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Beatles – “Off White”: The Complete Recordings, Sessionography, And Mixography (OWNO.9 001-009)

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“Off White”:  The Complete Recordings, Sessionography, And Mixography (OWNO.9 001-009)

2007 saw the release of three massive sets surrounding The Beatles.  The first was the twelve CDR set The Beatles Deluxe Volumes 1 – 6, each a two disc set with twelve total discs covering every aspect of the Beatles’ activities surrounding the recording of the album including needle drops of both the stereo and mono versions of the double LP.  Afterwards the Misterclaudel label issued The White Album Working Tapes.  This is a five disc set that, in comparison to the PC, drops the needle drops and focuses only upon the demos and sessions  for the album with scant attention paid to the singles (“Hey Jude,” “Revolution,” “Lady Madonna”) and the television appearances. 

 On Christmas day Off White appears on the market.  This is issued by No Label (that is what is printed on the discs), and is a nine disc set and serves as a kind of middle ground between the two other sets.  It has all of the material found on Misterclaudel in identical, excellent sound quality, but also includes sessions for the singles, some television appearances, and a needle drop of the UK mono edition of the LP. 

Disc 1:  Julia, Blackbird, Rocky Raccoon, Back In The U.S.S.R., Honey Pie, Mother Nature’s Son, Ob-La-Di, Ob-La-Da, Junk (#1), Dear Prudence, Sexy Sadie, Cry Baby Cry, Child Of Nature, The Continuing Story Of Bungalow Bill, I’m So Tired, Yer Blues, Everybody’s Got Something To Hide Except Me And My Monkey, What’s The New Mary Jane, Revolution, While My Guitar Gently Weeps, Circles, Sour Milk Sea, Not Guilty, Piggies, Happiness Is A Warm Gun, Mean Mr. Mustard, Polythene Pam, Glass Onion, Junk (#2), Honey pie

The first disc starts at the beginning, with the initial demos for the album.  Misterclaudel omitted some of the material from their disc, notably the songs that pertain to Abbey Road, but this collection is a straight copy of the fifth disc of the Purple Chick collection which is basically a combination of the From Kinfauns To Chaos release and four tracks, “Happiness Is A Warm Gun,” “Mean Mr. Mustard,” “Polythene Pam,” and “Glass Onion” from Anthology 3.  Most of the demos were recorded at Kinfauns in Esher in very good to excellent mono except for the final “Piggies” demo which is in excellent stereo.  The final four come from Lennon’s home at Kenwood and are in much better sound quality. The last two tracks, alternate mixes of “Junk” and “Honey Pie,” are also in excellent and clear sounding stereo.  

Disc 2:  Fragments of Composing Tapes (Cry Baby Cry/Across The Universe), Hey Bulldog (#1), Hey Bulldog (#2), Across The Universe, You Know My Name (Look Up The Number), Demo Recordings #3:  When The Saints Go Marching In/ You Are My Sunshine/ Natural Sound/Jingle Bells/ She’ll Be Comin’ Around The Mountain/Happiness Runs/ Instrumental/ Blowin’ In The Wind/ Hare Krishna Mantra/ O Sole Mio/ It’s Now Or Never/ Catch The Wind.  Demo Recordings #4:  Spiritual Regeneration/ Happy Birthday/ Spiritual Regeneration. Demo Recordings #5, Julia (Instrumental), Julia (Vocal overdub take 1), Julia (Vocal overdub take 2), Julia (Vocal overdub take 3).  Recordings Sessionography:  Revolution 1 (take 20-complete), Revolution 1 (take 20-playback #1), Revolution 1 (take 20-playback #2), Jamming, Jamming, Tuning and Dialogue, Jamming + Revolution 1 (rehearsal), Jamming, Revolution 1 (take 20-overdub), Revolution 1 (take 20-playback #3)

The second disc begins with John Lennon’s home recordings which most collectors date to February 1968.  It includes rudimentary sketches of “Cry Baby Cry,” “Across The Universe,” and “Hey Bulldog” (aka “She Can Talk To Me”).  The tape ends with a basic version of “You Know My Name (Look Up The Number)” which some date to May, 1967 but are obviously part of this tape. 

