More ABC Radio Beatle LP Podcasts

Back in 2014 the ABC (the Australian Broadcasting Corporation) began hosting an ongoing series celebrating the 50th anniversary release of each British Beatle LP.

As each album marks its anniversary ABC Radio presenter Rod Quinn speaks to US John Lennon biographer and Beatle expert Jude Southerland Kessler. Jude is the author of the extraordinary (and ambitious!) nine-volume John Lennon narrative biography. The latest instalment in Jude’s amazing series was released late last year – Volume 4: Should Have Known Better (to see the details scroll down after clicking).

Well, after a bit of a break, the pair are back. In October last year they took a look back at both sides of the original Yellow Submarine album:

Then came the big one, The Beatles (or The White Album) 50th Anniversary. It took Jude and host Rod Quinn some time to work through all four sides of the legendary album on air, but they’ve put the results together in one, long podcast:

They also talked through highlights of The Esher Demos bonus disc that came with 50th Anniversary release of The White Album last year:

Each of these podcasts are very insightful – and really are well worth a listen.

Previous broadcasts/podcasts have covered Please Please MeWith the BeatlesA Hard Day’s NightBeatles For Sale and of course, Help! – in two parts: Side One here, and Side Two here.

You can hear Rod and Jude talk about Rubber Soul; Revolver; and Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band by clicking here.

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John Lennon – Record Store Day 2019

Universal Music and the organisers of Record Store Day have announced that John Lennon’s Imagine [Raw Studio Mixes] will be released as a Limited Edition on heavyweight 180-gram black vinyl for Record Store Day 2019:

“These mixes capture the exact moment John and The Plastic Ono Band recorded each song raw and live on the soundstage located at the center of Ascot Sound Studios at John & Yoko’s home in Tittenhurst. The tracks are devoid of effects (reverb, tape delays, etc.) offering a unique, unparalleled insight & an alternate take on the record. These mixes have been pressed in the original album sequence appearing for the first time on vinyl.”

Side A
• Imagine – Take 10 / Raw Studio Mix
• Crippled Inside – Take 6 / Raw Studio Mix
• Jealous Guy – Take 29 / Raw Studio Mix
• It’s So Hard – Take 11 / Raw Studio Mix
• I Don’t Wanna Be A Soldier, Mama – Take 4 / Raw Studio Mix
Side B
• Gimme Some Truth – Take 4 / Extended / Raw Studio Mix
• Oh My Love – Take 20 / Raw Studio Mix
• How Do You Sleep? – Take 11 / Raw Studio Mix
• How? – Take 40 / Raw Studio Mix
• Oh Yoko! – Take 1 / Raw Studio Mix

The official Record Store Day release list is a little confusing as it lists this as a 2xLP package, but in other places it is referenced as definitely just one disc. There will be 5,500 copies made available worldwide.

Rob Stevens, who worked on the Raw Studio Mixes for the John Lennon Imagine: The Ultimate Collection box set from last year says:

“The Raw Studio Mixes are the basic track performances of the musicians playing together in the same rather cramped room….There are no effects placed on the instruments or vocal, e.g. chamber reverb and tape slap for example. Just a bit of EQ and compression when the nature of a particular track warranted it.

John was notorious for wanting his voice bathed in both, and mixed as part of, rather than above the track, so at times you had to really focus your ears and mind to hear his nuances and lyrics clearly.

In the Raw Studio Mixes, there is none of that. John is front and center – clear, unadulterated, live and raw.

Whereas Double Fantasy Stripped Down does have some production enhancements and overdubs, The Imagine Raw Studio Mixes are completely raw and unadorned – they capture the sessions before the gloss was added. The unique challenge in mixing the songs with Yoko was to balance the instruments in a way that fused them into a whole while keeping each individual performance clear, but without the benefit of reverb and effects to do so.”

Record Store Day this year is Saturday, April 13.

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.)

Lennon Ono “Wedding Album” Reissue

On her 86th birthday Yoko Ono has announced that the next installment in her lengthy album re-issue project will be the often-maligned John Lennon/Yoko Ono Unfinished Music No.3: Wedding Album from 1969.

The release date of March 22, 2019 will be two days after the 50th anniversary of the couple getting married in Gibraltar, near Spain (see “The Ballad of John and Yoko”):

The new box set (issued via Secretly Canadian and Chimera Music) will re-create the original, which in typical fashion was well ahead of its time in offering a plethora of extras along with the album inside. It was a white box filled with souvenirs of John and Yoko’s nuptials: photographs; a replica of their marriage certificate; their own drawings of the wedding and famous Bed-in honeymoon/peace event which followed; a picture of a slice of wedding cake; more sets of photos; and a booklet of press clippings about the couple.

