Today comes the announcement that, as part of the celebrations for John Lennon’s 80th birthday, a new selection of his solo recordings have been completely re-mixed from scratch for a new collection called (you guessed it), Gimme Some Truth: Huh? What’s this all about, and why?
This is yet another “Best Of” selection, this time around chosen by Yoko Ono and Sean Ono Lennon, and in physical format it will be issued in a plethora of ways:
1 CD (19 tracks); 2 LP (19 tracks); 2 CD’s (36 tracks); 4 LP Box Set (36 tracks); and a Deluxe Box Set with 2 CD’s + Blu-Ray (audio only with High Definition 24-96 Stereo,
5.1 Surround Sound and Dolby Atmos mixes) + 124 page book, poster, postcards and sticker (36 tracks).
Of the 36 tracks on offer here, 30 of them were already included on the 2010 Gimme Some Truth box.
However, the Lennon official site says that what differentiates this 2020 Gimme Some Truth is that all the tracks have now (quote) “…been completely remixed…using brand new transfers of the original multi-tracks, cleaned up to the highest possible sonic quality…radically upgrading their sonic quality, presenting them as a never-before-heard Ultimate Listening Experience.”
This new box set has been mixed and engineered by multi GRAMMY® Award-winning engineer Paul Hicks.
It was Hicks who did the mixes for Imagine – The Ultimate Collection in 2018 and, it has to be said, he did an exceptional job so it’ll be interesting to hear the improvements to these 36 tracks.
“After weeks of painstaking preparation, the final mixes and effects were completed using only vintage analogue equipment and effects at Henson Recording Studios in Los Angeles (formerly A&M Studios, where John had recorded some of the Rock ‘n’ Roll album), and then mastered in analogue at Abbey Road Studios in order to ensure the most beautiful and authentic sound quality possible.”
Have a listen and make up your own mind on this preview track on YouTube:
So, there will be the inevitable claims of another cash grab and that this is another go at selling us music we already have. Personally, I’m looking forward to these tracks being presented in the best possible audio. But that’s just me. What do you reckon? Let us know in the comment section below.
The question a lot of collectors are now asking is does this mean we won’t be getting the rumoured big re-issue campaign for Plastic Ono Band, John’s 1970 masterpiece which has its 50th anniversary later this year? It seems we won’t.
By now you’re probably aware that the next installment in the Paul McCartneyArchive Collection series will be his 1997 release, Flaming Pie. It is due out on July 31 and, as usual, there are a number of formats and packaging variations – some of which are proving a little contoversial with some fans objecting to the high prices be asked, especially for the Deluxe Box Set (which is 50% more expensive than its Venus and Mars equivalent from 2018), to the top-of-the-range Collectors Edition box, which is listed at a cool US$600.00!
You can see all the different iterations of the planned releases here, and read about them in one of our favourite sources of information and commentary – the SuperDeluxeEdition site – where there’s a great summary article, or just take a look at this promotional “unboxing” video:
So, we don’t feel the need to go into a lot of detail on what’s planned….
Rather, we’ve put together a look at what is already been officially out there in the form of Flaming Pie releases, plus collectable and non-album tracks – all of which is to included in the expensive new re-issue.
First up, the original vinyl editions of Flaming Pie from 1997. Unlike the forthcoming re-issues, this is a single LP. These are now fairly rare and fetch high prices on the second-hand market. Discogs, for example, has the sales history of UK pressings and it ranges from around US$100.00 to US$280.00. Here’s the UK press and, as usual, click on any of the images to see larger versions:
Both the UK and US pressings are gatefolds:And they contain an inner sleeve with lyrics and credits on both sides:
The UK vinyl and a close-up of the label:
The UK LP is distributed by MPL and Parlophone:
Flaming Pie was also issued on vinyl by Capitol in the USA. Ours is open but still in its shrink wrap with the hype sticker on the front: Because of the shrink we can’t show the US gatefold but here are the inner sleeves:
The label on the US pressing is a little more vibrant than the UK. Note the Capitol Records credit.
