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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I have been on a bit of a Beatles kick, and I have come across a few things that I cannot figure if they are in fact official releases or unofficial. Thus far i have not found a ton online, but then again I'm old, so I am likely missing tons.

HELP

The Russian Releases in the 80s. These look grey market at best. Some are fairly close to the official albums with Russian language song titles and listings.

Dr Ebbert : This guy I know is revered in the Beatles collectors circles. I ended up with a nearly complete discography both US and UK but these look like official releases to me, even though in what I have read he seems to be treated as a bootlegger. Anyone know the story? Simply put WTF?

The Red Wax Series (1982): It looks like UK discography, on a bootleg Japanese Label Odeon. No clue?!?

The Beatles Box (1980) on World records.

Finally the Christmas Fan Club Records
 

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The answers to your questions are in bold.

The Russian Releases in the 80s. Counterfeits.

Dr Ebbert
: This guy I know is revered in the Beatles collectors circles. I ended up with a nearly complete discography both US and UK but these look like official releases to me, even though in what I have read he seems to be treated as a bootlegger. Anyone know the story? Simply put WTF? Bootlegs.

The Red Wax Series
(1982): It looks like UK discography, on a bootleg Japanese Label Odeon. No clue?!? Offical EMI/Odean Japanese releases.

The Beatles Box
(1980) on World records. Official EMI release.

Finally the Christmas Fan Club Records As the name suggests, released by The Beatles Fan Club and later by Apple/EMI/UMC as a boxed set.
 

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Dr Ebbetts (not Ebberts) or, more correctly, Dr Ebbetts Sound Systems (DESS), was a needle dropper in the 1980s and 1990s who set out to upgrade the Beatles commercial catalog using mint condition Beatles vinyl as the source for remastering each album. The driving force behind this extensive project was the awful sound of the first round of Beatles CDs released by Capitol/EMI. The DESS process significantly enhanced the sound quality of each album and each release was highly sought after by Beatles collectors. The Dr Ebbetts Blue Box series (2006) was a 13 disc set that has nearly all of the stereo releases extensively remastered and a set of rarities. The complete Dr Ebbetts discography consists of 41 CD-Rs including both US and UK releases and both stereo and mono versions.

The Dr Ebbetts collection is essentially CDRs of fan-made remasters of the official releases, so they must be considered as pirate discs rather than bootlegs. But at a time when many audiophiles were unsatisfied with the sound of the official CD catalog, Dr. Ebbetts provided a high-quality alternative and gained a loyal following. These remasters sourced from pristine, original vinyl pressings and packaged in faithful reproductions of the original artwork became instant classics and must-haves for aficionados. Even today, collectors do consider these to be the core collection for these titles. In 2007, many of the Dr Ebbetts CDRs were released on colored thermally printed discs but these releases were extensively bootlegged and the original versions very hard to impossible to find these days.

In 2009, Dr Ebbets retired the project after 14 years, saying that the remastered and repackaged official Beatles CDs which had just reached the market with sound quality that was not achievable by the DESS process. In 2009, Dr Ebbetts published a somewhat confusing and lengthy retirement letter:


The letter did acknowledge that for a period of time prior to the 2009 official releases, the Blue Box series was the gold standard of remastered CDs but also recognized that these releases did not include any material beyond the official releases as compared to Purple Chick and a couple of other boot labels producing similar remasters. Dr Ebbetts did release an "Archive Series" in 2010 for a small group of specialty collectors.

The Dr Ebbetts collection and, in particular, the Blue Box are very difficult to share on a tracker as these releases are a prime target of the DMCA to curb pirating in general and pirating of Beatles material specifically. Together with the Purple Chick releases, my experience is that a link has a shelf life of 48-72 hours before it is broken by DMCA researchers tasked with the assignment.

It should be noted that unlike Purple Chick, Silent Sea, Remasters Workshop, and other labels, Dr Ebbetts never pretended to be a source of rare and collectible material. The work of simply remastering what was already officially released was extremely valuable at the time but became unnecessary after 2009. If you are looking for collectible studio rarities and the like, best to look elsewhere. If think that the DR Ebbetts project would be an important component of a modern Beatles collection, then buy the official releases in stereo and mono versions and move on to more interesting Beatles-related releases. There are sites where you can find some or, less frequently, most of the Dr Ebbetts releases but it does require some searching.

There are many bootlegs of the Dr Ebbetts collection that do still circulate. In other words, bootleggers are taking the pirated Dr Ebbetts collectibles and repackaging them with much lower sonic quality. Unless you are in touch with a reseller who you can explicitly trust, don't spend money on any of these.
 

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The Beatles Box (1980) on World records. Official EMI release.

Just to clarify, World Records was a mail-order subsidiary of EMI Records. The Beatles Box was also released by Readers Digest (!) in several countries including Mexico, New Zealand, and Australia. Unless you can find (and afford) the fancy box the collection was packaged in, then there really is nothing new here for collectors. Mostly the same versions of official or semi-official recordings. Trivia - the box is the last official Beatles release prior to the untimely death of John Lennon.
 

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The Red Wax Series (1982): It looks like UK discography, on a bootleg Japanese Label Odeon. No clue?!? Offical EMI/Odean Japanese releases.

The Red Wax Series was released twice, once in 1982 (as noted) and again in 1986. This is mostly a needle dropper production. Many consider the 1982 set to be a botched mastering job but others will argue that the bass-heavy sound is ideal. The 1986 set replaced the 1982 set (at least in theory) but for those fans of the bass-heavy sound it was a letdown. The same collectors with a preference for the 1982 version also took issue with the 2009 mono box set for the same reason. The series is very expensive when you can find it -- check eBay if you have spare cash -- but I have never met anyone who has both the 1982 and 1986 versions for comparison. Another reissue series that is of some importance to collectors but really has nothing different than what is commercially released and what is more easily obtainable on dozens of other Beatles bootlegs.

There was an attempt to release a package of 14 colorized EPs with four songs on each, but any gain from this release -- which will set you back about $400 -- was wiped out by the officially released "The Singles Collection" at about $175.

I would not spend a whole lot of money on these releases -- there really is nothing new here.
 
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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
Megadodo, Jetterthedog,

Thanks a million. This is a huge help. I really appreciated the extended explanations as well. I have never been huge into collecting Beatles material, more Stones and Zeppelin etc, so this stuff was WAY out of my comfort zone. Its insane what shows up in my email.

Really appreciate the help. thanks again.
 
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