For some people The Beatles represent an absolute high point in musical expression, a joyous explosion of mesmerizing creativity and life-affirming art. For others, like myself, it goes much deeper than that.
So, I have to tell you about this album of 26 songs made for Cirque du Soleil (lord knows why them, particularly, bunch of gawdy Vegas tumblers).
George ‘Paul Was Best’ Martin and Son have made this wonderful mash-up using just about everything they could lay their hands on from The Bealtes’ four and eight-track recordings.
Most of it sounds good, some of it sounds amazing (Tomorrow Never Knows mixed with Within You Without You) – and just a frew bits here and there sound a bit daft, like the mixing of three Ringo songs into one (but then they always made a space for the Ringo song – Bill Hicks said that was the only proof you needed they were all on drugs).
For the fan, the really great thing about this ‘new’ Beatles album isn’t just that it’s a good idea. It isn’t just that it’s been prepared with some skill. It is that the Beatles have never really been mixed properly for CD-listening before now.
When you hear just straight tracks (no mashing) like I Am the Walrus you are hearing a cleaned up, crisp, skillfully enhanced and perfectly mixed version for the first time on a digital format. When Beatle albums were first issued on CD they tended to slap tracks 1 and 2 in the left channel, 3 and 4 in the right, thus making them quite unpleasant to listen to in headphones.
I think Geroge and Son should now finish what they have started and brighten up the entire back catalogue.
Then, later, when every last penny has been squeezed out of that, they should sell the entire Beatles catalogue as an un-mixed, separate-able 4 and 8 track assembly, so that people like me can do our own mixes.
‘A visitor‘ left this comment on 19 Dec 06
I have seen the Red and Blue albums but I don’t usually go for compilations when starting to explore the back-catalogue of a band or singer, unless there is some unreleased material on there…Maybe I should just stick with Rubber Soul…that’s after I go through all the other stuff I want to buy! :O) So much good music, so little time…
‘Tim‘ left this comment on 18 Dec 06
Totally agree. The Red and Blue albums are def a good place to start. My Dad had Rubber Soul, so that was how I found them, and as a very young kid I listened to that a lot in headphones and was sort of hooked. The first Beatles album I bought, in fact the first record I ever bought, was the Blue album.The Beatles put 2 albums out per year, sometimes one of those was a double album. There’s just so much to enjoy and it all progresses nicely, album by album.
‘Dogs Must Be Carried‘ left this comment on 16 Dec 06
Agree with you totally about Love, Tim. Haven’t heard the 5.1 version but someone told me it blows yer ruddy socks off. Personally, I think there’s a little too much bass in the mastering, but on the whole it’s been very skillfully done.The back catalogue has only been remastered once for its original release on CD, which was 19/20 years ago. As the early product will be out of copyright from 2012 onwards, I expect that Giles will be called in, along with some of the original engineers like Geoff Emerick and Glyn Johns to remaster the albums. It’s about time both the mono and stereo versions of all the albums were simultaneously released (EMI’s done it with The Shadows albums at mid-price, and very well too) – particularly when the mono versions of Revolver and The White Album are vastly different from the stereo versions.
Oh, and Christian: start with the red and blue double album compilations. Expensive, but when you’ve bought all the albums, they’ll be great to pass onto the kids, someone else’s kids, a complete stranger in a pushchair etc.
‘Tim‘ left this comment on 9 Dec 06
This is like a greatest hits with bells and whistles. Not sure what is a good introductory album, maybe Rubber Soul? They have a def early, middle and later period, which is kind of catchy pop hits, then proto-indie sounds then experimental rock. I like it all. Rubber Soul is just at the end of their pop hits and start of their indie years. You get the first sitar sound on this one.
‘A visitor‘ left this comment on 7 Dec 06
It’s funny but I have never gotten around to exploring the Beatles back-catalogue. Do you reckon this is a good place to start? I have Sgt Pepper and a couple of songs and that’s about it…