This is followed by the Italian radio report from March 15th, 1968 of the retreat at Rishikesh, India with “When The Saints Come Marching In” among other songs and it followed by “Spiritual Regeneration,” sung by Paul for Mike Love’s birthday.  Lennon’s home demos for “Julia” follow.  These were recorded at Kenwood in May, 1968 and are in excellent sound quality.  These tracks can also be found on Revolution, The 1968 Demos, and Unsurpassed Demos

The rest of disc two and most of disc three covers the strange “Revolution” sessions from EMI Studios on June 4th, 1968.  This tape is called the most bizarre unreleased session by Ritchie Unterberger in The Unreleased Beatles:  Music And Film.  The sound quality is in excellent stereo, but it is truly strange to hear Yoko ramble on (and on) over the recording and rehearsals of “Revolution.”  The background is much more interesting, but is unfortunately obscured. 

Disc 3:  Revolution 1 (take 20-playback #4), Jamming, Jamming, Jamming, Jamming, Jamming, Revolution 1 (take 20-playback #5), Revolution 1 (take 20-playback #6), Revolution 1 (take 20-playback #7+overdub), Revolution 1 (take 20-playback #8), Revolution 1 (take 20-playback #9), Revolution 1 (take 20 – playback #10), Jamming, Jamming, Jamming, Revolution 1 (take 20 – playback #11), Dialogue, Dialogue, Dialogue, Revolution 1 (take 20 – playback #12), Revolution 1 (take 20 – playback #13), Dialogue, Dialogue + Tape Loop, Tape Loop, Dialogue, Revolution 1 (RM1 monitor mixes), Revolution 1 (RM1 take unknown – Rough Mono Mix), Don’t Pass Me By (take3 – partial), Don’t Pass Me By (take3+5 – complete), Blackbird/Congratulations (rehearsal #a), Blackbird (rehearsal #b), Blackbird (rehearsal #c), Helter Skelter /Blackbird/Gone Tomorrow Here Today (rehearsal #d), Blackbird (rehearsal e), Tuning, Blackbird (rehearsal f), Blackbird (rehearsal g), Blackbird (rehearsal h), Blackbird / Mother Nature’s Son (rehearsal i), Blackbird (rehearsal j), Blackbird (rehearsal k), Blackbird (rehearsal l), Blackbird (rehearsal m), Blackbird (rehearsal n), Blackbird (rehearsal o), Blackbird (rehearsal p), Blackbird (rehearsal q), Blackbird (rehearsal r), Dialogue, Dialogue

The “Revolution” sessions are followed by two tracks of “Don’t Pass Me By” from June 6th, 1968.  Both the partial of take 3 and complete take 3 and 5 come from the Anthology DVD.  The rest of this disc, and the first four tracks on disc four cover the June 11th, 1968 “Blackbird” sessions in excellent stereo sound quality.

Disc 4:  Blackbird (rehearsal s), Blackbird (take4 – complete), Blackbird (take unknown – partial), Blackbird (take 32 RM6 – complete), Good Night (rehearsal), Good Night (take unknown – partial), Revolution 9 (RS1), Ob-La-Di, Ob-La-Da (take5 – complete), Ob-La-Di, Ob-La-Da (take21 – partial), Revolution (take15 – complete), Don’t Pass Me By (take 7 RM4 – complete), Ob-La-Di, Ob-La-Da (take 23, RM21 – complete), Ob-La-Di, Ob-La-Da (studio chat), Cry Baby Cry (take 1 -complete), Helter Skelter (take 2 -edited), Sexy Sadie (take 6 -complete), Sexy Sadie (take unknown -chat), “Fuck A Duckie” (jam), Sexy Sadie (take unknown -partial #1), “Brian Epsteins Blues” (jam), Sexy Sadie (take unknown -partial #2), Sexy Sadie (take unknown -partial #3), Sexy Sadie (take unknown -partial #4), Good Night (take 34 -RM6 – complete), Everybody’s Got Something To Hide Except Me And My Monkey (take 12-RM5 -complete), Sexy Sadie (take 6 -complete), While My Guitar Gently Weeps (take 1), While My Guitar Gently Weeps (take 1 + complete), While My Guitar Gently Weeps (take 1 + overdub – partial), While My Guitar Gently Weeps (monitor mixes a), While My Guitar Gently Weeps (monitor mixes b), While My Guitar Gently Weeps (monitor mixes c), While My Guitar Gently Weeps (monitor mixes d)

The “Blackbird” rehearsals are followed by the two “Good Night” tracks from the  Anthology DVD.  The liner notes label this as June 11th, but in reality date from June 28th and and July 2nd.  “It sounds nice starting like that” Lennon can be heard at the beginning before Martin calls for the count in and Ringo sings the song accompanied by the piano.  The second “Good Night” is twenty two seconds of Ringo introducing the song accompanied by electric guitar. 

This is followed by two versions of “Ob-La-Di, Ob-La-Da.”  The first is take 5 from July 5th, a rough stereo remix of the song without the piano found also on The Abbey Road Tape Vol. 1.  The second is a thirty second fragment from the Anthology DVD which ends with George saying, “The F# minor sounded out of tune.”  The following “Revolution 1 take 15″ is the rough mix without organ from July 10th. 

“Don’t Pass Me By take 7″ is from the Peter Sellers tape and has a return to the first verse instead of a fade.  “Ob-La-Di, Ob-La-Da” take 23 is another track from the Peter Sellers tape that had additional hand claps in the introduction an at the very end, after John says “thank you,” he adds, “I’m sure.” The end of disc four gathers together all of the “While My Guitar Gently Weeps” sessions which include the version with the harmonium and the extra verse in the early takes.

Disc 5: “When I Was A Robber” (jam), Hey Jude (take 2 complete), Hey Jude (rehearsal 1 partial), St. Louis blues (#1 jam), Hey Jude (rehearsal #2 partial), Hey Jude (take unknown – partial), Hey Jude (take 7 complete), “Las Vegas Tune” (jam), St. Louis Blues (#2 jam), St. Louis Blues (#3 jam), Hey Jude rehearsal #3 partial), Hey Jude (take 8 partial), Hey Jude (take 9 complete), Hey Jude (take ? complete), Hey Jude (studio chat), Mother Nature’s Son (take unknown partial), Not Guilty (take 102 RM1 complete), jam (partial), What’s The New Mary Jane (take 2 partial), What’s The New Mary Jan (RS unknown #1), What’s the New Mary Jane (RS unknown #2), Rocky Raccoon (take 8 complete), Rocky Raccoon (take 9 partial), Rocky Raccoon (take 10 RM1 – complete), Yer Blues (takes 16 / 17 RM3 complete)

The final “What’s The New Mary Jane” is the finished track in stereo with all the insanity minus Yoko’s screaming over the whole thing.  “Rocky Raccoon” take 8 dates from August 15th and features Paul’s spoken introduction saying, “Rocky Raccoon, he was a fool onto himself, and he would not swallow his pride, being from a small town in Minnesota” and the lyrics are rough with Daniel “sminking of gin.”  Take 9 partial if fourteen seconds of the final notes of the song.  The third “Rocky Raccoon” is the Peter Sellers tape mix which is pretty much identical to the final version.  “Yer Blues,” which closes the disc, is the RM3 untrimmed version also from the Sellers tape.  

Disc 6:  Mother Nature’s Son (take 26 RM8 – complete),  Wild Honey Pie (take 1 RM6 – complete), Sexy Sadie (take 117 RM5 – unedited), Back In The U.S.S.R. (take 6 RM1 – complete), Dear Prudence (backing vocal partial), Dear Prudence (take 1 – mix #1 – complete), Dear Prudence (take 1 – mix #2 – complete), While My Guitar Gently Weeps (Studio Chat), Lady Madonna (rehearsal), While My Guitar Gently Weeps (Rehearsal), Helter Skelter (vocal track – partial), Helter Skelter (take 21 RM) – complete), I Will (take 1 – partial), I Will (take 1 – complete), Can You Take Me Back? (I Will take 19 -complete), “Down In Havana” (I Will take 30), “Step Inside Love” (I Will take 34), Los Paranoias (I Will take 35), The Way You Look Tonight (I Will take 36), Birthday (take 22 RM1 – complete), Piggies (take unknown – partial), Piggies (unused overdub – partial), Happiness Is A Warm Gun (overdub track – complete), Happiness Is A Warm Gun (stereo plus overdub track), Glass Onion (take 33 RM2 -complete), I’m So Tired (take 3+6+9 – complete), I’m So Tired (take 14 – complete), I’m So Tired (take overdub track/monitor mix), I’m So Tired (stereo + overdub), I’m So Tired (monitor mix #1), I’m So Tired (monitor mix #2), I’m So Tired (monitor mix #3), I’m So Tired (monitor mix #4), I’m So Tired (monitor mix #5), I’m So Tired (monitor mix #6), Why Don’t We Do It In The Road? (take 4 – complete), Why Don’t We Do It In The Road? (take 4 + 5) , Julia (take 2 – complete), Julia (take 3 – partial)

The sixth disc contains a myriad of different tracks, beginning with four tracks from the Peter sellers tape sequenced in chronological order.  “Mother Nature’s Son,” take 26 is identical to the final version and “Wild Honey Pie” is the commercial version except it lacks the studio chat at the beginning.  Both date from August 20th.  From the following day comes “Sexy Sadie,” which is identical to the final version except for a longer fade at the end.  Finally, “Back In The U.S.S.R.” comes from August 23rd and is the same mono mix except for a different jet sound at the end.  The three tracks of “Dear Prudence” date form August 29th.  The first track is only twelve seconds long and consits of a snippet of backing vocals over the track.  The following two are different mixes of the final track.  The first mix has some chatter at the end and is sourced from the Lost Lennon tapes (complete with Elliot Mintz narration at the end), and the second mix has louder bass.  “While My Guitar Gently Weeps” is mearly several seconds of George saying, “Okay, just try it.  Take one.  I’ll just have the cheese and lettuce on my sandwich.”  The “Lady Madonna” rehearsal is an amateur tape of Paul playing the melody on organ and George speaking.  The following “While My Guitar” rehearsal comes from the same tape source as “Lady Madonna” with Paul playing the basic harmonics of the song on the organ.

The “Helter Skelter” vocal track is several seconds long of Paul screaming before the band click into the entire track, take 21 RM 1.  The next couple of tracks come from sessions on September 16th and are sourced from the Anthology in excellent quality including the “I Will,” “Can You Take Me Back?,” “Step Inside Love,” “Los Paranoias” and “The Way You Look Tonight.”  “Glass Onion” from the Anthology is included on this disc. 

This is the original mix of the song with a phone ringing, Kenneth Wolstenholme shouting “It’s a goal,” a crowd roaring, and a window breaking.  Producer George Martin removed those effects and added the stings on the final version.  This is followed by various monitor mixes of “I’m So Tired.”  The first is the combination of takes three, six, and nine found on the Anthology. 

The rest are various monitor mixes that can also be found on Control Room Monitor Mixes (Yellow Dog YD 032) in 1993.  It is interesting to hear the guitar and organ parts that were later almost completely mixed out of the song.  “Why Don’t We Do It In The Road?” features Paul on acoustic guitar.  This take was also taken from the Anthology vol. 3 as is the following take 2 complete of “Julia.”   

Disc 7:  How Do You Do?, Blackbird, The Unicorn, Lalena, Heather, Mr. Wind, The Walrus And The Carpenter, Land Of Gisch *Mixography (Various Mix Collection), Don’t Pass Me By (take 3 / Anthology Video), Don’t Pass Me By (Mono / Original Speed), Good Night (take unknown – breakdown / Anthology Video), Ob-La-Di, Ob-La-Da (take 5 – complete / Anthology 3), Ob-La-Di, Ob-La-Da (take 21 – partial / Anthology DVD), Sexy Sadie (take unknown – chat / Anthology DVD), Good Night (rehearsal + master – complete / Anthology 3), Sexy Sadie (take 28 – partial / Anthology DVD), While My Guitar Gently Weeps (take 1 – complete / Anthology 3), While My Guitar Gently Weeps (take 1 plus harmonium – partial /Anthology Video), Hey Jude (take 7 – partial /experiment in TV), Hey Jude (chat /experiment in TV), St. Louis Blues (#3 jam), Hey Jude (take 9 – partial /Abbey Road Video Show), Hey Jude (take 9 – partial /experiment in TV), Mother Nature’s Son (take unknown – partial/ Anthology Video), Not Guilty (take 102 – “Sessions” mix), Not Guilty (take 102 – RM 1), Not Guilty (take 102 – RS), Not Guilty (take 102 – Roger Scott’s remix), What’s The New Mary Jane (take 2 – partial / Anthology Video), What’s The New Mary Jane (take 4 – Mono mix), What’s The New Mary Jane (take 4 – RS2), Rocky Raccoon (take 9 – partial / Anthology Video), I Will (take 1 – partial / Anthology Video), Step Inside Love / Los Paranoias ( I Will takes 34+35 -edit/ Anthology 3), Piggies (take unknown – partial / Anthology DVD), I’m So Tired (take 14 – partial / Anthology Video), Why Don’t We Do It In The Road? (take 4 + 5 – partial / Anthology Video), Julia (take 3 -partial/ Anthology Video), Revolution (RS1), Hey Jude (edit of takes 1+2+3/David Frost Show Video)

Disc 8:  Original UK mono version, sides A and B:  Back in the U.S.S.R., Dear Prudence, Glass Onion, Ob-La-Di, Ob-La-Da, Wild Honey Pie, Continuing Story of Bungalow Bill, While My Guitar Gently Weeps, Happiness Is a Warm Gun, Martha My Dear, I’m So Tired, Blackbird, Piggies, Rocky Raccoon, Don’t Pass Me By, Why Don’t We Do It in the Road?, I Will, Julia.  Bonus track:  By George! It’s the David Frost Theme (take1), It’s Now Or Never, By George! It’s the David Frost Theme (take1), Hey Jude (take1), Hey Jude (take2), Revolution (rehearsal), Revolution (take1), Revolution (take2), Hey Jude (edit of takes 1+3)

Disc 9:  Original UK mono version, sides C and D:  Birthday, Yer Blues, Mother Nature’s Son, Everybody’s Got Something to Hide Except Me and My Monkey, Sexy Sadie, Helter Skelter, Long Long Long, Revolution 1, Honey Pie, Savoy Truffle, Cry Baby Cry, Revolution 9 , Good Night,  Bonus track:  Step Inside Love (demo), Step Inside Love (studio demo #1), Step Inside Love (studio demo #2),  Medley (Anthology DVD mix)

The final two discs of this collection contain an excellent needle drop transfer of the mono version of the final LP, a recording that isn’t available officially.  Disc eight has the September 4th session at Twickenham studio for David Frost.  It features them singing the David Frost theme and several complete takes of their latest single, “Hey Jude” and “Revolution.”  

The final disc, after sides three and four of the mono vinyl, has the November 1967 demos for “Step Inside Love.”  This is a thirty minute amateur recording in poor to fair quality featuring Paul, George Martin and singer Cillia Black working out the tune.  The final track is a minute long outtake of Martin conducting an orchestral version of “While My Guitar Gently Weeps.” 

“Off White” is the second silver pressed collection of The Beatles outtakes and sessions released within several months.  As good as the Misterclaudel is, this one is superior since it contains much more material in excellent quality.  It comes packaged in a glossy cardboard box with the discs in individual sleeves and a color booklet enclosed with the track and session information.  It is a gorgeous package and the sound quality, mastering, and selection of material are all excellent.  It is limited to one hundred and fifty numbered copies.

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Beatles - “Off White”: The Complete Recordings, Sessionography, And Mixography (OWNO.9 001-009), 2.9 out of 5 based on 7 ratings

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