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An Apple a Day: Come and Get It - The Best of Apple Records
by Bruce Spizer
This week we're taking a close look at the recently released Apple remasters. The cornerstone of these releases is "Come And Get It, The Best Of Apple Records." This is the first multiple artist best-of collection issued by the Beatles company Apple. All of the tracks have been remastered and sound fabulous.
The album is packaged in a cardboard double gatefold sleeve that contains a removable booklet with liner notes by Andy Davis. The collection does not contain any songs by the Beatles as a group or as solo artists. Nor does it contain any tracks by Apple artists Ravi Shankar, David Peel, Elephants Memory or Yoko Ono. The 21 songs included showcase rock, folk, R&B, gospel, brass band, Cajun, reggae and Krishna music.
Nearly all of the Apple hits are included. Many of the tracks were produced by a Beatle and/or feature a Beatle. Seventeen different artists appear on the disc, with four having two selections (if you count the Iveys and Badfinger as separate acts).
Paul McCartney was very active in the early days of Apple. He brought Mary Hopkin to the label and produced her first two hit singles, "Those Were The Days" and "Goodbye," the latter also being written by Paul. He also wrote, produced and played piano on Badfinger's first hit "Come And Get It." One of the first singles released by Apple was the brass band instrumental "Thingumybob" by the John Foster & Sons Black Dyke Mills Band, which was written and produced by Paul.
Prior to "Fire And Rain" making James Taylor a star, the American singer-songwriter was an Apple recording artist produced by Apple A&R head Peter Asher, brother of Paul's former girlfriend, Jane Asher and former member of Peter & Gordon. Taylor's "Carolina In My Mind" includes Paul on bass and George Harrison on backing vocals.
George remained active with Apple for the entire time the label was recording and releasing songs by non-Beatle artists. He wrote, produced and played guitar on Jackie Lomax's initial Apple single "Sour Milk Sea." The all-star session also included Paul on bass, Ringo on drums, Jackie Lomax on lead vocals and rhythm guitar, Eric Clapton on lead guitar and Nicky Hopkins on piano. Unfortunately this great rocker got lost in the excitement generated by two of Apple's other first four singles, "Hey Jude" and "Those Were The Days." Lomax is also represented in the collection with his song "New Day."
George brought Billy Preston to Apple after the R&B keyboard player/singer joined the Beatles during the group's "Get Back" sessions. George produced and played guitar on Preston's first Apple single "That's The Way God Planned It." He assembled another all-star cast for the session featuring Preston on lead vocal and keyboards, Eric Clapton on lead guitar, Rolling Stone Keith Richards on bass and Ginger Baker on drums. George co-produced Preston's gospel recording of Harrison's "My Sweet Lord." George also brought American R&B singer Doris Troy, best known for her song "Just One Look," to Apple. He produced and co-wrote with Troy her first Apple single, "Ain't That Cute," once again assembling an impressive lineup of backing musicians.
George also wrote and co-produced with Phil Spector the Ronnie Spector single "Try Some, Buy Some," which he later reworked and included on his "Living In The Material World" LP. Harrison produced and played slide guitar on Badfinger's "Day After Day" and produced the Lon & Derrek van Eaton single "Sweet Music." His strangest contribution to the best of collection is his lovingly produced single by the Radha Krishna Temple, "Govinda."
John contributions to Apple were limited due to his involvement with Yoko Ono, who recorded several albums and singles for Apple. He co-wrote with Yoko a single credited to Bill Elliot & the Elastic Oz Band titled "God Save Us." The song was co-produced by John, Yoko, Mal Evans and Phil Spector. John's "Give Peace A Chance" was recorded in a reggae arrangement by Hot Chocolate Band.
In addition to playing drums on several tracks by Apple artists, Ringo arranged for Chris Hodge to sign with Apple. Hodge's UFO single "We're On Our Way" is included.
Beatles confidant and former roadie Mal Evans brought the Iveys to Apple. The group's single "Maybe Tomorrow" is part of the collection. The group would have greater success after changing its name to Badfinger.
The collections also includes a few rarities such as Trash's recording of "Golden Slumbers/Carry That Weight," the Sundown Playboys' "Saturday Night Special" (a Cajun tune from a group from Lake Charles, Louisiana) and Brute Force's "King Of Fuh," which EMI refused to distribute due to its lyrics, which praised "Fuh King."
As is the case of any best of collection, everyone will spot omissions. The most obvious is Badfinger's "No Matter What," but its inclusion would have given the disc four tracks by the group if you count the Iveys' "Maybe Tomorrow." All in all this is a great collection that showcases the wide variety of the Apple roster, mixing the hits with some lesser known gems.
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 23, 2010
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