358 of 385 people found the following review helpful
on January 25, 2014
While the set is getting rave reviews from most, and justifiably so, the purists, like myself are not as thrilled as we could have been.
Allow me to qualify myself; I am a musician and mastering engineer by profession, a life-long audiophile and a Beatle fan from the beginning (actually a little before they were really known in the US).
The set overall sounds great. No worries there, many of the unique mixes are present, and several 'firsts' on CD. It is a worthy compilation for the true fan.
But, it becomes obvious that these are not the actual 'final' Capitol mixes, especially on the earliest albums for the most part, as they are lacking the hard compression and reverb that the Capitol engineers added to make the records sound 'more American'. I have the original LP's and the Vol. 1 Capitol box, which is from those tapes.
From what I am hearing, it is perhaps fear on EMI's part of offending the sonic sensibilities of fans that fall in the category of millennials and Gen X'ers that are accustomed to more refined audio reproduction, when in fact, many in this demographic have been responsible for driving the revival of the vinyl LP, and who also revere these early Capitol efforts. Or it may be that they decided to give us a sonically superior version of those unique Capitol versions, which is a great idea, I just would have liked to have known before hand. I would still be on board to buy.
We are missing the few fake stereo mixes, being replaced with mono mixes, or actual stereo mixes. Audibly superior, but missing the point of a reissue like this. We want those crunchy, loud, reverberated chaotic environs Capitol created, as that is our first experience. This is less about audio quality and more about nostalgia.
Now, having said this, some tracks have the correct mixes, but lack the post production processes.
If you want to really hear what we heard back in 1964, I, like many others, would recommend either buying the original Capitol Box Sets, or start cruising eBay for good used copies of the original LP's.
I have a bit of an advantage because of my background as an engineer in dismantling 'mixes', and I have both a great stereo system, and a reference workstation with the ability to quickly do A-B analysis. Most of this box set doesn't sound much different than the 2009 remastered box sets at first listen.
But that's OK too.
On the plus side, we finally get A Hard Day's Night, the United Artists version, on CD, although some of the logic eludes me as to having I'll Cry Instead in both versions as mono, since the shorter version has a stereo mix. The original U/A release had only the musical score in stereo, and all of the Beatles' music were 'fake' stereo mixes from mono masters, with even more reverb. They are true stereo mixes here, with the exception of I'll Cry Instead. Love the score on this one!
The Beatles' Story for the first time ever on CD. This isn't for everybody, but is a fun piece for those of us that remember it.
Allow me to address 'fake stereo' issue, or as it has been mis-titled by the fan base for decades now, 'Duo-Phonic', (Duo-Phonic and Duo-Sonic were the names of the process for any stereo release by Capitol, in much the same way RCA had Living Stereo as a process brand, not as an indicator of fake stereo).
Most fans insist that The Beatles Second Album is entirely fake stereo. It isn't. It's mostly real stereo, but what the Capitol engineers did, with the heavy reverb and compression, and also panning the left channel slightly right, with all of it's channel bleed, it is very nearly like the (forgive the contradiction in terms) 'real' fake stereo mixes when listened to casually due to it's poor separation as a result.
Creating a stereo track from a mono source involves splitting the signal to two channels, and alter the EQ of each channel (roll off high end on one lower the bass on the other for example), add stereo reverb to give the illusion of two discrete channels. The stereo reverb gives a slight channel delay and channel bleed to enhance the effect. Love Me Do is mixed like this, for example, as is She Loves You, but not on this box set version. They are mono.
The later albums had less affectation from the Capitol guys, but were still very tightly compressed up until Sgt. Pepper's.
This is where I differ from most fans; I only bought singles until 1967 when I got my first stereo open reel deck, with the primary goal of getting all of The Beatle albums on pre-recorded reel. There was good reasoning for this, as the open reel tapes did not receive a lot of the heavy post production compression, and were just better sounding overall. Those of us that grew up with the Beatles in this medium are the smallest fan niche out there, but we also had the best representation, at the time, of The Beatles' recorded works.
My first tape was Revolver, and it was about 3 times the price of the LP, but well worth it. I only lately heard the Capitol LP of Revolver for the first time, and it was incredibly stressful to listen to (and I have a high end archivist turntable and signal chain)! While the tape had a certain amount of compression added, it was over the top on the LP! The 2009 remaster out performs either, as pure audio, but when nostalgia calls, I pull up that 47 year old reel.
My point is, the Capitol mixes are what they are, (or were) and are best experienced via the medium they were intended for; LP. The original Capitol Box sets capture this sound and vibe beautifully, but may not be for everyone, and may be stressful listening for most.
In the 60's I wanted the best quality possible in recordings by The Beatles. These are here now, in this set and the 2009 remasters.
And for those of us that really want those original mixes; do you think EMI will set us adrift when there is money to be made?
If you have the first two Capitol Box sets, just buy the titles you need to fill the gaps. But if you are a 'completist' as I am, you will want this Capitol set as well. It has more going for it than against it. Think of it as an audiophile version of the Capitol albums.
I love the packaging, the while the sound isn't exact to our first experience, the rest of it gives a tangible link to those early days via the artwork, play order and vibe.
If you have doubts, go to iTunes, and sample the tracks there before you invest, but do have a good audio system connected to your computer, particularly of you want to conduct your own A-B comparisons. For me there is enough difference to go for it.
I need to upgrade this to 5 stars. Capitol tapes were definitely used on at least a good portion of this collection, based on a discovery i made over the weekend.
I can only speak to Rubber Soul and Revolver at this point. True, they do lack the really heated and compressed sound of the LP, but are a dead match to my pre-recorded reels which are period to the original releases.
I bought the open reel versions as opposed to LP because they sound better and lack a lot of the post processing used for the lacquer master tapes. The tracks on Rubber Soul are from the 1965 original mix, for one, Capitol enhanced and a totally match to my later Ampex reel, warts and all! When I did critical A-B on Revolver, between the original Captiol tape and the new CD, the wave forms, compression levels, harmonic distortion (a small matter) were an absolute match sonically and in the software. Amazing! I need to do further analysis on the other albums, and it appears that while the sound is better than the original LP, these masters at least are from Capitol. I never thought i would hear this particular sound outside of my 47 year old tape, and the digital remaster i had done on it some years ago.
But meanwhile, I am just enjoying this set! I suggest you do the same!
A Hard Day's Night, was, at least on the orchestral score, the same as the LP. I was hoping for a bit of an improvement on these ate least, but sound about the same as the LP. I have the LP, so I already have the fake stereo mixes of The Beatles for that one (I remastered that particular LP to hi res digital sometime ago).
I have no absolute conclusion on the overall set in regards to whose tapes were used for which album or track, but I'll do more forensics as my mood and time permits, and if i find any other amazing aspects, I'll update here. I'm having a blast otherwise!
434 of 489 people found the following review helpful
on January 21, 2014
This box of "The US Albums" (in quotes for a reason) is released to coincide with the 50th anniversary of the groups arrival in America. The market for this release are those who cherish the American versions of the albums; those who may have packed them away with their other vinyl many years ago. This sounds like a great way to get those fans to revisit the music, with the unique artwork and song sequencing, to help one get nostalgic for the times. Except, the very people this archival set is aimed at might be disappointed because these albums will NOT sound like they remember them.
What many may not realize, is EIGHT of these THIRTEEN discs were released correctly in two box sets, "The Capitol Albums Vol. 1" (2004) and "The Capitol Albums Vol. 2" (2006). Grab those boxes while you can. They are going out of print to make way for this revision of history. The artwork isn't as nice as the artwork here, but the albums will sound the way you remember them. Warts and all. Fake stereo and all. Proper mixes and all. For this release, they used the 2009 remasters of the UK catalog and substituted your American memories with the British versions. This is pretty much a playlist, if you will, wrapped up in pretty packaging for a tug at your heartstrings and wallets. And these will be on iTunes, which the 2004 and 2006 boxes weren't, so this inaccurate telling of the American story will get the most attention. I didn't grow up with these albums the way many did. My concern is historical accuracy.
They are being called the "original albums," but the original albums didn't contain remixes from 1987, which are found on FOUR of the albums in this set. Furthermore, "I'll Cry Instead" is on "A Hard Day's Night" in mono twice on the same disc. This is because there is no proper stereo mix of the longer version of that song. So instead of giving us both options (the mono and original fake stereo), you are forced to simply have it in mono twice, while claiming to offer a true stereo version of the full album. "Love Me Do" and "PS I Love You" are treated the same. "Yesterday and Today" misses the unique stereo mixes of "I'm Only Sleeping" and "Dr. Robert." The differences may be slight, but different they are, and they should be here. The press release said all unique American mixes would be included and they missed some.
