To me, it's kind of funny to encounter a fake Yellow Submarine LP on the Arc label--pun-wise, we're talking two types of vessels (submarine/ark). However, to be successful, wordplay can't be too abstract, and I think ark/submarine may be just that. Only you can make that judgment, dear reader. Anyway, the title Music From the Beatles' Film Yellow Submarine is slightly deceptive, since we only get one side (Side A) of music from the movie, and the five YS selections don't quite cover 1/3 of the soundtrack's offerings, but then the LP title doesn't include the qualifying phrase "A complete LP of...," so technically it's not lying. And what on earth am I babbling about? Anyway, a mixture of stereo and monaural, and we'd maybe expect all of the Yellow Submarine tracks to be stereo... and we'd be mistaken. Stereo doesn't kick in until the third track, All You Need Is Love (not one of my Beatles faves), and who knows why? It could have been a simple error on the part of the engineer. ("Oh, wait--two channels! I forgot.") Side B's Hello, Goodbye (another one of my non-fave Beatles songs), is in stereo, and it's from roughly the YS period, but it's not from the soundtrack. But I'll bet Arc was trying to pass it off as a YS track. Budget labels pull stuff like that, you know.
My copy gave me a few noise-reduction challenges, all the result of pressing defects--surface bubbles, to be precise. I think I pretty artfully worked around the loud noise that strikes about halfway through When I'm 64 (at around age 31 or 32), though your ears may catch a couple of very brief drop-outs--very slight breaks in the sound, all of the "Did I just hear a drop-out?" variety. Of course, the smart thing would be for me to not even mention this, but... too late!
And, looking at the phoned-in liner notes, I do see a fib: "They're all here on this fabulous album." Um, no, as noted earlier, these fakes comprise slightly less than 1/3 of the movie soundtrack's offerings, so Arc Sound Ltd. was being less than sincere (i.e., fulfilling a classic budget-label requirement). And I was so certain, for some reason, that Arc would turn out to be the Allied Record Company, whose logo on its fake-hit 45s was A.R.C. I thought I'd pinned down the origins of Arc, but I was wrong--Discogs set me straight. Oh, well. We can't be wrong unless we risk being right. Er, I mean...
And how, you ask, do I rate these fakes? As totally and solidly not-bad. If anything, they're competent to the point of being a bit bland--take the totally professional harmonizing in the vocal break on Day Tripper. I guess I was spoiled by the Modern Sound/Hit Records version, on which the singers totally lose their place (yet, like troupers, carry on, regardless).
I haven't checked Arc's discography to determine where the pre-Yellow Submarine tracks may have come from--I'm guessing that Arc participated in the first wave of Fab Four fakery, but that's just a guess. And I was just reading about how John Lennon's songs are mostly admired for their words, while Paul's are admired for their melodies. That's a reasonable generalization, I guess. As a teen, I remember loving Lennon's tautologies--nothing you can sing that can't be sung, for example--and I loved his John Cage-style exercises in minimalism and tape effects (though I'm sure George Martin had quite a hand in those, since Martin was a tape-manipulation pro). At the same time, such beautiful Paul melodies as She's Leaving Home touched me deeply, and Yesterday is still astounding after all these decades. But, back to topic, let me just say that I wish Arc had made these fakes a little quirkier--the fakes are almost too placid, or something. Most fakes from the Beatles' psychedelic period attempted to imitate the group's goofy sense of fun (I think of the Beatles' psychedelic stuff as generally more Monty Python in feel than drug-soaked), but Arc takes what, by budget-label standards, could be called a conservative approach. But... these are fun enough fakes. Nothing sub-standard about them. Get it? Sub-standard! Ha, ha!!
To the fake Yellow Submarine soundtrack LP, with the usual budget filler tracks. (At least the filler tracks are all John and Paul songs.) Arc, by the way, also had "real" acts in is catalog, including Catherine McKinnon. I forgot to note this. But now I have.
DOWNLOAD: Yellow Submarine--Unknown Artist (Arc As 796; 1968)
All You Need Is Love
With a Little Help From My Friends
When I'm 64
I Want to Hold Your Hand
A Hard Days (sic) Night
Can't Buy Me Love
Music From the Beatles' Film Yellow Submarine (Arc AS 796; 1968)