THE BEATLES BLACK ALBUM
Company: No manufacturer indicated (Ruthless Rhymes producers)
Matrix Number: TWK 0169-A / B / C / D / E / F AIYHOIO L-4344 (on all sides)
Release Date: May 1981
1. (Improvisation) / HONEY HUSH (DDSI 8.08)
2. STAND BY ME (DDSI 8.10)
3. HARE KRISHNA MANTRA (DDSI 8.11)
4. “WELL, IF YOU’RE READY” (DDSI 8.12)
5. HARE KRISHNA MANTRA (DDSI 8.13)
6. TWO OF US (DDSI 8.14)
7. YOU GOT ME GOING (DDSI 8.15)
8. TWIST AND SHOUT (DDSI 8.16)
9. DON’T LET ME DOWN (DDSI 8.17)
10. I’VE GOT A FEELING (DDSI 8.18)
11. ONE AFTER 909 (DDSI 8.20)
12. TOO BAD ABOUT SORROWS (DDSI 8.21)
13. JUST FUN (DDSI 8.22)
14. SHE SAID SHE SAID (DDSI 8.23)
15. MEAN MR. MUSTARD (DDSI 8.38)
16. DON’T LET ME DOWN (DDSI 8.39)
17. ALL THINGS MUST PASS (DDSI 8.40)
18. FOOLS LIKE ME (DDSI 8.41)
19. YOU WIN AGAIN (DDSI 8.42)
20. (Improvisation) (DDSI 8.43)
21. SHE CAME IN THROUGH THE BATHROOM WINDOW (DDSI 8.44)
22. I ME MINE (DDSI 8.81)
23. WATCHING RAINBOWS (DDSI 14.33)
24. (Improvisation) (DDSI 14.37)
Sound quality: EX-mono
Twickenham Studios, January 1969
This 3 LP set contains the entire SWEET APPLE TRAX material (taken from tape, with some minor differences of a few seconds here and there) and more Twickenham/Apple outtakes (already surfaced on WATCHING RAINBOWS, except for tracks 7 to 11 and 24). The overall sound quality here is slightly better than in the previously released records.
The package is an absolute classic: a gatefold black cover, with "THE BEATLES" embossed in black, and including a large color poster too, just like the "White Album". The back of the poster reports the transcription of dialogues from the January 1969 sessions.
RELEASES FROM THE ORIGINAL MASTERS
1. May 1981 (photo below the title). The first pressing had the colored dog and gun disc labels, used by the Ruthless Rhymes company, even though there is no indication to this producer. All the labels were the same, with 1/2 side indication. The gatefold jacket had track listing and photos of the Beatles in the inner part. This version was repressed throughout 1983-1984.
2. The fake Japanese version, probably released in 1985. The original masters were used for a release that had red disc labels with Japanese writing. This was done to suggest that these were import records, so they could be sold as legit LPs. However, the Japanese writing is a total nonsense, also full of mistakes, so this was clearly made in the U.S.A. Here, thanks to a reader from Japan, the translation of some of the writings: the text around the edge of the label (the usual copyright notice) says: かない大悲劇であに大きな空洞を残した彼らのあとを継ぐものは =Those who followed them who left a big cavity in the great tragedy are, ザ・ビートルズ THE BEATLES (at least this is correct!) ... the first line below the spindle hole: "東洋思想を流布さ = Promulgate Eastern thought, and so on for the remaining parts. The titles of the songs are miswritings of Love Me Do, Please Please Me, From Me To You.
The records were pressed at a different pressing plant, marked by a broad groove near the spindle hole. Some copies of the second record, however, had a single ring at 12 mm from the spindle hole (side 3 in the photo below), a common feature for these records, so possibly different pressing machines were used.
1986. In 1986 the original masters were renumbered 2R 75A /B/C/D/E/F, with old numbers scratched, to be used for the first three discs of the 11 LP box THE GET BACK JOURNALS (this box will have its own entry). At first, the new numbers 2R 75 were directly written on the stampers, therefore they appear written reversed in the inner grooves. The new stampers were used for repressings of THE BLACK ALBUM that appeared with dark blue EVA RECORDS & TAPES labels, with A/B side indications for disc 1 and 3, and C/D side indications for disc 2. In some copies the printing of the label for side D was not centered. One copy was seen that has the first two records with the "japanese" label and the third record with the EVA label.
BEWARE! The records on light blue Eva labels are counterfeits (see below, COUNTERFEITS).
1986-1987. New stampers were made, with old numbers erased and this time with the 2R 75 numbers correctly written, but readable by looking at the vinyl from the spindle hole rather than from the outer part of the record as usual. The discs had CORONET RECORDS labels, with side one to side six indications. Some copies were distributed in a deluxe box, with a sticker listing some of the tracks.
INTEREST. This is really one of the most classic bootlegs, and as such it must be present in any collection. The first pressing with the dog and gun label is still quite easily available, and of course it's the most interesting one from a collector's point of view. Also the repressings maintain some interest. ***/**
THE 5-LP BOX
In 1986 a 5-LP box that included a copy of THE BLACK ALBUM on "Annuit Coeptis" labels (green disc 1, red disc 2, green disc 3), pressed from the stampers with the correct 2R 75 numbers and old numbers erased, and a copy of the 2-LP set IN A PLAY ANYWAY, on the original blue Circuit labels, was distributed. It included a sheet with the track listing and a copy of the poster. In some of the boxes the sticker used for the version of the BLACK ALBUM on Coronet labels was added. There exist boxes in which the three discs of the BLACK ALBUM have various labels: they are probaly left-over copies of previous releases; in one case the box included even one disc in colored vinyl, surely deriving from the GET BACK JOURNALS. All the copies of the 5-LP box that were seen have the IN A PLAY ANYWAY discs with the CIRCUIT Records labels.
INTEREST. A rather scarce release, of good interest for collectors. ***
Not surprisingly, the BLACK ALBUM was counterfeited by other producers. All these counterfeits were distributed with the same layout, black jacket with embossed title, and the poster. All counterfeits report the 2R75 number on the label or the matrix, thus were released since 1986.
1. Matrix Number 2R75 A / B / C / D / E / F. This counterfeited copy came with nice black disc labels with the title and a photo of the Beatles on the left of the label. Copies with one or two discs with blank white label exist as well. The embossed THE BEATLES writing on the jacket is bigger than in the original release. Its sound quality is comparable to the original. This version is quite scarce.
2. Counterfeited EVA Records, Matrix Number LP A / LP B / LP C / LP D / LP E / LP F. This version conterfeited the original EVA Records version. The label is light blue with dark blue EVA lettering, but in many copies one or two discs had blank yellow or blank yellow and blank white labels. The embossed THE BEATLES writing is less evident. This version is relatively common, but it's pressing quality is worse than the original.
The Verzyl release. A limited edition of about 50 copies of this version was pressed in splatter vinyl, pink base, with the Verzyl labels.
INTEREST. The first counterfeit has a good quality (**). The conterfeited EVA release is scarcely useful, also because of its lower pressing quality (*). Obviously, the Verzyl release is a typical collectible item and as such it is much sought after (****).