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PAST MASTERS VOLUME 2

The Beatles

Proto-Prog


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5 stars As a compilation, this doesn't qualify as "The Greatest Album Of All Time", but there is no 2-disc set in existence that has more great music on it than this, these singles and rarities document the artistic growth of the most important and yes, greatest, band in the history of Rock and Roll.

To all those who think The Beatles were overrated...sorry, but if it wasn't for them, this web-site and most of the bands discussed on it wouldn't even exist.

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Send comments to Rutgers Joe (BETA) | Report this review (#69713)
Posted Friday, February 17, 2006 | Review Permalink
chopper
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Honorary Collaborator
3 stars When the Beatles back catalogue was finally released on CD, this was issued as the second in the Past Masters series which collected all the remaining non-album songs together. This one contains all the singles and B sides from 1965 onwards, starting with the magnificent Day Tripper/We Can Work It Out double A side.

Paperback Writer and Rain date from the Revolver sessions, Rain being notable for the use of Lennon's backward vocals at the end.

Lady Madonna was McCartney's boogie-woogie jazz number and features Ronnie Scott on sax. The Inner Light was another of Harrison's Indian numbers.

Of the other mostly well-known songs, Old Brown Shoe is a Harrison curio and Get Back and Across The Universe are the single versions as opposed to the versions on the Let It Be album.

You Know My Name is possibly the strangest song in the entire Beatles catalogue. Conceived by Lennon as a sort of mantra, repeating the title over and over again, it was recorded over several years and nearly became a single for the Plastic Ono Band. This version is shorter than the one on the Anthology and is in mono. It has the gospel intro, the night club crooner and the Lennon nonsense sections, but omits the ska section.

A valuable collection for songs such as Rain and You Know My Name, which are hard to get elsewhere.

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Send comments to chopper (BETA) | Report this review (#70345)
Posted Thursday, February 23, 2006 | Review Permalink
Guillermo
PROG REVIEWER
4 stars As previous reviewers said, this C.D. contains the singles and their B-sides released between 1965 and 1970. The only song which wasn`t released as a single is the version included here of "Across the Universe", which is not the same version included in the "Let It Be" album, because it lacks the orchestral arrangements, but it is the same take of the song. It was speeded-up for release in a various artists album called "No One`s Gonna Change Our World", a charity album released in December 1969 by the World Wildlife Fun (on the Regal Zonophone Starline label, owned by EMI). This version also includes backing vocals by two female Beatles`fans who were chosen among a lot of fans who were everday outside Abbey Road Studios! This version also has added wildlife sound effects.

All songs were mixed in Stereo, except "You Know My Name (Look Up the Number)", the B-side of the "Let It Be" single (which in this version has a different lead guitar played by Harrison in comparison to the version which was included in the "Let It Be" album). This is a very funny song, full of The Beatles`humour. It was originally recorded in mid 1967, with the late Brian Jones of The Rolling Stones playing sax! This song has the "atmosphere" of a "bad reputation Night Club", with Lennon & McCartney singing funny vocals (which were recorded in mid 1969). This version was the edited version of the song (edited and mixed in Mono by Lennon in late 1969 because he wanted to release it as a Plastic Ono Band single, but he wasn`t allowed to do that).The long lenght version was released in Stereo in the "Anthology 2" 2 C.D. set. I first listened to this B-side of the "Let It Be" single when I was 5-6 years old with my brothers. My father bought this single, and we were all laughing loudly while listening to this song! (I still smile while listening to it!). Maybe with this song The Beatles were trying to re-create the "atmosphere" of some of the Night Clubs in which they played at the start of their career (they even backed some strip-tease "artists" then!).

"Get Back" and its B-side "Don`t Let Me Down" were originally released with a credit on the label which said "The Beatles (with Billy Preston)".They maybe admired Preston so much to give him this credit to him!

This C.D. is a very good representation of how The Beatles` style became more elaborated, showing, IMO, how they influenced the development of the Prog Rock style in later years.

Some of the songs in this C.D. were originally released in the U.S. in 1970 in a L.P. compilation called "Hey Jude" (or "The Beatles Again", as the first edition of that L.P. was originally called): "Paperback Writer", "Rain", "Lady Madonna", "Hey Jude", "Revolution", "Don`t Let Me Down", "The Ballad of John and Yoko" and "Old Brown Shoe", plus the first Stereo releases in the U.S. of "Can`t Buy Me love" and "I Should Have Known Better".

