Beatles (2/Cd) Anthology Vol Two

Beatles (2/Cd) Anthology Vol Two
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Beatles (2/Cd) Anthology Vol Two
The Beatles – Abbey Road Anthology Vol. 2 (Minotaur MT 069/70)

Disk 1 – I Want You (She’s So Heavy) (Edit of takes 9, 20, 32 Drums [Tk 2+3]) / I Want You (She’s So Heavy) ( Edit of takes 9, 20, 32 Bass [Tk 5] (70 Right)) / I Want You (She’s So Heavy) (Edit of takes 9, 20, 32 + SI onto edit of takes 9,20, 32 – Electric guitars [Tk 1 + partial 7 + 8) / I Want You (She’s So Heavy) (Edit of 9, 20, 32 + SI onto edit of takes 9,20, 32 – Lead vocals [Tk 8, partial – EMI] (Centre) / I Want You (She’s So Heavy) (Edit of 9, 20, 32 + SI onto edit of takes 9,20, 32 – Backing vocals [Tk 4 + 7, partial – EMI] (Centre) / I Want You (She’s So Heavy) (Edit of 9, 20, 32 – Organs, electric guitar, congas [Tk 6 – EMI] (90 Right) / I Want You (She’s So Heavy) (Edit of 9, 20, 32 – Drums + moog (White noise) [Tk 7 partial – Trident] (70 Right) / I Want You (She’s So Heavy) (Edit of 9, 20, 32 – Organ + electric guitar [Tk 8 partial – Trident] (Centre) / Here Comes The Sun (Take 13 – Bass [Tk 1] (Centre) / Here Comes The Sun (Take 13 + SI on to Take 13 – Drums [Tk 2] + Drum overdub [Tk 3 partial] (Centre) / Here Comes The Sun (Take 13 + SI onto Take 13 – Acoustics [Tk 4+5] + Leslie guitar [Tk3 partial] (Left) (71:40)

Disk 2 – Here Comes The Sun (SI on to take 13 – Vocals) / Here Comes The Sun (SI on to take 15 – [Tk 7+8 partial] / Here Comes The Sun (SI on to take 15 – 5+7 partial] / Here Comes The Sun ( SI on to take 15 – 4+8 partial] / Here Comes The Sun (SI on to takes 13 + 1 [Tk 6+7+8] / Here Comes The Sun (Alternate single vocal mix) / Here Comes The Sun (Love + Rock Band -Single vocal) / Here Comes The Sun (Love vocals – complete) / Because (Take 16 + SI on to take 16 – [Tk 2, 7 + 8 Partial] / Because (Take 16 + SI on to take 16 – [Tk 2, 7 + 8 Partial] / Because (SI on to take 16 – Vocals 1 [Tk 4]) (Centre) / Because (SI on to take 16 – Vocals 2 [Tk 5]) (Left) / Because (SI on to take 16 – Vocals 3 [Tk 6]) (Right) / Because (SI on to Take 16 – [Tk. 7 + 8 partial] (Stereo Mixed) / Because (Take 16 + SI on to Take 16 – Stereo mixed) / Because (SI onto Take 16 – [Tk 4+5+6] – Vocals) (Stereo Mixed) / You Never Give Me Your Money (Take 30 – Piano) / You Never Give Me Your Money (Take 30 – Drums) / You Never Give Me Your Money (Take 30 – Guitar) / You Never Give Me Your Money (SI on to Take 30 – Vocals) / You Never Give Me Your Money (SI on To Take 30 – Bass) (70:45)

From the same sources that brought you ‘Moggology’ and others, the Minatour label have furnished us with three double CD sets, dissecting the various assembled parts to the Beatles final album, ‘Abbey Road’. as with the other releases we get bit parts of the tracks as they were recorded in the studio, no necessary trickery of mixing songs in differing ways, simply the tracks are they were recorded. Sometimes fascinating, sometimes boring to hear in their unripened states, it falls to reason that ‘Abbey Road’ is one of the fabs most satisfying albums and interesting in the fact that though the band were falling apart by that time, they were still capable of fleshing out their songs together without it all falling apart in to disorganised disruption.

