Tuesday, January 13, 2009

The Beatles - Thirty Days: Disc 1/2

Label: Vigotone, VT-218/219

The Best Of The Twickenham Sessions Part One
DISC 1 (66:07)
1 - Adagio For Strings
2 - Adagio For Strings
3 - Let It Be
4 - Crackin' Up
5 - All Shook Up
6 - Your True Love
7 - Blue Suede Shoes
8 - Three Cool Cats
9 - Lucille
10 - I'm So Tired
11 - Ob-La-Di, Ob-La-Da
12 - The Third Man Theme
13 - Don't Let Me Down - NEW
14 - I've Got a Peeling - NEW
15 - The One After 909
16 - "Because I Know You Love Me So"
17 - "I'll Wait Til Tomorrow"
18 - "Won't You Please Say Goodbye"
19 - Bring It on Home
20 - Hitch Hike
21 - You Can't Do That
22 - Hippy Hippy Shake
23 - Short Fat Fannie
24 - Midnight Special
25 - What Do You Want to Make Those Eyes at Me For
(When They Don't Mean What They Say!)
26 - All Things Must Pass
27 - Maxwell's Silver Hammer - NEW
28 - (Improvisation)
29 - "You Wear Your Women Out" - NEW

The Best Of The Twickenham Sessions Part Two
DISC 2 (71:22)
1 - "My Imagination"
2 - (Improvisation) - NEW
3 - I'm Talking About You
4 - Dizzy Miss Lizzie
5 - Money (That's What I Want)
6 - Sure to Fall
7 - Don't Let Me Down
8 - Two of Us
9 - Across The Universe
10 - Hear Me Lord
11 - All Things Must Pass
12 - The Long and Winding Road
13 - Golden Slumbers/Carry That Weight
14 - Get Back
15 - Get Back - NEW
16 - Get Back -NEW
17 - "Woman Where You Been So Long"
18 - "Oh Julie, Julia-
19 - A Shot of Rhythm and Blues
20 - Rock and Roll Music
21 - Lucille
22 - Gone, Gone, Gone
23 - The One After 909
24 - Don't Let Me Down - NEW
25 - Thirty Days
26 - Be-Bop-A-Lula
27 - Lotta Lovin'/Somethin' Else
28 - She Came In Through the Bathroom Window

"Thirty Days" – The Ultimate Get Back Collection
The Beatles’ Get Back session have been written about to death so we’ll keep it brief. The Beatles gathered on January 2, 1969 at Twickenham Studios with the intention of rehearsing brand new songs for a concert that would be televised live throughout the world. They also agreed to have the entire process filmed for an accompanying documentary. When the sessions drew to a close thirty days later, the spectacular live show had been downgraded to an impromptu concert on the roof of the Apple building, and the live television broadcast and documentary had been combined and reconfigured into a single feature film. The Beatles left behind them a half–finished album and boxes upon boxes of taped rehearsals, performances, arguments and jams. It is from those boxes that this set is culled.

So what makes this collection ‘ultimate’? First off, everything on these 17 discs has been digitally transferred with great care from master tapes. So they sound better than they ever have before! More than 500 rolls of tape were sifted through, and only the very best and most interesting performances were chosen for inclusion. In some cases performances have been painstakingly reconstructed from as many as three original tape sources. Secondly, the dialogue and lengthy stop–and–go rehearsals that sometimes made listening to Get Back sessions a chore have been bypassed, with only "takes", serious run–throughs, oldies and the more interesting structured jams being presented. All the performances that made up the Let It Be album (except for those recorded outside the time frame of the Get Back sessions) can be heard in their original, unadulterated form. And for the very first time the January 30th rooftop concert has been meticulously reconstructed from ALL existing source material, while the January 31st session that produced "Two of Us", "The Long and Winding Road", and "Let It Be" is presented in a form more complete (and enjoyable!) form than ever before.

In the track listings that follow, each song is cross–referenced to its entry in Get Back: The Unauthorized Chronicle of The Beatles’ Let It Be Disaster, the authoritative work on these sessions. The prefix of each number represents the day in January 1969 on which the song was performed, while the suffix places the song in chronological order within that day. All tracks that weren’t covered in that book have only a day prefix followed by the word "NEW". Even a cursory glance at the track listings (especially those from January 22nd to 31st Apple sessions) reveals that an avalanche of new and exciting material is waiting for the listener! And even if the song is "old", it is most often in better quality or more complete than it was on any previous issue. You can also see that in some places the authors of Get Back were incorrect with their datings and performance placement, so the correct information is presented here. So hit "play" and enjoy the Get Back sessions like you never have before.

