Label: Vigotone, VT-180
"Sessions has been one of the most popular titles amongst Beatles collectors since its non-issue by EMI in 1985. Thanks to the recent discovery of cassette dubs made by the late Abbey Road engineer John Barrett, we are happy to present Another Sessions, which feature alternate mixes and versions of the songs from that unreleased album, along with bonus tracks. It is a perfect companion to Turn Me On, Dead Man: The John Barrett Tapes, and includes a booklet with notes and photographs."
"This CD features mixes of the songs from the Sessions project, these are not the same, but rejected mixes from the John Barrett Tapes."
Tr Title CD notes Time
1 Come And Get It 1982 alternate mix 2:30
2 Leave My Kitten Alone 1982 mono mix 2:52
3 Not Guilty 1982 stereo mix 4:23
4 I'm Looking Through You take 4 - no fade 2:51
5 What's The New Mary Jane 1968 alternate stereo mix 5:43
6 How Do You Do It? unedited mono mix 1:56
7 Besame Mucho original mono mix
8 One After 909 1982 mono mix 2:56
9 If You've Got Troubles 1982 stereo mix 2:49
10 That Means A Lot 1982 stereo low reverb mix 2:31
11 While My Guitar Gently Weeps 1982 stereo mix with original ending 3:14
12 Mailman, Bring Me No More Blues 1982 stereo mix - no fade 1:33
13 Christmas Time Is Here Again 1995 B Side 3:03
14 Ob-La-Di, Ob-La-Da muddy stereo mix 2:50
15 A Hard Day's Night 1982 stereo mix w/false starts 2:42
16 She's A Woman take one 1982 stereo mix - fragment 1:17
17 12-Bar Original 1965 mono mix 6:45
18 Norwegian Wood (This Bird Has Flown) 1982 stereo mix 2:00
19 I'm Looking Through You 1982 stereo mix 2:54
In the beginning, there was Sessions... and it was not very good.
At least, that was the opinion of the surviving Beatles, once they got wind that EMI had assembled this collection of unreleased items from the Beatles' recording sessions between 1962 and 1969. Indeed, Sessions was a haphazardly assembled collection, with a short running time, no regard to chronological order for its track listing, and with some unconscionable editing and mixing of tracks by the otherwise impeccably credentialed Geoff Emerick. This was the usual EMI way, however, and it stood to reason that this effort wasn't going to be much different than its other attempts at repackaging the Beatles' work.
This fact didn't deter EMI. Catalog numbers were assigned throughout the free world in December of 1984, an unexciting sleeve was prepared, and a single to promote the package was selected ("Leave My Kitten Alone"). Sessions was set for release in January of 1985. However, the mighty hand of Apple and their respective lawyers swung down just in time, and Sessions was shelved. Ten years later, with those pesky lawsuits between the Beatles and EMI out of the way and everybody being the best of buddies, the Beatles own version of Sessions, the much-expanded Anthology, was issued. The unloved, unwanted Sessions still resides in EMI's vaults, though unfortunately many of Emerick's mixes and edits that were produced for it were used in Anthology.
The original version of Sessions can be heard on Spank's wonderful package of the same name (SP-103). However, what we've done here for your listening pleasure is assemble an alternate version of Sessions. We have utilized a recent cache of tapes that have come to light from the archival efforts of the late John Barrett of EMI, whose work was one of the catalyst for the compilation of the original album. These different versions include alternate mixes he produced for 1983's The Beatles At Abbey Road show, as well as mixes done for his own use, most of which were superior to the ones Emerick produced! In addition, we've also added as bonus tracks some material from that At Abbey Road production, also taken from Barrett's tapes, and some mixes previously unissued on CD. All in all, it's a most enjoyable collection of material often heard but not in the forms included here. Enjoy !
The tracks (all mixed by John Barrett in 1982 except where noted):
1. Come And Get It (stereo) (Recorded July 24, 1969)
Paul McCartney's demo for Badfinger's first hit was originally mixed down to stereo the day it was recorded. When Geoff Emerick assembled Sessions, he remixed it, but this a Barrett mix that predates the Emerick redo.
2. Leave My Kitten Alone (mono) (Recorded August 14, 1964)
When this previously unreleased track appeared on Sessions, it was in an odd mix that wasn't quite stereo and wasn't quite mono. This is a mono mix that was prepared by Barrett for the Abbey Road show.
3. Not Guilty (stereo) (Recorded August 8, 1968)
This unreleased-by-the-Beatles George Harrison song was the worst crime perpetrated on any track for Sessions. Emerick edited entire sections out, slowed the song down, and in general made it a less interesting track. Sadly, this was also the mix that was used for Anthology 3, so the crime has been perpetrated upon the masses. At any rate, this is the original full-length version of "Not Guilty" as mixed by John Barrett for himself.
4. I'm Looking Through You (stereo) (Recorded November 10-11, 1965)
The Sessions version was left alone for the most part, and was one of Emerick's better jobs on the album. The Barrett version we have placed here is the one used on Rubber Soul, yet this has a slate, two false starts (like the US LP featured by mistake) and ends cold.
