Sunday, June 7, 2009

Banned Record Covers: The Beatles "Butcher Block LP"

May of 1966 found Capitol Records (the Beatles American label) with no project for the summer that was near.

Only six tracks were completed by the Beatles for their next record. Capitol had six American single sides (including the hit "Yesterday"), plus two songs that were left out of the American "Rubber Soul" release. (Back in 60s, European and American releases did not include the same tracks, and also not in the same order, as each market supposed that met different interests.)

Capitol records asked EMI (Capitol's British parent company), for three additional tracks. George Martin made mono mixes (deadlines reasons), of three newly recorded songs by the band, "I'm Only Sleeping," "And Your Bird Can Sing" and "Dr. Robert".

In March of 1966 the Beatles did a shoot with Whitaker that included sausages, raw beef, a hammer, nails, false teeth, butcher smocks and most notoriously, dismembered baby dolls. Whitaker's approach was to show that the Beatles were flesh and blood humans like everyone else by posing them amongst the un-glamorous props while being pop-art satirical at the same time.

One photo chosen from the session was used in Britain for a trade ad promoting their new "Paperback Writer" single. The shot showed the Beatles dressed in butcher smocks covered with raw meat, while holding the pieces of the baby dolls.

Despite Beatle manager Brian Epstein reservations Beatles insisted and the photo printed.

Alan Livingston, then president of Capitol, had his own reservations so he suggested the production department only press a few hundred advance copies. A release date of June 15th had been set. Capitol's production department pressed and packaged 750,000 copies of the new album with the "Butcher" cover.

Capitol immediately received complaints from distributors and store mangers so Livingston was forced to pull the cover from production.

Capitol put into effect a recall plan they called "Operation Retrieve."

Capitol prepared a much less eye-brow raising cover that simply featured a shot of the band in casual dress, set in front of a plain white background. This would become the standard cover that most people would become familiar with. This cover is often referred to as the "Trunk" cover as the band ids posed around a steamer trunk. Capitol's distribution centers were instructed to separate the records and their inner sleeves from the covers and return them to the manufacturing plants.

After receiving the records, Capitol's Jacksonville, Illinois plant butchered their "Butcher" covers and sent them off to a land fill. Before the other plants followed suit, someone at Capitol had the more economical idea to simply paste the new cover art over the existing covers. Capitol's Los Angeles and Scranton plants had these new cover pasted over their salvaged "Butcher" covers.

A week after starting Operation Retrieve, Capitol had the new version of the album on the store shelves. Among these copies, just underneath the thin layer of artwork, many "Butcher" covers were hidden.

Collectors have come up with terms to describe each state of an original "Yesterday…And Today" cover. A "Butcher" cover unaltered, as initially produced, is called a "First State" copy. These are the rarest and most desirable.

A "Butcher" with the new "Trunk" cover art pasted over it is called a "Second State" copy. These were once the most common of the "butchers" but there have become much fewer, as many have continued to be "peeled" over the years.

A copy that has had the "Trunk" cover removed to expose the "Butcher" art underneath is called a "Third State" copy. These exist in various conditions from nearly ruined to nice, depending on how successful the removal of the top layer was.

More than forty years later the banned cover remains the crown jewel of Beatles collectibles.

By chris73 at

Classic Rock Videos

The Outlaws - Green Grass & High Tides Part Two

Clinging to the relics of recording

By Lee Landenberger

The moment for music fans is clear - there are those who like to download their music, keep it on a hard drive and never touch it, only listen to it.

Then there are those for whom just listening is not enough. They need to have something to go with the sound. A disc. Its jewel box. Some liner notes on a sleeve. Then it's filed on a shelf with other discs.

Venerable Music and Dust-to-Digital are two Georgia businesses with feet simultaneously in the past and present. It's a tough crossroads to be standing at, deciding which of these markets to cater to - downloaders or collectors.

For Malcolm Vidrine, owner of Venerable Music in Monroe, a huge part of the music experience is not just aural, it's tactile. He wants a package with his music that gives context to the listener, and that's what he's selling.

On the side, he collects rare 78-rpm records. It makes for a great listening experience, he says.