Humphey Lestouq, M.B.E.

Recording Information

The majority of the audio found on this set was recorded by the Let It Be film crew. Two Nagra mono reel-to-reel tape recorders were utilized to capture nearly every moment of the sessions. One tape recorder was assigned to each camera and, each time that camera began filming a beep would be heard on the tape to allow for later synchronization with the picture. Short reels running at a very fast speed were utilized capturing only 16 minutes per roll. Since two tape recorders were running nearly all the time, the time it took to thread up a new reel would theoretically be captured on the other machine. At Twickenham, the rolls for each recorder were simply numbered consecutively, and these numbers were announced (when the soundman remembered) at the start of the roll with the appropriate camera designation (A or B) added on. A total of 223 rolls were recorded in this fashion at Twickenham. When filming moved to Apple the recording process remained the same, but the numbering system differed slightly. The sound rolls that corresponded with each camera were still numbered consecutively, but the A rolls were arbitrarily restarted at #400, and the B rolls at #1014. 307 rolls were recorded at Apple, making for a total of approximately 530 rolls (about 141 hours, though only 80 or so it if is unique). The material on the final disc of this set was recorded on E.M.I.'s mobile unit which Apple borrowed when Magic Alex's equipment failed to function. Those were the days indeed.

DISC 1 – Playing Time 66.07

The Best of the Twickenham Sessions Part One
Disc 1 joins the sessions just before 11.00am on January 3rd (the January 2nd session being bypassed on this set because it was completely documented on Yellow Dog’s "Ultimate Collection" series). This disc is highlighted by a trio of early Lennon–McCartney compositions (tracks 15 through 18) which are otherwise lost, as well as a slew of enjoyable "oldies" that the band often used to warm up with. Brand new to CD are early versions of "I’ve Got a Feeling," "Don’t Let Me Down," and "Maxwell’s Silver Hammer," and a rather provocatively worded improvisation led by Paul, dubbed "You Wear Your Women Out," for a lack of a more formal title.

Thursday, January 3
1 – Adagio For Strings (3.20) – 3.1
2 – Adagio For Strings (0.49) – 3.2
Roll 11A? A solo piano performance by Paul, who attempts to play Samuel Barber’s "Adagio For Strings" on piano.

3 – Let It Be (1.17) – 3.10
Roll 11A? Paul rolls into this unfinished composition. He sings the first verse and a bit of the chorus.

4 – Crackin' Up (0.34) – 3.23
Roll 13A? – Paul and George perform a brief duet of the Bo Diddley song.

5 – All Shook Up (1.08) – 3.24
Roll 13A? – George leads the band into another oldie. He and Paul share vocals remembering about half of the Elvis Presley classic.

6 – Your True Love (1.44) – 3.25
Roll 13A? – Paul and George continue as the primary vocalists, this time for a Carl Perkins tune. Like "All Shook Up," the performance is a bit loose but spirited.

7 – Blue Suede Shoes (1.30) – 3.26
Roll 13A? – A slightly disjointed, but quite enjoyable performance, with distant vocals from John, Paul, and George.

8 – Three Cool Cats (2.19) – 3.27
Roll 13A? – Paul starts off this cover of the Coasters novelty song. George sings lead vocal with help from John and Paul.

9 – Lucille (3.27) – 3.29
Roll 14A? – A fairly complete cover of Little Richard’s hit. Paul is quite free with his vocal. Nonetheless, the musicianship on everyone’s part is reasonably competent.

10 – I’m So Tired (2.32) – 3.30
Roll 14A? – Paul takes the lead vocal on this Lennon composition. The lyrics are similar to those in the version released on The Beatles, except that Paul laughingly interjects a line about abstaining from alcohol.

11 – Ob–La–Di, Ob–La–Da (1.30) – 3.31
Roll 14A? – Paul’s Jamaican influenced bass leads off this slightly off–color version of a song that originally appeared on The Beatles. John does most of the singing here.

