Saturday, December 24, 2016

"Not Guilty" Basic Track and Mixing

The song "Not Guilty" was written by George Harrison and was meant to be featured on the upcoming new LP (eventually entitled "The Beatles" (White Album)". This was not the case as in the end the song was left in the can, as it were.
There was a lot of work put into the basic track of the song including the musical stylings of George on guitar, Ringo on drums, Paul on bass and Chris Thomas on harpsichord. At this point of time and until the end of the Beatles' career, John Lennon rarely played on a George Harrison track for some reason we will never know.
Recording the basic track took two nights to complete; the first evening was on August 07 1968 with 46 takes and the next evening August 08 1968 with a further 51 takes. The take used for the commercial recording was take 97 and four track reduction took place taking the song to take 101!
On August 09 1968, there were overdubs by George of more guitar and also some added drums by Ringo. Finally, on August 12 1968, George Harrison added vocals to the song with one pass using John and Paul to add harmonies but this was discarded and it ends up being a solo vocal performance.
A mono mix of the song was completed on August 12 as well and you can hear this version on various bootlegs including the vinyl versions of "Not Guilty" and "Nothing Is Real" as well as the CD version of "Unsurpassed Masters Vol. 04".
A stereo mix was created by Geoff Emerick in 1984 especially for the aborted "Sessions" LP and it is the same mix used for the Apple 3-LP/2CD "Anthology 3" project. Lots of phasing in the drums and vocals on this mix, plus a lot of editing.
Here's the original mono remix 1:

Saturday, December 17, 2016

"Mother Nature's Son" Alternate Take

In the evening of August 09 1968, Paul McCartney recorded his composition "Mother Nature's Son" at EMI Studio 2 for inclusion on the upcoming LP - later to be entitled "The Beatles" (White Album). There were 25 official takes in total, of which take 24 would become the commercial version we all know and love. Additional overdubs of brass, a second vocal and doubling of guitar, tapping of a book with added bass drum and tympani were all added to take 24 on August 20 1968. The song was mixed for mono with eight attempts the same evening. The mono mix included on the Peter Seller's tape is announced as Remix 08 and is slightly different than the commercial release as it's percussion is mixed low as well as the low mix of the second guitar. This version can be found on the "Peter Sellers" CD Bootleg.
There is also take 2 available commercially on the Apple 3-LP/2-CD "Anthology 3" project. This take consists of a D chord strumming intro and the song is extended with an instrumental repeat rather than going straight into the coda. Paul mentions "Londenderry Air" and continues to strum as the recording fades on the Anthology.

Saturday, December 10, 2016

"Hey Jude" outtakes

There is an interesting outtake for "Hey Jude" that is available commercially on the Apple 3-LP/2-CD "Anthology 3" project. This outtake is pre-Trident Studios (where the eventual take from the single was recorded) and also pre "film crew" as well.
This take would be considered take 2 of six takes recorded on July 29 1968 at EMI Studio number 2. The take was recorded on four track for the time being with composer Paul McCartney's vocal on track 1 and his piano on track 2, John's acoustic guitar as well as George's electric guitar on track 3 and the drums on track 4 played by Ringo, of course.
The arrangement of the song barely changes from this stage on. The verses and chorus are in the same place and the lyrics seem to be fairly complete with very minor changes from this take to the final take recorded days later at Trident.
The next evening July 30 1968 and at the same EMI location, The Beatles once again worked on the song except that George Harrison did not play on these takes but was located in the control room with George Martin. A film crew as present as well in order to record some footage for a documentary film entitled "Experiment in Television: Music!". Audio wise, we have a few outtakes from this session including take 7 (which lasts about five minutes) including an extended coda with some ad-libs from John and Paul. There is also a half spoken word type between song audio snippet which is usually identified as "Las Vegas Jude" on the bootlegs. We also have the end of take 8 in to take 9 on the audio bootlegs as well.
Most of the July 30th outtakes can be heard on the CD bootlegs: "Unsurpassed Masters, Volume 4" and "Unsurpassed Masters, Volume 6" at various speeds.
Finally, the song was re-made at Trident Studios in London the next evening on July 31 1968 on eight track making this the first Beatles recording on eight track. The basic track featured Paul on piano/vocal, John on acoustic, Ringo on drums and some occasional electric guitar by George. The first take was used as the final backing track with some bass, percussion (tambourine), a fresh lead and backing vocals. The 36 piece orchestra for the final coda was recorded at Trident the next evening on August 01 1968.
The mono mix heard on the Apple single was mono and was mixed at EMI on August 08 1968 (the third attempt was used) and the stereo mix used on the Apple LP of the same name was created a year later in 1969.
Here is take 7 from the July 30 1968 session plus a bit of "Las Vegas Jude":

Friday, December 2, 2016

"While My Guitar Gently Weeps" - acoustic take 1

On July 25 1968, George Harrison would finally record a new composition for the upcoming LP already in progress. This tune was entitled "While My Guitar Gently Weeps" which was inspired by words "gently weeps" randomly chosen from a book passage in George's home.
From EMI Studio 2, George sat in the studio with his acoustic and recorded a variety of takes (the number of takes remains unknown as George took away the reels from this evening's sessions) but left take 1 behind and this take has been used for various reasons and has appeared on various bootlegs as well.
The instrumentation for the song consists of George Harrison on acoustic/vocal and a harmonium either played by Paul McCartney or overdubbed by Harrison himself. The harmonium enters the song half way through.
Mixes of this version include the Abbey Road Presentation show which was a showcase in 1983 which used a mono mix of the song with the harmonium mixed down low and the ending intact as it was recorded. You can hear this version on such bootlegs as "The Beatles At Abbey Road" as well as "Another Sessions...Plus". One year later, it was decided by EMI to officially release this version on their upcoming proposed "Sessions" LP by including it as a track. Geoff Emerick mixed the song in the stereo and the harmonium is more pronounced on this version. Also, the ending was extended by creating a loop of the final guitar lick a few times which brought the song over three minutes in length. The "Sessions" LP was scrapped and this version finally appeared on the commercial Apple 3-LP/2-CD "Anthology 3" format/project with the same loop for the ending of the tune.
Finally , it should be noted that George Martin overdubbed an orchestral backing for the song which would eventually be released on the Apple CD/LP soundtrack to "Love" released in 2006.