Moggology Volume 1 (Medusa MD 001/2)
Disk 1; Drive My Car ( Take 4 – Rhythm Track. Mono. TK1 ) / Drive My Car ( SI onto Take 4 – Vocals. Mono. TK 2+3 ) / Drive My Car ( SI onto Take 4 – Cowbell, Piano + Lead Guitar. Mono. TK 4 ) / Norwegian Wood ( Take 4 – Bass, 12 String, Sitar. Mono. TK 1+2 ) / Norwegian Wood ( Take 4 – Vocals + Acoustic Guitar. Mono. TK 3 ) / Norwegian Wood ( SI onto Take 4 – Drums. Mono. TK 4 ) / Norwegian Wood ( Take 4. Mono ) / You Won’t See Me ( Take 2. Rhythm track. Mono. TK 1 ) / You Won’t See Me ( SI onto Take 2 – Vocals. Mono. TK 2+3 ) / You Won’t See Me ( SI onto Take 2. Bass, Backing Vocals,Organ. Mono. TK 1&2 ) / Nowhere Man ( Take 4. Rhythm+Guitar Overdubs. Mono. TK1+2 ) / Nowhere Man ( SI onto Take 4. Vocals TK 1,2+3 ) / Nowhere Man ( Take 4. Single Track Vocals. Mono. TK 1, 2&3 ) / Nowhere Man ( SI onto Take 4 – Vocals 1. Mono. Edit of TK3 ) / Nowhere Man ( SI onto Take 4 – Vocals 2. Mono. Edit of TK 4 ) / Michelle ( Take 1 – Rhythm Track. Mono. TK 1 ) / Michelle ( Take 1 – Vocal. Mono. TK 2 ) / Michelle ( SI onto Take 1 – Vocal Harmonies. Mono. TK 3+4 become TK3 ) / Michelle ( SI onto Take 2 – Bass, Acoustic 3 and Electric Guitar Mono. TK 4 ) / Michelle ( SI onto Take 1 – All Vocals. Stereo. TK 2,3&4 ) / Michelle ( Take 1. Mono ) / What Goes On ( Take 1 – Drums + Bass. Mono. TK1 ) [ 60:44 ]
Disk 2; What Goes On ( Take 1 – Guitar. Mono. TK 2 ) / What Goes On ( SI onto Take 1 – Vocals. Mono. TK 3 ) / What Goes On ( SI onto Take 1 – Lead Guitar End. Mono. TK 4 ) / What Goes On ( Take 1. Stereo ) / What Goes On ( Take 1 + Ringo Vocal Mono ) / I’m Looking Through You ( Take 4, Rhythm track mono. TK 1 ) / I’m Looking Through You ( Take 4 – Bass mono. TK 2 ) / I’m Looking Through You ( SI onto Take 4 – Vocals mono. Tk 3+4 edited ) / I’m Looking Through You ( SI onto Take 4 – Vocals + Others mono. TK 3+4 ) / I’m Looking Through You ( Take 4 – Single Track Vocals Mono ) / I’m Looking Through You ( Take 4. Stereo ) / If I Needed Someone ( Take 1. Rhythm Track + Guitar overdub Mono. TK 1+2 ) / If I Needed Someone ( SI onto Take 1 – Vocals Mono TK 3+4 ) / If I Needed Someone ( SI onto Take 1 – Guitar+Tambourine Mono. TK 2 ) / Run For Your Life ( Take 5 – Rhythm Track + Guitar Overdubs Mono. TK 1, 3 & 4 ) / Run For Your Life ( Take 5 – Bass mono. TK 2 ) / Run For Your Life ( Take 5 – Bass Enhanced Vocal Mix. Mono. TK 2 ) Run For Your Life ( SI onto Take 5 – All Vocals Mono TK 3 + 4 ) / Run For Your Life ( Take 5. Stereo ) / Run For Your Life ( Take 5 – Entomology Edit Stereo ) [ 51:14 ]
The new Beatles series “Moggology” or, as it might be termed, “Not Another Bloody Beatles Rockband release!!?!”, depending on who’s side you’re on, is yet another division of release from this infamous source of Beatles multitracks that continues to enthrall / upset Beatle fans.
As the well seems to have run dry after the heyday of outtakes in the 1990’s and the odd dribs & drabs of material that arise don’t seem to come quick enough to create a fantastic new release every six months or so then are these Mogg files the way forward? Love them or hate them they’re here for a while yet.
