Various Come and Get It

Everyone and his dog know that Apple was the Beatles' vanity label before it was a computer company. But often overlooked is the wealth of non-Beatles-related material the label released between 1968 and 1973, including early work from the likes of James Taylor and Badfinger. Collected for the first time ever – a shocker given the record industry's penchant for recycling the old – Come and Get It presents 21 tracks, all originally released as A-side singles. What's most startling about the collection is the variety: one-time Ronette Ronnie Spector sits next to Eastern hymns like "Krishna," showcasing the Fab Four's disparate influences, which continued to play out in both their music as a group and as solo artists. While the label, as the liner notes point out, was successful both artistically and financially, none of its roster of artists ever achieved the kind of success its owners experienced, at least not while under the Apple banner. The compilation's biggest hit, young folk singer Mary Hopkin's number one single, "Those Were the Days," sounds particularly dated, a sign that while John, Paul, George and Ringo could spot talent, they weren't entirely sure how to harness it for the long-term. Novelty tracks like the hilarious "King of Fuh," with its "the mighty Fuh-King" chorus, don't help. Still, Come and Get It is a fascinating document of the disparate sounds of an era the Beatles and their friends helped define. (Apple)