When they took Spector out of "Let It Be," they changed the name to "Let It Be.. Naked." When they take Dexter and the US out of "The US albums", they still misrepresent these as the "original" US albums. If they called the set "The US Albums.. Naked," I'd not care too much. The UK mixes were already issued in 2009 in wonderful stereo & mono boxes. The US albums box should consist of the US albums. I understand that these albums, with their proper stereo and mono mixes, will sound better to those who didn't like the US albums. But that doesn't make it right. This item is being released FOR and targeted AT those very people who cherish the vinyl they grew up with. NOT the people who didn't like them in the first place. The SOUND of the original 60s albums is THE WHOLE POINT.
82 of 93 people found the following review helpful
on January 22, 2014
I'm going to keep this short because sound quality being very important to me, there's nothing new here. Concerning that, however, I take this as the best sounding compilation of the American LP configurations. In other words, while I'm well aware that these are not-by any means-the American albums as people remember them-the songs do sound better than they did on those original albums. I also realize that it's easy for me to say this as I'm one of those who already own the two previous box sets which DO contain the original "Americanized" versions of everything up to, and including, Rubber Soul. Hence, I can fully understand people's disappointment with this set if they don't have the previous boxes and depended on it for all the original American versions.
My only real problem here (aside from some careless packaging issues concerning the inner sleeves as well as the outer plastic sleeves) is the use of the George Martin-1987 mixes of the material which originated on the U.K. Rubber Soul and Help!
I was never a fan of these mixes in the first place and for this set, I feel that the '09 remastered ORIGINAL U.K. mixes of this material would have been a better choice.
Other than that I have no complaints; I knew what it was (and wasn't) and it was my choice to go with it. Overall, I think it's a great addition to the other Beatle re-issue box sets I own (which is all of them).
I definitely recommend this for completists but I also think it's a great set for new, younger Beatle fans who probably wouldn't be thrilled with the original U.S. mixes anyway.
31 of 35 people found the following review helpful
This is complicated, I'm afraid, but it's unfortunately necessary given the choices made for this edition by the producers of the set. Hope this is helpful. (adapted from very helpful post on Steve Hoffman Board by "slane").
S= Same basic Mix used on Capitol CD as on original LP
D= Different Mix used on Capitol CD
2009= Sourced from 2009 Remasters (Mono & Stereo)
Remix= 1987 Stereo Remix, sourced from 2009 Remasters
* Folddown of stereo mix used on original mono LP
** Duophonic/Fake Stereo used on original stereo LP
This set has replaced * and ** with true mono and true stereo instead.h
US Capitol Unique Mixes as noted (where 2009/1987 is indicated as source, it means that even though the Capitol Album had a unique mix, it was not used on this set.
MEET THE BEATLES
I Want To Hold Your Hand (2009) S
I Saw Her Standing There (2009) S (see note)
This Boy (2009) S
*It Won't Be Long (2009) D
*All I've Got To Do (2009) D
*All My Loving (2009) D
*Don't Bother Me (2009) D
*Little Child (2009) D
*Till There Was You (2009) D
*Hold Me Tight (2009) D
*I Wanna Be Your Man (2009) D
*Not A Second Time (2009) D
**I Want To Hold Your Hand (2009) D
I Saw Her Standing There (2009) S
**This Boy (2009) D
It Won't Be Long (2009) S
All I've Got To Do (2009) S
All My Loving (2009) S
Don't Bother Me (2009) S
Little Child (2009) S
Till There Was You (2009) S
Hold Me Tight (2009) S
I Wanna Be Your Man (2009) S
Not A Second Time (2009) S
THE BEATLES SECOND ALBUM
*Roll Over Beethoven (2009) D
*Thank You Girl (2009) D
*You Really Got A Hold On Me (2009) D
*Devil In Her Heart (2009) D
*Money (2009) D
You Can't Do That (Unique Mix)
Long Tall Sally (Unique Mix) (2009)
I Call Your Name (Unique Mix)
*Please Mr Postman (2009) D
I'll Get You (2009) S
She Loves You (2009) S
STEREO (Note: all mixes stripped of additional Capitol reverb,
even on the 'correct' basic mixes listed here)
Roll Over Beethoven (2009) S
Thank You Girl (2009) S
You Really Got A Hold On Me (2009) S
Devil In Her Heart (2009) S
Money (2009) S
**You Can't Do That (2009) D
Long Tall Sally (2009) D
I Call Your Name (2009) D
Please Mr Postman (2009) S
**I'll Get You (2009 Mono)
**She Loves You (2009 Mono)
I'll Cry Instead (Unique Mix)
Things We Said Today (2009) S
Any Time At All (Unique Mix)
When I Get Home (Unique Mix)
Slow Down (2009) S
Matchbox (2009) S
Tell Me Why (2009) S
And I Love Her (Unique Mix)
I'm Happy Just To Dance With You (2009) S
If I Fell (2009) S
*Komm Gib Mir Deine Hand (2009) D
I'll Cry Instead (2009) S
Things We Said Today (2009) S
Any Time At All (2009) S
When I Get Home (2009) S
Slow Down (2009) S
Matchbox (2009) S
Tell Me Why (2009) S
And I Love Her (2009) S
I'm Happy Just To Dance With You (2009) S
If I Fell (2009) S
Komm Gib Mir Deine Hand (2009) (see note)
No Reply (2009) S
I'm A Loser (2009) S
Baby's In Black (2009) S
Rock And Roll Music (2009) S
I'll Follow The Sun (2009) S
Mr Moonlight (2009) S
Honey Don't (2009) S
I'll Be Back (Unique Mix)
She's A Woman (Unique Mix)
I Feel Fine (Unique Mix)
Everybody's Trying To Be My Baby (2009) S
No Reply (2009) S
I'm A Loser (2009) S
Baby's In Black (2009) S
Rock And Roll Music (2009) S
I'll Follow The Sun (2009) S
Mr Moonlight (2009) S
Honey Don't (2009) S
I'll Be Back (2009) S
**She's A Woman (2009) D
**I Feel Fine (2009) D
Everybody's Trying To Be My Baby (2009) S
Kansas City (2009) S
Eight Days A Week (2009) S
You Like Me Too Much (2009) S
Bad Boy (2009) S
I Don't Want To Spoil The Party (2009) S
Words Of Love (2009) S
What You're Doing (2009) S
Yes It Is (2009) S
Dizzy Miss Lizzy (2009) S
Tell Me What You See (2009) S
Every Little Thing (2009) S
Kansas City (2009) S
Eight Days A Week (2009) S
You Like Me Too Much (Remix)
Bad Boy (2009) S
I Don't Want To Spoil The Party (2009) S
Words Of Love (2009) S
What You're Doing (2009) S
**Yes It Is (2009) D
Dizzy Miss Lizzy (Remix)
Tell Me What You See (Remix)
Every Little Thing (2009) S
THE EARLY BEATLES
MONO (entire original mono LP was a folddown of the stereo LP)
*Love Me Do (2009) fold of the EMI fake stereo on the LP reproduced the original mono mix*
*Twist And Shout (2009) D
*Anna (2009) D
*Chains (2009) D
*Boys (2009) D
*Ask Me Why (2009) D
*Please Please Me (2009) D
*PS I Love You (2009) S *near enough, as Love Me Do*
*Baby It's You (2009) D
*A Taste Of Honey (2009) D
*Do You Want To Know A Secret (2009) D
**Love Me Do (2009 Mono)
Twist And Shout (2009) S
Anna (2009) S
Chains (2009) S
Boys (2009) S
Ask Me Why (2009) S
Please Please Me (2009) S
**PS I Love You (2009 Mono)
Baby It's You (2009) S
A Taste Of Honey (2009) S
Do You Want To Know A Secret (2009) S
I've Just Seen A Face (2009) S
Norwegian Wood (2009) S
You Won't See Me (2009) S
Think For Yourself (2009) S
The Word (2009) S
Michelle (Unique Mix)
It's Only Love (2009) S
Girl (2009) S
I'm Looking Through You (2009) S
In My Life (2009) S
Wait (2009) S
Run For Your Life (2009) S
I've Just Seen A Face (Remix)
Norwegian Wood (Remix)
You Won't See Me (Remix)
Think For Yourself (Remix)
The Word (Unique Mix)
It's Only Love (Remix)
I'm Looking Through You (Unique Mix)
In My Life (Remix)
Run For Your Life (Remix)
YESTERDAY AND TODAY
*Drive My Car (2009) D
I'm Only Sleeping (Unique Mix)
Nowhere Man (2009) S
Doctor Robert (Unique Mix)
Yesterday (2009) S
Act Naturally (2009) S
And Your Bird Can Sing (Unique Mix)
*If I Needed Someone (2009) (see note)
We Can Work It Out (2009) S
What Goes On (2009) S
Day Tripper (2009) S
STEREO (Based on the True Stereo LP)
Drive My Car (Remix)
I'm Only Sleeping (2009) D
Nowhere Man (Remix)
Doctor Robert (2009) D
Act Naturally (Remix)
And Your Bird Can Sing (2009) S (see note)
If I Needed Someone (Remix)
We Can Work It Out (Unique Mix)
What Goes On (Remix)
Day Tripper (Unique Mix)
A HARD DAY'S NIGHT
A Hard Day's Night (2009) S
Tell Me Why (2009) S
I'll Cry Instead (Unique Mix) (same as on mono Something New)
I'm Happy Just To Dance With You (2009) S
I Should Have Known Better (2009) S
If I Fell (2009) S
And I Love Her (Unique Mix) (same as on mono Something New)
Can't Buy Me Love (2009) S
STEREO (panned-mono on original 'stereo' LP, some tracks were actually just mono)
**A Hard Day's Night (2009) D
**Tell Me Why (2009) D
**I'll Cry Instead (Unique Mix) (MONO) (same as on mono Something New and mono AHDN above)
**I'm Happy Just To Dance With You (2009) D
**I Should Have Known Better (2009) D
**If I Fell (2009) D
**And I Love Her (2009) (original fake-stereo LP had single-tracked vocal version from the mono)
**Can't Buy Me Love (2009) D
MONO (entire original mono LP was a folddown of the stereo LP)
*Help! (2009) (James Bond intro edited to beginning)
*The Night Before (2009) D
*You've Got To Hide Your Love Away (2009) D
*I Need You (2009) D
*Another Girl (2009) D
*Ticket To Ride (2009) (original LP had a folddown of Duophonic mix made from mono mix)
*You're Gonna Lose That Girl (2009) D
Help! (Remix) (James Bond intro edited to beginning)
The Night Before (Remix)
You've Got To Hide Your Love Away (Remix)
I Need You (Remix)
Another Girl (Remix)
**Ticket To Ride (Remix)
You're Gonna Lose That Girl (Remix)
MONO & STEREO All mixes correct (same as 2009)
HEY JUDE (Stereo Only) All mixes correct (same as 2009)
(Paperback Writer had reversed channels on original, The Ballad Of John & Yoko had the ending slightly faded)
NOTE: These are still open to argument:
I Saw Her Standing There - fold or not, on the LP? (
If I Needed Someone - fold or not, on the LP?
