Saturday, May 28, 2016

"Blue Jay Way" - Overdubs and Mixes

And so it was that on October 06 1967 it was decided to have a cello fill the fourth track of the George Harrison composition "Blue Jay Way". Alas, there is no sign of who exactly played the cello on the track.
Mixing for the song began on November 07 1967 and there was no issues with the mono mix - with 27 attempts and an edit ! It was also decided that there was something to be added to the song so a separate reel of the song being played backwards was faded up in between vocal lines but this appears only in the stereo mix of the song - only 12 attempts - giving it a very eerie atmosphere.

Saturday, May 21, 2016

"Hello Hello" Take 1

On October 02 1967 at EMI Studio 2 in London, England The Beatles decided to start the recording of a new tune that Paul McCartney had written inspired by a conversation between himself and fellow friend/NEMS employee Alistair Taylor concerning the use of antonyms (opposites in word form). The song was to be entitled "Hello Goodbye" but referred to on this date - and on tape - as "Hello Hello" which could have been a mistake.
The song was probably picked as a single early on as it does not appear on the "Magical Mystery Tour" film apart from the end coda snippet running over the closing credits in mono.
The basic track with Paul on the piano, Ringo on Drums, maybe John on Organ and George on percussion/tambourine. Ken Scott was the engineer over the talkback speaker when take 1 is announced and off they go. The arrangement of the song is slightly extended but very similar to the released, commercial take of the single. It ends up that take fourteen of the basic track was chosen for reductions and overdubs with a bit of percussion (maracas) added on this evening's recording session.
Take 1 can be heard on the vinyl bootleg "Ultra Rare Trax, Volumes 5 and 6" as well as on the bootleg CDs "Not Guilty" and "Unsurpassed Masters Volume 3".  Ringo's drumming is "Par Excellente" !!

Saturday, May 14, 2016

"I Am The Walrus" Mixes.

On September 27 1967, George Martin had conjured up an excellent orchestral score for John Lennon's composition "I Am The Walrus" in which some horns, strings and clarinets were added as well as having a vocal backing consisting of the Mike Sammes singers who were professional backing singers of the era. All of this was recorded with the orchestra going first and the singers going on second to enhance the song much of the delight to the Beatles, I"m sure !!
Two days later on September 29 1967 John Lennon decided to add a live radio feed from a BBC broadcast onto one of the mixes (mono mix 22) directly to tape. Thus the first of the mono mixes was created by having the first half of the song from mono mix 10 and the second half of the song from mono mix 22. You can hear the edit at around the two minutes mark - the combination of the mixes were now called mix 23. The intro was also trims to four bars and the extra bar of music before the words "Yellow Matter Custard" remains in the mix.
For the stereo mix (which occurred on November 06 1967), the song has true stereo (stereo mix 06) for the first half of the song and second half of the song (stereo mix 07) has bass on the left channel and treble of the right channel due to the fact that the live radio broadcast feed was added during mixing and therefore could not be separated in a different channel. At the end of the song during the fade-out, the signal is panned left and right across the spectrum. This mix also has the four bars during the intro but the extra bar of music before "Yellow Matter Custard" is taken out of the mix.
The two mixes above appear on the North American "Magical Mystery Tour" LP (mono and stereo) and the North American single (mono).
On November 13 1967, somebody at EMI realized that the two mixes were of different lengths and an attempt to correct that saw the extra bar before the words "Yellow Matter Custard" removed from the mono mix and used on the British single.
On November 17 1967, just before the British EP was finally cut, it was decided to use an alternate stereo mix for the first half of the song using the original six bar intro (stereo mix 25) edited onto the second half of stereo mix 07.  This was added onto the master reel of the EP created another stereo version of the song.
Finally, the "Anthology" DVD has the first complete true stereo mix of "I Am The Walrus" by spreading out the instruments with the electric piano on the left, percussion in the middle and the guitar on the right), the orchestra is split far left and right and the radio feed is lifted from the original broadcast with added radio static. This mix was also the case used on the Apple double LP/CD "Love".

Saturday, May 7, 2016

"Flying" Tape Loops

On September 1967, The Beatles returned to EMI Studio 2 in order to complete the instrumental "Flying" (originally entitled "Aerial Tour Instrumental"). In order to do this, the first order of business was to overdub Ringo shaking percussion while George Harrison added guitar licks.
To end the song, the original "dixieland" ending was discarded in favour of having mellotron tape loops playing at the end. This plan was probably devised by John and Ringo as both were experimenting with the keyboard instrument around this time.
There are five passages to the tape loops: the first passage appears on the commercial version and is faded out slowly. The original first passage lasts about a minute and a half, next is a passage lasting two and a half minutes and the third lasting only about forty second. The fourth passage can be heard for a about forty-five seconds and the last passage is played at almost two and a half minutes.
This can be very tedious listening - the first passage is played backwards and the other forwards, they are the sounds of flutes and they waver as the are played.
If you are looking for the full passages, you can hear it on bootlegs such as the CD "The Ultimate Collection, Volume One: Miscellanesou Tracks" and various "Magical Mystery Tour" outtake bootlegs.