Historical Star Club Tapes (Misterclaudel mccd-083/084)
Star Club, Hamburg, Germany – December 25th, 28th, & 31st, 1962
Disc 1, December 25, 1962: Be-Bop A-Lula (vocal : Fred Fascher), I Saw Her Standing There, Hallelujah I Love Her So (vocal : Horst Fascher), Red Hot, Sheila, Kansas City – Hey Hey Hey Hey, Shimmy Like Kate, Reminiscing, Red Sails In The Sunset, Sweet Little Sixteen, Roll Over Beethoven, A Taste Of Honey, Ask Me Why, Long Tall Sally, Besame Mucho, I’m Gonna Sit Right Down And Cry (Over You), Twist And Shout, Mr. Moonlight, Falling In Love Again, I’m Talking About You, I Remember You. Bonus Tracks, Be-Bop A-Lula “Intro No Overdub” (vocal : Fred Fascher)
The Beatles Hamburg tapes were recorded by Adrian Barber on a mono Grundig reel-to-reel tape recorder using a hand-held microphone. Ted “Kingsize” Taylor, a Liverpool singer who sung with the Dominos, encouraged him to make the recordings. After Beatlemania, Taylor offered them to Brian Epstein, but he would only offer as much as £20 for them as he felt they had no commercial value. They then disappeared until 1972 when they were found under piles of rubbish by Allan Williams who had managed the Beatles before Brian.
Williams offered the tapes to George and Ringo for £5,000, but at that time Apple were going through financial difficulties so they too turned them down. After spending £50,000 on cleaning up the sound, and transferring them to 16-track tapes, Williams found a buyer and the first release was in Germany. Immediately the Beatles sued, but lost the case because the judge ruled that the tapes were of historical interest, they were not trying to fool anyone by pretending it was a new release (the records clearly stated “old recordings”).
There are five sources for these tapes. The first are the official releases on vinyl beginning with Live! at the Star-Club in Hamburg, Germany; 1962 (Lingasong LNL 1 1977) and followed by 1979 First Live Records Vol. 1 and First Live Recordings Vol. 2 (Pickwick) in 1981 and Historic Sessions (Audio Fidelity Enterprises AFELD 1018) with all the 30 tracks.
Both the German Bellaphon/UK Lingasong release and the US Lingasong release were not complete: “I’m gonna Sit Right Down And Cry Over You”, “Till There Was You”, “Sheila”, “Where Have You Been All my Life” were left out from the former and “I saw Her Standing There”, “Ask me Why”, “Twist and Shout”, “Reminiscing” from the latter.
Another source is a “sampler” tape copied by Allan Williams in 1978 which contains seven songs unedited: “I Saw Here Standing There” (December 30th), “Kansas City / Hey Hey Hey,” “Shimmy Like Kate,” “Falling In Love Again,” “Roll Over Beethoven,” (all from December 25th), “Your Feet’s Too Big” and “Sweet Little Sixteen.”
The third is a thirty-one second fragment of “Red Hot” which surfaced in 1978. The fourth is the release Mach Shau! (Savage SC 12620), or its American version The Beatles vs. the Third Reich (VE Records DX 62) which contain alternate versions of songs such as “I’m Talking About You” and “Roll Over Beethoven” and unedited versions of “Till There Was You,” “A Taste Of Honey” and “Where Have You Been All My Life.”
There is another tape belonging to a private collector in Germany with seven Beatles songs: “Roadrunner,” “Hippy Hippy Shake,” “A Taste Of Honey,” “Money,” “Reminiscing,” “Ask Me Why,” and “I Saw Her Standing There” (from December 30th).
Mike Evans published an article “Beatles Backtracks – The Strange Story Of The Hamburg Tapes” (Melody Maker, August 4, 1973) claims a total of 36 Beatles songs were recorded.
Historical Star Club Tapes on Misterclaudel is a silver copy (with appropriate credit) of the Purple Chick release but with two extra tracks: “Be-Bop A-Lula Into No Overdub” with Fred Fascher on vocals and “Hully Gully Alternate Ending” with Cliff Bennett vocals. This is a longer version of the Mach Shau tape and includes a version of “Red Hot” that is a minute long and a new version of “Taste Of Honey.”
Misterclaudel mastered the tape a bit louder than the CDR label did theirs. The sound quality for a 1962 amateur recording is pretty good, and it is helped by the quiet club audience. Live tapes after this, with the start of Beatlemania in 1963, will have to contend with loads of screaming girls. Ironically this may be considered to be some of the best live Beatles around.
Misterclaudel package this in a slimline double case with photos from their stay in Hamburg on the linernotes. Making it available on silver means this is available to anyone who is interested instead of having to contended with the elitist Beatle CDR labels.If you liked this review, buy me a cup of joe. (Suggested: $3 a shot or $7.5 for a double)