‘Concert For George’ – on LP and Two Deluxe Edition Boxes

To mark what would have been George Harrison’s 75th birthday in February there’s to be a major re-issue of the great 2003 Concert For George recordings and film.

For the first time the concert will be available on vinyl (as a four LP box set); new CD/DVD and CD/Blu-ray combo packages; plus not one – but two – super deluxe boxed special editions.

On the official George Harrison site you can pre-order now two different “Exclusive” deluxe limited editions.There are just 1000 copies worldwide of the “basic” box:

Both boxes come with these contents: a gold-colored, fabric-wrapped box with a die-cut mandala window to display a numbered cutting from the original hand-painted on-stage tapestry backdrop used during the Royal Albert Hall concert on November 29, 2002; the complete sound and film recordings from the concert (on four 180-gram audiophile LPs, 2 CDs, 2 DVDs and 2 Blu-ray discs); plus a 12”x12” hard-bound 60-page book. The sets also include a note from Olivia Harrison, explaining the story behind the tapestry. The “basic” set costs US$350.

However, for an extra $100 you can get that same deluxe box, plus what is described on the site as a complete set of “…authentic Test Pressings (4-discs), pressed at Quality Record Pressings (QRP)”. There are only 15 copies of these Test Pressing sets available worldwide.

For those after the new vinyl pressing of the Concert For George here’s the pack image with its contents:    

As you can see above the four LP set only stretches across 7 sides, and so Side 8 on LP 4 features a cool-looking etched mandala.

The new 2CD sets with either 2 Blu-ray or 2 DVD included look like this:

These bundles are identical in content except for the Blu-ray which contains an additional ‘Drummers’ featurette not available on the DVD version.

The original two CD set is also being re-issued:All these Concert For George versions will be reissued on February 23. Proceeds from the sale of these products support The Material World Foundation.

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The Beatles Cartoons

As a child I can remember watching The Beatles cartoons on TV.

I don’t think they’ve ever been officially released. This six DVD set is decidedly dodgy, but it contains every episode, plus the sing-along “bouncing ball” songs, trailers and intro’s and outro’s as extras:

Beatle Cartoons 1

Here’s the rear cover:Beatle Cartoons 2

The discs are fairly obviously burned onto printable blank DVDs (read: “manufactured at home”), but they are of a reasonable quality and the makers have gone to a little bit of trouble with the graphics:Beatle Cartoons 3

The quality on screen is similar (possibly even a little bit better) to this example on YouTube:

Rolling Stone magazine has a good article on the background to The Beatles TV cartoon series.

Fifth and Final Instalment of “Restoration of The Beatles 1 Video Collection” Released

The final instalment in the five-part series backgrounding the work done to restore the Beatles 1 video collection has been uploaded to YouTube:

In it leading Australian Director of Photography Mike Molloy reminisces about his time with the Beatles. In 1968 he’d been living and working in London as a freelance cameraman for about a year when he was asked to go down to EMI’s Studio Three at Abbey Road and film a promo clip for “Lady Madonna”. Instead, what he came back with was unique footage of the band recording what was then a brand new song called “Hey Bulldog”.

As Mark Lewisohn says in his book The Complete Beatles Chronicle, “While the cameras whirred, the Beatles recorded ten rhythm track takes of “Hey Bulldog” and completed it with overdubs. Then, at the conclusion of this 4.00pm-2.00am session, after the filming had ended, they watched as it was mixed into mono.”

Mike Molloy says he spent all day with the Beatles. Mike told me that they were very easy to get along with, very friendly. “In the film, for effect, I superimposed a shot of a paisley tie over George Harrison’s face. It was George’s tie! He was great, and very open to trying the effect to see how it turned out.”

Molloy went on to work in London as a cameraman and Director of Photography on feature films for 29 years, before returning to Sydney, Australia, where he now lives. He’s worked with some of the greats, including Stanley Kubrick (on A Clockwork Orange and Barry Lyndon) and Nicolas Roeg (on Performance and Walkabout).

The Beatles 1 and Beatles 1+ DVDs and BluRays are released globally tomorrow, November 6. (Note that the “Hey Bulldog” video is only available on Disc 2 of the Beatles 1+ edition).

You can see the other four parts in the Restoration Series here. Just click on “The Restoration” tab at the top.

Beatles 1 and Beatles 1+ – Two Days to Go

Just two more days before fans can get their hands on The Beatles 1 and The Beatles 1+.

CNN’s Paul Vercammen reports “in detail” on the new DVD and BluRay sets, due for release on November 6. In this segment he talks briefly to Michael Lindsay-Hogg, one of the film directors the Beatles worked with on a number of their promotional clips (and of course the Let It Be movie).

Notice that Paul Vercammen already has his copy of The Beatles 1+ on the desk.

Worth a look:

CNN

(click on the image to go there)

A Visit to Some San Francisco Record Stores – Part 3

The final instalment of the recent visit to San Francisco. Last time we looked at the vinyl purchases. This time it’s the CDs and DVDs. Both Rasputin, Recycled Records and Amoeba Music have lots of vinyl. They also have lots of CDs and also (Rasputin Music in particular) many, many DVDs to choose from.

First to the CD’s and at Rasputin I found a US copy of Paul’s Choba B CCCP on CD:

Choba B 1Choba B 2

I already have a UK version of this on Parlophone, but a US copy on the Capitol label to join it (at a very low price) was too much to resist.Choba B 3

Also at Rasputin I found a copy, released by 20th Century Fox, of Paul McCartney’s 1984 ill-advised excursion into the world of movie-making Give My Regards to Broad Street:Regards 1Regards 2The movie had a less-than-enthusiastic reception when it first came out. To quote one user review from IMDB: “I wouldn’t go so far as to call this movie a ‘crap-fest’. I have definitely sat through much worse….I wouldn’t call it a guilty pleasure, either. Though it wasn’t a complete waste of time, it was awfully trite and clichéd. It plays like an extended music video….Although it didn’t completely suck, Sir Paul really should stick to writing songs and leave screen writing to professionals.”

