Saturday, August 18, 2018

Octopus's Garden Re-Mix

In late 1969, it was decided by Yorkshire England's "ITV" television net work to produce a special based on the talents of the Beatles' producer George Martin. The special was recorded at the television studios in mid December and shown on boxing day or on Christmas eve in various areas of the country.
One of the ideas for the show was to have something played by The Beatles which of course could not happen. It was derhcided to have Ringo lip-sync to his latest tune "Octopus's Garden".
Therefore on December 02 1969 at EMI Studio, the original multi-track tape was pulled out and put on the reel. The original drums and rhythm guitar were pulled from the tape and shifted to one channel of the stereo spectrum. The other side of the stereo spectrum contained some of the vocal overdub and some of the bubbling effect. As a quick aside, December 02 was also the day both "Lady Madonna" and "Rain" were mixed in stereo for the eventual "Hey Jude" compilation Apple LP to be released the following year.
On December 08 1969, this new version with drums/guitar was played while fresh bass, piano, lead guitar was added to the tune by unknown session musicians. Ringo simply added his new vocal as well to lip-sync on the show and the song was mixed on twin track tape after 10 takes. The tape was taken away by one of the production members for the television special.
I have not heard this particular version although it has been released in various forms on CDR.

Saturday, August 11, 2018

The Beatles' Seventh Christmas Record

The last/ final Beatles Christmas Record to be mailed out to the Fan Club was recorded in November and December of 1969. Unfortunately, the skits and messages were recorded individually by the members of the group with John and Yoko recording from Tittenhurst mansion and grounds, George recording from the Apple building at 3 Savile Row London, Ringo recording from his home in Surrey and Paul also recording from his home in St. John's Wood, London.
The individual tapes were given to radio personality and friend Kenny Everett who edited the recordings. In the 1969 liner notes, Kenny Everett goes under the name "Maurice Cole". John and Yoko feature heavily on this particular Christmas record and George Harrison barely features at all. The messages open with John and Yoko strolling in the garden with "The First Noel" playing in the background. Paul sings a bit of an ad-lib before hearing George wishing everyone a Happy Christmas. We get Ringo strumming an acoustic guitar and "singing" before it's edited to include the song "The End" (the guitar riffs) from their most recent LP "Abbey Road".
A bit of John and Yoko and then a bit of Paul singing his Christmas son on acoustic and vocal. We then get more of John and Yoko in the garden while having "Deck The Halls" playing in the background. This is edited into John playing mellotron in his studio while chatting about Christmas. This is interrupted by Ringo repeating "Merry Christmas" faster and faster and then slowing down to reveal he is now saying "Magic Christian" (in order to promote his latest film). We go back to John and Yoko and the mellotron for a while until the song "The First Noel" becomes prominent and there is finally laughing by Ringo and the end drum beat from "The Ballad of John And Yoko".
The cover is issued in a cardboard sleeve with an out of focus festive photo of a Christmas tree on the front credited to Ringo and a drawing on the back credited to Zak Starkey.  This was issued as a two sided flexi disc in the UK due to the length of the messages (over 7 and a half minutes long).
The Seventh Christmas Record can also be heard on the official Fan Club compilation "The Beatles Christmas Record" LP on Apple in the US and on "From Then To You" by Apple in the UK. You can also hear it on various bootlegs of the Christmas messages including the Vigotone LP and CD "The Ultimate Beatles Christmas Collection". It was re-issued on 45 vinyl in 2017 by Apple as "The Christmas Records" via a box set.

Saturday, August 4, 2018

"Ain't That Cute" Session

Doris Troy was an R&B singer from the 1960s and earlier in the year 1969 had been asked by her friend Madelaine Bell if she could sing background vocals on some session with Billy Preston. At the time, Billy Preston had been signed to Apple records and George Harrison had been producing some tunes for Billy as well, so both Doris Troy and George Harrison met at these sessions.
George must have been impressed with Doris as she was also signed to the Apple label in September 1969. Both Doris Troy and George Harrision wrote an original song entitled "Ain't That Cute" which would feature as an Apple single.
The session for the song was was conducted at Trident Studios and Apple Studios in London with George Harrison not only composing the tune with Doris but also playing guitar on the song as well as featuring his talents on slide guitar. Peter Frampton is also on the disc playing lead guitar. Klaus Voorman of the Plastic Ono Band is on bass and Berry Morgan on drums (not Ringo as is assumed).
The single (Apple 24) was released in the UK in February 1970 and in North America as Apple 1820 on March 16, 1970. Unfortunately, although it's a great tune, it failed to chart. A self titled Apple LP "Doris Troy" was released later that same year in November with participation of George and Ringo.

Sunday, July 29, 2018

"Stardust"

Another track for the first solo LP by Ringo Starr. The title of the LP was originally to be entitled "Starrdust" with this track being considered the title tune. But it was not to be as the title changed during the sessions.
This particular track was originally written by Hoagy Carmichael. The backing with the orchestra was recorded at Wessix Sound Studios in London on November 07 1969 and Ringo's voice was added at Trident Studios in London a week later on November 14 1969.
A rough stereo mix of the song was attempted at EMI Studios by Geoff Emerick/ George Martin four days later on November 18 1969. It must have been decided around this time to bring Ringo back into the fold to overdub/layer or to once again sing the song.
The reason for Ringo to once again sing the song may have been to double track the vocals in certain sections or to have two choices when mixing the performance. In any case, Ringo came back in and re-did his vocals for the song on November 28 1969. The song was also mixed in stereo at the same session which was completed at Studio Two of EMI Studios and you can hear the results on the official Apple LP/CD.
Although the back cover of the LP credits Paul McCartney as the arranger of this tune, it was actually George Martin who did all the work. The credit was probably some kind of what we would call nowadays a "marketing tool" to try and sell the LP by acknowledging two Beatles involved in the project. Or maybe George Martin was just being kind.

Saturday, July 21, 2018

"What's The New Mary Jane" overdubs

On November 26 1969, a session at EMI Studio 2 was booked by John and Yoko for some work on a proposed single containing two unreleased (at the time) Beatles' tunes. This was to be credited as the "Plastic Ono Band" for whatever reason.
The A-side of the single was to be "You Know My Name (Look Up The Number)" and the B-side of the single was to be "What's The New Mary Jane" - which was recorded during the "White Album" LP sessions back in 1968. The idea was to add some vocals and noises to the already busy "What's the New Many Jane" including John and Yoko and various staff from the studio. This particular song was remixed from the original tape and overdubs were added including the addition vocals and some percussion. The entire exercise took up over 6 minutes. There was also an edited version of the "song" with the overdubs done during this session which took the song about 2 and a half minutes.
Eventually, the A-side of this single ended up on the B-side of "Let It Be" and credited to The Beatles whereby "What's The New Mary Jane" would remain unreleased at this point.
This session with it's overdub can be heard on a 12 inch vinyl single released in 1980 entitled "What A Shame Mary Jane Had A Pain At the Party" with an interesting cover.


Saturday, July 7, 2018

"Stormy Weather"

The progression for the first Ringo solo LP continued slowly at the end of the year and picking up speed as it went along. The second session for the LP was undertaken at Wessex Sound Studios in London with another "standard" to be orchestrated, conducted and finally adding Ringo's vocal to the orchestral backing.
The song in quesion was "Stormy Weather" written by Ted Koehler and Harold Arlen.
The recording session took place on November 06 1969 with George Martin conducting the orchestra. The arranger of this piece is unknown to me. Ringo entered the studio in the evening and laid down his vocal over the 18 piece orchestra.
There were no mixes made of the song and it was eventually discarded and not included on the LP but the song can be found on various bootlegs including the John Barrett tapes and put on a Vigotone CD entitled "Through Many Years".
Here's youtube link (Ringo's vocal is a bit flat which may be a reason why is was not used).
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dwbwDJgrhmM


Saturday, June 30, 2018

Night And Day

On October 27 1969, Ringo was summoned to the recording studio to lay some vocals on what would become his first solo album. Ringo had been talking about doing a collection of older standards as far back as the January 1969 "Get Back/Let It Be" sessions and had finally come around to it by the fall of 1969.
The first song recorded for the upcoming project would the Cole Porter classic "Night And Day". The arrangement for the tune was undertaken by Chico O'Farrill.
The first thing recorded would be the instrumental section of the song with a 17 piece orchestra although it's not confirmed if this was in studio one or two of EMI Studios in London. The orchestra was conducted by and produced by George Martin.
Ringo himself would come into the studio later in the evening and lay down his vocal track probably in Studio three of EMI. The song was mixed on the same day for stereo only.
The song was commercially released on Ringo's first Apple LP/CD "Sentimental Journey". The original title for the project was "Ringo Starrdust".