A-Cam + B-Cam : Stereo at Twickenham, Jan 3rd 1969 (Yellow Dog Records YD 079 – 2002)
Jam / Jam / I’m So Tired / Ob-La-Di, Ob-La-Da / Ob-La-Di, Ob-La-Da / Don’t Let Me Down / Slate Call : Slate 34 / Negro In Reserve / Don’t Let me Down / Don’t Let Me Down / I’ve Got A Feeling / I’ve Got A Feeling / I’ve Got A Feeling / I’ve Got A Feeling / One After 909 / I’ll Wait ‘Till Tomorrow / The Hippy Hippy Shake / Two Of Us / Two Of Us / Two Of Us / Improvisation / Short Fat Fanny / Midnight Special ( Prisoner’s Song ) / “Sunrise” – Chat – Tuning / Give Me Some Truth / All Things Must Pass
In 1999 he moment all Get Back junkies had been waiting for finally happened. A cache of tapes from the oft bootlegged “Let It Be” sessions were made available to the underground community. Previously collectors had a rush to find several oddball vinyl compilations or cassette tapes taken from dubs of dubs of dubs of fragmentary snatches of chat, tunes or jams or in the best case video footage could be found of most of Yoko Ono’s jams with the Fabs with badly dubbed & often unlistenable audio. in the advent of the CD bootleg things got marginally better introducing newer & longer songs in to the mix but cataloging full sessions was still difficult to do. Yellow Dog was the first label to release full reels from the sessions beginning with “Leaning on the Lamppost” a collection of varied reels which, while they were longer & more complete were, even to the hardest Get Back fan were boring & a little uneventful. things looked up a little when Yellow Dog released their three long box sets “The Ultimate Collection” with each of the 3 box sets unveiling an hour of the Get Back sessions starting from the first foot steps of setting up the sound stage at Twickenham. a few Years later came “The Twickenham Sessions” a full 8 CDs of A-Rolls & B-Rolls through out their term at that location. Rumors persisted about a matching set covering the Apple Studios sessions. One year later the flood gates opened with around 98% of the recorded tapes being made available to collectors. American bootlegger Vigotone took the ‘best of .. ‘ route by cutting out the highlights & presenting them all in a massive 17 CDR box but for the junkies Yellow Dog decided more was more & launched their expansive “Day By Day” series – multiple CD sets of each available recorded hour of the Get Back sessions each released bit by bit usually 3 sets every 2 – 3 months. Indeed this was going to the completists route but as Vigotone already had the jump on some of the lesser bootlegged exclusives then Yellow Dog was going to have to have a little more of the glory. First to be released was “Love Me Do” a ‘best of’ single CD featuring the title track that hadn’t been heard since it was first taped & other Apple era cuts that were still to be featured in the Day By Day series & then secondly this release – using a combination of the reels used to capture the Beatles’ rehearsal on the 3rd of January 1969 – the only day to capture A & B rolls working in synchronization – the songs have been mixed to appear in a mock Stereo effect to give a fuller & beefier image to the tracks. The only drawback being that the reels weren’t exactly synched at all time so a lot of these tracks are fragmentary at best & because of the earlier recording dates & the way things were being recorded then the performances are sloppy.
1. Jam : Featuring George & Ringo with small contributions by Paul working through a Starr composition entitled “Takin’ A Trip To Carolina”. As expected from a Ringo song it’s quite brief with few words & doesn’t quite know where to go with itself. Ringo himself admits that they’re not up to much but he’s been demoing them on tapes that he’s been working on in New York & LA.
2. Jam : Another laborious & instrumental jam with G, P & R all working their magic through this dirge. obviously John & Yoko haven’t turned up yet as they might have been better off working but this is filling in time & filling up the tapes as requested in search for something – anything! – to record.
3.. Johns here! A Paul led version of John’s song from “The Beatles” it’s just a loose romp through while we’re waiting for it all to take shape, for the lads to get settled & work out what they’re actually doing here.
4.. Another demolishment of a Beatles song with John doing most of the singing this time. They’re still messing about at this time obviously to no real benefit. after Paul mentions Marmalade’s performance on TV the previous night they’ve decided to have a little twist through last years album.
5. The song continues on it’s merry way. John, evidently as a repost to Marmalade’s appearance changes the last line to “Well, if you want some jam … ” to a peal of laughter & applause. George mentions that Jimmy Scott ( The musician that accused Paul of stealing his phrase ) was obviously missing out on a song. The sound of distant phone ringing leads in to Paul rolling out an improvised bass line & John starts of a train of though regarding a song about calling someone to which Paul gamely finishes while trying to stretch out this performance. John’s guitar isn’t sounding so he gives up while Paul keeps performing the rest but he quickly gives up to drift in to something else.
6. Paul strums the bass line to Ob-La-Di again but John suggests Don’t Let Me Down – the only real song he seems to have at this point in proceedings – while Paul jitters out a fast paced almost George Formby styled version of the track. John repeatedly asks Mal Evans – the Beatles roadie – if he has the lyrics.
7. A quick Chuck Berry styled riff, George & Paul both ask for the “Don’t Let me Down” lyrics to be retrieved so they can learn the song as well. John jokes that he’s only doing instrumental pieces nowadays anyway. it’s hardly a highlight of the day as is the next segment ..
8. the incorrectly titled track is not an off color track about race but rather appears to be the end of a more ernest track about a broken heart to which John adds a wicked little harmony about someone with a heart defect. it lasts all of 7 seconds anyway.
