Move Omnibus

Move Omnibus b

The text says: “The Move were one of the most creative bands ever due especially to the songwriting prowess of Roy Wood and to the instrumental workouts and vocals provided by the various incarnations of the band. Live recordings by The Move are in short supply, unfortunately, so we here at Melvin Records feel it´s about time to make some available.
The personnel on side one is (front cover, left to right) Carl Wayne (vocals), Trevor Burton (bass, vocals), Bev Bevan (drums), Roy Wood (lead guitar, vocals), and Chris “Ace” Kefford (guitar, vocals). The sound quality is excellent as it came from a radio show. The first five tracks on side two make up the legendary “Something Else” EP presented for the first time on a long playing record. The personnel is the same as above but with the exclusion of Kefford. Open My Eyes was taken from the Move´s perilously short tour of the U.S. The quality of this track is considerably less than perfect but is well worth listening to as the band does a raucous seven minute version of the Nazz tune. Rick Price (bass, vocals) is added to the lineup on this cut replacing Burton.
Special Thanks to Deram, Regal Zonophone, A&M, Fly, Capitol, Harvest, and United Artist for putting the official stuff out in the first place.
This album is dedicated to Roy Wood who is still a genius even if fate does its best to make sure no one finds out. Hope you like the record.”
MELVIN RECORDS c/o HARRY WILSON 10 DOWNING STREET W2 LONDON, ENGLAND MANUFACTURED IN ANTARCTICA. MELVIN RECORDS a non-profit organization (but we didn’t plan it that way) 1979 OVERBY PRODUCTIONS MM07.

Move Omnibus lbl 1

Move Omnibus lbl 2

The side two label references the band’s penchant for acts of destruction on stage early in their career, with TV sets often being targeted:

Move smash.jpg

USA: 1979

The only vinyl The Move bootleg I have ever seen.

Side A: Something Else / Flowers in the Rain / Why? / Hey Grandma / So You Want To Be A Rock ‘n’ Roll Star / I Can Hear The Grass Grow

Source: The Move recorded by Swedish radio, Radiohuset, Stockholm, 15 December 1967

Although not perfect in quality, they sound fantastic as one can check out in this YT clip:

 

Side B: So You Want To Be A Rock ‘n’ Roll Star / Stephanie Knows Who / Something Else / It’ll be me / Sunshine Help Me (pirate of the Something Else By The Move live EP, recorded at the Marquee in London on 27 February, 1968) / Open My Eyes (recorded at Fillmore West, San Francisco, 17 or 18 October 1969)

Move SEbyTM

Move SEbyTM b

 

It would take 33 years for the complete Fillmore East tapes to be released:

http://www.brumbeat.net/revfillm.htm

 

“… When we arrived in New York, John” Upsy “Downing, who had been with Jimi Hendrix a handful of years in America, knew his surroundings and rented a truck and a Dodge.
We took the freeways to Detroit and did two nights at the Grandee Ballroom, opening for Iggy Pop and The Stooges. But our next date was in Los Angeles. Whoever it was who had organized this tour, had not studied a map in his life.
We had to cross the United States, sleeping a single night, since while we could not afford a plane, we had no choice.
But on this tour I had the feeling that I was going to have a lot of fun again; That camaraderie, that attitude of “the boys have returned to the city”, unconcerned, full of jokes and laughter. There was a cheerful atmosphere and an underlying feeling that nothing bad could happen if we were all together. And when we finally got to Los Angeles, we really were. Together in a room with two double beds and a sleeping bag for five at the Continental Hyatt House on Sunset Trip. It was the only way we could choose to stay in the hotel. That night we went out there and saw Jim Morrison being pulled out of a club with his feet in front, completely still. I thought to myself: “this is Hollywood, this is how to live”. But it was in central Texas, in the heart of Redneck Country, where we had problems. Woody got his hair up to his back and a ten-foot-long villager began pulling him.
“Hey, are you a boy or a girl?” “We do not want problems” we said “we are English”. We thought that this would end the conversation immediately. But it was not like that. We started backing up to the car when other locals started shouting, “fagots!” Upsy Downing then made his appearance: “what’s the problem?” He asked, “these guys are in a group and they’re with me.” Upsy was believed to be cement, but one of the locals, about half as tall as the old mandrel, but done like a brick building, gave Upsy a punch in the jaw. He was directly on the hood of the car, spinning and winding and landing on the dust on the other side, half unconscious. We had to drag him inside the car and leave the place, with the exalted locals screaming and shouting: “Hey! You pansies, come back here and fight. “ It was difficult to put Roy in a good mood because of this incident on our return to England … “

