The Beatles “March 5th, 1963 – The Definitive Collection” (Minotaur MT075)
From Me To You (Stereo) (DESS UK Stereo “Oldies But Goldies” / Millennium remasters UK EP analog collection) / From Me To You (Mono) (DESS UK Stereo “Oldies But Goldies” / Millennium remasters UK EP analog collection) / Thank You Girl (Stereo) (DESS German Stereo “And Now, The Beatles” / Millennium remasters UK EP analog collection) / Thank You Girl (Stereo) (DESS German Stereo “And Now, The Beatles” / Millennium remasters UK EP analog collection) / From Me To You (Fake Stereo) (DESS Mexican Stereo / Mono “Conozca a The Beatles”) / From Me To You (Master take) / From Me To You (RS ’82) / Thank You Girl (RS 2009 – Wide Stereo) / Thank You Girl (RS 30) / Thank You Girl (RS 82) / From Me To You (Take 1) / From Me To You (Take 2) / From Me To You (Take 3) / From Me To You (Take 4) / From Me To You (Take 5) / From Me To You (Take 6) / From Me To You (Take 7) / From Me To You (Takes 8 – Edit piece) / From Me To You (Takes 9 – Edit piece) / From Me To You (Takes 10 – Edit piece) / From Me To You (Takes 11 – Edit piece) / From Me To You (Takes 12 – Edit piece) / From Me To You (Take 13) / Thank You Girl (Take 1) / Thank You Girl (Take 2) / Thank You Girl (Take 3) / Thank You Girl (Take 4) / Thank You Girl (Take 5) / Thank You Girl (Take 6) / Thank You Girl (Takes 7-13 Edit pieces) / Thank You Girl (Master Take 6+13 – No Overdubs) / One After 909 (Take 1) / One After 909 (Take 2) / One After 909 (Take 3) / One After 909 (Take 4) / One After 909 (Take 5) / One After 909 (Take 2 – RM’ 82)
Session at Abbey Road, Studio 2, March 5th, 1963
On Tuesday, March 5th, 1963, the Beatles once again reconvened in studio two of Abbey Road recording studios to record their third single, “From Me To You” another Beatles hit that had been seemingly dashed off in the back of the fan while the band were touring between towns. As we know the Beatles working method was to start the light of the song from underneath often finishing up the track or the lyrics in the time allotted in the studio generally finishing up the music in around 10 additional takes (in the early days at least when studio time was afforded a little less of a premium) with a little time left for edit takes – snapshots of the track, played to cover the flubs made on the ‘best’ take. (Thus saving studio time and tape).
The first time these takes were heard, they were spotted throughout Swingin’ Pig’s “Ultra Rare Trax series” in 1989, supporting the Bootleg CD revolution, and while the CD was in perfect studio quality, the takes were spotted through out the pig’s short CDs, the rest of the Barrett tapes were sought through Yellow Dog’s “Unsurpassed Masters” but still dotted through out. It was only when Vigotone first came up with a reel of takes for this session that we heard the day in the studio as recorded. Vigotone also added the complete Decca rehearsal tape to the end of their CD to fill out the time. The European Yellow Dog then scored a better upgrade of the tape which was then released as part of their ‘Ultimate Collection’ boxed set to which Vigotone retorted by upgrading their ‘From Me To You’ and ‘Thank You Girl’ tapes once upgrades were found. The Japanese rarities label, Tobe Milo purported to release the last word in the tapes in 2000 speed correcting and finessing the tapes to the best possible standard. Various desktop bootleggers had a field day since building their own best versions where they saw fit, but right up to now and late 2013’s release of the iTunes bootleg, “Beatles Bootleg Recordings 1963”gave us the best of the bootlegs from Apple or at least it was suggested to be that way, the Minotaur label respectfully disagree and have compiled the best possible variations of these loose ends and takes alongside their scattered hard to find mixes. The differences between bootleg and “bootleg” are obvious join their sound as Apple obviously had access to closer to the source tapes where Yellow Dog’s would be a generation or so lower so sound a little duller.
The disk begins with a multiple of variants of the “From Me To You” / “Thank You Girl” single. Taken from worldwide releases both period and contemporary, stereo and mono sources – They’re nice to hear and do pick out the differences in the recordings – If you’re reading this website you’re obviously a more discerning listener of music so pointing out the differences between stereo and mono recordings would just be a waste of your time to be fair. Bottom line; they sound great (The fake stereo mix from Mexico is a little disconcerting however) and are transferred from excellent sources. It’s nice to hear them all in the same place if a little repetitive.
Thankfully, the takes from bootleg lively themselves up by including studio chatter at the beginnings and ends. The variations are subtle but noticeable too so not too tedious.
Then it’s the meat of the sandwich – The multiples of outtakes from these sessions. Through a good pair of headphones, it’s like sitting in the control room as – for instance – when take one of “From Me To You” breaks down after a guitar string whistles, confusing Macca who thought it was George Martin signalling them to try again, it turns out it has confused John too and while this might not be the Troggs tapes, it’s still funny to hear the band chatting as naturally and as un-affected by Mr. Martin as they might be to Mal or Neil in their road crew.
The fun continues through out the session, various takes break down, some takes sound like they could have been the best until you detect an over shrill harmony or fluffed chord. By take 5, there appears to have been a concession to strip back George’s part and run-through the song just as it is so it’s not until the edit pieces are recorded that he is reintroduced. Even these edits are funny to hear – who can really pick out the maddening hum’s that appeared under the choruses or the rather maniacal ‘da-da’s’ from edit pieces 11 and 12, respectively but they are buried in there still and capturing these is much more cheering to hear than what can be uncovered from under a Mogg extraction.
The various takes of “Thank You Girl” are primarily from Yellow Dog’s sources once again but there are fewer flubs this time (The song seems to have been worked out a little more throughly this time but even the second best take starts to fall apart towards the end.) The edit takes are compiled in to a handy little 4 minute block – these are all mainly for the Ringo affectionado really though unless you like to think of it as stuttering drum solo.
The final take – a composite of takes 6 + 13 is presented here without the overdubs of the CV.
Tobe Milo is noted as the best source for the “One After 909” session, John puffs up his chest, puts on his best Chuck Berry accent and together, he and Macca storm through 5 full takes of this early Beatles composition which starts to sound a little tougher as they sprint along but possibly the main reason for it’s none arrival is that Paul finds it a little hard to keep up. Still, after four and a half takes (Take 5 here is more of an edit piece for the second half) it’s beginning to feel like they could have hit the nail on the head, instead, as we know, it was put aside for another few years. The John Barrett compilation is a composite of takes 4 & 5).
It’s a great compilation and Minotaur have done a great job of compiling this with the best sources – What the Yellow Dog versions tend to loose in fidelity, they gain in length and we need a fuller take as much as anything else.
The cover is as attractive as it could be for fitting within Minotaur’s orange theme, there are the requisite period photos shot at Abbey Road too. I believe this to be the best compilation so far of these tracks and – unless Apple reassess their game and release it as a silver CD, the best – and most affordable – way of collecting these sessions.