While on the subject of vinyl, there were three picture disc singles released from this album, but only in the UK. These all came in a clear plastic outer sleeve with a coloured cardboard insert. There was a different colour scheme for each single. First up was ‘Young Boy’ backed with the non-LP track, ‘Looking For You’:
The second single was ‘The World Tonight’/’Used To Be Bad’. Both songs are on Flaming Pie:
And then ‘Beautiful Night’ backed with a further non-album track, ‘Love Come Tumbling Down’:
In our collection we have three versions of the original 1997 CD release of Flaming Pie. These come from, in descending order in the photos, the USA, UK and Australia:
These are all fairly straightforward. Not a lot of variation here, just some different barcode placements and slight changes in the colour printing. As you can see, the Australian version is quite a bit darker on the front and rear covers, and on the CD label itself.
Where it gets complicated is in the range of CD singles released from Flaming Pie in 1997, and the number of non-LP tracks of interest at the time for avid collectors. Let’s deal with two of the easiest to begin with.
In the US, the only CD single was ‘The World Tonight’. It came in a proper CD jewel case and has the non-LP bonus track ‘Looking For You’, plus a track called ‘Ooobu Joobu – Part 1’. This is an extract from a radio show of the same name broadcast on the American radio network Westwood One. It was hosted by Paul McCartney and contained demos, rehearsals, live performances, unreleased recordings and chat. There were six such extracts contained on the UK CD singles (more on this below), but the US only got one of them:
In Australia there was a slight variation to the US CD single release. The only song we got here was ‘Young Boy’, accompanied by the same bonus material offered on the US ‘World Tonight’ CD single – ‘Looking For You’ and ‘Ooobu Joobu – Part 1’. The CD came in a slimline plastic jewel case:
The real bonanza was the UK CD singles. Like the vinyl picture discs above there were three songs released – ‘Young Boy’, ‘The World Tonight’ and ‘Beautiful Night’. Each CD single had two additional tracks plus, available separately, were three more companion CD singles. Each also contains either ‘Young Boy’, ‘The World Tonight’ or ‘Beautiful Night’, plus an additional one or two “rarity” non-LP offerings. The main (or Part 1) CD single is in a full size jewel case, the companion (or Part 2) CD single is in a slimline CD case:
So, if you purchased all six of these CD singles in 1997 the non-LP extras you got were: ‘Looking For You’, ‘Broomstick’, ‘Love Come Tumbling Down’ and ‘Same Love’, plus Parts 1-6 of the ‘Oobu Joobu’ radio show spread across the six singles.
The new Flaming Pie Collectors Edition, Deluxe box set, and the 2CD set will each contain the four non-LP songs, but it seems the ‘Oobu Joobu’ content (found only on the Collectors Edition and Deluxe box sets) will be different edits to the originals because they are all quite a bit shorter in duration.
While we’re on the subject of ‘Oobu Joobu’, in the USA when you purchased Flaming Pie at a Best Buy store, you received a voucher for a bonus CD of further ‘Oobu Joobu’ content. The CD was limited to 3000 copies. It contains a cut down version of Episode 5 of the show called ‘Ecology’. It runs 41:55.
In the Netherlands there was a Promo CD for ‘Young Boy’ issued to radio stations. It came in plain slimline jewel case:
And in the UK a Promo CD for ‘The World Tonight’:
And also one for ‘Beautiful Night’:
Both these came in a slimline jewel cases, with orange and yellow Flaming Pie logos stencilled onto their clear plastic doors.
Also included in the forthcoming re-issue box sets is McCartney’s 1996 collaboration with poet Allen Ginsberg called The Ballad of the Skeletons. This will be on the CD4-B-sides disc plus, in the US$600 Collectors Edition, it will be issued on vinyl for the first time as a 12” single with vinyl etching, and a poster.
