Saturday, August 18, 2018

Octopus's Garden Re-Mix

In late 1969, it was decided by Yorkshire England's "ITV" television net work to produce a special based on the talents of the Beatles' producer George Martin. The special was recorded at the television studios in mid December and shown on boxing day or on Christmas eve in various areas of the country.
One of the ideas for the show was to have something played by The Beatles which of course could not happen. It was derhcided to have Ringo lip-sync to his latest tune "Octopus's Garden".
Therefore on December 02 1969 at EMI Studio, the original multi-track tape was pulled out and put on the reel. The original drums and rhythm guitar were pulled from the tape and shifted to one channel of the stereo spectrum. The other side of the stereo spectrum contained some of the vocal overdub and some of the bubbling effect. As a quick aside, December 02 was also the day both "Lady Madonna" and "Rain" were mixed in stereo for the eventual "Hey Jude" compilation Apple LP to be released the following year.
On December 08 1969, this new version with drums/guitar was played while fresh bass, piano, lead guitar was added to the tune by unknown session musicians. Ringo simply added his new vocal as well to lip-sync on the show and the song was mixed on twin track tape after 10 takes. The tape was taken away by one of the production members for the television special.
I have not heard this particular version although it has been released in various forms on CDR.

Saturday, August 11, 2018

The Beatles' Seventh Christmas Record

The last/ final Beatles Christmas Record to be mailed out to the Fan Club was recorded in November and December of 1969. Unfortunately, the skits and messages were recorded individually by the members of the group with John and Yoko recording from Tittenhurst mansion and grounds, George recording from the Apple building at 3 Savile Row London, Ringo recording from his home in Surrey and Paul also recording from his home in St. John's Wood, London.
The individual tapes were given to radio personality and friend Kenny Everett who edited the recordings. In the 1969 liner notes, Kenny Everett goes under the name "Maurice Cole". John and Yoko feature heavily on this particular Christmas record and George Harrison barely features at all. The messages open with John and Yoko strolling in the garden with "The First Noel" playing in the background. Paul sings a bit of an ad-lib before hearing George wishing everyone a Happy Christmas. We get Ringo strumming an acoustic guitar and "singing" before it's edited to include the song "The End" (the guitar riffs) from their most recent LP "Abbey Road".
A bit of John and Yoko and then a bit of Paul singing his Christmas son on acoustic and vocal. We then get more of John and Yoko in the garden while having "Deck The Halls" playing in the background. This is edited into John playing mellotron in his studio while chatting about Christmas. This is interrupted by Ringo repeating "Merry Christmas" faster and faster and then slowing down to reveal he is now saying "Magic Christian" (in order to promote his latest film). We go back to John and Yoko and the mellotron for a while until the song "The First Noel" becomes prominent and there is finally laughing by Ringo and the end drum beat from "The Ballad of John And Yoko".
The cover is issued in a cardboard sleeve with an out of focus festive photo of a Christmas tree on the front credited to Ringo and a drawing on the back credited to Zak Starkey.  This was issued as a two sided flexi disc in the UK due to the length of the messages (over 7 and a half minutes long).
The Seventh Christmas Record can also be heard on the official Fan Club compilation "The Beatles Christmas Record" LP on Apple in the US and on "From Then To You" by Apple in the UK. You can also hear it on various bootlegs of the Christmas messages including the Vigotone LP and CD "The Ultimate Beatles Christmas Collection". It was re-issued on 45 vinyl in 2017 by Apple as "The Christmas Records" via a box set.

Saturday, August 4, 2018

"Ain't That Cute" Session

Doris Troy was an R&B singer from the 1960s and earlier in the year 1969 had been asked by her friend Madelaine Bell if she could sing background vocals on some session with Billy Preston. At the time, Billy Preston had been signed to Apple records and George Harrison had been producing some tunes for Billy as well, so both Doris Troy and George Harrison met at these sessions.
George must have been impressed with Doris as she was also signed to the Apple label in September 1969. Both Doris Troy and George Harrision wrote an original song entitled "Ain't That Cute" which would feature as an Apple single.
The session for the song was was conducted at Trident Studios and Apple Studios in London with George Harrison not only composing the tune with Doris but also playing guitar on the song as well as featuring his talents on slide guitar. Peter Frampton is also on the disc playing lead guitar. Klaus Voorman of the Plastic Ono Band is on bass and Berry Morgan on drums (not Ringo as is assumed).
The single (Apple 24) was released in the UK in February 1970 and in North America as Apple 1820 on March 16, 1970. Unfortunately, although it's a great tune, it failed to chart. A self titled Apple LP "Doris Troy" was released later that same year in November with participation of George and Ringo.