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Tuesday, February 18, 2014

ANTHOLOGY 2 - side three

Budokan - 1966
Tomorrow Never Knows - The 1966 Revolver sessions were by far the most experimental to date, and no track was more experimental than this one, recorded on April 6th, the first day of the sessions for that album.  Here, on take 1, we hear the sounds of the studio (not unlike the eventual opening of the album) and an announcement of "Here it comes...stand by" over the talkback speaker before an eerie wash of repetitive sound plays, including distorted guitars, Ringo's drums, Paul's bass and John's highly-filtered vocal.  While the result is mesmerizing, the reimagined backing of the master, take 3, recorded over the next day and a half, has much more variety.

Got To Get You Into My Life - This backing for McCartney's Motown-inspired number is also miles away from its released version.  A basic track of organ, drums and acoustic guitar accompanies Paul's lead vocal, as well as some backing vocals from John and George (I need your love) that were eventually deemed unnecessary. 

And Your Bird Can Sing - This early arrangement of this Lennon composition is clearly influenced by the sound of the Byrds, with wonderful chiming guitars throughout.  However, the reason it was most likely chosen to appear on the Anthology is due to the ridiculously childish laughter from John and Paul as they attempt to overdub more vocals onto the track.  The entire thing was scrapped six days later and remade with a more strident sound.

Taxman - Here is an example of a track that is almost, but not quite, identical to the released version, yet the differences are significant.  First are the "Anybody got a bit of money" backing vocals by John and Paul that were replaced by the more topical "Ha ha, Mister Wilson" and "Ha ha, Mister Heath" parts.  And instead of a repeat of Paul's stinging guitar solo at the end, the song comes to a full stop with a final shout of "Taxman!"

Eleanor Rigby (Strings Only) - There are some who complain about this track because it does not feature the Beatles at all, but anyone who cannot appreciate George Martin's superb score (remixed for the Anthology) all by itself will probably never understand the producer's inestimable contributions to the group's recordings.

I'm Only Sleeping (Rehearsal) - These next two tracks are a real oddity.  It was rare for the Beatles to remake a song but then decide to release the original version instead of the remade one.  This snippet of a rehearsal was recorded days after the master, on the same day as vocals were added to that master.  This rehearsal has no vocals and contains an atmospheric vibraphone part along with drums and acoustic guitar.  Whoever is playing the vibes is not identified.

I'm Only Sleeping (Take 1) - The band then moved on to record five new takes of the song, with John himself announcing that this would be the new take 1.  This acoustic arrangement of the number is jointly sung by John and Paul almost as a parody of the original song.  As was usually the case, the correct decision was made as to which version of the tune deserved to be released.

Rock and Roll Music - One of the first stops on the group's final world tour in 1966 was at Budokan in Japan, represented by these next two tracks.  They could not reproduce a single song from the album they had just finished recording live on stage, so they had to resort to their old set list.  The tempo is a bit slow on this Chuck Berry number and John sounds listless as they play only two of the song's four verses.

She's A Woman - On the other hand, Paul, ever the showman, gives his all on this great B-side from 1964.  His enthusiasm even induces some nice answering phrases from George on lead guitar as the song heads for the finish line.

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