9-10. John sings a daft take on the Ob-La-Di lyrics & then the band launch in to a solid rendition of “Don’t Let Me Down”. it’s a lot more together than the other efforts from today & actually seems to flow quite convincingly & is topped off with a brief “Sun King” refrain. Paul times it so see how long it’s taken to get through the performance & is surprised to see it’s taken 3:40 to get through the take when it feels like it’s a lot shorter..
11 – 14. Paul then starts to sing his first composition for these sessions & again, after the rehearsals yesterday the band are getting in to the swing of it all although the chords still need a little working on & John is unsure of how his voice might take on the higher notes. George asks Mal to retrieve the words from his guitar case & will also through in some excellent guitar workman ship behind the song. As the band get a little better acquainted with the track it toughens up & becomes a little heavier, Paul improvises with his outro a little more & John worries how the high notes will effect his voice as he’s not exactly a teenager any more.
15. The Chat picks up with the lads talking about Canned Heats performance from last nights television & how their song ‘Going Up The Country’ has no real soul to it’s playing. To Which George recipricates with a snatch of “On The Road Again”. John then brings in “One After 909”. The first time this song will be unveiled at these sessions – the band are obviously well versed with this song having known about it for roughly 12 years or so although it hasn’t appeared on any Beatles studio albums. The song fades out to some rather heated guitar playing where George starts to let loose & improvise a new solo.
16. The track starts with a continuation of the “One After 909” sessions. It’s a different take & ends to Paul noting that he never knew what the song was about before & how his brother Mike has been telling him that they should have put it on an album before now. George laughs about the rhyming couplets in the song before noting that people don’t really care about the lyrics as long as the tune is a good one. There’s a brief riff of a Spanish influences guitar & then Paul mentions how people are snobbish about lyrics & then leads them in to a brief “I’ll Wait Until Tomorrow” before the tape fades.
17. A raucous “Hippy, Hippy Shake” follows – one of Paul’s standards when they would play at the BEEB in the early 60’s & he’s certainly enjoying himself.
18 – 20. George remembers “Two Of Us” before taking the mickey out of it’s title Paul agrees how they could do that & mentions how Glyn John’s envisioned it being played with 2 acoustic guitars but John disagrees by saying they they don’t really have to worry about it just now & that they should just busk it like they were playing songs at the Cavern. The song starts off with muttered passages where the lyrics seem to have been forgotten until Paul gets in to step & remembers again – this is where the band sounds more like it may have in the studio – Paul shouting instructions to carry on when he thinks a take is going particularly well & with each pass one of the band adding his 2 cents where he feels applicable to add to it all – an extra word, a guitar lick or a harmony added in to help the vocal. Here you will notice the sync of the sound reels peeling in to each other as Yellow Dog fade them together – it’s like the sensation that your ears get on an airplane due to the high atmosphere & once you get your hearing back it fades in to form a fuller picture.
21. It’s the riff to “Sun King” once again but augmented with extra guitar sounds again. After a brief chat about the stage show where John mentions that he’d like a family audience with just a few selected friends & close family members the band then lead in to a monotonous & disjointed jam. The Beatles laugh about their inability to really get a groove going but then, as mentioned, this sound stage in’t the best place to get anything going.
22. Another oldie but mouldy. George takes the lead in singing this one but he’s not really miked up so it doesn’t really go too well either. It’s fun to hear the Beatles to turn back to singing their favorites from yesteryear but when they’re playing nothing for nobody ..
23. Much better. They actually seem to KNOW this track ( barring a clutch of the words ) with John & Paul taking the ballast of the harmonies. It’s John that kicks the whole thing off after Paul asks if any one has any ideas f what they could move on to.
24. Essentially a track of chatter & preparing their instruments. The Fabs are running through various lyric sheets while Paul plays the bass riff to “Money”. It’s mentioned that “Waiting for the Sunrise” is a Harrisong which could be an alternate title for “All Things Must Pass”.
25. John has written another song! The only trouble being is that he only has a really basic structure for it including a riff & a few words for a chorus. It’s still a small way away from how it will be on the “Imagine” album. It also appears that it’s working title could have been “Money For Rope”.
26. One of George’s tracks now. At least the band started in ernest in trying to get one of George’s titles sung but they’d fall by the wayside later on in to the sessions & consider John & Paul’s songs more seriously. George wants a “Band” ( Bob Dylan’s sparring partners ) feel for this song & possibly a lowery organ as an accessory instrument. Paul gets the bass line off pat pretty much straight away although he obviously wouldn’t play on the finished article, Ringo thumps along & John really doesn’t contribute at all . the track is mainly meandering & learning the chords while the performance itself is only around 40 seconds along.
Indeed this is a fragmentary, sometimes annoying collection from a fractious period in the Beatles career. Anyone looking for a CD just to drop in the machine for fun or to play for a friend to introduce them to the world of “Get Back” bootlegs would be advised to steer clear of this one & play them something from Thirty Days or Love Me Do. Anyone who just can’t get enough of these sessions though should give this one a spin if not to hear this anomaly at least once but to listen to these sessions in a surprising, new light. The aesthetics are the usual Yellow Dog photoshopped amalgamation of the band during the early part of these sessions with a photo of the film crew on the back. The track listing appears on the back sleeve & also inside the case slip but the rolls that they are assigned to seem to differ from their DDSI numbers.
Separate mono tracks synched to make two-track recordings do not equate to “stereo”. But they’re better than poke in the eye with a stick. Perhaps a bit more disappointing than some cherry-picked Get Back/Let It Be collections, but certainly better than several other collections I could name.