5. What's The New Mary Jane (stereo) (Recorded August 14, 1968, mixed October 14, 1968)
What a difference exactly four years between "Leave My Kitten Alone" and this track makes... At any rate, here is another mix of this marvelous Lennon-penned track, one that is 1968 vintage (different from the one prepared the same day, which can be found on Turn Me On Dead Man). This was actually a track Emerick improved, taking off much of the Yoko Ono input which helped to make the original mixes a bit, shall we say, challenging.
6. How Do You Do It? (mono) (Recorded and mixed September 4, 1962)
Another Emerick hack-job for Sessions, where he for no apparent reason re-edited the original unissued track making the boys repeat lines that didn't need repeating and weren't repeated on the original version! This is the unadulterated mono mix.
7. Besame Mucho (mono) (Recorded and mixed on June 6, 1962)
All versions of this track, which was recorded at The Beatles' first recording test, are identical. This sole surviving mix, from a private collection, was returned to EMI in the early 80's. This is slightly flatter in equalization than the Sessions version, however.
8. One After 909 (mono) (Recorded and mixed March 5, 1963)
This is a mono mix prepared by Barrett of the first half of take 4 with the edit piece take 5. The Beatles were of course later to rescue this early Lennon/McCartney song from unissued limbo and use it for the Get Back / Let It Be project in 1969.
9. If You've Got Troubles (stereo) (Recorded February 18, 1965)
The mighty thumb of Geoff Emerick came down hard on the Sessions version of this rather lame Lennon/McCartney original, composed with the best intentions for Ringo to sing as his contribution to the Help! LP. Thankfully, along came Buck Owens to rescue the ringed one with "Act Naturally". When mixing for Sessions, Emerick left out the entire first verse of "If You've Got Troubles", leading from the intro and editing directly into the second verse. Why? Who knows? It's not as though the track was made any worse by it being there in the first place, which was obviously echoed by the Fab Three and George Martin when assembling Anthology 2, using the complete original take and ignoring the Sessions mix. Included here is another Barrett alternate stereo mix from 1982. "Rock on, anybody", indeed.
10. That Means A Lot (stereo) (Recorded February 20, 1965)
This unreleased Help! track is featured on our alternate lineup in a previously unheard dry mono mix.
11. While My Guitar Gently Weeps (stereo) (Recorded July 25, 1968)
A gem of this collection, here is the unadulterated take one of this The Beatles (The White Album) George Harrison classic. When this was first heard in the Abbey Road show in 1983 in a Barrett-mixed guise, it stunned all who heard in its beauty and simplicity, and Harrison's offhand comment "Let's hear that back" after strumming the last arpeggio seemed to bring it back to Earth. Unfortunately, Emerick on the Sessions mix saw fit to loop the last chords played before this arpeggio and fade it out, rather than allowing it to play to its actual conclusion. Even more unfortunately, this same version was used on Anthology 3. We're proud to feature the original mix, in its finest quality ever.
12. Mailman, Bring Me No More Blues (aka Mailman Blues) (stereo) (Recorded January 29, 1969)
This Lloyd Price song, most likely heard by The Beatles as a Buddy Holly cover, was one of the few coherent oldies performed during the Get Back / Let It Be sessions. However, more Emerick trickery was involved here, primarily by fading in the track and the fading it out before its actual end. Here is the Barrett mix, shorter but with full ending included.
13. Christmas Time Is Here Again (stereo) (Recorded November 28, 1967)
This version was issued in December 1995 as the B-side of "Free As A Bird". We've taken the liberty of restoring the original beginning.
14. Ob-La-Di, Ob-La-Da (stereo) (Recorded July 13, 1968)
This is an odd one, in that the mix of the alternate "Ob-La-Di..." included here is of rather muddy quality and it has previously appeared on some other releases. However, we figured you'd rather have it than not to have your alternate Sessions album contain all it should!
15. A Hard Day's Night (stereo) (Recorded April 16, 1964)
A particularly funny bit of Lennon wit featured in this The Beatles At Abbey Road bit. It comes from take one, as the Fabs are trying to crash into the correct opening chord, and failing, much to John's amusement. When he comes down on a decisive "1-2-3-4!" count-in Barrett edited to the released take 9, though included an alternate stereo mix which he prepared, and which we've left in.
16. She's A Woman (stereo) (Recorded October 8, 1964)
Unfortunately, only a bit of this take one survives on the Abbey Road show tape, but it's so interesting that it begs inclusion.
17. 12-Bar Original (1965 mono mix)
18. Norwegian Wood (This Bird Has Flown) (stereo) (Recorded October 12, 1965)
19. I'm Looking Through You (stereo) (Recorded October 24, 1965)
Visitors attending The Beatles At Abbey Road, in most cases, heard only pieces of unreleased songs in an attempt to foil bootleggers. Not a stupid move on their part, since a complete recording was available within a month of the show's final performance. However, Barrett still mixed complete versions of the songs included in the show, and here are two of his finished otherwise unissued mixes. In Abbey Road, these tracks were played back-to-back so it made sense to present them the same way here!