(Bev Bevan)

Beatles MM06

I have identified three different versions based on colors, the one shown above, then an all blue one:

Beatles MM06 blu

And a black  & white one with a tan label:

Beatles New 21 tan

Beatles The New 21 b

All of these images used on the back cover were shot by celebrated English portrait and fashion photographer Norman Parkinson while the Beatles recorded “Hold Me Tight” and “Don’t Bother Me” on the 12th of September 1963. Many of them were compiled into a magazine for the US Beatles fans, which was reissued in a smaller format in the second half of the ’70’s.

Norm Parkinson

USA: Late 1978

Eddie from Melvin Records likely assumed that very few Beatles collectors outside of South Carolina owned the early Melvin Records title, as many were reused for their sixth release. Although, would you not anticipate that many in your target group owned the Deccagone 45’s and “it-was-news-seven-years-ago” BBC tracks?

Side 1:

  • Three Cool Cats (Decca Audition, 01 January ’62. Previously included on MM04 ‘When It Says Beatles Beatles Beatles On The Label Label Label You Will Love It On Your Turntable Turntable Turntable’
  • How Do You Do It – taken from Joe Pope’s 45 first released in 1976 for the Boston Beatles convention. Although difficult to impossible to do, I love to trace back how a recording may have been ‘leaked’. As stated before on this blog, the theory that this track was played on RKO radio that year or prior and taped is incorrect, as the series in question – From Liverpool To Legend – was only broadcast in 1977. Another theory has John Lennon trade an acetate for (Contraband’s) Sweden 1963 LP. I doubt even John would give away his only hard copy for something even he knows to be a mass product but the final word on this is represented by the fact that the source for the bootleg single was clearly not an acetate.
  • Like Dreamers Do – another Joe Pope Deccagone 45 copied
  • Lucille – Eddie & Fred really seem to have taken to this BBC recording of this Little Richard number, this is the third time they have included one of the two available performances.
  • Glad All Over – continuing with the original ’21’ (MM02) focus on BBC recordings, this track from Pop Go The Beatles # 10 (rec. 16 July ’63) makes it’s Melvin debut but had been available since TMOQ’s Yellow Matter Custard, which was heavily mined by Melvin.
  • Hello Little Girl – B-side of Deccagone single “Three Cool Cats”, already used on MM04.
  • Nothin’ Shakin (But The Leaves On The Trees) – Recorded for Pop Go The Beatles # 6 on 10 July ’63 and previously out on – you guessed it – Yellow Matter Custard.
  • Lonesome Tears In My Eyes – ditto
  • The Honeymoon Song – ditto, except taped for episode # 8 and the date was 16 July ’63
  • Spiritual Regeneration – see MM04, side 1, track 3
  • “The Abduction” – This is the music played over the end credits of their second movie Help!. Although Mozart wrote a piece with that title this is actually the overture form Rossini’s “Barber of Seville” with the Beatles hamming it up vocally but not adding any instruments.

Side 2:

  • Watching Rainbows – the Fab Four as a trio after George had walked out at Twickenham studios. John on electric piano and Paul on lead guitar, trying out a couple of John’s new compositions and this improvisation on 14 January, 1969. Available in poor quality since the summer of 1977 on Dragonfly’s Indian Rope Trick and then the multi-color EP of that same name.

