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APPLE RECORD BOX SET/17 cds-various artists: How cool is this? It's been 40 years since the Beatles broke up and it's been 30 years since morbid jokes started circulating about how to get he group to reunite. Meanwhile, Beatle tribute bands have been making a good living because that's the only way to ‘get back' to the group once again. Well, as the record business and the rest of us face another crap Christmas, EMI has dug really deep into the vault to repack, remaster and reissue the bulk of what the various Beatles in various configurations did with other artists under the aegis of their vanity label complete with stuff from deep in the vaults that‘s never before seen the light of day no matter how well mined you think the vaults were mined for bonus tracks in the past. Unlike most artist run vanity labels, this one was far from in vein. This package kicks off with 4 Badfinger albums, including the one with the cover your pop went steady with for a while. The Iveys became Badfinger but they were still well under the Beatle umbrella and were groomed in the Beatlesque image. Here's another go at some of Badfinger's
golden pop before all the "Behind the Music" claptrap set in among them. Then there's teen aged Mary Hopkin's breakout and swansong albums in which the Macca groomed teen hit the heights and subsequently credibly faded away with her coming of age album that introduced some great English folkies to a wider audience. Blue eyed soul man Jackie Lomax gets a turn with what was his finest and most energetic album. The odd signing of Modern Jazz Quartet for two albums was a shot in the arm cred move for all the adults that didn't want to like the Fab Four but did despite themselves. Classy as always, they did stuff here they couldn't do for Atlantic even if you have to listen closely to discern it. Billy Preston hadn't yet gone round in circles when he dropped two funky sets here that showed him as a comer. The Radha Krsna Temple? Right, everyone humored George back then making him the Noel Stookey of the Fab Four, but who could have seen all those namastes, devis and govindas would become the basis of girl friend music two generations later? Breakout the body paint and brown rice and let the belly dance unleash the girl power! John Tavener has since been knighted by the Queen for his contributions to music, but here, he was just another young do gooder making nature music and religious music for left field consumption by left fielders that didn't appreciate pop music but knew good sitting down music when they heard it. The signing and the release may not have made commercial sense, but believe it or not, rapacious as they were, record companies did nurture talent back then and this was a good case of betting for the future, even before anyone was thinking about new age. James Taylor seems to have had several debut albums, but on his Apple debut, he might not have set the world on fire as George's protégée, but he did leave several songs behind that would form the basis of his reputation and be well loved faves over 40 years later. Since they were Northern Soul fans, is it any wonder the crew gave Doris Troy just one look and let her roll with a set that was just too funky for in there? Earning her queen of northern soul spurs here, this set could teach today's nascent divas a thing or two about getting it right. The box also includes a cd distillation of the best of Apple for musical tourists with ADD that want the highlights and a smattering of the other acts who fell through the cracks as well as legendary one off singles and more not represented on the full length albums on display here. You can buy all these volumes individually but if you click through us to get to Amazon, you can get this iconic box set for around $300 and get the added bonus of a double cd of really deep vault tracks by Mary Hopkin, Jackie Lomax and of course, Badfinger, Even within the box set, all the albums are packaged in Japanese style mini gatefold albums and each has an insert that really fills in all the blanks. Of course, each indicial album has bonus tracks and these bonus tracks haven't turned up in the past on previous reissue editions of the albums. With original logos and release info, this is a really way to spend time enjoying a journey though the past. If everybody is trying to make something from nothing these days, this is a sterling example of how to do it. Simply a jolly smashing journey through the past.

Volume 33/Number 356
October 24, 2010
830 W. Route 22 #144
Lake Zurich, IL., 60047
CHRIS SPECTOR, Editor and Publisher
Copyright 2010 Midwest Record

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