Monday, April 17, 2017

The "Get Back/Let It Be" Project January 3 1969

As the day began at Twickenham Film Studios in London, The Beatles continued work on their new project with Paul beginning the morning playing some piano improvisations until the others arrived. The main focus of the morning once everything got started was John's "Don't Let Me Down" and Paul's "I've Got A Feeling" and a bit of work going through "Two of Us" as well before a break.
In the afternoon, most of the focus for the band was running through the George composition "All Things Must Pass" which would not feature on a Beatles' LP but was obviously the title track recorded for George's solo album almost two years later. A new Paul composition "Maxwell's Silver Hammer" was also begun with Paul teaching the band the chords for the new song.
Some of Paul's improve on the piano and some of Paul showing the chords to the band for "Maxwell's Silver Hammer" can be seen in the "Let It Be" film.

Sunday, April 9, 2017

The "Get Back/Let It Be" Project January 02 1969

The month of January 1969 was put aside for a new Beatles project. The plan was to record an upcoming live show and to film the rehearsals leading up to this show. In the meantime, it seems that new songs had been written and the rehearsals eventually led up to songs for a new LP.
The venue for filming consisted of a hangar at Twickenham Film Studios in London, England. The start of the project was January 02 1969 and the filming was directed by Michael Lindsay-Hogg and the sound would be engineered by Glyn Johns although George Martin would be present certain times during the month to review the audio.
Visual footage from this first day can be seen in the (still unreleased) "Let It Be" movie where there is a scene of Mal Evans setting up the equipment. The song that were worked on include "Two Of Us", "Don't Let Me Down" and "I've Got a Feeling".

Saturday, April 1, 2017

The "Is This What You Want" Sessions

In mid October to the end of the year 1968, George Harrison participated in the recording sessions for the Jackie Lomax LP "Is this What You Want" for Apple records. George, Jackie and Mal Evans traveled to Los Angeles to work at Sound Records in L.A. to produce the sessions. We have George on guitar as well as some of the "wrecking crew" recording personnel such as Larry Knechtel on keys and Hal Blaine on drums with Joe Osborne on bass. Three tunes containing the aforementioned line up included "Take My Word", the title track and "Speak To Me". Orchestral strings were added at the end of that month.
Fast forward to December 1968 and we see some of the session continue with the musicians consisting of Eric Clapton, George and Ringo producing the song "You've Got Me Thinking" as well as the addition of horns for various tunes from the LP.
Also in mid December 1968, John and Yoko are filmed sitting on a bench at Coventry Cathedral dressed all in black with John strumming his acoustic guitar and singing his latest composition "Everybody Had A Hard Year" which of course would develop into the addition to Paul's "I've Got A Feeling" for the Get Back/Let It Be sessions the following month.

Sunday, March 19, 2017

The Dirty Mac Sessions

On December 10 1968, a link before the performance of the "Dirty Mac" band (with John Lennon on vocal/guitar, Eric Clapton on guitar, Keith Richards on bass and Mitch Mitchell on drums) was recorded. The link to the performance includes John sitting on a high bench with Mick Jagger and both introducing the "Dirty Mac" and the song "Yer Blues" (from the current LP "The White Album" as it was known). Both have a deadpan mocking voice calling each other "Winston" and "Michael".
The performance itself was recorded specially for the Rolling Stones' "Rock And Roll Circus" television special. The band was warming up on the afternoon of December 11 1968 when a blues jam was captured on tape. The blues jam can be found on the vinyl LP "The Lost Lennon Tapes Volume Eight" in mono.
As far as the song "Yer Blues" is concerned, there are two takes available from the camera tapes (nagra tapes) and one take available from the four-track audio tape. Take one from the camera tapes can be found on the vinyl bootleg LP "The Lost Lennon Tapes Volume Thirteen". Take two from the camera tapes can be found on the vinyl bootleg LP "The Lost Lennon Tapes Volume Eighteen".
If you are looking for the stereo version of take three of "Yer Blues" from the four-track tape you can find it on an old bootleg LP "Not for Sale".
There is an addition to "Yer Blues" when Yoko steps up to the mic with the encouragement from John and adds her vocals to a jam that the band are performing. This has been released under two names: "Her Blues" or "Whole Lotta Yoko". This masterpiece can be found on the bootleg LP "The Lost Lennon Tapes Volume Eight" as well.
Finally, both "Yer Blues" and "Whole Lotta Yoko" along with the introduction/link were released commercially in 1996 on the video tape/CD "Rock And Roll Circus".

