More Unusual Versions of Concert for Bangladesh

Following our post on the unusual Epic Records, 1991 edition of George Harrison’s Concert for Bangladesh, we’ve had a number of other rare and remarkable versions sent in.

First up is this Spanish copy. It’s also on the Epic Records label, and has the same white front cover as ours:FRONT

But beyond that there are a number of significant differences. Firstly, this one is a rare promo copy. You can see a gold CBS Records promo stamp on the rear cover:REAR

Like the rest of the world, this set was a long time out of print until it was reissued on the Epic label in 1991. In Spain, Epic was part of CBS, hence the CBS golden stamp.REAR DET1

It includes the same CD-sized booklet as our version:BOOKLET

However the labels are in Spanish – different to the standard European release:LAB1LAB DET

Now back to the original 1972 edition, and a rare one from Brazil:FRONT

Like for the rest of the world (outside the US) this Brazilian set was also distributed by CBS, but it was pressed by RCA Electrónica Ltd. This is because at the time CBS didn’t have its own pressing plant in Brazil – so they contracted the job out. This set was one of the first stereo albums released by CBS in that country. Unusually, the box it comes in is hinged, not in two separate pieces like US, UK and Australian editions. The box set has the usual external design, but note the different catalogue number printed on the spine:

SPINE

This edition doesn’t include the booklet at all. It has a track list (in English) and credits (in Portuguese) printed on two inserts glued inside the front and of rear of box, which is impossible to scan. Here is the label for Side 1:LAB1

Note the words “CBS Masterworks-Apple” and “Fab por: RCA Electronica Ltda” on the labels:LAB DET1LAB DET2

Finally, this 1972 Israeli set is very different from other worldwide releases. Here are some of the most noticeable differences. Firstly, the front of the box has a much lighter orange colour than all other editions:

FRONT_2

This is a unique box because it has a plain white rear:REAR

The set doesn’t include the usual 12″ booklet, but it has a 4-page monochrome insert (25 cm wide x 27 cm high):INSERT OUTINSERT IN

And it has unique white labels, even though this is not a promotional album:LAB1 22-48-15LAB DET 22-48-15

Thanks so much to Beatles Blog reader Manuel Garcia Jara for all this info and for sending the images.

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Another Different Concert for Bangladesh

We’ve detailed at least one very unusual George Harrison Concert for Bangladesh 3 LP set before. (After a bit of detective work by our readers we discovered that that one came from South Africa).

And we picked up a nice US pressing of Bangladesh in San Francisco earlier this year.

But this latest addition to the collection is, we think, a bit of a rarity.

It’s the Epic Records release dating from 1991. The story goes that Epic, which is a subsidiary of Sony Music, had a royalties deal back then with Columbia/EMI (and hence Apple Records), to release some of their titles for the European market. The records we see here were made in Holland.

As you can see the Epic set doesn’t come in a brown/orange box. The 3 LPs are housed in a white sleeve that reproduces the artwork used for the booklet which came with the original 1971 Apple release:Concert for Bangladesh front

The rear cover is like the rear of the Apple booklet – but it has a track list included:Concert for Bangladesh rear

The inner sleeves are plain white:Concert for Bangladesh inner

The 3 LPs are on an Epic Records label (with a small Apple Records licence mention at the bottom):Concert for Bangladesh label

Surprisingly this Epic set includes a CD-sized booklet, not the original 12″ sized booklet. It’s not exactly the same as the booklet used in the Epic 2CD release (which also came out in 1991) because it has an LP catalogue number inserted on the rear (below the guitar case):Concert for BangladeshA close-up of the booklet (click image to see a larger version):

Concert for Bangladesh booklet frontConcert for Bangladesh booklet rear

Concert for Bangladesh booklet1Concert for Bangladesh booklet2All in all a nice copy and a rare one, too.

Ravi Shankar – Beatles Friend – Died Today Aged 92

The opening lines of George Harrison’s “Bangladesh” song from 1971 are: “My friend came to me with sadness in his eyes, he told me that he wanted help, before his country dies…..”.

That friend was Ravi Shankar – Indian sitar virtuoso and legendary musician who has died today – aged 92.

A statement on the musician’s website says he passed away in San Diego, near his Southern California home. His foundation issued a statement saying that he suffered upper respiratory and heart problems and had undergone heart-valve replacement surgery last week.

Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh also confirmed his death and called Shankar a “national treasure”.

pandit_ravi_shankar

Labelled “the godfather of world music” by George Harrison, Shankar helped millions of classical, jazz and rock lovers (including me) discover the centuries-old traditions of Indian music. He became a teacher, mentor and father figure to Harrison and greatly influenced the Beatles music, from composition through to their fascination with India and it’s culture.

