Apple and Columbia recordings (1 Viewer)

cirerita

Founding member
I was just reading a 1969 letter to Weissner and B. mentions having recorded 12 reels of stuff for Apple. He also says he recorded 4 stories on tape for Columbia earlier that year.

I took a quick look at the volumes of letters and couldn't find a single reference to either Apple or Columbia.

Whatever happened to those tapes and reels?
 

mjp

Founding member
I believe there's another reference to Apple somewhere (in Sunlight Here I am? Not sure), but the recordings were probably done for Zapple, which was supposed to be a spoken-word subsidiary of Apple. I think Zapple was very short-lived.

Everyone was taping everything in the 1960's. Tape was the new people's-encyclopedia-of-everlasting-knowledge-and-wisdom! Most of those tapes were probably never listened to after they were recorded, and unless they've been well taken care of, are likely little more than oxide dust at this point.

Anything done for Columbia would likely still be in good shape though. In a dark storage vault somewhere...
 

cirerita

Founding member
B mentions the Apple recordings in a few letters. He received $100 -advance payment?- for those recordings, and in another letter he says Apple folded, but that's it. Zapple is not mentioned at all.
 

mjp

Founding member
Interesting --- from our friends at wikipedia. Barry Miles? This all makes sense now.

Zapple Records, an Apple Records subsidiary run by Barry Miles, a friend and ultimately biographer of Paul McCartney, was intended as an outlet for the release of spoken word and avant garde records. It was active from October 1968 until June 1969, and only two albums were released on the label, one by John Lennon and Yoko Ono (Unfinished Music No.2: Life With The Lions) and one by George Harrison (Electronic Sound). An album of readings by Richard Brautigan was planned for release as Zapple 3, and acetate copies were pressed, but, said Miles, "The Zapple label was folded by Klein before the record could be released. The first two Zapple records did come out. We just didn't have [Brautigan's record] ready in time before Klein closed it down. None of the Beatles ever heard it." Brautigan's record was eventually released as Listening To Richard Brautigan on Harvest Records, a subsidiary of Apple distributor EMI, in the US only. According to Miles, a spoken word album by Lawrence Ferlinghetti, which had been recorded and edited, would have been Zapple 4, and a spoken word album by Michael McClure had also been recorded. A planned Zapple release of a UK appearance by comedian Lenny Bruce was never completed. As noted above, Zapple was shut down in June 1969 by Klein, apparently with the backing of John Lennon.​
 

hank solo

Just practicin' steps and keepin' outta the fights
Reaper Crew
Moderator
Founding member
That's right. The recordings (well I assume ALL of them) became the 'At Terror Street' CD.

The sleeve notes talk about the abandoned project but don't mention the label. I think Miles mentions the label in the intro to his Bukowski biography?
 

hank solo

Just practicin' steps and keepin' outta the fights
Reaper Crew
Moderator
Founding member
Of course I meant to say SOME of them :eek:

Here's a bit from the Barry Miles book:

In 1968 I was made the label manager for Zapple, an experimental division of Apple, the Beatles' record company. John Lennon and Paul McCartney asked me to record a series of poetry albums for them and so I prepared a list which included Lawrence Ferlinghetti, Richard Brautigan, Michael McClure, Allen Ginsberg, Kenneth Patchen and half a dozen others. High on the list was Charles Bukowski. All four Beatles gave the project their blessing so, in January 1969, I travelled to Los Angeles to make a spoken word album with him.

... Unfortunately, before I even had time to edit the tapes, the Zapple label was closed by the Beatles' new business manager Allen Klein and the poetry recordings were left unedited and unreleased. ... it was not until 1993 that At Terror Street and Agony Way finally reached the stores as a double CD on the King Mob label.​
 

cirerita

Founding member
ok, mystery solved re. the Apple/Zapple reels. What about the Columbia recordings?

In a April 23, 1969 letter he says: "just read 4 of the stories [from Notes...] for Columbia on record -- yes, did 12 reels of poetry for APPLE, signed contract, got advance. guy coming over tomorrow with Columbia contract and advance."

In a May 6, 1969 letter he says: "a photo from APPLE. me with my arm around a big blonde, bigas sblonde (sic), we both have drinks in our hands and are laughing. I look like Hemingway. everything is ridiculous."

In a May 27, 1969 letter he says: "yes, I finally got the promised $100 from the Norse, Micheline, Thomas, Bukowski, so forth reading [???]. I'm not saying I earned the $100, it was too easy -- they only wanted an hour's worth of tape, so I read 3 or 4 stories from NOTES. With APPLE I really worked out -- 12 large reels of poetry. they say APPLE's dead but the Beetle's deny it and APPLE denies it but everybody writes me APPLE's dead..."
 
I seem to recall from a letter, one of the guys who wanted to record him (Miles?) just left him the equipement to record whenever Buk himself was in the mood.
cirerita: maybe this was in a letter to Weissner - do you have it?
 

hank solo

Just practicin' steps and keepin' outta the fights
Reaper Crew
Moderator
Founding member
"Sure, just show me how the machine works and come back in a few days. I'll just curl up on the rug with some packs of beer, my books, turn on the machine and..." I wired up an Ampex 3000, arranged a microphone stand and microphone, headphones and 12 reels of blank tape. He refused to allow me, or anyone else, to be present to supervise the recording, claiming to be too shy.

Barry Miles in the sleeve notes for the 'At Terror Street and Agony Way' CDs
...
 

Bukfan

"The law is wrong; I am right"
Interesting! Some additional info not mentioned in the liner notes to the 2-Cd "At Terror Street And Agony Way". Thanks, cirerita!
 

mjp

Founding member
And Bukowski kindly recorded himself on BOTH SIDES of what were ONE-SIDED tapes.
I'll pick the nit here and say that all recording tape is one sided.

An old open reel mono recorder - that recorded two "sides" when you flipped the tape - was actually only recording on half the width of the tape on each pass. A stereo recorder would have laid two tracks down next to each other, using the full width of the tape.

So if you turned the reels around on a stereo recording, you would just record over the entire tape going in the other direction.

Isn't that fascinating?

Yeah.
 

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