Komm Gib Mir Deine Hand - unique US stereo mix or not, on the LP?
And Your Bird Can Sing - similar but unique stereo mix, on the later true-stereo pressing of the LP?
You Can't Do That & I'll Be Back mono are almost certainly correct.
68 of 82 people found the following review helpful
on January 28, 2014
We have read all too many posts slamming this box set for being a disappointment to die hard, hard core Beatles fans who for ever examine everything that gets released. Do I hear the differences? Heck yeah! But only when comparing them to the previous set of Capitol Albums on CD. Only when comparing them to what I expected as a die hard, hard core Beatles fan. That said up front so you know I too am guilty of over examining things like this and having to step back and realize what this set truly IS and NOT what it ISN'T.
First, what it ISN'T
It's not 1964 anymore. That's sort of a big deal. Times have changed and there are a lot of considerations to be made here. First and foremost, the band represented by Apple, wants to preserve their musical legacy the way they want it represented. If Bach or Beethoven had say in their recordings they'd want them recorded properly. Oh, but they DID have a say! Because the way they recorded back then was in writing it down. You can't have a note out of order if it's written down. So for those guys, their musical legacy is PERFECT! Whereas the Beatles had a different path toward immortality. They had electronic recordings. They had rough schedules which made taking too long to record impossible. There was not perfection and no time for it either. They had limitations as to what they could hear in the mix back then. Much of today's better home audio equipment is better than what was in the studio at Abbey Road back in the 1960s, so hearing flaws is easier than ever. You get the picture. Also, vinyl has gone away like the dinosaur and only recently made a minor comeback. But mainly most people buy CDs or download their music. Or stream or radio etc. So like I said, it's NOT 1964 anymore.
So, this set IS NOT a repeat of the Capitol Albums volumes 1 & 2 which give you a remastered copy of the tapes as issued back in the 1960s with added reverb or EQ or both or faked stereo when only a mono recording was available to them. Singles masters were only made to be mono back then, and they didn't always make a stereo version for the states, so they'd create a stereo effect to issue them in "stereo". Capitol called their process, Duophonic.
Now, What this set IS!
This set is a reproduction of the albums as issued in the 1960s/1970s/1980s until they unified the releases to ONLY the UK albums versions. That happened with the advent of CDs in 1987. They phased out LPs (vinyl) and only the UK album configurations were issued to CD. That also meant that unique mixes which we got so used to hearing on US albums disappeared. We also heard what used to be foreign to our ears, versions from the UK masters. Tracks listings were different. Album covers and names. Inclusion of songs issued as singles were common in the states but not on UK albums. Some albums have the same names but different songs. All very odd to us here in the states.
So, what to do to please a wider audience who may want to experience life like the 1960s US audience had but with keeping the Beatles, their producer and all interested parties happy? They created a hybrid of sorts. They issue the masters which were already approved for release back in 2009 for most of the songs on these albums. They DO however keep about 20-22 unique mixes that appears ONLY on US albums back then. (varying accounts differ as to just how many were kept). Now remember, over the 60s/70s/80s they had re-issued these albums before replacing Duophonic versions of tracks with updated true stereo versions of tracks and everyone was happy with better sounding, true stereo audio. So this practice of replacing tracks with newer mixes has been going on sine the 60s. They even remixed 2 whole UK albums in the 80s with George Martin overseeing that process. Again, nothing we haven't known existed before since that's what has been on CDs since 1987. So the decisions again were to give the best sounding audio BUT retain the unique tracks/mixes which made the albums uniquely "American".
So for a casual fan, is this a good deal? I'd say it's not a bad deal, You get both stereo and mono mixes which can be unique experiences unto themselves since these are the actual mono mixes made by the Beatles & George Martin in the 60s. They are NOT fold-down mixes where they just simply take a stereo album and smash the two together with no regard to how that effects the music. In the 60s a couple albums were directly fold-downs like Help! So, this is definitely an improvement in sound for mono. For stereo, it also improves a bit as they used cleaner masters and replaced Duophonic mixes with true stereo mixes - just like they had in the 70s and 80s on vinyl.
Are you getting the albums as were issued in the 60s? NO! First, they are on CD not vinyl records. Second, they did change out some things many die hard, hard core fans who over examine things (like me) still recall in their memory banks. I don't think most are saying the old albums were "better" but it IS what they were used to, expected, have been waiting for since CDs became a format etc.. So for those folks, there can be disappointment. But don't let the die hard's disappointment tarnish what the average fan who just wants to hear the Beatles' music. Something different than what they have heard for 26 years on CD only (the UK configurations). THIS BOX IS JUST THAT! Something different.
In the end, this box represents what the Beatles are comfortable with people hearing of their "flaws" which ended up on actual released products. Obviously out-takes are flaws, but these are not out-takes, so they want them to represent their best performance as they had recorded when they were at the top of their game. (Although Paul just won 5 Grammy's so who knows about top of what game? lol)
If you truly don't like the idea of this box, then buy the others from 2004 & 2006 and live without Yesterday & Today being an exact duplicate. But for me a die hard fan, I shall enjoy this just as much as I have the others. Why? Because, I have already enjoyed the 1987 CDs. I already have enjoyed the new remastered stereo box set. I have already enjoyed the remastered mono box set. I have already enjoyed the Capitol Albums volumes 1 & 2 box sets. I have already enjoyed the LOVE Soundtrack, Yellow Submarine Songtrack, Red & Blue albums...Anthology BBC tapes 1 & 2, The Beatles Bootleg recordings 1963.
One other note...
It also appears the volumes may be a bit higher on this set than previous remasters. They had to match volumes for mono/stereo and keep the albums consistent. So it may actually have more "punch" to many songs than the 2009 remasters have. Just sayin'. ;-)
9 of 9 people found the following review helpful
on April 3, 2014
I was so conflicted about purchasing this box set. Yes, I love the original Capitol sets (vol. 1 and 2) because I'm a purist. I not only want to hear the music as the Beatles intended it to sound (get the mono set) but I also want to hear the music as I heard it in my youth on Capitol records. I also have the stereo set from 2009. When I discovered the Beatles import albums from UK in the 70's I bought them all--it was great to hear the music sound cleaner than the Capitol albums. Now, as I get older, I want to hear those old sounds, again. I read all the reviews on this from both sides and finally decided to take the plunge and purchase this new set. It's great to hear the mono and stereo versions--I just wish they had used all the unique mixes--but the set looks and sounds great! The detail of the albums is great--and I still have my old Capitol sets when I want to hear those heavier reverb versions. When they put out old TV shows and movies I grew up with on Blu ray (like Dick Van Dyke Shoe, Twilight Zone) I'm thrilled to see the shows with new eyes. I see detail I never saw on that old show--and I see it somewhat the same way here. I'm hearing these old albums in a slightly new way--clearer, with new ears(some of the old Capitol mixes are sill here). It's a blessing to have these. It's the blu ray version of the American albums, audio style. Just as I want the Beatles movies in blu ray for the best quality possible, now I'm glad I have these American releases with the best of both worlds--mono and stereo. I should have known better than to resist buying this set--get the other Capitol sets too if you're nostalgic like me. But, like another reviewer said--"more Beatles is a good thing"! A helpful review on the new Beatles box set is found on beatlesrarity.com.(once you're there, click 'search' category on the right of home page, then type 'U.S. Albums'--you'll get article comparisons on the new set versus the original capitol lp's). And, if you don't have both sets, go ahead and get the mono and stereo box sets from 2009--then you'll have the best of the Beatles recordings on cd--from both sides of the pond,in their respective British and American releases--and enjoy the earlier Capitol sets vol. 1 and 2 when you're feeling even more nostalgic! (And Capitol records--if you're reading this--we would still buy a vol.3 of the original Capitol recordings for the remaining Beatle albums--we want it all!)
