Sunday, January 15, 2012

The Beatles - Revolver (Purple Chick), Vol. I & II



I know that the consensus "Greatest Album of All Time" is Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Heart's Club Band, but my all-time favorite Beatles album is Revolver. Revolver is where I think the Beatles peaked, in terms of overall songcraft, inventiveness and variety. Indian music, Motown, children's music, rock, pop, chamber music - all enhanced by the most groundbreaking studio techniques seen on an album up to that point (did I mention that this record came out in 1966?) - they did it ALL on Revolver, and everything holds together, as both stand-alone tunes and as a coherent album. I know that it's near-blasphemy to say this, but I feel that Revolver is FAR superior to Sgt. Pepper - and The White Album, for that matter.

I never get tired of hearing the songs on this disc. In fact, one of my favorite memories from my days in Texas is a trip I took with my girlfriend to Austin one weekend. We ended up in a small bar along the main drag there, where a four-piece band of what looked to be high school kids were set up and playing their songs. Suddenly, these youngsters kicked in with an absolutely amazing live version of "Tomorrow Never Knows" - I mean, words cannot describe how good they were, and how stunning their version was. I often wonder what happened to that group, and if they got any farther than that little club in Austin, because they were THAT good.

One weekend afternoon in the spring of 2008, I was browsing the magazine racks at Borders Books in Newark, Delaware, checking out the latest issues of Q and Uncut in the section housing the music rags. I can't recall what made me pick up the latest issue of Rolling Stone - maybe it was the cover photo, or a feature article that caught my eye. It HAD to be something out of the ordinary, because any other time I would have touched that magazine with a ten-foot pole. In my mind, Rolling Stone is the magazine of the music establishment; it's the one you go to if you want reviews on the most recent Springsteen or Third Eye Blind album, or commentary on the latest Dylan reissue. But as for any writing related to what is happening on the cutting edge of music, Rolling Stone is just about the last place on Earth to look for that. I respect their coverage of classic rock (as my own ongoing "Rolling Stone 500" postings here on this blog humbly acknowledge), and their political reporting over the past 40 years has been consistently superb. But in my opinion, Rolling Stone hasn't been interesting since they last published an article by or about the late, legendary Hunter S. Thompson, the magazine's former "National Affairs Desk" correspondent - the guy who more than anyone else put them on the map, journalistically speaking.

But I digress . . .

ANYWAY, as I was saying - for some reason, I picked up Rolling Stone and started flipping through it. Near the front of the magazine, I came across a small article celebrating the release of what were reported to be high-quality Beatles bootlegs, by something/someone called Purple Chick:
The Beatles' albums came out on CD in 1987, but fans have long complained that the early digital technology used to remaster the recordings left them sounding hollow and thin — and that the official remasters are way overdue. That's where Purple Chick comes in — a secretive fan (or group of fans) who has been quietly remastering classic discs like Revolver and A Hard Day's Night, and releasing the digital files for free online. How is this possible? The Beatles' CDs sound so bad that carefully digitized tracks from pristine vinyl copies are noticeably better — with crisper highs, a fuller soundstage, and more realistic reproduction of instruments and voices. And the Purple Chick editions are superior to the originals in other ways, too: The Sgt. Pepper collection contains the original record in mono and stereo, and four discs worth of studio outtakes; the White Album comes in a whopping twelve-disc version, including alternate takes, studio chatter, demos and fascinating jams.
Although the write-up was short, it included the website address where these bootlegs could be downloaded.

"Holy shit!", I thought as I immediately dropped the magazine back on the rack and literally ran out of the store, fumbling for my car keys as I inwardly cursed the stupid bunch of bastards the Rolling Stone staff apparently were for diming Purple Chick out so blatantly. By publishing in a national magazine the exact Internet location of where to download unauthorized records, I knew that the site was at risk of being immediately shut down by the authorities. For all I knew as I hightailed it home from the bookstore, the site had already been taken offline. All the way back to nearby Elkton, Maryland, I lambasted Rolling Stone in my thoughts for their idiocy, and as I hurried through the door towards my computer, I prayed that Purple Chick was still up and running.

