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The Beatles - Past Masters Volume 1 CD (album) cover

PAST MASTERS VOLUME 1

The Beatles

 

Proto-Prog

3.38 | 55 ratings

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Cygnus X-2
Special Collaborator
Honorary Collaborator
3 stars In 1987 along with the remasters of all the original Beatles albums came Past Masters Volume 1 and 2. These two albums featured the singles and rarities that weren't released on the ordinary albums and for the most part were essential to any fan of the Beatles. Volume 1 is comprised of tracks from the Please Please Me days through Help!, and like those albums, it doesn't really have any progressive material on it, not really even the slightest bit of experimentation. Still, you'll find the essential hits and number ones of that era as well as some rarities that never really saw the light of day (although most were b-sides). It's a pretty concise and introspective look back (but much greater work would be done for the Anthology series albums) into the early career of arguably the most important rock band ever.

Tracks worth mentioning are the German versions of I Want to Hold Your Hand and She Loves You, which are the only Beatles songs that were ever recorded by the original group in a different language. Of course, the standard number ones From Me To You, She Loves You, I Feel Fine (which woul be feature the first real display of guitar feedback and be the basis for Alex Lifeson of Rush's entire inspiration to play guitar). Some underrated tracks (and ones that would eventually get covered) are the stellar She's a Woman (which would get an instrumental reworking on Jeff Beck's Blow By Blow album), Yes It Is (which would be covered pretty faithfully by Yes) and I'm Down (which would get a rollicking cover from guitarist Adrian Belew on his second record Twang Bar King). The tracks in between these are more or less throwaways but are pretty interesting in the long run and this album should satisfy any completionist's true needs.

In the end, Past Masters 1 is a pretty interesting retrospective into the rarities and uncommon songs of the Beatles early years of 1962-1964. The second volume of the set would ultimately be a lot better (and feature a wider range of material), but this stands alone as a nice and pretty safe purchase, as there is nothing truly risque or out of this world about this album. It's not a bad album in the least bit, it fares better than With the Beatles and Beatles For Sale, in my opinion. Mainly for Beatles fans and fans of playful pop songs. 3/5.

Cygnus X-2 | 3/5 |

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