Thursday, October 14, 2010

Sonic Hierarchy: Please Please Me LP MONO


ANALOG HIERARCHY

ABBREVIATIONS KEY

For basic information concerning mastering procedures and terminology, go to my simplified guide: here.

BM1 = The Beatles Mono Collection box set, 1982 (Parlophone BM1), aka “The Black Box” (for export)

BMC10 = The Beatles Mono Collection box set, 1982 (Parlophone BMC 10), aka “The Red Box” (for the UK)

HTM - Mastered by Harry T. Moss

Ma = Matrix #

P = Pressing

PM = Parlophone Mono (PMC 1202)

SS = Solid State-cut

TC = Tube-cut

TH = Thin vinyl

Please Please Me LP

General Information. Please Please Me was first issued, in the UK, on March 22, 1963, in Mono (Parlophone PMC 1202). The Stereo release (Parlophone PCS 3042) followed on April 26. It spent 63 consecutive weeks in the Melody Maker Top 10, and 30 weeks in a row at #1 (still a record), giving up its spot to the Beatles’ next album, With the Beatles.

UK LP (1963-1968) - "Yellow & Black" (a.k.a. "Y/B")

****

$50-1000

The label shown above is only one of many pressings.

PM, P1-P6, Ma = XEX-421-1N/422-1N (a Decca 1963 contract pressing exists without “-1N” lacquer designation, and is TC), TC.

UK LP (ca. 1969) - "One-Box"

*** ½

$50-100

PM, P7 (this pressing is actually Y/B) and P8, Ma = XEX-421-1N/422-2N, TC+SS.

Australia & New Zealand LP (1960's)

*** ½

$50-100

Parlophone PMCM 1202 (also World Record Club EZ-1033), Ma = XEX-421-1N/422-2N, TC+SS.

UK LP (1982 Reissue)

*** ½

$50-100

The box shown above is BM1.

PM (within the sets BM1 or BMC10), Ma = XEX 421-3/422-2N (common matrix), HTM, TH, SS.

Japan LP (1982 Reissue)

*** +

$50-100

Information. This red-wax (red vinyl) LP was issued several times. The best master of this release is probably from 1982 (Toshiba EAS-70130, lacquer -2/-3 with "M" in the matrix), released both separately and in a box set. It is a solid-state cut, and compressed, rating it only above average. The more commonly-found re-release, from 1986, is not as good.

NOTES

(1) The vinyl UK EP's can be used to collect 12 of the 14 songs on Please Please Me (minus "Boys" and "Baby It's You"). However, some (or all) of the tracks are mastered with a bit of a heavy hand. This applies equally (or especially) to the 1981 vinyl box set, The Beatles EP Collection (EMI BEP 14).

The Japanese version of the EP box set consists of “fold-downs” (i.e., Mono-from-Stereo, which can be produced by pushing the “Mono” button on your amplifier).


USA and Canada Versions

Introducing the Beatles (1963-1964) - both versions

*** ½

$100-2500

General Information. As is well-known, Capitol Records did not immediately pick up the American rights to The Beatles’ releases (see an article with some of the details: here). Thus, hungry Vee-Jay Records was first given the privilege to bring Please Please Me (and The Beatles as we know them) to the United States, which they did in the form of the album Introducing The Beatles (VJLP 1062), a 12-song offering that initially removed "Please Please Me" and "Ask Me Why" from the UK slate. This LP was first released in late July 1963, then reissued (with "Love Me Do" and "P.S. I Love You" replaced, due to a publishing conflict, by "Please Please Me" and "Ask Me Why") in late January 1964.

Beginning on February 29, 1964, Introducing the Beatles spent 9 weeks at #2 on the Billboard chart, behind then-best-seller Meet the Beatles.

The same track lineup for the second version of Introducing the Beatles was repackaged twice, the first time as one disc of the double-album The Beatles vs. The Four Seasons (VJDX 30), released October 1, 1964, and the second time as Songs, Pictures, and Stories of the Fabulous Beatles (VJLP 1092), released October 12 of the same year.

Sonic Information. There’s good news and bad news here. The good news is that Vee-Jay pressed a fine-sounding LP. However, the bad news is manifold. First, all of the aforementioned US albums are super-rare, so they will cost as much or more than a solid UK or Australia/New Zealand pressing, which both equal or surpass the Vee-Jay in sonic hierarchy. Second, these US LP's have all been widely counterfeited, Introducing The Beatles being one of the most pirated albums of all time. If you have one of these, it’s likely to be a fake, and this is bad because the sound quality on most fakes are horrible (some are good). Third, no matter which Vee-Jay version you have, you only get 12, not 14, songs. You’ll still be short either “Love Me Do” and “P.S. I Love You,” or “Please Please Me” and “Ask Me Why." You can supplement the LP with a 45 or EP, but (in my opinion) it’s not worth it. Fourth, “I Saw Her Standing There” has a clipped intro (starting “four!”).

For a guide to collecting genuine, and detecting fake, copies of Introducing The Beatles, go: here.

Twist and Shout (1964)

*** ½

$20-60

General Information. Capitol of Canada issued their own 12-song version of Please Please Me called Twist and Shout (Capitol of Canada T 6054), January 13, 1964. In 1964, this album was only issued in Mono.

Sonic Information. The sound quality here is supposedly excellent (I haven't heard it), at least equaling Introducing The Beatles. But we come upon a familiar obstacle in that only 12 of the 14 songs from Please Please Me are represented, “I Saw Her Standing There” and “Misery” absent.

NOTES

(1) Once they triumphed in court over Vee-Jay (late 1964), and gained possession of the Vee-Jay tapes, Capitol released 11 songs from Introducing the Beatles as The Early Beatles (Capitol T-2309). Yet, the major disappointment was that all tracks on The Early Beatles were Mono-from-Stereo (“Please Please Me" providing the evidence to this effect). Therefore, this source is actually full of Variations, and not a replacement for Please Please Me.

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DIGITAL Hierarchy

Please Please Me CD LP Remaster (2009) - Mono

****


The remaster is a superior product, with excellent clarity and definition, and gobs of low and top end. In comparison to other sources, the remaster wins many times.

Reported that the UK, Germany, and/or Japan release may be mastered with more clarity and/or warmth than the US or Canada issue.

The Beatles CD EP Collection

*** ½

$100-150

This remaster is a good investment. Nevertheless, you still gather only 12 of the 14 Please Please Me tracks.

The Beatles CD LP Please Please Me (1987)

*** +

Surprisingly, although certainly not par with either the UK LP, the 2009 Remaster, or the CD EP Collection, this release has a pretty good reputation.

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BOOTLEG Hierarchy

The best Please Please Me analog-to-digital rips emanate from Dr. Ebbetts and pbthal. These audiophiles used superb equipment, passion, and a good ear, so it might be worth your time to seek them out, especially since it can be a chore to find a good-quality vinyl pressing at a decent price.

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Tom Wise
gengar843@msn.com

Although I use quotes from sources, or cited fact, much of the material on this and other pages of my blog is original, from my own pen. This is not cut-and-paste, it is a work of art. Copyright © 2010 Tom Wise.

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