  • Mama You’ve Been On My Mind – recorded 9 January ’69 at Twickenham during the Get Back sessions and brought to you first by Contraband on Sweet Apple Trax
  • “I’m ready” aka “Rocker” – (listed as Ready, Willing And Able (Instrumental) ) and
  • Save The Last Dance For Me- both recorded 22 January ’69 at Saville Row in their basement studios 

and only available on the multi-track tape shown here:

Glyn John’s third compilation attempt from May of ’69 created the definite version of the Get Back album and was slated for release no less than three times. It made use of this multi-track reel shown here. Both “I’m ready” and “Save The Last Dance For me” are very short.This third version had the same track listing as the second one but there are a few instances of different dialog and, more importantly, different edits of “Get Back” (now lacking the coda) and “Dig It” (cut by a minute). In addition, the third version was never broadcast on the radio.

Although it was not broadcast like the first two compilations, this compilation surfaced in the 1970s from both an acetate and, according to Doug Sulpy, a tape source. While the acetate and the tape source are the same compilation, there are two minor differences between the two. For reasons unknown, the tape source is missing the first second or two of “One After 909” and the chat heard at the end of “For You Blue”. This appears to be a banding oddity and not an actual compilation variant. I have been unable to determine exactly when the two individual sources first surfaced but this compilation has been a mainstay in The Beatles’ bootleg canon since it first appeared in the 1970s.” [source: http://www.beatlesource.com/bs/mains/audio/GetBack/comp3/comp3.html%5D

Now, where this was first released is where it gets complicated. The beatlesource website claims this was first released in 1974 on TMOQ’s Get Back Sessions and shows the mid-70’s reissue with the S-2xx added annotation on the insert. However, this bootleg was first released in September of 1971 (matrix: BGB 111 A-R1 / BGB 111B-R1).

Back to the third compilation, it can also be found in a slightly edited form, with “One After 909” shifted to the end of side 1, likely by the bootleggers who must have felt it flowed better this way, on Wizardo’s WRMB 315 versions, ca. late ’75/early ’76:

plus also on the 2LP version of this  confusing release:

The auction text for this 2 LP version read:

“Beatles Get Back Sessions, WIZARDO 2 LP, WRMB 320

The Beatles, Get Back Sessions, Studio Out-takes.

Believed circa 1975 Wizardo double LP set, both LPs on black vinyl. One LP has a red label with deep groove similar to that used on early USA Blue Note and UK Decca pressings. The other LP has a blue label and features a much less indented groove in the same area.

Dead wax/run-off markings red label: WRMB 352 A / WRMB 352 B; blue label: WRMB 315 A / WRMB 315 B. These are all etched and not stamped.

Note that the numbers on the LP differ from that on the cover slick, although both LPs appear to contain the tracks from the Get Back/Let It Be sessions, and so this set is possibly a repackage or coupling of two earlier separate LPs.”

For the single LP copies, we have the following confirmation: “# wrmb 320, vinyl matrix #352” and a different set list:

Side A: One after 909 / The walk / Don’t let me down / Dig a pony / I’ve got a feeling / Get back

Side B: For you blue / Teddy boy / Two of us / Dig it / Let it be

Apparently, the quality is rather poor.

Several months later, this reappeared on no less than three of Ken’s labels. ZAP 7866:

the surprisingly hard to find TKRWM 1995 – according to beatlesource.com, sourced directly from the acetate:

plus also as one LP of the double set Renaissance on Toasted Records (# 2S911).

***

  • Shake, Rattle And Roll – recorded 26 January ’69, as the band broke up rehearsing “Let it be”over and over and slide into an inspired medley of rock’n roll 50’s & 60’s standards. Part of this was used in the Let It Be film (taken from the Nagra reels) and first appeared on bootleg on Contraband’s Peace Of Mind (CBM 3670) in the late spring of 1973 and in the following year again as part of their first volume of the Cinelogue series (CBM 4020).

A 24 minute one sided acetate containing much of the medley and sourced from Glyn John’s multi-track compilation numbered E69742 has appeared and been sold at auction but I doubt any bootlegger had access to this:

I’ve Got A Feeling
Dig It
Shake Rattle and Roll
Kansas City,Miss Ann, Lawdy Miss Clawdy
Blue Suede Shoes
You Really Got A Hold On Me

Many of us looking for Beatles bootlegs in the 1980’s also remember this song from the File Under bootleg, which, despite the mediocre sound was a real “greater than the sum of its parts” experience.

  • The Walk – recorded 27 January ’69. Sandwiched between takes of “I’ve Got a Feeling”, they launched into this song originally written and recorded by Jimmy McCracklin in 1957:

51 seconds of the Beatles’ version of “The Walk” ended up being selected for the reference mixes Glyn Johns compiled starting on January 27th with acetates cut on January 30th.

Tape copies of these acetates were played on US radio stations in the summer and fall of 1969, leading to the first ever Beatles bootleg appearing in January of 1970:

  • “Commonwealth” – recorded at Twickenham on 9 January ’69 and first heard on Contraband’s Sweet Apple Trax volumes
  • “Enoch Powell” / “Get Off” (listed here as Whitepower Promenade (Parts 1 And 2)) – ditto
  • Honey Hush (Joe Turner) – ditto
  • Youngblood (Leiber / Stoller, originally recorded by the Coasters in 1957) – MM06 ends with another BBC recording. The Beatles’ only recording from 1 June 1963 had just made its debut in 1978 on the Audifön bootleg of the same name, unfortunately incomplete and sounding poor. it probably did not sound any better here.

****

Hard work

I must admit, I did not expect the Melvin label to be so tough going but there is a lot to look up for all these different sources! This title may just be the most work intensive one ever or at least in the top 3. On top of that, my ISP cut my line last week – not because I hadn’t paid the bill but because of left hand/right hand, and I only had emergency internet for five solid days.

Beatles Ed's Really Big Beatles Blast blu

Beatles Ed's Really Big Beatles Blast blu b

 

 

Beatles Ed's Really Big Beatles Blast

Beatles Ed's Really Big Beatles Blast b

 

The blue version seems to be less common than the black one. On a good day, this title can achieve $75 at auction but it has achieved significantly less as well.

USA: 1978

This release marked the change from a small time “boutique” bootleg label selling out of one record store to a nationally and finally internationally known label with matching production volumes.

Matrix (Run-out Side A, etched): MM-05-1
Matrix (Run-out Side B, etched): MM05-2

The 1964 Ed Sullivan Shows had first appeared on the first volume of the Renaissance Minstrels series in 1970  and in 1973 was copied on one side of Contraband’s Abbey Road Revisited in worse quality (CBM 3907). The whole series, which turned into pure pirate releases presenting only officially released 45’s on vols. 3 & 4, was copied and repressed so many times by other labels including major players TMOQ and Wizardo, it’s almost impossible to keep track.

Beatles Ren Minst 725

Beatles Ren Minst 725 b

Bearing the number ‘#725’ on the insert, it appears to be a WCF product, except that the number clashes with their later release LEON RUSSELL – Live At Anaheim Calif

Russell Anaheim

The big difference between RENAISSANCE MINSTRELS volume I and the Melvin title is that the earlier album not only mixed up both performances from the 9th and 16th of February, they also artificially extended almost every song by repeating verses in order to make them longer (I assume the bootlegger(s) felt cheap offering an album with only a little over 11 minutes on side one and under 10 for side two).

So in a way, Melvin presents this material for the first time. In addition, the three songs from February 23rd make their debut here.

Ed Sullivan Show, Feb 9 1964:
A1 Ed’s Intro
A2 All My Loving
A3 Till There Was You
A4 She Loves You
A5 Ed’s Intro
A6 I Saw Her Standing There
A7 I Want To Hold Your Hand
A8 Ed’s Outro

Ed Sullivan Show, Feb 16 1964:
A9 She Loves You
A10 This Boy
A11 All My Loving
Side 2 – continued: Ed Sullivan Show, Feb 16 1964:
B1 Ed’s Intro
B2 I Saw Her Standing There
B3 From Me To You
B4 I Want To Hold Your Hand
B5 Ed’s Outro

Ed Sullivan Show, Feb 23 1964:
B6 Ed’s Intro
B7 Twist & Shout
B8 Please Please Me
B9 I Want To Hold Your Hand

 

**

In 1980, as it was simply the only way to obtain the Ed Sullivan material at this time, MM06 was copied as ZAP 0514 under a slightly different title. I used to believe this peculiar looking release with the wrap around insert and one-sided rainbow label was made in Japan but now I’m not so sure anymore.

Beatles EDSSCBSTVST 2

Beatles EDSSCBSTVST

Beatles EDSSCBSTVST b

Beatles EDSSCBSTVST lbl

Beatles EDSSCBSTVST lbl 2

 

beatles-wisbbb

beatles-wisbbb-det

As previously posted on this blog, this Beatles LP with the inconveniently long title is the world’s most expensive/valuable bootleg of all time selling for over $4,950.00 last year.

USA: 1978 – it appears that Melvin / Overby took a long break lasting throughout 1977 and into 1978

What is actually on this record is a bit hard to piece together, as the cover provides only song titles and does not even appear to be complete.

Side 1:

  • KFWB (station ID with John & George) – J&G on a stop over in Los Angeles from their Tahitian vacation agreed to record this short message on 25 May 1964 for local radio station KFWB/98. Extended with bits of a George interview from 10 December ’63 and book-ended by jingles it was named “Music City / KFWBEATLES”, coupled with “You can’t do that” and pressed as a promotional single to be given away at the opening of Wallichs Music City in Canoga Park, CA. It was pirated in the late 1970’s for all those who absolutely needed to own every second ever uttered by any of the Fab Four and pressed onto PVC. Eddie or Fred must have gotten hold either of an original or the counterfeit.

KFWB S 1

KFWB logo

  • Memphis – I’m guessing this would be the Decca Audition version, as released in 1977 on bootleg 45

beatles-memphis

  • Spiritual Regeneration – Happy Birthday, Mike Love – Paul, George, Donovan and others jamming on a Beach Boys-influenced composition in Rishikesh, India on 15 March 1968. First aired on the radio in the Beach Boys special The Best Summers Of Our Lives, narrated by Dick van Dyke and Wolfman Jack in the summer of 1976 and bootlegged a year later on the infamous Indian Rope Trick bootleg.

Rishikesh

  • Second Album Open end Interview – Capitol promo for radio station released in April of 1964,. Each DJ could create their own make-believe interview by taping themselves reading out the scripted questions and then combining it with their answers from this compact EP.

Second Open-end I

Beatles 2nd o-e i-1

  • Three Cool Cats – same source as “Memphis” above?

Three CC

  • All You Need Is Love – likely take 59 from the Our World worldwide television broadcast, 25 June 1967, making this the track’s bootleg vinyl debut.
  • It’s All Too Much – ?
  • Too Bad About Sorrows – early Lennon-McCartney composition. short attempts taped twice during the Get Back sessions: 8.21 (0:14) + 21.46 (0:56)
    weather report – ?
  • Her Majesty – with final chord, also released in 1977 on Audifön’s “bootleg of the year” worthy release NO. 3 ABBEY ROAD N.W. 8

 

Side 2:

  • September In The Rain – another Decca Audition track

September ITRain

  • All Things Must Pass – ?
  • thank you – ?
  • Guitar Blues – best known for its appearance on Melvin’s own Beatles VS Don Ho (MM08) and its reissue SILVER LINING, taken from the documentary What’s Happening! The Beatles In The USA
  • Kenny Everett interview – likely more from the White Album era interview that had “Cottonfields” bootlegged on Melvin 01 and 02
  • I’m So Tired – ?
  • My Girl Is Red Hot – 28/31 December 1962 from the Star Club Hamburg tapes. Correct title is “Red Hot”, it was first recorded by Billy Riley for Sun Records in 1957. Earth Radio News produced a radio series called History Of The Beatles in 52 short episodes (about three minutes each) that ran from August 7 through September 1st 1978 and used 32 seconds of this then unreleased song overdubbed with comments by George. This was the first release of this material on a bootleg but it is known to most from the later Melvin title Beatles VS Don Ho/SILVER LINING

  • Everybody’s Trying To Be My Baby – possibly from BBC radio
  • Short Short Short – ?
  • Haaalp! – possibly the HELP! radio ad later also included on Beatles VS Don Ho/SILVER LINING

 

Summary: Melvin was not just a copy label, it also frequently ‘cannibalized’ its own releases by reissuing them again on later titles.

If you can help identify any of the tracks and the supposedly missing ones on side 2, please leave a comment.

Quality comment: “…most of this sounded as if it had been taped from various screenings at fan conventions on a really cheap cassette”.

 

Beatles w. masks

Wings ATLShown here with a Melvin Records flyer featuring their first two releases.

 

Matrix: MM 03 A / B 340  (hand written)

USA: 1976, “500 pressed” as stated in HOTWACKS

Source: The Atlanta Omni, 19 May 1976

Side One: Venus & Mars / Rock Show / Jet / Let Me Roll It / The Long And Winding Road / Live And Let Die
Side Two: Yesterday / Silly Love Songs / Beware My Love / Soily

Sound quality was rated “acceptable” in Madinger & Easter’s book. Definitely an item for those that had to have it all only.

 

 

 

 

Melvin Records/Overby Productions second release 21 – not to be confused with their 1979 title The New 21 (MMO6), as HOTWACKS did for years – followed soon after their first and was offered in no less than four variations:

In green:

In red / pink:

Tan with a yellow label:

And finally with a smaller copied insert and a blank label, perhaps a copy job by someone else:

In terms of value, the green and red copies have sold for the highest amounts in the $400+ to $700+ regions, with prices all over the place. The tan cover version has recently achieved $55 to $120.

***

USA: Late 1975, distributed via ‘The Odyssee’ record store in Charleston, SC

Looking at the track list, there are 6.5 repeated tracks compared with their first release (.5 due to “Besame Mucho – Cottonfields” being part of yet another medley here on side 2). If you have any corrections in regards to my guesses which versions are present here, please leave a comment. We can’t rule out that perhaps Overby Productions used their own source tapes and upgrades for these cuts but really: what are the odds?

 

  • Hippy Hippy Shake – recorded five times for the BBC in ’63 and ’64, however only the off-speed version that appeared on TMOQ’s Outtakes 1 circulated by 1975
  • To Know Her Is To Love Her – most likely their only BBC airing from 1971 Yellow Matter Custard
  • I‘m Gonna Sit Right Down And Cry (Over You) – another track only recorded once for the BBC and also made available via Yellow Matter Custard
  • Some Other Guy – Track 1, side 1 likely taken from CBM’s Some Other Guy album (which I’m unclear about to this day)? Or something else (the original by Ritchie Barrett; the cover by The Big Three)? 
  • Love Of The Loved – see my comment in Their Greatest Unreleased MM01
  • Lucille – ditto
  • Crying, Waiting, Hoping – see Yellow Matter Custard
  • A Shot Of Rhythm And Blues – prior to the release of Audifön’s Youngblood, the two choices were a poor quality version of the 17 July ’63 version on CBM’s Stockholm or a better quality one on Yellow Matter Custard
  • Sure To Fall (In Love With You) – recorded four times for the BBC, it appeared first in decent quality on Yellow Matter Custard from the 3 September ’63 recording.The three remaining versions were only bootlegged years later.
  • Shout! – from their Around The Beatles TV special, first made available on CBM’s Cinelogue Six double album 

Side 2:

  • Have You Heard The Word – see my comment in Their Greatest Unreleased MM01
  • Honey Hush – from Nagra rolls recorded on 9 January ’69 that were first bootlegged on CBM’s Sweet Apple Trax Volume 1 (listed there as “Yackety Yack”, aka “Hi Ho Silver”)
  • Commonwealth Song – ditto
  • White Power (Get Off) – ditto
  • Suzy Parker – ditto
  • Besame Mucho; Cottonfields; Everybody’s Rockin’ Tonight; Whole Lotta Shakin’, The Walk – “Besame Mucho” was included in the Let It Be movie soundtrack, “Cottonfields” comes from the Kenny Everett interview pressed in Italy as a promo 7″. The 3rd title may refer to “Good Rockin’ Tonight”, again from 9 January. Jerry lee Lewis song was only performed once during the Get Back sessions on 3 January by Ringo and Paul on piano and not bootlegged until the CD age, so I’m wondering if this is not a different number. “The Walk”, captured on multi-track on 27 January, goes back to its inclusion on the very first Beatles bootleg Kum Back in January of 1970. 
  • What’s The new Mary Jane – see my comment in Their Greatest Unreleased MM01

 

Melvin Records/Overby Productions was started by Beatles fan Eddie Fennell with more than just a little help from Fred Arnold. Thanks to a well written and researched article about Fred’s life, a lot is known about him and selected parts will be used to introduce the label.

***

THE MAGIC OF TELEVISION
“Our family got its first Sears TV set in the middle ’50s. I was about 8 or 9 years old. I enjoyed “Oh, Susannah”, “Leave It to Beaver” and “I Love Lucy”.

The first music I was exposed to was church. Nothing happened. Second was seeing a variety show in the late ’50s and hearing “One Eyed, One Horn Flying Purple People Eater”. Still nothing. Chubby Checker on “American Bandstand” doing the “Twist”. I went out and bought a hula hoop. My first movie was “My Friend Flicka”. I would go over to my best friend’s house and his big brother would play Beach Boys records. I didn’t care about them, nor those Motown songs.

High school started. I got my first transistor radio just in time to hear that President Kennedy had been killed. Most friends and neighbors didn’t seem to mind, but I was very depressed.

At school, during lunch on Feb. 7, 1964, I heard “I Want to Hold Your Hand” on my radio. I was so excited. Some friends and I were talking about how good the song was during the broadcast, and we almost missed the name of the artists, The Beatles. The DJ also said that they would be on the “Ed Sullivan Show” that very Sunday.

Sunday night, I was glued to the TV, watching the show. The adults in the house couldn’t figure out what was going on. I didn’t know either, but after the show, I went to my room, missing “Bonanza” probably for the first time since it came on the air.

The next morning, I took my entire earthly savings, went to the Piggly Wiggly supermarket next to my high school and bought “She Loves You”, “I Want to Hold Your Hand” and “Twist and Shout” at 77 cents each. I saved my lunch money and bought Beatles bubble gum after school. And my Beatles collection hasn’t stopped since.”
–Fred Arnold
(The writer later bought and sold Beatles records at The Prism, a store he owned in Charleston, S.C.)

This piece of Beatles nostalgia solicited from “heavy hitters” in the world of Beatles collecting in the USA, appeared in Beatlefan #2, February 1979. Although, seeing the Beatles on live television for the first time had a similar ‘love at first sight’ effect on many teenagers, the effect was more pronounced in some than in others.  “He acted like they were a gift from heaven,” his sister Linda remembered of that night, in Arnold’s words , “They are all gods really, at least to me.”

“The next morning, Arnold sold all of his belongings and began a Beatles collection that would grow to become one of the largest of its kind in the world.”

To some of us, the Beatles are more than just a group whose music you like, they can be an anchor to lives thrown into turmoil and trauma. Fred was born in 1948 to a mother who worked as a circus sideshow attraction, appearing as an albino couple together with her brother. Baby Fred also carried the albino gene and was severely vision impaired on top of this. He and his younger sister had to live with their grandparents after their mother started to manifest violent symptoms of paranoid schizophrenia and began harming the children.

Fast forward to 1970 and Fred was the owner of a record store in Charleston, SC called The Odyssey. “For a time, he kept a “Beatles Museum” in a room in the back of the store, but worried the ceiling would leak and destroy his prized collection, so he moved much of his rare material into an adjoining warehouse. Rather than live in apartments, for much of his career Arnold preferred to live in his stores — typically in a back room, where he’d stash his money in the microwave.” One day, Beatles fan and journalist Eddie Fennell walked by and saw two Beatles LP’s in the window he had never seen before. He decided to investigate and enter the store and found in the owner one of the most eccentric figures he’d ever meet. “Just one-of-a-kind,” Fennell laughed. “A real unique guy.”

Fred with Yoko in the 1980’s

“In 1975, Fennell profiled Arnold for the Post & Courier, as an embodiment of the continued existence of “Beatlemania” in the wake of the group’s demise. Arnold’s pride (and obsessive compulsion) leapt off the page. “I have 234 different Beatles albums from 17 countries,” Arnold told him. “Along with several hundred 45s, two Beatles lunch boxes, a Beatles game, a can of Beatles Talc, two Beatles pillows, a Beatles bank and many Beatles films, posters, books, coins, bracelets, shirts, mobiles, ticket stubs, tapes of recordings not on albums, photos, slides, magazines, dolls, cards, buttons and promotion material.”

“Fennell himself had become drawn to the outer limits of collecting, inspired by afternoons at The Odyssey. With Arnold’s store as his exclusive distributor, he launched a Beatles-centric bootleg record label, Melvin Records, that would go on to gain an enduring cult reputation for its bizarre design aesthetic (many of its records featuring Arnold’s catchphrases in tribute) and consistently impressive archeological discoveries (live sets, phone interviews, demos and other rarities).”

For more insights into the life of the only bootlegger to have met the Fab Four, please visit:

http://www.arktimes.com/arkansas/the-ballad-of-fred-and-yoko/Content?oid=4345986

***

And so, in 1975 their first release numbered MM-01 was proudly offered in the store. The pressing run for their first effort was obviously very limited as copies are extremely hard to locate and command a high price. Supposedly, the copy shown here was sold for the minimum bid of $1,999.75 in April of 2017.

USA: Fall of 1975, distributed via the Odyssey record store in Charleston, South Carolina

Unfortunately, Melvin’s first offering to the world of Beatles’ bootlegs was a complete rehash of previously available material. Side 1 contained mostly BBC recordings and one Decca Audition track.

The only part of the record I was able to listen to was “Lucille”, as the seller had uploaded it as part of the auction. Which versions make up the other tracks (and if there any upgrades here) on the Melvin LP can only be guessed.

  • Lucille – the complete 3 September ’63 recording included here first appeared on TMOQ’s Outtakes 1 in July of 1972
  • I’m Gonna Sit Right Down And Cry (Over You) – first released on TMOQ’s Yellow Matter Custard in January of 1972
  • I Just Don’t Understand – see previous entry
  • Love Of The Loved – the lone Decca audition track available prior to the 1977 “Deccagone” 45’s via CBM’s L.S. Bumblebee, where it appeared as an extended edit. A bootleg single released in 1974 (Love Of The Loved / Reunion) provided an unedited upgrade
  • Crying, Waiting, Hoping – see Yellow Matter Custard
  • Hippy Hippy Shake – see Outtakes 1
  • Soldier Of Love – first released on Wizardo’s Rare Beatles/Happy Birthday/Soldier Of Love album (WRMB 345) around mid-1975, which helps date the Melvin album
  • Don’t Ever Change – see Yellow Matter Custard
  • The Honeymoon Song – ditto

Side 2:

  • What’s The New Mary Jane – an incomplete version of RS2 first appeared on CBM’s Mary Jane in 1972, a complete dub followed in July of 1973 on TMOQ’s Spicy Beatles Songs and finally a true stereo version in 1974 on Benbecula’s Live at Shea Stadium 1964
  • Step Inside Love (home demo) – this poor quality off-line recording was taken from DJ Kenny Everett likely playing an acetate on one of his shows and first appeared on CBM’s Abbey Road Revisited in 1973
  • A medley of: Besame Mucho; Cottonfields; When You Walk; Whole Lotta Shakin Goin’ On, Suzy Parker and Those Were The Days – a hodgepodge of mostly Get Back session snippets with John ‘butchering’ “Cottonfields” on the Kenny Everett Show and his short rendition of the Mary Hopkins hit – that replaced “Hey Jude” at number one – taped at the Amsterdam bed-in, thrown in. All previously released as well.
  • Bye Bye Bye- not the Beatles at all but Kenny Everett’s Nice Time TV show, also first released in atrocious off-line quality on CBM’s Abbey Road Revisited as US bootleggers missed the original Deram Records UK single
  • All Together On The Wireless Machine – Paul’s jingle for Kenny Everett, from Where It’s At a radio special about the Magical Mystery Tour double EP, broadcast 25 November 1967, see Abbey Road Revisited as well
  • Have You Heard The Word – by the Fut, first appeared on CBM’s album of the same title and was upgraded in length on Abbey Road Revisited