Sunday, March 12, 2017

December 1968 Lennon Demos

While Paul was working on the "Postcard" LP by Mary Hopkin for Apple Records, John Lennon was busy during the month of December 1968 working on some new songs
Most of the performances were conducted at his home (still) in Kenwood. The Beatles had agreed to meet in the New Year and start rehearsing for some kind of television special so some new songs might be in order.
We hear two versions of "Oh, My Love"; these are very John/Yoko centric and would evolve to the same title with changes for the eventual 1971 Lennon solo LP "Imagine".
We also get to hear the song "A Case Of The Blues" which is demoed during the month and you can hear some snippets of this tune during the "Get Back" rehearsals the following month but it was never properly recorded or released as a Beatles tune.
There is a demo of "Everyone Had a Hard Year". This riff and repetition would be added to Paul's number "I've Got A Feeling" as the Beatles would meet in a few weeks in January 1969 at Twickenham studio to start rehearsals for the television special.
Finally, two nice takes of "Don't Let Me Down" (very unfinished) have surfaced from these demos.
The tunes can be found on various "Lost Lennon Tapes" LP bootlegs. All of them can be heard on the bootleg CD "The 1968 Demos" and the "Oh My Love" outtakes can also be heard on the bootleg CD "Imagine...All the Outtakes".

Friday, March 3, 2017

The "Post Card" Sessions

At the end of the year 1968 during the months of November and December, Paul McCartney was busy at Trident Studios/ EMI Studios (mainly Trident) completing an LP with Apple artist Mary Hopkin. He is listed as the producer.
Paul also plays on the LP (of course) with the following instruments: Tambourine on "The Honeymoon Song" which was also performed by The Beatles on the BBC; "Happiness Runs" written by Donovan and featuring Mary Hopkin on the acoustic and Paul on bass; both Paul and Donovan play their acoustic guitars for the songs "Voyage of the Moon" and "Lord of the Reedy River". Another track, "The Puppy Song" written by Harry Nilsson has Paul playing piano.
"Love Is the Sweetest Thing" features Paul on the acoustic guitar alongside the band. Paul also plays acoustic on "Lullaby of the Leaves". Finally, Paul plays acoustic guitar, bass and drums on "Prince En Avignon".
All of these tunes can be found on the Apple LP/CD "Postcard" by Mary Hopkin.

Saturday, February 18, 2017

The Beatles' Sixth Christmas Record

Usually the Beatles would be together in the studio to record their annual Christmas flexi discs for the Fan Club but this would be the first time that the Christmas messages would be recorded separately. Most of the tapes were probably recorded in early November 1968. The tapes would be co-ordinated by a radio DJ Kenny Everett and edited and presented as a whole piece.The recordings were produced as follows: Ringo's contribution was from his home; Paul's contribution was probably recorded at Trident Studios in London where he was working the Mary Hopkin LP for Apple; John and Yoko recorded their contribution at John's Kenwood attic studio and George recorded his contribution at Nat Weiss's apartment with Tiny Tim at the end of November.
The flexi disc starts with Ringo's greeting, Paul's ditty about the old and new year and then John and Yoko's poem "Jock and Yono" with Yoko playing piano and John reciting the poem. George then gives a greeting along with Mal Evans who also greets the fans. It's back to Ringo for an introduction to Paul's acoustic/vocal contribution and then back to John for his second poem entitled "Once Upon A Pool Table" with some eerie effects on his voice. Finally, we go back to George who introduces Tiny Tim who plays his version of "Nowhere Man" and is thanked by George. An orchestra IV-I outtro  and the final drumbeat of "Happiness Is A Warm Gun" completes the disc.
Interestingly, there are two unedited versions of the John and Yoko poems which were aired on the "Lost Lennon Tapes" and can be found on the bootleg CD "The Ultimate Beatles Christmas Collection".