March 15, 2016

Beatles Minus One Bootleg - Excellent RMW

I had the pleasure of listening to the newly released Beatles Minus One 3CD collection. It was released in conjunction with the newly remastered Beatles One sets. This is an amazing collection of remixes and remasters from the Beatles outtakes library. You get to hear songs in a new light with side tracks brought to the front. And vocals stripped of extra backing tracks. Below is more information on this amazing set. Excellent work by the Beatles Remasters Workshop group. This has become my favorite new bootleg set. Highly recommended.

Here is something to keep you entertained over the Christmas holiday. It's a collection of single tracked vocal mixes of familiar tracks. Some of them are subtly different. On others the difference is dramatic and obvious. I hope you have fun spotting all the variations.

One of the reasons I love the early BBC radio recordings so much is because there were rarely overdubs. The Beatles had marvellous untrained raw voices and I always felt that much of that power and subtlety was lost when they applied blanket double tracking to everything. Here you can hear just how good they were as singers. John's voice in particular on some of these tracks from 1965 onwards is just gorgeous. Listen to him on Nowhere Man, In My Life and Across The Universe to name but a few. Of course Paul was equally great in a different way, and I think the final 60 seconds or so of Back In The USSR is one of the most exciting things I have ever heard.

Also included is a bonus volume of other remixes. They were remixed by me. I don't purport that these are "real" or "authentic" any more than anything else in this set. They are just a new way to enjoy familiar tracks, or to put right historical errors like the missing harmonica on From Me To You.





VOLUME 1

Don't Bother Me - after recording a live take The Beatles overdubbed some percussion including tambourine, claves and an Arabian drum. At the same time George double tracked his vocal, but here is the percussion version with a clean vocal.

I Want To Hold Your Hand - this is the raw take as performed live. After this they made an overdub onto the final track of the 4 track tape: John double tracked some of his vocals, George added some extra guitar riffs and presumably Paul and Ringo added the handclaps (see disc 3).

This Boy - this is another raw live take. The overdub consisted of John double tracking the middle section and George adding some extra guitar notes towards the end. According to Lewisohn there was also originally a guitar solo in the middle - probably after the line "till he's seen you cry".

A Hard Day's Night - this is the basic rhythm track with the live lead vocals muted. In their place is the overdub where John and Paul double tracked their voices; at the same time Ringo added bongos and cowbell and George a driving acoustic guitar part. A further overdub saw George add a 12-string electric guitar and George Martin piano.

I Should Have Known Better - presented without John's vocal double tracking.

If I Fell - presented without John and Paul's vocal double tracking. The second time around Paul stumbles over the lyric "was in vain" which, when combined with the subsequent vocal overdub, made it sound like his voice broke.

I'm Happy Just To Dance With You - this is the basic live take with George singing solo and John on guitar. For the overdub George double tracked his vocal while John and Paul added "ohhhh"s and Ringo percussion. George doesn't seem to have played any guitar on this song.

And I Love Her - presented without Paul's vocal double tracking.

Can't Buy Me Love - for the basic take the group played live but George's guitar work was erased and redone (the original solo can be heard faintly in the background). During an overdub Paul double tracked his voice and George double tracked his electric guitar solo. There was one further addition: 12 string electric guitar made after the return to England.

Anytime At All - a basic live take with George on 12 string once more and George Martin on piano. During an overdub John and Paul double tracked their vocals. Because of the way the lyrics crossed over, John left out different words on each vocal. Here he omits one word in the middle of every verse; in the other vocal he sings this word and then leaves a long pause before continuing in unison.

I'll Cry Instead - this is the basic live take. Onto this was overdubbed more guitar and vocals, plus tambourine.

Things We Said Today - the basic live take, after which Paul double tracked his voice adding harmonies and the others overdubbed piano, tambourine and some extra guitar.

I Feel Fine - presented without John, Paul and George's vocal double tracking.

Baby's In Black - this is the basic live take. Onto this John and Paul overdubbed two extra sets of vocals while George added a second lead guitar part including a solo.