"There's a physical sensation that goes along with it," he says. "If you've got a collection and another person who owns a collection, and they're pulling records as you're listening to records, there's this flowing thing. But it's very physical. It's so different, and I don't know why, than listening to a compilation CD."

Venerable dedicates itself to preserving and promoting music from the 78-rpm era. It's an online service where collectors and the curious go when they, for instance, are looking for the complete early recordings of Kid Ory or the Mississippi Sheiks. The music comes on a compact disc with sleeve notes, not just an MP3 download.

Dust-to-Digital is a label that's garnered plenty of attention the past few years.

It's been nominated for five Grammy Awards and won the best historical album category this year for "The Art of Field Recording, Vol. 1." The label is run from Lance and April Ledbetter's Atlanta home.

The experience of music is more than just sound for Lance. The world of the single download is a world away from him.

"The whole interaction you have with the music is important, like when you put on a CD for 75 minutes, this thing can just wash over you," he says.

"Goodbye, Babylon," Dust-to-Digital's first release, is a case in point. You can't just download it and store the music on a hard drive.

Lance and April won't have it that way.

You have to buy the entire package - cedar box, the book of artists' bios and song lyrics, six discs and some cotton to complete the experience of old-time Southern religion.

"It's not like we're just churning stuff out," April says. "Lance meditates on it, what it's going to be like, how it's going to come together. He gets inspiration from different things."

The newest release from Dust-to-Digital takes a similar tack. "Take Me to the Water: Immersion Baptism in Vintage Music and Photography 1890-1950" is one disc of hard-to-find historic, sacred recordings that comes inside a 96-page book of photos of baptisms taken from 1890 to 1940.

It's a far cry from the iTunes top download list.

"When you put the music on and look at the pictures, what you're witnessing in some cases is the happiest moment of an individual's life, the moment they got saved, the moment they got their sins washed away," Lance says. "You're getting to peer into these people's most important life experiences, and to me, that's powerful. There's no way you can replicate that on a computer screen. Printing on paper is still the best way to experience that."

Lance says he has thought about making his collections of historic roots recordings available as downloads, but he thinks that would hurt the overall ideology upon which he founded his label. It could be a revenue stream, but he's turned his back on the idea. In the label's future is another look at the past - issuing vinyl.

"There is demand for it. A lot of people ask us about it," he says. "To me, we're not big enough to move backwards. I love to move forwards, and then maybe when April and I are in old age, we'll say it's time to put the Dust-to-Digital catalogue into vinyl."

Venerable and Dust-to-Digital are making music available to a world that sees fewer and fewer compact discs sold as each day goes by. Major music retailers like Tower Records are gone. Space on the floor at Borders for music sales is shrinking.

Even the markets for what they specialize in are getting smaller, while the rest of the music-listening market often expects to get music in a decidedly nontraditional way: online and free, which makes what these two Georgia businesses do even harder.

"People who do this do it because they love it, and it's not about money," Vidrine says. "And regular music is about money."

• This commentary was provided to the Banner-Herald through Georgia Online News Service. For more information on Venerable Music, see the Web at; visit Dust-to-Digital at, and learn about "Take Me to the Water" at


Afro-Punk Festival Announces Line-Up For 2009

This summer Afro-Punk, BAMcinematek and Toyota will present the 5th annual Afro-Punk Festival, taking place July 3rd - July 8th, 2009, in the heart of Brooklyn, NY. The festival is the definitive destination for the global Afro-Punk community and audiences yearning to experience true AP culture! Detailed schedule of the music program, film festival, and skate park events below.

Afro-Punk Festival 2009
Free and open to the public, Afro-Punk Festival 2009 will spotlight some of the most exciting young artists and bands from the US and abroad, presenting live music and films every night throughout the festival, along with several other key events including:

4th July

•Pure Hell
•Whole Wheat Bread
•American Fangs
•Game Rebellion
•The Objex
•Joya Bravo
•& more

5th July

•Living Colour
•Earl Grey Hound
•Tamar Kali
•The London Souls
•Apollo Heights
•& more

6th July

•Saul Williams
•Janelle Monae
•The Dallas Austin Experience
•Elevator Fight
•Chewing Pic's
•Peekaboo Theory
•& more

The AP Film Series

Afro-Punk Festival film program is co-curated by BAMcinématek with Matthew Morgan and James Spooner, and the outdoor concerts and events are produced by Matthew Morgan. Outside BAM's Peter Jay Sharp Building, as well as at additional venues throughout Brooklyn, there will be free live musical performances, a skate park, and an Afro-Punk Block Party with DIY vendors.

