The Beatles

Please Please Me [Bootleg]

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The packaging on this bootleg will immediately attract the eye -- a spot-on perfect recreation of the original Parlophone Please Please Me album, right down to the wrap-around flaps on the top and bottom back of the outer jacket. It looks so cool, even in CD size, that it's a wonder that EMI hasn't thought to do something like it. The music is a CD remastering of the stereo version of the original LP, which EMI has declined to put back out on compact disc, owing to the objections of original producer George Martin on technical and aesthetic grounds (Martin thinks the binaural stereo of the first two Beatles albums sounds terrible). This disc's anonymous makers found a fairly clean source, at least for the first six cuts on side one; it's only when they get to "Please Please Me," which closed the side, that the noise on the vocal track rises to the level of distortion on the peaks -- this is especially ironic because, thanks to an error by a Capitol Records engineer in 1989 in preparing a publisher's sample CD of Dick James Music compositions, a proper digital stereo version of this song (and "Ask Me Why") did surface and is out there. The second side of whatever LP they used for the source reveals more imperfections, which are amplified by the remastering and very evident on some of the quieter songs, such as "P.S. I Love You." Still, it is cool to hear the instrumental parts separated, which makes it easier to hear who was playing what, and in which way -- "There's a Place" and "Twist and Shout," in particular, benefit from the separation and the prominence given to the guitars, as well as the nuances of the singing, and are highly recommended, even to casual listeners.