The Beatles “A-Cam + B-Cam: Stereo at Twickenham Part 1” (YD 2009)
Unknown / Picasso / Taking A Trip To Carolina / Hey Jude / Improvisation / I’m So Tired / Ob-La-Di, Ob-La-Da / Get On The Phone / Ob-La-Di, Ob-La-Da / Two Of Us / The Hippy Hippy Shake / I’ll Wait Until Tomorrow / One After 909 / One After 909 / On The Road / Going Up The Country / Don’t Let me Down / Improvisation / My Words Are In My Heart / Negro In Reserve / Don’t Let Me Down / Don’t Let Me Down / Ob-La-Di, Ob-La-Da / Don’t Let Me Down / Don’t Let Me Down / Don’t Let Me Down / Sun King / I’ve Got A Feeling / I’ve Got A Feeling / I’ve Got A Feeling / Two Of Us.
I originally reviewed “A-cam + B-cam – Stereo At Twickenham – Jan 3rd,1969” in 2010. A collection of ‘Get Back’ era tracks that were spliced 7 with the B-Rolls that gave a more rounded sound than that from just one mono Nagra reel. Released on both the Japanese and European versions of the labels outputs, it was one of the last to be released before the label ceased trading.
2013 has brought us the sequel – a set of 3 separate CDs that cover more of these sessions in the same way and extends the original concept out a little. Out goes your original Yellow Dog CD, in comes the new set.
Now, as mentioned in that previous review, it’s all determined upon your tolerance for the Get Back stack of oldies, newies and inconsistencies. In my previous review I also tried to capture the performances of these sessions by writing them up. With a lot of snippets running under the minute mark here I’m not going to try – I’ll take me longer to write and for you to read than listen to it.
It’s a given then I try to give an overview of the set completely – sometimes infuriating as pieces drift from headphone to headphone as reels stop – take, for instance, take 2, “Picasso” – it slides half way through from full sound towards one earphone as the reel runs out – I thought it was part of the effort to consolidate where the two reels met but it seems to be more of an effort to catalogue full renditions instead.
The most interesting parts for me are the improvisations and jams that the Beatles recorded although there is light within the half formed original tracks that the Beatles preformed. A sluggish “I’m So Tired” (Track 6) is comical in it’s apathy – but I guess that’s the joke right there.
“Get On The Phone” (Track 8) is a Lennon / McCartney bass-led ad-lib that drops after the bell ringing on a phone disturbs their down time. The first take of “Two Of Us” (Track 10) with half remembered lyrics is pleasantly middling.
A rough “Hippy, Hippy Shake” (Track 11) is interesting to hear and the Beatles tackle it with gusto but no real reverence, turing it in to a sloppy gambol through to , what one assumes, it might have sounded like in the Star Club rehearsals or gigs back in the early 60’s.
Two takes of “One After 909” (Tracks 13 & 14) are as sloppy as the “Hippy, Hippy Shake”, again it’s Paul’s bass that dominates these renditions – it seems it’s still considered throwaway but good enough to re-rehearse and mess around with.
The three takes of “I’ve Got A Feeling” (Tracks 28 – 30) are always fascinating – one of the central and pivotal parts of the film for me – especially with regards to the descending guitar lines of George’s. Admittedly theres a little less to hear here than warming up rather than a performance proper but an an introduction before John added his ‘Everyone Had A Hard Year’ part or before he decided to take it seriously ..
The version of “Two Of Us” (Track 31) that rounds off the set is a high paced gallop, less delicate than the actual song might turn out to be because of the bass rumble, but interesting again to hear as John joins in with partial harmony, partial backing vocals.
A nice set to own for non-completeists – less well rounded than the ‘Day By Day’ series, a little more fussy than ‘Thirty Days’ but it almost sounds like the early ‘Get Back’ CD boots but with a little more tech savvy applied. Recommended for the curious and completist.