January 01, 2022

Beatles Unsurpassed Masters Series

Overview: First appearing in 1990, Yellow Dog’s CD series “Unsurpassed Masters” was manna for Beatles collectors old, new & future. Near master tape quality & sounding much, much better than the Parlophone / Capitol official CDs on the market & one of the best places to hear ( at the time ) officially unreleased tracks for the Beatles cannon. Allegedly correlated from tapes once owned by British DJ Roger Scott from EMI tape archivist Roger Barrett & firstly partly bootlegged by Swingin’ Pig Records from Germany, Yellow Dog, another European label & one that had been producing high quality vinyl Beatlegs for a number of years, managed to serve up a glut of tapes & joined the CD revolution. Where as many earlier Beatlegs were BBC sessions marketed as the same or, shorn of their chatter & interviews, released as “Unreleased Studio Sessions” these were the real things. The initial issue of his CD was fraught with problems – released in the U.S. on two different labels ( possibly to deflect customs from picking up on a lead on one particular label ) as Yellow Dog on the East Coast & Sphinx in the West, the CDs were mastered with one channel wiped out so while the tracks could be heard through both speakers then, for instance, the vocal track may have been eliminated but the musical track would be heard intact but in mono making these expensive karaoke disks at best ( a theme Yellow Dog would later come back to on their Beatles & Rolling Stones “Karaoke” CD which may have been one of their worst ideas but when dealing with a Beatles market money is king & anything should have been tried once .. ) this was later rectified & the CDs were re – issued in full, dynamic stereo again in their pseudonyms over each coast. A collection of various studio takes comprising edit pieces, different tracks & remakes from the original versions.

While once it may have been the top of it’s field then many more upgrades have come along & surpassed this ‘Unsurpassed Master’ but i intend this review to be a track by track analysis of this classic bootleg & one that paved the way for the bulk of the better Beatlegs that can be found today. Source: https://classicrockreview.wordpress.com/category/the-beatles-unsurpassed-masters-vol-1/

Wiki: In 1981, in-house engineer John Barrett was given the task of cataloguing the complete collection of tapes from the band's seven-year career with EMI. This led to two projects: a public audio-visual presentation at Abbey Road Studios called The Beatles Live at Abbey Road (which opened on 18 July 1983) and a planned outtakes album which was to be called Sessions. In addition to some of the songs included on the previously leaked compilation tape, Sessions added "Not Guilty", "What's the New Mary Jane", "How Do You Do It?", "Bésame Mucho", "Mailman, Bring Me No More Blues", "While My Guitar Gently Weeps" (demo), and early takes of "Ob-La-Di, Ob-La-Da" and "I'm Looking Through You".[34] Shortly before the album's scheduled 1985 release, it was vetoed by the surviving members of the band; but both audience recordings of the Abbey Road presentation and the leaked promos of Sessions became available to bootleggers. These songs appeared on bootleg series such as Ultra-Rare Trax and Unsurpassed Masters, along with other material presumably copied while preparing these projects. Most of the aforementioned tracks were officially released on the Anthology albums in 1995 and 1996.

Unsurpassed Masters vol. 1

The first in the most recognized series of Beatles bootlegs ever, Unsurpassed Masters vol. 1 was mastered incorrectly in its first run and the stereo and cues were wrong. Tracks are from 1962-1963 recording sessions.

  1. Besame Mucho
    Features Pete Best on drums, from their first Abbey Road recording sessions. Unknown take recorded on June 6, 1962.
  2. How Do You Do It
    Take 2 recorded on September 4, 1962
  3. There’s A Place
    Takes 5 and 6, both false starts, recorded on February 11, 1963
  4. I Saw Her Standing There
    Takes 6-9 recorded on February 11, 1963
  5. Do You Want To Know A Secret
    Take 8 recorded on February 11, 1963
  6. A Taste Of Honey
    Take 6, featuring a vocal overdub on take 5, recorded on February 11, 1963
  7. There’s A Place
    Takes 12 and 13 recorded on February 11, 1963
  8. I Saw Her Standing There
    Takes 11 and 12, featuring handclapping overdubbed onto take 9, recorded on February 11, 1963
  9. Misery
    Takes 2-6 recorded on February 11, 1963
  10. From Me To You
    Takes 1 and 2 recorded on March 5, 1963
  11. From Me To You
    Takes 8-13 featuring some edit piece overdubs, recorded on March 5, 1963
  12. Thank You Girl
    Takes 2-4 recorded on March 5, 1963
  13. Thank You Girl
    Takes 7-13 featuring some drum overdubs, recorded on March 5, 1963
  14. One After 909
    Reversed stereo takes 1 and 2, recorded on September 11, 1963
  15. Hold Me Tight
    Takes 22-24, recorded on September 12, 1963
  16. Don’t Bother Me
    Takes 11-13 featuring some harmonica overdubs onto take 10, recorded on September 12, 1963

Release history

  • Yellow Dog YD001

    You can listen to this collection here:

Unsurpassed Masters vol. 2

Demo, outtake, and remix recordings from the prolific 1964-1965 sessions, featuring 3 songs recorded for Rubber Soul but unissued.

