The Apple Records Box Set
(Apple / EMI)


Had he lived, there’s no doubt that John Lennon would have reunited The Beatles—the band he founded way back at the end of the ‘50s. The advent of the CD in 1984 made the Beatles back catalog as priceless as gold and Lennon would have just loved the compact disc. The incredible success of the Beatles In Mono CD box set in 2009 has led to the 2010 creation of a new 17 CD Apple Records box set appropriately entitled The Apple Records Box Set. In the spirit of the Beatles In Mono box, and looking somewhat stylized like the 2010 John Lennon reissue series, The Apple Records Box Set has immense historical repercussions for those interested in The Beatles and their Apple Records music company, which was really envisioned just after the 1967 Beatles album Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band. Sonically, as well as something visually to behold, The Apple Records Box Set is a pure joy. The box (yes it’s literally a small box), contains 16 original Apple Records albums on 14 CDs, remastered for sonic excellence by the Beatles In Mono crew at Abbey Road in London, with each title fitting neatly into newly designed cardboard LP jacket style CD covers featuring original artwork, new CD booklets and additional key bonus cuts. Each CD contains many of the same bonus tracks featured on the first Apple CD remasters released during the early 1990s plus different rarities. Protégés of Paul McCartney, Badfinger was the most famous of all the Beatles related signings on Apple and the late lamented pop combo is represented on the box with four individual CD remasters—Magic Christian Music (1970), No Dice (1970), Straight Up (1972) and Ass (1974). Mary Hopkin was another discovery of Paul McCartney, and the Beatle sensibly paired her with a song he developed from an old Russian folk song called “Those Were The Days”—possibly the most famous Apple Records single except for “Hey Jude” and “Let It Be.” Ms. Hopkin is featured on The Apple Records Box Set with two CDs featuring her albums Post Card (1969 w/ “Those Were The Days”) and Earth Song, Ocean Song—the latter produced by Brooklyn's own, the great Tony Visconti. James Taylor, another Paul McCartney discovery for Apple, is here with his famous first solo album on Apple, James Taylor, featuring all the Beatles sans John Lennon. Same could be said about George Harrison protégé Jackie Lomax, with this historic Apple box set inclusion of the Harrison produced album Is This What You Want? Funny, I had interviewed Jackie for in 2009 and we were saying how there really should be an Apple Records box set and lo and behold, one year later, here it is! During that interview, me and Jackie were also talking about the fabled mono mix of his Is This What You Want? album and amazingly, there are several Is This What You Want? tracks right here in this box in mono! Talk about coincidence or is somebody at EMI reading my interviews? Okay, there’s so much more here including a 2 albums on 1 CD remaster from John Lennon's jazz favorites The Modern Jazz QuartetUnder The Jasmine Tree (1968) and Space (1969), two George Harrison produced albums from Billy PrestonThat’s The Way God Planned It (1969) and Encouraging Words (1970), the George Harrison produced / self-titled album from Radha Krsna Temple, the Harrison produced, self-titled Doris Troy and a 2 albums on 1 CD from Ringo Starr favorite, classical music composer John TavenerThe Whale (1970) and Celtic Requiem (1971). In addition to the 14 superbly packaged CDs—comprising 16 albums in total including the two 2 on 1 CDs—the box also features a special single Apple Records CD singles collection, mostly in stereo, entitled Come And Get It - The Best Of Apple Records, including a number of rarities that will amaze even diehard Beatles collectors. As with each of the above titles, the 21 track Come And Get It compilation CD features an easy on the eyes full color booklet chock full of vital information on each of the artists here. Interestingly, the box set's Come And Get It collection features well known Apple artists such as Badfinger, James Taylor, Mary Hopkin and Jackie Lomax as well as lesser known Beatles produced Apple artists filed away in the pages of history like Hot Chocolate Band, Ronnie Spector, The Elastic Oz Band, Lon & Derrek van Eaton and others. Even with so much musical greatness, perhaps the coolest thing in the box is a double CD set of tracks—otherwise, available only with the digital download purchase of each of the individually available above albums—simply entitled Apple Studios. Looking almost like a bootleg, CD one of the double disc Apple Studios collection features twenty rarities from Badfinger including a batch of never heard before tracks featuring lush orchestrations from George Martin, with disc two of Apple Studios featuring various rarities from Mary Hopkin and Jackie Lomax—including some rare mono mixes of Jackie’s sole Apple album topped off by a stirring mono mix of “Sour Milk Sea.” One of the best reissue box sets of 2010, The Apple Records Box Set is the ultimate box set tribute to The Beatles and their genius vision for the sadly short lived, yet still highly collectable Apple Records.


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