The Beatles, “Moggology Volume 6 – The Singles” (Medusa MD-022/23)
Disk 1 – Ticket To Ride (Take 1 – Backing Track) / Ticket To Ride (SI onto Take 1 – Electric Guitar) / Ticket To Ride (SI onto Take 1 – Vocals) / Paperback Writer (Take 2 – Backing Track) / Paperback Writer (Take 2 – Bass) / Paperback Writer (SI on to Take 2 – Vocals) / All You Need Is Love (Take 58 – Bass+Drums+Rhythm Guitar) / All You Need Is Love (SI onto Take 58 – Harpsichord) / All You Need Is Love (SI onto Take 58 – Vocals) / Hello Goodbye (Take 14 – Backing Tracks) / Hello Goodbye (Take 21 – Bass) / Hello Goodbye (SI on to Take 17 – Double tracked vocals) / Hello Goodbye (SI on to take 17 – Piano+Strings+Maracas) / Hello Goodbye (SI on to Take 17 – Guitar + Strings) / Yellow Submarine (Take 4 – Backing Track) / Yellow Submarine (SI on to take 4 – Sound Effects) / Yellow Submarine (SI on to Take 4 – Vocals) / Hey Bulldog (Take 10 – Backing Track) / Hey Bulldog (Take 10 – Bass) / Hey Bulldog (SI on to Take 10 – Vocals) (64:21)
Disk 2 – Back In The USSR (Take 6 – Drums+Bass+Rhythm Guitar) / Back In The USSR (SI on to take 6 – Guitar) / Back In The USSR (SI on to Take 6 -Piano+Guitar+FX) / Back In The USSR (SI on to Take 6 – Vocals +BV) / Dear Prudence (Take 1 – Backing Track) / Dear Prudence (Take 1 – Drums + piano) / Dear Prudence (Take 1 – Guitars + Percussion) / Birthday (Take 21 – Backing Track) / Birthday (Track 21 – Drums) / Birthday (SI on to Take 21 – Guitars) / Birthday (SI on to Take 21 – Vocals) / Helter Skelter (Take 21 – Backing Track) / Helter Skelter (Take 21 – Drums) / Helter Skelter (Take 21 – Guitar + Drums) / Helter Skelter (SI on to Take 21 – Guitar) / Helter Skelter (SI on to Take 21 – Vocals) / Revolution (Take 15 – Backing Track) / Revolution (SI on to Take 15 – Guitar) / Revolution (SI on to Take 15 – Vocals) (67:42)
The last time I reviewed a Moggology release, I had assumed that it would be the last, I was wrong however as the complications have returned with a ’singles’ collection. Stripped and cleaned, the eleven tracks here are the usual mixed bag of wonders dependant on what you’re looking forward or used to hearing, these tracks can still throw a few surprises.
Ticket To Ride (Take 1 – Backing Track) – Nothing surprising here but the track is proceeded by a few seconds of studio chatter and micky-taking presumably by Paul who fools his way through a couple of lines. Almost completely instrumental apart from a slight bleed through on the vocals and john’s vocals right at the very end. The track itself ends on a full stop rather than the long fade of the CV.
Ticket To Ride (SI onto Take 1 – Electric Guitar) Very nice to listen to but it does sound like something that would end an ‘Anthology’ episode. More like a regular outtake than a stripped back take, there is a little bleed on the vocals and all of John’s vocals at the end. Again, it ends abruptly.
Ticket To Ride (SI onto Take 1 – Vocals) – Now this, THIS, is terrific. Again, it has the hallmarks of a rehearsal take but is like being a fly in the studio as the Beatles record their vocals. John does his lever best to curl his lip around the lyrics with his best Elvis sneer – You’ll hear nuances that you’ve never quite caught on the official recording. It continues along to the wig out at the end and ends to a shade of echo.
Paperback Writer (Take 2 – Backing Track) – Nothing more than the backing track again but crashes towards the end to a slam of cymbals.
Paperback Writer (Take 2 – Bass) – Everybody has written about how good Macca is on bass duties and it’s something you’ll know yourself but listening to this track is surreal. After a while, the bass notes almost take you on a Joe 90 adventure, deep underwater, the race of the bass is furious really pulling on the skills as McCartney as a one take wonder. At the 1:41mark you’ll hear something like a suppressed laugh of gasp. Obviously it’s something that would be inaudible on the finished article but brings a spot of something else to the track.