28 of 34 people found the following review helpful
on January 24, 2014
First of all, let me say that I'm a Beatles fan. Not a totally obsessive one, but a bit more than just an average fan. The Beatles hit this country when I was four-years-old. Even then, The music spoke to me in a way that was very noticeable. so, when I was older, and had money to burn, I started collecting the vinyl. Albums, singles, I bought them all. I loved them!! I never cared about the poor sound quality of those records, until a friend showed me a U.K. pressing of Revolver. Having a good ear for music, I immediately picked up on the fact that the sound quality on the U.K. revolver was much better than the U.S. version. Not to mention the difference in the track listing. So I started buying the U.K. vinyl.
Then the first CDs came out. Yes. I bought them. and sound quality improved again. No more static from old well-played records. Now let's move up 22 years. I bought the 2009 Stereo box, and was very well satisfied. As far as I was concerned, I had reached the holy grail. I wanted the mono box too, but funds wouldn't allow for both.
Now come the U.S. albums box set. I bought them for two reasons. 1, as an American, I remember those albums that I grew up hearing. And while I had thrown my listening choices over to the U.K. discs based on the much truer sound, I still missed the ones I knew best. However not enough to buy the bad-sounding Capital Albums Vol's 1 and 2. So when I heard that the U.S. albums were coming out in a complete set, I decided to buy them anyway. For its commemorative value. And I would just deal with the bad sound.
Imagine my surprise when opening up this lovely package, To find that the CDs more than live up to their hype. They sound awesome!!! The mastering and overall sound quality would make any true lover of the Beatles's music proud to have them. Plus, this fills in a little nich in my Beatles collection, as I now have at least most of the mono mixes. Which is what I wanted anyway.
This is a good set and I gave it a 5 star rating for what it is. It is Not the Capital Albums set. it is however the new and improved U.S. configurations that we all know and love.So enjoy them,and let's apreciate the fact that we now have in our beloved American albums the sound quality that we have so long been missing.
73 of 93 people found the following review helpful
on January 21, 2014
It is not quite accurate to say that this set consists of the 2009 remasters rearranged in the US LP configuration. The decision made here was to avoid all duophonic fake "stereo" and fold-down mono versions, a decision widely and loudly announced prior to this release. This decision has also been made by just about every other major 60s act who have updated their catalogs for the CD age. If there was a unique US mix that Capitol received in mono, that mono mix is here. If that mono mix was then converted to fake stereo via the duophonic method by Capitol engineers, that version is not here, but has been replaced with the proper stereo version. Similarly, if Capitol received a unique stereo mix--as in the case of "Thank You Girl" from "Second Album," for instance--that version appears here. But if that stereo version was "folded down" for the Capitol mono LP, then that version has been replaced with the proper mono version, for the most part. Given that each CD contains both the mono and the stereo versions, you'll get the unique mix on the proper CD, but not the repeat mix spread out in fake stereo of folded down into fake mono. Hence, the heavily reverbed mono versions of "She's a Woman" and "I Feel Fine" are here, but not the duophonic versions. The other unique mixes are also here, like the longer mono versions of "And I Love Her" and "I'll Cry Instead" and the alternate version of "I'm Only Sleeping" with the later appearance of the backward guitar. But not the duophonic versions. Those versions have been expunged, just as the "electronically reprocessed" fake stereo albums by the Stones and the Beach Boys are no longer available on CD.
I have two players in my system, and I cued up the 2004 versions of these albums and played them simultaneously with the newer versions and flipped back and forth, and those duophonic mixes are interesting and how many people remember them, but they're also shrill and hard to listen to back to back with the proper mixes. Sorry, they just are.
Also keep in mind that the original duophonic and fold down mixes have already been released on CD by Capitol. They're readily available. This set is something different. It's also instructive that these new CDs open with the mono versions, whereas the older Capitol CDs opened with the stereo. In most cases, the unique mixes were mono, from which Capitol engineers created the duophonic versions. And most kids of the era listened to these albums in mono over tiny mono phonographs. So that's what's being privileged here.
One more thing about duophonic. The reason record companies made these duophonic mixes was because stereo records cost a dollar more than mono. George Martin would send over the versions he championed, which, in the early sixties were usually the mono mixes (this was particularly true of the singles, which generally didn't appear on the concurrent UK LPs), and then Capitol created the duophonic mixes on their own. So I understand the nostalgia issue here, of wanting those old trebly, reverbed duophonic mixes you grew up with, but the decision here was to make these sound as good as possible while honoring the unique mixes created by Martin and the Beatles themselves (rather than the dudes at Capitol). That's the logic here, and I get it. This set isn't a travesty or some carelessly thrown together rip off. It's the remastered US albums minus the duophonic stereo and fold-down mono mixes. Anyway, enjoy!
27 of 33 people found the following review helpful
on February 6, 2014
As most Beatle fans know, the long-playing records (LPs) released in the United States in the 1960s differed from those issued in Great Britain, for two principal reasons: to save money on publishing royalties, Capitol (and other U.S. labels) issued their albums with only 11 or 12 songs, as opposed to 14 on the U.K. versions. Also, to meet the air play requirements of U.S. Top 40 radio stations, the American albums contained hit singles, whereas the British releases did not (with rare exceptions). Other countries, such as Canada, Mexico, and Japan, also issued their own Beatle albums. UPDATE: Five of the Japanese albums are coming out on CD - could the Canadian, Mexican, and other international albums be next?
In 1987, after settling long-standing legal differences with EMI, The Beatles' catalog was finally issued in the relatively new Compact Disc (CD) format. Initially, Apple decided to only issue the 12 original British albums on CD - PLEASE PLEASE ME, WITH THE BEATLES, A HARD DAY'S NIGHT, BEATLES FOR SALE, HELP!, RUBBER SOUL, REVOLVER, SERGEANT PEPPER'S LONELY HEARTS CLUB BAND, THE BEATLES (a.k.a. THE WHITE ALBUM), YELLOW SUBMARINE, ABBEY ROAD, and LET IT BE. Because MAGICAL MYSTERY TOUR had originally been released in Britain as a two-record, six-song, 45 RPM Extended Play (EP) set, the U.S.-formatted LP version was not originally considered for CD release, even though that LP had been available in the U.K. since 1976 (and since 1973 on cassette). Worldwide demand forced EMI's and Apple's hand, and a CD version of the MMT album was added to the core Beatles catalog in either August or September 1987. The remaining 33 Beatles non-LP tracks were initially released on two CDs, Past Masters, Volume One and Past Masters, Volume Two, in March 1988. In 2009, these two volumes were combined into a remastered two-disc set. A similar collection of non-LP tracks, MONO MASTERS, was included in The Beatles in Mono (The Complete Mono Recordings) box set. A remastered stereo vinyl box set was issued in 2012; a remastered mono vinyl box set - including an LP edition of MONO MASTERS - was released in summer 2014. No word on whether there will be a box set of the remastered U.S. vinyl albums, but I doubt it.
While some American fans, including myself, had been purchasing the British albums since they became available as imports in the late 1970s, other U.S. fans were not happy with the British-only sequencing of the CDs. These fans were used to MEET THE BEATLES! and BEATLES '65, not WITH THE BEATLES and BEATLES FOR SALE. They were used to RUBBER SOUL leading off with "I've Just Seen A Face," not "Drive My Car," for example.
