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Thursday, January 29, 2015

ANTHOLOGY 3 - side five

The Long and Winding Road - One of McCartney's finest compositions is presented here as he originally intended it to be heard, without the massive orchestra and choir that Phil Spector added to the track for the Let it Be album.  Spector also edited out Paul's spoken section in the middle and cut the song off after John's rising bass line, though Paul clearly continued to play a tinkling melody line on piano.

Oh! Darling - While the Abbey Road release of this McCartney tune features a masterful vocal performance by Paul, it is still a treat to hear Paul and John share the vocals as this song is introduced at the Get Back sessions.  And Billy Preston adds some tasty licks on electric piano, to boot.  As they finish playing, John announces that they have just learned that Yoko's divorce is final, so he launches back into the song and improvises a verse.

All Things Must Pass - The Anthology now begins jumping back and forth in time, moving ahead now to February 25th, 1969 when George went into the studio on his birthday to record demos of three songs he had ready to go.  He had presented this composition (and several others) to the other Beatles during the Get Back sessions, but it would not be issued until it became the title track of his epic triple disc solo album in late 1970.  This demo is gorgeous, featuring a distinctive double-tracked guitar part and a heartfelt vocal.

Mailman, Bring Me No More Blues - The Anthology now slips back to the Get Back sessions for a listen of this Buddy Holly B-side being tackled by the boys.  It's a slower tempo than on Holly's original version, but John does a pretty good job of mimicking his rock and roll hero's vocal style.

Get Back - This is the last time the group played the title number of these sessions, just as the police arrived on the scene to shut down the rooftop concert.  It starts out a bit shaky, especially when John and George's amplifiers are temporarily shut off during the first chorus, but once that situation is rectified they hit a groove, with Preston turning in a superb variation of his solo.  Paul then seizes the moment vocally, ad libbing about "playing on the roofs" and Loretta's momma having her arrested.  While it is certainly not the best take of the song, it is definitely the most exciting.

Old Brown Shoe - It's back to George's birthday for his demo of this uptempo composition.  He overdubbed two guitar parts onto his piano and vocal track to give a fuller sense of the feel he was going for with this toe-tapping number, even approximating the tricky bass line that Paul would eventually play on the master.

Octopus's Garden - By April of '69, the Beatles had begun sporadically recording a number of new tunes that would ultimately wind up on their final masterpiece Abbey Road.  The basic track of the second solo composition by Richard Starkey was laid down by the group on the 26th of that month.  This is take 2 and it is not much different from the master, take 32.  In fact, George has already worked out his rockabilly guitar line very well.

Maxwell's Silver Hammer - By July 9th, a concentrated effort on the album Abbey Road was well underway, though John had been absent due to a car accident.  He returned on this day, but did not participate in work on the basic track of this McCartney song.  That left Ringo on drums, Paul on piano and George on bass for 21 takes.  Take 5 is presented here on the Anthology and again, it is not significantly different from the master, though Paul immediately asks for "One more" at the end of the take.

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