Paperback Writer (SI on to Take 2 – Vocals) – As with the vocals to ‘Ticket to Ride’, this is a fantastic glimpse in to the oddities and humanity of these classic recordings. There is a count in that’s tacked on to the beginning but most of the surprises hide behind the lyrics – Paul’s pronunciation of ‘Der-ty’ notwithstanding. On the ‘Frere Jacques’ refrain you hear McCartney cough then someones voice join the harmony a little late. At 1:50 there is a stray harmony (Paul?) that pops in ahead of time. A small anomaly that would never have made the final cut.
All You Need Is Love (Take 58 – Bass+Drums+Rhythm Guitar) Begins with a few seconds of interesting studio chatter (George Martin; ‘Let me know when you’re ready’. Paul; ‘We’re ready when you are uncle George’.John; ‘Spontaneous outburst’. George Martin; ‘Ready to go right now?’ which leads to the oft bootlegged quip from John; ‘I’m ready to sing for the world George if you’ll just give me the backing’. A little bass and horn warm up then the sound of Messers Martin and Emerick checking between themselves before the launch of the track. It starts off quite sloppily but quickly straightens itself once Paul’s bass joins in. It’s a rather unappealing listen after all that though. It sounds a little directionless and slight. Not a highlight of the set.
All You Need Is Love (SI onto Take 58 – Harpsichord) – Much more interesting, the lesser heard Harpsichord. Generally buried along the rest of the instrumentation, the track takes on a pleasantly farmed tribute sound. Kind of the thing that might soundtrack a TV drama of the Beatles as a montage of John falling for Yoko is pieced together when the makers can’t get the rights for the Beatles actual music. The best thing is the extended listen to the improv made by the horns in the final section. Taking through classical to early rock and roll it’s an interesting listen to what went on beyond the fade.
All You Need Is Love (SI onto Take 58 – Vocals) – More fulfilling, the vocals to the track – I’d swear I could hear Ringo’s bassy, dulcet tones at the very beginning right underneath everyone else’. Again, it really gets interesting right at the very end as the improv sets in and they get to muck about. and let themselves of the leash.
Hello Goodbye (Take 14 – Backing Track) – Now we’ve heard this a million times but there is a little warm up at the beginning that amalgamates ‘Hello Goodbye’ with ‘Fool On The Hill’ if you listen closely enough. George points out that Paul seems to lead off a baseline, where Paul has noticed this already a gives a glib answer back. There’s a short piano break before they fade. The backing track here is primally drums and bass with the piano being a little more muted. it’s a different take on the instrumental that originally appeared on the Roger Scott tapes and shows it from a different side.
Hello Goodbye (Take 21 – Bass) – Even less of a good thing but Macca’s bass is still a joy to hear. There is a metronomic tick that runs along side the bass line which gets in the way a little but I think this has been stripped back a little better somewhere else.
Hello Goodbye (SI on to Take 17 – Double tracked vocals) – This set of vocals is strangely ineffectual to listen to. After the joy of hearing the instrumental in the first place, the fun of listening to the double tracked vocals loses it’s sheen a bit. Some many enjoy it but I was unenthused.
Hello Goodbye (SI on to take 17 – Piano+Strings+Maracas) – Now something different – a chance to listen to the strings which is something that gets buried usually. They are presently stirring and in a traditional country music kind of way. Beginning with a count in, the track is rather pleasant and towards the end, appears to feature the sound of a football crowd chanting the final harmonies (Although this could just be part of the acoustics in reality)
Hello Goodbye (SI on to Take 17 – Guitar + Strings) – Now, imagine one of America’s new bands trying to effect ‘Hello Goodbye’ in their own way but by placing 60’s London in a 1910 down home aspect with a millennial twist – this is what it would sound like. Not that that’s a bad thing but they would struggle to come up with anything that was much more promising at the same time.
Yellow Submarine (Take 4 – Backing Track) – Thankfully there’s only three tracks of ‘Yellow Submarine’ here as it has been successfully stripped before. The backing track here is nothing to shout about specifically – It’s good, of course, but for what is essentially a kids song, it doesn’t really too much.