To my relief and good fortune, it was. I sat down, settled in, and began downloading everything I could from their site.

The guy or guys at Purple Chick (no one really knows who or how many people were behind it) have over the years done many remasterings of classic albums. They've done some work on the Beach Boys' back catalogue, some with Tracy Chapman and a lot of Indigo Girls. But their main concentration and specialty was in Beatles remasters. Over the years, they put out amazing multi-disc sets of all of the Beatles major albums. In addition, they gathered rare and obscure Fab Four material (like the original Decca audition tapes, the complete BBC Radio shows, and their annual Christmas fan club records), cleaned those up, and released pristine versions. The work that they did on the Beatles music, unheralded and unrewarded, puts to complete shame the botched job EMI did with their widely publicized recent "remasterings" of the Beatles catalog.

Alas, with all of the great work Purple Chick did with this music, they were forced to go further underground. Sure enough, just as I figured would happen, the authorities came in and clamped down on the site within a week of the RS article appearing. Fortunately, by the time they were shut down, I had gathered up pretty much everything I wanted from them, including their Revolver remaster (I was sorely tempted to get their twelve-disc(!) reworking of The White Album - auditions and studio takes included - but I just didn't have the time or wherewithal (not to worry, though - I got it later!)). On everything I collected, the sound quality was just as superb as had been claimed.

For your information, here's the song lineup for the Purple Chick 3-disc Revolver set:

VOLUME I (Disc 1 is in stereo; disc 2 is in mono):
Disc 1:
1: Paperback Writer
2: Rain
3: Taxman
4: Eleanor Rigby
5: I’m Only Sleeping
6: Love You To
7: Here, There and Everywhere
8: Yellow Submarine
9: She Said, She Said
10: Good Day Sunshine
11: And Your Bird Can Sing
12: For No One
13: Dr. Robert
14: I Want To Tell You
15: Got To Get You Into My Life
16: Tomorrow Never Knows (mono = mono matrix ii)

alternate stereo mixes
17: I'm Only Sleeping (US mix)
18: And Your Bird Can Sing (US mix)
19: Dr. Robert (US mix)
20: Paperback Writer (Anthology video)
21: Rain (Anthology video)
22: Eleanor Rigby (Y.S. Songtrack)
23: Love You To (Y.S. Songtrack)
24: Yellow Submarine (Y.S. Songtrack)
25: For No One (Anthology DVD)
26: Paperback Writer (Anthology DVD)
27: Rain (Anthology DVD)

Disc 2
alternate mono mixes
1: Paperback Writer
2: Rain
3: Taxman
4: Eleanor Rigby
5: I’m Only Sleeping
6: Love You To
7: Here, There and Everywhere
8: Yellow Submarine
9: She Said, She Said
10: Good Day Sunshine
11: And Your Bird Can Sing
12: For No One
13: Dr. Robert
14: I Want To Tell You
15: Got To Get You Into My Life
16: Tomorrow Never Knows (mono = mono matrix ii)
17: I’m Only Sleeping (US mix)
18: Dr. Robert (US mix)
19: Tomorrow Never Knows (Mono Matrix I)
20: Yellow Submarine (unreleased)
21: Yellow Submarine (film mix)
VOLUME II (one disc)
1: Mark I (Tomorrow Never Knows) - take 1 (Anthology 2)
2: Got To Get You Into My Life - take 5 (Anthology 2 + Anthology DVD + Anthology video)
3: Paperback Writer - take 1 (Studio Sessions)
4: Paperback Writer - take 2 (Studio Sessions + URT1)
5: And Your Bird Can Sing - take 2
(stereo remix from Anthology DVD surround channels, with loop removed)
6: And Your Bird Can Sing - take 2 + overdubs
(stereo remix from Anthology DVD surround channels, with loop removed)
7: Taxman - take 11 (Anthology 2)
8: Eleanor Rigby - take 14 (Anthology 2)
9: I'm Only Sleeping - rehearsal (Anthology 2)
10: I'm Only Sleeping - remake take 1 (Anthology 2)
11: For No One - rehearsal (CRMM)
12: For No One - take 1 (CRMM)
13: For No One - take 2 (CRMM)
14: For No One - a (CCRMM)
15: For No One - b (CCRMM)
16: For No One - c (CCRMM)
17: For No One - take 10 (composite from CRMM)
18: For No One - take 14 (composite from CRMM)
19: Yellow Submarine - take 5 (Real Love single)
20: Here, There and Everywhere - take 7(+14) (Real Love single)
21: Here, There and Everywhere - take 14 (composite from CRMM)

