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Friday, March 13, 2015

LET IT BE...NAKED - side one

This is possibly my least favorite post-career collection of material by the Beatles.  It was touted as being the definitive version of what the 1969 Get Back sessions sounded like when it was released, but since it meddled with the recordings in numerous ways thanks to the new technology available in 2003, it immediately rendered itself irrelevant and unnecessary to my mind.  Thus, I was somewhat taken aback as I did my research for this entry to discover that a sizable number of fans not only prefer this package but agree with the hype.  While it is easy to argue the relative merits of individual tracks on this release versus the 1970 Phil Spector re-productions, I wonder how many of those fans have ever heard either of Glyn Johns' Get Back albums which truly capture the spirit of the original sessions "warts and all."   

Get Back - We all know this performance of the one-time title track of the sessions.  As with every other recording presented here, it has been remastered and remixed for the occasion and sounds quite nice, I must admit.  The familiar coda is not included, as that was recorded the next day and was edited onto the original single release along with a bit of echo for the entire number.  So, yes, right away in April of '69, they were tampering with the live-in-the-studio premise.

Dig a Pony - This is the same rooftop concert version presented on the Let It Be album minus the ambient chatter before and after the take.  Why, oh, why was the decision made to retain Spector's omission of the "All I want is..." vocals from the top and tail of the song?  They are an essential part of the tune as you can clearly see in the film (you can find it on YouTube), even managing to get George vocally involved, however briefly. 

For You Blue - A nice clean mix of the Let It Be version with George's acoustic guitar part audible, which Spector had mysteriously buried.  With Glyn Johns producing, George re-recorded his vocal on January 8th, 1970 - another example of the Beatles themselves not adhering to the original no-overdubs concept.

The Long and Winding Road - It is refreshing to hear a different take of this song instead of the one we usually do (either in its stripped down version or with orchestra and choir).  This is the final time the group went through the number for the cameras on January 31st and it is the performance seen in the documentary.  Billy Preston is allowed to take a little electric piano solo - it's simple, tasteful and surprisingly not all that interesting. 

Two of Us - This new mix of the version we are familiar with has one oddity - it fades out a few seconds before what we all know is a complete stop.  Too bad, because it was a rather clever trick of the band to create the effect of a fadeout even though they were playing live.

I've Got a Feeling - The group played this number twice during the famous rooftop concert and both are represented in this composite version.  I cannot figure out exactly where the edit is, but we first hear the second performance featuring some tasty licks from Billy Preston on electric piano.  George's voice is also a bit more audible in the "oh yeah"s.  At some point, perhaps just before Paul's vocal bridge, we segue into the familiar first version.

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