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Send comments to Guillermo (BETA) | Report this review (#73684)
Posted Friday, March 31, 2006 | Review Permalink
Cygnus X-2
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4 stars In 1988, Past Masters Volumes 1 and 2 were released to coincide with the reissues of all the original Beatles albums. These two introspective looks into the rarities and singles of the group had some of their most important songs on them. While Volume 1 was a bit underwhelming, but in the end a good overall release, Volume 2 improves on it immensely. The songs on this release range from standard pop tunes to off the wall jazzy experiments and in the end it proves to be a large success. This album takes tracks that weren't released on albums between the Help! and Let It Be albums and those tracks that were chosen are amongst the most creative and fun in the Beatles catalogue.

Day Tripper will go down in history as one of the most recognizable riffs ever (along with Deep Purple's Smoke on the Water and Derek & Domino's Layla) and it really has a great beat to it and some nice vocals from McCartney. We Can Work It Out has some more great vocals from McCartney as well as a nice drum performance from Ringo, but other than that does nothing for me. Paperback Writer has some great riffing from the duel guitarists and some inquisitive lyrics from McCartney who sings about wanting to be a novelist. Rain is the first Beatles track to ever feature a section of backwards music, in this case the vocals and drums are backwards, and this can arguably be seen as Ringo's greatest drum performance while with the group. Spectacular acid influenced rock here. Lady Madonna was a White Album era song that had some waltzy piano lines and some nice backing vocals from George and John as well as some great overall musicianship.

The Inner Light is a raga influenced George Harrison track (that found it's way as a B-Side if I'm not mistaken), and it's his best work of this style next to the masterpiece track Love You To on Revolver. Hey Jude is one of the Beatles longest and most famous pieces (mainly for the eponymous and infamous 4 minute outro chant section). It's a somber ballad at its core, but it has an uplifting message as well as some killer piano work from McCartney (who also provides a spectacular vocal performance on top of that). Revolution is a distorted/fuzzed up version of the acoustic piece Revolution 1 found on The White Album. This version is a lot better than the original version because it's a lot heavier, it's a lot more powerful, and the leads from Harrison are just out of this world spectacular. One of the best songs in the Beatles catalogue, in my opinion. Get Back in this form was the original single version which was vastly different from the one featured on Let It Be. This version has a much more studio feel and it has a rawer sound, but other than that it is very faithful. Don't Let Me Down is one of the more underrated Beatles songs, and it has some nice keyboards on the part of Billy Preston (who sat in with the group during the Get Back sessions and the infamous rooftop concert). It has some sincere vocals from Lennon and an urgent atmosphere, and I can't help but love it.

The Ballad of John and Yoko features only two musicians on the track, John Lennon and Paul McCartney. If I remember correctly, they recorded this song within a day, and released it within a week to the public as a single. It has a nice upbeat feel to it, and some nice guitar work from Lennon. Old Brown Shoe is another George Harrison piece that has a wicked piano line and some searing leads. The sound on this track is very nice and gives hints at what Harrison's solo career would become (in a way, that is). Across the Universe is presented here in its original form, without the choir and with the original wildlife sound effects in the background (as the song was made for a World Wildlife Fund charity album). Expect more of the same from the Let It Be version, though. Let It Be is a bit different from its album counterpart mainly in that the guitar solo is vastly different from the one on the final record, and it is infinitely better. Harrison really lets loose and really shows off his true talents on this version. Finally, You Know My Name (Look Up the Number) is next to Revolution 9 the single weirdest piece the Beatles ever created. Looming around since 1968, You Know My Name features many wild sections that are connected by the lyrical theme. There's some nice Brian Jones saxophone and some great lounge style singing from McCartney in the middle sections. This actually is one of my favorite Beatles tracks, and I can't really explain why.