alternate mixes:
22: Got To Get You Into My Life - take 5 (Anthology 2)
23: And Your Bird Can Sing - take 2 (Anthology 2 OOPSed)
24: And Your Bird Can Sing - take 2+overdubs (Anthology 2)

monitor mixes:
25: Mark I (Tomorrow Never Knows) - take 1 (Anthology DVD)
26: Tomorrow Never Knows - take 3 (Anthology DVD)
27: For No One - take 10a (CCRMM + CRMM)
28: For No One - take 10b (CRMM)
29: For No One - take 10c (CRMM + CCRMM + CRMM)
30: For No One - take 14 (CRMM + CCRMM)
31: Here, There and Everywhere - take 14a (CCRMM + CRMM)
32: Here, There and Everywhere - take 14b (CRMM)
33: Here, There and Everywhere - take 14c (CRMM)
34: Here, There and Everywhere - take 14d (CRMM)
35: Rain - take 7
The Purple Chick remasters are exceedingly hard to find on the Internet now. It's not like they've totally disappeared - this IS the 21st Century, the Information Age, and once something hits the Web, it's all but impossible to make it go away again. But to save you from the time and drudgery of searching, I offer you here my copy of the Purple Chick Revolver remaster, released in 2004 (the files are in .m4a - sorry). Enjoy, and as always, let me know what you think.

Please use the email link below to contact me, and I will reply with the download link(s) ASAP:

Send Email

53 comments:

  1. Thanks for posting this, it's really great! Do you have any more Purple Chicks compilations you'd be willing to post? Particularly the rarer collections.

    Also, I appreciate your blogs name.

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  2. Hi Les -

    Here's what I have for Purple Chick Beatles releases, in addition to the Revolver releases above:

    - The Complete BBC Sessions (Discs 1 - 3)
    - From Then To You [mostly Christmas fan club recordings]
    - Help Sessions
    - I Hope We Passed The Audition [the Decca demos, among other things]
    - Magical Mystery Year (Discs 1 - 4)
    - Rubber Soul, Vol. 1 (Discs 1 & 2)
    - Rubber Soul, Vol. 2

    Let me know if any of these strike your fancy, and I'll get them out your way.

    (Heh - and thanks for the thumbs-up on my blog name!)

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    1. Hi HFM, Thanks for the response.

      Anything you'd be willing to share, and whatever you'd recommend would be most appreciated. However, as with Joe, I'd be really curious to hear the Rubber Soul recordings. I'm also interested in the Christmas Fan Club Recordings - they seem so novel.

      Thanks again!

      (It's one of the great lines from that show (and series)! "It's German for, The Bart, The.")

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    2. HFM - didn't you say that you also had the massive White Album by PC? That was my very first piece of vinyl I ever owned. It's near and dear to me. Do you still have it accessible to share? I would be incredibly interested in that.

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  3. Superb blog, HFM - kudos.

    If you feel up to it, I'd love to see the MMT or RS releases from PC (or Help, but I already feel selfish asking after any of the above).

    No commitment required on your part, of course; I'll keep an eye on the blog and be happy if anything more comes to pass - you've been more than generous enough already.

    Thanks again!

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  4. Again Brilliant. Many thanks for sharing these. I had heard of them, through Record Collector mag I believe, but hadnt really seen any. For some reason I am reminded of the high quality vinyl rips of Pink Floyds albums, especially the earlier ones did not transfer to CD all that well. The rips that are out there were done using high end Linn Sondek record decks with quality arms and cartridges. Theres rips of the very wonderful Japanese audiophile reissues as well as mint original LPs. The Jap reissues were often cut directly from master tapes rather than the usual master acetates... Cant help grinning at the 2 Paul sketches though lol

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  5. Can't wait to listen. Thanks for the upload.

