Alf Together Now (2003 Japanese Reissue)

The Beatles

Number

Year

Format

SP-148

2003 (2001 on disc and packaging)

CD

 

First, some background on the Japanese Vigotone CDs:

The collectors' CD market in Japan is very developed and Japanese collectors are very discriminating.  Collectors in Japan don't care for CDR bootlegs, instead preferring real "pressed" CDs. 

Vigotone's Japanese distributor was able to get real CDs pressed in Japan for the seven releases between Thirty Days and More Music For A Rainy Day:

1. Thirty Days - The Beatles - 17 discs - Vigotone label
2. Brandy Alexanders & The Wall Of Sound - John Lennon - 3 discs - Vigotone label
3. Goodbye Surfing, Hello God - The Beach Boys - 5 discs - Vigotone label
4. All Things Must Surface - George Harrison - 2 discs - Reproman label
5. Aloha From Hawaii (And Hollywood) - The Beach Boys - 1 disc - Spank label
6. Alf Together Now - The Beatles - 1 disc - Spank label
7. More Music For A Rainy Day - Jan & Dean - 1 disc - Vigotone label

When Vigotone went out of business in 2001, their Japanese distributor obviously had leftover discs waiting for Vigotone packaging to come over from the U.S.A.  But, obviously the packaging wasn't on its way and the discs sat in storage.

Fast forward to 2003:

The leftover CDs started to find their way into shops again, albeit in newly-created, non-original packaging.  Judging from the paper stock used for the Alf Together Now and Brandy Alexanders reissues, the same person prepared both (as well as doing the Last Flight reissue from scratch).  It's still unclear if the original distributor prepared the new packaging himself, but it looks more like he sold the discs in bulk to a different dealer who came up with the new packaging.

A different dealer was able to buy the leftover copies of Thirty Days (and was offered the Beach Boys & Jan & Dean CDs, but turned those down.  It remains to be seen what happened to the All Things Must Surface CDs...)

This release appeared in Japan in August 2003.  It contains the exact same CDs released in original Vigotone packaging in 2001.

The packaging is the only thing that sets this apart from the original release.  Vigotone used a glossy paper stock for the jewel case inserts.  The stock used for this release is slightly textured & "flat" (not glossy).  The printing is very good.  Most fakes can be spotted by "fuzzy" printing.  This one must have been re-typeset as its printing is very sharp and clear.  The exact same fonts were used, so it looks identical in this regard.

But, since this is a reissue, there are some differences.  First of all, the picture of the Beatles is very slightly fuzzy.  This is evident when compared side by side with an original, but it's more difficult to determine this if you only have the reissue.  Also, the contrast on the original is better.  The dark areas (like John's clothing) tend to blend together a bit on the reissue.  Finer details (like being able to see the time on Ringo's watch) are visible in the original, but cannot be made out in the reissue.  Also, the red color used for the title (and other areas) is a bit "paler" on the reissue.

So, are there any aspects that are completely obvious between the original and the reissue?  Well, I've been able to find three:

1. The original has the title "Alf Together Now" closer to Paul's head than on the reissue:

 

2. The red border around the "bonus track" listings is slightly heavier on the original:

 

3. Inside the back cover there are five small pictures of Alf running top to bottom along the left edge.  On the original release, Alf appears to have a "flat top" due to the top of each image getting chopped a bit.  There is a light-colored border between each picture.  The reissue doesn't crop Alf's head, and there is only a black frame between each picture.  (It's interesting how much effort was put into re-booting this title!  It's obvious that this wasn't a hatchet job!)

 

Front Cover

Back Cover

 

43 Tracks - Total Time: 69:20

1. (the machine clicks on)   (0:05)
2. If I Fell (No. 1)   (0:13)
3. If I Fell (No. 2)   (2:34)
4. If I Fell (No. 3)   (0:30)
5. If I Fell (No. 4)   (0:39)
6. If I Fell (No. 5)   (0:11)
7. ("Are you in Coventry?")   (0:04)
8. Don't Bother Me   (5:30)

This "missing" section is here.  From here, the numbering doesn't match the cover....  (a characteristic of the Japanese CD version)

9. Instrumental #1   (0:26)
10. (tape noise)   (0:05)
11. Instrumental #2   (2:29)
12. Michelle   (1:01)
13. Instrumental #3   (0:11)
14. Instrumental #4   (1:23)
15. Instrumental #5   (1:07)
16. Three Coins In A Fountain   (1:35)
17. (tape noise / singing nursery rhymes)   (1:51)
18. Rockin' / Rollin' (Backing Track, No. 1)   (0:58)
19. Rockin' / Rollin' (Backing Track, No. 2)   (0:16))
20. Rockin' / Rollin' (With Horn)   (1:48)
21. (listening to the audio)   (0:35)
22. Rockin' / Rollin' (Vocal)   (1:12)
23. Piano / Drum Instrumental   (1:41)
24. Please Mr. Postman (No. 1)   (2:15)
25. Please Mr. Postman (No. 2)   (2:35)
26. It Won't Be Long (No. 1)   (2:23)
27. It Won't Be Long (No. 2)   (1:58)
28. (listening to the radio)   (0:18)
29. Love Me Do (BBC)   (1:24)
30. (Bible readings)   (10:00)
31. (tape noise)   (0:04)
32. Tammy (singing along with the radio)   (0:40)
33. Over The Rainbow (singing along with the radio)   (1:24)
34. (asking directions #1)   (1:22)
35. (asking directions #2)   (2:24)
36. (asking directions #3)   (2:48)
37. (asking directions #4)   (1:58)
38. (listening to a record and talking)   (4:36)
39. (distorted voice)   (1:26)

Bonus Tracks:

40. Rockin' / Rollin' (stereo mix from "Anthology +")   (1:37)
41. Hello Little Girl (The Foremost - recording session, No. 1) (1:51)
42. Hello Little Girl (The Foremost - recording session, No. 1) (0:40)
43. Hello Little Girl (The Foremost - recording session, No. 1) (1:13)

  

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