The Beatles “You Become Naked Vol. 1 & 2” ( Medusa MD – 014 / 15 )
DISK 1 – “Let Me Tape You Down” – Bad To Me (Dick James demo) / I’m In Love (Autumn 1963)/ One And One Is Two (Dick James Demo) / A World Without Love (Early Demo for Peter Asher) / You Know What To Do (EMI Demo) / No Reply (EMI Demo) / We Can Work It Out ( Partial ) / I Don’t Want To See You Again (Spoken Intro) / I’m Only Sleeping (EMI Demo) / She Said, She Said (Kenwood, 1966) / Hold On, I’m Coming (Kenwood, 1966) / Strawberry Fields Forever (Partial demo) / Strawberry Fields Forever (Full demo) / Strawberry Fields Forever (Demo with Overdubs) / Strawberry Fields Forever (Alt. Demo. False starts) / Strawberry Fields Forever (Alt. Demo) / Strawberry Fields Forever (Alt. Demo w/Overdubs) / Strawberry Fields Forever (Stereo demo) / The Fool On The Hill (EMI demo) / Step Inside Love (Nov, 1967) / Julia (False start) / Julia (Guitar track) / Julia (Take 1) / Julia (Take 2) / Julia (Stereo mix) / Junk (Basic track, Kinfauns) / While My Guitar Gently Weeps (EMI Demo) / Isn’t It A Pity (Apple Demo) / Old Brown Shoe / All Things Must Pass / Something / All Things Must Pass (Alt. mix)
DISK 2 – “We Can Work It Out” – Don’t Bother Me (Palace Court Hotel, 1963) / If I Fell (Takes 1 – 5 – January, 1964) / Michelle (September, 1965) / He Said / She Said, She Said (Take one – Kenwood, possibly 1965) / Strawberry Fields Forever (Composing Tape) / Strawberry Fields Forever (Guitar practice ) / Piano Song 1 / Piano Song 2 / Good Morning, Good Morning / There’s A Blue Ridge ‘Round My Heart / Mellotron Ramblings ( Tracks 8 – 12 recorded at Kenwood, 1967) / All Together On The Wireless Machine (Acetate) / Guitar Tuning / Cry Baby Cry (Guitar) / Noodling / Cry Baby Cry (Piano) / Hey Bulldog.
The “You Become Naked” set was released to the internet in mid – late 2012 as a 5 CDR download collecting the best of the Beatles demos, home recordings and John Lennon’s experimental tape recordings but tweaked and nipped as needed to make the set a collection that furnished the collections of Beatle hunters ensuring that you could now bin your copies of “Maybe You Can Drive My Car” ( Yellow Dog / Orange ), “Acetates” ( Both versions on Yellow Dog ) “Alf Together Now” ( Spank ) and even the “Lost Pepperland Reel” ( Vigotone – Provided that you had the rest of the Yellow Submarine tracks on the original Japanese release. )
The volumes are set out ( almost ) chronologically and (almost ) by scene. Disk one deals with the Beatles demos, Disk two deals with the composing tapes. There appears to be a little crossover between the sets – not duplications but where there are composing tapes there are demos and vice versa – the message is a little off kilter but since when have bootlegs all made sense? – We’ll look at Disks 3 – 6 ( Yes, there’s already an update! ) in our other reviews.
Disk one begins with some of the Beatles earliest professional demos including “Bad To Me”, a song that eventually found itself performed at the hands of Billy J. Kramer, “I’m In Love” was also recorded by Billy J. but he was passed over for the other Liverpudlian group, The Fourmost. Paul’s “One And One Is Two” was given to The Strangers.
“A World Without Love” was written by Paul for Peter and Gordon. Early in 2013 Peter Asher played Macca’s demo in a section of his own solo shows, the demo quickly made the leap to youtube and it’s from there that it is lifted for this collection.
“You Know What To Do” and “No Reply” were both recorded at EMI studios on the 3rd of June 1963. Both of these takes were also released on the official Anthology One.
“I Don’t Want To See You Again” is another Peter and Gordon song, written for them by Lennon and McCartney. The only thing that features here though is the intro and outro by Paul McCartney as he plugs the single for the duo. There’s scant musical involvement and then it’s only the CV.
“I’m Only Sleeping” is the EMI demo released on the “Anthology” series.
“She Said, She Said” is the composing demo that John recorded at Kenwood. We’re still short of hearing the full composing session, lasting c. 10 minutes but here at least, we have the best quality recording.
From the Misterclaudel release ‘The Home Tapes’ we have “Hold On, I’m Coming”. You’ll know by now it’s not the Sam and Dave track of the same name but one of John’s nondescript demos that fails to channel any sort of mood in him. As this is the only time we’ve heard it, it obviously never went anywhere else, but as the CD it originally arrived on was a little bit of a drawn out listen, it’s nice to hear it set apart on it’s own.
We’re next treated to 7 different takes of the demo’s for John’s masterpiece “Strawberry Fields Forever”. We’ve had the demos for years, compiled on Pegboy’s “It’s Not Too Bad” but it’s to John’s favour that he resisted temptation to tape over them with his goonish sketches one the song had been committed to the studio.
The takes are strangely not to wearing on the ears, one could listen to this meditative selection of break downs and flubs all day as the lyrics are pieced together, the chords are worked through and overdubs are chosen for the psychedelic vision that John had for his work. There are a few rough additions and blunders that rock the ear drums at times but to lose yourself in it’s machinations and it becomes a wonder.
