Hi. Here's my review of the new XXI reissue of the "The Family Way" soundtrack. Here goes: I managed to pick up the Candian XXI reissue of the "The Family Way" soundtrack as an import in a US shop. I have to admit up front I am not by any means an expert or even that familiar with this soundtrack apart from the common details recounted in the "Anthology" or in popular Beatles reference works. I've listened to the soundtrack before, years ago on vinyl, but apart from the first variation of "Love in the Open Air" which I had heard on various home-made "Songs the Beatles Gave Away" collections, I had almost no familiarity with this material. That said, my only problem with this reissue has nothing to do with the music itself. Rather, my somewhat seasoned ears tell me that the "Original Soundtrack" portion of this new CD seems to be lifted from vinyl or some other format other than the original master tape. There seems to be some surface noise at various points in the music. There are even a few moments where the noise sounds almost like static, perhaps meaning there was something faulty with the mastering of the CD. However, there is absolutely no noise as far as I can tell on the Carl Aubut recordings or the "Quatuor La Flute Enchantee" recordings. So there are a few possibilities here. I readily admit that it is possible that I just have a defective copy. Some of these defects may be because of a defective disc. Or, something went wrong with the mastering of the original soundtrack portion of the disc. Perhaps it was mastered at too loud of a volume, overdriving and causing some distortion. But there are points where it certainly sounds like surface noise is present. Also, beyond all of the possible reasons for these anomalies I'm hearing, the overal fidelity of the recording certainly doesn't sound like master tape-quality. It doesn't sound bad either, it sounds like a good vinyl transfer. If the few scratchy anomalies were not present, I'd call it a very good transfer. All of that being said, apart from a few moments where the noise/static very prevalent, which is a total of a few seconds, this CD is still an enjoyable transfer of the original soundtrack, if for no other reason than the fact that the only other way to get this soundtrack is to hunt down the 36-year-old vinyl. My interest in this work was never strong enough to want to hunt down or pay for the old vinyl, so this CD is still a good buy for me. The addition of the other arrangements of the material only adds value to the CD. Now, I'm sure the original vinyl has been pirated to CD many times, and I've never heard any examples of that. So for all I know, some pirated CD of the soundtrack sourced from better vinyl and/or mastered better may even sound better than this CD. I really can't say. But overall, the CD sounds good enough for me. If this were the "Abbey Road" album or something like that, I'd be much more discerning about the sound quality. I consider myself a fairly obsessive audiophile, so the few anomalies I do hear on this new CD still do bug me. But I can still enjoy the music. I do have to say that nowhere on the packaging or booklet does it even mention that the recording has been remastered. Nowhere does the package even comment on the sound quality. So there is no false advertising here. This is a CD of the original soundtrack supplemented with the newer reworkings of the material. That's all the CD purports to be, and that it is all it is. Unless I have a defective disc, it seems that they used whatever source material, i.e. vinyl, that they could get their hands on. But at least they were motivated enough to the get the thing on CD for the first time.
Besides issuing obscure Macca soundtrack efforts, Canada also has some Fab video kicking around, which is actually quite rare. Can West Global, the largest media conglomerate in Canada, has a network called PRIME, that features many shows from the 60s and 70s. After a broadcast last week of an episode of MASH, PRIME showed an excerpt from the press conference that was held between the afternoon and evening Beatle shows at Maple Leaf Gardens in Toronto on Sept. 7, 1964. The feature, entitled, "It Seemed Like Yesterday," is valuable because it gives a real, raw, glimpse of John Lennon, when he was being-as former Beatle photographer Harry Benson once recalled John could be-"rude." A typical, dopey, state of the era, interviewer was asking Lennon about how he coped with not being able to get out and see the sights while the group was touring and basically jailed in their hotel rooms. "We've come over here to work, you see," sneered Lennon at the hapless TV talking head. At first all four Beatles are in on the interview, but Paul loses interest and takes off, and George sort of fades into the background as one of the Beatles Fan Club Debs wanders right in front of the camera. Sensing that John is fed up, Ringo jumps in and attempts to answer the interviewer's typically obtuse questions, while Lennon stares holes in the TV guy. Then Paul and George rejoin the scrum, and in resposnse to a question about what they think of the PC and the media in general, George says, "its good for a laugh." Ah, those were the days, my friend. Personal Note: I was at the afternoon show, and I think my ears are still ringing.
(5/25/03) On May 29, a Canadian CD company, XXI, is reissuing the original soundtrack for "The Family Way," the Hayley Mills film originally scored in 1966 by Paul McCartney, reports Launch Yahoo. The new edition includes the McCartney soundtrack along with additional tracks by the George Martin Orchestra and Carl Aubut. Previously, an interpretation of the soundtrack by Aubut was available. (Thanks to Brian Flota.)