The box and it’s contents were created by graphic designer John Kosh who is probably better known for his work with The Beatles (he did the cover of Abbey Road, and the lavish box and book that accompanied early editions of Let It Be).The ongoing Yoko Ono Reissue Project was launched in 2016. It aims to remaster and reissue all eleven of Ono’s studio recordings between the years 1968 and 1985. Each will painstakingly reconstruct the original vinyl packaging. There have been six releases to date: Unfinished Music No. 1: Two Virgins (1968, with John Lennon); Unfinished Music No. 2: Life With the Lions (1969, with John Lennon); Yoko Ono/Plastic Ono Band (1970); Fly (1971); Approximately Infinite Universe(1973); and Feeling the Space (1973). Still to come are Season of Glass (1981); It’s Alright (I See Rainbows) (1982); Starpeace (1985); and A Story (1997, but recorded in 1974).

The Wedding Album is available on white vinyl, on CD, and as digital download, and there are a very limited number (300 copies) being made available on clear vinyl exclusively through the British record store chain, Rough Trade Records.

Great New Beatle-related Movie – “Yesterday”

Imagine you woke up one day and there were no Beatles.

No one you speak to has ever heard of them, and there are no references to the band or their songs online, in music stores, libraries, or anywhere. But….you can remember them clearly, and you know how to play their songs.

That’s the premise of an interesting new comedy movie coming out later this year called Yesterday. It comes from Danny Boyle (who directed Slum Dog Millionaire and Trainspotting), and Richard Curtis (the writer of Four Weddings and a Funeral and Love Actually).

Jack (played by Himesh Patel) is a struggling singer-songwriter who dreams of making it big, but his career is going nowhere. His biggest supporter is his best friend, Ellie (Lily James). Then, something mysterious happens. During some sort of global electrical blackout, Jack gets hit by a bus and wakes up to discover that The Beatles have never existed. Only thing is, he remembers them clearly, starts to perform their songs, and from there things really start to get interesting….

Yesterday looks like it will be real fun for Beatle fans. It is due in movie theatres on June 28.

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:

 

The Beatles, “Let It Be”, and Peter Jackson

Of course you’ll have heard by now that the multi-award winning film maker Peter Jackson has been selected by to re-cut the hours of Let It Be footage and audio from the winter of 1969 into an entirely new film.

We’ve been letting that huge news from last week sink in and percolate a bit – and have come to the conclusion that it’s a stroke of genius by the remaining Beatles and their Apple company.

We all know that the original Let It Be film has been languishing in the vaults for years, with seemingly no chance of unanimous agreement amongst the four-headed monster that controls these things (Paul McCartney, Ringo Starr, Yoko Ono and Olivia Harrison) that a re-issue – on its own – would ever get the green light.

But giving all the footage (over 55 hours of never-before-seen film and 140 hours of audio) to the Oscar-winning Jackson is something of a masterstroke.

First and foremost is the fact that Peter Jackson (who made the Lord of the Rings and Hobbit movies) is a mad keen Beatle fan, and has been for decades.

Secondly, his most recent project – the documentary film They Shall Not Grow Old – has seen he and his team at Park Road Post in Wellington, New Zealand, work wonders with the restoration and colorization of old photos and never-before-seen footage from World War I. The film was made to commemorate the centennial of the end of the war.

If you want proof of what they can do with footage and images from one hundred years ago just take a look at the trailer for They Shall Not Grow Old. It is breathtaking:

The services at Park Road Post include: restoration from scanned film – scratch and splice fixes, de-noise, image sharpening, stabilizing, re-speeding and re-timing; grading – black and white and final colour grading of specialised colour created footage; and dialogue recording, Foley, and pre and final sound mixing and mastering. So they are very capable experts in their field.

As to the legend that The Beatles’ time together during the filming of Let It Be was entirely fraught and only shows a band in its final death throes, Jackson – who has seen all the footage – begs to differ: “I was relieved to discover the reality is very different to the myth. After reviewing all the footage and audio that Michael Lindsay-Hogg shot 18 months before they broke up, it’s simply an amazing historical treasure-trove. Sure, there’s moments of drama – but none of the discord this project has long been associated with. Watching John, Paul, George, and Ringo work together, creating now-classic songs from scratch, is not only fascinating – it’s funny, uplifting and surprisingly intimate. I’m thrilled and honoured to have been entrusted with this remarkable footage – making the movie will be a sheer joy.”

This all points to what should be something very special being produced.

As to fans who were worried that the new film would take the place of the original Let It Be, that it would forever consigned to the Apple dustbin, well that seems not to be the case. A restored version of director Michael Lindsay-Hogg’s theatrical release is set to finally get its belated digital release “following the release of this new film”, according to Apple’s official announcement.

And, it’s kind of ironic that The Beatles once tried to obtain the film rights to The Lord of the Rings…..