Is it reasonable to be a Beatles fanatic in this modern day and age? Why yes it is! And here’s some more stuff that you might’ve missed at some point over the last twenty years.
We were absolutely thrilled with the ’09 releases in,,,well,,,’09! Beautiful sound and MUCH better packaging compared with the ’87 issues! Abbey Road was the first one I bought and I was blown away!
Then I got the “White Album”. Out of all of them, I believe that it benefited most from the remastering. All of the albums sound really clear and beefed up and I’m thrilled, but,,,I was most pleased with the “White Album”. It was like, they did me a personal favour by making it sound so good! It sounded so clear and beefy that it made me cross! “Why does my favorite album sound so bloody good?”
I’m not terribly sure of the details, but there’s the ‘master reel‘ that was mastered and eq’d for vinyl and in 1987, they just used that master for the CD. But because they are two different mediums, the sound of the original master wasn’t appropriate for CD because it came across in the digital format as kind of thin and weedy.
So with the advance of technology quality these days, a very good quality digital CD can be created! I owned all the albums on vinyl, from original ’60s pressings to early ’80s pressings. Then the CDs came out in ’87 and after years of hearing the ‘records’, it was very anticlimactic to hear the so called pristine digital mastering done to this sacred canon of music. The only album that I thought was even close to the vinyl experience, was Magical Mystery Tour!
Back to the White Album. I had two copies of that one. A numbered edition from ’68 and a 1978 version on white vinyl. And it was an album I played to death and then the CD came out and it was like, “beh!”. So then ’09 came along. And you heard my opinion earlier on. That album was absolutely saved from digital mediocrity! The highs were crystal clear(cymbals etc..), the lows were actually there! This was the White Album as I always imagined it should sound.
John’s guitar intro to Dear Prudence is so clear and pure, it sounds like he could be standing right next to you playing it! And I don’t have to get up to turn up the record for Julia at the end of side two, because it was brought up to match the volume of the rest of the album. But not to the point where the album sounds flat because of a lack of dynamics. The point was to beef up the sound with eq. and compression but with a very fine touch.
Now, I told you all that in order to tell you this; I envy the guys that got to go to Abbey road to go over all the original master reels and song by song, make them spiffy for the modern digital audience. Going into the studio to actually handle those historical tapes and do the digital transfers and lovingly tend to their sonic health.
In the early ’80s sometime, there was an engineer, John Barrett, who worked at Abbey Road and he got seriously ill and was undergoing chemo therapy and was looking for something to occupy his time while undergoing treatment. Ken Townsend, a long time employee and current general manager(80s-90s) suggested he go through and listen to EVERY BEATLES MULTI-TRACK TAPE and catalog it all! And this he did! With meticulous detail! Colour coded cross referencing! He passed away shortly after he did all this, but to his memory and for all the rabid Beatles fans, Mark Lewisohn(who wrote the Anthology Liner notes) was given all of Barrett’s notes and commissioned to write a book around it all.
If you think you know all about the Beatles, you don’t know nuthin’ Mister! This book is the other half of their story. Every day they were in the studio, who played what, how they made Sgt. Pepper’s on a 4 track recorder, the innovations that happened in recording history because the Beatles demanded something different and some of the engineers and of course George Martin, were adventurous enough to try it and break a few EMI recording studio rules along the way.
Find out what songs John played bass on. Find out what songs Paul played drums on. Find out what George Harrison didn’t like about George Martin after their first big chat at their first session. Find out what Ringo did for most of the Sgt. Pepper’s sessions. Find out what George Martin really thought about the Carnival Of Light recording!
Find out the truth about the relationship between Clark Kent and Lois Lane and if they ever got together and produced hybrid super-children! Ow! I got my finger caught in the keyboard there! Sorry! This is so exciting!!
Loaded with stories, interviews with the parties present at the time, pictures of the Beatles at work, facsimiles of recording documents, everything that Beatles nerds(90% of Beatles fans) need to know!
Now, if you’re a gear head in addition to all the other stuff, you also need this book.
The Beatles Gear by Andy Babiuk. Find out all about the instruments and amps and drum sets that were used on these recordings and live. Full of pictures and details with no end, this is essential reading! All those guitars to look at! Those vintage tweed VOX amps to covet! The dozen or so Beatles bass drum heads that only have slight differences to them. It’s insane! The unused Sgt. Pepper’s drum head! Sorry, I had to wipe a bit of dribble from my mouth.
If you have The Anthology book, all you need in addition to it is The Recording Sessions and The Beatles Gear! With these books, the Anthology DVDs and CDs and the Stereo and Mono box sets, you are set for your eternity on the desert island. And if you’re lucky, the girl who lives in the hut will be more favorably disposed to you!