Get Back (Dr. Ebbett DBM-050)
(44:08): The One After 909, Rocker, Save The Last Dance For Me, Don’t Let Me Down, Dig A Pony, I’ve Got A Feeling, Get Back, Let It Be, For You Blue, Two Of Us, Maggie Mae, Dig It, The Long And Winding Road, I Me Mine, Across The Universe, Get Back Reprise
When the Get Back sessions wound down into disaster, none of the Beatles wanted to mix an album from all of the reels of tape. Producer Glyn Johns made the first of several attempts to form a cohesive album on May 28th, 1969, but the band could not agree upon whether to release this album or not. Tied as they were to a committment to releasing the tapes with the production of the film Let It Be, almost a year later, on January 5th, 1970 Johns produced a second mix of the material and it is this mix which Dr. Ebbett presents on this compact disc.
In the second mix of the LP, Johns took off “Teddy Boy” because it doesn’t appear in the film and much of the sloppy performance of “Save The Last Dance For Me” and added “Across The Universe,” “I Me Mine.” Regarding the transfer, this is another flawless production from the label in an excellent stereo recording which first surfaced in 1999 on Get Back – The Glyn Johns Final Composition (Vigotone VT 182).
“The One After 909” was recorded live during the rooftop concert on January 30th, 1969 and is the same version found on the Spector Let It Be. This is followed by the thirty-four second fragment “Rocker” followed by the twenty second fragment of the band playing “Save The Last Dance For Me” which leads into “Don’t Let Me Down.” All three date from January 22nd and are meant to convey the spontaneous jamming in the sessions. All three of these tracks would be dropped for the final product and the version of “Don’t Let Me Down” on Let It Be…Naked is a take from the rooftop concert.
“Dig A Pony” and “I’ve Got A Feeling” on Let It Be originate from the rooftop concert. But on the first and second Johns mixes are taken from sessions on January 24th. “Dig A Pony” in particular is taken at a slower tempo and “I’ve Got A Feeling” sounds more polished and has more interjections by Lennon. “Get Back” was recorded on January 28th and is the same version released as a single. Spector on Let It Be used a version recorded the previous day. “Let It Be” closes side one of the hypothetical vinyl release. This take was recorded on January 31st with overdubs recorded on April 30th while Spector used the same take excepte with additional overdubs on January 4th, 1970.
George Harrison’s “For You Blue” opens the second side of the vinyl release and both Johns and Spector use the same take recorded on January 25th. Johns included about ten seconds of studio chatter in the beginning, but they are identical which is not the case with the following song. “Two Of Us” from the rooftop concert opens Spector’s Let It Be, but Johns uses a take recorded on January 24th which is more slick and overproduced. “Maggie Mae” is the same recording made on January 24th, but “Dig It” is one track that changed the most between Johns and Spector. On Let It Beit is a fifty second fragment with Spector editing in Lennon’s “That was ‘Can You Dig It’ by Georgie Wood. Now we’d like to do ‘All Hark The Angels Come'” as a segue into the title song. Johns preserves most of the jam session, shaving about twenty seconds between his first and second mixes.
The essential takes for “The Long And Winding Road” between Johns and Spector are the same, using the recording from January 31st. Spector of course added the string and choir on April 1st, 1970 but the version on this release lacks those overdubs and begins with some studio banter of Lennon asking “are we supposed to giggle in the solo?” Harrison’s “I Me Mine” follows and is one of the final studio recordings made by the Beatles, recorded by George, Paul and Ringo on January 3rd, 1970. This begins with a bit of studio chatter between George and Ringo and lacking the overdubs of the Let It Be version clocks in much shorter. “Across The Universe” is included simply because they rehearsed it sloppily in the film. Johns simply used the version recorded the previous year, on February 4th and 8th, 1968. The album ends with a forty second reprise of “Get Back” recorded on January 28th.
Get Back is packaged in a single jewel case with insert with track listing and obi around the spine. It accurately replicates the artwork of the never released album. This recording has been a perennial since the beginning of the production of bootlegs and is a fascinating glimpse into the final year of The Beatles and their artistic intention. This is a project that, with several permutations by Glyn Johns, with Phil Spector and finally with Let It Be…Naked in 2003 has divided the opinion of both fans and artist for almost forty years. The best was to evaluate this project is to obtain each of the mixes and form your own opinion. Some claim that the studio banter on the Johns mixes are a distraction while the latest incarnation is too clean, and others do actually miss Spector’s wall-of-sound production. This Dr. Ebbett is a good way to hear and enjoy at least one of the mixes.