Eight Days A Week - presented without John, Paul and George's vocal double tracking.

Leave My Kitten Alone - the group did a basic live take onto which they then overdubbed piano and tambourine and replaced George's lead guitar track (the old one can be heard in the background). This is how it sounded before John double-tracked his voice.

The Night Before - they seem to have recorded the rhythm track first with John on pianet and then added the vocals heard here. George played the solo twice, each time in a different octave. Paul then later added vocal double tracking.

I Need You - George not only double tracked his voice but also joined John and Paul to double track the background harmonies. Here there is only one set of vocals.

Ticket To Ride - during an overdub John double tracked his voice while Paul played a third electric guitar part and either George or Ringo rattled a tambourine. Here it is presented minus the overdub.

It's Only Love - this is how the basic performance would have sounded, with John on 12 string electric guitar similiar to the anthology take. On a subsequent overdub a vibrato electric guitar was added, and then a third guitar (Paul again?) along with tambourine and John's vocal double tracking. When George Martin remixed this song in the 1980s he did not fade down the second overdub towards the end as originally done, leading to some extra guitar and tambourine being heard.

I've Just Seen A Face - this performance harks back to the sound of their skiffle days with either Paul or John (or both) on acoustic guitar, George on 12 string acoustic and Ringo on brushes. An overdub added Paul's double tracking, marraccas and a second acoustic 12 string.

If You've Got Trouble - the basic take used the regular line up onto which Ringo added a vocal. During a different overdub Ringo double tracked his vocal, Paul and George chimed in with some "ohhh"s and George added a third guitar part for the solo. This mix uses some of the elements of that overdub but not Ringo's extra vocals. Rock on, anybody!

We Can Work It Out - the basic track consisted of drums, bass, acoustic guitar and tambourine. Paul and John added their vocals to this, and then a harmonium part was added (the one heard in this mix). The final overdub would have been the vocal double tracking by Paul with John simultaneously adding a second harmonium part (not heard here).

Day Tripper - as was common in this period the rhythm track was recorded first with the usual line up. The vocals heard here were then probably added and a subsequent overdub saw double tracked vocals, tambourine and (as was also common in this period) a third electric guitar added.

Nowhere Man - presented without John, Paul and George's vocal double tracking.

Think For Yourself - the basic track seems to have been drums, electric guitar and Paul on regular bass, to which Paul added "fuzz bass" (bass notes played on an electric guitar fed through a fuzz box) while the others played tambourine and maracca. John, Paul and George double tracked all of the vocals - only one batch is heard here.

The Word - one of the first times Paul was given a separate track for his bass. Presented here without John, Paul and George's vocal overdubbing.

Michelle - Paul seems to have played the guitar on this song in the same style as Yesterday and as he would later do on Blackbird and other songs. John's organ part is on the same track as the bass guitar. Paul did not double track his voice, but in the silent spaces in the track used for background harmonies he double tracked some of his guitar work. That final track is mixed out here. The ending seems to be authentic.


VOLUME 2

What Goes On - presented as a solo from Ringo without John and Paul's harmonies.

In My Life - presented without John, Paul and George's vocal double tracking.

Run For Your Life - presented without John and Paul's vocal double tracking.

Paperback Writer - a single tracked vocal from Paul. Also mixed out is the overdub where John and George added extra harmonies including "Frere Jacques". Paul played the aggressive electric guitar on this song, striving (if George is to be believed) to emulate Jeff Beck.

Eleanor Rigby - Paul seems to have been the only Beatle on this song. Only one of his vocal parts is heard here. Two more were overdubbed before the song was finished.

I'm Only Sleeping - John double tracked some of his vocals on this song while adding harmonies with Paul. The ADT effect was also later applied but is absent here.

Here There And Everywhere - presented without Paul's vocal double tracking. The harmonies by Paul, George and John are also single tracked.

And Your Bird Can Sing - presented without ADT on John's voice.

Dr Robert - presented without ADT on John's voice.

