Unterberger, who wrote the great books Turn! Turn!
Turn!, Eight Miles High, and Unknown Legends of Rock 'n' Roll, tackles the unreleased Beatle media in this 388-page book. Mostly it's a yearly chronicle of what tracks have surfaced (studio, live, etc.), what tracks might exist, and such. Material that formed the BBC and Anthology releases is included, so one can see where these songs came from. Film footage, the bootleg market, and even songs they gave to other artists are covered. I read the whole book (yes, that's a bit of a haul) and found Unterberger's descriptions of songs and placing them in the history of The Beatles to be very well done and correctly researched (as far as I know). As a tome of information, this book is great. What worries me is my own personal problem; as this issue of Tape Op goes to press, the collection of (mostly) unreleased Elliott Smith tracks, New Moon, will be coming out. I have been working as the archivist for Elliott's estate, and for this album, I helped research what music might be out there, found the tapes, made rough mixes, helped pick tracks to use (with the label and estate), mixed most of the songs, oversaw the mastering, and wrote a lot of the liner notes. After reading The Unreleased Beatles, I started to get very nervous. In Unterberger's book, questions arise quite often about why certain takes were officially released over others (like in the Anthology series), or why some tracks remain in the vault. Sometimes bootlegged versions are reported to have better sound quality than official releases. I know Elliott Smith isn't quite The Beatles, but he does have some hardcore fans, and I wonder if they'll be taking me to task soon for not doing them right. Here we go... ($34.95; www.backbeatbooks.com)
Tape Op is a bi-monthly magazine devoted to the art of record making.