Back in 1996 the four track Ballad of the Skeletons CD looked like this:Our copy is still sealed, so these CD and booklet images are courtesy of our friend Andrey:
(As usual, click on any of the images above to view larger versions.)
Look what has just arrived from the UK:It’s the long-awaited 2019 re-issue of Mike McGear’s McGear LP.McGear was produced by Paul McCartney, and features him playing on various tracks too, along with the other members of Wings. It features songs co-written by McCartney and his brother Mike McGear, and was originally recorded in 1974. This 180 gram re-issue LP comes in a replica of the original UK and US gatefold cover:
It joins a nice, original Australian pressing already in the collection. The Aussie version from 1974 came in a non-gatefold cover, and so all the credits, etc are located on the rear cover:
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.
Five days on from the official announcement on the Paul McCartney website that there are to be eight titles in the McCartneyArchive Collection series re-issued as single discs on the Capitol label (on CD, black vinyl and limited coloured vinyl), confusion reigns about just how anyone can actually order the coloured vinyl.
Both McCartney’s own site, and the Universal Music store site included links to order these but by the weekend both had been quickly taken down. The Universal link is just dead (and again here), while the official McCartney links for each album have since been altered and only take you through to the US Amazon site where there is no mention of the coloured vinyl whatsoever. The links are clearly for the black vinyl editions only.
Many online stores over the weekend quickly put up their own images and prices – both for individual coloured LPs and bundles – but these too have since been either completely taken down (for example SoundStage Direct in the US), or now carry an apology (for example the Bull Moose store) stating that they’ve been asked by the artist and the label NOT to sell these titles online.
To quote collectors on the Steve Hoffman Music Forums thread, many of whom have preordered and paid their money before the links just disappeared:
“Seriously, what a mess. I was actually stoked about this. Now i can see it’s probably not going to be easy…..”.
“Yes I’m worried about sites filling the orders. If the link was pulled from Paul’s site on the official announcement then I would worry about them being filled at any other site [too]. I have them pre ordered thru the link that was on his site and even thru that I’m worried I won’t get them. They seem very limited and none of the sites seem to be able to confirm they will honor the pre orders.”
It has to be said that this looks like a complete and utter stuff up my MPL and Capitol. They’ve gone into print and raised expectations, but they haven’t thought through what they were publicising, nor communicated how fans and collectors could get their hands on these eight coloured vinyl editions. Pretty bad form and does not auger well for the McCartney/Capitol/UMe relationship.
UPDATE: This just in from the Record Store Day site: Indie record stores are the ONLY physical retailers in the US to have the limited edition colored vinyl versions…..
Super Deluxe 6 Disc (Stereo Remix, Mono + Rarities, Outtakes CDs x 2, 1 DVD, 1 Blu-ray – see more detail on track listings below):
2 LP (Stereo Remix plus, as this site says, “…a second LP with previously unreleased complete takes of the album’s 13 songs, newly mixed in stereo”!):2 CD (Stereo Remix plus previously unreleased alternate takes of each of the album’s 13 songs, newly mixed in stereo and a new stereo mix and a previously unreleased instrumental take of ‘Penny Lane,’ and the 2015 stereo mix and two previously unreleased alternate takes of ‘Strawberry Fields Forever.’):
1 CD (Stereo Remix):
Here’s a more detailed track list for the Super Deluxe 6 disc set – taken from the Canadian Music Vaults site. There are new 5.1 mixes of the whole album, plus ‘Penny Lane’ and ‘Strawberry Fields Forever’ on the DVD and Blu-ray, and much, much more:
New stereo album mix.
CDs 2 & 3:
33 additional recordings from the studio sessions, most previously unreleased and mixed for the first time from the four-track session tapes, sequenced in chronological order of their recording dates. A new stereo mix of ‘Penny Lane’ and the 2015 stereo mix of ‘Strawberry Fields Forever’.