Penny Lane - Paul's voice is single tracked on the verses.

Strawberry Fields Forever - the first remake of this song (take 7), presented without John's vocal double tracking, but with the guitar and mellotron overdub not present on take 6.

Strawberry Fields Forever - the second remake (take 25), presented without John's vocal double tracking.

Sgt Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band - presented without John, Paul and George's vocal double tracking, and with the full "Billy Shears" ending.

All You Need Is Love - presented without John, Paul and George's vocal double tracking.

The Fool On The Hill - presented without Paul's vocal double tracking.

Your Mother Should Know - presented without Paul's vocal double tracking.

Across The Universe - presented without ADT on John's voice and guitar.

Back In The USSR - presented without John, Paul and George's vocal double tracking.

Come Together - presented without John's extra vocal parts.

Because - presented with single tracked vocals. On the record they were triple tracked.

Something - presented without George's vocal double tracking. However his own harmony parts are included.



BONUS VOLUME

From Me To You - a stereo equivalent of the mono single mix.

Thank You Girl - a stereo equivalent of the mono single mix.

The One After 909 - a stereo equivalent of the mono Anthology mix.

I Want To Hold Your Hand - the overdub during which they added various voices and instruments.

Komm Gib Mir Deine Hand - includes vocalisations on the right channel at the start not heard on Past Masters. When they recorded this song they took the basic rhythm track from I Want To Hold Your Hand and (because some elements were on a different track along with handclaps and vocals) George overdubbed some extra guitar and new handclaps were added. But the quality was poor for some reason. Here the left channel has been rebuilt in better sound.

Can't Buy Me Love - the other vocal and guitar solo (the first is heard on disc 1).

I Feel Fine - the other vocal overdub (the first is heard on disc 1). The guitar solo here is single tracked too rather than double tracked (George played it once on each vocal overdub).

Help! - the soundtrack to the "dart-less" clip with noticeably different vocals. This is taken from a 1966 German tv broadcast.

The Night Before - the other vocal overdub (the first is heard on disc 1).

That Means A Lot - a clearer and better balanced stereo mix than what has been heard before. On Sessions it is in faux stereo with copious reverb.

If You've Got Trouble - a different vocal from Ringo to that on disc 1.

Nowhere Man - the other vocal overdub (the first is heard on disc 1).

In My Life - the other vocal overdub (the first is heard on disc 2).

Yellow Submarine - a longer mix with the opening chant added (partially only), full sound effects, and the ending.

And Your Bird Can Sing - the original version (take 2) without the giggling. Remixed for better balance and stereo placement.

For No One - backing track.

Tomorrow Never Knows - with the guitar solo forwards rather than backwards.

Penny Lane - highlighting the myriad of small overdubs to this song.

Strawberry Fields Forever - a complete edit of take 25. The first verse is taken from an early mono mix. After this was made John apparently re-recorded his vocals, but never got around to finishing them, leaving the first verse blank.

Penny Lane - the stereo mix augmented with the trumpet flourish originally heard only on the advance promo.

Sgt Peppers - the complete track sans audience applause and with the original ending.

A Day In The Life - sans orchestra and with the unused "Ommmmmm" ending.

I Am The Walrus - complete stereo mix.

Obladi Oblada - the original version in a clear stereo mix. On Sessions it is in faux stereo with heavy reverb, ADT and limiting, giving the false impression of extra overdubs.

Revolution 1 - reconstruction of the version Lewisohn seems to describe in "Recording Sessions".

Old Brown Shoe - remixed to boost the very faint vocals. These were recorded (as was done with Not Guilty) by placing a microphone in the same room as a speaker through which George sang. As can be heard here, the results were slightly distorted, which is possibly why they were mixed so far down in volume.

More information is available here:
http://octaner.blogspot.com/2016/02/minus-one-disc-1.html
http://octaner.blogspot.com/2016/02/minus-one-disc-2.html
http://octaner.blogspot.com/2016/02/minus-one-disc-3.html