A Bootleg Christmas is Here

The Beatles Christmas Album, bootleg or otherwise, is more of an historical artifact than a single, cohesive “album.” Originally released on 7″ flexi-discs to fan club members from 1963 – 1969, this 7-track collage of voice and (minor) song should be taken with a grain of salt, and although it rightfully deserves an assigned slot between Abbey Road and Hey Jude (Let it Be is organized by recorded date, not release date), it comes across as more of a contractual obligation record, but is still well worth the price of admission. Spin with an open mind… a practice you should always adhere to.

Emitex 101

From what I could (quickly) gather, Emitex was a British-based cleaning material used by Parlophone in the 60’s, then by EMI Records throughout the 70’s. It was also a prominent badge on all British-released Beatles albums, such as this reissue of PMC 1202, Please Please Me. Several variations of this classic stamp are found around the web, but little has been preserved about the Emitex material itself. With more time, I’ll dig a bit deeper.

McCartney

Much has been written about Paul McCartney’s debut solo album, 1970’s McCartney. Most notably, Paul’s refusal to delay the Apple Records release in order to follow previously planned titles… like The Beatles’ Let it Be. I’ve given this record two spins from two different turntables within the last 12 hours, and though I’ll admit my experience with solo Beatles projects are gravely “less than,” I quite enjoy the playful, often unfinished rawness of McCartney. Certainly not an album that will receive heavy spinning, but a fun journey, if even for its historical significance.

GR-8-Tracks

tapeitblueHunting for elusive and quintessential records while at the same time tracking down (see what I did there) casual listening and essential 8-tracks is a bit of a full time job. Lucky for me, my folks support and encourage this practice, and gobble up each and every much needed 8-track they can find. Perfect example, this double 8-track comp by the Beatles titled, 1967 – 1970 from 1973. They were presented to us just the other day, and by the sounds of it, were nabbed for a cool $0.50. Thanks, M & D for the mounding stash of GR-8-tracks, for the constant support, and for turning me on to The Beatles!

Music for Dirt, Peacocks, and Fire

IMG_7806The below list is, we feel, adequate camping music for the inner, nature-minded ruffian in all of us. A few old standbys, a few personal favs, but all helping to create a calming soundtrack for our recent, peacock-screaming nature excursion. I’d be interested to hear what others would consider like-minded, camping-acceptable albums.

Creedence Clearwater Revival – Willy and the Poor Boys

Creedence Clearwater Revival – Cosmo’s Factory

Jim Croce – I Got A Name

ZZ Top – First Album

John Fahey – The Dance of Death & Other Plantation Favorites Volume 3

Booker T. & the MG’s – Green Onions

Michael Bloomfield / Al Kooper / Steve Stills – Super Session

The Beatles – The Kinfaun Demos

The Kinks – Muswell Hillbillies

Abbey Ave

roadIs it weird that I’d rather house quarter of a brick of cheese than a thin slice of chocolate cake? I kind of feel my musical intake follows this same allusive guideline, in one form or another. Anyway, nothing to do with that, here is a picture of my latest 8-track snatch. $10 at a brick and mortar up in Ventura, County. She was purchased untested, but plays perfectly fine on the Hitachi home stereo system. This Friday was one for the books… more to come, when I have time. Happy listening weekend!

Cards & Analog Entertainment

EightTonight’s rendezvous with social abnormality was Gin Rummy and the Beatles’ self-titled release on 8-track. What I lost in strategy, I gained in audio entertainment, and solid company. It’s all about the random Tuesday evenings in front of a lifeless television listening to vintage mediums and playing card games made famous by our grandparents… or, at least, it damn well should be.

Part 2

Part2I was all excited to post about my favorite Beatles album on an obscure and improbable medium… until I test them out. Part 1 works like a champ, but Part 2 done do shit! I contacted the seller and he suggested that the tape may have flipped over… not at all sure what this means. Anyway, White Album party will have to wait for the damn Part 2 to get its shit together.

I’m Down with the Boys Beastie

Bootleg_BoysWhat’s not to love about a bootleg of the Beastie Boys covering their version of a Beatles song?! This unofficial 7″ from 2013 is as hilarious as it is historical. From the bird on the cover (here) to the Licensed to Ill-era schoolboy lyrics, the Beasties’ version of I’m Down has the classic Def Jam hip hop power guitar you’d expect, and I’m not even joking, their reworked lyrics are gut-bustingly priceless. The quote on the back of the sleeve, however, takes the cake.

“After a long pause, Michael Diamond responds to a question about Michael Jackson, who as owner of the publishing rights to the Beatles’ songs, refused the Beasties permission to put their own customized version of the Fab Four’s ‘I’m Down’ on their album. ‘What would I do if I met him?’ Mike D says. ‘I’d unplug his oxygen tent, rip off his surgical mask and spit in his face.'”

– Los Angeles Times, February 1, 1987

Classic D. This Chinese release is limited to 249 copies on explicative pink vinyl, was a holiday gift from some well-knowing family members, and comes highly recommended.
RIP MCA.

Arthur Fiedler and the Boston Pops Play The Beatles

FiedlerModern contemporary conductor of the Boston Pops Orchestra, Mr. Arthur Fiedler tackles The Beatles with his 1969 album, Play the Beatles. This is EXACTLY what you’d think it would be from the master composer at age 75. 12 classical-pop interpretations of Penny Lane, Hey Jude, Eleanor Rigby, With a Little Help from My Friends, among others, done the only way Mr. Fiedler and the Boston Pops knew how… straight fucking forward. The only provocative part about this record is the album cover, which in no way represents the contents within. That certainly does not, however, make for a tedious listen. If your expectations are high, and I’m not exactly sure why they would be, pass this one up, but if you’re in the mood for a middle of the road take on British pop songs you’ve heard a thousand times, check out Arthur Fiedler and the Boston Pops Play the Beatles.

By Request

CarlosWalter (or Wendy) Carlos performing Moog interpretations from of The Beatles, Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky, Burt Bacharach, and Johann Sebastian Bach? Hell yes! Sign me up! Released in 1975 on Columbia Masterworks (and this truly is a masterwork), By Request is a great little novelty album perfect for lazy Friday afternoons with little-to-nothing to do. Enjoy your records responsibly, kids, and happy Friday!

Hello, Dolly!

LouisThis 1964 Kapp Records release of Satchmo’s Hello, Dolly! was more of a happenstance release, capitalizing on the Kapp Records success of Louis’ #1 hit single of the same name. Some sources say that Armstrong’s Hello, Dolly! knocked The Beatles’ Can’t Buy Me Love from the number one spot, but my sources may be inaccurate. 12 tracks of unmistakable Louis Armstrong trumpet bliss, Hello, Dolly! features Dixieland jazz renditions of Blueberry Hill, Jeepers Creepers, and A Kiss to Build a Dream On. Some days call for the subtle, honest brilliance of Louis Armstrong, and today is one of those days.

Capitol Blue

BlueLet me first say, Happy Halloween, everyone! Second, let’s trick our treats with 1978’s blue vinyl comp, 1967 – 1970. It’s hard to believe this double LP is 37 years old already, but this late era Beatles comp is essential listening material, regardless of the holiday (also available is the early-era sibling, red vinyl version).