Flowers In The Dirt – What Could/Should Have Been

As you’re no doubt aware, the deluxe Archive Collection box set of Paul McCartney’s 2017 re-issue of Flowers In The Dirt created quite an angry response amongst many fans and collectors.

The issue was around his decision to include a whole CD’s worth of B-sides, remixes and single edits, and three cassette demos as downloadable content only. No physical CD would be included in the four-disc set.

Well, no doubt many who purchased the box set have taken that download code provided and created their own CD burns to put inside the box. Here’s a look at the three CD’s and one DVD you do get (click on images to see larger versions):

And here’s what could have/should have been – one disc for the thirteen B-sides, remixes and single edits plus the three cassette demo songs:

Plus on the official Paul McCartney website there are a further three exclusive downloads (‘Distractions (Demo)’, ‘This One (Demo)’, and ‘Back on My Feet (Demo)’) not included in the box set at all, so why not a separate disc for these songs too?:

Call us pedantic and old-fashioned for wanting tactile, hard copies of this bonus material. And call us fussy for creating our own matching labels, but discs V and VI will now be filed inside our Flowers In The Dirt box alongside the other content provided in physical form to create a complete set. They’ll be in their own paper sleeves:

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George Harrison Vinyl Box Set Hits Stores

George Harrison’s big vinyl box set containing every solo studio album, plus the double LP Live in Japan and two picture disc 12″ singles, has at last been released.

Some fans have got their copies already and some “unboxing” videos are beginning to appear online, including this one from an excited Vinyl Collector James, who goes into some detail on the box itself as well as its contents:

Universal Music has also used the occasion of the box set release (and George Harrison’s 74th birthday) to upload a series of interesting articles on various aspects of his life and career.

Written by Richard Havers, these cover off George Harrison in 20 Solos:george-in-20-solos-header George Harrison: Humanitarian:george-and-ravi-at-concert-for-bangladesh-press-conference

George Harrison: The B Sides:george-b-isdes

The Sweet Success of “My Sweet Lord”:george-my-sweet-lord

and George Harrison’s Beatle Songs:george-the_beatles_-_last_photo_session

Also, don’t forget Universal’s series of articles on Harrison album-by-album.

George Harrison – The Vinyl Collection 1968-2002 – Box Set Announced

Long rumoured, now official. The Harrison family has announced the release of George Harrison – The Vinyl Collection box set containing all of George Harrison’s solo studio albums on 180 gram vinyl in one collection for the first time:

The box set LPs (also available separately) will be in their original packaging, faithfully reproduced with all the original inserts, posters, etc. included.

However, it’s not clear if Universal Music is releasing the Somewhere In England LP as a separate album with its original black and white image of George’s head superimposed on a map of England. This makes it different to all the images shown for the box set version. Collectors should note that both the Harrison online store and the Universal music website for the individual albums currently show the alternative cover if you are buying it as a single LP….

Exclusive to the box set will be two 12″ bonus picture disc singles (‘When We Was Fab’ and ‘Cloud Nine’), housed in their own custom box.

Not only that, for an additional £429.00, there’s a cool-looking, custom-made Pro-Ject turntable to play your LPs on, plus there’s to be a re-issue (in expanded form) of the book  I Me Mine.

harrison-turntableharrison-book

Early birds who place orders for the 13-album box set online at the georgeharrison.com store will also get a limited edition set of enamel pins. harrison-pins

All the discs are housed in a high-quality two-piece rigid slipcase box with a 3D lenticular front cover image:harrison-lenticular

The original analogue master tapes were used for the new re-masters and were cut at the legendary Capitol studios to ensure exceptional audio quality throughout.

Wonderwall Music (1968)
Electronic Sound (1969)
All Things Must Pass (1970) (3 LP)
Living In The Material World (1973)
Dark Horse (1974)
Extra Texture (1975)
Thirty Three & 1/3 (1976)
George Harrison (1979)
Somewhere in England (1981)
Gone Troppo (1982)
Cloud Nine (1987)
Live In Japan (1992) (2 LP)
Brainwashed (2002)
Bonus 12” Picture Disc Singles (‘When We Was Fab’ and ‘Cloud Nine’)

John Lennon – 8 LP Box Set

Here at Beatlesblogger we have a few items that we are always on the lookout for. When we first heard about the impending box set reissue of eight John Lennon LPs on 180 gram vinyl – we knew we’d have to eventually get a copy….

This is a deluxe box set of Lennon’s solo albums released between 1970 and 1984. The studio albums are remastered from their original analogue masters and have been newly cut to vinyl from 96k digital files with faithfully replicated original album art.

The albums featured in the box are John Lennon/Plastic Ono Band (1970); Imagine (1971); Some Time In New York City – a double album (1972); Mind Games (1973); Walls And Bridges (1974); Rock’n’Roll (1975); Double Fantasy (1980); and Milk And Honey (1984). The albums, which feature the 2010 remasters, will be available separately on August 21st.