His discography is understandably extensive, spanning a recording career of well over 55 years. Ravi Shankar was briefly signed to the Beatles Apple Records label and released two albums. The first was a soundtrack album to a film about his music and life called Raga (1971), with the album of music from the film produced by George Harrison:

And then in 1973 came a double LP called In Concert 1972with sarod player extraordinaire Ali Akbar Khan:

Ravi-Shankar-In-Concert-1972--139925

George Harrison of course famously called upon his friend Shankar in 1971 to open the fundraising Concert for Bangladesh in 1971, and then released a live film and a triple LP called The Concert for Bangladesh with the whole of the first side of Disc One dedicated to a performance by Ravi Shankar. This was also released on Apple Records:

The_Concert_For_Bangla_Desh

Following the demise of Apple in the seventies, George Harrison continued his association with Shankar, releasing two LP’s on his Dark Horse label. The first was  Shankar Family and Friends (1974):

Family and Friends

Shankar Family and Friends was followed on Dark Horse Records in 1976 by Ravi Shankar’s Music Festival From India:

RaviShankar'sMusicFestivalFromIndia_album_cover

George Harrison also compiled and produced a 1996 box set called Ravi – In Celebration (for the EMI subsidiary label, Angel Records). A single CD of highlights was also released:

In Celebration

And in 1997 (also on the Angle label) came Chants of India, which was again produced by George Harrison:

Chants

It was no surprise then, when in 2002 a tribute concert was held in honour of the late Beatle, that the music of Ravi Shankar would feature prominently. He was present for the show and a Shankar composition “Arpan” (Sanskrit for ‘to give’), was specially written for the occasion:

ConcertGeorgeCover

All the Dark Horse Harrison/Shankar collaborations, plus Chants of India, came out in a lavish box set simply called Collaborations in November 2010:

collaborations_01

In recent years Ravi Shankar’s own record label EastMeetsWest Music has been steadily working through his back-catalogue and re-releasing his life’s work on CD, DVD, and digitally.

Concert for Bangladesh at 40

The official Beatles site, the George Harrison site, the iTunes Store, and a special site created just for the purpose all have it: that the 40th anniversary of the staging of “The Concert for Bangladesh”, and the subsequent release of the film and the records of the same name, will be suitably celebrated – only this time monies raised will go to UNICEF to assist those facing the 2011 disaster of famine in the Horn of Africa.

Forty years after the historic concert, which in 1971 raised so much to help the starving in Bangladesh, comes the first digital download of the music. The Beatles site carries this press release:

To celebrate the anniversary and honor Harrison’s legacy of giving back, the U.S. Fund for UNICEF today announces a special ‘Month of Giving’ donation campaign in August for the George Harrison Fund for UNICEF, helping to provide emergency relief for children in famine and drought-stricken regions in the Horn of Africa. All after-tax proceeds from sales of The Concert for Bangladesh album on iTunes will directly benefit the George Harrison Fund for UNICEF. iTunes, Apple Records Inc., and all artists, songwriters and publishers associated with the concert will keep no income from each sale and have waived all fees.

The iTunes release of The Concert for Bangladesh album includes Harrison’s “Bangla Desh” studio single, originally released July 5, 1971, as an exclusive bonus track. A 5-minute video trailer for the album and a 49-minute radio program about The Concert for Bangladesh are also now available as free streams on iTunes.

In a worldwide, 72-hour online event, The Concert for Bangladesh feature film will be available for free streaming in its entirety from Saturday, July 30 through Monday, August 1 on iTunes.com/thebeatles, GeorgeHarrison.com and TheConcertForBangladesh.com.

When George Harrison was asked in 1971 why he chose to focus his time and talents on The Concert for Bangladesh, he replied, “Because I was asked by a friend if I would help, that’s all.” Monday, August 1 marks 40 years since Harrison and his friend Ravi Shankar, along with several other top music stars, including Bob Dylan, Eric Clapton, Ringo Starr, Leon Russell, and Billy Preston, shared the stage at Madison Square Garden for two history-making concerts to alert the world to the plight of the Bangladeshi people, victims of simultaneous floods, famine and civil war.

The groundbreaking Concert for Bangladesh and its award-winning double album and feature film releases have since inspired other major, entertainment-led charitable initiatives, including Bob Geldof’s LIVE AID and LIVE8, Willie Nelson’s Farm Aid, and Hope For Haiti Now.

During the George Harrison Fund for UNICEF’s Month of Giving in August, all donations to the Fund will benefit UNICEF’s life-saving programs for children in the Horn of Africa. To jump start this fundraising initiative, the George Harrison Fund for UNICEF is immediately releasing $1 million to UNICEF for emergency efforts in the Horn of Africa.

The Horn of Africa is facing what is being called the worst drought in 60 years, and famine has been declared by the United Nations in two regions of southern Somalia. More than 2 million children are acutely malnourished, including half a million children who are at imminent risk of death if they do not receive immediate lifesaving assistance.

“Forty years ago this August, the friendship between George Harrison and Ravi Shankar forever changed music and the lives of countless Bangladeshi children. Today millions of children in the Horn of Africa desperately need our help. We are humbled by the outpouring of support from the music community led by Olivia Harrison, Apple Records and our friends at iTunes,” said President and CEO of the U.S. Fund for UNICEF Caryl Stern.

Says Ravi Shankar, “I’m so moved that this concert, which emerged from my close friendship with George, is regarded as historically significant 40 years on and continues to inspire musicians of all generations.”

A brief video message with information about how to help is available for streaming on georgeharrisonfundforunicef.org and on iTunes. In the U.S., supporters can text FRIEND to UNICEF (864233) to give $10 to the George Harrison Fund for UNICEF (messaging and data rates apply), or visit TheConcertForBangladesh.com to donate and learn more.

Go there. See what you can do to help.

See also this unusual LP copy of “The Concert for Bangladesh”.

Klaus Voormann – A Sidesman’s Journey

One of the great artists and session men and part of the inner-circle of the Beatles for many years is Klaus Voormann.

He’s been a long-time friend and sometime collaborator and he has an album out looking back and celebrating that association with the group. I stumbled across this video which pretty much tells the back story to the making of the record, which is called “A Sidesman’s Journey”:

As you can see “A Sideman’s Journey” features guest appearances by Paul McCartney and Ringo Starr, as well as Beatle-related songs like George Harrison’s “All Things Must Pass” – here sung by Yusef Islam (Cat Stevens).

Voormann has known the Beatles since the Hamburg days and is an artist and bass player. For example, he drew the legendary cover for “Revolver”:

The Beatles - Revolver (1966)

Later Voormann also played bass on numerous Beatles solo projects including, amongst many others,  Lennon’s “Walls and Bridges” and “Imagine”, Harrison’s “All Things Must Pass” and “Concert for Bangladesh”, and on the Ringo solo outings “Ringo” and “Goodnight Vienna”.  He was a founding member of the Plastic Ono Band.  See his biog entry in Wikipedia here.

Voormann’s new CD is made up of newly-recorded covers of some of the songs he helped make famous with the former Beatles plus many other artists over the years.

Well worth a listen.

Weird “Concert for Bangladesh” LP

Every so often you come across a CD or LP where you just can’t identify the country it was released in. Its kind of frustrating because collectors usually like to know this kind of detail…especially when you come across unusual or different packaging of a release you think you know well.

That’s the case here with this three-LP set from 1971 of George Harrison’s “Concert for Bangladesh”.

Every copy I’ve seen to date comes in a hard cardboard box, with a lid that lifts off and looks like this:

The usual "Concert for Bangladesh" box

The box contains the three vinyl discs, and the white-covered 64-page book of concert photos, text and credits for the album. The rear of this box is plain and has no writing on it.

However, I have a copy in the collection that’s a bit different. Its a box, but made of soft cardboard that doesn’t have a lid. The front cover looks familiar enough:

Front cover "Concert for Bangladesh"

So far so good. But this release has flaps on the back which you pull out to get access to the records and book inside:

The flaps in the closed position

You flip open these flaps and the “box” looks like this:

"Concert for Bangladesh" open

From what I can tell the US, UK and Australian versions all have the lidded box, and not this top-opening, slide-out style box. Also the US and UK versions have dark khaki brown inner sleeves in which the records sit (the Australian release doesn’t have any paper sleeves).

Inside this box  though the LPs are in light yellow colored thin paper sleeves:

The LPs are in yellow paper sleeves

The place you can usually tell the country of origin is in the small print on the labels of the records themselves. This one has no hints – with no mention of a country of origin. However, it does have a lot more copyright information on each disc, located just near the record number information (see top the left-hand side in the pics below as compared to the Australian release):

The label of the "strange" version - with copyright info top left

Compare this to the official Australian release:

The Australian release label - note no copyright info

The final main difference is that the words “Sole Distributors, Gramophone Record Company, Ltd” are written on the labels and prominently across the back of the box. The image below is from the rear of the box:

"Sole Distributors, Gramophone Record Company, Ltd" printed on the rear of the box

So, a weird one.

Being a huge worldwide Apple release, this concert disc set would have been issued in a large number of countries. I have my suspicions that this one here could be either the New Zealand or the Indian release.  But I don’t have anything to prove that.

If anyone has any information on this release please let me know by submitting a comment. Cheers for now.