  1. A Hard Day’s Night
    Takes 6 and 7 recorded on April 16, 1964
  2. Leave My Kitten Alone
    Take 5 recorded on August 14, 1964
  3. She’s A Woman
    Take 7 with an extended jam session, recorded on October 8, 1964
  4. I Feel Fine
    Stereo reversed takes 6 and 7 recorded on October 18, 1964
  5. Yes It Is
    Stereo reversed takes 1 and 2 recorded on February 16, 1965
  6. If You’ve Got Trouble
    Stereo reversed, unedited take 1 mix, recorded February 18, 1965
  7. That Means A Lot
    Take 1 recorded on February 20, 1965
  8. Help!
    Stereo reversed takes 1, 2,and 5 recorded on April 13, 1965
  9. Norwegian Wood (This Bird Has Flown)
    Take 1 recorded on October 12, 1965
  10. Day Tripper
    Takes 1-3 recorded on October 16, 1965
  11. We Can Work It Out
    Takes 1 and 2 recorded on October 20, 1965
  12. 12-Bar Original
    Take 2 recorded on November 4, 1965
  13. I’m Looking Through You
    Take 1 with no chorus and all instruments and vocals on a single track, recorded on October 24, 1965

Release history

  • Yellow Dog YD002

    You can listen to this collection here:

Unsurpassed Masters vol. 3

Featuring a cover photo from the ‘Our World’ broadcast, Vol. 3 features demos, outtakes, and rarities from 1966 and 1967.

  1. Paperback Writer
    Take one with no vocals (and a slide guitar solo where the vocals should be) which breaks down after the first verse, recorded on April 13, 1966, couple with take 2 featuring incomplete vocals.
  2. Rain
    Mostly instrumental take 7, recorded on April 14, 1966.
  3. Tomorrow Never Knows
    Listed incorrectly in the linear notes as “Mark 1”, but is just a poorly transcribed take 3. Recorded on April 6, 1966.
  4. Strawberry Fields Forever
    Stereo mix of take 1 recorded on November 24, 1966.
  5. Strawberry Fields Forever
    Takes 2-4, showing the evolution from light to rough as used on the eventual master, recorded on November 28, 1966.
  6. Strawberry Fields Forever
    Takes 5-7, recorded on November 29, 1966.
  7. Strawberry Fields Forever
    Remix of take 25, featuring an orchestral overdub, some ‘cranberry sauce’ chatter, and a drum solo onto a mix of takes 15 and 24, recorded on December 9, 1966.
  8. Strawberry Fields Forever
    Take 26 featuring further overdubs onto take 25, recorded on December 15, 1966.
  9. A Day In The Life
    Three failed remixes of takes 4 (a reduction mixed into takes 5, 6, and 7) and takes 5-7. Recorded on January 20, 1967.
  10. All You Need Is Love
    Takes 57 and 58 from the ‘Our World’ broadcast with some studion chatter by Mal Evans and audience noise. Recorded on June 25, 1967.
  11. I Am The Walrus
    Take 9, a stripped down take recorded days after Brian Epstein’s death. Monitor mix recorded on September 5, 1967.
  12. Aerial Tour Instrumental
    Take 8 and remix 4; and alternate mix of ‘Flying’. Recorded on September 8, 1967.
  13. Hello Hello
    Take 1 of “Hello Goodbye” introduced as “Hello Hello” by Geoff Emerick. Complete take with no vocal or guitar overdubs, recorded on October 2, 1967.

Release history

  • Yellow Dog YD003

    You can listen to this collection here:

Unsurpassed Masters vol. 4

Focuses on recordings from 1968, encompassing demos, outtakes, and unreleased versions and entire songs recorded during the White Album sessions as well as versions of several successful singles.