In the end, Past Masters Volume 2 would be a vast improvement over Volume 1. Although it isn't a masterpiece, it shows some great experimentation and creativity in the group and I can't help but feel satisfied every time I listen to it. Fans of the later Beatles albums will truly love these albums and fans of early progressively tinged songs will find this album to be fitting of that style. Me? I actually thought this album was excellent, and is a very good compilation worth of a purchase. 4.5/5

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Send comments to Cygnus X-2 (BETA) | Report this review (#85338)
Posted Tuesday, August 01, 2006 | Review Permalink
5 stars The Beatles were the band that made the transition between singles and albums. Until them, the most important thing in pop music was a best-selling single, and they did so in an excellent way. But they started to give importance to albums more and more until they did "Revolver" in 1966, experimenting in the studio and opening the door to the vast room that was to be known as progressive rock. Anyway, some of the best Beatles songs were released ONLY as singles, so the "Past Masters" are really good albums on their own, not just mere compilations. Personally, as a Beatle fan, I prefer their second period (1966- 1970), so this second volume is wonderful. You can find classic singles of all times such as "Day Tripper", "We Can Work it Out", "Paperback Writer", "Lady Madonna", "Hey Jude" (a 7 minute single!) or "Get Back". But also brilliant songs not so popular such as "Rain" (pure psychedelia), "Old Brown Shoe" or the bizarre and jazzy "You Know my Name". A perfect introduction to The Beatles and to some of the best pop songs of all times!

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Send comments to Jordi Planas (BETA) | Report this review (#86664)
Posted Friday, August 11, 2006 | Review Permalink
Finnforest
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Honorary Collaborator
4 stars Important historical collection-part 2

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. The second volume is much more fun than the first as we get into some really juicy classics here covering the era from Rubber Soul until the band's demise. Included are the outstanding 65-66 singles Day Tripper/We Can Work It Out/Paperback Writer/Rain. The latter, Rain, which came out prior to Revolver, was the first serious taste of the new psychedelics-inspired material the boys were about to drop on their fans. Featuring strange sounds and backwards vocals it was the result of the band's deepening drug experimentations. We get Hey Jude/Revolution/Get Back/Don't Let Me Down. There is the first UK stereo single, the highly autobiographical Ballad of John and Yoko, the awesome Across the Universe, and Let It Be (different mixes). But the biggest reason to own this title is the last song, the best Beatles rarity of all! "You Know My Name (Look Up the Number)" was began during the Pepper sessions in '67 and was not completed until two years later. This playful "lampoon of cabaret crooners" is one of the most hilarious and high-minded tracks they ever did, and I don't mind telling you it was a real favorite of the gang I used to party with back in the day. Without question, if you love the Beatles, you need Past Masters volume 2.

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Send comments to Finnforest (BETA) | Report this review (#247751)
Posted Sunday, November 01, 2009 | Review Permalink
Warthur
PROG REVIEWER
4 stars A collection of non-album tracks (the versions included of Get Back, Across the Universe and Let It Be are different mixes from those on Let It Be) from 1965 to 1969, Past Masters 2 isn't quite a five-star album - no disc including the awful You Know My Name (Look Up the Number) could be - but it is still a fine Beatles collection, including some great songs that never made to the original albums. There's Revolution, the single version of which presented here is far better than the version on the White Album, the experimental Rain, the elegaic Hey Jude, and more, easily enough to justify the purchase. But I just can't stand that last song...

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Send comments to Warthur (BETA) | Report this review (#457965)
Posted Tuesday, June 07, 2011 | Review Permalink
4 stars Past Masters 2 would be an excellent addition to any music collection. The main thing to remember is that this is a collection of singles, B-sides and a comedy song. No other band could muster such an incredible roster of non-album material. Take your pick: Hey Jude, Revolution, Paperback Writer, Lady Madonna... One of my personal favourites is the psychedelic 'Rain'. The rhythm musicianship is just out-of-this-world - Ringo plays his drums like a man possessed, and McCartney's bass lines are inspirational and unique. Add to this the fact that the original recording was *slowed down* and you get some idea of just how far ahead of its time this was. Another favourite is "Day Tripper" which features what must be the most catchy guitar riff ever, "Paperback Writer" is also an ingenious song which moved away from the Beatles trademark love songs. I love everything on here actually, including the comedic "You know my name look up the number". I would like to say that this is essential. Well, at least it is for Beatles fans!

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Send comments to Frankie Flowers (BETA) | Report this review (#488118)
Posted Thursday, July 21, 2011 | Review Permalink

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