Both these sets have been expanded into triple LPs with Giles Martin remix versions.
Red is a triumph for Peter Jackson’s MAL technology that can pick apart the individual elements from recordings made on very few tracks. The first two Beatles albums were recorded on two tracks, upgrading to four by 1964. Abbey Road was slow in introducing eight until 1968. MAL has enabled Giles and his team to remix the 1962-1966 period in stereo. The results are spectacular. The band really rock in the early days, becoming increasingly sophisticated by 1965. The Rubber Soul songs are absolutely beautiful, light and airy. The big winner throughout is Ringo but all the elements, vocals, guitars, bass, keyboards sound so much better. The strings on Yesterday are gorgeous. She Loves You is the only one that isn’t so good, but that’s more likely due to difficulties finding a decent source to apply MAL to. You can quibble about song selection. If I was breaking Allen Klein’s original no-covers rule, I’d choose Twist & Shout, Long Tall Sally (this EP is not otherwise represented) and Act Naturally (Ringo should have two songs on a set this big, and it suits his character perfectly). With The Beatles and Beatles For Sale should have a couple of original songs as well. On a triple album, double CD, there is plenty of room for more. Nevertheless 1962-1966 flows really well and is a wonderful listen from beginning to end.
Blue is largely made up of recent remixes, since the 1 collection 2015 version. Clean edits of Within You, Without You, A Day In The Life, Back In The USSR, Dear Prudence and Don’t Let Me Down, so they begin and end without blending into something else, are most welcome. The brand new remixes of The Magical Mystery Tour tracks and a couple of B sides were much anticipated and have caused some controversy. My suspicion is that they didn’t use MAL on these but remixed in the way they did up to Revolver last year. I may be wrong. The second half of I Am The Walrus is very different and the drums are distorted but more prominent. The whole thing is even more psychedelic. Revolution still has the guitars on the right but far nearer the centre and everything else is better distributed. It still roars out of the speakers and gives the listener a good kicking but without such a hard pan. Hey Bulldog is also better balanced yet retains its aggression. The Fool On The Hill is wondrous and Magical Mystery Tour really rocks as though they found an extra guitar to underpin the sublime horns. Old Brown Shoe is also an unusual mix, however the bass is tremendous and the fun they seem to be having is infectious, especially over the fabulous guitar solo, one of George’s best IMV. George recorded his lead vocal facing away from the mic because he wanted to sound odd. My hope that I could remove Maxwell and slot this seamlessly onto Abbey Road has been dashed. It remains a crazy, uplifting companion to The Ballad Of John And Yoko. These new remixes bring out elements I hadn’t noticed before and are full of surprises. I look forward to listening to them for the next fifty years. Track selection is debatable. I’ll be removing Within You Without You, I Want You and Now And Then, replacing with When I’m 64, I’m So Tired, Because, Two Of Us and I Got A Feeling. Now And Then really doesn’t belong here.
Listening to 1962-1970 is an amazing experience. What a band they were! Paul McCartney was 20 in 1962 and just 28 in 1970. What a life he has had! Silly old goat that I am, I’m sentimental about them from beginning to end but All You Need Is Love is the song I keep going back to. I didn’t like it in 1967 and positively hated it from 1973 when blue first came out. Now, I get emotional from the opening bars of La Marseillaise. By the coda of strings and the “yeah, yeah, yeah” refrain, I’m a wreck.
In conclusion. MAL is magic. Giles is doing a great job. Keep going. Complete the catalogue asap please. Why not do them in pairs, starting at the beginning?