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Monday, January 12, 2015

ANTHOLOGY 3 - side three

Glass Onion - This performance by the Beatles of this Lennon composition is the master version, but John decided to add sound effects to it during producer George Martin's extended holiday from the "White Album" sessions.  When Martin returned, he suggested a score for strings instead of the ringing telephone, breaking glass and shouts of "It's a goal!" - an idea John embraced.

Rocky Raccoon - Take 8 of this McCartney composition finds the basic instrumentation in place, but Paul is still making up lyrics here and there.  John suggests the line "he was a fool unto himself" for the spoken introduction before they start playing and Paul gamely gives it a try.  Rocky is from Minnesota on this take and Paul reacts to his verbal fluff "sminking with gin" instead of "stinking" among numerous other variations.

What's the New Mary Jane - For me, these are the most excruciating six minutes that the Beatles ever committed to tape.  The first couple of minutes are almost redeemed by some typical Lennon wit in the lyrics, but the tune he sets them to is mediocre at best.  The track then devolves into aimless, amateurish banging away on piano, guitar and various percussion instruments far too long for no good reason.  The decision to keep this mess off of the "White Album" must have been a no-brainer.

Step Inside Love/Los Paranoias - This track fades in on an impromptu version of a song McCartney wrote for Cilla Black's TV show.  As this occurred during a session for the basic track of his song I Will, Paul is on acoustic guitar with John and Ringo providing percussion.  Before resuming a proper take of the new composition, John's remark of "Los Paranoias" spurs Paul to ad lib a silly new song, which fades out after a minute.  All in all, this is a fun look at the creative synergy the group could still muster at its best moments.

I'm So Tired - This slow Lennon rocker was recorded in a single night.  The Anthology presents a version of the basic track made from three separate takes.

I Will - The Anthology now returns to the session for the basic track of this number - to the very first take, in fact.  The entire arrangement is already set, but Paul would not be satisfied until take 67 that he, John and Ringo had gotten it right.

Why Don't We Do It in the Road? - Take 4 of this McCartney number reveals that Paul originally sang one verse softly, switched to the howling voice he wound up using on the master, then continued alternating.  After several verses, he stops and asks, "What do you think?"  The next take would be the master, so the decision to stick with the strident voice throughout was made at this point.

Julia - Lennon's only solo performance as a Beatle was this beautiful tribute to his mother.  He starts singing here on take 2, but quickly stops and concentrates on his finger-picking.  When he begins singing again midway through the song, his playing breaks down.  This is followed by a fascinating exchange with Paul, who has been listening up in the control booth.  John is respectful and almost deferential to his longtime partner - a far cry from the disdain he would project in many future interviews.

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