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Beatles – Esher Demos (Godfather GR 261)

The Esher Demos (Godfather GF 261)

The Esher Demos – 16 Claremont Drive, Esher, Surrey, UK, Late May 1968
01. Cry Baby Cry 02. Child Of Nature 03. The Continuing Story Of Bungalow Bill 04. I’m So Tired 05. Yer Blues 06. Everybody’s Got Something To Hide except For Me And My Monkey 07. What’s The New Mary Jane 08. Revolution 09. While My Guitar Gently Weeps 10. Circles 11. Sour Milk Sea 12. Not Guilty 13. Piggies 14. Julia 15. Blackbird 16. Rocky Raccoon 17. Back In The U.S.S.R. 18. Honey Pie 19. Mother Nature’s Son 20. Ob-La-Di Ob-La-Da 21. Junk 22. Dear Prudence 23. Sexy Sadie

Godfatherecords has issued the latest of a what has been a plethora of releases for the infamous Esher Demos recorded at “Kinfaus” in May 1968 on George’s four track equipment. Each of the Beatles reportedly received copies of the reduction tape mixed in mono by George with G.R. 261 coming from John’s copy.

There are countless releases of The Esher Demos making it pointless to give them all mention here. The obvious difference with G.R. 261 is the significantly increased gain on all of these tracks. Godfatherecords has done a beautiful job with this trifold packaging offering, as usual, insightful + comprehensive liner notes and including a tasteful fold-out track listing with additional pictures as well as another gorgeous fold-out separate poster.  The last line of the back cover liner notes reads: “This first disc comes from John’s copy and, actually, it is the best sounding version to date of these demos”.

All of you self-professed Beatles pundits take notice. The Beatles as a living entity never did and most probably would have never released The Esher Demos for public consumption. These demos are fascinating and offer the “unplugged” Beatles with all the wrappings. The problem with these demos, however, is that they were recorded from an inferior source. G.R. 261 serves to enhance + accentuate these 23 tracks but there is no escaping the intermittent tape hiss and high-end distortion lending itself to listening fatigue as we try to enjoy these historic sessions.

I agree with the Godfatherecords disclaimer that this first disc from John’s copy is the best sounding version to date of these demos. It is unfortunate, however, that this version reveals more of the pre-existing flaws due to the re-mastering.

Godftherecords has done a beautiful job with this trifold packaging offering, as usual, insightful + comprehensive liner notes and including a tasteful fold-out track listing with additional pictures.  This cutting edge label needs to be commended on their consistently pleasing + ever growing catalogue of releases!

If you liked this review, buy me a cup of joe. (Suggested: $3 a shot or $7.5 for a double)

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  1. How does this compare to the Purple Chick version?

  2. Excellent quality and colorful inserts. This is the only source I have for these demos and it’s very interesting to hear what these songs would eventually evolve into.

  3. The running order shown here matches that on the Purple Chick release. On this fantastic, and yet “overlooked” release, all tracks flow seamless into each other. Purple Chick mentions on the Artwork that this might be a new tape. Certainly the Purple Chick release is far better quality than anything I’ve ever heard!!

  4. Just as an afterthought, G.R. 261 is an upgrade over “From Kinfaus To Chaos”. VT – 183/184 doesn’t have the gain of the former and contains disturbing distortion on the high end with increased hiss prevalent as well.

  5. Thanks for your comments. As I mentioned in the above review, there have been numerous releases of “The Esher Demos”. One, as you actually point out, has a different running order of the tracks. The source, according to Godfatherecords for the above review is from John’s reduction tape which technically would mean a different source. And, yes, some of these tracks were used for inclusion in the Anthology 1 – 3 series but those were approved by the surviving 3 Beatles…

  6. These songs are in a much different order than on “From Kinfaus to Chaos,” the Vigotone boot from 1999 that many consider to contain the best quality of the Esher demos so far. Could that possibly mean a different source for this release? Also, were not a handful of these songs released by the (remaining) Beatles on Anthology 3?

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