12 – The Third Man Theme (1.50) – 3.35
Roll 14A? – After a few tentative bars, The Beatles play an almost perfect rendition of this instrumental favorite.

13 – Don’t Let Me Down (2.47) – 3.NEW
Roll 15A? – A sincere effort from The Beatles.

14 – I’ve Got a Feeling (4.12) – 3.NEW
Roll 15A? – A rather competent run through marred only by a poor guitar solo from John.

15 – The One After 909 (3.17) – 3.45
Roll 16A? – Paul and John share vocals on a substantially complete but sloppy performance of this old Lennon/McCartney number.

16 – "Because I Know You Love Me So" (2.33) – 3.46
Roll 16A? – John leads them into this pleasant, country–influenced number. John and Paul duet on this song, although John is a bit off mike.
17 – "I’ll Wait ‘Til Tomorrow" (1.04) – 3.48
Roll 17A? – Paul and John share vocals on another unpublished Lennon/McCartney original, which is even more country influenced than "Because I Know You Love Me So"

18 – "Won’t You Please Say Goodbye" (1.01) – 3.51
Roll 17? – Another early Lennon/McCartney tune. John and Paul sing what they can remember from this one.

19 – Bring It on Home (1.55) – 3.52
Roll 17A? – Reminded by John of "Bring It On Home," George begins to sing it, and Paul and John join in.

20 – Hitch Hike (2.00) – 3.53
Roll 17A? – George handles the lead vocal on this lively performance. John and Paul go to falsetto for the chorus.

21 – You Can’t Do That (2.15) – 3.54
Roll 17A? – John, Paul, and George share vocals on this version of a song from their A Hard Day’s Night LP.

22 – Hippy Hippy Shake (2.36) – 3.55
edit of Roll 17A/ roll Slate 40 take 123 – This is a complete performance of this Chan Romero number. Paul is very enthusiastic, but has trouble remembering how the song goes. Note that the soundman’s slate number has been edited out.

23 – Short Fat Fannie (3.03) – 3.60
Roll 19A? – This cover of Larry Williams’ novelty tune is one of the better performances of this session. George handles the lead vocal, with occasional help from Paul, and seems to remember almost all the words.

24 – Midnight Special (2.08) – 3.61
Roll 19A? – John leads the band into this traditional folk tune. Paul sings along and they have a great time even though they remember hardly anything but the chorus.

25 – What Do You Want to Make Those Eyes at Me For (When They Don’t Mean What They Say!) (1.04) – 3.64
Roll 19A? – John, Paul, and George all hop gleefully into this one. George seems to know all the words but Paul has them a bit scrambled.

26 – All Things Must Pass (3.26) – 3.80
Roll 23A? – The Beatles launch into a complete performance of the song. They struggle a bit when they reach the middle eight, and also have difficulty at the finish, but this is still a great improvement over the previous attempts on January 2.

27 – Maxwell’s Silver Hammer (2.26) – 3.NEW
Roll 27A? – Run through with Paul on bass.

Monday, January 6
28 – (Improvisation) (6.02) – 6.12
Roll 23A – Paul plays an original instrumental, struggling a bit on the organ. After two minutes or so, Ringo takes his spot behind the drums and joins in. Over time John, then George, join in as well as the performance mutates into a simplistic jam.

29 – "You Wear Your Women Out" (2.54) – 6.NEW
Roll 33A – A bluesy improvisation.

DISC TWO – 71.22
The Best Of The Twickenham Sessions Part Two
Another disc that intermingles embryonic versions of the Beatles own compositions (including some fresh glimpses of "Get Back" right at its moment of genesis!) with excursions from their rock n roll roots. The admiration that each of the Beatles held for the likes of Gene Vincent, Chuck Berry, Little Richard, Larry Williams, and Eddie Cochran couldn’t be more evident as they usually had more energy to play song s from their youth than work on their own material. It should be noted that tracks 1 and 9, while not necessarily "new," are far, far more complete here than on previous issues.

Monday, January 6 (continued)
01 – "My Imagination" (7.06) – 6.15
edit of 33A/34A/11B – A faster and spirited improvisation. Paul, who has moved from organ to bass, improvises a few lines of lyric. Much of this jam has a blues feel to it.

