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"The Capitol Albums Vol 1" by The Beatles

Click to buy at Amazon.com Reviewed by Terry Cochran

When did you originally hear the LP "Meet The Beatles"? For me it was in December 1963, when Ann Arbor's Discount Records received the first local shipment and sold out overnight. As a college freshman, I had already heard a few British singles on late-night radio, played by DJ's like "Cousin Brucie" Morrow of WABC in New York. This was the first major American release of their music, though, and it quickly led the way to an amazing 19 Top 40 hits for the Fab Four during the year 1964.

I still have that first LP, but I must admit that I've not played it in years. It survived fraternity parties, military travels, and many other moves. But it was eventually shoved aside by the more recent Beatles collections on CD. Even though these were in the British format and sequence, they were still obviously an improvement. The quality on the new ones was great, even if it felt like a little something was missing.

Having grown up with "This Boy" following "I Saw Her Standing There" and with "Till There Was You" coming before "Hold Me Tight," there's a bit of magic here in hearing that old sequence again. "The Capitol Albums Vol. 1" box set reproduces the first 4 Capitol releases and gives us back the songs that we "expect to hear next." There's something comforting in hearing the tunes of our youth resonating so well with memories buried inside for so long.

This "Volume 1" set includes all of the Beatles albums which Capitol released in 1964. Along with the original one, there's "The Beatles Second Album", "Something New", and "Beatles '65". The set even includes 2 versions of each of the 45 songs, both the original mono ones and also stereo versions (or faux stereo "duophonic," in some cases).

Each disc comes in a miniature replica of the original album cover and there is also a 48-page booklet commemorating the 40th anniversary of the British invasion which began when America first met the Beatles. The arrangements might not be the ones approved by the Beatles -- with all of the reverb, more harmonica, and longer endings -- but they definitely are the ones which the young Baby Boomers of America came to know and love.

Buy it now and listen again to the sounds of '64. And then see if you can remember who your dance partner was, when you first sang along with "I Want To Hold Your Hand"?

Finally, all together now, sing "Yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah . . ."

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