For many years, American fans bombarded Apple and EMI with requests for the release of the original U.S. albums on CD. In 2004, after years of resistance from Apple, a four-CD box set, The Capitol Albums, Volume One, was finally issued, containing CD versions of MEET THE BEATLES!, THE BEATLES' SECOND ALBUM, SOMETHING NEW, and BEATLES '65. It was so popular that a sequel, The Capitol Albums, Volume Two, was issued in 2006, containing CDs of THE EARLY BEATLES, BEATLES VI, HELP! (ORIGINAL MOTION PICTURE SOUNDTRACK), and the U.S. version of RUBBER SOUL. These were very important releases at the time - not only did American fans finally obtain CD versions of eight albums that they grew up with, but with the first four British CDs only available in mono back then, and the HELP! and RUBBER SOUL CDs in stereo, but remixed by George Martin, THE CAPITOL ALBUMS, VOLUME ONE and VOLUME TWO marked the first time that most of the band's early (1963-65) songs appeared in their original stereo mixes on CD (although a few songs that did appear in stereo on the original British CDs - "I Want To Hold Your Hand," "This Boy," "I Feel Fine," "She's A Woman," "Yes It Is," and "Ticket To Ride" - appeared in simulated stereo (Duophonic) on the Capitol CDs, exactly as they had been issued on the original albums).
Despite the success of these collections, no follow-up was issued, probably because remastering of the core British catalog in both mono and stereo - completed and issued worldwide on September 9, 2009 - took precedence. Now, for the 50th Anniversary of The Beatles' arrival in the U.S.A., Universal Music/Capitol/EMI has issued a 13-CD box set, THE U.S. ALBUMS, containing newly remastered versions of the eight albums mentioned above, plus five titles new to CD: the 1964 United Artists Records A HARD DAY'S NIGHT (ORIGINAL MOTION PICTURE SOUND TRACK); Capitol's 1964 THE BEATLES' STORY documentary, "YESTERDAY"...AND TODAY, and the U.S. version of REVOLVER, both from 1966; and Apple's 1970 compilation, HEY JUDE (a.k.a. THE BEATLES AGAIN). Following is a disc-by-disc rundown of all 13 albums in this set, and how these new CDs differ from previous releases.
DISC 1: MEET THE BEATLES!
Original LP issue: Capitol (S)T-2047, January 1964
ORIGINAL STEREO ALBUM/2004 CD: Simulated stereo (Duophonic) versions of "I Want To Hold Your Hand" and "This Boy"; true stereo versions of all other songs.
ORIGINAL MONO ALBUM/2004 CD: True mono versions of "I Want To Hold Your Hand" and "This Boy"; Type B Mono "fold-down" (the two-channel stereo mixes were combined onto a single track) mixes of all other songs.
NEW CD: True stereo and mono mixes of all songs, from the 2009 remasters (as are most other songs in this box set). NOTE: All the CDs in this set begin with the mono mixes, followed by the stereo versions; on the previous CAPITOL ALBUMS collections, stereo was first.
DISC 2: THE BEATLES' SECOND ALBUM
Original LP issue: Capitol (S)T-2080, April 1964
ORIGINAL STEREO ALBUM/2004 CD: Original stereo versions (with echo and reverb) of "Roll Over Beethoven," "Thank You Girl," "You Really Got A Hold On Me," "Devil In Her Heart," "Money (That's What I Want)," and "Please Mister Postman"; special U.S. stereo mixes (with echo and reverb) of "Long Tall Sally" and "I Call Your Name"; Duophonic mixes of "You Can't Do That," "I'll Get You," and "She Loves You."
ORIGINAL MONO ALBUM/2004 CD: Type B Mono "fold-down" mixes of "Roll Over Beethoven," "Thank You Girl," "You Really Got A Hold On Me," "Devil In Her Heart," "Money (That's What I Want)," and "Please Mister Postman"; special U.S. mono mixes of "Long Tall Sally" and "I Call Your Name"; U.S. mono mix of "You Can't Do That" (the cowbell is more up front than on the U.K. version); original mono mixes of "I'll Get You" and "She Loves You."
NEW CD: U.K. stereo versions (without echo and reverb) of "Roll Over Beethoven," "Thank You Girl," "You Really Got A Hold On Me," "Devil In Her Heart," "Money (That's What I Want)," "You Can't Do That," "Long Tall Sally," "I Call Your Name," and "Please Mister Postman"; original mono mixes of "I'll Get You" and "She Loves You," which appear twice, because no stereo mixes exist. U.S. mono mixes of "Long Tall Sally" and "I Call Your Name"; U.K. mono mixes of all other songs, including "You Can't Do That."
HISTORICAL NOTE: THE BEATLES' SECOND ALBUM was titled that way because it was a shot across the bow at Vee-Jay's INTRODUCING...THE BEATLES LP (VJLP(S)/SR 1062), which Capitol considered an illegitimate Beatle album. ("This is the real SECOND ALBUM, folks - accept no substitutes!")
DISC 3: A HARD DAY'S NIGHT (ORIGINAL MOTION PICTURE SOUND TRACK)
Original LP issue: United Artists UAL 3366 (mono), UAS 6366 (stereo), June 1964
Later reissued as Capitol SW-11921, August 1980 (First time on CD)
ORIGINAL STEREO ALBUM: Simulated stereo versions of the eight Beatles songs; true stereo versions of the four George Martin instrumentals.
ORIGINAL MONO ALBUM: True mono versions of all 12 tracks, including special versions of "I Cry Instead" ("I'll Cry Instead") with an extra verse, and "And I Love Her" with a single-tracked McCartney vocal.
NEW CD: Original stereo versions of all 12 songs, except for the extended "I'll Cry Instead," which appears in mono (because it was prepared for the film, not for record, the "long" version was never mixed into stereo); original mono versions of all songs, except for "I'll Cry Instead" and "And I Love Her," which are the same mixes as above.
HISTORICAL NOTE: EMI, which distributed the United Artists label in the U.K. during the 1960s, almost released this exact same album in Britain, but thought better of it and asked The Beatles to record a few additional songs to make the British version of A HARD DAY'S NIGHT a full-fledged Parlophone Beatle LP. Good move. Ironically, Capitol bought out the UA record label in 1978, which gave them the reissue rights to A HARD DAY'S NIGHT - ORIGINAL MOTION PICTURE SOUND TRACK, as well as LET IT BE, which was originally distributed by United Artists Records (though issued on the Red Apple label) because, at the time, The Beatles still owed UA a soundtrack LP for the U.S. market.
WHY THE SOUNDTRACK INSTRUMENTALS? The folks who made that decision are probably deceased, but my guess is that they wanted to attract adult movie-soundtrack listeners ("Beatle songs for the kids, instrumentals for the grownups").
DISC 4: SOMETHING NEW
Original LP issue: Capitol (S)T-2108, July 1964
ORIGINAL STEREO ALBUM/2004 CD: Original stereo mixes of all 11 songs, including the "short" version of "I'll Cry Instead." This was the first Capitol album to have all of the songs in true stereo (and the last, until RUBBER SOUL). Five of the songs were also on the United Artists soundtrack LP; of the three that were not included on SOMETHING NEW, "Can't Buy Me Love" and "I Should Have Known Better" (initially issued as Capitol singles) did not appear on a Capitol or Apple stereo LP until 1970's HEY JUDE (disc 13 in this set). "Can't Buy Me Love," along with its B-side, "You Can't Do That," also appeared on a 1964 Capitol various-artists collection, THE BIG HITS FROM ENGLAND AND U.S.A. (Capitol (D)T-2125), but that LP was only issued in Duophonic. While the U.S. vinyl version of 1973's THE BEATLES/1962-1966 hits package (a.k.a. THE RED ALBUM - Apple SKBO-3403) was the first Capitol album to contain "A Hard Day's Night," it was the mono single mix (though the British LP [Apple PCSP 717] and the later CD issues had the true stereo mix). The first Stateside stereo appearance of "A Hard Day's Night" (as well as "Ticket To Ride") was on Capitol's 1982 REEL MUSIC LP (Capitol SV-12199).
ORIGINAL MONO ALBUM/2004 CD: Original mono mixes of all songs, except "I'll Cry Instead" and "And I Love Her" (same as A HARD DAY'S NIGHT (ORIGINAL MOTION PICTURE SOUND TRACK)), plus special U.S. mono mixes of "Any Time At All" and "When I Get Home."
NEW CD: Essentially the same, except that on the 2004 CD, the stereo version is a little louder and faster, with a little echo added. The U.S. stereo version of "Komm, Gib Mir Deine Hand" has some crosstalk over the intro (one Beatle (John or George, perhaps) saying, "Coming!," while one of the others say "Whooo!"; this is not on the U.K. mix. The mono version of the same song has a more even volume level on the 2004 CD; the U.K. version (also on MONO MASTERS) varies in volume in a few places, as does the German 45 RPM single.
HISTORICAL NOTE: The other German-language track, "Sie Liebt Dich" - available today on PAST MASTERS and MONO MASTERS - appeared briefly on a 1964 Swan Records single (Swan 4182), but did not appear on Capitol - or in stereo in the States - until 1980's RARITIES album (Capitol SHAL-12060). The 1978/79 British RARITIES LP (Parlophone PSLP 261/PCM 1001) - a different collection entirely - marked the U.K. debut of both German-language songs.
