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Friday, April 5, 2013

SESSIONS - side one

Like the Glyn Johns versions of Get Back, this was a proposed album that never saw the light of day - not officially, at any rate.  In 1985, as the surviving Beatles and Yoko Ono were negotiating with EMI over the transfer of the group's catalog to the new CD format, this intriguing collection of rare material and alternate takes was compiled and prepared for release.  According to a press release from the time, the main dissenter was McCartney, his reasons unclear, but perhaps the ongoing negotiations and the sense that something larger was possible (the eventual Anthology series) were the main issues.

Every track on this album made its way onto the Anthology in one form or another, highlighting just how spot on the powers that be were in making these selections.

SIDE ONE

Come and Get It - This is Paul's demo of a song he wrote for the Apple band Badfinger, which would serve as both that band's first single and a soundtrack song for the film The Magic Christian starring Peter Sellers and Ringo.  Paul knocked this off one day in 1969 during sessions for Abbey Road and later produced Badfinger's almost note-by-note recreation of this demo.

Leave My Kitten Alone - Arguably the best recording not issued by the group during their career.  This scorching rocker was recorded during the Beatles for Sale sessions in 1964, and no satisfactory argument has ever been presented as to why it was left off of that album.  Had this album been released, this song was also slated to appear as a single backed with an alternate take of Ob-La-Di, Ob-La-Da. 

Not Guilty - George's first offering for the "White Album" was left off of that record, presumably because a few references in the lyrics to the internal strife developing within the group were not well-received by the other Beatles.  If that is true, it is a sad excuse for omitting such a fine song and such a tremendous performance by the band.  This song also has the distinction of requiring more takes (102) than any other in the group's history. 

I'm Looking Through You - This is an alternate take of the McCartney tune from Rubber Soul.  It primarily features handclaps, acoustic guitar, drums, organ and an electric guitar solo in a very different arrangement from the released version.  At this point, it also lacks the superb bridge.

What's the New Mary Jane - Those who believe that songs such as Wild Honey Pie, Mr. Moonlight or Revolution 9 are the worst ever put on tape by the Beatles have obviously never heard this piece of dreck from the "White Album" sessions.  Even though the usual Lennon wit and wordplay is on display in the few verses, the track quickly devolves into a free for all with little or nothing to recommend it.  Only John, George, Yoko and Mal Evans participated in this masturbatory nonsense.  After six minutes, John's remark "Let's hear it, before they take us away" pretty much sums it up.

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