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Miami Indie Lays Claim To Early Beatles Tracks

An independent Miami label says it plans to release never-before-heard Beatles live recordings made in 1962 at the Star Club in Hamburg, Germany.

Fuego Entertainment, which distributes music through Koch, has entered into a joint venture, Echo-Fuego, with British producer/promoter Jeffrey Collins to put out his catalog holdings. They say those include a live Beatles performance of 15 songs at the club.

No release date has been set for the recordings, which the label claims are the first to feature drummer Ringo Starr as part of the group. Other Beatles recordings from the Star Club have been released, but Fuego says its collection includes previously unheard tracks, such as covers of Hank Williams’ “Lovesick Blues” and Maurice Williams’ “Do You Believe.”

Other live Beatles tracks the label says it holds also include “Twist and Shout,” “I Saw Her Standing There,” “Hippy Hippy Shake,” “A Taste of Honey,” “Money,” and “Ask Me Why,” which can be heard in other recorded Beatles performances at the Star Club.

Collins, who now lives in Florida, says he got the original tapes at the time from a DJ he’d booked for the club the night of the Beatles’ performance.

When he got the tapes, which the label says were recorded with the club’s permission, “they were in terrible condition,” says Collins. Decades later, he was able to digitally remaster them “to make them sound coherent,” but says Apple Corps rebuffed his 1996 overture to release the tracks.

The lack of a release date illustrates the obstacles involved in releasing Beatles-related product. “Through legal channels, we will be making these albums available for release,” says Collins. “The Beatles know these tapes exist and their lawyers know these tapes exist. It’s a matter of certain legalities.”

“We don’t have a comment as such but not surprisingly are looking into the claim,” says a spokesperson from Apple Corps., which maintains the Beatles’ business affairs.

Fuego Entertainment president/CEO Hugo Cancio says for $4.95, is offering a full-track stream of the live “I Saw Her Standing There,” plus clips of other live Beatles songs in its collection; downloads of a track each by Ahmir and rapper KRS-One; and early download access to its recording of Jimi Hendrix’s “Rainbow Bridge” concert.

Astute Beatles fan are already calling foul. According to Steve Marinucci, who runs Abbeyrd’s Beatles Page, of the four tracks on the Fuego site, only “A Taste of Honey” is unheard, and the “Lovesick Blues” cover isn’t even by the Beatles at all. As for the sound quality, Marinucci says they are no better than earlier “Star Club” releases, which are decidedly lo-fi.

Meanwhile, the company’s rights to the Hendrix material have already been disavowed by the late guitarist’s estate and its subsidiary enterprise, Experience Hendrix. “Experience Hendrix serves notice that it will take all legal action necessary to remove this bootleg material from the market and recover damages against Fuego Entertainment and associated parties for infringement as authorized under applicable law,” the company said in a statement.
(Via Billboard online)