Yellow Submarine (SI on to take 4 – Sound Effects) – Sound effects. Just what it says on the tin. Interesting in a technicals from the studio kind of way but would have been better on a DVD with step by step visuals.
Yellow Submarine (SI on to Take 4 – Vocals) – Let’s not forget, Ringo was apparently never the best drummer in the Beatles and that was his job. Now, we know that that soundbite has followed Ringo around his career like a friendly albatross and may very well have not been said by Lennon at all but it’s safe to say Ringo still suffered with a lack of confidence in his vocals before the late 60’s and by stripping away the other music from this song, it leaves his voice open and naked. It is a good chance however to hear George and Paul add their parts. It may have been Ringo’s vehicle but Paul and George pushed too.
Hey Bulldog (Take 10 – Backing Track) – Beginning with a count in, this heavy but silly track that in a way mirrored ‘Yellow Submarine’ is made more powerful by very Lennonesque lyrics (sadly absent here) guitar lines, a brilliant bass pattern and a jangly piano line. All instruments together, they make for a potent brew. Karaoke lite it might be, it’s first and foremost a great backing track.
Hey Bulldog (Take 10 – Bass) – Proceded with nearly a minute of studio chatter (John; ‘Can I get a little more piano in me ears’) and some instrumental warm ups, this bass track from ‘Hey Bulldog’ feels familiar in a way it does however feature a breathing drum sound in the middle that wasn’t apparent before. It’s is a little laborious listening to the whole thing though.
Hey Bulldog (SI on to Take 10 – Vocals) – A little easier to listen to, this vocal most version. John and Paul were sharing a microphone on this session and are roughly 45 / 55 in the mike so we get to hear both. The downside is the silent gabs between chorus and verses. This is when the track loses some of it’s thread and you might find yourself switching of in-between. It ends with another clip of studio chatter that we’ve heard countless times (John; ‘Alright, cut this tomfoolery out, we ain’t not nothing in the cans here’) but it sounds like it may have been tacked on.
Back In The USSR (Take 6 – Drums+Bass+Rhythm Guitar) – In a garage band rehearsing kind of a way, this is a great take. Ringo having left the group earlier in the sessions for this song, the fug surrounding the bands fragmentation obviously pushing the band to tighten up a little more. Here Macca’s drumming is a little more audible, George’s chopping guitar rarely breaks pace but Lennon’s throbbing bass is dimly backseated for us unfortunately.
Back In The USSR (SI on to take 6 – Guitar) – this appears to be the various parts from the rest of the session recorded off of AM radio. In terms of clarity we lose a lot and what is left is almost rather choppy. Nice to hear George’s solo if a little half and half. It isn’t the smoothest listen though.
Back In The USSR (SI on to Take 6 – Piano+Guitar+FX) – A much better listen. Macca plays a fantastic, trembling piano line, John’s guitar rumbles on behind. The only disconcerting part is the occasional plane noises that intermittently glide though. The handclaps are a nice touch too.
Back In The USSR (SI on to Take 6 – Vocals + BV) – As with the rest of these vocal selections, it’s nice to hear the vocals untampered with and these sound like a lot of fun. The Beach Boys style harmonies are very funny to hear as they were essentially pushed to the back on the CV. The screens and shouts towards the middle (Poor Russian skills make for an appealing listen) are also a bunch of silly fun.
Dear Prudence (Take 1 – Backing Track) – One of the best bass lines that McCartney has ever laid out, ‘Dear Prudence’s’ bones are shown for all to hear. At the beginning there is a litted discussion that was throughly buried on the mix from the CV where someone says ‘Cowbell’ then a little later, reports it but a little louder Made up of a miasma of different parts, the backing track to the song might be equal best thing on this collection. It does unfortunately cut short right at the end.
Dear Prudence (Take 1 – Drums + piano) – On the other hand this is mainly horrid. Not that theres anything wrong with Macca’s drumming it’s just it’s not as appealing as the bass line and barring the occasional piano lines that sprinkle through the track, I doubt many people would want to listen to this more than once if not the whole way through. Skip to 2:08 where the track meets it’s coda if you will as that is where the song really gets interesting.