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  6. Amazing collection. Thanks for the uplaod.

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  7. Amazing collection. Thanks so much for the upload.

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  8. Thanks for the Revolver upload!

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  9. Outstanding. Thanks very much for the upload.

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  10. Actually, I think the consensus these days is that Revolver IS the one. Sgt Pepper's was fun and groovy and we'd not heard anything quite like it before and it was a huge whole decadent 'we're doing it cos we CAN' (and hey, there is some good stuff on it, too...) but - these days - I'd say that Revolver was the weapon of choice. It's tight and still poppy, experimental and still funky, wild and yet crafted - and, if we were good enough, WE could do Revolver (but we'd never get the advance to do Sgt P, plus no one would want to hear our Sgt P.)

    Sure, there's some cheap stuff on it. Listen to the SOUND of 'Taxman' but please ignore the so very immature words (even allowing for some quite funny rhymes). YOU ONLY GET TAXED LIKE THAT BECAUSE YOU EARN MILLIONS! And without that tax, no National Health, education system, road-cleaning etc.etc. How dare you complain when you live in a Surrey mansion. You git! 'Yellow submarine' felt loathsome to me even at the age of 12. And the other Harrison thing that I can't even bring myself to remember just makes me feel sick (even though it's cool to hear the sitar on some English pop...)

    What I'd mainly forgotten were the harmonies: sharply detailed, veering off from the main line and then rejoining it, three (?) voices spinning like swallows - but always to the greater purpose. They add - if only for a second or two - to the song; not to show off how well we can do lush harmony (i.e. it.s not Crosby Stills and suchlike). And Harrison's (?) guitar parts likewise: superb instances of intense control of a wild noise and not based on blues runs, either. Where did he find them? And then some very imaginative, CLEVER bass-lines, presumably from Mr McC. It goes on...

    Revolver is a revelling in all that they'd learnt, including that they could trust their own immense self-confidence. (We want a French horn/string trio; get us one.And one was got!) They'd gone way beyond the beat combo and the loveable mop-tops. They were now artists and hip and they proved it with these tightly-constructed, genre-changing, never before imagined little masterpieces, each of which is a facet of a wider world. Of which they were masters.

    Thanks for the memories!

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  11. My absolute favorite, desert island disc. Sgt. Pepper pulls out all the stops, but Revolver's magic is wisely restrained within the three-minute song format. An absolutely staggering achievement; not a note is wasted.

    Thanks again for curating such a great collection! it's obvious how much you love good music. You're the best!

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  12. Many thanks for the upload. great album & site!

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  13. Another great upload! thanks very much

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  14. What a great website! Thank you for everything!

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  15. Just discovered this blog, thanks for the quick replies and thanks for the music.

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  16. Another great Beatles share, thanks!

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  17. Thanx so much for this treasure! great blog

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  18. The Beatles Revolver Vol. I & II are fantastic! Thanks for the share!

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  19. Revolver is my favourite too. Thanks very much for making these treasures available as they are extremely difficult to find. Excellent work!

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  20. Great post! LOVE this.
    Only place I found where I could download the Revolver Sessions so quickly and it's also GREAT quality.
    You rock.

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  21. I never understood the "Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Heart's Club Band" consensus about it being the best album of all time (the best cover picture of all time, most probably?). Revolver is way better for me, I totally agree with you (my top 2 being Abbey Road and Rubber Soul). Anyway, thanks a lot!

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  22. Thanks so much for sharing. Revolver has always been my favorite Beatles album!

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  23. once again, thank you so very much for this.

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  24. Just received this a little while ago and have already started listening to it. This was a great album already, but Purple Chick has done it again - another fantastic job. Kudos to HFM for continuing to spread the Beatles love!

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  25. Thank you so much for the service you provide.
    This is the only place on the planet that I've found this Purple Chick release. It sounds fantastic. I'm so happy to have stumbled into this heckhole.

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  26. Fantastic! Thank you thank you thank you for sharing theses!

