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Come and Get It: The Best of Apple Records
Artists: Various
Label: Apple Records
Times: 21 tracks / 71:45 minutes

In the waning days of the life of The Fab Four as a unit, John, Paul, George and Ringo were imploding, and as the Get Back sessions evolved into what would eventually be released as the Phil Spector-finalized Let It Be, and the last sessions that the foursome asked George Martin to produce became Abbey Road, the individual members of The Beatles perhaps kept their sanity by working on projects for the music portion of Apple Corps, Apple Records. It's taken nearly 40 years-due to management and legal squabbles-for this music to finally see (pun intended) fruition, as The Beatles wanted its other artists to be exposed to the world. After a long wait, a very fine and fun compilation is finally available for public consumption. For the most part, it's been worth the wait. Of course, after 40 years, some of it is exhaustingly dated.

Straight away from the opening gate of Apple Records history, Paul McCartney produced mega-hits for Apple from Badfinger (the title track of this project, which many listeners-myself included-confused with The Beatles) and Mary Hopkin's "Those Were the Days." The other commercial successes are Hopkin's "Goodbye," Badfinger's "Day After Day," and the original version of James Taylor's "Carolina in My Mind." Ringo Starr's discovery of Chris Hodge offered a U.S. airplay single, "We're On Our Way."

That's the end of the hits. This collection of Apple Records stuff is nearly gem-fantastic for folks who have begged for the rest of the story to be released. Here's why. . . .

Badfinger was first known as The Iveys, and "Maybe Tomorrow" was perhaps a progression from the Moody Blues influence. Jackie Lomax's "Sour Milk Sea" is basically a Beatles song without the presence of John Lennon, and Taylor, [the] Hot Chocolate [Band], and Billy Preston had premiere springboards via Apple Records.

Refreshing for readers of The Phantom Tollbooth, Billy Preston's recordings clearly demonstrate his Gospel background in "That's the Way God Planned It" and his version of "My Sweet Lord" (of the latter song, the Hare Krishna Mantra isn't as pronounced as in George Harrison's hit version).

This compilation could also follow the lead being titled after The Who's title of Odds and Sods. I still smile and indeed often laugh when I hear the incredibly fun "Thingumybob" by The Black Dyke Mills Band, which the (nicely written) liner notes states is "The most famous brass ensemble in the world." There's also Cajun music with The Sundown Playboys' "Saturday Night Special," rock and roll with Doris Troy's "Ain't That Cute," and Western-ized Eastern Indian music with "Govinda" by Radha Krishna Temple (London). I still question why George Harrison thought his song "Try Some, Buy Some" for Ronnie Spector would put her back on the charts. But the individual Beatles members were working their way out of blindness-John Lennon perhaps thought that Bill Elliott's "God Save Us" (Bill would later join Harrison's Dark Horse Records band Splinter) would be played on the radio. To the end of "the best of Apple Records," Ronnie's or Elliott's songs could have been replaced with well-known songs from Badfinger ("No Matter What" or "Baby Blue") or any of these artists' flip-sides. A rarity or two would have fit on this collection--but this possibility leaves the door open for a sequel to this compilation.

The bottom line is that-as time has passed over four decades since these recordings were produced-this wonderful music has been in between an historical and an hysterical perspective. By this time, the naughty "King of Fuh" by Brute Force can relegate a sigh, Trash's "Golden Slumbers" / "Carry That Weight" is within the required standards, and Lon and Derrick van Eaton's "Sweet Music" is neat to add to Apple Records' history. But the strength of this compilation is what Beatles' enthusiasts are so glad to have after all these years-the creative and palatable-to-the-ear stuff that are gems to our ears.

Olin Jenkins
January 20, 2011


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