“The Beatles: 1967-1970″/”The Blue Album” (remaster) by The Beatles

Artist: The Beatles
Title: “The Blue Album” or “1967-1970” (remaster)
Label: Capitol Records
Release Date: 10/19/2010
Genre: Rock & Roll
Rating: 5/5

In September 2009, the Rock & Roll fans of the world were once again reminded of the full impact and resonating musical influence that was the legacy of The Beatles catalog when it received the remastered treatment and was delivered in both a Stereo and a Mono boxed set. These collections featured all of the bands albums minus the “Anthology” releases and the “Live At The BBC” and were worthy additions to ones musical library. Fast forward a little over a year to where we are today as EMI Music and Apple Corps presents the long overdue collections that were entitled “The Red Album: 1962-1966” and “The Blue Album: 1967-1970”. The special nature of these releases finds each being touched upon in their own narrative.

Much like its companion release “The Red Album”, I have very fond memories of “The Blue Album” and I am pretty sure that when I originally purchased them that I did it at the same time. I figured this would be the best way to appreciate them for while they had originally been released in 1973 it was not until many years later that I would head over to the local record store and purchase my copies on LP. I mentioned how these were among my first music purchases when I offered up some views about “The Red Album” and that is why they stick in my mind so strongly to this day. Much like its predecessor in red, “The Blue” album continues to present what The Beatles themselves viewed as their most valued music and covers years 1967-1970 when they officially broke up as a band. Even though I loved what was presented to the fans on the “The Red Album” I would have to say that I personally leaned to the offerings on “The Blue Album” because I was old enough to be not only purchasing my own music now, but also finding my own favorite radio stations on the dial and these same stations were playing a lot more of what was to be found on this release as opposed to the bands earliest vintage. I cannot easily define a favorite track from this collection as to be honest all of them are sound selections. Of course the strongest works are here such as “Lucy In The Sky With Diamonds”, “Strawberry Fields Forever”, “Penny Lane” and the list goes on.

It’s interesting to observe this many incredible tunes on a single release because it only fortifies the bands position as a musical juggernaut at the end of the listen. These songs showcase the most creative period of the bands career as they experimented with new sounds and aural experiences. To say that the band was prolific in their “later” years would be an understatement. It was very different from their mostly Pop adventures as they went deeper into the levels of what kind of talent they all possessed as musicians. This was the Psychedelic and Trippy era and there were many lush orchestrations being used to fantastic effect. With this part of their career The Beatles helped in numerous ways to expand people’s consciousness and this was easily done since they were expanding their own at the time. The Hard Rock fans of the world might find it interesting when they learn how a number of the selections on this particular collection had been given a turn by bands such as Aerosmith, Type O Negative, Cheap Trick and Styx. I am speaking in particular about “Come Together”, “Magical Mystery Tour” and “I Am The Walrus” to name a quick few.

Having said that I hailed from a later level of fandom when it came to the music of The Beatles, it was safe to also admit that this would be the first exposure to such a concentration of the bands work in my own musical upbringing. Listeners who were older than me by a couple of years probably got the jump start on me by purchasing these releases when they came out or shortly after in terms of years, but like myself were probably too young to best grasp how important this all was for music during the late sixties. The band was clearly one of the most important if not THE most important to Rock & Roll and as you listen to these early years you can listen and mentally watch how the band grows better at what they do and despite some stylistic changes seemed incapable of delivering a bad tune. It must have been exciting to be a fan of The Beatles during their heyday and eagerly await the next round of musical ideas that would come from the super combination of players in John Lennon, Paul McCartney, George Harrison and Ringo Starr. Perhaps you didn’t shell out the necessary money for the complete collection boxed sets yet, but either way the “Blue Album” is something that you should add to your music collection without question. Every tune presented is a great one and you will find yourself pressing “play” and listening from beginning to end as its inspiration does its work on your music loving psyche.

The booklet included with the remaster is a definite upgrade from the one that came with the original CD release of this collection. It’s been expanded by a number of pages and peaks at thirty two and while the original issue found eight photos of the group during these years, the remastered edition presents ten for your enjoyment. Many of them have been blown up to be a larger size than we found on the original which was equally cool. There are liner notes that mirror that of the “Red” collection but then there is also text that better lines out these particular years in regards to the bands interesting history. Lyrics for all of the songs are included to help you keep up with the band but it’s very likely that these tunes are already a part of your genetic makeup. Either way it’s cool that they include them as I have long been a fan of such parts of a booklet (especially in this digital age). Closing up, while I stand firm on this being a must have collection, I do recommend that you follow my original course of action as a youth and purchase both “Red” and “Blue” together so you can listen to them as a whole body of work and be best schooled in their musical genius.

Track Listing:
1. Strawberry Fields Forever
2. Penny Lane
3. Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band
4. With A Little Help From My Friends
5. Lucy In The Sky With Diamonds
6. A Day In The Life
7. All You Need Is Love
8. I Am The Walrus
9. Hello, Goodbye
10. The Fool On The Hill
11. Magical Mystery Tour
12. Lady Madonna
13. Hey Jude
14. Revolution
15. Back In The U.S.S.R.
16. While My Guitar Gently Weeps
17. Ob-La-Di, Ob-La-Da
18. Get Back
19. Don’t Let Me Down
20. The Ballad Of John And Yoko
21. Old Brown Shoe
22. Here Comes The Sun
23. Come Together
24. Something
25. Octopus’s Garden
26. Let It Be
27. Across The Universe
28. The Long And Winding Road

Official Website: http://thebeatles.com

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