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  27. Thank you! What a treasure trove of music. And thanks for sharing it!
    Craig

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  28. Endless pleasure here! I agree, Revolver is The Beatles at their very best. Thanks again for making these Revolver insights available to a wider audience.

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  29. Just incredible! Thank you so much for making the Purple Chick series available.

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  30. Thanks for sharing this collection! Revolver is one of my favorite albums (maybe second to the White Album - it's always about what you grew up with).
    The bass, drums and lead part on Taxman grab you right from the beginning of this album. As a teen, I had the cassette of the American version, which I played on one of those flat Panasonic mono cassette recorders. The British LP/CD years later was a revelation. Purple Chick takes the album even farther - their remixing / remastering makes these songs pop and gives them depth.
    Outtakes were always the holy grail, every since Kum Back. The outtakes on Vol II here are incredibly clean.
    All in all, it's a great collection/ Thank you so much for keeping Purple Chick available.
    Now to find those Easter eggs.

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  31. This is a fabulous collection of "Revolver" material. You are to be commended for making it available. It's always a great pleasure to meet a fellow Beatles lover.

    The middle-period music of the Beatles is most in need of remixing. I wish they would remix the whole catalogue along the lines of the 1999 "Yellow Submarine" Songtrack. The sound in that album is unsurpassed by any of the 2009 remasters.

    Meanwhile, Purple Chick can give us some wonderful selections.Thanks again!

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    1. I remember reading how ironic it was that the best sounding Beatles commercially available was the YS Songtrack (which is astounding sound!) and Rock Band. 2009 Remasters for me were great for packaging - mini-LPs and so on - but underwhelming on sound... I thought the Beatles Capitol Albums (Vol.1/2) in early 2000s were far better yet went largely unnoticed - and seem to have no relationship - sound-wise - to the recent US Albums boxset.

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  32. Fun and interesting!
    This is music I never get tired of hearing. I am very thankful to you for being generous with this.
    you bring many smiles with your shares. :-D
    Thank you much.

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  33. Another big Thank You for this one. Excellent stuff.

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  34. Excellent Post. Thank You and RIP George Martin.

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  35. Can't wait to listen. Thank you so much for sharing!

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  36. Thanks again - looking forward to working through these. You don't hear much about "I Want To Tell You," but I think it's a cracker (fun to play on guitar, too). This album is the first where George's songwriting really underpins the album. I'm not knocking his earlier songwriting - even "Don't Bother Me" is great (I don't think George, himself, thought it was so), but heck, the first track sets the tone of the album!

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    1. I always felt that "Don't Bother Me" was THE standout track on A Hard Day's Night - it really sounds like nothing else on that album, in the overall rhythm and bite of that guitar lead. I don't know why The Beatles - and George, for that matter - gave the song such short shrift. One of the great tragedies of that band was the way Paul and John seemingly gave such little support and merit to F
      George for his songwriting until later in the career of the band; perhaps if they had praised and promoted his music a little more, the band might have lasted a little longer.

      Thanks for the great comment!

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  37. By the way, if anyone is wondering about the CRMM and CCRMM acronyms behind some of the tracks, they are sourced from Yellow Dog Records "Control Room Monitor Mixes" and "Complete Control Room Monitor Mixes" bootleg series, both described on bootlegzone.com.

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  38. Very nice! Thank you so much for your passion and dedication.

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  39. Thank you very much for making these fantastic Purple Chick sets available to fans of The Beatles. Thank you again for your quick response and your time, you are doing a great job here!

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  40. I'm finally listening to this!!!
    You are so kind. Thank you!

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  41. Fantastic packaging and superb sounding. The best album just got better! The guys from Purple Chick did it again. Very kind of you for share it. Thanks a lot!

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  42. Mr. Pee-Pee Soaked Heckhole is one hell of a guy for sharing these files. He replied promptly to my email and was cordial and a pleasure to talk to. Seriously, thank you. Can't wait to give these a good few listens. Thanks again man!

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  43. Absolutely fab. Very generous to share - thank you.

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  44. Purple Chick Revolver! Awesome quality rips and fast reply! Thank you very much for this fine music gift as I love these Purple Chick sets and am collecting them. Thanks again!

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