Multitracks Mixes II (Wardour-091)
Disc 1 (77:51): Brighton Rock (Drums), Brighton Rock (Guitar), Brighton Rock (Vocal), Get Down Make Love (Bass), Get Down Make Love (Drums), Get Down Make Love (Guitar), Get Down Make Love (Piano), Get Down Make Love (Vocal), I Want It All (Drums), I Want It All (Guitar, Bass), I Want It All (Keyboards), I Want It All (Vocal), Killer Queen (Drums), Killer Queen (Guitar), Killer Queen (Piano), Killer Queen (Vocal), One Vision (Drums, Bass), One Vision (Guitar), One Vision (Vocal, Synthesizer), Tenement Funster (Drums, Vocal), Tenement Funster (Guitar), Tenement Funster (Piano, Bass)
Disc 2 (50:41): Bohemian Rhapsody (Bass), Bohemian Rhapsody (Drums), Bohemian Rhapsody (Piano), Bohemian Rhapsody (Piano, Bass), Bohemian Rhapsody (Piano, Drums), Bohemian Rhapsody (Guitar), Bohemian Rhapsody (Background Vocal Mix), Bohemian Rhapsody (Lead Vocal Mix), Bohemian Rhapsody (Complete Vocal Mix)
Multitracks Mixes II continues the fun of presenting Queen songs through the various pre-mix tracks. Wardour presents seven songs from through throughout the Queen catalogue, ranging from Sheer Heart Attack in 1974 to The Miracle in 1989. The former title is most represented in this collection with three tracks, “Brighton Rock,” “Killer Queen” and “Tenement Funster.”
“Brighton Rock,” written by Brian May, has its roots in “Slag” from his old group Smile and in “Son And Daughter” from Queen II. Written in 1973 after their debut, it wasn’t actually recorded until the late summer 1974 sessions for Sheer Heart Attack.
Wardour include three tracks for “Brighton Rock.” The first is of the drums. The second, with the guitars, is much more interesting. It includes the main melodies and the lengthy guitar solo in the middle of the piece. It’s interesting to hear the various tracks May recorded mixed together in harmony. It ends with a hand clap and May asking the engineer “how was that?” with the low-key response “better.” Finally, the vocals make up the third track featuring Freddie’s “Jenny” falsetto and the entire band singing in the chorus.
“Get Down, Make Love” from News Of The World is given five separate tracks, the second most in this collection. Written by Freddie and recorded in late summer 1977, it’s one of his more interesting and explicit pieces of work. The separate tracks, however, are difficult to listen to given the long pauses between notes in the rhythm section and the piano. The guitar track contains the spacey middle section which gives the song its character.
“I Want It All” was written by Brian May (although credited to Queen) in 1987. It was the first number to be worked on after the A Kind A Magic tour for the follow up album The Miracle. Obviously another in the long line of May rockers, it also has the Queen anthem quality found in other tracks such as “Radio Ga Ga” and “Friends Will Be Friends.”
It was released as a single on May 2nd, 1989 (with “Hang On In There” as a b-side), about three weeks before the release of the album.
Of the four tracks, the most interesting is the one which focuses upon the guitars. May’s electric is the basis, but what is truly interesting is hearing the prominent role of the acoustic rhythm guitar chugging the melody along. It’s easy to dismiss the guitar in the finish version, but hearing it isolated is a true revelations in this collection.
The final “I Want It All” track is the isolated vocals including both Freddie and Brian’s lead and the backing chorus. Even without the instruments the vocals are undeniably catchy and fun to hear.
“Killer Queen” is the second Sheer Heart Attack song in this collection. Their breakout hit, it was released as a double A single on October 11th, 1974 weeks before the album with “Flick Of The Wrist” as the other track. It went as high as number two in the UK and number twelve in the US.
The four isolated tracks cover the drums, pianos, guitars and vocals. The more interesting tracks are those that focus upon the piano. Both the grand and the upright “jangle piano,” which gives the song its barroom feel, are heard in the recording. The sparse guitar accompaniment (May was in recovery much of this time from first hepatitis and then a duodenal ulcer) sounds very catty and Freddie’s vocal is very bitchy. In short, the perfect early Queen hit.
“One Vision” was begun by Roger Taylor but the other members of the group contributed ideas. It was recorded at Musicland Studios in Munich in the months after Live Aid in 1985. It was first issued as a single in November 1985 and again on A Kind Of Magic in April, 1986.
Two of the three tracks double up on the instrument arrangement. The first has both bass and drums, and the third both vocals and synthesizers. There is nothing extremely revelatory about these tracks, but it is fun to hear the isolated vocals, especially the grin on Freddie’s face when he sings the final “gimme gimme gimme fried chicken!”
“Tenement Funster” is the third and final Sheer Heart Attack song in the collection, dating from the late summer 1974 sessions. Written and sung by Roger Taylor, it is his third song to be included in the Queen catalogue. While “Modern Times Rock And Roll” on Queen draws inspiration from Black Sabbath and “Loser In The End” on Queen II draws inspiration from Led Zeppelin and The Who, “Tenement Funster” is inspired by Marc Bolan and T. Rex (“Jeepster” and “Tenement Lady.”)
Two of the three contain double tracks. The first has Taylor’s drumming and strange vocal performance, and the final has Freddie’s piano and John Deacon’s bass line. None of the tracks as the segue into “Flick Of The Wrist.”
Disc two has an hour of isolated tracks from “Bohemian Rhapsody,” Queen’s biggest hit and most important song. The song was begun on August 24th, 1974 and took up much of the month. Given the song’s complexity, it is given nine tracks with various permutations of bass, drums, piano and vocals.
The first four tracks are interesting but nothing revelatory since it features the well known rhythm section and piano. But the guitar track, the fifth of the set, is interesting to hear the little guitar bits and trills buried deep within the mix of the final song. Whether intentional or not, it sounds like Brian May’s most elaborate and regal guitar sound on the entire album.
The vocal tracks focus upon background first, lead second, then the combination of the two as the final track on the album. It is fun to hear just how low Freddie tries to go in the opera section, trying to add some true Russian-style harmonics to the piece. Hearing all the part isolated, it’s apparent that the final product is a miracle of construction and design.
Multitracks Mixes II, much like its predecessor Mulitracks Mixes (Wardour-089), appeals to the hardcore Queen collector who really enjoy dissecting the final products to hear all of the elements that contribute to Queen’s complex arrangements.