55 of 59 people found the following review helpful
on 11 November 2013
This is a review of the Live At The BBC - The Collection but contains specific reference to On Air - Live At The BBC Volume 2, hope people find it useful.
When Live At The BBC was released in 1994 it kicked off a major archival excavation that culminated in the Beatles Anthology Project but to my mind the Live At The BBC was the most interesting of these archival releases and the one that I have listened to the most over the years. It wasn't without it's flaws though and with the bootleg releases that included most of their complete shows, a volume 2 seemed like a no brainer. So it's a surprise that it's taken nearly 20 years for that to happen, especially as volume 1 shifted something like 5 million units.
Anyway, with regards to volume 1 the question is whether its worth purchasing the remaster if you already have the original from 1994. I would certainly say yes, if you don't have volume one then its essential and the stronger of the 2 volumes as it contains the most unreleased tracks. Although there isn't any new music or major upgrades in sources to what you would already have, the use of noise reduction is a lot better and less heavy handed than the previous issue and the key thing is the completely unnecessary cross fading between tracks have been removed, meaning you can compile both volumes chronologically without cutting of the start or end of tracks. There are also a few more snippets of dialogue like the inclusion of the amusing introduction from George to Soldier of Love, wish they'd also included the equally amusing intro to the Honeymoon Song or the `Honeyboot Song' as George calls it because of his `terrible nose'.
As for `On Air - Live At The BBC Volume 2' this is long overdue. I really didn't think we would see any further official releases of the BBC recordings so this is hugely welcome. There aren't many sound upgrades from the bootlegs but on first listen Words of Love, Ask Me Why and Anna are considerable upgrades from the latest bootleg sources. Of the 36 unique songs the Beatles recorded for the BBC only the tracks from their very first session are still to be officially released. Those are Dream Baby, Besame Mucho (the EMI recording was released on Anthology One) and Pictures of You, all with Pete Best on drums. Not sure why those haven't been included because sound quality wise they are no worse than `I'm Talking About You' or Keep Your Hands of My Baby. Volume 2 also contains the tracks from the Baby It's You CD single but contains a different version of Devil In Her Heart, so need hang on to those singles, Lend Me Your Comb which was missing from volume 1 is also included here. The only frustration for me is we still don't have at least 1 performance of every song performed for the BBC! Of the 88 different songs recorded for the BBC we are still missing, I Call Your Name, I Should Have Known Better, The Night Before and I'm Happy Just to Dance With You as well as the 3 tracks I mentioned above from the first BBC sessions. All of these tracks are available on the boots but in poor quality so I suspect the compilers wanted to keep the poor quality off air recordings to a minimum on a mainstream release.
So all in all, Volume 2 is a very worthy addition to the Beatles catalogue and a excellent reissue of Volume 1. The studio outtake of I Feel Fine especially is a highlight. The booklets are excellent with essay's from Kevin Howlett (author of the excellent The Beatles: The BBC Archives: 1962-1970) as well as a track by track analysis. I never tire of these performances and would happily sit through every one of their 275 performances (and have done on many occasions). Performances like Soldier of Love, Some Other Guy and To Know Her is To Love Her are every bit as good as the covers they recorded for EMI. It never ceases to amaze me that 2 of the greatest rock and roll singers of all time ended up in the same band!
So is there enough material left for a Volume 3, damn right there is. We are still missing those 3 unique tracks as mentioned earlier but there are sufficiently interesting versions of the already released tracks to justify another volume. The version of I'm a Loser with John substituted lyrics `Beneath This Wig I'm Wearing a Tie' immediately springs to mind, as well as superior performances of Misery from Pop Go The Beatles 14 and There's a Place from Pop Go The Beatles 5 also I can't believe they kept that version of A Hard Day's Night on volume one with the solo flown in from the EMI recording when they played it live on another performance. Hopefully as new sources are discovered this will happen.
*Edit 16/12/13. 41 more BBC tracks are being released on iTunes on the 17/12 along with studio outtakes and demo's in an effort to prevent them from becoming public domain![...]
