The Beatles “And Now The Time Has Come” (Unicorn Records UC-175)
Kansas City (Acetate Cavern Club 5.9.62) / A World Without Love (Demo 1963) / I’ll Follow The Sun (Demo 1963) / Gaumont Theatre Bournemouth 21.8.63 Excerpts – Roll Over Beethoven / A Taste of Honey / Baby Its You / She Loves You / Twist and Shout / It’s The Beatles – Empire Theatre, Liverpool 7-12-63 from newly discovered Off-Air audio – From Me To You / I Saw Her Standing There / Intro / All My Loving / Intro / Roll Over Beethoven / Intro / Boys / Intro / Till There Was You / She Loves You / Intro / This Boy / I Want To Hold Your Hand / Intro / Money / Twist and Shout / From Me To You (Instrumental) / Royal Variety Performance, Prince of Wales Theatre 10.12.63 from the optical soundtrack of the Film recording. – Twist and Shout (Extracts) / Harry Secombe / From Me To You / Intro / She Loves You / Intro / Till There Was You / Intro / Twist and Shout / Joe Loss Orchestra / Dickie Henderson / Royal Variety Performance, Prince of Wales Theatre 10.12.63 from an upgraded source of the original Off-Air recording – Intro / Till There Was You / Intro / Twist and Shout / Festival Hall, Melbourne 16.6.64 from an Australian radio show “People 64″ – Intro / This Boy/ Can’t Buy Me Love / Las Vegas Convention Centre 20.8.64 Newsreel footage slightly longer than previous releases – Twist and Shout / You Can’t Do That / Milwaukee Arena 4.9.64 A Hard Days Night / Hollywood Bowl 30.8.65 From 1977 Radio special “From Liverpool to Legend”. Upgrade and more complete than previous releases – I’m Down / Seattle Coliseum 25.8.66 Previously unavailable – Rock and Roll Music / She’s a Woman
It seems to have been a while since we got one of Unicorn records Beatles compilations. Generally a collection of snippets that arrive from the internet and put together, thankfully, chronologically. The earliest date that this release takes us back to is 1962 and features a version of Leiber and Stoller’s “Kansas City” taken from acetate cut from a Beatles performance at the Cavern Club on the 5th of September, 1962. Certainly not a bad recording for a 50 year old acetate, it has been cleaned up most certainly but there a still a couple of crackles apparent. Paul’s voice is pushed right up in the mix, overshadowing his bass and John and George’s guitar. Pete’s drums are almost inaudible.
Following that are two rough demos, one for “A World Without Love”, the second, “I’ll Follow The Sun”, both sound like they were recorded at the same sitting. The first seemingly recorded solo and running a speedily short 30 seconds, the second recorded with a cotre of friends around, Paul pronounces that he has another song to play and strums away. This version seems to be missing a few lyrics but the basis is mostly fully formed. When the demo what initially dug out by Peter Asher for his solo shows, it transpired a huge swathe was missing from it, the gap has been cut from this version to avoid the silence, having the track run roughly a minute.
We’re then ‘treated’ to a compilation of snippets from the Beatles show at the Gaumont Theatre in Bournemouth. There is around 20 seconds each of chatter and partial tracks recorded that night spanning from Paul introducing tracks to John besmirching the audience along side reasonable quality versions some of the tracks played that night. Despite my protestations the sound is actually quite listenable but, as the person who owns the tapes has chopped the show in to snippets, it’s an infuriating hotch-potch of bits and pieces.
Finally, a full show and what a show! Off -air audio (Though it’s an amalgamation I believe, as I’m sure I hear hints of vinyl crackle on “This Boy” and “I Want To Hold Your Hand”) presents us with the “It’s The Beatles” Christmas show at the Liverpool Empire, 1963. The fabs home coming show after breaking through earlier in that year.
The show starts with a rampant drum instrumental (Shades of ‘Boys’) then launches in to the Fabs latest and greatest, “From Me To You” hardly pausing for breath before launching in to “I Saw Her Standing There”. To say that the show was recorded, ‘off air’ it still sounds surprising beefy and, were it not for the incessant wave of occasional screaming girls, it would be a perfect show. The band’s wit is on top form as George Jokes about the band playing “Roll Over Beethoven” for ‘About 20 years’ (Hey, it was the 60’s!) while John jokes about Ringo’s inability to learn a new song before “Boys”. It’s interesting to hear that Ringo’s vocals are pretty much inaudible throughout. “Till There Was You” features an awkward buzz throughout while the audience are pretty much unaffected (It’s almost like they’re in two different rooms sometimes), the rest of the set comes of pretty much unaffected (Barring the vinyl noise stated earlier)
The second full show comes from the bands performance at the Royal Variety Performance on the 10th of November 1963 from an optical soundtrack (The same source of the visuals according to Wikipedia). The audience is much more restrained obviously and so the fab’s set is pretty much as clear from obtrusion as you might get. The set begins with a short snippet of “Twist and Shout” and then the introduction by ex-Goon Harry Secombe (A joy for the lads who were brought up on the comedian’s particular style of humour) however, Harry’s is a particularly trying style, as the silence in the air would testify. The band whip through an easy set list of their songs but, as acts at the royal variety performance are only allowed a shorter time for their routine, Ringo & George’s turns were missed from the set.
Most memorably, the show is still known for Paul’s partly innocent jibe about Sophie Tucker’s size and John’s quip about the audience rattling their jewellery both are present here along with the lesser mentioned turn’s by the Joe Loss Orchestra that sees the Beatles from the stage and Dickie Henderson’s genial line in comedy.
From an off -air recording, we have 4 tracks also from the Royal Variety performance Slightly reedier and with a little more air, these tracks are just as complete as the optical mix. Why include them? Go figure.
Three tracks now from the other side of the world, the Beatles performance in Melbourne on the 16th of June, 1964. The full concert has appeared originally on Yellow Dog’s “Messages To Australia”, the songs here are from a tape found from an Australian radio show, “People ’64”. They sound great, although, “Can’t Buy Me Love” is incomplete.
The rest of the CD is an odd sort of mixture, nothing that you’re likely to want to repeat either, songs preformed at the Las Vegas Convention Centre (Twist And Shout / You Can’t Do That) and the Milwaukee Arena (A Hard Days Night) are newly bootlegged but sound awful. Drastically wearing and shrill, the songs can be heard but the screaming around them makes it torturous to listen to.
“I’m Down” from their Hollywood Bowl show on the 30th of August, 1965 comes from the 1977 radio special, “From Liverpool To Legend”. As we’ve had the Hollywood Bowl shows previously, most notably thanks to Midnight Beat it seems strange that we need it almost covered by narration.
Finally, “Rock And Roll Music” and “She’s A Woman”, take from another audience recording at the Seattle Coliseum on the 25th of August, 1966. It’s very much a piecemeal affair, the track is parts of the full audience tape but sounds like it was compiled for an audition to sell the tape with. All action prior to the Beatles is fairly good, especially considering the equipment used. Once the Beatles hit the stage, the needles hit red. You can still hear the band but they’re buried somewhat by the over ambitious wailing.
This CD is another great attempt to cover the dribble of new Beatles material. With two complete shows under its belt along with some listenable (and unlistenable) snippets, it deserves a place in your miscellaneous Beatles section.