Contrary to the opinion of quite a few, and more than enough old farts like me, there really is an enormous amount of great music being made today. Sure, turn on the radio or watch a bit of American Idol or X-Factor or whatever new show springs up tomorrow with the exact same premise and you're likely to hear generic crap (but when hasn't that been true?) But if you know where to look, or rather listen, there are all sorts of interesting sounds being made, played and recorded.
I just wish the record industry new how to keep up. When they aren't suing the bejeezus out of folks actually listening to the music they are putting out, they are pricing outdated modes of selling music to the very people who want to pay for it. When that gets boring they simply repackage the old stuff and sell it to us again and again. And again.
How many remastered, deluxe anniversary editions does one really need before we realize we're buying the same songs over and over again? One of the world's best bands, The Beatles, are one of the worst at this game. There are all the original albums in both mono and stereo mixes. Then you have the old red and blue double sets of greatest hits. A single disk of number one hits, etc, etc, etc. It seems like every year they come up with a new set to sell the masses the same music we all bought decades ago. They do it, of course, because we keep buying.
The newest version of that old song is titled The US albums which is exactly what it sounds like. When the Beatles first stormed America (50 years ago this year) most of their albums came in slightly different versions. The covers were different than what they sold in England, and sometimes the album titles too. The track listings were different and even the mixes. When CDs came around they seemed to have stopped this practice and we all got the original British sets. That got muddled with The Capitol Albums set which contained some of the early albums in those American mixes. Which is where we get back to the whole releasing the same stuff over and over again routine.
Honestly I don't have it all sorted. I love the Beatles, own their CDs but don't have the time or energy to figure out which mix is best and whether or not I've missed a song or two here and there. Obviously plenty of Beatlemaniacs do and you can do some Googling to get into all the debates about the merits of this set.
What I can tell you is that this set has all of The Beatles albums in their original American release formats including cover art and liner notes. It also includes five albums (The Beatles' Story, Hey Jude, Yesterday and Today, A Hard Days Night, and Revolver) that are being released for the first time on CD in these particular versions.
The boxed set also includes a 64 page booklet with a new essay on the historical significance of these albums. Each album will also be sold individually.
Whether or not you'll want to plop down more money for music you've like already paid for multiple times over is between you and your wallet. Personally I'll likely not. What I've got is good enough for me. But I know more than a few folks are excited to hear these classic albums in the way they remember them way back when. Normally I gloss over this sort of thing as it seems nothing more than a way to part a sucker from his cash, but there is enough to this set in terms of extras and interest that I'm making it my pick of the week. Do enjoy.
Also out this week that looks interesting:
Live at Cabaret L'Alcazar - Duke Ellington: An intimate performance from 1969 in a small club in Paris.