'The Beatles: Past Masters' collects both volumes of the previously issued 'Past Masters' CDs, in remastered form and an attractive gatefold sleeve. For the uninitiated, these discs collect the commercially released Beatles tracks not featured on any of their albums - mostly singles and B-sides, including such legendary tracks as 'From Me To You', 'She Loves You', 'Paperback Writer', 'Hey Jude' and many more besides, as well as the German re-recordings 'Komm, Gib Mir Deine Hand' and 'Sie Liebt Dich'.
The main benefit with this reissue - besides both discs being available together for the first time - is that the tracks, like the rest of the Beatles catalogue, have been extensively remastered. In some cases, the differences aren't obvious, and it's occasionally hard to tell the difference between the original CD versions and the new ones - mainly on the earlier material. But in some cases, the difference the remastering makes is astonishing - 'She's A Woman' being the most obvious example, which is now so much clearer that I was able to detect a whole piano part I hadn't previously been aware of. As with all the other remastered releases, there's a glossy booklet filled with background information, though unlike the albums, there's no additional video content, presumably due to the wide ranging nature of the material, which it would be difficult to do justice in a 4 or 5 minute featurette.
If you own the earlier 'Past Masters' CDs, I'd say there was certainly a benefit in upgrading to the remastered edition - and it's certainly better value than before. If you don't, then there's no better time to explore this fantastic collection of popular classics and a few hidden gems.