27th June

PREMIERE: What's On Your Plate?

You've read Omnivore's Dilemma and Fast Food Nation and you try to buy local and organic produce at your neighborhood farmer's market. But do you really know how what you're eating ended up on your table? Through the eyes of two intelligent and inquisitive eleven-year-old girls from New York City, we follow the many paths, the conflicting economics, and the disparate decision makers who all play a part in what we eat. Ideal for families to watch together, the film presents a variety of perspectives on how food reaches our urban community and its associated challenges.

3rd July

•Adjust Your Color: Petey Greene
•Faubourg Treme: The Untold Story Of Black New Orleans
•A Man Named Pearl
•Eventual Salvation
•Favela Rising
•Hoods To Woods

4th July

•The Anderson Platoon
•Fred Hampton: Black Panthers In Chicago

5th July: an all-day Spike Lee program

•Joe's Bed-Stuy Barbershop: We Cut Heads
•Making of Do The Right Thing
•A Huey P. Newton Story
•Do The Right Thing

6th July

•A Man Named Pearl
•Revolution ‘67
•White Lies Black Sheep

7th July

•When We Were Kings
•What's On Your Plate?
•The Night James Brown Saved Boston

8th July

•Adjust Your Color: Petey Greene
•Faubourg Treme: The Untold Story Of Black New Orleans
•The Two Towns Of Jasper
•Medicine For Melancholy

The AP Skate Park

The Afro-Punk Skate Park will be erected in GGMC parking lot adjacent to BAM at Lafayette Avenue and Ashland Place. The skate park is open for three days of the festival. Staffed by BMX and pro skaters who will give demonstrations, the skate park will provide free instruction for youth of all ages along with boards, pads, and helmets. Rounding out the skate park will be a music stage hosting a high-energy series of DJ sets and musical performances, and various contests including:

5th July

BMX Bulldog Bikes / Afro-Punk presents:
Urbanx - Battle For The Streets-Best Box Jump Contest
$5000 IN PRIZES include all expenses paid trip to the XGAMES Courtesy Of ESPN

6th July

Afro-Punk presents:
Urbanx - Battle for the Streets - Best Trick Contest
$5000 IN PRIZES including all expenses paid trip to the XGAMES Courtesy Of ESPN


Open Road leads skateboarding programs in schools, after school, in city-wide events, and builds parks that are open to the public for free skating. We create free skateboarding physical education programs in response to several interrelated needs and opportunities. Open Road offers skateboarding sessions for all ages. Our sessions are lead by male and female instructors trained by Billy Rohan. We offer beginner, intermediate and advanced levels. Beginner and Intermediate sessions begin with warm up stretches in a sequence developed by Billy. Safety/equipment care is covered in every session.


12th June

On Clinton Avenue between Myrtle and Willoughby, July heats up with the second annual Afro-Punk Block Party featuring live music, DJs, and DIY fashion, food, and craft vendors. Not the usual street fair, the block party features the best underground and local artists and artisans.

What is Afro-punk?

When Matthew Morgan and James Spooner joined forces in 2002, their focus was giving a voice to thousands of multi-cultural kids fiercely identifying with a lifestyle path-less-traveled. The result was 2003's Afro-Punk, the seminal cult classic film spotlighting Black Punks in America.

Since then Afro-Punk has become a cultural movement strongly reminiscent of the early days of Hip-Hop, and a touchstone for tens of thousands of Alternative urban kids across the nation (and the globe) who, tired of feeling like outsiders, have joined the Afro-Punk (AP) community.

