Album Reviews

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Michael Fremer Posted: Sep 14, 2014 12 comments
A cynic might say that The Electric Recording Company chooses records to reissue by scouring Ebay, Popsike, Discogs and other used record sales monitoring sites and finds the most expensive, collectible records to reissue. This one, originally issued in 1961 on the French Ducretet-Thomson label is a solo piano recording of Debussy's "Estampes" and "Préludes Livre 1" played by the rather obscure French pianist Henriette Fauré.

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Michael Fremer Posted: Sep 10, 2014 Published: Sep 09, 2014 24 comments
While the 108 page book included in the The Beatles in MONO box set can't compare with the more sumptuous 252 page one included with the stereo box set, it is a fun read and more a fun look. It's filled with great pictures and especially advertisements, press reviews and tape box and internal notes images.

Particularly interesting are Harry T. Moss's cutting notes for some releases. I wish they'd have shown them all but that's probably something only geeks would wish to see (in other words count us all in).

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Michael Fremer Posted: Sep 08, 2014 36 comments
Lovers of original British vinyl had to hand it to Capitol: they collected the "B" sides and British EP tracks and packed them onto Beatle LPs of their invention, keeping the track total skimpy to help create even more LPs. One could buy the EPs to complete the collection but they were less convenient to play though the laminated picture sleeves added value.

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Michael Fremer Posted: Sep 08, 2014 18 comments
Before leaving for a long planned mid-February 1968 trip to India to meet with Maharishi Mahesh Yogi (a/k/a “Sexy Sadie” but not back then) The Beatles began work on “Lady Madonna”, the gorgeous “Across the Universe” and the now somewhat obscure “The Inner Light”, which was chosen as the “Lady Madonna” “B” side but only because Lennon wasn’t happy with “Across the Universe” for reasons known only to him and not to anyone else because everyone else loved it.

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Michael Fremer Posted: Sep 08, 2014 29 comments
What a mess. For all of his brilliance on Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band, Paul McCartney must take much of the blame for the ill-conceived for television movie “Magical Mystery Tour”. McCartney had thought of it while in America in April of 1967. The others agreed to it so they all share it to some degree. He wrote the title tune and recording began April 25th.

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Michael Fremer Posted: Sep 08, 2014 26 comments
After a few month’s break during which the Beatles were apart they reconvened on November 24th 1966 to record “Strawberry Fields Forever” the first song for the as yet untitled new Beatles album. It was among the most complex and difficult to produce songs the group had yet attempted and it took months to complete and mix to everyone’ satisfaction.

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Michael Fremer Posted: Sep 07, 2014 33 comments
Rubber Soul was released on Friday, December 3rd 1965 three short years after The Beatles first entered Abbey Road Studios and met George Martin. It was their fifth album and the final one engineered by Norman Smith who was promoted a few months after Rubber Soul’s release to EMI’s A&R (artist and repertoire) Dept.

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Michael Fremer Posted: Sep 06, 2014 40 comments
Help! was released in August of 1965. The Beatles needed to produce another album for release well before Christmas. But they first were obliged to visit America at the end of the month to once again play The Hollywood Bowl.

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Michael Fremer Posted: Sep 04, 2014 19 comments
After the unexpected sophistication of “A Hard Day’s Night”, the goofy follow up movie that probably served as The Monkees’ TV show template was disappointing. The 14 song Parlophone Help album was not.

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Michael Fremer Posted: Sep 03, 2014 17 comments
"Product", "Filler", whatever you want to call it, the appropriately titled Beatles For Sale was a "have to meet the two album a year schedule" interim album due out for the 1964 Christmas season—a hodgepodge return to covers, George really asserting his country and western licks, John feeling his inner Bob Dylan, John and Paul channeling the Everly Brothers, Ringo given a real chance to stretch out in the percussion department and Paul rocking, rolling and screaming on reissue and breaking your heart on one of his achingly beautiful ballads.

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Michael Fremer Posted: Sep 02, 2014 19 comments
Back in 1964 American buyers of the mono "A Hard Day's Night" Soundtrack album (United Artists UAL 3366) got a better deal than did the ones who bought the "stereo" version. While the latter's instrumentals were in true stereo the Beatles songs were mangled by UA engineers into versions that were electronically reprocessed for stereo.

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Michael Fremer Posted: Sep 02, 2014 11 comments
Though the two originals have plenty of "mileage", they don't sound "chewed" and a great deal of high frequency energy remains in the grooves. Nonetheless, this new AAA reissue sounds tonally identical to the original.

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Michael Fremer Posted: Aug 31, 2014 24 comments
On the afternoon of September 4th, 1962 The Beatles arrived at Abbey Road for their first official session. They rehearsed, had dinner, returned to the studio and recorded “How Do You Do it” chosen for them as their first single by George Martin.

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Michael Fremer Posted: Aug 22, 2014 12 comments
Today we mostly think of Tony Bennett as a jazz singer but back in 1962 Tony Bennett was one of Columbia Records' pop music stars. He had his first #1 hit for the label in 1951 with "Because of You". In 1953 Bennett's "Rags to Riches" topped the Billboard charts for 8 weeks. "Stranger In Paradise" only made it to #2 that year but you couldn't avoid it on the radio and few back then wanted to.

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Michael Fremer Posted: Aug 19, 2014 17 comments
Back in 1949 Guy Lombardo and then Doris Day had hits with a song called “Enjoy Yourself (it’s later than you think)”. The chipper tune composed by Carl Sigman with lyrics by Herb Magidson advised down in the dumpers to get busy enjoying themselves:

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