I still don’t know where my attentions lie with these sets however. On the one hand it’s fascinating hearing the parts that make the whole track split so the parts that were mixed and buried, only to be heard by dogs ears, can now be listened to in technicolor brightness, which, for instance, if you listening to a bass track or a drum track that starts where the song begins, it’s a full run. If you have the track with the backing vocals or even the main vocals, they usually start around 25 to 30 seconds in, leaving the CD to run for it’s time for that amount of time – helpful if you’re mixing this on a home computer – a real ball ache if you’re not. I’m not of a technological mind and so wouldn’t know where to start with these, my listening enjoyment is paramount in this case. So, for anyone in the same boat as I am, what’s going to be useful here? I’ve listed the more pertinent parts that struck my ears as most interesting for a more casual listener;

Disk 1, track one – I Want You (She’s So Heavy) (Edit of takes 9, 20, 32 Drums [Tk 2+3] – The ominous kick drum and metronomic cymbals are pushed right up here alongside George’s guitar, John’s a little way underneath. Sometimes you can just about hear John’s vocals at the end of a line but they are very deeply buried in the mix. As the moodiest and brooding track on Abbey Road, it’s wonderful to hear without the white noise, stripped back to filaments, especially for Ringo’s leaden fills towards the end. I think it should be mentioned at these tracks also run in at the full 7 minute length. Disk 1, track two – I Want You (She’s So Heavy) ( Edit of takes 9, 20, 32 Bass [Tk 5] (70 Right)) – As much as Ringo’s stoic drumming, Macca’s bass is one of the things that made the track what it is and on it’s own makes the hairs on the back of your neck bristle. Technically fluent, melodically perfection, it’s the rubber stamp of business on the top. It should be mentioned, the rest of the instrumentation is so far down in the track, your dog wouldn’t be able to pick it out in a line up.

Disk 1, track three – I Want You (She’s So Heavy) (Edit of takes 9, 20, 32 + SI onto edit of takes 9,20, 32 – Electric guitars [Tk 1 + partial 7 + 8) – Of the tracks I think I was almost expecting to be least impressed by this but John and George intertwining both guitar lines together without that swoosh, Ringo’s drums or Macca’s bass intervening is beautiful. Disk 1, track four – I Want You (She’s So Heavy) (Edit of 9, 20, 32 + SI onto edit of takes 9,20, 32 – Lead vocals [Tk 8, partial – EMI] (Centre) – part of me wants you to avid this track, the other part says it’s stunning. We all know how good an unfurnished Lennon vocal is and here, without it’s backing it is startling. John’s throaty screams of passion thrilling, the only trouble is the mile wide gaps between. Had we been treated to a less muted soundtrack and a toughened vocal, this would be marvellous. As it is, it’s worth skipping through the breaks. Something I should mention are the loose chords around John’s vocals. They’re the smallest things you’d miss within the CV, blink and you would miss them but they are hear and just as interesting to catch.

Disk 1, Track six – I Want You (She’s So Heavy) (Edit of 9, 20, 32 – Organs, electric guitar, congas [Tk 6 – EMI] (90 Right) – Even the sides on the recording have their day and Billy Preston’s organ and Ringo’s congas are massively over looked when over loaded by the fabs but with this one singular track, all is forgotten. Preston’s wildly out of control organ stabs are awesome, easily out out swaying much else, Ringo’s congas however, while not as dizzyingly brilliant are another pinpoint to the set that would be over looked if not for this stripping. Shame about the two minute silence towards the end though. Disk 1, Track eighteen – Here Comes The Sun (Take 13 + SI onto Take 13 – Acoustics [Tk 4+5] + Leslie guitar [Tk3 partial] (Left) – It’s unfortunate that the Bass and Drum stems of “Here Comes The Sun” sound so much like work outs. Alone they are actually disparate and a little boring. By the last track of the disk though, all this changes – George’s guitar work alone is stunning. Like you’re listening to a wordless demo, George alone in the room playing electric guitar through his Leslie speakers his own acoustic track. The tape begins with a little warm up, then the song itself. There are extraneous sounds like the sound of George catching his guitar with his buttons and tapping along to the rhythm. It is stunning and very, very close.

