Sunday, September 25, 2016

The "White Album" Pre-Production Acoustic Demos

In the final weeks of May 1968 and after the return of the Beatles from the Ashram in India where they had spent the better part of late winter-early spring, a shitload of songs had been written while abroad. It had been decided to "demo" the pile of songs for an upcoming LP that was slated to be started at EMI in the near future.
The result of these demos included almost 25 tunes recorded at George Harrison's home on four track and now known as the "Kinfauns" tapes or the "Esher" tapes named after George's home and/or area respectively. All songs were demoed on acoustic guitars and vocals with minimum percussion. There were also some songs (four of them discussed here) that were recorded solely by John Lennon at around the same time from his home "Kenwood" and they have been included in this batch of recordings which contain acoustic guitar/vocals/ tambourine (in some cases).
The songs included in these demos are as follows: "Julia" featuring a longer version from John with Paul harmonizing."Blackbird" with an extended guitar verse and primitive lyrics. "Rocky Raccoon" which goes straight into the first and second verse and uses maracas. "Back In The USSR" with tambourine and a repeat of the first two verses."Honey Pie" which was released commercially on the Apple 3-LP/2-CD "Anthology 3" project includes tambourine, hand clapping, some scat vocals, maracas. "Mother Nature's Son", "Ob-La-Di, Ob-La-Da"including some tambourine. "Junk/Jubilee" was released commercially on the Apple 3-LP/2-CD "Anthology 3" project with some primitive lyrics. "Dear Prudence" has a spoken-word outtro by John. "Sexy Sadie" has additional tambourine and maracas. "Cry Baby Cry" has the final part of song change tempo into a waltz. "Child Of Nature" has additional tambourine and maracas and features the original lyrics. "The Continuing Story Of Bungalow Bill" has everyone singing along on the chorus with handclapping and maracas. "I'm So Tired" has harmonies by Paul, tambourine and a spoken word verse. "Yer Blues" has tambourine and primitive lyrics different from the commercial version. "Everybody's Got Something To Hide Except Me and My Monkey" has a shaker added to the demo. "What's The New Mary Jane" has additional tambourine and a group sing along at the chorus. "Revolution" has the fast version with the "doo-wop" backing vocals. "While My Guitar Gently Weeps" has organ in the bridges and primitive vocals. "Circles" has organ added to the demo. "Sour Milk Sea" has tambourine and maracas added. "Not Guilty" is added, "Piggies" was released commercially on the Apple 2-LP/2-CD "Anthology 3" project.
The demos recorded solely by John Lennon at his home in Kenwood include "Happiness Is A Warm Gun" an early arrangement missing some of the section from the commercial version. This is followed by "Mean Mister Mustard/Polythene Pam/Glass Onion". These four latter demos were released commercially on the Apple 3-LP/2-CD "Anthology 3" project.
Most of the "Kinfauns" demos can be found on the bootleg CD "Unsurpassed Demos" as well as the excellent bootleg CD "The 1968 Demos" and a bootleg double EP "The Beatles".
The entire tape can be found on the bootleg CD "From Kinfauns to Chaos".

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