WHAT CAPITOL COULD HAVE DONE BETTER: I agree with Bruce Spizer that SOMETHING NEW should have been a 12-song version of Parlophone's A HARD DAY'S NIGHT, minus "You Can't Do That," which was already issued Stateside on THE BEATLES' SECOND ALBUM. As Spizer put it, the "Matchbox"/"Slow Down" single (Capitol 5255), which failed to make the Top 10, would have sold a lot more as a non-LP single. Both songs could have also slotted in nicely on BEATLES '65. As for "Komm, Gib Mir Deine Hand," which is out of place on SOMETHING NEW, it could have been coupled with "Sie Liebt Dich" on a Capitol Star Line single.
DISC 5: THE BEATLES' STORY
Original LP issue: Capitol (S)TBO-2222, November 1964 (First time on CD, stereo only)
Issued on one CD, this 2-LP documentary album was assembled by Capitol Records in the fall of 1964. Many Beatles documentary LPs were issued in 1964; the best known are Ed Rudy's two Radio Pulsebeat News documentaries, issued on CD in 2004 by Rudy himself, with assistance from Joe Johnson of "Beatle Brunch," and Vee-Jay's HEAR THE BEATLES TELL ALL (Vee-Jay PRO 202), a 1964 promo LP that was also issued commercially for a brief time; it was reissued by Vee-Jay International in 1979 (it would be nice if Collectables Records, which owns the Vee-Jay catalog, would reissue it on CD this year). THE BEATLES' STORY was co-produced by Gary Usher and Roger Christian, who were songwriters who worked closely with The Beach Boys and Brian Wilson on classics such as "In My Room" and "Don't Worry Baby," among others. Christian, also a DJ on Hollywood's KFWB Radio at the time, shares narration duties with two newsmen at the same station: Al Wiman and John Babcock. Wiman is still living, as of this writing, but Babcock, Christian, and Usher are deceased. The documentary is not the best in the world: most of the information comes from press releases issued at the time, and there are many omissions: for example, Stuart Sutcliffe is mentioned, but Pete Best is not. Ringo Starr's original band is erroneously referred to as Rory Storm And The Texans; it's actually Rory Storm And The Hurricanes. There is also one error in the narration: when Al Wiman asks, "But who came up with the final name "Beatle," spelled with the B-E-A-T? Paul McCartney explains the origin." The next sound bite, containing the answer to that question, comes from George Harrison. The most hilarious moment is when the narrators explain that Capitol suddenly decided "to take over distribution" of The Beatles' records in America, because "small record companies" (read: Vee-Jay and Swan) were not "properly introducing the young singers to America." As any reader of Bruce Spizer's books knows, Capitol turned down The Beatles three times, mostly thanks to the clueless Capitol executive Dave Dexter, a big-band buff who hated rock 'n' roll music, and said of the Fab Four, "They're a bunch of long-haired kids - they're nothing! Forget it!" Finally, Beatles Manager Brian Epstein went over Dexter's head and called Capitol President Alan Livingston, asking him, "Will you please listen [to The Beatles] and call me back?" Livingston obtained some Beatles records from Dexter, listened to them, liked them, called Brian back, and made the deal - the rest, as they say, is history. The highlight of the album is the "Beatle Medley" (track 15), which works better than 1982's poorly edited "Movie Medley"; the album also features an excerpt of "Twist And Shout" from the unissued 1964 Hollywood Bowl concert (the 1977 THE BEATLES AT THE HOLLYWOOD BOWL album - still unissued on CD - features the 1965 version of the same song). Most of the background music on the album is by The Hollyridge Strings, a Capitol studio orchestra that released 5 easy-listening albums of Beatles instrumentals in the 1960s. Because this CD was mastered from the original Capitol master tape, there are Duophonic excerpts of some songs, and the quality is not as good as the other discs in the set. NOTE: While there was a mono version of THE BEATLES' STORY (Capitol TBO-2222), it was a "fold-down" Type B Mono mix from the stereo master tape, not real mono, so it was not issued on this CD. This album is nice to have for the collector, but it's not worth going out of your way to acquire (don't pay big bucks for this box set just to get this disc).
DISC 6: BEATLES '65
Original LP issue: Capitol (S)T-2228, December 1964
ORIGINAL STEREO ALBUM/2004 CD: Original stereo mixes of all songs, except for "I Feel Fine" and "She's A Woman," which are, in Bruce Spizer's words, "echo-drenched Duophonic disasters."
ORIGINAL MONO ALBUM/2004 CD: Original U.K. mono mixes of all songs, except for special U.S. mixes of "I'll Be Back," "I Feel Fine," and "She's A Woman."
NEW CD: U.K. stereo mixes of all songs, including "I Feel Fine" and "She's A Woman"; the mono version is identical to the previous CD.
DISC 7: THE EARLY BEATLES
Original LP issue: Capitol (S)T-2309, March 1965
ORIGINAL STEREO ALBUM/2006 CD: Simulated stereo mixes of "Love Me Do" and "P.S. I Love You"; true stereo mixes of all other songs.
ORIGINAL MONO ALBUM/2006 CD: True mono mixes of "Love Me Do" and "P.S. I Love You"; Type B Mono "fold-down" mixes of all other songs.
NEW CD: True mono mixes of "Love Me Do" and "P.S. I Love You," which appear twice, because no stereo mixes exist; true stereo and mono versions of all other songs.
HISTORICAL NOTE: Of the five Vee-Jay masters that did not appear on THE EARLY BEATLES, "I Saw Her Standing There" was issued on MEET THE BEATLES!, while "Thank You Girl" appeared on THE BEATLES' SECOND ALBUM. "From Me To You," "Misery," and "There's A Place" made their first Capitol appearance in 1965 on Star Line "oldies" singles. Aside from a short-lived appearance on a bizarre 1964 Vee-Jay compilation album called JOLLY WHAT! THE BEATLES AND FRANK IFIELD ON STAGE (VJLP(S) 1085), which contained only four Beatles songs and was NOT a live album (see Bruce Spizer's Vee-Jay book for further details), "From Me To You" did not appear on a U.S. Beatle LP until 1973's RED ALBUM; "Misery" and "There's A Place" had to wait another 7 years, until 1980, for their first Capitol LP appearance, on the RARITIES collection, which also contained "Sie Liebt Dich" (see above) and the original single version of "Love Me Do," with Ringo on drums.
WHAT CAPITOL COULD HAVE DONE BETTER: The running order is weak. "Love Me Do" and "P.S. I Love You" - a non-LP single (Tollie 9008) for most fans, except for those who bought the rare first edition of INTRODUCING...THE BEATLES - should have been the first two tracks on the LP, with "Twist And Shout" the last track on Side Two, as opposed to being the second track on Side One.
HISTORICAL NOTE: Due to a publishing dispute with Capitol's Beechwood Music Corporation, which published "Love Me Do" and "P.S. I Love You" Stateside at the time, later editions of INTRODUCING...THE BEATLES replaced those two songs with "Please Please Me" and "Ask Me Why" (initially published in the U.S. by Concertone Songs). This revised track listing was also used on the repackaged albums SONGS, PICTURES, AND STORIES OF THE FABULOUS BEATLES (Vee-Jay VJLP(S) 1092) and THE BEATLES VS. THE FOUR SEASONS (Vee-Jay DX(S) 30), a two-record set that also contained GOLDEN HITS OF THE FOUR SEASONS (Vee-Jay VJLP(S) 1065). Interestingly, both repackages contained leftover copies of INTRODUCING...THE BEATLES, with the original 1062 catalog number on the label.
DISC 8: BEATLES VI
Original LP issue: Capitol (S)T-2358, June 1965
ORIGINAL STEREO ALBUM/2006 CD: Original stereo mixes of all songs, except for "Yes It Is," which was issued in Duophonic.
ORIGINAL MONO ALBUM/2006 CD: Original mono mixes of all songs (the BEATLES FOR SALE tracks, except "Eight Days A Week," have reverb added). NOTE: Due to a manufacturing error, first issues of the 2006 CD mistakenly used Type B Mono "fold-down" mixes; they were later replaced by the authentic mono mixes. Capitol sent free replacement discs to those who returned the defective ones.
NEW CD: 1987 stereo remixes of "You Like Me Too Much," "Dizzy Miss Lizzy," and "Tell Me What You See"; true stereo mix of "Yes It Is"; original stereo mixes of all other songs. Original mono mixes of all songs, but with reverb removed.
DISC 9: HELP! (ORIGINAL MOTION PICTURE SOUNDTRACK)
Original LP issue: Capitol (S)MAS-2386, August 1965
ORIGINAL STEREO ALBUM/2006 CD: Original 1965 stereo mixes of all songs, except for "Ticket To Ride," which was issued in Duophonic.
