

(Rear of LP cover – click to enlarge)

And titles in the McCartney Archive series including:

(Rear of LP cover – click to enlarge)

There are CD examples as well (though some of these do say “Manufactured in the USA”).This means these albums are being pressed (and probably in quite large quantities) somewhere in a European Union country. Many might think that means Britain, Germany, Holland, or maybe even France where they have a rich tradition of pressing good quality vinyl and are geared up to do so.

But then again, maybe not….

I’ve had an email from Russian Beatles collector Andrey. Remember back to Record Store Day earlier this year when Paul McCartney, as part of the publicity in the lead-up to the “Ram” Archives Series reissues, released a limited-edition 45 vinyl single of the song “Another Day“?

This was a collectors item reproduction single (including a nice picture sleeve) especially made for Record Store Day. “Another Day” was a song which was recorded during the “Ram” sessions. However it didn’t come out on the original “Ram” album . It was only ever issued as a single and was a huge worldwide hit.  The RSD release from earlier this year looks like this:

Well, Andrey bought that 2012 RSD “Another Day” single from a Russian internet shop.  The interesting thing is that while the small print on the rear of the paper sleeve states (as it does around the world) that the paper sleeve was “Printed in the USA”, one of the two stickers on the back of Andrey’s copy says that the vinyl record itself was actually manufactured in the Czech Republic by a company called GZ Digital Media.

The rear cover of Andrey’s copy looks like this:

And here’s a close up of that sticker:

(click on images to see larger versions)

If you go to the GZ Digital Media website you’ll discover that they’re a well-established and very professional outfit clearly geared up to do high-quality vinyl and CD pressing runs in large numbers if need be. The company’s vinyl “Products” page lists everything from mastering through to the production of 7″, 10″ and 12″ vinyl; shaped and coloured vinyl; and they even do the printing of covers and production of box sets if required.

That got me thinking about some other releases I have with “Printed in the EU” on the back.  The Beatles vinyl editions of “1” and “Love” for instance:

(Rear of LP cover – click to enlarge)

Is GZ Digital Media in the Czech Republic the plant where these were manufactured too?  Could be.

One of the articles I read about the forthcoming box set of re-mastered Beatles vinyl stated that one of the big logistical challenges Apple faced in planning the project was to find processing plant (or plants) that could physically cope with the sheer volume of discs needing to be pressed. They all have to be high quality and stockpiled in very big numbers for distribution. Perhaps the GZ  Digital Media plant is playing a part?

If you have any more info please join in the conversation.

Russian Beatles – Fantastic Website

My post about the many label variations of Paul McCartney’s 1988 Russian album “Choba B CCCP” prompted a response from a reader named Vadim who gave me some links to an absolutely fantastic website that deals specifically with Beatles and Beatles-related releases from the former USSR and Russia.

You can find the site here and, if you’re not careful, it will open up a whole new world of Beatles record collecting to you. I don’t read Russian and so many parts of the site are a mystery – it looks like it has been created by three friends and Beatles fans: Andrey Lukanin, Vadim Legkokonets and Valentin Isaikin, who run something called The Beatles Association. It also appears that The Beatles Association puts out a regular magazine called “From Me To You”. There are links on the Foreword page of the site to download two recent issues.

The site is huge and so comprehensive with details of seemingly every USSR/Russian release and variation – complete with pictures of the covers, labels, catalogue numbers and heaps of other fascinating information for the collector. It is truly mind-blowing and well worth a look. Put aside some time – you’ll need it to have a good look around. Once you figure out how the site is constructed and linked you can delve into more and more detail about individual releases.

It got me thinking about other Russian releases I have in my own collection – apart from the McCartneyChoba B CCCP” ones. I had a bit of a look and found these (and I must say its very meagre compared to Vadim’s treasures). The first is “A Hard Days Night”. This is on EMI/Melodiya and comes in a single sleeve with a plastic inner. It has one less track than the British release. Its also stated that this is a “Direct Metal Mastered” pressing and it has a small official DMM logo on the rear cover:

[You can see the exhaustive details for this pressing on the amazing Russian Vinyl records site here. It looks like my copy is pressed at the Riga pressing plant.]

Then comes “Help”. This is on AnTrop Records from St Petersburg, and has a plain white paper inner sleeve:

[You can see the exhaustive details for this pressing on the amazing Russian Vinyl records site here. It looks like my copy came out in 1991 and is sleeve and label Variation 2.]

Also on AnTrop Records is “Let It Be”. This comes in a single, quite thin, cardboard sleeve with a plain white paper inner sleeve:

[You can see the exhaustive details for this pressing on the amazing Russian Vinyl records site here.  This was released in 1992 and is sleeve Variation b., and label Variation 2.]

There are more “Let It Be” label variations on my site here.

The final Russian Beatles pressing I have is a unique compilation of early material called “A Taste of Honey” (1986). It is on the Melodiya label (and there’s also an EMI logo on the front cover). This is another “Direct Metal Mastered” pressing and it has an official DMM logo on the rear cover. Its in a single sleeve and a plain white inner bag:

[You can see the exhaustive details for this pressing on the amazing Russian Vinyl records site here and here. It looks like my copy is pressed at the Riga pressing plant.]

There is one other in my collection. Its Paul McCartney – “Flowers in the Dirt” (1989). This is on the white Melodiya label and has a plastic inner bag:

[You can see the exhaustive details for this pressing on the amazing Russian Vinyl records site here. It was pressed in 1991, and it looks like my copy was manufactured at the Aprelevka pressing plant, with sleeve variation 1d., and label variation White 2.]

Finally, in my post about different versions of Paul McCartney’s “Band on the Run” from around the world there were two on Russian labels – the first a Melodiya pressing, the second from Santa Records: