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Melvin Records

Shown here with a Melvin Records inner paper sleeve. It appears that most copies did not include this.

 

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.

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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

You almost wish to rub your eyes but on July 19, this copy of Melvin Records MM 04 got 19 bids with the high bidder committing to an incredible $4,950.00 – I wonder if this amount actually changed hands in this case.

beatles-wisbbb

beatles-wisbbb-det

 

Link to the actual auction: http://www.ebay.com/itm/Rare-LP-When-It-Says-Beatles-On-the-Label-You-Will-Love-It-NM-ORIG-Not-TMOQ-/351781836082?hash=item51e7d4d532:g:LmMAAOSw7XZXg04u

When John Lennon stepped on stage at Madison Square Garden for the matinee performance on August 30th 1972, there was no shortage of recording devices capturing this historical event.  Multitrack tapes archived both shows, as well as several film cameras and amateur equipment in the audience. Despite all of this, several of the vinyl bootlegs reviewed here are still required to help us reconstruct both shows.

MSG I

1 to 1 backstage

JL backstage 1 to 1 72

MSG 2

MSG 3

Photographed August 30 1972

Photographed August 30 1972

Photographed August 30 1972

The last 3 images were taken by John Skelson

The set list was:

01. Power To The People intro /  New York City                                                                                           02. It’s So Hard                                                                                                                                                    03. Move on Fast                 [# 5 in evening show]                                                                                          04. Woman Is The Nigger Of The World                                                                                                        05. Sisters, O Sisters                    [# 3 in evening show]                                                                              06. Well, Well, Well                                                                                                                                             07. Born In A Prison               [# 10 in evening show]                                                                                    08. Instant Karma               [# 7 in evening show]                                                                                          09. Mother                     [# 8 in evening show]                                                                                                       10. We’re All Water            [# 9 in evening show]                                                                                                11. Come Together                                                                                                                                              12. Imagine                                                                                                                                                           13. Open Your Box                                                                                                                                      14. Cold Turkey                                                                                                                                                    14. Hound Dog                                                                                                                                                      15. Don’t Worry Kyoko           [only performed at the matinee performance]                                                15. Give Peace A Chance

Although a website states that “The evening show featured fewer songs, with several sung by Yoko Ono omitted.”, the analysis based on the audience recordings shows that “Don’t Worry Kyoko” was the only Yoko song cut from the evening show.

The audience recording of the matinee show remained unreleased until Contraband released it on Hound Dog (5040) several years after the event.

The professional audio and video recording of 8 songs from the evening show (05., 08., 09., 11.- 15.) was broadcast in the U.S. on December 14th as part of an ABC TV “In Concert” special, with the soundtrack being in mono.

An FM simulcast was broadcast in many cities as well and from 1973 the King Biscuit Flower Hour live radio show produced a six song edit of highlights (09.+ 10. – 12. + 15.) from the evening performance, which was played on radio stations via a transcription LP (with Yoko’s song usually not being aired subsequent to its initial airing in 1972). This can be found on the wolfgangsvault website in complete form:

http://www.wolfgangsvault.com/john-lennon/concerts/madison-square-garden-august-30-1972.html

“Compared to the afternoon show, John seems more comfortable here and the band performances are stronger. One may wonder why the afternoon performances were favored for the officially released CD, when these may indeed be superior performances.” [wolfgangsvault.com]

“The most recent issuance of One To One material was the inclusion of three tracks and Geraldo Rivera’s introduction from the evening on Anthology. Although the performances are considered to be superior to those of the matinee, they were considered unusable at the time of Live In New York City’s release du to unacceptable noise levels. Advances in digital restoration software allowed their inclusion on Anthology.” [Madinger & Easter, p. 80]

In the vinyl age, the TKRWM bootleg Joshua Tree Tapes probably had the best sounding (incomplete) version of the KBFH broadcast.

***

This 1973 Contraband LP was the first bootleg LP from the event:

Lennon one one

Lennon one one yel

Matrix #: WEC RI-3949-AX / WEC RI-3665-A

Side 1: Mother/ Imagine / Come Together/ Give Peace A Chance     The source was probably one of the KBFH broadcasts. The quality only achieved a “Poor stereo” rating in Hot Wacks but a Japanese bootleg blog gave it a “relatively good mono” unless something got lost in translation.