ORIGINAL MONO ALBUM/2006 CD: Type B Mono "fold-down" mix of entire album, including a "fold-down" Duophonic mix(!) of "Ticket To Ride."
NEW CD: 1987 stereo remixes of all seven Beatles songs, including "Ticket To Ride"; original 1965 stereo mixes of Ken Thorne instrumentals. Original 1965 mono mixes of all seven Beatles songs, including "Ticket To Ride"; Type B Mono "fold-down" mixes of Ken Thorne instrumentals, as no real mono mixes were made, apparently.
WHAT CAPITOL COULD HAVE DONE BETTER: Like United Artists the year before, Capitol padded HELP! (ORIGINAL MOTION PICTURE SOUNDTRACK) with instrumentals to attract adult movie-soundtrack listeners. A better strategy would have been to release an 11-song version of the Parlophone LP, minus the three songs already issued Stateside on BEATLES VI: "You Like Me Too Much," "Dizzy Miss Lizzy," and "Tell Me What You See." Adding "I'm Down" as a twelfth track would have been even better.
DISC 10: RUBBER SOUL (U.S. VERSION)
Original LP issue: Capitol (S)T-2442, December 1965
ORIGINAL STEREO ALBUM/2006 CD: Original 1965 U.K. stereo mixes of all songs, except for an alternate mix of "The Word" and an alternate edit of "I'm Looking Through You" (with a false start).
ORIGINAL MONO ALBUM/2006 CD: Original 1965 U.K. mono mixes of all songs, except for an alternate mix of "Michelle" (with louder percussion). NOTE: Due to a manufacturing error, first issues of the 2006 CD mistakenly used Type B Mono "fold-down" mixes; they were later replaced by the authentic mono mixes. Capitol sent free replacement discs to those who returned the defective ones.
NEW CD: 1987 stereo remixes of all songs, except for the original U.S. stereo mix of "The Word" and the U.S. edit of "I'm Looking Through You." The mono version is the same as the previous CD.
HISTORICAL NOTE: It was the Capitol version of RUBBER SOUL, not the U.K. version, that inspired Brian Wilson to create The Beach Boys' PET SOUNDS, which in turn inspired The Beatles to create SGT. PEPPER.
DISC 11: "YESTERDAY"...AND TODAY
Original LP issue: Capitol (S)T-2553, June 1966 (First time on CD)
ORIGINAL STEREO ALBUM: Original 1965 stereo mixes of 8 songs, including "We Can Work It Out" and "Day Tripper," which are different (and better, for my money) than the 1966 echo-drenched U.K. versions. [First pressing]: Duophonic mixes of "I'm Only Sleeping," "Dr. Robert," and "And Your Bird Can Sing" (made from U.S. mono masters). [Tape issues and later vinyl pressings]: Stereo Remix 1 of "I'm Only Sleeping" and "Dr. Robert" (the U.K. REVOLVER LP used Remix 2 of these songs); U.K. stereo mix of "And Your Bird Can Sing."
NOTE: According to Bruce Spizer's The Beatles Story on Capitol Records, Part Two: The Albums book, some pressings of Y&T, made in the early 1970s, had Duophonic versions of "I'm Only Sleeping" and "Dr. Robert" on Side One, with a true stereo version of "And Your Bird Can Sing" on Side Two. Other pressings had true stereo versions of "I'm Only Sleeping" and "Dr. Robert" on Side One, and a Duophonic version of "And Your Bird Can Sing" on Side Two. Although the Longines Record Club pressings of "YESTERDAY..." AND TODAY were all-stereo, beginning in late 1969, commercial pressings of the LP were not uniformly all-stereo until the late-1970s purple-label pressings with an oversized Capitol dome logo; I own one of those copies, as well as an original 1966 mono pressing (no "butcher" cover, though).
ORIGINAL MONO ALBUM: Original 1965 mono mixes of 8 songs. Alternate mono mixes of "I'm Only Sleeping," "Dr. Robert," and "And Your Bird Can Sing."
NEW CD: 1987 stereo remixes of "Drive My Car," "Nowhere Man," "Yesterday," "Act Naturally," "What Goes On," and "If I Needed Someone." Original U.S. stereo mixes of "We Can Work It Out" and "Day Tripper." U.K. stereo mixes of "I'm Only Sleeping," "Dr. Robert," and "And Your Bird Can Sing." The mono version is the same as the original vinyl album.
HISTORICAL NOTE: According to the late Capitol Records President Alan Livingston, based on conversations with Bruce Spizer, Paul McCartney, and Brian Epstein, the "butcher" cover was The Beatles' protest against war in general and the Viet Nam War in particular. It was NOT a protest against Capitol "butchering" the boys' U.S. albums (though the band were far from happy about the Capitol reconfigurations, which was why SGT. PEPPER and the subsequent British albums were released "as is" in the States). The "trunk cover" photo, which replaced the butcher cover, was actually taken earlier, in Brian Epstein's office. Capitol had prepared several alternate covers with the trunk cover design before The Beatles insisted on the butcher picture. Bruce Spizer's Capitol Albums book (referenced above) devotes two chapters to "YESTERDAY..." AND TODAY - one for each cover.
Capitol had to seek permission from The Beatles to add the group's five 1967 non-LP singles to the contents of the six-song MAGICAL MYSTERY TOUR double EP to create a full-size 11-song LP for the States. The HEY JUDE album (disc 13 in this set) was created by Allen Klein and ABKCO, the "managers" of Apple Records at the time.
DISC 12: REVOLVER (U.S. VERSION)
Original LP issue: Capitol (S)T-2576, August 1966 (First time on CD)
ORIGINAL STEREO AND MONO ALBUM: All 11 songs on this album are also on the British version, with the same stereo and mono mixes. Capitol had already issued the other three tracks - "I'm Only Sleeping," "Dr. Robert," and "And Your Bird Can Sing" - on "YESTERDAY"...AND TODAY.
WHAT CAPITOL COULD HAVE DONE BETTER: If the label had any foresight back then, they could have filled out "YESTERDAY"...AND TODAY with "Paperback Writer," "Rain," and "I'm Down," and left REVOLVER's 14-track U.K. lineup intact for the States. But they didn't (can't have more than 11 or 12 songs on a U.S. Beatle album, can we?).
DISC 13: HEY JUDE
Original LP issue: THE BEATLES AGAIN, Apple SO-385, February 1970
Retitled HEY JUDE, Apple SW-385 (lower price code) (First time on CD, stereo only)
ORIGINAL STEREO ALBUM: Original stereo mixes of "Can't Buy Me Love," "I Should Have Known Better," "Old Brown Shoe," "Don't Let Me Down," and "The Ballad Of John And Yoko." Alternate reversed-stereo mix (with more prominent backing vocals) of "Paperback Writer." New  stereo mixes of "Rain," "Lady Madonna," "Revolution," and "Hey Jude."
NEW CD: Original 1966 stereo mix of "Paperback Writer"; other songs same as on the original album.
HISTORICAL NOTE: Although the HEY JUDE album was issued in a number of other countries outside of North America, it was not originally a British release. It was manufactured by EMI as an export LP to other countries (Apple/Parlophone CPCS 106), with an exclamation point added to the title (HEY JUDE!). On May 11, 1979, HEY JUDE, with the exclamation point removed, was finally given an official British release (Parlophone PCS 7184; the Apple label was dormant by this time). Most U.K. fans had already purchased import or export copies of the LP, so most of the newly manufactured Parlophone LPs were exported to the States, where collectors like myself snapped them up.
Had this set had the same versions of the Capitol albums as the 2004 and 2006 collections, I would have bypassed it in favor of the missing individual titles (really, only three, as THE BEATLES' STORY is exclusive to the box - no big whoop - and I doubt if I would have purchased the truncated U.S. REVOLVER on its own). As for replacing the Duophonic and Type B Mono "fold-down" mixes with the real stereo and mono mixes, I have no problem with that at all; the new versions sound a lot better. While I would have preferred the original 1965 stereo mixes of the HELP! and RUBBER SOUL songs, particularly on "YESTERDAY"...AND TODAY, which has not been issued on CD before - the 1987 remixes sound great, and they really aren't all THAT different, for crying out loud! If you own THE BEATLES IN MONO box set, the mono CDs of HELP! and RUBBER SOUL have the original 1965 stereo mixes riding shotgun, as bonuses. If you own a multi-disc CD changer or other similar device, you can program six of those 1965 stereo mixes - in lieu of the 1987 remixes on the "YESTERDAY"...AND TODAY CD - along with the rest of the stereo Y&T songs, to create a sort-of CD version of that album that is closer to the original stereo LP (except for "I'm Only Sleeping" and "Dr. Robert"). As for the "missing" U.S. mixes, there are only a few; the Capitol stereo mixes of "Long Tall Sally" and "I Call Your Name" had too much echo for this set, and there were probably no echo-free versions in the vaults; the remastering team probably used the partially-Duophonic version of "YESTERDAY"...AND TODAY as a model, or maybe the alternate mixes were lost; and as for the alternate version of "Paperback Writer" on HEY JUDE, that was also probably lost, or may have been a mistake to begin with. But most of the U.S. mixes and edits are here.