Dear Prudence (Take 1 – Guitars + Percussion) – A weary count in by John starts this take and we’re back to the best again – from the chiming acoustic / electric guitars, the slither of bass quietly in the background and the tambourine to the glitter of piano to the supine grandiosity of George’s solo. The third best track on this compilation HAS to be this – wait till the end and just revel in it all. It comes a great deal close to the CV as the best version of this track you’ll hear.
Dear Prudence (Si on to Take 1 – Vocals) – Beginning with the same count in, the vocals are faded in almost immediately. For a Lennon vocal this should be great but there is too much bleed through from the drums to make this as clear cut as it could be. It’s interesting to hear Mal (Evans’) and Jackie (Lomax’s) contributions to backing vocals but it’s not the gift it could have been.
Birthday (Take 21 – Backing Track) – For the sparsely recorded track that it is, ‘Birthday’ shouldn’t really bode so well for stripping down and deconstructing but there are small elements here that may surprise – Harrison’s bass line, the crunch guitars and what sounds like organ vamps occasionally but what is presumably just clipped guitar lines.
Birthday (Track 21 – Drums) – Good if you want to learn the drum lines to the track or wow at the fills but nothing spectacular.
Birthday (SI on to Take 21 – Guitars) – Same with the last track but with added heavy metal influence.
Birthday (SI on to Take 21 – Vocals) – begins with a spirited if clipped count in. Macca’s vocal lines are manic here but underneath the rest of it all there are some hums, sighs and wondering notes while filling in the time between vocals. Yoko and Patti (Harrison’s) adept if not technically brilliant chorus harmonies feature prominently.
Helter Skelter (Take 21 – Backing Track) – Wild. Really bloody wild. The track that Macca wanted to blow the Who away with really works. Stripped of it’s vocals it sound much more like the heavy metal of the seventies than the Beatles sound and it chugs along at a restless pace. George’s soloing is given a little more breath and so it’s all the better for THAT! Ends with Ringo’s cry of pain.
Helter Skelter (Take 21 – Drums) – Insistent but not quite as rollicking. it’s nice to hear the thunderous quality of Ringo’s drumming. The furious fills at the end, a nice touch.
Helter Skelter (Take 21 – Guitar + Drums) – A mix of the two, this sounds up a little better, sounding more like a rehearsal for the track it’s hypnotising and again sounds more like their 70’s contemporaries than the Beatles themselves. Various crunchy guitar lines mixes with a little bit of warm up drumming. Ends to the sound of Ringo shouting over from the other side of the studio.
Helter Skelter (SI on to Take 21 – Guitar) – One of those mainly silent tracks – use it to give your ears a rest before john’s guitar kicks in – you might need it. Only really starts getting interesting at at 2:39 as the band start shouting shouting and hollering underneath the take to make it sound more raucous but that doesn’t last long.
Helter Skelter (SI on to Take 21 – Vocals) – Macca’s vocals this time. He’s really going for it too – some very interesting movement as he gets a little too excited with himself and giddy, breaking out little whoops, hollers, coughs and finger clicks every so often. Hell’s chorus are on hand to add a little demonic quality. Once the silents breaks in don’t lose interest – there’s some funny chatter from Paul who begins to joke around. Once again, it ends with Ringo’s shout.
Revolution (Take 15 – Backing Track) – Initiating a backing track generally gives a clearer sound and ‘Revolution’ is a case in state – from the intro all way through there are various licks and elements that may have been missed under John’s vocals, it’s nice to hear Nicky Hopkins’ organ part un-anointed too, giving a clearer image.
Revolution (SI on to Take 15 – Guitar) – Partly great – a lot of silences and gaps. In the full range, it doesn’t make a great deal of sense.
Revolution (SI on to Take 15 – Vocals) – A quiet count in proceeds it then we really begin with Macca’s scream. John’s single tracked vocal is joined by Paul’s, occasionally beefing it up from time to time. Once again, it draws a good thick line under the view that John was one of rock’s biggest voices both literally and figuratively. There are sounds underneath that sound like John slapping out the beat on his thigh. The track ends on his screams of ‘Alright’ and it’s a great way to finish off the disk.