Reviewed by Jim Caligiuri, Fri., Dec. 10, 2004
The BeatlesThe Capitol Albums Vol. 1 (Capitol)
That the four albums in this box set, Meet the Beatles!, The Beatles' Second Album, Something New, and Beatles '65, are making their debut on CD is extraordinary. Especially considering the fact that millions of households in the U.S. possessed a least one of them at some point after their 1964 release. (Imagine, four albums in one year!) The problem, in this case, was that these versions of the LPs weren't officially sanctioned by the band. They were the label's repackaging of the Fab Four's first three UK discs for the American market, with resequenced song order and, to the disdain of many, some even had their sonics altered by Dave Dexter Jr., the Capitol executive who dropped producer George Martin's credit on the first two discs and added his own to the next two. When Capitol Records reissued the band's catalog in the mid-Eighties, it was determined that the UK collections were definitive by not reissuing the U.S. configurations on CD, and Beatlemaniacs stateside felt cheated. That's finally rectified. You can now experience your Beatles albums in the order you remember them. Remastered, they sound even more brilliant, plus each is offered in stereo and mono versions on the same disc for a total of 90 tracks. The early hits "I Want to Hold Your Hand," "She Loves You," "I Saw Her Standing There," "Twist & Shout" still fairly burst from the speakers as do power-pop precursors "Roll Over Beethoven," "I Wanna Be Your Man," "Any Time at All," and "It Won't Be Long." Beatles '65 remains a personal favorite, with tunes like "She's a Woman," "I Feel Fine," "Mr. Moonlight," and "I'll Be Back" offering a glimpse into a sound that would soon blossom into Rubber Soul. That album, along with the other American Beatles albums that have never been released on CD, A Hard Day's Night, Beatles VI, Help!, Yesterday and Today, and Revolver, will no doubt be part of The Capitol Albums Vol. 2 and/or Vol. 3. Let's hope that those feature packaging a little more sturdy than the flimsy cardboard and cheap graphics that accompany this set.