From from the May/June issue of Beatlology Magazine
Reprinted with permission
Pop Go The Beatles
Radio Series hosted by Joyce Kaufman and Edward “Woody” Lifton
(45 CDs, U.S.A., 2007)
I’ve wanted to feature this amazing collection, in our review section, for about a year, now. A single column review cannot truly do justice to Pop Go The Beatles – a very impressive set. Also, some of my criticisms are trivial and not really fair, when the number of hours of these 21 double episodes are considered.
In 2003, Edward “Woody” Lifton created this massive presentation. It first aired on Fort Lauderdale, FL radio station, 640 WJNA (now sports station WMEN) and is currently streamed weekly, via the Internet (www.myspace.com/realmuzicwebradio). And finally, the entire, amazing series is available for sale!
Not only do you get a history of the Beatles, listeners are treated to scores of rare alternate and live tracks. For the most part, Mr. Lifton has used the best sources for his material, although a few appear to have been taken from vinyl recordings. However, it would take thousands of dollars for the average fan to gather these recordings, if they could be located. (Kinda sounds like a late-night, Time-Life infomercial, doesn’t it?) And, if you act now, you’ll receive two special bonuses. Operators are standing by! (Okay, no operators, really.)
Each two hour episode is loosely themed and packed with numerous outtakes and great Beatles interviews — basically, Joyce Kaufman tells the story, while Woody offers insight and inspiration behind each track that is heard. Augmenting most segments are impressive, live solo versions of various Beatles songs. These are great for comparisons with the originals.
Although, some edits are rather rough or abrupt, these can be overlooked, given the rarity of the material. For example, it appears that Woody had access to the Sgt. Pepper’s multi-tracks, years before they were readily available — a stripped-down version of the title song is used in this series as background music.
The segment for the Penny Lane/Strawberry Fields Forever single can be found on two discs. This should be reworked to avoid this duplication.
As someone who regularly collects Beatles interviews, conversations, and comments, I am most impressed with the superb sound quality of those presented here. It is unprecedented. Wow!
Because of the length of this series, most listeners will want to tackle it in sessions of one or two discs. I recommend hitting the replay button on many of the shows segments — it is that good! And, I especially enjoyed the show, In The Studio, with many outtakes, including backing tracks. It’s great to hear three programs dedicated to The Beatles’ BBC recordings.
When collectors purchase the entire series, they will receive bonus material, as a special thank you. Look for Paul McCartney’s two-disc set, Inside Coliseum Rome and a single CD, The Beatles Live in Washington, 1964.
Woody has hinted recently about expanding the show. This would definitely be a good thing. Pop Go The Beatles is for new fans wanting to expand their knowledge and for seasoned collectors needing to pop back to the sixties to relive simpler times.
Visit Woody”s web-site http://www.popgothebeatles.com/ for a background on the series and several purchase options.