02 – (Improvisation) (5.08) – 6.NEW
Roll 34A – A bluesy improvisation.

03 – I'm Talking About You (0.50) – 6.25
Roll 36A – George gives a brief but competent solo performance of this Chuck Berry song.

04 – Dizzy Miss Lizzie (2.41) – 6.16
Roll 37A? – The Beatles return to their rock and roll roots with a loose cover version of this Larry Williams’ classic.

05 – Money (That's What I Want) (2.24) – 6.17
Roll 37A? – Except for an errant wah pedal, this is a fairly straightforward cover version of Barrett Strong’s recording.

06 – Sure To Fall (2.47) – 6.19
Roll 37A? – Once they remember the title, they attempt to play it. This performance is quite nice. John and Paul absolutely enjoy harmonizing on this pleasant country tune.

07 – Don't Let Me Down (3.08) – 6.35
Roll 43A – This is a complete run through of the song and it’s a strong take until the end.

08 – Two of Us (2.48) – 6.56
Roll 44A – This is a complete performance and improvement is evident.

09 – Across The Universe (2.55) – 6.65
Roll 45A – Despite the lack of lyrics, John performs his composition but no one is particularly interested.

10 – Hear Me Lord (1.32) – 6.71
Roll 45A – This is basically a George solo performance, except for a few tentative bars from the bass.

11 – All Things Must Pass (3.33) – 6.71
Roll 45A – The Beatles take the song from the top and, despite some sloppy musicianship, turn in a good performance.

Tuesday, January 7
12 – The Long and Winding Road (4.53) – 7.1
Roll 50A – A solo piano performance from Paul, who is once again playing for the camera to pass the time until the other Beatles arrive.

13 – Golden Slumbers/Carry That Weight (2.38) – 7.2
Roll 50A – Paul launches into a medley of two more piano based numbers. Paul sounds a little bored.

14 – Get Back (1.30) – 7.14
Roll51A – First loose run through of an improvisation that is definitely "Get Back."

15 – Get Back (2.08) – 7.NEW
Roll 52A – A second run through.

16 – Get Back (1.54) – 7.NEW
Roll 52A – Third loose run through where Ringo has joined in on drums.

17 – "Woman Where You Been So Long" (1.48) – 7.37
Roll 57A – The band jams as Paul pounds out a boogie–woogie rhythm on the piano and sings what is presumably an improvisation.

18 – "Oh Julie, Julia" (2.17) – 7.38
Roll 57A – Paul leads the band into this Little Richard–like number.

19 – A Shot of Rhythm and Blues (1.57) – 7.61
Roll 63A – John leads the band through this very enjoyable performance. He has a surprisingly good recollection of the words.

20 – Rock and Roll Music (2.03) – 7.80
Roll 65A – John delivers a very enthusiastic lead vocal, and does far better than one would expect at remembering the words.

21 – Lucille (1.20) – 7.81
Roll 65A – George leads in another oldie, this time Little Richard’s hit.

22 – Gone, Gone, Gone (2.08) – 7.84
Roll 65A – The performance is very upbeat, with John having fun on lead vocal and George playing a very nice guitar solo.

23 – The One After 909 (1.20) – 7.88
Roll 66A – Paul starts to sing the lyrics in a spirited manner recalling the early days of the group.

24 – Don't Let Me Down (3.35) – 7.NEW
Roll 66A – Run–though.

25 – Thirty Days (0.59) – 7.101
Roll 67A – John performs an enjoyable bit of this oldie. Paul offers a limited vocal backing.

26 – Be–Bop–A–Lula (1.51) – 7.104
Roll 67A – John sings this Gene Vincent classic, joined only by Ringo on drums. He attempts to play the guitar solo and is clearly enjoying himself.

27 – Lotta Lovin' / Somethin' Else (0.59) – 7.105
Roll 67A – John and Ringo continue their trip through the Gene Vincent songbook with a stab at "Lotta Lovin’ " segueing into Eddie Cochran’s "Somethin’ Else."

28 – She Came in Through the Bathroom Window (3.03) – 7.111
Roll 68A – A strong and serious performance. They turn in an adequate performance and Paul expresses satisfaction.

1 comment:

cwt said...

This is great. Is there a place where one can download these discs?