It’s taken a little while with this one, but we finally got up the courage to visit Sandy’s Records, a great local independent record shop with an impressive range of CDs and LPs, to invest in a copy (it is a very expensive addition to the collection):

Lennon Box Set 2015

Rather than uploading a swathe of photographs of each LP here, this collector named Jordan has recorded quite a nice unboxing video (unfortunately though he doesn’t show all the actual discs and their authentically reproduced labels):

If you are after more of what is inside this official video promo clip takes comprehensive care of that:

As you can see, in keeping with the authentic UK album artwork for each LP: Imagine contains reproductions of its two postcards, poster and inner sleeve; Some Time In New York City includes reproductions of its original postcard and inner sleeves; Walls And Bridges includes its sleeve with two fold-over flaps, the original eight-page booklet and inner sleeve; Mind Games, Double Fantasy, and Milk And Honey also include faithful reproductions of their original inner sleeves. Nice.

However, the thing that has become really collectable about this box set is that it’s been temporarily withdrawn from sale while Universal Music sort out a BIG mistake with one of the albums in the set. In first pressings Lennon’s Rock’n’Roll LP has a production error. The song “Sweet Little Sixteen” appears twice, and “You Can’t Catch Me” is missing altogether….making it something of an instant collector’s item.

The good news for those who’ve paid out the big $$ for the box is that Universal Music has acknowledged the mistake and set up a website where you can request a replacement copy of that particular album. You’ll need to provide proof of purchase: Claim.LennonVinylBox.com

Three Great Beatle Auction Items

Over the years we’ve purchased a lot of pre-loved Beatle CDs (and vinyl) at online auctions (e.g. Ebay), but never before at a real, live auction – until now.

The Mossgreen Auction house in Melbourne, Victoria recently held a major sale of collectables. Part of it was a significant offering of Beatle items – memorabilia, books, records and CDs. You can view the catalogue online (the Beatle items start on page 8 at Lot No. 715. They continue to Lot No. 836).

These all came from one collector who was downsizing….pretty impressive.

For a while now we’ve had a hankering to get the previously-released CD boxed sets of the Beatles singles, and the CD EP’s. These came out way back in 1992 – and in the Mossgreen auction there was one lot containing both box sets: IMG_1006

There was also another separate lot with all the CD singles in a special box, all on 3-inch CD’s. This was issued in 1989:IMG_0993

Figuring we’d take a chance we put a pre-auction bid on both lots. It was one of those auction sites where you could watch and also listen in live online as the auction actually proceeded. The auctioneer steadily worked his way to our first lot (for the 3-inch CD single set). We won it in quick time – with nobody else bidding at all. The set was ours.

It comes in a very dark blue-black cardboard and brass-hinged hinged box:

IMG_0996

Each of the 22 tiny CDs is housed in an individual folder:

IMG_0995IMG_1001IMG_1005IMG_1003These 3-inch CD’s were also issued individually over a period of time (late 1988-1989), ut it’s nice to have them collected in one box. There’s a small black folder in the box detailing each single.

Next up in the auction was the lot of two boxed sets. One was the Beatles EP’s, and one the CD singles again, this time on individual, regular sized CDs. Again, our pre-auction bid was the only one made, and again we won. It was all over so very fast:IMG_1010

Each of these boxes is in mint condition. They’re both dark grey-black in colour with gold lettering and they’re hinged at the top. These boxes are quite beautifully made with a cloth-covered, thick board. In the photo above you can see the brass rivets holding them together. On the EP box the outer top tilts forward and there is a secondary flap inside which lifts to reveal the 14 CD sleeves (including a double CD Magical Mystery Tour):IMG_1012IMG_1013IMG_1015The 22 CD singles box is very similar:IMG_1016IMG_1017IMG_1018IMG_1021So, expecting to win maybe just one auction lot if we were lucky – we ended up with two! Three great CD box sets in all, and in mint condition from a Beatle collector in Melbourne who was selling off some of their prized items…..

George Harrison – Living in the Material World – 1973 Pressing Plant Footage

Check out this great YouTube promotional video posted on the George Harrison official YouTube page.Living in the Material World footageThe footage – shot in 1973 on 16mm film – was taken both at the EMI pressing plant in Hayes Middlesex in the UK (the black & white film), and in the USA at Capitol Records (colour film).

It shows the packaging and testing of the original vinyl pressings of George Harrison’s Living in the Material World LP – back when vinyl was king!

The album has been newly remastered for the forthcoming The Years 1968-1975 CD box set – to be released on September 22.

The Beatles in Mono Vinyl Is Here

Picked up our copy today!Beatles Mono Box1BEatles Mono Box2

As you can see, The Beatles in Mono comes in a protective outer cardboard shipping box, similar to the one the Stereo LPs set was delivered in back in 2012. The sticker shows our Mono box was packed on June 18.

