The Beatles – “Reconstructed Multi Tracks” (Audiofon AF 025)
Hello Goodbye (Take 14 – Drums) (Mono) [Tk 1] / Hello Goodbye (Take 14 – Piano, Organ and Percussion) (Mono) [Tk 2-4] / Hello Goodbye (SI on to Take 16 – Bass) (Mono) [Tk 2] / Hello Goodbye (SI on to Take 16 – Lead Guitar + Backing vocals) [Tk 3] / Hello Goodbye (SI on to Take 16 – Lead vocals) [Tk 4] / Hello Goodbye (SI on to Take 17 – Violas Overdubs [And Percussion Mix]) (Mono) [Tk4] / I Am The Walrus (Take 16 +17 Drums and Tambourine [Tk 1-3] + Bass and Snare [Tk 3] (Mono) / I Am The Walrus (Take 16 – Pianet – Partial) [Tk 4] / I Am The Walrus (Take 16 – Electric guitar) (Mono) [Tk 2] / I Am The Walrus (SI on to Take 17 -Lead Vocal) (Mono) [Tk 4 from 5.1 Love] / I Am The Walrus (SI on to Take 17 + SI onto Take 25 – ALL Vocal overdubs) (Stereo) [Tk 3+4] / I Am The Walrus (SI on to Take 20 – Orchestral overdubs) (Mono) [Tk 2, 3 + 4] / I Am The Walrus (SI on to Take 17 – Radio FX) (Stereo) [TKx Added in Mix] / Hey Bulldog (Take 10 – Piano + Drums) (Mono) [Tk 1] / Hey Bulldog (Take 10 – Bass + Guitar) (Mono) [Tk 2] / Hey Bulldog (Take 10 – Lead Vocal) (Mono) [Tk 3] / Hey Bulldog (SI on to Take 10 – Backing Vocals + Guitar solo) [Tk 4] (65:20)
It seems nowadays theres not a month goes by without another Rockband extraction from the Beatles game – Not a bad return for an item that was released over 5 years ago and that you can still strip it for parts. With a disparate amount of new Beatles material being mined – it’s an easy and simple way of producing ’new product’ without paying a premium and while keeping the cash flow from those willing to purchase.
I once sighed when I saw this glut of releases coming along – I wanted new, new material and after joining the bootleg collecting fraternity right at the point where things got interesting again, that brand new, rare, exclusive take of a song I’ve heard a thousand times before just wan’t coming or rather it would but it would be the only track on a set filled with minor upgrades of previously released stock.
However, like a cheeky, scraggly dog that steals scraps from the kitchen table, I’ve still a fondness for the extractions. When they work, they work beautifully, when they’re done wrong, they’re a waste of time and silvers.
I’ll run through the tracks here as sets – Audiofön have used only three tracks to separate on this set so it makes sense to review them in around paragraphs;
One of the poppies tracks from the ‘Magical Mystery Tour’ LP, “Hello Goodbye” is possibly one of the simplest too – No great swathes of Marimba, glockenspiel or Lute (The Violas are not a staple of music’s soup maybe )it’s a straightforward pop-song, McCartney at his best. The drum track (Hello Goodbye (Take 14 – Drums) (Mono) [Tk 1]) should be just as thrilling on it’s own, Ringo plays a few cute fills, and despite his heavy hand on some of these beats it’s still rather fancy. The other thing that makes this interesting is what goes on behind – despite this being take one -An instrumental take originally – we can hear bleed through from the other tracks – there are various whoops, hollers, whistles that sound like Macca’s warming himself up through the lyrics. For Affectionados of Ringo’s drumming, it’s a winner but for Beatle seekers it’s interesting to hear the anomalies behind the track too.
The Piano track (Take 14 – Piano, Organ and Percussion) (Mono) [Tk 2-4]) takes in a little more as the drums are very clearly heard in the background where the Piano and Organ seem to ape each other
Macca may be the master of the bass line and here (SI on to Take 16 – Bass) (Mono) it’s as bold as brass for all to hear but – and this is not immediate – but without the rest of it’s musical pals it seems like a loose limb. It’s interesting to hear in context but you may find yourself wondering how much of it you’ll actually listen to.
More so with (SI on to Take 16 – Lead Guitar + Backing vocals) [Tk 3] ) and (Hello Goodbye (SI on to Take 16 – Lead vocals) [Tk 4]) – lead guitar is fairly interesting to hear stripped of the rest of the song, the backing vocals and lead vocals may herald more than you heard before but it’s only parts of the tracks that will make your ears perk up – however interesting those parts are, it’s a little annoying not to hear them strung together with some sort of aspect and a McCartney Double-tracked vocal is much less interesting to hear than a Lennon single-tracked vocal.