Medusa’s inaugural release features a whole bunch of “Rubber Soul” tracks split between each channel rather than mixing the tracks together to create a new mix like the HMC “Uncovered” series did. As with all these releases they’re heavily dependent on your love of the Beatles – If you love the official output, own Swingin’ Pig’s “Ultra Rare Trax” series say, just for the sound of the outtakes but know that you wouldn’t want to sit through Yellow Dog’s “Studio Sessions” as just one version of “Don’t Bother Me” is enough, thank you, then the pull of these CDs just isn’t going to grab you. It’s a different beast altogether.
Lets say it’s the sound of a natural history museum of music – Things are dissected, explored and combed through so we might better understand these standards.
From the first track of the first disk you know you’re in a different territory as John’s guitar line spars with Paul’s bass lines and Ringo’s tambourine and drums for a bare bones take on “Drive My Car”. The second track is akin being stood at the side of Abbey Road studios watching the Fabs surround a microphone while listening to “Drive My Car” on a transistor radio.
If that doesn’t do it for you, track three certainly won’t as we pass through cowbell, piano and then George’s lead guitar – all in separate stages so it almost sounds like listening to the song in negative. While the best parts stick in your ear and gel on the C.V. you’ll hear the parts that generally gave the song it’s back bone on this track. Interesting to hear how the track sounds without it’s clothes on but maybe it should have been left as an instructional piece on a guitar magazine.
Not all of the set is like this of course – The various takes of “Norwegian Wood” are rather splendid. A spare version ( Track 5 – Vocals and acoustic guitar ) of the song sounds like a campfire formation, we’d have to be so close to hearing John’s pick hit the strings of his guitar usually, over headphones, it’s like he’s here or we’re there. Even the mono mix with John’s false starts ( Track 7. ) sound like a revelation as the dual vocals spring from their background and the guitars sound out strongly unadorned by the sitar.
“You Won’t See Me”‘s rhythm track ( Track 8. ) eaks out Ringo’s shuffling drum track perfectly while Bass, Backing Vocals,Organ ( Track 10. ) highlights the comical backing vocals to the track as if the boys just don’t care as much as, lets face it, they’re there to shadow the lead.
The single tracked vocals for “Nowhere Man” ( Track 13. ) are what John never intended you to hear. While not greatly revelatory ( They are underpinned by the backing vocals after all ) they do still feature John’s vocals stripped of the layering that he insisted were put there.
“Michelle”‘s Rhythm track ( Track 16. ) is just as beautiful without the vocals and we hear the guitar lines that Paul and George twisted from the classical tunes to impress the girls before the band days along with a previously unheard unending. Paul’s vocals ( Track 17. ) show how much he pushed himself for the finished article as much as the harmonies ( Track 18. ) while Beach Boys in style show how far the band were coming in catching up with their recording techniques. The 2 merged together ( Track 20. ) are fantastic to hear while the music ticks along quietly behind them.
On to disk two and a continuation of the separations of “What Goes On” that started on disk one. Track one is Guitar track only – interesting enough but it really gets going on track two with Ringo’s vocals and the harmonies. The dourness of his Liverpudlian tones given a whole new lift as you can hear that he really is trying to do his best and not just goofing off. We also get to hear a few McCartney ad-libs where in the CV they were almost buried by the instrumentation.
Ringo’s solo vocal with out harmonies ( Track 5. ) is another revelation as, after hearing the C.V. so many times, your head will automatically sing the harmonies but step away from this and it’s a whole new experience.
On to the next set of tracks and it’s slow going for a short while, neither the Rhythm Track ( Track 6. ) or Bass Track ( Track 7. ) offer much excitement. The Vocals in Mono ( Track 8. ) and Single tracked ( Track 10.) are nice as Paul is pushing against the music and really rips sometimes.
George’s appearance is the highlight of the set for me. As we know he was already being pushed in to a corner by his fellow musicians but this only made him try a little harder. The various separations of the Rhythm track, the vocals and other instruments work perfectly and the jangling Byrdsiness of the track is really given chance to shine through.
The set ends with 6 differing takes of the Elvis impersonating track “Run For Your Life”. The Mono Bass track ( Track 16. ) shows off Paul’s melodic bass line while the Bass Enhanced, Vocal mix ( Track 17. ) teams the two but unfortunately sounds like it has been recorded off of A.M. radio.
The All Vocals mix ( Track 18. ) brings John’s vocals to the edge and were it not for the harmonies at the chorus we’d have a perfect single tracked Lennon vocal the whole way through.
Medusa have come up with a wonderful set of artworks to accompany this series. Volume one features a colorised picture of the band, umberellas in hand while in the photographers studio anticipating rain. the rest of the slip features several pictures of the group from the Rockband game. The rear tray may be it’s best feature as it features a series of cartoon images of the Beatles spliced to feature the most recognisable aspects of the Fabs faces. A theme that continues throughout this short series. Hopefully, if there are more volumes, they’ll keep this theme going.