If there were fears that the “Beatles Bootleg Recordings 1963” iTunes release, which is already for sale in many countries, was just copies from the old bootleg releases, indications Dec. 16 seem to indicate they're definitely not and are actually an upgrade. But how much better could they get? Is there a huge difference?
We did an A/B check of a sample of “There's a Place, take 9” from YouTube and it showed the new version has a much fuller sound than the bootleg. And a side-by-side comparison of the “Bad to Me” demo shows the noise of the acetate is still there, though it's toned down and not quite as obvious as before.
Some others who have heard it say "Some Other Guy" from "Saturday Club" on Jan. 26, '63 is an upgrade and “Love Me Do” is complete and also an upgrade. The “A Taste Of Honey,” “Misery” and “Do You Want To Know A Secret” outtakes are in stereo, “Money” is undubbed and “Bad To Me” sounds much cleaner.
According to one report, the running time of the full album is two hours, 25 minutes. It became available with no fanfare and no press release early Monday mostly in Asian countries. Since then, it's became available in Saudi Arabia, Russia, Qatar and Lebanon, but still not the U.S. or UK. You can't get the album until it becomes available in a country you have an iTunes account in.
But no matter where you are, you can hear 30-second excerpts now at the New Zealand site and judge for yourself.
There's been speculation on whether the iTunes album will be a limited time release (there's been no clues either way) and an even wilder rumor from the Steve Hoffman forum that a Volume 2 may be coming as soon as next week. (Put that on your holiday wish list.)
Either way, the release of the album here and in the UK is hotly anticipated. The next few hours will tell the tale.
UPDATE: Almost immediately after we published, most of the countries that had it had pulled the iTunes links. If you see it, don't wait to get it.