Friday, October 16, 2009

The Beatles...Again

I was reluctant to invest in yet another reissue of the Beatles catalog. Like most first generation Beatlemaniacs, I bought the original albums or 45's on vinyl editions in the '60's, then downgraded to 8-tracks and cassettes in the '70's, and made the jump to compact discs in the '80's. In between, there were colored vinyl and picture discs, assorted boxed sets of imports and ep's, promotional flexi-discs and, of course, the budget busting collection of bootlegs that is a testament to the passion of the true fanatic. Somehow I missed picking up the catalog on mini-disc. Oops.
When Capitol Records released the newly remastered Beatles albums on September 9th, I decided to pick up one title, my favorite Beatles album, "Revolver," and give it a spin. I went back to the store later that afternoon and purchased "Abbey Road." The next day I threw down for "Sgt. Pepper's" and "Magical Mystery Tour." Throughout the rest of the week, like a junkie copping his next fix, I managed to acquire the rest of the catalog including the newly released mono remasters.
I have listened to little else since these pristine new editions have become part of my vast collection. The remastered versions of these classic albums sound absolutely fabulous. The bass and drums have more punch, the guitars ring out like never before, and the harmonies soar. The clarity of the recordings allow the listener to focus on the subtleties of the arrangements and, even after all these years, pick out little ruffles and flourishes that went unnoticed on older, muddier, editions.
For those who'd like an eye-opening sample of these sonic masterpieces without throwing down on the whole catalog, I'd suggest purchasing "Abbey Road," which, to my ears, benefits the most from the new remastering. Be prepared though, to make additional trips to the store.