The Beatles – Magnetophon Band (No Mftr listed. MRMBST1&2)

The Beatles, ‘Magnetophon Band’ (No Mftr listed. MRMBST1&2)

Disk 1 – Set One – Be-Bop-A-Lula / link / I Saw Her Standing There / link / Hallelujah, I Love Her So / link / Red Hot – Set Two – Sheila / link / Kansas City – Hey Hey Hey Hey / link / Shimmy Like Kate / link / Reminising / link / Red Sails In the Sunset / link / Sweet Little Sixteen / Link / Roll Over Beethoven / Link / A Taste Of Honey – Set Three (Christmas) – Nothin’ Shakin’ (But The Leaves On The Tree / link / I Saw Her Standing There / link / To Know Her Is To Love Her / link / Everybody’s Trying To Be My Baby / link / Till There Was You / link / Where Have You Been All My Life / link / Lend Me Your Comb / link / Your Feet’s Too Big / I’m Talking About You / link / A Taste Of Honey – Set Four – link / Matchbox / link / Little Queenie / goodnight (71:04)
Disk Two – Set Five – preamble / Roadrunner (soundcheck) / The Hippy Hippy Shake / link / link / A Taste Of Honey (With Tony Sheridan) – Set Six – I Remember You / Ask Me Why / Besame Mucho / Mr. Moonlight / Falling In Love Again / I’m Gonna Sit Right Down And Cry Over You – Set Seven – Long Tall Sally – Set Eight – I’m Talking About You / Glad All Over (fragments) – Set Nine – Twist And Shout.
Other artists – Kingsize Taylor and the Dominoes – Money (That’s What I Want) / Sparkling Brown Eyes / Lovesick Blues / First Taste Of Love / Dizzy Miss Lizzy / Do You Believe / Ooh Pooh Pa Doo / Twist And Shout – Carol Elvyn and the Star Club Combo – Big River – Cliff Bennett and the Rebel Rousers – Hully Gully.
Bootlegged since, well, forever, the Beatles appearances at the Star Club have sent many collectors and historians in to a tizz by being so unstructured in their appearance and as muddy as John’s appearance in ‘How I Won The War’, several people have gone to great lengths to positively identify the correct dates, orders, vocalists in the past, it’s been a thrilling and ceaseless hobby to navigate. 
Friend to the bootlegging fraternity and serial Beatles digger Lord Reith has come up with the goods again, this time with ‘Magnetophon Band’ released in August 2021, the Lord’s notes detailing his works are below;


“The mono version is compiled from three different sources: a fairly okay dub of part of the raw tape; the Yellow Dog release a while back of a different part of the tape; and the Larry Grossberg edit. None of these are straight copies so the trick is to determine what the original eq was. Fortunately Allan Williams sold George Harrison a copy of the tape in 1973, and two extracts (Nothin’ Shakin’ and Roll Over Beethoven) seem to have been included in the Scorsese doco Living In the Material World. These raw dubs sound head and shoulders above any source we’ve ever glimpsed before. Also, Ted Owen put up a sampler tape when Larry Grossberg auctioned off the original Ted Taylor reel a few years ago. Accounting for some damage over time, these more or less match the fidelity of the Harrison tape. Importantly these allow for the correct eq to be found for all of Source 1. The eq for the other two sources was determined by choosing songs which have a similar sonic makeup from the eq’d Source 1.”

“Well, wouldn’t it be nice if Apple took George’s pristine copy with all the missing songs and shared it with us? Fat chance. There’s more likelihood of a Beatles Comeback Tour than a Star Club Deluxe Box. So this is probably the best we’re ever going to get, short of some surreptitious copy slipping through the cracks. Fortunately we have the Record Collector article to tell us the order for the songs contained within each set… if not the order of the sets themselves. But it is my opinion that the tape is more or less chronological. The first set with Horst has a version of I Saw Her Standing There (or “Seventeen” as it was known at that point) that is less formed than the other version which is squarely placed circa Christmas Day by the surrounding audience chatter. Following on from this there is another set which has the longer “Here We Go” version of A Taste Of Honey, while the Christmas set has the shorter version, suggesting that the song underwent a trimming towards the end of December. And the overwhelming crowd response on Twist And Shout is very similar to the Johnny And the Hurricanes set recorded just after midnight New Year’s Eve, so it seems at least possible that some of these songs are from that night. Both sets 8 and 9 have much louder vocals with a little bit of echo so it is possible the PA was tweaked and improved by Adrian Barber towards the end of the month. All guesswork but food for thought.”

“Now onto the stereo mix. Before you get too excited, let me point out that this is not a wide-panned replica of a soundboard tape. What I’ve done is to create what I think a good quality stereo audience tape might have sounded like. This involved pushing back the drums and John’s guitar, bumping the vocals up slightly and retrieving Paul’s bass where possible, while reshaping the ambience of the club and adding a realistic stereo spread. The goal was to use AI to improve the general clarity and listenability, not just make it stereo. The result may not be perfect, but I think we’ve made it to the point now where we’ve moved from crouching down behind the bar with a finger stuck in one ear to reclining with a Scotch a few rows back from the stage. And, to be honest, getting closer than that might not be such a great thing. Getting too close up to someone also reveals the warts and blemishes, as well as the attributes.”
So, forget what I said in this review in 2018, The Beatles, ‘Live At The Star Club (Executive Edition)There’s another set to be collecting now. Taking the strenuous remodelling and retooling of the previous set, this collection stands above the previous one by a few steps. Originally released shortly after it’s release by Empress Valley (Crediting themselves as producers, pissing off the original creator and the fans who follow him), they released a package of what was essentially released, copying the coloured covers too.
 This untitled label have decided not to release a four CD set and just stick with the stereo reimaging of the two sets (Personally, I’d have preferred the 4 CDs but I always hold out for more), probably the more popular and wiser choice for collectors who’s ears are keener on the sound (Though, by now, an audience who would be better suited to mono), it is a thrilling listen. We know that, following the Beatles rise to fame, that Jerry Lee Lewis was afforded a professional recording rig installed in the Star Club for one of his own live albums. We understand now that the club was very well set for acoustic capability. 
It now sounds better than some of the existing BBC recordings that we have – Sure, we could quibble about technologies but each recorder, either within the home or as in this set up, the amount of fidelity that you could garner was rubbish compared with today – Indeed, if Peter Jackson was to process it, it could be magic but whatever Lord Reith has managed to spin today is still nothing less than sorcery. Forget your Ling-A-Song grey-area-drabble, the previous Yellow Dog fixings, anything that you might have, this is one of the best sculptured, best researched, best fidelity captures and best looking sets that reveals that was going on in that club so far. Indeed, as Lord Reith points out, unless Olivia is likely to give up the tapes that George bought to have them remixed, even then for them to be uploaded to streaming services (the most likely format), we’ll never hear anything better – even then, I wouldn’t fancy it’s chances. Let’s just say that this time, the bootleggers have the brands beat. 
Adding the bonus audio for the other bands that played adds a little extra light to the tapes that exist – Certainly this would have been decreed release as it’s not the Beatles – and they sound just as good as the main draw. Historically it’s interesting, if not as thrilling as hearing the development of the fabs, but hearing it in tandem alongside these historic sets puts one in the mindset of the moments where the sailors and the art students would share time and catch up with these new kids on the strasse. It’s funny to hear Fred Fascher stumble over the English lyrics as he gamely attempts to sing some rock ‘n’ roll in a language that’s not his mother tongue.
A must have, no doubt about it.

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