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Audio CD, Audiobook, Box set, 21 January 2014
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- Is Discontinued By Manufacturer : No
- Product Dimensions : 16.79 x 16.31 x 9.8 cm; 970.12 Grams
- Manufacturer : CAPITOL
- Manufacturer reference : 3761412
- Original Release Date : 2014
- Run time : 11 hours and 24 minutes
- Label : CAPITOL
- ASIN : B00H8XF9I0
- Country of origin : USA
- Number of discs : 13
- Best Sellers Rank: 5,631 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)
- Customer Reviews:
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On February 7, 1964, The Beatles arrived at New York’s John F. Kennedy Airport, greeted by scores of screaming, swooning fans who rushed the gate to catch a glimpse of John Lennon, Paul McCartney, George Harrison and Ringo Starr as they took their first steps on American soil. Two nights later, on Sunday, February 9, 73 million viewers in the U.S. and millions more in Canada tuned in to CBS to watch The Beatles make their American television debut on ‘The Ed Sullivan Show.’ In what remains one of the world’s top-viewed television events of all time, The Beatles performed five songs on the live broadcast and ‘Beatlemania,’ already in full, feverish bloom in The Beatles’ native U.K., was unleashed with blissful fervor across America and around the world. The British Invasion had begun. The new 13 CD box set THE U.S. ALBUMS commemorates the 50th anniversary of these history-making events, spanning 1964’s MEET THE BEATLES! to 1970’s HEY JUDE. The Beatles’ U.S. albums differed from the band’s U.K. albums in a variety of ways, including different track lists, song mixes, album titles, and art. The box set includes the following titles: (Disc 1) MEET THE BEATLES!, (Disc 2) THE BEATLES’ SECOND ALBUM, (Disc 3) A HARD DAY’S NIGHT [ORIGINAL MOTION PICTURE SOUNDTRACK], (Disc 4) SOMETHING NEW, (Disc 5) THE BEATLES’ STORY, (Disc 6) BEATLES ’65, (Disc 7) THE EARLY BEATLES, (Disc 8) BEATLES VI, (Disc 9) HELP! [ORIGINAL MOTION PICTURE SOUNDTRACK] , (Disc 10) RUBBER SOUL, (Disc 11) YESTERDAY AND TODAY, (Disc 12) REVOLVER, (Disc 13) HEY JUDE. These albums were originally issued between 1964 and 1970 by Capitol Records, Apple Records, and United Artists in the United States. These new releases seek to replicate the unique listening experience heard by Americans at the time by preserving the sequences, timings, and artwork found on the albums. Capitol’s engineers in the 1960s took great care to produce what they believed to be the best possible sound for the playback equipment in use at that time. Due to the limitations of the record players of the day, engineers often compressed the sound by raising the volume of the softer passages and lowering the volume for the louder parts of the songs. They also reduced the bass frequencies since too much bass could cause the record to skip. In some cases, reverb was added to the tracks to make them sound more “American.” The CDs are packaged in miniature vinyl sleeves that faithfully recreate the original U.S. LP releases down to the finest detail, including the inner sleeves. 11 original U.S. albums presented in both mono and stereo. Hey Jude and The Beatles’ Story are in stereo only. A Hard Day’s Night [Original Motion Picture Soundtrack], The Beatles’ Story, Yesterday And Today, Hey Jude and the U.S. version of Revolver are presented on CD for the first time. Yesterday And Today features the original album cover of The Beatles posing with raw meat and baby dolls. The package also comes with a collectible sticker of the subsequent Yesterday And Today cover art. Also included is a 64-page booklet which includes a new essay examining the U.S. albums and their historical significance, written by American author and television executive Bill Flanagan. The box set’s dimensions are: 6 inches wide x 6 1/8 inches tall x 3 ¼ inches thick.
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The Packaging is right up there with the Japanese made Mono Cd box, it's that nice and super quality. Just make sure you buy it from Amazon and not a third party because there are a lot of chinese counterfeit boxes out there of both this box and the Mono and Stereo CD box sets,
Plus when this box first came out it was going for around $150 USD (i'm in the US), but recently Amazon UK has dropped it down to around the $70 or less USD price, which is just a no brainer on how good a bargain that is.
Highly recommended and a very FUN listen!
...well not quite
Contained within the box set, are CD's that represent the albums as released/sequenced for our American cousins.
As such "Sgt Pepper", "Abbey Road", "the white album" and "let it be" are not included as they were released in the same format as the international versions, however you do get "The Beatles Story".
Each album has a plastic sleeve and the CD's are stored within the album covers in a "poly" bag. There is a facsimile of the original LP liner and all contents are tight within the album cover.
"Yesterday and today" has the original "Butcher" cover and includes a sticker with the replacement artwork. This mimics the same approach used to hide the controversial cover back in the 60's.
There is a nice booklet with album information and a decent essay.
The box set and album covers are printed on nice stock and have a quality feel, but the paper quality is not as good as the 2009 Mono set. At the price I paid, (Amazon were selling these sets cheap a few years ago), I have no complaints. My only minor gripe is that there are 2 pieces of foam to pad the box. This foam will probably disintegrate over time.
In terms of the music, each CD has the stereo (and where appropriate) mono mix which is a nice add-on.
Where purists will be unhappy is that the CD's use the 2009 masters except for where there is an exclusive USA mix. Back in the 60's fake stereo and reverb were added to some of the UK mix tracks by capitol. Although you are hearing the albums as sequenced for the American market, you are not hearing the songs exactly as presented. Instead you get a "drier" mix.
This raises 2 issues
1. These sets are not historically accurate as they sound very different to the original US albums
2. If you have the Mono and Stereo sets from 2009, this set becomes an indulgence as there are very few dedicated mixes.
That said, it is interesting to hear these albums as sequenced for the US market and the 2009 masters are generally well regarded. The original 60's USA versions were cut from some very dubious sources such as 2nd and 3rd generation tapes and were not authorised by the Beatles.
It is possible to get the original "fake stereo" versions on the capitol box sets but these have been out of print for a while and are getting expensive. They are also incomplete.
Like the mono and stereo sets from a few years ago, there are a lot of fakes out there so purchase from a reputable source.
So overall I like this set a lot despite its shortcomings (in particular use of the 2009 masters). It looks nice on the shelf and the inclusion of both Mono and Stereo versions was a great idea.
The duplication and lack of period correct mixes make this box set somewhat unnecessary if you already have the 2009 Mono and Stereo sets.
If you don't own the 2009 box sets, are a completist or want an approximation of what the stateside albums sounded like then this set is relatively cheap and worth purchasing.
As stated at the start of the review, I give the music 5 stars. I think the box set as a package is worth 4.5 stars.
I'll round up my overall rating to 5 after all its "The Beatles".
Grotty discs aside, it's a good boxset with lots of great music for a decent price. Perfectionists will already know that some of the versions of tracks are incorrect but it's still a fun listen, at least after the discs have been washed and dried!
(Rating downgraded due to poor QC.)
With these cds the printing is blurred on the cds itself also has FGD08 or FGD06 in the very centre because they are recordable CDRs also the LP replica vinyl sleeves do not close well and come upstuck because the glue is messy and not very good.
Check them well as it is not that obvious.