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A potpourri of unique and exciting sounds.

  • Jan 17, 2011
It is a collection that is long overdue. When John, Paul, George and Ringo founded Apple Records back in 1968 they intended the label to be the home not only for their own music but also for deserving artists they had discovered or were supporters of. Apple would be a bit different from most other labels in that The Beatles had the financial wherewithal to take chances on unconventional artists and eclectic new sounds. The boys scoured the countryside for offbeat sounds and brand new artists they thought had potential. Likewise, they invited some established recording artists back into the studio to cut some new sides for the label. "Come And Get It: The Very Best of Apple Records" offers up 21 of these marvelous recordings packaged all together for the very first time. When I discovered this collection online recently I was extremely excited and ordered it immediately. Included were a number of tunes I had never even sampled before and several others that I had not heard in years. Add to all of this some familiar hits by Badfinger and Mary Hopkin and this looked to me like a very promising collection.

Mary Hopkin was just 17 years old when she was discovered by Paul McCartney in 1968. She was a Welch folk singer and Paul deemed her voice perfect for a 1920's Russian folk song he was longing to record called "Those Were The Days". Talk about unconventional! McCartney's instincts were right on the money and "Those Were The Days" became a worldwide smash. A year or so later Mary Hopkin would have another substantial hit in America called "Goodbye". Both songs are included in this collection. Perhaps you were unaware of this but the group Badfinger began life as The Iveys. Their debut single "Maybe Tomorrow" was also released on Apple in 1968. I heard this tune exactly once on the radio, loved it and never heard it again until I purchased this disc. This is a terrific song and one can hear the great potential in this group. It is no wonder that Apple signed them and as we all know Badfinger went on to have several huge hits. Many people are unaware that James Taylor also got his start at Apple. Take a listen to Taylor's debut single "Carolina In My Mind" and you will hear Paul McCartney on bass and the late George Harrison doing background vocals. Great stuff! The Beatles can also be credited with launching the highly successful recording career of the great Billy Preston during his his stint at Apple. Enjoy both "That's The Way God Planned It" and Billy's version of "My Sweet Lord" on "Come And Get It: The Best of Apple Records".

As I mentioned at the outset the folks at Apple were always on the lookout for new and unique sounds. Perhaps the most surprising act to be signed by Apple was an outfit known as The Sundown Playboys from Lake Charles, LA. This was essentially a pick-up band of Cajun players who had recorded a side for a small Louisiana record label. When one of the band members heard about the philosophy behind Apple Records he decided to send a copy of the disc to the label. According to the liner notes George Harrison absolutely loved it and decided to acquire the rights to this recording and issue it on Apple. Meanwhile, you can also sample a rather bizarre version of "Give Peace A Chance" by a group known as Hot Chocolate Band. The collection also includes a mighty fine version of Lennon/McCartney's "Golden Slumbers/Carry That Weight" by a band that called itself Trash. Check it out! One of my favorite cuts in this collection is a rockin' tune called "We're On Our Way" by Chris Hodge. This was a minor hit in the U.S.A. back in 1972 and I actually owned a copy at the time but had not heard it in years. I had always heard of Jackie Lomax who was a contemporary of The Beatles in England but because he never achieved popularity on this side of the pond I had never actually heard any of his work. You will find a pair or excellent Jackie Lomax numbers included here. I would have to say that after listening to this album several times my favorite song just might be "Ain't That Cute" by Doris Troy. The Beatles were huge fans of Doris Troy who was a very highly regarded R&B singer back in the day. Born in the Bronx, Troy had a Top Ten hit in America with "Just One Look" in 1963. But Troy was always more popular in England than in her native America and The Beatles were thrilled to sign her to Apple. Another legendary recording artist who signed with Apple was the former lead singer of The Ronettes Ronnie Spector . Her husband Phil was a producer at Apple in 1971 and the label signed Ronnie in the hopes of reviving her flagging career. While that was just not to be I was glad to see "Try Some, Buy Some" included here. This is a wonderful song that I had not heard in decades.

Now if you are an avid collector like I am and find yourself the least bit interested I recommend that you snap up a copy of "Come And Get It: The Best of Apple Records" as quickly as possible. It seems that this anthology was released with very little fanfare and that makes me wonder just how long it will be available. I must tell you that the re-mastering job on these 40 year old recordings is terrific and I garnered a whole lot of useful information from the 16 page booklet that is included. It is obvious to me that a whole lot of TLC went into putting this package together.  Very highly recommended!

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Paul Tognetti ()
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I guess I would qualify as a frustrated writer. My work requires very little writing and so since 1999 I have been writing reviews on non-fiction books and anthology CD's on amazon.com. I never could … more
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Product Description
Come and Get It: The Best Of Apple Records is the first commercially issued multi-artist compilation in the label’s history. This 21-track compilation of singles ranges from the folk-rooted tunes of Mary Hopkin and James Taylor, and the energetic rock of Badfinger (also The Iveys) and Jackie Lomax, to the deep soul of Doris Troy and Billy Preston.

Come and Get It displays Apple’s vibrant years of musical experimentation in full flower, from bona fide hit singles to the cult classics of the catalogue, as represented by brass band The Black Dyke Mills Band, Cajun collective The Sundown Playboys, and more. Hot Chocolate (as ‘The Hot Chocolate Band’) makes an appearance, as does Ronnie Spector, Bill Elliot & The Elastic Oz Band, Chris Hodge, Brute Force, and others.

Launched by The Beatles in 1968, Apple served as the new outlet for their own recordings as well as the music of an eclectic roster of artists who were all personally brought to the label by The Beatles (individually and/or collectively). In the revolutionary spirit of the times, Apple’s utopian artist-orientated mission celebrated diversity in a friendly creative environment. The result was a rainbow spectrum of music, from folk, rock and soul to The Modern Jazz Quartet and the work of contemporary British classical composer John Tavener.

1 Those Were The Days / Mary Hopkin
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