Disk 2, Track three – Here Comes The Sun (SI on to take 15 – 5+7 partial) – Known as the 5th Beatle, George Martin was inclusive to the Beatles sound as we know it. This track is mainly the orchestral score to the song and damn fine it is too. Often taking a second hand to the track itself, here, in glorious stereo, do we hear the strings and handclaps included at a later date. The downside is that while the rest of the track is a diminished fade, it sounds gratingly electronic and a little fractured. Disk 2, Track five – George’s vocals and the backing vocals as heard through Abbey Road while George and the rest listened to the track through his headphones. A generally appropriate singer, really it’s great to hear him almost sans instrumentation. Like a fly on the wall style scene that you’re quietly privvy to.

Disk 2, Track seven – Here Comes The Sun (Love + Rock Band -Single vocal) – a strange measure – It sounds like George playing karaoke to his own track. Almost like track 5 but with more instrumentation. It’s scuppered at the point of the “Sun, Sun, Sun ..” middle when the congas are raised in line with George’s voice and it starts to become disconcerting. meanwhile try listening to track 8 – Here Comes The Sun (Love vocals – complete) – without throwing off your headphones and screaming “what is this?!?” before the convos settle in to the correct pace. Horrid. Disk 2, Track ten – Because (Take 16 + SI on to take 16 – [Tk 2, 7 + 8 Partial] – Who would have thought the harpsichord could be so cool? Well, for one track only, it is. No under fusion of grit or grottiness can take the shine out of how lovely this quasi-orchestral build is on this short Abbey Road track but you may be surprised to hear how, unadorned by anything else, you’ll enjoy this backing. It’s repeated on track eleven with the sound of clockwork guitar and moog.

Disk 2, Track twelve, thirteen and fourteen – Because (SI on to take 16 – Vocals 1 [Tk 4]) (Centre) / / Because (SI on to take 16 – Vocals 2 [Tk 5]) (Left) / Because (SI on to take 16 – Vocals 3 [Tk 6]) (Right) – Now, we’ve heard acapella takes of because before but none of them were quite so clear. There has been sonic trickery behind the others but here they are as natural as grass, rain and air. Caught from three sides – centre, right and left – the differences are subtle but effective. Track twelve features the crispest take on the harmonies but falls flat between the lines as they hit dead air, track 13 is more church choir because of the echoed atmosphere, track 14 is essentially the same.

Disk 2, Track sixteen – Because (Take 16 + SI on to Take 16 – Stereo mixed) – An oddity as this is the only track to feature a Ringo count in but is because revered – backing instrumental only, it’s different to hear without the vocals accompanying it. Disk 2, Track eighteen – You Never Give Me Your Money (Take 30 – Piano) – Another of those demo style tracks, Paul McCartney on grand and electric piano alone with a whispered vocal buried so deep it’s not there. For lovers of the piano line itself, it really is stunning to hear, for scholars, a useful way of picking things apart. The unfortunate thing is, it fades out at 2:30 leaving around a minute and a half of dead air.

Disk 2, tracks nineteen and twenty – You Never Give Me Your Money (Take 30 – Drums) / You Never Give Me Your Money (Take 30 – Guitar) – It goes to show for at least some songs that ARE the sum of their parts and one would not work without the others. Unfortunately it’s the case here, great drum and guitar parts but “You Never Give Me Your Money” is a song of two halfs and so by splitting the formula, they’re great, just not as interesting. Disk 2, track twenty one – You Never Give Me Your Money (SI on to Take 30 – Vocals) – Another control room style demo – McCartney’s vocals separated from the track by space, we’ve heard them, we know how great they are, we finish off with the chant at the end though and find out that the chant went on longer than we thought after the fade out. Whilst on the CV, the fabs sing, “One, Two, Three, Four ..” approximately 10 times before the fade, we can here here that they actually went around 9 before McCartney shouts out “Bloody Hell” as the fabs realise that it’s not as easy a task as they thought!

So really, another one to get behind. There are the few moments where the casual listener might get frustrated and skip like I did a few times but the highlights far outweigh the silences and duff moments. A very good compilation, highlighting the best of the unheard tracks and a couple of discreet oddities you’ll NEVER hear ‘Abbey Road’ the same way again.