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4 stars This is an essential album as it contains every single song that is not included in any of their regular albums from the 1962-1964 years. If you have their first albums you'll have to get Past Masters if you don't wanna lose their biggest hit singles: From Me To You, She Loves You, I Want To Hold Your Hand, and I Feel Fine are essential. Of course this stuff is not remotely related with progressive rock, but it has a huge historical relevance.
Report this review (#73951)
Posted Monday, April 3, 2006 | Review Permalink
Cygnus X-2
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.

Report this review (#85335)
Posted Tuesday, August 1, 2006 | Review Permalink
Honorary Collaborator
3 stars Important historical collection

The two-part Past Masters collection is not some lame compilation of tracks from the studio albums. This is an essential set for fans because it includes the many fine Beatles songs that did NOT appear on the albums, along with some rarities and alternate takes. This first volume includes the early years from the debut album through Help (1962-1965). One highlight is hearing the boys doing their German language versions of "She Loves You" and "I Want to Hold Your Hand." Many of the others on this set were the B sides of early singles. The final number "I'm Down" is interesting in that it features a truly feverish, exuberant Paul lead vocal recorded on the afternoon June 14th 1965. Just a couple of hours after this vocal Paul recorded his legendary classic "Yesterday." These are all the 2-3 minute pop songs that you'd expect from the Beatles of this era, so of course, if your only interest is prog you needn't bother. But both parts 1 and 2 of this great collection are important and necessary for true Beatles fans because of the rarity and the quality.

Report this review (#247749)
Posted Sunday, November 1, 2009 | Review Permalink
3 stars The Past Master volumes released Beatles tracks not featured on any of their studio albums - This is the first volume featuring rarities up to 1965. The tracks are mostly singles and B-sides including such legendary tracks as 'Love Me Do', 'From Me To You', 'I Feel Fine' and many more besides, as well as the German re-recordings of 'I Want To Hold Your Hand' and 'She Loves You'. As it has been said already, this is mostly for a Beatles collection or for historical relevance. But apart from the tracks mentioned above, other highlights include Lennon on 'I Call Your Name' and the beautiful 12/8 rhythm on 'This Boy', Paul McCartney doing his Little Richard impersonation on 'Long Tall Sally' and the cover version of 'Bad Boy'. All these numbers are important to the Beatles history.
Report this review (#488147)
Posted Friday, July 22, 2011 | Review Permalink
3 stars Not as interesting for me as the Volume Two of this "Past Masters" series. Both Volumes were released in March 1988. This Volume One has all the songs which were released only on singles in the U.K. (mostly B-sides between 1962 and mid 1965), plus the four songs from their "Long Tall Sally" EP from 1964 ("Long Tall Sally", "I Call Your Name", "Slow Down" and "Matchbox"), two songs recorded in 1964 for the German market in their language ("Komm, Gib Mir Deine Hand" and "Sie Liebt Dich"), and one song which only appeared in the U.K. in a compilation LP called "The Beatles Oldies...But Goldies!" in late 1966 ("Bad Boy", recorded in 1965). By having both Volumes and all the re-issued albums on CD between 1987 and 1988, the fans had on CD by then all the officially released songs by the band (on EMI anyway). The Volume Two of this series (which has songs recorded between late 1965 and early 1970) was more interesting for me because their music became more elaborated than in their early years. But for me this Volume One is also interesting because it has the version of "Love Me Do" which was recorded with Ringo on drums and was first released on the first pressings of the single in 1962 before being replaced by the version which was recorded with Andy White on drums (and which appears on their "Please Please Me" album). Also, the four songs from the "Long Tall Sally" EP are very good. But as a whole this Volume One is a good compilation.
Report this review (#1020413)
Posted Sunday, August 18, 2013 | Review Permalink

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