Thursday, September 3

Where have I been?

After my Ode to the LP post I decided to listen to some classic music. I've been particularly crabby the past couple of weeks and I recalled that sometimes the right music can improve my mood. Last night I put on my fancy Bose headset and listened to the Beatles songs on my iPod in shuffle mode. It was great. I didn't sleep much but I did notice lots of fun new things upon carefully listening to those songs. I enjoyed Paul's awesome bass licks on She Came in Through the Bathroom Window. I'd never noticed it before but Paul sounds amazing on that song. (.. and yeah, you heard me. I referred to Paul's playing as "licks" and I meant it. I reserve the right to refer to the guitar as an "ax" later on.) I also loved hearing Hey Jude and Penny Lane up close and personal. (By the way, any of my friends out there who may survive me, I have a request for you. Will you please make sure that somebody plays In My Life at my funeral? I'm serious. I don't mean some attention-whore standing up front with a guitar lamely plucking away and singing. No! I want The Beatles recording of In My Life played at my funeral and I want it dedicated to my family... especially Jake and Alex. Yes, it's a sort of depressing thought but I want it known. Make that happen for me, will ya?)

Oh! I was also reminded of what an eff'd up song Run For Your Life really is. Don't let your children listen to that one OR Happiness is a Warm Gun. Kids are cute but they don't seem to understand irony. Oh, and Revolution 9 will certainly cause brain damage to any self respecting kid so steer clear of that one too. (Thanks a lot Yoko.) It would, however, make for a pretty funny ring tone.

Anyway... I thoroughly enjoyed my little meditation on The Beatles and suggest you give it a go.

On one hand, listening to a Beatles shuffle mix is a blast. On the other, its somewhat disturbing. I know the later Beatles albums so well that when one song ends I hear the next in my head before it even starts. When you're listening to an iPod shuffle and the wrong song follows the last it can confuse your brain. I listened to 96 Beatles songs between last night and today at work. I loved every one of them.

When I got home my niece called to say "I'd like to order a pizza with cat poop on it." I replied "Wrong number!" . I did, however, need to talk to my brother and they seemed to be in the car so her call was convenient. The conversation went something like this:

Lucy: "Ask Daddy if has any more Beatles CDs than I have."
Niece: *mumble* "Daddy says he has A Hard's Days Help and Night."
Lucy: *stiffling a laugh* "Ok, thanks. Tell him I need to borrow them."
Niece: "Ok. Daddy, Aunty Lucy says she needs to borrow those CDs."... "Daddy says he wants to talk to you."
Michael: "Dude! You know all The Beatles albums are being remastered and re-released on September 9th, right?"
Lucy: "What?! I thought it was just that Beatles Rock Band game that was coming out."
Michael: "No! All of the remasters are being released in a big boxed set."
Lucy: "Crap. That's gonna cost me."
Micheal: "Yeah. Hey, I listened to the entire White Album the other day and... *shouting over his shoulder* "Alex! Ear muffs!" (His way of telling her to cover her ears.) *whispering into the phone* " ya know, some people did their best work on serious drugs."
Lucy: "Yeah, I've always said that some of the best music out there came from heroin and cocaine. Billie Holiday, Ray Charles, Eric Clapton, the Stones... everyone rocked when they were stoned!"

(Disclaimer: Don't get me wrong, I do not condone drug use but there is no denying that some seriously great art has come from the stuff. Of course, it never ends well but that zenith sure can be inspired while it lasts.)

Well hells, back to my imminent remastered Beatles set purchase. I hopped online to search for the scoop on the goods. It seems the remastered Beatles albums can be bought individually OR in a mono boxed set OR a stereo boxed set. I repeat... hells! What am I supposed to do? I read up on it all and decided the more expensive mono version might be a good way to go. The clarity is supposed to be excellent and it is the way they were originally recorded. Besides, I've always hated Paul singing in one ear while Ringo drums away in the other.

I then called a friend who works at a record label. I figured he must know a thing or two about old school recordings. Surely he'd understand the difference between the mono and stereo sets and have a solid opinion on the matter. (His wife, who I know much better chanted "Nerd! Nerd! Nerd!" in the kitchen while we spoke. I don't deny it. I am most definitely a nerd.) Well, my conversation with the record label friend just made the decision more difficult. Turns out he's buying BOTH the mono and the stereo sets. He explained that the early recordings were, of course, originally mono but that they are also the only recordings The Beatles were around to consult on, so that's a plus. He went on to say that, yes, we were supposed to hear tons of never-before-heard details on the mono remasters. On the downside Abbey Road (my favorite and the one I had to buy in the 80's as a UK CD import) is not included in the mono set because it was only released in stereo. DAMMIT! However, the remastered stereo CDs include documentaries on each disc going through the making-of that particular album. DOUBLE DAMMIT! What the hell am I supposed to do?

Did I mention that these sets are NOT CHEAP. Both are well over $200 each. I can barely justify buying one much less both. I tend to be more of a fan of the Beatles' later records. We all love the early music but I never felt compelled to buy any of it because it's so frequently heard in day-to-day life. I have LP and CD copies of Revolver and everything released after wards. Beatles fans have long complained about the poor quality of the currently available CDs. Meanwhile, I'm happy to finally have a reason to buy all of The Beatles CDs once and for all. The fact that they are remastered makes the set downright irresistible.

I told my brother I'd buy the mono set if he'd buy the stereo set. We'll see. I keep changing my mind. I really want to see those album documentaries. I'm nerd enough to enjoy multiple viewings of them. But... oh, I don't know. Apparently all versions of the sets are sold out for God knows how long so I've got time to make up my mind.

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