Mulitracks Mixes (Wardour-089)
Disc 1 (58:35): Another One Bites The Dust (Drums, Extra), Another One Bites The Dust (Guitar, Bass), Another One Bites The Dust (Vocal), Play The Game (Bass, Guitar, Drums), Play The Game (Piano), Play The Game (Vocal, Extra), Somebody To Love (Backing Vocal), Somebody To Love (Drums), Somebody To Love (Piano), Somebody To Love (Vocal), Under Pressure (Guitar, Bass), Under Pressure (Piano, Drums), Under Pressure (Vocal), We Are The Champions (Guitar, Bass), We Are The Champions (Piano), We Are The Champions (Vocal)
Disc 2 (60:32): Crazy Little Thing Called Love (Drums), Crazy Little Thing Called Love (Guitar, Bass), Crazy Little Thing Called Love (Vocal), I Want To Break Free (Drums), I Want To Break Free (Guitar, Bass), I Want To Break Free (Vocal, Synthesizer), Keep Yourself Alive (Drums, Vocal), Keep Yourself Alive (Guitar, Bass), Hammer To Fall (Drums), Hammer To Fall (Guitar, Bass), Hammer To Fall (Vocal, Keyboards), Now I’m Here (Drums), Now I’m Here (Guitar, Bass), Now I’m Here (Vocal, Piano), Tie Your Mother Down (Drums), Tie Your Mother Down (Vocal), We Will Rock You (Drums), We Will Rock You (Vocal, Guitar)
Queen Multitracks Mixes presents two hours of isolated instrument and vocal tracks of “Another One Bites The Dust,” “Play The Game,” “Somebody To Love,” “Under Pressure,” “We Are The Champions,” “Crazy Little Thing Called Love,” “I Want To Break Free,” “Keep Yourself Alive,” “Hammer To Fall,” “Now I’m Here,” “Tie Your Mother Down” and “We Will Rock You.”
Probably surfacing because of the Guitar Hero video game, everything from these mixes comes from the officially released songs so there is nothing different from what has been out before. And the sound quality on every track is excellent, as to be expected.
Most of the songs have three tracks. “Somebody To Love” has four and three songs, “Keep Yourself Alive,” “Tie Your Mother Down” and “We Will Rock You,” have only two.
The first is “Another One Bites The Dust” with three tracks. Dating from the 1980 Munich sessions for The Game, it was written and almost wholly performed by John Deacon. The first track has Roger Taylor’s drum loop and some of the guitar effects added by Brian May with Deacon’s hand claps. The second covers Deacon’s bass line with both Deacon’s and May’s guitar embellishments. The final track isolates Freddie Mercury’s vocal performance from the official release.
“Play The Game” is the leading song on The Game, dating from the same Munich sessions that produced “Another One Bites The Dust.” The first track features the rhythm section and May’s soaring guitar lines. The guitar works well with the piano, but isolated it sounds almost melodramatic.
The second “Play The Game” features the synthesizer flourish and Freddie’s emotional piano playing. The drums are buried deep in the mix. The third and final track has the same flourish before continuing with the lead and backing vocal tracks. It also includes a bit of May’s guitar breaks between the verses.
“Somebody To Love,” because of its complexity, is the only song with more than four tracks. It dates from the 1976 sessions at Sarm East Studios in London for A Day At The Races, and starts with the backing vocals used on the official release. At points the drums are audible deep in the mix, but the gospel chorus dominates the track. The other three tracks focus upon drums, piano, and Freddie’s lead vocal.
“Under Pressure” was recorded in the summer Hot Space sessions in Montreux in 1981. The first two tracks are instrumentals, featuring Deacon’s famous bass riff, guitars, piano and drums. But the best is the final featuring the vocals of both Freddie and David Bowie. It’s not only their singing of the lyrics that is impressive, but the way they augment one another with backing vocals which truly impresses.
“Crazy Little Thing Called Love” was recorded in the summer of 1979 in Munich and was released as a single in October, a full nine months before the release of The Game. It hit number one in both the UK and US (their first number one in America) and even gave name to the UK Crazy tour in December that year.
The first of three tracks focuses upon the drums. The second has both the acoustic and electric guitars and bass, and the final is Freddie’s vocal performance isolated from the other instruments.
“I Want To Break Free” comes from the long recording sessions that produced The Works. The first track isolates the drum beats including the phased cymbal crashes. The second focuses upon all of the guitars, both acoustic rhythm and May’s snotty sounding electric guitar melody and the bass. The final has Freddie’s vocals and synthesizers.
“Keep Yourself Alive” is Queen’s first single, dating from 1973 and even predates the release of Queen in July. Although it did not chart, it was played live for many years and was named by Rolling Stone number 31 of the “100 Greatest Guitar Songs” in 2008. There are only two tracks included. The first has the drum track and the vocals, both lead and back up. The second has the guitars, both lead and bass, together.
“Hammer To Fall” dates from the 1983 Los Angeles sessions which produced The Works. A Brian May song, it’s an obvious gesture to the critics who savaged the band and Hot Space for being too dance-oriented. But the blatant stab at the heavy metal riff, arena rock drums and explosions are campy, but a lot of fun. The first track has Taylor’s drums, the second May’s guitar and Deacon’s bass, and the final with lead and backing vocals and keyboards.
“Now I’m Here” was written in 1974 for Sheer Heart Attack. It had much longevity in the live set, and is one of the Queen songs with the most variations. The first track is the isolated drum track. Unlike the others, which were very clean, this one has the guitar and bass audible. The second is the guitar and bass track (with no drums audible). All of May’s overdubbed guitars are present. The third and final is Freddie’s vocals isolated from the other instruments.
“Tie Your Mother Down” dates from the 1976 A Day At The Races LP. The first track isolates the drums. Brian May’s guitars are still plainly audible underneath, however. The second isolates the vocals.
The second disc ends with a track from News Of The World. Recorded in 1977, the first track isolates the drums and footstamps, and the second has the vocal and scant guitar found in the track.
Having new studio outtakes is always interesting. This new trend to release discs with isolated “multitracks” is something quite different. These do not differ at all, but do make one appreciate all of the elements that go into making a song great. Multitracks Mixes is an interesting release worth having for the die hard Queen collector.