Direct transfers of the album’s original mono mix and the ‘Strawberry Fields Forever’ and ‘Penny Lane’ singles.
Capitol Records’ U.S. promotional mono single mix of ‘Penny Lane’.
Previously unreleased early mono mixes of ‘She’s Leaving Home, ‘A Day In The Life,’ and ‘Lucy In The Sky With Diamonds’ (a mix thought to have been erased from a tape in 1967, but discovered during archive research for the anniversary edition).
Discs 5 & 6 (Blu-ray and DVD):
New 5.1 surround audio mixes of the album and ‘Penny Lane’ by Giles Martin and Sam Okell, plus their 2015 5.1 surround mix of ‘Strawberry Fields Forever’.
High resolution audio versions of the new stereo mixes of the album and ‘Penny Lane’ and of the 2015 stereo mix of ‘Strawberry Fields Forever’.
Video features: 4K restored original promotional films for ‘Strawberry Fields Forever,’ ‘Penny Lane,’ and ‘A Day In The Life;’ plus The Making of Sgt. Pepper, a restored, previously unreleased documentary film broadcast in 1992, featuring insightful interviews with McCartney, Harrison, and Starr, and in-studio footage introduced by George Martin.
1-13 Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band new stereo/5.1
14 Strawberry Fields Forever – 2015 5.1 mix
15 Penny Lane new 5.1 mix
16 The Making Of Sgt. Pepper restored
17 A Day In The Life – 2017 Audio
18 Strawberry Fields Forever – 2017 Audio
19 Penny Lane – 2017 Audio
CD1 – album, new 2017 stereo mix
1 Strawberry Fields Forever – Take 1
2 Strawberry Fields Forever – Take 4
3 Strawberry Fields Forever – Take 7
4 Strawberry Fields Forever – Take 26
5 Strawberry Fields Forever – Stereo/Giles Martin Mix (probably the 2015 mix)
6 When I’m Sixty-Four
7 Penny Lane – Take 6
8 Penny Lane – Vocal Overdubs and Speech
9 Penny Lane – Stereo / Giles Martin Mix 2017
10 A Day In The Lif e- Take 1
11 A Day In The Life – Take 2
12 A Day In The Life – Orchestra Overdub
13 A Day In The Life – Hummed Last Chord
14 A Day In The Life – The Last Chord
15 Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band – Take 1
16 Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band – Take 9
17 Good Morning Good Morning – Take 1
18 Good Morning Good Morning – Take 8 CD3
1 Fixing A Hole – Take 1
2 Fixing A Hole – Speech And Take 3
3 Being For The Benefit Of Mr. Kite!
4 Being For The Benefit Of Mr. Kite! – Take 7
5 Lively Rita – Speech and Take 9
(Should read “Lovely Rita”)
6 Lucy In The Sky With Diamonds – Take 1 And Speech
7 Lucy In The Sky With Diamonds – Speech
8 Getting Better – Take 1
9 Getting Better – Take 12
10 Within You Without You – Take 1
11 Within You Without You – George Coaching The Musicians
12 She’s Leaving Home – Take 1
13 She’s Leaving Home – Take 6
14 With A Little Help From My Friends – Take 1
15 Sgt. Peppers Lonely Hearts Club Band (Reprise) Speech and Take 8 CD4
1-13 album in mono, original mono mix
14 Strawberry Fields Forever (mono single)
15 Penny Lane (mono single)
16 A Day In The Life – First Mono Mix
17 Lucy In The Sky With Diamonds – Original Mono Mix (lost version)
18 She’s Leaving Home – First Mono Mix
19 Penny Lane – Capitol Records Mono Mix
As you can see, it says “Remixed….a brand new stereo mix by Giles Martin and Sam Okell from the original master tapes”.
Plus, wait for it, one CD of “previously unreleased session takes” in the double CD set, and in the 6 disc edition “two CD’s of extras – a deeper dive with 100 minutes of outtakes, many previously unheard and unreleased”.