I’d prefer not to mention the (SI on to Take 17 – Violas Overdubs [And Percussion Mix]) (Mono) track if that’s OK with you. Fairly nice to listen to if you like that kind of thing and there are no silences but as it’s not the Beatles per se, It’d be better on a George Martin extractions album.
I Am The Walrus:
The very track that gained from the 2009 remasters in itself, the various multis are really very interesting to hear stripped down and around. (Take 16 +17 Drums and Tambourine [Tk 1-3] + Bass and Snare [Tk 3] (Mono) is just what it says it is, anything that makes this track shine is always nice to hear and while this might not be the most enthralling piece to hear it gets better towards the end as it actually ends rather than fading in to radio dialogue.
The (Take 16 – Pianet – Partial) [Tk 4]) track is a little better, the ghost of a Lennon vocal slips under the organ sound along with George’s guitar but sometimes, it feels a little like hard work sometimes though if you’re expecting it to sound like a demo, the same can be said of ((Take 16 – Electric guitar) (Mono) [Tk 2]) – there are too many silences here for my liking so despite the promise, it’s a little boring.
Then, we get to the good stuff – (SI on to Take 17 -Lead Vocal) (Mono) [Tk 4 from 5.1 Love] is stripped from the Love bonus DVD featuring the 5.1 mixes of this Las Vegas mash up. Although most of the track is, again, silence it’s all about John’s vocals and they’re right up front with the percussion leading the rear – It’s almost like being in the recording booth with John as he sings. As mentioned, an unfettered Lennon vocal is generally rare and John really buried his on the CV, the stripped version is a luxury compared to this and really pulls out the flames in it. Next to this (SI on to Take 17 + SI onto Take 25 – ALL Vocal overdubs) is Lennon’s vocals in extremis, the Mike Samms singers following their host while the pianet and George’s guitar clatter on like a tinny radio in the background. It’s actually thrilling to hear the “Oompa-Lumpa / Everybody’s Got One” backing unadorned especially as they’re so otherworldly.
As a complete difference to ‘Hello Goodbye’s” orchestrals, the track (SI on to Take 20 – Orchestral overdubs) (Mono) [Tk 2, 3 + 4] stands alone. It’s everything you missed listening out to the Beatles version on it’s own, stripped (nearly) of Lennon’s vocals and other instruments, it’s whatever ‘The Orchestral Beatles’ or whichever cut-price novelty CD in your collection you care to name, couldn’t replicate. Like ‘Alice in Wonderland’ come to life it’s actually one of the strongest tracks on the disk!
(SI on to Take 17 – Radio FX) (Stereo) [TKx Added in Mix] – lets us down completely though and the track is 2:25 minutes of dead air before we get to the radio transmission and then it’s around 10 seconds of wash until it drops out again only to return at 3:35 for more of the same. If you need to hear the rendition of ‘King Lear’ elsewhere, it’s around on the internet. You won’t be in a hurry to repeat this one.
One of those songs that Lennon brought to the desk for need of something to record. The Beatles were being filmed at Abbey Road and John happened to have this to hand – A shame that the outtakes – Like ‘Hey Jude’ haven’t appeared from the archives of the production company yet.
All of the takes are interesting to some degree – (Take 10 – Piano + Drums) (Mono) [Tk 1] – features the maddening piano line and Ringo’s off kilter drumming like a mad day out down the pub, (Take 10 – Bass + Guitar) (Mono) [Tk 2] features Paul’s jerky bass lines and George’s toothsome guitar working together with a splash of piano, drums and organ below.
John and Paul’s joint lead vocal is great – preceded by what sounds like a Rabbit crunching a carrot, this is another vocal booth exercise, usually very interesting to hear, a lot of it is silence, it gets a little better towards the end when the adlibbing starts and the duo start barking at each other.
It’s sister version – (SI on to Take 10 – Backing Vocals + Guitar solo) [Tk 4] – is still kinda fun to hear if only for George’s manic guitar solo otherwise it’s a lot of silence and a few “Bulldog”’s
In and around the same spirit as the Moggology, Rockband and the Bootleg anthology series, your interest is played to the fact that it depends what your favourite track is and your perseverance to hearing it multiple times in different ways. For this release it really is worth picking up for the “I Am The Walrus” takes as, even for the little bits and pieces, you’ll find some joy in.
The packaging for this set is the standard small gazette style that Audiofön are now using, possibly in a bid to combat being bootlegged themselves with a jewel case. It features write ups on Audacity and how to use it along with histories on the three tracks and an interview with John from The Daily Sketch in 1967. Due to a printing error though, the track list doesn’t appear on the back of the sleeve like the rest and has been put inside leaving an image of a Beatles picture sleeve on the rear.