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An Apple A Day: The Apple Records Box Set
by Bruce Spizer
In October, Apple Records reissued several LPs that were seminal to the history of the label famously started by The Beatles. In the next few days, I'm going to be taking a close look at these new releases, starting today with the "Apple Records Box Set."
The "Apple Records Box Set" is a collection that many Beatles fans have long looked forward to. The set contains 16 albums released by Apple that were recorded by individuals not named John, Paul, George or Ringo, although many of the discs feature the participation of one or more Beatle on some or all of the tracks. There is also a best of Apple collection and two discs of songs that are available as downloads.
The discs were remastered at Abbey Road and sound terrific. All of the albums contain informative liner notes by Andy Davis and are packaged in cardboard double gatefold sleeves with removable booklets. The box that holds the albums is designed to look like an Apple crate. Its simple cardboard construction is efficient with no wasted space. The collection will look good on your shelf without taking up a ton of room.
All four of Badfinger's U.K. Apple albums are included, each with bonus tracks. Mary Hopkin's two albums of original material are in the set, but the best of collection "Those Were The Days" is not. Unfortunately her "Temma Harbour" single does not appear anywhere in the box, although her Paul McCartney-produced hits "Those Were The Days" and "Goodbye" are added to her "Postcard" album, which were also produced by Paul.
The set also includes the Apple albums by James Taylor (produced by Peter Asher), Jackie Lomax (produced by George) and Doris Troy (with George's participation), as well as both Billy Preston albums (also with George's participation). Both of the Apple albums released by the Modern Jazz Quartet are included on a single disc, as are both of the classical music albums by John Tavener. The overlooked but excellent album by the Radha Krishna Temple, lovingly produced by George, is also there.
The box set does not include any tracks by Apple artists Ravi Shankar, David Peel, Elephants Memory or Yoko Ono. Nor does it contain any of the three Apple soundtrack albums or Apple's reissue of the Phil Spector Christmas Album. Although represented on the best of disc, Lon & Derrek van Eaton's "Brother" album is missing in action as are some singles and B-sides of the lesser known artists. If the Apple remasters sell well, these omissions may be made available at a later time.
The "Apple Records Box Set" demonstrates what a cool label Apple was. It artists recorded rock, folk, R&B, gospel, jazz, classical, brass band, Cajun, reggae and Krishna music. If you can afford to buy this box set, you will be rewarded with well produced albums that will broaden your musical horizons. All of the box's albums, with the exception of the two-disc download collection, are available separately and will be reviewed over the next few weeks under the heading "An Apple A Day."
Additional information about the artists who recorded for Apple Records can be found in Bruce Spizer's book "The Beatles Solo on Apple Records." Bruce Spizer is the author of a series of critically acclaimed books on the Beatles American record releases. He also wrote "The Beatles Are Coming! The Birth of Beatlemania in America," which is the definitive book on the subject. He served as editor and publisher of "Price Guide for the Beatles American Records," which was written by Perry Cox and Frank Daniels. Bruce is currently working with Frank Daniels on a new book covering the Beatles U.K. record releases from the sixties titled "Beatles For Sale on Parlophone Records." He has served as a consultant for EMI/Capitol Records on Beatles projects. Information regarding his books can be found at his website www.beatle.net.
Published November 22, 2010
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