Sunday, 27 April 2008

Kalashnikitty


....And now for something different! Let's say I've always had a soft spot for things like Hello Kitty, the cultish Japanese iconic character but this un-official pose is one I truly adore. If it wasn't for the 'Gun Talk' rules on a certain website, I'd have it as my avatar. To me it kind of symbolizes the mixture of the innocent with the knowing - the bit that just might have to use force or weapons.

Monday, 14 April 2008

The Beatles - Great sounding vinyl Part 2 1964 - 1966


As you may recall from the first of this series of posts I have always like the music of the Beatles growing up with it and as I got older buying their records eventually forming an important part of my collection because they make me feel happy and I find the lyrics quite interesting.
From this period there is increasingly less difference in terms of overall sound quality between the North American and UK based LP's although there are many issues with the UK based CD issues that makes investigation desirable for beatle fans.
Continuing with 1964 the beatles recorded a series of tracks up to October of that year the majority of which were issued on LP format at some point.
Beatles For Sale is the home for most of these tracks but as the current LP is in sludgy mono we need to look at the alternatives.
Beatles For Sale has always been available in stereo and generally sounds much more open compared to it's mono counterpart.

The North American version is Beatles '65 which is what I grew up with. Side one follows the UK running order for the first 6 tracks and it just adds I Feel Fine, She's A Woman and I'll Be Back (on UK Hard day's Night LP).
I much prefer this running order although I Feel Fine doesn't sound good in duophonic (fake stereo).
I have compared recently a UK Beatles For Sale with my Canadian early 1980's Rainbow rim pressed at CBS and found that was a tidbit better actually!
(I Feel Fine sounds better on the analogue 1962-1966 RED album).
If you get Beatles For Sale you can skip the next entry.
Beatles VI
So called as Capitol counted this as their sixth Capitol LP is a gem and my Canadian Early 80's Rainbow Rim sounds fantastic!
It has the remainder of the Beatles For Sale tracks plus three early tracks that ended up on the UK help album. Two tracks, Dizzy Miss Lizzie and Bad Boy were specially recorded for this album in a 10 hour session.
See the separate blog entry for more.
Help!
The difference is the UK had an album of all beatle tunes and in North America we had a soundtrack album containing the instrumentals.
For sound quality nothing quite compares to the original UK stereo LP but the current copy is digitally re-mixed with added digital echo so you need to go back and get the original.
Fortunately copies can be had of the late 70's, early 80's fairly cheaply. I never got on with side two as the material is all over the place stylistically.
Rubber Soul.
The albums have the same title and 10 songs in common that follow the same order.
The Capitol version has a more 'folk-rock' feel with I've Just Seen a Face and It's Only Love from UK Help in there; the UK adds Drive My Car, Nowhere Man, If I Needed Someone and What Goes On? that appear on another Capitol album.
Take your pick - my Canadian purple label is very good and a genuine UK should be fine but a 1973 copy made for the UK in France under contract sounded very weak to my ears.
Yesterday and Today: The between Capitol album having Yesterday, Act Naturally, We Can Work It Out and Day Tripper.
This is a favourite of mine and later pressings do sound good - strike lucky and you'll get the all true stereo edition as Capitol were in a rush to release this album having three sons that saw in slightly different versions their UK appearance on Revolver.