Saturday, February 16, 2019

"Junk" and "Singalong Junk"

"Junk" and "Singalong Junk" were two songs featured on Paul McCartney's first Apple solo LP "McCartney". The working title for the tune was "Jubilee". Both of the songs have the same tune with one being issued with vocals and the other "Singalong" version being an instrumental.
"Junk" was written by Paul back in India in early 1968 and was to be recorded/issued on the "White Album" set but didn't get any further than the Kinfauns/Esher demoes (acoustic demos recorded at George Harrison's home in early summer 1968). A copy of the demo can be found commercially on the Apple 3LP/2CD "Anthology 3" project as well as on the Apple 2LP/CD "Esher Demos" from the 50th anniversary "White Album" package. The song was also busked at one of the recording/film sessions for the "Get Back/Let It Be" project in early January at Twickenham Studios (one source says January 09 1969).
The recording for the solo LP was done in two takes. The first take (take 1) was mainly recorded at McCartney's home with acoustic/electric guitars, piano and bass. Overdubs for the first take were a mellotron keyboard and percussion recorded at Morgan Studios in London (exact date unknown to me). This version has no vocals and is known as "Singalong Junk" (being an instrumental). The song was mixed in late Februrary 1970. The second take was also recorded at McCartney's home with guitar, bass and vocals. Extra vocals and percussion were also overdubbed at Morgan Studios in London and the result was the song "Junk" (with vocals). This was also mixed around the same time frame - late February 1970. Both are stereo only.
"Junk" was also performed live for MTV's "Unplugged" series on January 25 1991. This live version appeared on the Capitol LP "Unplugged: The Official Bootleg" in the same year. "Junk" was also performed as a classical piece by the Loma Mar Quartet and was recorded at EMI Studio One in the winter of 1998-1999. It was released in October of 1999 on EMI Classics 2LP/CD.
"Singalong Junk" appeared on the 1996 movie soundtrack on the Epic CD "Jerry Maguire" which contains the same stereo mix as the commercial LP.

Saturday, February 2, 2019

"Hot As Sun/Glasses/Suicide" Recording Session

Three pieces of music were made into a medley for Paul McCartney's first Apple solo LP entitled "McCartney". All of these pieces were recorded in London and mixed in London  The recordings were made at Morgan Studios early in February 1970 (the exact date is unknown) and mixed at EMI Abbey Road Studios 2 on February 24 1970.
The first piece "Hot As Sun" is an instrumental that was written by Paul in the early day of the Quarrymen/ Beatles during their Cavern period . The middle section was added by Paul specifically to complete the song probably before going in to record it. It has all the instruments played by McCartney including: organ, guitars, bass, drums, maracas, bongos and acoustic as well.
The instrumental fades out and the second piece "Glasses" commences. This is basically Paul playing wine glasses several times in a random order and overdubbing his various takes randomly as well.
The wine glasses stop and we hear Paul playing the third and final piece of the "Medley". At the time of release no one knew the title of the song since there is only a small section of the song being sang and it fades out rather quickly. The song in question we later learn is entitled "Suicide" and was written with Frank Sinatra in mind. The entire song can be heard on the "McCartney Archive Collection" 2LP/2CD set on the second disc. There is also video of Paul performing the song at EMI Studios during the taping of "One Hand Clapping" in August 1974 and this visual can also be found on the "Archive" collection. A home studio demo of the song made in Scotland at Rude Studios in 1977 with an extra verse as well as additional bass and drums can be heard on the bootleg CD "Good Times Comin'" by Vigatone. A bit of the song was also performed on the BBC show "Parkinson" in the UK on December 02,1999 with Paul at the grand piano explaining his desire to "give" it to Sinatra.
"Hot As Sun" was also performed live in concert during Wings' 1979 UK tour. The Glasgow 1979 performance can be heard on the bonus audio of the "Archive" collection as well as a video of Wings performing the song for "The Concert For the People of Kampuchea" in December 1979.

Saturday, January 19, 2019

"Valentine Day/ Every Night" Recording Sessions

Paul McCartney first Apple solo LP contained the song "Valentine Day" which was recorded initially for further testing of the Studer at Paul's home in St. John's Wood. Paul played all the instruments and it gave him an occasion to show off his guitar skills. The recording started with acoustic guitar and then drums. Electric guitar and bass were added afterwards. The song was mixed at EMI Studios at Abbey Road on February 22 1970.
"Every Night" was an earlier song that existed during the "Get Back/Let It Be" sessions in January 1969 but it's lyrics were not completed until the spring of that year. This particular song was not recorded at Paul's home but it was recorded in Studio 2 of EMI Studios at Abbey Road on February 22 1969 and was mixed two days later on February 24 1969. The instrumental line up played by Paul are as follows: 1. Vocal 2. Acoustic. 3. Drums 4. Bass 5. Acoustic lead 6. Acoustic lead harmony 7. Double tracked vocals. 8. Electric Guitar (not used in the final mix). This should have been a single. "Every Night" was also performed on the Wings UK Tour of November/December 1979 in the set list as well as being performed for the Concerts for the people of Kampuchea and is available on the Atlantic 2-LP set: "Concerts For The People Of Kampuchea". The song was also performed acoustically live for the MTV "Unplugged" series in January of 1991 and released on the Capitol LP: "Unplugged: The Official Bootleg" released in the UK in May of 1991. The song was also performed live during Paul McCartney's 1993 New World Tour of Australia/ New Zealand in March 1993 as well as the North American leg of the tour in April/May/June 1993 and November 1993 in Japan.

Saturday, January 5, 2019

"That Would Be Something"

Another track that was written by Paul McCartney pre-Christmas 1969 and recorded at around the same time as his other tune "The Lovely Linda", the song "That Would Be Something" had Paul playing all instruments and vocals. The instrumentation for this one contains electric and acoustic guitar, bass, a single drum "tom" and cymbals.
The song was mixed at Abbey Road (EMI) Studios on February 22 1969 and it was released on Paul's first Apple solo LP "McCartney".
Paul must have been quite fond of this tune as it was performed with his "Off The Ground" band for the taping of MTV's "Unplugged" series on January 25 1991.  The song was also included in the set list for the May/June 1991 UK "surprise gigs. The performances included the same line-up of musicians (the "Off The Ground" band).

Sunday, December 30, 2018

"The Lovely Linda" Recording

Paul McCartney had been literally "missing in action" for the last few months of 1969. He had shut himself down and didn't venture out to any public events nor did he attend to any matters relating to the Beatles' company "Apple". In the meantime, to keep himself busy he started to write some new songs, go through some old songs and record a solo album.
The equipment used on some of the tunes were done at 7 Cavendish in London at home with a four track Studer tape machine and a microphone plugged directly through the Studer channel. I guess this basically meant that levels and the equalization of the instruments/vocals would be refined in the mixing stage of the songs.
In order to test out the equipment, McCartney decided to record a short tune dedicated to his lovely wife, Linda. "The Lovely Linda" consisted of acoustic guitar and vocal, second acoustic guitar, percussion and bass guitar - all played by Paul via overdubbing. The song ended up opening the album.
Since the recording equipment arrived at Paul's home before Christmas 1969, most reference books have placed the recording itself in mid December 1969.
The song was mixed in stereo at Abbey Road Studios in the control room of Studio 2 on February 21 1970 after having a trail mix at Morgan Studios in London earlier in February and ultimately rejected in favour of Abbey Road. The work at both Morgan Studios and Abbey Road were booked under the name of "Billy Martin" (a baseball player) as McCartney wanted to keep the recordings secret from the media and the public until it was finished.
"The Lovely Linda" is the opening track on the Apple LP/CD "McCartney".

Saturday, December 15, 2018

"Love Is A Many Splendoured Thing" For Ringo

Another selection from Ringo's debut solo LP. This particular tune was written by Paul Webster/ Sammy Fain and the backing orchestra had been arranged by our friend Quincy Jones and conducted / recorded in Hollywood at the A&M studios on boxing day 1969. Ringo added vocals to the backing track on January 1970 at Olympic Studios in London but all of this was rejected and not released.
So, they started again. Another remake of the song with a new backing track and a 16 piece orchestra including Apple artist Billy Preston on organ was completed in 8 takes at Abbey Road Studios on February 03 1970. Ringo added his vocals and son was actually mixed into stereo at the same session. The mix would eventually be scrapped.
Finally, Ringo once again re-did his vocals on February 05 1970. Later on February 17 1970, a string section conducted by Francis Shaw was added to the recording.
The last session took place on February 19 1970 for the song: added were backing vocals and more organ, vibes and flutes. Stereo mixing took place the next day and also on March 06 1970. A lot of work for a weak song from the Apple LP/CD "Sentimental Journey".
You can hear it here:

Saturday, December 8, 2018

"Have I Told You Lately That I Love you"/ "Let The Rest of the World Go By" sessions.

Two of the upcoming songs for the Ringo Starr debut solo LP "Sentimental Journey" were completed on February 18 1970 with some final vocals from Ringo in Studio 2 of Abbey Road.
The first one, "Have I Told You Lately That I Love You" composed by Scott Wiseman had the basic orchestral track done in the USA at A&M studios in Hollywood, California earlier on February 03 1970. The song was arranged by Elmer Bernstein and unfortunately is one of the weaker arrangements in the sense that it sounds very, very outdated and corny. Ringo did a good job of his vocals which were done on February the 18th 1970.
The second tune is "Let The Rest Of the World Go By". Les Reed did the arrangement with orchestra and voices and this was completed six days previous to the vocals on February 12 1970. Once again, Ringo added his final vocals to the song six days later in Studio 2 of Abbey Road on February 18 1970. This song was used as the last track on the LP.
Both songs were commercially released on the Apple LP/CD "Sentimental Journey".