Various Artists

The Complete Apple Singles Collection, Vol. 3: 1971-1972

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This double-CD bootleg recalls what could arguably be called the golden era for Apple Records -- the Beatles having ceased to exist officially in 1970, the ex-members were suddenly free to work in whatever musical directions they wished, and the result was an embarrassment of sonic riches. The music here is more sophisticated than most of what appears on the preceding volume, and some great names are also featured -- beyond the Apple Records stalwarts Mary Hopkin and Badfinger, there are singles by Ronnie Spector, David Peel ("F Is Not a Dirty Word" b/w "The Ballad of New York City"), and the Sundown Playboys ("Saturday Night Special"), interspersed with George Harrison's post-All Things Must Pass work, John Lennon and Yoko Ono's most accessible music, and oddities such as "God Save Us" by Bill Elliot & the Elastic Oz Band. Opening with Ringo Starr's single "It Don't Come Easy" b/w "Early 1970" (in killer sound, incidentally), the set generally stays on an upbeat note. The Badfinger singles include the version of "Name of the Game" with the prominent horn section, and all of the tracks sound superb, flawlessly remastered so that their production and details in the playing stand out -- that includes the horn section accompanying "God Save Us" and "Bangla Desh." The producers have skipped over a few titles, such as John Lennon's "Imagine" and Paul & Linda McCartney's "Uncle Albert/Admiral Halsey," but listeners do get all of those early singles by Wings, as well as the never-anthologized George Harrison B-side "Deep Blue." There are no notes, but there is a list giving release dates on each song.