Track 18 however is a newly compiled mix which one assumes was created for the internet set itself – it certainly sounds nice and clear enough but quite what purpose it serves is a bit of a mystery. It isn’t part of the history, just someone’s take on polishing the whole thing up – pointless considering the value of this set.
“The Fool On The Hill” was released, again on the Anthology series.
Another give away song to a friend “Step Inside Love”, written by Paul and given to Cilla Black features as it was broadcast by Kenny Everrett. Long heard on bootleg in perishable quality here it is again .. in that same quality. Unless Paul decided that he was going to release it on the Anthology series ( Which might conflict with what’s there already .. ) or his OWN much talked of solo anthology this seems like the best we might get, unless it’s held in the collection of another Kenny Everett fan in better quality?
The various takes of the “Julia” demos were originally heard on HMC’s “Take Your Knickers Off .. ” set from 2009 in better quality than Yellow Dogs “Unsurpassed Demos” set. These demos from just a couple of years later than the “Strawberry Fields Forever” takes are much clearer but then John obviously had in mind a neater track than the sprawling orchestration of the single.
This song selection also features another fan created mix. The best I can say about it is that I can’t hear any difference between the other demos, I guess thats the point, but then the point is mute if there’s no difference to the demos that were recorded.
Both “Junk” and “While my Guitar Gently Weeps” were released on the Anthology series.
“Isn’t It A Pity” is the i-Tunes exclusive download that was released in conjunction with the release of the Harrison best of ‘Let It Roll’. However, it’s nice to see it pressed on silver CD and amongst the rest of the demos.
To top off disk one the demos of “Old Brown Shoe”, “All Things Must Pass” and “Something” – Two of which come from the Anthology series of course while “Something” appears from acetate ..
The Final “All Things Must Pass” is an alternate mix of undefined origin – a computer generated mix by fans? – either way, it doesn’t sound as if there’s anything new here.
Disk 2 begins with one of George’s first Beatles compositions, “Don’t Bother Me”, recorded while Harrison was suffering with a illness on one of the Beatles early tours.
His cassette, where ever it was excavated from, is horrible quality but it has a rightful place on the set, like it or not.
The next set “If I Fell” is comparatively soundboard like to hear after George’s demo. It’s not quite as long either meaning that it’s a mercifully gentle listen.
“Michelle” is an instrumental demo. Given that information one might suggest the workings of an outfake. It’s certainly debatable but who might put so much work in to working in rough pieces to the chords?
The “He Said” / “She Said” set of demos are one of the most appealing of the set. On disk one we had the more polished set of demos, disk two resets the wheel and presents the seed of the idea that John was working on. He starts the tape, stops the tape and returns to the idea as the ideas flow ( Something that he would continue to do through out his composing career ) beginning with a very different progression that’s much quicker than it would continue to be. John also works a lot with double tracking, doubling up his voice where he feel it needs a little more punch.
The following “Strawberry Fields Forever” demos begin with a little blues riffing before starting again when John begins to put the lyrics to the music and gets a feel for the piece. It continues along the same way as John moves from acoustic guitar to electric while struggling to find the happy medium as it builds.
It takes in a lot of time from beginning to end of the composing sequence but, for fans of the track, you’ll find it a mostly rewarding listen.
On the other hand you might want to skip the next few tracks as the patchy Kenwood demos begin and John, obviously bored at home and in need of entertainment, does it himself. “Piano Song”s 1 & 2 are an excursion in madness. Essentially John goofing around on the piano for his own ‘amusement’.
“Good Morning, Good Morning” is a passable attempt at the ‘Sgt. Pepper’ track but is very rough to hear after hearing the original so many times.
“There’s A Blue Ridge Around My Heart” and “Mellotron Ramblings” might as well have been recorded from the adjacent room. This tomfoolery all occurs as Ringo has come around to Kenwood to have records played at him while John rolls the tape. It’s an unentirely satisfying listening experience and if you can get through the 4 minutes running time, you need to acquaint yourself with the skip button.
“All Together On The Wireless Machine” has long been contested as Beatle material and now you should all get the chance to decide as this might be the clearest I’ve heard it. Apparently recorded by Paul for Kenny Everett’s BBC radio shows the intro is Paul no doubt but the singing voice is much closer to Kenny. Whether Kenny was a piano player of any worth is debatable ( I’ve seen no evidence towards to the contrary ) but thats not to say the playing couldn’t have been knocked up by another one of his friends. The mystery still stands. Still, it breaks up the rest of John’s demos, more of which ..
If you can really stand to sit through the rest of these shambles then you have a greater constitution than I have as John channels death metal and melody together as he gets to grip with writing “Cry Baby Cry” and “Hey Bulldog” on his electric guitar and then piano.
Evidently he gets bored half way through and once again turns to his record player to record himself playing old 78’s. At least none of this made it to the Anthology series.
The set is an estimable challenge from the compiler. On the one hand it is now the definitive collection for these demos, on the other, it’s sometimes extremely difficult to sit through more than once.
I’d certainly recommend having it for the sake of completeancy, having all the Beatles era solo demos in one place, if you’re looking for something that you don’t feel you have to study but can drop on for listening pleasure get a friend to compile a best of from the set.