7 of 8 people found the following review helpful
on 16 November 2013
I try and buy music on the old black stuff whenever I can. This 3-LP set is obviously priced at a premium compared to the CD but it's worth the extra money. The triple gatefold packaging is superb (although the lack on inner bags is a bit of a niggle), beautifully printed with informative notes from Kevin Howlett and an interesting intro from Macca; plus, of course notes on each individual track. The great advantage of the LP format is of course the fact that you don't get eyestrain reading the sleevenotes!
The records themselves are beautifully pressed, and devoid of surface noise. Sound quality, given the age and origin of much of this material, is very good indeed.
As for the music, well I think it's better than that on Volume 1. Granted, I won't be listening to the interviews on the third LP (interesting as they are) THAT much but as a whole I think this collection is of more musical interest than the first.
10 of 12 people found the following review helpful
I have to admit, it's not easy for me to listen to this album and equate what I'm hearing with the massively enthusiastic reviews for these two discs. It's difficult to treat this album as any more than it is - a collection of archive live performances The Beatles made for the BBC in the early sixties, some of which isn't of the best sound quality. I'm not stating for a minute that it isn't enjoyable or of great interest to a fan of The Beatles (any serious fan will want to own it), but for anyone who has owned Volume One for the past couple of decades, this album simply adds another volume of curios, asides and performances of songs we have all (mostly) heard before. There are the old rock 'n' roll classics The Beatles hammered out in Hamburg as live versions of singles and album tracks from their first few years of recorded output (1962 to 1965), plus a few "profile" interviews tagged onto the end. These are all good to have, it's a really lovely, quality package (featuring an interview with Paul McCartney from July 2013 in the beautifully detailed booklet) and made me smile many times throughout listening to it, but I can't see myself getting this album out to play very often now I have it... probably about the same frequency that I have Volume One, maybe once every three or four years.
I'm not criticising any aspect of this collection, far from it, it does exactly what it says on the tin, however there really is a lack of a "wow" factor on Volume Two. There was huge excitement listening to and watching the Anthology project and there were certain tracks on Volume One that really got the hairs on the back of the neck tingling. Unfortunately, there just isn't that kind of material on this album - they're not exactly scraping the bottom of the barrel, either, but I have to say that there is very little here that has increased my love or appreciation of The Beatles (if, indeed, that is possible). Simply put, it's just a very pleasant, decent listen that is more interesting for the interviews and hearing the four of them chat than listening to the music itself, as nice as it all is. Apart from one or two tracks outstanding, it seems like this is probably going to be the last "original" material that we will hear from the Fab Four, so that, in itself, makes it something to treasure, but for the songs, live performances and sound quality, I have to, objectively, say that it isn't exactly the toppermost of the poppermost. Wouldn't it have been great to have been there, eagerly listening to this emanating from the wireless at that point in time, though...?
on 28 December 2014
Any new release from the vaults is worthy of anticipation and this double album doesn't disappoint. With a huge number of recordings to choose from amongst the BBC archives here you get 40 music tracks, 23 linking tracks and 4 individual interviews. There are some repeats of songs from the first volume but in different versions, but many appear for the first time. Of particular note is a barnstorming performance of "I'm talking about you", worth the cost almost on its own.
The sound is largely the standard BBC mono of the time, well presented and crisp, with just the occasional deviation into what could most kindly be described as historic sound quality as tracks are recovered from sources other than the original master tape. But this does not detract from the joy of hearing these wonderful artifacts capturing a unique period in time of a band clearly enjoying themselves. Marvelous stuff.
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on 11 March 2014
I bought this as a present for my husband who is a massive Beatles fan and very knowledgeable on their music. He absolutely loves it and is very impressed with the sound quality and content. He also really enjoys listening to them speak during the interviews recorded when they were much younger!
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on 22 February 2014
As a lifelong Beatles fan I was pleased to see the appearance of "On Air". However, if "Live at the BBC" is the A side "On air" is most certainly the B side. It's not that it's bad; it's just not as good. "Live at the Beeb" brought us not only live versions of many of the numbers from their first four albums and contemporary singles but also dozens of covers. It was like listening to "Live at the Star Club" except that it was much better recorded. "On Air" though has few of those and almost none that we haven't already now heard. On the other hand if you are a diehard like me you have to have it, don't you? and it will get the occasional playing. Highlights: "Money" and "Twist and Shout" and (wierdly - not their best single) "From Me To You".