Some Unusual Asian Beatle Items – Part Five

Well, it seems that all good things (eventually) come to those who wait.

You know what it’s like in this Beatle collecting business. You have titles and versions on your list you’re on the lookout for and they just never seem to appear during any of your travels, or in searches online….

That’s what happened here. Way back in 2010 we had a holiday in Vietnam and found a few interesting Beatle items along the way. Amongst them, in a Hanoi CD store, was a series called The Beatles Double Golden Collection. This is a series where two, separate Beatle albums have been issued in one double CD box, each with an outer cardboard slipcase. You can read more about what these look like here.

The sets on display in the store were Magical Mystery Tour/Yellow Submarine; Please Please Me/Sgt. Pepper; Revolver/WIth The Beatles; Help!/Rubber Soul; Abbey Road/Let It Be; and Hard Day’s Night/Beatles For Sale. I know, odd pairings.

These all seem to have been pressed around 2009, the same time as the then-new Beatles Remastered CD reissues because each disc in these sets also had mini-documentaries included.

One album from the canon has been obvoius by its absence. Missing from the shelves in Hanoi was the legendary The Beatles (or The White Album). It just wasn’t in the store when we were there. So, every now and then since 2010 we’d have a quiet look at eBay to see if anything like The Beatles Double Golden Collection popped up in searches. It never has….

Until last week.

After nine long years this has finally been added to the collection:

That’s the front cover of the outer cardboard slipcase. It’s not an exact match (it doesn’t say Beatles Double Golden Collection, for example), but this is clearly from the same company that produced the other CDs as just about every other detail is identical. Here’s the rear of the slipcase: Inside is a larger than usual plastic CD jewel case. Not sure why, but it is bigger:This jewel case holds two discs, one each side of one of those flip-over trays:And inside is a booklet that contains no real text (except for photo location details), just lots of images of The Beatles, most but not all of them time relevant to the the recording dates of the The White Album! The rear cover of the booklet is from the Let It Be sessions:So, not sure what the moral of this story is. Patience pays off? Finally, after nearly a decade, the basic set of Beatle albums in this sereis is complete. Also, after a lot of research on these, we’re pretty sure they are not official.

As usual click on the images if you’d like to see larger versions.

See also: Some Unusual Asian Beatle Items – Part One; Some Unusual Asian Beatle Items – Part Two; Some Unusual Asian Beatle Items – Part Three; and Some Unusual Asian Beatles Items – Part Four.

Some Unusual Asian Beatles Items – Part Two

This blog is sub-titled “Adventures in Collecting Beatles Music”, and this post continues an examination of some South East Asian Beatles releases purchased in Hanoi on a recent trip to Vietnam.

Further investigation of these hasn’t categorically ruled out their legitimacy but it seems more likely that they’re actually illegal fakes that someone (in China) has taken a lot of time and trouble to manufacture to make them appear very much like official releases…..

In Part One I wrote about the 5 DVD “Anthology” box-set I found in Hanoi.  This next post is about a series of six double CDs called “The Beatles Double Golden Collection”:

It’s a series where two Beatles albums have been released in one CD box, each with an outer cardboard slipcase. The ones I was able to purchase were:

Magical Mystery Tour and Yellow Submarine

Please Please Me and Sgt Pepper

Revolver and WIth the Beatles

Help and Rubber Soul

Abbey Road and Let It Be

Hard Days Night and Beatles For Sale

Each CD has the same documentaries as those found on the recent stereo “Beatles Remastered” discs. So, its clear that these CDs came out following the October 2009 release of those new “remastered” CDs.

If that’s the case then I can only assume that there must be at least two more titles in the “Beatles Double Golden Collection” series. There should be one that has the 2 CD “The Beatles” (White Album)”, and one for the 2 CD “Past Masters” release.  These would then fill out the catalogue. The shop in which I purchased the CD’s above mustn’t have these two titles in stock at the time – so I was able to get only these six.

These releases are interesting for a couple of reasons. As you can see above, they have a large logo at top left of the packaging for something called SHM-CD or “Super High Material CD”.  According to the internet this is “…an advance in the materials used in the production of Compact Discs that uses super quality, enhanced transparency polycarbonate material in the manufacture of CD’s”. The aim of this is to improve the sound. A Google search reveals what looks to be legitimate information about SHM-CD . It says it was invented by Universal Records and the Japanese electrics company JVC – both well-known and respected companies. This official-looking website has more information about the technology and some of the releases on SHM-CD. The rear of the slipcase also has some detailed information (in Chinese) about SHM-CD – see the top right-hand side of the image below (click on the image to make it larger):

Slipcase for Magical Mystery Tour and Yellow Submarine, with panel about SHM-CD

There’s also a panel showing what looks like very official logos for Apple Records, QuickTime, Enhanced CD, and Compact Disc:

I’d really love to hear from anyone out there who can read Chinese and can shed some light on what the small print says, or who knows if these are legal Chinese copies of Beatles discs.

As to the contents of each CD, they appear to be exactly the same as the recent Beatles Stereo Remastered series – and the quality of the recordings is first rate. The 2-CD jewel cases are not of a standard size but larger in every dimension. You can see this clearly below when they are placed side-by-side with a standard CD jewel case:

Standard CD jewel case (top) compared to Double Golden Collection jewel case (below)

The spines are also wider than standard:

Spine of a standard CD (right) compared to the Double Golden case (left)

Inside there are two CD’s on a swinging inner “door” with CD disc “A” on one side and CD disc “B” on the other:

The booklets in the “Double Golden Collection” contain lots of photographs of the Beatles. There is no text in the booklets at all. All the photos are exactly the same as those found in the booklets which come with the latest official Beatles “Remastered” series:

"Please Please Me" and "Sgt. Pepper" booklet

"Please Please Me" and "Sgt. Pepper" booklet

Here’s a closer shot of one of the CDs in the set:

"Please Please Me" and "Sgt. Pepper" CD 1

The rear cover of the jewel case details all the songs on the two albums. Notice the reference to the the special mini-documentaries. These were produced by Apple and accompany each album in the “Remastered” series as well:

Rear cover of the CD jewel case for "Please Please Me" and "Sgt. Pepper". Notice the last track for each title is the "making of" mini documentary for each album - just like in the official "Remasters" series

Again, the official logos (including Apple) and even a bar-code appear, making it tough when you are standing in a Hanoi record store trying to decide if these are indeed legitimate releases sanctioned by the Beatles and their record company Apple Records. If these are fakes whoever produced them has gone to extraordinary lengths to make them appear to be legitimate Beatle releases.

The other thing is – since returning home I’ve researched these titles fairly extensively on the web and can find nothing about them. I think that this post may be the very first to detail them.

See also Some Unusual Asian Beatles Items – Part One, and also Some Unusual Asian Beatles Items – Part Three