The Capitol Albums Vol. 2 (Longbox)
Ltd Rmst Long ed., Limited Edition
Remastered, Box Set
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Long Box Version. This box set contains stereo and mono versions of the four Beatles albums released by Capitol in 1965, namely "The Early Beatles", "Beatles VI", "Help!" and the American version of "Rubber Soul". The albums were mastered from the original Capitol tapes using 24-bit digital technology. The packaging is similar to that of "Vol. 1" and the set contains a 56-page booklet. EMI.
Unless your name is Ryan Adams, you're probably not in the habit of releasing four albums in four years, let alone the same number in one. But that's exactly what the Beatles did in 1965, thanks to Capitol Records' practice of mixing and matching tracks from their U.K. releases to create new, shorter records for the American market. Because standard-issue Beatles discs follow the British discography, The Capitol Albums, Vol. 2 marks the first CD appearance of The Early Beatles (March), Beatles VI (June), the Help! soundtrack (August), and the U.S. version of Rubber Soul (December), which are presented in both mono and stereo. And since the Brits' Please Please Me and Beatles for Sale are available only in mono, that means a lot of tracks are making their stereo CD debut here, including "Please Please Me," "Twist and Shout," "Kansas City/Hey Hey Hey Hey," "What You're Doing," and "Every Little Thing." This is also the first CD appearance of Ken Thorne's incidental music from Help! (James Bond intro, anyone?), as well as of the original wide-separation stereo mixes of Help! and Rubber Soul (not the 1987 George Martin digital remixes that appear on the British discs). All told, a full 82 of this set's 92 tracks have never before been available on CD. It's not quite the sonic revelation that was Vol. 1 (that box contained 32 stereo CD debuts, this one only 14), but it's a great listen nevertheless. Also included is a colorful, 60-page booklet featuring rare photos and liner notes by Beatles historian Bruce Spizer. --Benjamin Lukoff
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Top customer reviews
When The Capitol Albums Vol. 1 and Vol. 2 box sets were released, I thought that they were redundant and not worth buying on their own merits. Boy, was I wrong! While I was too young to listen to The Beatles in the Sixties by a decade, I can fully appreciate how longtime fans would want and love these Capitol box set releases finally. Meet The Beatles!, The Beatles' Second Album, Something New, and Beatles '65 are all on Vol. 1 and are absolutely essential! The Early Beatles, Beatles VI, Help! (Original Motion Picture Soundtrack), and Rubber Soul are on Vol. 2 and three out of the four albums are also absolutely essential! Help! (Original Motion Picture Soundtrack) is highly enjoyable but I wouldn't say it's essential. Unlike the U.K. albums, the U.S. albums that Capitol released did include the singles.
I'd also recommend buying the following U.S. albums from the U.S. Albums box set: A Hard Day's Night (Original Motion Picture Soundtrack); Yesterday And Today (for the butcher cover and, of course, for the music); and Hey Jude. If you don't already own the U.K. version of Revolver, then buy that version because it is The Beatles' greatest album in a peerless discography and the U.S. Album version of Revolver chops off three songs. Technically, Magical Mystery Tour is also a U.S. Album release. Capitol released it in the Sixties to "pad out" the U.K.'s EP version of it. Notice how Magical Mystery Tour "only" has 11 tracks on it like so many of the other U.S. albums? EMI/Parlophone liked Capitol's release so much that they made it part of their U.K. discography. It's a shame that lawsuits prevented the release of The Capitol Albums Vol. 3 box set, but this is the best way to complete The Beatles' U.S. album releases.
Personally, my favorite U.S. album releases are Meet The Beatles!, A Hard Day's Night (Original Motion Picture Soundtrack), Beatles '65, and Rubber Soul. I think it's a toss up between Meet The Beatles! and Beatles '65 as far as the best U.S. album.
ADDITIONAL NOTE: I bought the Criterion Collection's remastered, re-released dual DVD, A Hard Day's Night, too! I highly recommend that!
"Beatles VI" actually came out before "Rubber Soul" and featured tracks from "Help!", the earlier "Beatles For Sale" and single tracks such as the gorgeous B-Side "Yes It Is". The stereo tracks sound extremely good. "Help" has some terrific songs on it but the American release was always weaker than the British although I have always liked the James Bondish intro to the title song that wasn't ever on the original British release. For those purists that want Ken Thorne's score it makes its CD debut here alternating with the album tracks as on the original album release. Unfortunately Capitol elected (according to Bruce Spizer)not to recreate the gatefold jacket due to time constraints--that's too bad as it was a nice feature of the original packaging.
"The Early Beatles" features the oldest songs from their catalog--it's actually a reduced version of their first album "Please Please Me" featuring many of the tracks from the Vee Jay release. "Help!" and "Rubber Soul" also feature the stereo mix. The stereo tracks sound great although keep in mind that they have that odd mix with instruments primarily in one speaker and/or vocals that George Martin elected to use early on (it was in case someone listened to a stereo LP on a mono player so it would create a fairly natural sounding "fold down" to mono). The stereo imaging is similar to the original release on vinyl from what I can tell.
The box this set comes in isn't all that great. The long box features a box that folds over to house the CD cardboard holders. Two complaints here 1) The packaging still looks cheap even though it's been improved and 2) the cardboard holders should have had plastic sleeves to hold the CDs in so they don't get scratched up. The reproduction of the album graphics are closer to the original ones although, again, they've been modified for the CDs. The pictures are much cleaner and clearer looking.
The booklet is great with rare (and not so rare) photos quotes from the band and a brief essay by Bruce Spizer who has written a number of books on the band's U.S. releases. Again I would have liked to see sturdier packaging but this does improve slightly on the previous packaging. Evidently the first set didn't set the world on fire like Capitol had hoped selling only a million units so I was surprised to see Capitol move forward with this release. Hopefully they'll release the last set and include "Yesterday and Today", "Hey Jude" (aka "The Beatles Again").
I bought the Parlephone albums several years back, but always felt a slight sense of disorientation listening to them I guess that's the result of listening to the Capitol ones over and over and over. You know, I can still tell you which song is coming next!
So, if you were first exposed to The Beatles via these LPs, buy this set and the one with first four albums and relive every wonderful moment.