Remember, not all of The Beatles' CDs are the same as the vinyl: for example, the MAGICAL MYSTERY TOUR CD is based on the all-stereo German version, not the partially-Duophonic U.S. release; the vinyl RED ALBUM has stereo versions of "Please Please Me" and "From Me To You," which appear in mono on the CDs. The vinyl RED ALBUM also has the original 1965 stereo mixes of the HELP! and RUBBER SOUL songs; the CDs have the 1987 George Martin remixes. "Ticket To Ride" has three RED ALBUM variations - the U.S. LP has Capitol's Duophonic mix, the British album has the original 1965 stereo mix, and the CD releases have the 1987 remix. There are other differences, which I don't have room to mention.
Packaging: 5 stars
Sound quality: 5 stars
Content: 5 stars
Authenticity (4 stars, for the missing U.S. mixes, and for having Bill Flanagan, not Bruce Spizer, write the essay).
Price: 3 stars (a bit overpriced)
Overall rating: 4.5 stars
While The Beatles' Parlophone/Apple core catalog is impeccable and a must-have if you don't already own it, these U.S. albums, despite their flaws, are the ones that first-generation fans grew up with, and it's nice to finally have them back out. This set is rather expensive, so if you don't care that much about THE BEATLES' STORY, you can probably save considerable money by purchasing the other titles individually. If you already own the earlier Capitol sets and don't want the upgrades, you only need three titles to complete your collection (discounting the U.S. REVOLVER, which is a truncated version of the U.K. album) - A HARD DAY'S NIGHT - ORIGINAL MOTION PICTURE SOUND TRACK, "YESTERDAY"...AND TODAY, and HEY JUDE. And if you own both 2009 British sets and the earlier Capitol sets, plus this new one, the only mixes not available on CD are the alternate stereo mixes of "I'm Only Sleeping" and "Dr. Robert" from "YESTERDAY"...AND TODAY, and the reversed-stereo mix of "Paperback Writer" from HEY JUDE. There are a few mixes from other vinyl albums, such as the 1966 stereo version of "Strawberry Fields Forever" from the original U.S. MAGICAL MYSTERY TOUR LP; the versions of "And I Love Her" (extended ending), "I Am The Walrus" (six-note British stereo intro, combined with the extra string passage from the middle of the U.S. single), and "Penny Lane" (1971 German stereo mix with dubbed-in "promo single" trumpet ending) from the U.S. RARITIES LP; the version of "I Should Have Known Better" with the remixed harmonica intro from the REEL MUSIC LP; and a few mixes issued in foreign countries, that also haven't made it to CD yet.
Bruce Spizer, who, over the last 15+ years, has done more than anyone to revive interest in the U.S. Beatles catalog with his great books and articles, has enthusiastically endorsed THE U.S. ALBUMS box set on his Web site. To paraphrase the old 1960s advertising slogan, "The Beatles on Capitol were the greatest!" Fifty years later, on ANY label, The Beatles are still the greatest, and their music will still be enjoyed long after Miley Cyrus and One Direction have faded into history.
20 of 24 people found the following review helpful
on March 14, 2014
Beatles fans are a passionate lot.
The U.S. Albums box set's detractors have called it everything from "a cash grab" to "a glorified playlist" to "a complete waste." Supporters have ranked the set from "good" to "great" -- with an occasional exclamatory "Fab!" tossed into the mix. At times the dialogue has turned into a shouting match in cyberspace. Amid all the back-and-forth, I found myself reflecting on my own deeply felt connection to the Beatles' music . . .
It started in early 1964. I walked nine blocks to a record shop and bought "I Want To Hold Your Hand" b/w "I Saw Her Standing There" with its iconic B&W picture sleeve. I returned to the shop about a week later to buy the Capitol album, Meet The Beatles!, with allowance money bolstered by the extra coin I had made shoveling our adjacent neighbors' driveways and sidewalks. For years I bought dozens of Beatles singles and albums, mostly sporting the Capitol imprint, but also essential singles such as "She Loves You" on the Swan label, "Please Please Me" on Vee-Jay, and "Twist And Shout" on Tollie. Those records were all I knew. It would be years before I fully grasped the many differences between the band's U.S. and UK releases.
By fall of 1969, I was a senior in high school and working at that same record shop when an older, more worldly coworker played the UK pressing of Rubber Soul for me. I was struck by its warm sound and fascinated by its 14-song framework. By the time side 2 finished playing, I had adopted a new mantra: "More Beatles is a good thing." In the ensuing years I acquired the band's music in nearly every configuration save for 8-track cartridges and digital downloads. I was especially happy to get the two Capitol albums box sets in 2004 and 2006 so I could finally hear on compact disc that distinctive U.S. sound of my youth. They're indispensable to this lifelong fan.
I hesitated buying this new set. I was still holding out for a CD of the original Capitol mix of Yesterday And Today, whether as a stand-alone release or as part of a third volume of original Capitol albums. Clearly, this latest box set was not going to give me that. So I read countless reviews -- pro and con and right down the middle -- to learn what other Beatles fans thought of it. For many weeks I stayed noncommittal while I remained respectful of people's viewpoints. That wasn't always easy for me; some of the exchanges in the various Comments sections and blog sites got pretty chippy. As I said at the beginning, Beatles fans are a passionate lot.
By now you surely know this new box set opts for true mono and true stereo mixes over Capitol's original fold-down mono and fake stereo mixes of the 1960s -- the sounds millions of us grew up with. Most of the late Dave Dexter's post-production applications are gone, too. The 2009 UK remasters were the chief source for these 2014 compact discs. Yet despite all this, I still bought a box set calling itself The U.S. Albums (after first listening to a buddy's copy). Here's why:
(1) The sound quality is excellent. No surprise there, considering the source material. But while most of the stereo tracks are more or less interchangeable with the 2009 stereo remasters, the mono mixes here have received a subtle upgrade in volume and clarity over the 2009s.
(2) Specific songs, many of them key songs for me in the band's canon, do retain their unique Capitol mixes and/or edits and/or overall sound. Yes, yes, I know 99 percent of this music is no longer awash in the Sea of Dex. And, as others have pointed out, a few unique mixes/edits in the original American versions of Beatles albums were either missed or ignored when this set was compiled. But the mono versions of "She's A Woman" and "I Feel Fine" (Awreet!) boast their echo-drenched roar of late '64/early '65 that convulsed a car's dashboard radio and punched through a 10-transistor pocket radio back in the day. (Their UK mixes have always sounded dry and listless to me . . . almost polite. Sorry -- Beatles rockers should not sound polite.) The U.S. mono mixes of "And I Love Her" and "I'll Cry Instead" on Something New are here. The slightly more prominent percussive elements and the slightly longer fade on the mono mix of "Michelle" are also present. The U.S. mono mix of "I'm Only Sleeping" is the one used here. The mono and stereo mixes of "Help!" retain the opening James Bond riff. The two false starts on the stereo mix of "I'm Looking Through You" are here. (That's the version I grew up with, and that's the one I want to hear -- not the UK version.) The U.S. stereo mix of "Day Tripper" is here, including its momentary but annoying guitar dropout after "Tried to please her."
Other than "I'm Only Sleeping," these uniquely American twists to the Beatles' recordings have long been available on The Capitol Albums Vol. 1 and the corrected edition of The Capitol Albums Vol. 2. The cool thing about the twists that were retained for this 2014 box set is that we get to hear them in true mono and true stereo mixes presented in blue-ribbon digital sound. For me, The U.S. Albums box set is simply another great way to appreciate what the Beatles gave the world. Not the only way, but a great way.
(3) Spot-on visual presentation alone was not enough for me to pop for this box set. Still, there's no denying Apple's art department did its homework. The replication of the original record labels (including that for A Hard Day's Night on United Artists), all the album jackets, and the two labels' self-promoting inner sleeves is terrific. In addition, Bill Flanagan has penned a first-rate essay for the booklet. (His amusing observation of Paul's searing rendition of the Little Richard classic, "Long Tall Sally," made me smile from ear to ear.)
Music is so personal. You will have your own valid reasons for either buying The U.S. Albums or passing on it. Either way, your decision should be respected. For me, as I listen to John, Paul, George, and Ringo rock the rafters in here -- with their songs in true mono and true stereo and in the track order I practically know by heart -- I am giving this box set 5 stars for the exceptional sound quality (especially the mono versions of the 11 albums offered in mono), for all the key U.S. mixes and edits the set's compilers DID get right, for the beautifully reproduced original artwork, for the thoughtful essay, and, well, because it's the Beatles. And more Beatles is . . .