- Audio CD (11 Nov. 2013)
- Number of Discs: 4
- Format: Box set
- Label: UMC
- ASIN: B00FMF3R0I
- Average Customer Review: 38 customer reviews
- Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 47,478 in CDs & Vinyl (See Top 100 in CDs & Vinyl)
Live At The BBC - The Collection Box set
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The Beatles - On Air: The Collection presents the unique opportunity to own both Live At The BBC and On Air: Live At The BBC Volume 2 for the first time, packaged together in a unique slipcase. Please note this is a limited edition release
Top customer reviews
Live at the BBC volume one
Is it worth re buying this album Live at the BBC originally issued in 1994? Well yes, yes defiantly. This new issue is better on many levels and its easy to say that it is worth getting again.
The sound is better for a start. There is noticeably more body to the sound and it is not as tinny as the 94 issue. There is clear noise reduction and it all sounds brighter and sharper. The 94 issue is very good and if you are a casual fan of the Beatles it is still going to serve well. But anyone that is a serious fan really should consider re buying the album on the re master sound alone providing of course you liked the music content and historical aspect of this album.
Secondly this new release comes into line with the more recent official re mastered albums in terms of presentation. We now have the familiar card gatefold album cover with no plastic case or trays. I much prefer the art work with the front picture changing from the 94 sepia image that made it look as if it was historically from the Victorian period rather than the 1960s to a more accurate black and white image. In keeping with this there is good photo art work on the inside gatefold with black and white picture of the bbc broadcasting house. Then the booklet is great with nice presentation with good colour and black and white photos and track details. It is a really nice presentation.
The concept of the album was always great anyway, even back in 94. First of all the Beatles were so successful in the 1960s and they appeared in magazine interviews, TV appearances and Radio which all helped to raise their profile. Just the same as any other famous pop act that came after them or today. But there is not much that is available of the Beatles so this release helps us to be connected to the Beatles as people, the sixties and the atmosphere of the era with the group as a currently popular and modern pop group. It is a time capsule. We get bits of conversation and banter between DJs and the fab four which adds that human personality to the people behind the music. Its interesting to hear the opinions of the group at the time and there is good fun humour in the banter.
Of course that is where the other interest is. The music. The Beatles recorded so much during the sixties and they often performed some songs many times. And that was true on Radio as well. But thankfully the Beatles performed other songs on these Radio recordings that are mostly covers of already established songs. This gives this album is value and its potential. There are at least 28 songs that are recorded here that do not appear on the official album releases.
The other tracks offer us an alternative version with great live performance. And to add to that there is the fact that despite the reality that the BBC made these recordings for radio transmission on equipment that wasn't as good as studio quality it is actually better sound quality than the majority of alternative archive recordings of the Beatles. Bootleg material and other live recordings were usually poor. Lets face it the sound on these recordings is actually very good indeed and not that far off the studio album quality. And the live versions don't have thousands of screaming fans on them spoiling the music or over powering the recording levels.
This is a really great release and it is easily a good addition to the official album releases.
Live at the BBC volume two
After the great album Live a the BBC released originally in 1994 and now re mastered and a superior edition, There comes the Live at the BBC volume two.
It may have taken nearly twenty years but it is more than a welcome release.
Like the re master of volume one this new release comes into line with the more recent official re mastered albums in terms of presentation. We now have the familiar card gatefold album cover with no plastic case or trays. I like the art work with the front picture being a colour image similar to the black and white picture of the Beatles on volume one. In keeping with this there is good photo art work on the inside gatefold with the same black and white picture of the bbc broadcasting house that appeared on volume one but this time with hints of colour. Then the booklet is great with nice presentation with good colour and black and white pictures and track details. It is a really nice presentation.
Out of all of the songs the Beatles recorded at the BBC it is no surprise that the original volume one Live at the BBC used the majority of songs that had not appeared on any of their albums. This means that this second volume Live at the BBC volume two does not have so much original song recordings. But that does not mean it is pointless. In fact there is so much to praise about this release.
There are at least two songs that do not appear on the official studio album releases. And although these are recorded live for radio they are great recordings.
The same has to be said for the other tracks. There are Live recordings of songs that do appear on the studio albums. Also there some alternative versions of songs that actually appeared on volume one.
The sound quality is great throughout the two disc set and there is interesting spoken word tracks with banter between DJs and the group. The concept of the album was always great anyway, even back in 94 with volume one. And the same concept continues here. First of all the Beatles were so successful in the 1960s and they appeared in magazine interviews, TV appearances and Radio which all helped to raise their profile. Just the same as any other famous pop act that came after them or today. But there is not much that is available of the Beatles so this release helps us to be connected to the Beatles as people, the sixties and the atmosphere of the era with the group as a currently popular and modern pop group. It is a time capsule. We get bits of conversation and banter between DJs and the fab four which adds that human personality to the people behind the music. Its interesting to hear the opinions of the group at the time and there is good fun humour in the banter.
Also in addition this time there are four interview sections with each member of the group. These are interesting and since they may not be so interesting after repeated play they are thankfully added at the end of each disc. (two interviews per disc)
This album doesn't have the same originality as the volume one but it is a great addition and is worth getting. It is a very interesting release indeed.
Together this box set makes a unique quality release of Beatles magic
I must admit that the pricing of this 2 volume set doesn't really make much sense when you can purchase both volumes separately cheaper. There is nothing other than a cardboard sleeve to justify the extra 2. Surely there should be a saving for buying both?
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![...]
Whilst I was very happy with the music content of these discs (the BBC sessions are superb), I was less than happy with the terrible packaging. The slipcase is very flimsy, and as both of the 2CD BBC sets come in gatefold cardboard packaging it offers them no protection at all against wear and tear. I cannot understand why they did not make the outer packaging plastic in order to offer better protection.
I bought that as a completist collector, and was seriously let down by the lack of thought that has gone into this 'collector's box.'
Also, Amazon's packaging to ship these discs is just another layer of cardboard with no bubble wrap, so when this set arrived it had been crushed in the post, and the outer box as well as the BBC sets were ruined. I send it back to Amazon, only to have the same problem again second time around.
If you want this in one piece I would seriously considering buying it from an actual shop (spoken like a precious Fab Four collector!)
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