  1. Lady Madonna
    A comedy routine preceding take 3, take 3, and take 5, recorded on February 3 and 5, 1968.
  2. Across The Universe
    Take 8, remix 2, known as the “Hum’s Wild” mix. Recorded and remixed just before their trip to India, on February 4-8, 1968.
  3. Brian Epstein Blues
    A studio outtake by John with some lyrics about Epstein, shortly after his death. Recorded on July 19, 1968.
  4. Hey Jude/Las Vegas Tune
    Take 7, recorded without George presumably due to some comments made by Paul. Features some mocking vocals by John and some studio chatter. The take ends and Paul starts singing a ditty known as “Las Vegas Tune”. Recorded on July 30, 1968.
  5. St. Louis Blues
    A version of the short song also known as “I Hate To See”, recorded on July 30, 1968.
  6. Back In The USSR
    From the ‘Peter Sellers Tapes’, take 6, remix 1 with a longer jet intro, recorded on August 23, 1968.
  7. Rocky Raccoon
    From the ‘Peter Sellers Tapes’, take 10, remix 1, recorded on August 15, 1968.
  8. Wild Honey Pie
    From the ‘Peter Sellers Tapes’, take 1, remix 6, recorded on August 20, 1968.
  9. Mother Nature’s Son
    From the ‘Peter Sellers Tapes’, take 26, remix 8, recorded on August 9, 1968.
  10. Sexy Sadie
    From the ‘Peter Sellers Tapes’, take 117, remix 5 with an unedited instrumental coda, recorded on August 21, 1968.
  11. Don’t Pass Me By
    From the ‘Peter Sellers Tapes’, take 7, unknown remix featuring an additional verse and instrumental, recorded on July 12 and 22, 1968.
  12. Yer Blues
    From the ‘Peter Sellers Tapes’, take 16 and 17 with remix 3 and an edit piece, recorded on August 14, 1968. First song on second side of ‘Sellers’ tape, so there is some drop outs.
  13. Good Night
    From the ‘Peter Sellers Tapes’, take 34, remix 6, recorded on July 22, 1968.
  14. Everybody’s Got Something To Hide Except Me And My Monkey
    From the ‘Peter Sellers Tapes’, take 12, remix 1 with some extra unedited vocals and sound effects, recorded on July 23, 1968.
  15. Ob-La-Di, Ob-La-Da
    From the ‘Peter Sellers Tapes’, take 23, remix 21 without the chirping birds sound effects, recorded on June 11, 1968.
  16. Blackbird
    From the ‘Peter Sellers Tapes’, take 32, remix 6, recorded on August 23, 1968.
  17. Not Guilty
    From the ‘Peter Sellers Tapes’, take 102, remix 1 (although Anthology notes that nowhere near that many takes were attempted), recorded on August 12, 1968.
  18. What’s The New Mary Jane
    Take 4 with overdubs – an incredibly unlistenable mix of sound effects and drug references that was dropped from the White Album in favor of “Revolution 9”. Recorded on August 14, 1968.

Release history

  • Yellow Dog YD004

    You can listen to this collection here:

Unsurpassed Masters vol. 5

Vol. 5 features some supurb Abbey Road and Let It Be outtakes from 1969.

  1. Octopus’s Garden
    Take 32 recorded on April 26, 1969.
  2. Golden Slumbers/Carry That Weight
    Take 13 recorded on July 2, 1969.
  3. You Never Give Me Your Money
    Take 30 recorded on May 6, 1969.
  4. Oh! Darling
    Previously listed as take 26 from July 18, 1969, then as “unknown take” (although take 26 is probably the best guess). Paul’s voice gives out midway through the song. Recorded on April 26, 1969.
  5. Maxwell’s Silver Hammer
    Take 21 recorded on July 9, 1969.
  6. Something
    Take 37 (reduction mix) recorded on July 11, 1969.
  7. You Never Give Me Your Money/Sun King/Mean Mr. Mustard/Polythene Pam/She Came In Through The Bathroom Window
    The second remix of these songs, without orchestral, vocal, or solo overdubs. Also features “Her Majesty” between “Mean Mr. Mustard” and “Polythene Pam”. Recorded on July 24, 28, and 30, 1969.
  8. Golden Slumbers/Carry That Weight/The End
    Second remix (“The End” is marked as “Ending” and featured no vocals). Recorded on July 3 and 23, 1969.
  9. Her Majesty
    Take 3 recorded July 2, 1969.
  10. Stand By Me
    Recorded January 24, 1969, from the Get Back sessions
  11. I’ve Got A Feeling
    Recorded January 1969, from the Get Back sessions
  12. Two Of Us
    Recorded January 25, 1969, from the Get Back sessions
  13. For You Blue
    Recorded January 25, 1969, from the Get Back sessions
  14. Let It Be
    Recorded January 31, 1969, from the Get Back sessions

Release history

  • Yellow Dog YD005

    You can listen to this collection here:

Unsurpassed Masters vol. 6

More alternate takes, mixes, and demos from 1962-1970, some of which were originally mixed for the ill-fated Sessions project.