There’ll also be a Mono mix “…with 6 extra tracks, including the ‘lost’ version of “Lucy In The Sky With Diamonds”.
Flowers In The Dirt was produced by not one, but several different producers – and in the lead up to the newly remastered re-issue coming out, Paul Sinclair from the impressive Super Deluxe Edition site has interviewed four of them.
What was it really like to work with Paul McCartney in the studio?
You can find out here in what is a comprehensive and informative backgrounder to this 1989 McCartney album:And here’s a new, official “unboxing” video detailing the contents of the Deluxe edition box set:
Since the lucrative Beatle catalogue went over to Universal Music for distribution (as part of the sale and break-up of the EMI company in 2012) there’s been a steady stream of product from released – most of it (it has to be said) re-issues of stuff we already have.
The latest of these – four albums on vinyl – are a case in point: the Beatles 1962-1966; the Beatles 1967-1970; the Beatles Number 1; and the Beatles Love.
Each of these are re-issues containing no new material. The only thing that can be said to be slightly different is that the two sets, 1962-1966 (a.k.a. TheRed Album), and 1967-1970 (a.k.a. TheBlue Album) are reportedly the original analogue mixes. The discs are cut direct from the analogue tapes used for the 1973 LP sets—with a few exceptions (i.e. mono versions using EQ from the latest mono box set replace the few faux stereo tracks originally used). AAA it seems is definitely the new DDD…..
It has to be said though that the packaging on each of these four Universal re-issued double LPs is impeccable. The Red and Blue albums, for example, are faithfully reproduced in thick cardboard with very shiny covers and inners.
If you speak Spanish (and you don’t get seasick from the all the camera movement) this “unboxing” YouTube video from keen Beatle collector shakespearecub gives you a good indication of both the Red and Blue LP’s in all their glossy finery (if you are pressed for time, scroll in to about 4’10”):
Here are those 2014 stickers on the front of each:
And this is the main point of difference – Universal Music logos on the back, and mentions of Universal Music and Calderstone Productions in the small print….it’s not Parlophone, Capitol, or EMI anymore:
These albums are also manufactured in the Netherlands – according to small transparent stickers on the back of each LP:
And while we’re on the subject of the Red and Blue LPs and the EMI company, here’s a video from a very keen fan who went to the trouble of tracking down the actual location of the Angus McBean shoot for the Red, Blue – and of course for 1963’s Please Please Me LP. Both photographs of the old and new Beatles were taken at the former EMI headquarters in Manchester Square, London with the group looking down over the stairwell. The building has since been demolished:
The rear photo, taken in 1969, was initially intended for an LP to be called Get Back, but those plans changed and we got the Let It Be album instead. The photo was eventually used on both the 1962–1966 and 1967–1970 LP’s.
The 2014 Universal Music edition of the BeatlesNumber 1 LP set also comes in a thick cardboard, this time with a matt finish gatefold cover (just like the original 2000 edition) complete with the inners, large poster (depicting Beatle singles picture covers from around the world), and the four psychedelic photographs of the individual Beatles. It’s all very nice. Again the main point of difference now is in the logos used and the small print credits:
The Love LP comes in a thick cardboard gatefold cover – just like the original from 2007. And it has the same thick, glossy booklet. Top marks go to Universal for the packaging. The 2007 release had a small brown sticker on the front:
While the 2014 edition has a larger red, white and yellow sticker:
On the rear of the gatefold the logo line-up has changed. The 2007 release has Apple, Parlophone and Cirque du Soleil logos:
The 2014 has just Apple and Cirque either side of the barcode, and a small Universal Music Group logo on the far lower right. There’s also a change to the small print. No EMI Records reference, and interestingly the Universal edition has a copyright date of 2006, while the earlier EMI/Parlophone/Apple edition is 2007. Curious:
shakespearecub has also done an “unboxing” video of both the Number 1 and the Love LPs: