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The Beatles – Abracadabra (Audiofon AF 014 / 015)

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Abracadabra (Audiofon AF 014 / 015)

Trick 1 : 01 Taxman – take 11, basic track & double lead vocals 02:30 02 Eleanor Rigby – take 15, Paul’s lead vocal 02:04 03 I’m Only Sleeping – take 11, alternate ending 02:57 04 Love You Too – basic track 02:23 05 Here There And Everywhere – alternate stereo mix 02:2106 Yellow Submarine – emphasis on vocals 02:49 07 She Said She Said – no vocals 02:32 08 Good Day Sunshine – Paul’s lead vocal & piano 02:07 09 And Your Bird Can Sing – take 2 with overdubs 02:19 10 For No One – Alternate stereo mix 01:56 11 Doctor Robert – take 7 with harmonium, rhythm & double vocals 02:11 12 I Want To Tell You – vocals & bass 02:2113 Got To Get You Into My Life – take 5, vocals & rhythm 02:50 14 Tomorrow Never Knows – take 3 remix, guitar overdubs 02:57 15 Paperback Writer – take 2, double vocals 02:24 16 Rain – take 5, 2nd lead vocal mono 02:24 17 Taxman – rockband remix 02:25 18 Yellow Submarine – rockband remix 02:36 19 Good Day Sunshine – same as # 8, full mix 02:01 20 And Your Bird Can Sing – rockband remix 01:59 21 And Your Bird Can Sing – regular vocals left and laughing vocals right 02:19 22 And Your Bird Can Sing – take 10, full remix 01:58 23 For No One – mono Paul’s vocal 01:54 24 Doctor Robert – take 7 emphasis on lead vocal 02:11 25 Doctor Robert – take 7 double lead vocals 02:11 26 Got To Get You Into My Life – vocals only 02:44 27 Got To Get You Into My Life – take 8 emphasis on vocals 02:26 28 Tomorrow Never Knows – remix, without electric guitar overdub 02:55 29 Paperback Writer – rockband remix 02:13 

Trick 2 :  01 Taxman – basic track, no guitar overdubs 02:31 02 Eleanor Rigby – Paul’s lead vocal 02:04 03 I’m Only Sleeping – alternate stereo 02:57 04 Love You To – indian instruments, guitar and vocal (tk 6) 02:23 05 Here There And Everywhere – basic track, Paul’s lead vocal 02:34 06 Yellow Submarine – basic track, corus, Ringo’s lead vocal 02:35 07 She Said She Said – psychedelic mix 02:32 08 Good Day Sunshine – piano and vocals 02:07 09 And Your Bird Can Sing – take basic track 02:19 10 For No One – take 10, piano, clavichord & percussion 01:49 11 Doctor Robert – take 7, basic mix 02:11 12 I Want To Tell You – one channel mono mix, other channel bass and vocals 02:2413 Got To Get You Into My Life – one channel left channel of the stereo mix, other channel mono horns 02:26 14 Tomorrow Never Knows – take 3 with emphasis on John’s vocals 02:5515 Paperback Writer – emphasis on lead vocals 02:24 16 Rain – take 5 emphasis on John’s lead vocal 02:30 17 Taxman – take 11 both lead vocals & backing vocals 02:27 18 Eleanor Rigby – incomplete 01:36 19 I’m Only Sleeping – take 11 emphasis on lead and backing vocals 02:55 20 Love You Too – take 6 guitar & vocal 02:03 21 Here There And Everywhere – basic track 02:21 22 Here There And Everywhere – backing vocals, inc. 00:50 23 Good Day Sunshine – Paul’s lead vocal 02:01 24 And Your Bird Can Sing – combination of two mono mixes 01:58 25 For No One – take 10 clavichord & percussion, mono 01:50 26 I Want To Tell You – alternate stereo mix 02:25 27 Doctor Robert – an other alternate mix 02:11 28 Doctor Robert – emphasis on vocals 02:11 29 Got To Get You Into My Life – one channel right channel of the stereo mix, other channel mono horns 02:26 30 Tomorrow Never Knows – take 1, Drums & Vocal 03:13 31 Paperback Writer – take 2, 2nd lead vocal 02:24 32 Rain – take 7 – emphasis on backing vocals 02:56 33 Eleanor Rigby – vocals, incomplete 00:15

Since 09/09/09 when the Beatles Remasters & Harmonix computer game were released then various fans & companies have tripped over themselves to try assemble a coherent & comprehensive set of audio extractions – some have taken a route of a “best of” collection collecting the best of what they muster & of the parts than were usually buried in the mix that could be fleshed out from behind the mixes to give a clearer listening experience to that that had been prepared for the Beatles by George Martin or the band themselves. This particular collection focuses on the bands 1966 album “Revolver” & the singles that were released around that time. 

“Abracadabra” itself has had quite a life before it’s eventual release having been released on vinyl a few months previous as a taster for the full product on “Porlaphone Records”, a subsidiary arm of the Yellow Dog group, while being advertised on some Japanese websites as a double disk CD set on their sister label HMC who have made a name in releasing only the best & unheard products they can find. Sense prevailed & “Abracadabra” has been released on Audiofon who mainly specialise in slightly lesser quality items, telecasts or extractions from DVDs or video games but was still give the deluxe treatment afforded HMC previously in the form of a hard bound book with liner notes ( specifically 100 pages of .. ) that were available to download from the internet on the “Revolver” album by London journalist Ray Newman. 

As with all extraction CDs it’s generally a hit & miss affair – trying to strip or emphasise various elements from the tracks can be fruitful or add little to the original listening experience. while different people hear different things & some would be happy hearing a previously unheard handclap from within a song then others would prefer to hear a vastly different track from the originally released. In my review i’m going to try highlight the tracks that benefit from being stripped & rebuilt from the tracks – i’m not noting the tracks where the differences are difficult to spot & i shan’t insult you by assuming you know NOTHING out these songs. it’s worth noting that because we’re not working from THE multitracks that a little bleed through from the other insteuments can occur.  

Disk 1 : 

Track 2 – Eleanor Rigby : Take 15, Paul’s lead vocal – Paul’s voice is fleshed out from the backing track while the track is muted to bring this out a little more akin to listening to Paul hearing the track & laying down his vocal part in the studio. 

Track 5 – Here, There & Everywhere : Alternate Stereo Mix – More emphasis on  Paul’s vocals, the backing vocals & George’s guitar lines. Finger clicks more prominent in second half of song. 

Track 6 – Yellow Submarine : Emphasis On Vocals – Features Ringo’s spoken word introduction from the Yellow Submarine film & has the sound effects (or shipping calls) in the middle of the track muted. Chorus backing vocals more prominent. 

Track 7 – She Said, She Said : No Vocals – Vocals have all but vanished. Organ line can be heard more clearly. 

Track 8 – Good Day Sunshine : Paul’s lead vocal & piano : All that can he heard are Paul’s vocals, piano & Ringo’s drumming at the chorus. 

Track 9 – And You Bird Can Sing : Take 2 with overdubs – Track slightly muted apart from George’s guitar line & vocals more prominent throughout. 

Track 10 – For No One : Alternate stereo mix – More prominent vocals & horn. A lot less piano

Track 11 – Doctor Robert : Take 7 with Harmonium, Rhythm & Double vocals – Vocals, Rhythm guitar & Harmonium higher in the mix

Track 12 – I Want To Tell You : Vocals & bass – More Finger Clicking & claps can be heard. Little bleed through of other instruments

Track 13 – Got To Get You In To My Life : Take 5, Vocals & Rhythm – Anthology version. instruments louder but no real variation. 

Track 14 – Tomorrow Never Knows : Take 3 Remix, Guitar overdubs – Some tape loops missing with louder ‘backward’ guitar overdubs.

Track 15 – Paperback Writer : Take 2, Double Vocals – Vocals enhanced, instruments muted. 

Track 16 – Rain : Take 5, 2nd lead Vocal Mono – Bass, tambourine & vocals prominent. Other instruments barely audible. 

Track 17 – Taxman : Rockband remix – Different George count in. “Mr Wilson .. ” lyrics.

Track 18 – Yellow Submarine : Rockband remix – Additional guitar strum at beginning with John count in. 

Track 19 – Good Day Sunshine : Same as Track 8, full mix – Muted piano lines, Emphasis on other instruments. Fast fade at end.

Track 20 – And Your Bird Can Sing : Rockband remix – New count in. Clearer lead guitar.

Track 21 – And Your Bird Can Sing : Regular Vocals left & Laughing vocals right – New count in. Handclaps & louder guitar solo.

Track 22 – And Your Bird Can Sing : Take 10, Full remix – Muted rhythm guitar & bass. More handclaps.

Track 23 – For No One : Mono Paul’s Vocal : Louder vocal. other instruments muted. No horn.

Track 24 – Doctor Robert : Take 7, Emphasis on Lead Vocal – Prominent bass line. 

Track 25 – Doctor Robert : Take 7, Double lead vocals – Louder bass line & vocals. Other instruments muted. 

Track 26 – Got To Get You Into My Life : Vocals only – Instruments almost inaudible. More prominent harmony vocals. Clicks for keeping tempo.

Track 28 – Tomorrow Never Knows : Remix without Electric Guitar overdub – No Backwards guitar solo, tape loops very quiet in the mix, audible tambourine. 

Track 29 – Paperback Writer : Rockband Remix – New count in – though this sounds like it could be an after the fact addition.

Disk 2 : 

Track 1 – Taxman : Back track, No guitar overdubs – Different count in, no guitar overdubs. “My advice for those that die ..” lyrics.

Track 2 – Eleanor Rigby : Paul’s lead vocal – Paul’s vocal slightly higher in mix.

Track 5 – Here, There & Everywhere : Basic track, Paul’s lead vocal – Studio warm -up before track. Paul’s vocal, harmonies, guitar & drums almost isolated. 

Track 6 – Yellow Submarine : Basic track, chorus & Ringo’s lead vocal – Ringo’s vocals & harmonies higher in the mix. Sound effects muted in mix. 

Track 7 – She Said, She Said : Psychedelic Mix – Brighter sound to drums, sharper rhythm guitar, a lot more punch – One of the highlights of the CD.

Track 8 – Good Day Sunshine : Piano & Vocals – Paul’s Vocal, piano & drums louder in mix.

Track 9 – And Your Bird Can Sing : Take 2, basic track – George’s guitar louder in mix. Solo more prominent.

Track 10 – For No One : Take 10, piano, clavichord & percussion – No Paul vocals. Cut short at end.

Track 12 – I Want To Tell You : One channel mono mix, other channel bass & vocals – Vocal, bass & drums more prominent in mix.

Track 13 – Got To Get You In To My Life : One Channel left channel of the Stereo mix, other channel horns – Paul’s vocal, horns & tambourine. Drums almost mixed out. 

Track 14 – Tomorrow Never Knows : Take 3 with emphasis on John’s vocals – John’s vocal louder in mix. Guitar overdubs retained.

Track 15 – Paperback Writer : Emphasis on lead vocals – Vocals louder in mix. Track sounds ‘tinny’ & thin. harmonies quieter.

Track 16 – Rain : Take 5 emphasis on John’s lead vocal – John’s vocals mixed much higher.

Track 17 – Taxman : Take 11, both lead vocals & backing vocals – George’s vocals & harmonies very high in mix. Track almost inaudible. Cross fading of harmonies & guitar line in 2nd 3rd of track.

Track 18 – Eleanor Rigby : Incomplete – Features a prominent Paul vocal. Incomplete – A waste of time.  

Track 19 – I’m Only Sleeping : Take 11, emphasis on lead & backing vocals – John’s vocals & harmonies louder in mix. Guitar track almost inaudible. 

Track 20 – Love You Too : Take 6, Guitar & Vocal – George’s vocal & guitar prominent. Indian instruments almost mixed out. Guitar sounds like it’s being played down a metal tube. Although interesting as the rhythm can be heard a lot better than CV. 

Track 21 – Here, There & Everywhere : Basic track – Paul’s vocal & drums louder in mix. 

Track 22 – Here, There & Everywhere : Backing vocals, inc. – Paul’s vocal & instruments almost mixed out. Nice to hear harmonies as recorded. 

Track 24 – And Your Bird Can Sing : Combination of 2 mono mixes – George’s guitar ever so slightly louder in the mix but no real difference. 

Track 25 – For No One : Take 10, clavichord & percussion – Almost instrumental. Drums & clavichord much higher than usual. Very interesting to hear – why can’t it ALL be like this? ends abruptly. 

Track 28 – Doctor Robert : Emphasis on vocals – Brighter vocals & bass with George’s guitar in 2nd half. Paul lays a good bass line down for this.

Track 30 – Got To Get You In To My Life : One Channel right channel of the stereo mix, other channel mono, horns – Anthology version – Another highlight of the CD being almost entirely just John’s vocal & Ringo’s drums.

Track 31 – Paperback Writer – Take 2, 2nd lead vocal – Really just Paul’s vocals & percussion but nothing we haven’t heard before.

Track 32 – Rain – Take 7, Emphasis on backing vocals – Louder percussion. Louder backing vocals on chorus exclusively. In 2nd half main vocals mixed out.    

Track 33 – Eleanor Rigby : Vocals, incomplete – Isolates Paul’s vocals. Very short track. 

So what ever your view on track extractions – Personally I find them much of a gimmick but i know a few desktop bootleggers are enthralled by them – then the debate will rumble on as to weather these kind of things should be kept to fanmade CDRs or should be pressed to CD. This would have made a curiously entertaining single CD if not one that will get pulled out of the collection regularly. The packaging, as usual though, is fantastic & well above most manufacturers normal efforts. A throughly entertaining break down of the Revolver sessions, the times in which they were recorded & where the Beatles heads were at.  

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The Beatles - Abracadabra (Audiofon AF 014 / 015), 2.4 out of 5 based on 6 ratings

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