Hmmm. I can only vaguely remember seeing the film once when it was first released. So when I saw this DVD (which came out in 2004 in this version) for just $3.99 I grabbed it. At that price it is well worth the cost of admission for another viewing. The disc itself is one of those two-sided DVD’s. One side has the full screen version, and the other a wide screen version – so the DVD itself looks pretty bland:

Regards 4

However, there’s an insert inside the case with a great photo of Paul and Ringo in costume:Regards 3

The other DVD I got at Rasputin was also $3.99, and also from Paul McCartney:Back in US 1Back in US 2

This is the 2002 concert film Back in the U.S. I’ve got the two CD set of this concert, but never actually seen the video. Again, that that low price well worth adding to the collection.Back in US 3

Before leaving Rasputin Music’s Powell Street store I also discovered a nice, sealed CD copy of Electric Arguments by The Fireman (a.k.a. Paul McCartney and Youth).Electric 1Electric 2

Now, regular readers of Beatles Blog will know I have a bit of a passion for collecting versions and variations of this particular CD – and this was a variation I’d not seen before. Originally this disc came out when Paul was not signed to any particular label, and so in the UK it was distributed on the One Little Indian label. In the US it came out on ATO Records. More recently though Paul has been signed to the Hear Music label, part of Concord Music Group, and they have re-issued a few titles from that time when he was “between labels” – including Electric Arguments. The giveaway is that white barcode sticker on the rear cover where you can see the disc has been given a different catalogue number and there are tiny logos for MPL (McCartney’s company) as well as Hear Music and Concord:Electric 3Next stop was Recycled Records on Haight Street, and a very nice US copy of the CD Working Classical:Working C 1Working C 2

This came out on the EMI Classics label in back in 1999. I have the vinyl (now worth quite a bit as it is rare, in mint condition, and long out of print). A CD copy for the princely sum of $8.00 was worth it:

Working C 3

The final CD purchase came from Amoeba Music, also on Haight Street. For some time now I’ve been on the lookout for a CD copy of the 2001 McCartney “best of” release Wingspan – Hits and History. It originally came in a cardboard slipcase which has a holographic front cover. Getting copies in good condition is difficult because the slipcase is sometimes missing, or it’s in poor condition. This one I found has the holographic cover and its in pretty good nick too:Wingspan 1Wingspan 2Wingspan 3Wingspan 4

So, that’s it – the results of a holiday visit to the US city of San Francisco. A great city with some great record stores to boot.

McCartney’s “Live Kisses”

This just a quick follow up to an earlier post pointing to Paul McCartney’s “Live Kisses” coming out on DVD, BluRay and digital video.

I got a copy of the BluRay today so I thought I’s share some photos of the packaging and what’s inside:

That’s it still in it’s shrink wrap. The front cover photo is taken by Mary McCartney. Here it is released from the plastic:

It is really quite a nicely put together package. It’s not in a standard BluRay plastic cover but is more like a small, bound  hardback book. (The DVD comes in the same packaging only in a slightly larger format). That dark black stripe you can see down the left-hand side is embossed with a shiny finish. Quite stylish. Here’s the rear cover:

There’s a 41 page book inside which contains some nice photos and the stylish layout begun on the exterior continues:

The design is reminiscent of the “Kisses on the Bottom” CD packaging, but is also quite distinctive in itself. There’s a Foreword from Mr Diana Krall –  none other than Elvis Costello:

Costello also conducts an extensive interview with Paul McCartney about the project and the recording and this takes up the bulk of the book. At the rear are a couple of pages containing info on the composers, the song publishing details, and the recording personnel for each track. The disc contents and the bonus features are detailed, and the final page is a thin slot container for the BluRay disc itself:

(click on images to see larger versions)

So, all in all, quite nicely put together. Now to go and watch it! For those wanting a preview, McCartney’s MPL site has just put up an extended promo video package.

Meanwhile, a Paul McCartney Christmas track (which sounds like it may have been recorded during the “Kisses” sessions) is part of a new holiday CD compilation called “Holiday’s Rule” featuring a variety of artists. It’s a project coordinated by Paul’s record companies Hear Music/Concord Music and MPL. He does the classic “The Christmas Song (Chestnuts Roasting on an Open Fire)”. You can hear the song if you visit the MPL site – it is featured on their embedded music player at the moment.

 

 

Yellow Submarine DVD – Korean!

I don’t know why I bought this. Might have been something to do with all the hoopla about the recent re-issuing of the Beatles “Yellow Submarine” on DVD, BluRay and also the re-issue of the “Songtrack” CD….

I saw it on Ebay and the idea of having the official Korean DVD release in the collection seemed appealing, although it’s not a recent copy. The cover is kind of cool though.

It all looks like it is official. I think this one dates back to the same time as the Universal Pictures release to western countries in 1999. It is very similar features-wise to that DVD (below) which will be familiar to most people:

When you first load the Korean DVD there’s a different menu set on screen with different graphics and music, and the “Special Features” section (while similar to the United Artists release) is pretty limited. For a start there is no audio commentary by John Coates, and there are only about eight or nine “Behind the Scenes Photos” from the production included. In the United Artists release you get thirty photographs. Other than that the two are pretty similar, and the quality of the video transfer is about the same.