Side 2 presents John & Yoko’s entire performance in Ann Arbor on December 10/11 1971 as part of the “John Sinclair Freedom Rally”: John Sinclair/Attica State/Oh Sisters/Luck Of The Irish  “The video feed, capture by Detroit television station WTVS (channel 56) was bootlegged in lo-fi on CBM’s Lennon-McCartney [which was a reissue of the side 2 master of this album as side 1] (the three John tracks were lifted from the CBM disc for release on Wizardo’s One – One Concert + More). ” [Eight Arms To Hold You, page 67]

Ann Arbor

Onstage at the Chrysler Arena in Ann Arbor

Lennon - McCartney

Here’s something new, dating a release by the cover image used. The John & Yoko image was taken in March of 1973, when they were on a house hunting trip to Greenwich, CT (more images are in Bob Gruen’s photo book John Lennon – The New York Years). This means that this LP was probably released in the second half of 1973 at the earliest.

***

In 1975, Wizardo issued their own version of the show as their very first release but taken from an ABC TV “In Concert” video sound track:

Lennon One + One rs

Does not look like a fake to me but what is it – an advance pressing?

Lennon 1+1 concert + more

The text at the bottom reads: CONCEPT & DESIGN: MAUD’S HOUSE ART DIRECTION: MAD JACK ILLUSTRATION: JOAN KING 5.1.75 ♂

Lennon 1+1 concert + more small insert

The last three songs on side two are studio recordings. The Wizardo LP makes the core list for the ABC broadcast versions of ‘Imagine’ and ‘Give Peace A Chance’.

The same Japanese blog hands the victory clearly to Wizardo on this one (“SIDE-A is overwhelming victory of 301. …very good to excellent,… For ONE TO ONE confrontation is 301 wins overwhelmingly. “), which is also reflected in the Hot Wacks ratings difference, giving this LP a very good mono.

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Lennon Hound Dog

Lennon HoundDog

Instant Analysis label, released in spring of 1974 – Matrix: JL 5040A / B

The infamous vinyl bootleg that was destroyed in Hot Wacks’ description: “Very poor. Worst bootleg ever!”.

Hot Wacks listsCold Turkey” beforeHound Dog” and this is the order in which they had been performed. This LP was the first time any of the audience recordings were released. It featured three songs  from the matinee show, and three of them are still part of the core collection to this day: “Move On Fast” can only be found on this album, as it has never been released or broadcast in any form. Two others, “It’s So Hard” and “Woman Is The Nigger Of The World” are also necessary from this LP to get the full audience mix from the matinee performance (the rest are found on the Japanese CD release mentioned below).

“The complete matinee performance circulates among collectors as a poor audience recording, most of which was unbootlegged until the release of the three CD Japanese set One To One Concert. […] side two of the Instant Analysis release Hound Dog included four cuts from the unprocessed audience tape, some of which are more complete than the Japanese collection. They too are in abysmal quality, but due to their content must be considered as the suggested bootleg source.” [Madinger and Easter, p. 81]”

****

Honorable mention goes to two later bootlegs:

Lennon Come Back Johnny!

This tastefully done Melvin Records release made the core list for the ABC broadcast versions of “Instant Karma”, “Come Together”, “Cold Turkey” and “Hound Dog” as well as “Mother”, which is called an “ABC Outtake” in Eight Arms….

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Ono Y This Is Not Here detail

This 1990s Yoko Ono bootleg is a core release at least for the ABC broadcast version of “Sisters, O Sisters”.

This song was officially released on the Live In New York City where it was edited and features a single track lead vocal but it is unedited on the bootleg recording and due to some post-production for the ABC airing a second lead vocal has been dubbed. There are many more differences and explained edits for the available non-bootlegged versions, which are explained in detail in Eight Arms To Hold You or issue # 9 of the 1987 publication ‘Illegal Beatles‘.

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Willowbrook Aug 30 72 ticket

Lennon concert for willowbrook