Ground Zero for this movement is the annual Afro-Punk Music and Art Festival, launched in Brooklyn in 2005. Co-curated by Morgan and Spooner, the festival celebrates and unified the cultural cornerstones of Afro-Punk: music, film, skate, and most importantly, the fiercely independent and influential individuals that are the lifeblood of the AP community. Afro-punk has featured an intensely diverse group of artists over the years, including The Noisettes (London), The Dirtbombs (Detroit), Saul Williams (Los Angeles), and The Apes (Washington DC), as well as trend-spotting recent Grammy nominees Janelle Monae and Little Jackie at last year's festival. AP has also garnered praise from a wide range of media outlets ranging from Pitchfork, URB, Vibe, and Nylon to Variety, Entertainment Weekly, and The Los Angeles Times, and was the subject of an "Urban Eye" video feature by Melena Ryzik in the New York Times last year.

This Date In Music History-June 7


David Navarro - Jane's Addiction, Red Hot Chili Peppers (1993-1998) (1967)

Eric Kretz - Stone Temple Pilots (1966)

The mighty purple one, Prince (Prince Roger Nelson), was born in Minneapolis, MN in 1958.

Paddy McAloon - Prefab Sprout (1957)

Thomas Woodward, (Tom Jones) (1940) His biggest hit (in the US) was the 1971 #2 "She's a Lady."

Gordon Gano- Violent Femmes (1963)

They are Missed:

Born on this day in 1917, Dean Martin (1956 US & UK #1 single “Memories Are Made Of This”) He died December 25, 1995.

Songwriter Wally Gold died in a New Jersey hospital in 1998 (age 70). He wrote “It's My Party” for Lesley Gore and “It's Now or Never,” for Elvis Presley. Member of late 50's group The Four Esquires, and produced Kansas & Gene Pitney.

The funeral of guitarist, singer Bo Diddley took place in Gainesville, Florida in 2007. Many in attendance chanted "Hey Bo Diddley" shortly after family members had passed by his coffin as a gospel band played Bo Diddley's music. At the service, they presented a floral tribute in form of his trademark square guitar.


Bill Haley & His Comets recorded a cover of Big Joe Turner’s "Shake, Rattle And Roll." The song went to #7 on the pop chart in 1954.

In England in 1963, the Rolling Stones released their first single - a cover of Chuck Berry's "Come On" backed with Willie Dixon's "I Wanna Be Loved." The band had to change Berry's line "some stupid jerk" to "some stupid guy" in order to get the song played on the radio.

During their first ever US tour in 1964, the Rolling Stones were booed off stage at a gig in San Antonio, Texas. Some performing monkeys, who had been opening act before the Stones, were brought back on stage for another performance.

In 1969, Keith Richards and his partner Anita Pallenburg were involved in a car crash near their home in Sussex. Richards escaped serious injury but Pallenburg was taken to hospital with a broken collarbone and the car was a write-off.

Johnny Cash debuted his own network show on CBS-TV in 1969.

In 1975, Elton John's "Captain Fantastic And The Brown Dirt Cowboy" album LP became the first album to debut at #1 on the Billboard chart.

Don McLean recorded "Vincent" in 1971.

The ground breaking ceremony was held for the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and Museum in Cleveland, Ohio in 1993.

Prince changed his name to an unpronounceable symbol in 1993. Yeah and I am $%#$@ on my bad days...

John Denver went to #1 on the singles chart in 1975 with “Thank God I'm A Country Boy,” his third #1 hit.

Supergroup Blind Faith, featuring Eric Clapton, Ginger Baker and Steve Winwood made their live debut in 1969 at a free concert in London's Hyde Park.

The Who performed “Tommy” at New York’s Metropolitan Opera House in 1970. The show was the first time The Who played this venue and the last time they performed “Tommy” in its entirety for nearly two decades.

In 2007, Paul McCartney played a surprise concert at a club in London to celebrate the release of "Memory Almost Full." He performed new stuff, old stuff and even Beatles tunes. Jeff Beck and Pink Floyd's David Gilmour were in the audience.

The Ohio Players hit #1 with "Love Rollercoaster" in 1976.

The Police released “Synchronicity” in 1983.

“Rock ‘N’ Roll Music,” a compilation of The Beatles' rockers, was released in 1976.

Roy Orbison's wife, Claudette was killed in a motorcycle accident near Nashville in 1966.

Billy J. Kramer & the Dakotas made their American TV debut on the "Ed Sullivan Show" on CBS in 1964.