Friday, September 30, 2016

"Revolution 1" Sessions

On May 30 1968, The Beatles entered EMI Studio 2 in order to start work on a new LP which would eventually consist of a two record set with the official title "The Beatles" (unofficially known as the "White Album" once released to the public).
The first song to record on the agenda was John Lennon's "Revolution". It would later be changed to "Revolution 1" for the LP version of the tune. The backing track of acoustic guitar, piano and drums would be recorded and take 18 would be chosen as the best backing upon which to overdub. The following day an overdub of John's double tracked vocal , backing "shoo-be-doo-wop" vocals and Paul's bass guitar were added. The whole thing was then reduced to take 19 at this point.
A few days later on June 04 1968 at EMI Studio 3, John continued work on his lead vocals. The high pitched vocal of Paul and George singing "mama...dada" over and over was not used in the end result. Neither was the note of a high pitched guitar feedback loop/ or what sounds like someone going "aaahhh". The whole thing was then reduced to take 20 at this point.
After more overdubbing (Paul on organ and more acoustic guitar); improvisation on the ending of the song with John playing around with the "all right!" vocals and Yoko adding some talking and noises, etc. that would eventually wind up on the LP track "Revolution 9". All of the above taking place before the brass overdubs.
An interesting tape of Yoko rambling into a cassette recorder during the take 20 sessions is available on the bootleg CD "From Kinfauns To Chaos". Take 20 with original overdubs - before they were all chopped off - can be found on the bootleg LP "Revolution" slightly off-speed.
Here is a link to take 20 (running slow) but with the original overdubs intact for your listening pleasure:

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".

Sunday, September 18, 2016

Two Virgins Outtake

Yes, read right. In mid May in 1968, John Lennon returned from New York after promoting the Apple company along with Paul McCartney featuring some interviews both in print and on television. The story goes that Lennon got bored upon his return to the UK and decided to call over both Pete Shotton (his longtime Liverpool buddy) and also ended up contacting Yoko Ono to come over. The result was Mr. Shotton going to bed that evening and leaving John and Yoko up to their own devices.
John and Yoko recorded in John's attic studio overnight with the results of experimental spoken word, accompanied by the mellotron (a keyboard that emulates various sounds similar to what would eventually be known as a synthesizer) and sporadic piano notes.
The results of this masterpiece was released commercially on the Apple LP "Unfinished Music No. 1: Two Virgins" in mono and fake stereo of which the front cover consisted of John and Yoko standing fully naked on the front cover facing forward and the back cover with them once again fully naked with their backs turned. The LP was not distributed by EMI or Capitol, but by Track Records in the UK and by Tetragrammaton Records in North America.
The outtake ( lasting about one minute and a half) was broadcast on the "Lost Lennon Tapes" radio series and can be found on the CD bootleg "The Lost Lennon Tapes".

Saturday, September 3, 2016

Rishikesh Audio

Between mid February to late March 1968, The Beatles (minus Ringo who left early due to the food) were situated in Rishikesh, India at an "Ashram" whereby they were instructed to medidate with the Maharishi Mahesh Yogi  at the Academy for Trancendental Meditation.
Between March 01 and March 15 1968, some snippets of audio were recorded by an Italian television crew of the Beatles and friends singing some standards including titles such as : When The Saints Go Marching In, Jingle Bells, She'll Be Coming Round the Mountain, Blowin in the Wind, Hare Krishna Mantra, It's Now or Never, Catch the Wind (Donovan),
Also recorded on March 15 1968 were some improvised tunes including : Spiritual Regeneration/ Happy Birthday To You (sung at Mike Love's (of the Beach Boys) birthday party).
Most of these recordings are simply snippets or parts of songs accompanied by acoustic guitar played by either one of the Beatles or Donovan. They can be found on various bootlegs including in the documentary "The Complete Beatles" and vinyl bootlegs "Nothing But Aging" and on CD "Arrive Without Aging". The Happy Birthday wishes and tunes can be found on bootleg vinyl including the LP "Indian Rope Trick" and the LP/CD "Strawberry Fields Forever", etc. The narration hear in the recording is by Wolfman Jack.