Like the Stereo box it comes delivered essentially as a box-within-a-box, providing very good protection and padding while the set is in transit:Beatles Mono Box3 Beatles Mono Box4 Beatles Mono Box6

In Australia The Beatles in Mono was actually available in store from last Thursday (September 4). The reason for the delay in posting these photos is that we couldn’t physically get to the shop we’d ordered ours from (the fab Redeye Records in Sydney) until today….a frustrating four-day wait!

Once removed from its protective packaging there’s a printed cardboard slip-cover which wraps around the box. Here’s the front:Beatles Mono Box7

And here’s the rear of the slip-cover:Beatles Mono Box8

Slip it off and here’s what you see on the front of the actual box itself:Beatles Mono Box9

FYI on the rear of the box is a sliced Apple logo: Beatles Mono Box10

The Mono box is exactly the same size as the Stereo box from 2012. If they are sitting side-by-side on a shelf they are pigeon pairs – one black, one white: Beatles Mono Box30Beatles Mono Box 31

No need to go into hugely great detail about this set as there has already been a very early “unboxing” video released by Pete Nash of the Beatles Fan Club Magazine. That video is comprehensive and well worth a look, but here are a few photos of some of the detail contained in the packaging you might be interested in seeing – things that Pete Nash doesn’t show up close:Beatles Mono Box11 Beatles Mono Box12

First this out is the beautiful, specially produced hard-cover book (still sealed in its heat- shrink):Beatles Mono Box13

Of course first album out is Please Please Me:Beatles Mono Box14Beatles Mono Box16

(Click on images to see a larger versions)

Each album (except the triple LP Mono Masters) is in a re-sealable clear plastic sleeve. This is different to the Stereo box where each LP was in heat-shrink plastic which has to be cut open to get to the cover and the record inside.

Here’s some of the detail in the printing and sleeve construction – all exactly faithful to the way this would have looked in 1963:Beatles Mono Box15

All printing and pressing of the box set is done by Optimal Media, based in the town of Robel in Germany. It has to be said that the quality and attention to detail is absolutely first-rate. The cardboard used for the covers is thick, and the 180g vinyl feels chunky and solid in your hands.

Each LP comes with individual 2014 insert cards, complete with mastering notes specific to each title:Beatles Mono Box17 Beatles Mono Box18 Beatles Mono Box19

All the labels are authentic reproductions of what the originals would have looked like at the time of release:Beatles Mono Box20 Beatles Mono Box21

Magical Mystery Tour has the original booklet pasted inside the gatefold cover; Sgt Pepper is a gatefold with the cut-out sheet and a replica of the psychedelic pink inner sleeve; and the White Album is a top-loader, with The BEATLES embossed on the front, a limited edition number stamp, poster, four photos, and black inner sleeves – just like the 1968 originals:
Beatles Mono Box22 Beatles Mono Box23

Beatles Mono Box24 Beatles Mono Box25Last album out of the box is the Mono Masters triple LP, containing all the singles and B-sides not captured on any of the original albums:Beatles Mono Box26 Beatles Mono Box27A reader has requested we publish some shots of the record spines. Here they are – and yes, that is the way that Sgt Pepper is printed. It looks upside down, but that’s also faithful to they way the original LPs were presented: Beatles Mono Box32

Beatles Mono Box33There are only two bar-codes to be seen. One on the rear of the Mono Masters, and one on the outer slipcase for the box set:

Beatles Mono Box28 Beatles Mono Box29

(Click on images to see larger versions)

There’s a very interesting Billboard magazine article in which it is clear that these LPs are not “sanitised” versions of the mono releases like the mono CDs were all the clicks and pops and studio mistakes removed:

‘Five years after the Beatles mono recordings were released on CD, Capitol Records and Universal Music are fostering the notion that to hear the Beatles music the way John, Paul, George and Ringo did in the 1960s, a mono LP is mandatory listening….The mono CDs, which were cleaned up and re-EQ’d in a way that did not occur with the new set of LPs, “was an attempt to give the history its day in the sun,” said project supervisor Guy Hayden. “There was no hurry and, in true Beatles fashion, if you can do it better, you do it again,” says Sean Magee, an Abbey Road-trained engineer who oversaw the mastering of the albums.’

For a more in-depth review from a sound quality perspective have a look at this article from the audiophile magazine The Absolute Sound. Reviewer Neil Gader steps through a listen to of each album. As he says, “Spoiler alert: Wow!”.

There is also a great set of reviews of the sound at Analog Planet.

And who could have resisted this invitation to hear the Mono LPs launched at a function held in the actual place where these masterpieces were recorded – Abbey Road’s famed Studio 2:beatles-mono-sidebar

Apple Records, Universal Music and Mojo magazine hosted a once-in-a-lifetime gathering for a select few at Abbey Road in London last week. Not only did the lucky audience get to listen to tracks from the new records in-situ on a £300,000 sound system (that’s A$522,000!), but also to hear a panel of distinguished guests discuss how the group recorded and mixed their songs. Read more here.