  1. There’s A Place
    A historic inclusion, as this is the first take of the first recording from their first session with EMI. Take 1 recorded on February 11, 1963.
  2. I Saw Her Standing There
    Take 2 and 3 recorded on February 11, 1963.
  3. From Me To You
    Take 6 and 7 recorded on February 11, 1963.
  4. Thank You Girl
    Take 1 recorded with some slight vocal variations and some rehearsing, recorded on March 5, 1963.
  5. Don’t Bother Me
    Take 10 recorded on September 12, 1963 with some studio chat by George.
  6. A Hard Day’s Night
    Take 3 recorded on April 16, 1964.
  7. I’m A Loser
    Take 1 and 2 recorded on August 14, 1964. Mostly just a rehearsal, as Paul is heard giving instruction to John and attempts some vocal options throughout take 2.
  8. She’s A Woman
    Take 2 recorded on October 8, 1964, with the songs mechanics still being worked out.
  9. If You’ve Got Trouble
    Take 1 recorded on February 18, 1965. A mono version of the Sessions mix.
  10. Help!
    Take 8 and 9, which was used as a basic track that the guitar and vocals were later dubbed onto. Recorded on April 13, 1965.
  11. Here, There, And Everywhere
    Take 14 recorded on June 16, 1966.
  12. I Am The Walrus
    Take 7 recorded on September 5, 1967.
  13. Ob-La-Di, Ob-La-Da
    The mix for Sessions, which fades out before the crossfade of “Christmas Time Is Here Again”.
  14. Hey Jude
    Takes 8 and 9, recorded on July 30, 1968.
  15. Not Guilty
    Mix for Sessions
  16. Let It Be
    Take 30 recorded on January 4, 1970.
  17. Because
    A capella overdubs recorded for take 16 on August 1 and 4, 1969.
  18. Mailman, Bring Me No More Blues
    Sessions mix
  19. What’s The New Mary Jane
    Sessions mix

Release history

  • Yellow Dog YD012

    You can listen to this collection here:

Unsurpassed Masters vol. 7

Another career-spanning compilation, as is Vol. 6, of tracks from 1962-1970.

  1. Do You Want To Know A Secret
  2. Misery
    Take one without the piano overdub. Recorded February 11, 1963.
  3. One After 909
    Alternate edit of takes 4 and 5. Undocumented mono edit from same mix as Anthology version. Recorded March 5, 1963.
  4. Hold Me Tight
    Takes 25 and 26. Take 25 is incomplete, with some questioning by John, and take 26 is complete. Recorded September 12, 1963.
  5. Can’t Buy Me Love
    Recorded in Pathe Marconi Studios, Paris, on January 29, 1964.
  6. I’m A Loser
    Take 3 with some studio discussion as to the direction of the song (as well as some shushing by Ringo). Recorded on August 14, 1964.
  7. I Feel Fine
    A nearly complete take 5 recorded on October 18, 1964.
  8. Yes It Is
    Take 14 later used for vocal overdubs. Recorded on February 16, 1965.
  9. Norwegian Wood (This Bird Has Flown)
    Take 4 mono mix in right channel only. Recorded on Octobe 21, 1965.
  10. Penny Lane
    Take 9 – an alternate mix of the promo mix (mono). Recorded January 17, 1967.
  11. Lady Madonna
    Take 4 with some laughing at the beginning. Recorded February 6, 1968.
  12. Ob-La-Di, Ob-La-Da
    Outtake from take 5 recorded on July 5, 1968.
  13. Not Guilty
    Take 102 – a stereo, unedited mix recorded on August 12, 1968.
  14. Revolution
    A reduction or ‘bounce’ of take 15, switching to mono after the first couple of seconds. Recorded on July 10, 1968.
  15. While My Guitar Gently Weeps
    An acoustic take 1, stopping before some studio chat occurs by George. Recorded on July 25, 1968.
  16. Come And Get It
    Paul’s demo, the same as the Sessions version. Recorded July 24, 1969.
  17. ‘Beatle Speech’
    Although the track listing has this as “Think For Yourself”, many experts agree the title is “Beatle Speech”, as it is marked that way on the tape box which Mark Lewisohn used.

Release history

  • Yellow Dog YD013

    You can listen to this collection here:

    Source: https://aboutthebeatles.com/unsurpassed-masters-series

    More information is available here: