Moggology Vol. 3 (Medusa MD-006/7)
DISC 1 – 1. SGT.PEPPER’S LONELY HEARTS CLUB BAND (Take 9 mono) 2. WITH A LITTLE HELP… (Take 10-Piano+Percussion mono TK1) 3. WITH A LITTLE HELP… (Take 10-Guitar mono TK2) 4. WITH A LITTLE HELP… (Take 10-Drums mono TK3) 5.WITH A LITTLE HELP… (Take 10-Hammond mono TK4) 6. WITH A LITTLE HELP… (Sl onto Take 11-Base+Tambourine+Snare mono TK2) 7. WITH A LITTLE HELP… (Sl onto Take 11-Vocal Harmonies+Guitar mono TK3) 8. WITH A LITTLE HELP… (Sl onto Take 11-Lead Vocal+Organ mono TK4) 9. WITH A LITTLE HELP… (Sl onto Take 11-All Vocals stereo TK3+4) 10. LUCY IN THE SKY WITH DIAMONDS (Take7 stereo) 11. LUCY IN THE SKY WITH DIAMONDS (Take7-Acoustic mono TK1+4) 12. LUCY IN THE SKY WITH DIAMONDS (Take7-Lowrey Organ mono TK2) 13. LUCY IN THE SKY WITH DIAMONDS (Take7-Drums mono TK3) 14. LUCY IN THE SKY WITH DIAMONDS (Take8-All Vocals mono TK2+3) 15. LUCY IN THE SKY WITH DIAMONDS (Take8-Bass+Guiter mono TK4) 16. GETTING BETTER (Take7+Sl onto Take12-Drums mono TK1+TK2 Partial) 17. GETTING BETTER (Take7+Sl onto Take15-Guiter mono TK3+TK4 Partial)
DISC 2 – 1. GETTING BETTER (Sl onto Take12-Bass mono TK2 Partial) 2. GETTING BETTER (Take7+Sl onto Take12+15-mono TK3+TK4 Partial) 3. GETTING BETTER (Sl onto Take14-All Vocals mono TK3) 4. FIXING A HOLE (Take2-Drums+Bass monoTK1) 5.FIXING A HOLE (Take2-Harpsichord mono – TK2) 6.FIXING A HOLE (Take2+Sl onto Take3-Double-Tracked Guiter monoTK3) 7. FIXING A HOLE (Take2+Sl onto Take3-Lead Vocals monoTK4) 8. FIXING A HOLE (Sl onto Take3-Backing Vocals monoTK2) 9.THE BENEFIT OF MR.KITE (Take7 mono) 10. THE BENEFIT OF MR.KITE ( Take7-Bass mono TK1) 11. THE BENEFIT OF MR.KITE (Take7-Drums+Tambourine mono TK3) 12. THE BENEFIT OF MR.KITE (Take7 -Harmonium mono TK4 Partial) 13.THE BENEFIT OF MR.KITE (Take7 Mixdown-Organ mono TK3 v1 Long) 14. THE BENEFIT OF MR.KITE (Take7 Mixdown-Organ mono TK3 v2 Short) 15. THE BENEFIT OF MR.KITE (Take7 Mixdown-Vocals+Organ mono TK4 v1 Long) 16.THE BENEFIT OF MR.KITE (Take7 Mixdown-Vocals+Organ mono TK4) 17. THE BENEFIT OF MR.KITE (Take7 Mixdown-Calliope mono TK5+4 Partial) 18. WITHIN YOU WITHOUT YOU (Take1- Tabla+Swarmandel mono TK1) 19. WITHIN YOU WITHOUT YOU (Take1- Tamboura mono Tk2)
And so the third part of this series that presents the various stems, roots and splinters of the Beatles Rock Band games all in album order. Of all the Beatles albums that the label could have chosen first it really should have been this one but patience is a virtue and just when you’ve been waiting for it, two come along at once. Yes, both Vol. 3 and Vol. 4 center around the Sgt. Pepper album, mainstay of those mid – 1990 ‘album best of ..’ polls that many magazines ( in the U.K. certainly ) were fond of churning out and at that same time the album was doing a roaring trade in pirated Mono CDs to sate the hunger of those that fixated on hearing the differences between the mixes.
Now a good swathe of us actually own both a remastered stereo and mono CD, this seems like a great way to go – the various intricacies and parts of the songs broken in to ‘spare parts’ and while the stereo mixes covered other parts you wouldn’t otherwise hear, here they’re laid bare or nearly so, so you can pick out the buried bits.
The CD begins with a mono take 9 of the unadorned “Sgt. Peppers”, the take that originally appeared on Yellow Dog’s second edition of “Acetates” but obviously in a rougher form than this one. It is missing it’s horn section and rather than fading in to “With A Little Help .. ” trundles on an extra 30 seconds with an extra jam.
The “With A Little Help .. ” section begins with a great piano and percussion take with various bleed throughs from the vocal. This just sounds like chatter as the song is worked upon. It almost sounds like a home demo but, annoyingly, also features 13 seconds of silence at the beginning.
Tracks 3, 4, 5 and 6 are slightly less enthralling as they’re essentially one instrument at a time. Alright if you want to play along to the track or try work out the chords but unless you’re going to mix them all together, not an entirely easy listen.
Track 7 gets a little better. An ambush of the vocals it’s like sitting in Paul, John or George’s earphones as they sing their harmony parts. It throes a little highlight on to the process – there are a couple of moments where the Beatles think they’ve missed a part or, at the end, where Paul doesn’t think it was the best version they could have come up with. Tracks 8 and 9 are Ringo’s vocals to the fore with the harmonies behind. Nice and unsweetened but Ringo’s range pushes the needles a little and it becomes a little uncomfortable a listen sometimes.
The “Lucy In The Sky With Diamonds” section is much more preferable to my ears beginning with track ten – Take 7 in stereo. A count in proceeds the instrumental but here, stripped of John’s vocals it sounds wonderfully linear. The brain isn’t turned towards the brilliantly weird lyrics but instead you find yourself taking in the little jabs at the organ, the rumbley thump of Ringo’s drums, some thing I always timed through when listening to the original are much more open as is the swooshing effect of the piano. Track 11, the acoustic take brings up the guitars and piano to the center, the dobro just a psychedelic hush. Track 12 is a faint vision of this as it dissipates with most of the song for big swathes of the running time leaving us with dead air.
Track 13 is, boringly, the same. The ghost of John’s voice and the bang of the bass drum and tap of the cymbals. It just isn’t the same as hearing the full thing fleshed out and is more reminiscent of a sound check. In fact if you get bored try fiddling about with the volume on your stereo and saying “Check. 1 .. 2″ to yourself as the CD runs. Much more interesting.
Now for the good stuff again. All vocal mixed together on track 14. Anyone who has always thought of John Lennon being the voice of rock will be more than pleased with a single tracked take on this song, flubs and all as, part way through the second chorus he drops a note then struggles to pick it back up again. More of this towards the end as the fabs harmonise together and ad-lib spots.
Track 15 features George’s guitar lines and Macca’s bass playing in tandem. Often stated as some of Macca’s best lines this is justly exemplified by the playing here. You’ll never listen to the original the same way after hearing the way they’re played in the nude. George’s playing towards the end as he knows he can start to freak out a little
We end disk one with two trawls through “Getting better”. Track 16 – Drums Mono – is quite interesting, starting with the bark of guitar, a little organ then the snap of the drums. Thankfully, unlike some other of the tracks, it isn’t just drums that feature, a glimpse of the vocal, the organ and the guitar lines feature as the bed so it’s not all featureless but neither is Track 17 – Guitar Mono – the vocals are a little louder, the drums a little softer but George’s guitar pushed high in the mix – it was one of many proponents to drive the song along and here it’s nice to hear almost alone especially towards the end when he turns to playing real rock ‘n’ roll riffs. as the song gets a little looser.
Disk two begins with more of the same track. A little disappointingly, on track one, the bass is mired under a muddy mix so, rather than sounding like an exciting new find, sounds like an out of scope, offline monitor mix. Track two, a lot of electric piano, fares a little better with hushed vocals underneath but it’s not until track three, vocals only, when we finally get a measure of something a little more enticing. The music all peeled away, Paul’s scratchy rock and roll roar, John’s hushed harmonies reveal words that I’d mistakenly not heard all these years, a new harmony that had hidden itself away for so long. A great highlight.
The “Fixing a Hole” segment begins with a mono backing track with a little bleed through of the vocals ( Drums and bass only it aspires to but it just sounds the same. )
The other 4 tracks – a solo harpsichord, a double tracked guitar, the lead vocals and backing vocals are all very interesting in their own right. Anything that features a seclusion of George’s guitar is obviously worth hearing as is a separation of the vocals to hear where you might have missed a flubbed line, an extra shout or exclamation. It’s Paul’s vocals here that float the boat as he swoops his “Ooohs” and, as with the following backing tracks, it sounds, generally, like they’re being made up on the spot.
On to the 8 takes of “( Being For ) The Benefit of Mr. Kite”. We begin with an extended version of the track in mono preceded by quite a bit of new studio chatter from John who reels off a roll of gibberish before the full take. The Mono mix smoothes everything out and dislocates a few parts that would have been audible in the stereo mix such as the odd fairground loops giving the impression of how the song may have sounded live if “Sgt. Pepper” was actually taken out on tour in ’67.
Out of the rest of the tracks – Solo bass ( Track 10 ) as Paul plods through the back bone of the track, Harmonium solo, the Mixdown – a peculiar thing that almost puts the song in mirror image and exemplifies the tracks that were buried including many of the circus reels that were chopped up, played backwards and put aside. One for you “Avant Garde” enthusiasts ..
The vocal and organ tracks are, as usual, required for their raw states but this time John is double tracked so things aren’t quite as pure as before. The organ is a purely aesthetic addition but it stops the track being half empty ( as track 17 – the calliope mono ) is.
2 different takes of “Within You, Without You” are the tail end of the set and lend themselves to parts of the Indian instrumentation. No vocals just pure music. As maybe my least favorite track on the album I did wonder if I might enjoy it at all but without George’s morbidly factual lyrics it’s actually a good chance to listen to some music that you may not often dabble in usually and technically, of course, it is precise. A very sweet surprise.
As usual the Medusa label have created a really nice package. Glorious technicolor on the front cover with a few era correct photos mixed with Rockband animation ( Though the group shot on the inner pages leaves a little to be desired ). The label have thankfully kept the cartoon images on the back sleeve keeping in the theme of the set which sits really well together in my collection.If you liked this review, buy me a cup of joe. (Suggested: $3 a shot or $7.5 for a double)