The Beatles “You Become Naked Vol. 3 & 4” (Medusa MD-016/17)
Disk 1 – The Kinfauns Tapes “Bungalow Bills” – Happiness Is A Warm Gun / Mean Mr. Mustard / Polythene Pam / Glass Onion / Dear Prudence / Sexy Sadie / Cry Baby Cry / Child Of Nature / The Continuing Story of Bungalow Bill / I’m So Tired / Yer Blues / Everybody’s Got Something To Hide Except For Me And My Monkey / What’s The New Mary Jane / Revolution / Julia / Blackbird / Rocky Raccoon / Back In The USSR / Honey Pie / Mother Nature’s Son / Ob- La-Di, Ob-La-Da / Junk / While My Guitar Gently Weeps / Circles / Sour Milk Sea / Not Guilty. (72:49)
Disk 2 – The Beatles And Friends “When Everybody Comes To Town” – Step Inside Love / Shirley’s Wild Accordion (Freaky Rock) / Shirley’s Wild Accordion (Waltz) / Rishikesh Acoustic Melody – The Saints / You Are my Sunshine / Jingle Bells / Coming ‘Round The Mountain / Happiness Runs / Instrumental / Blowin’ In The Wind / Hare Krishna Mantra / O Sole Mio / Catch The Wind – Thank You Guru Dev .. Happy Birthday Mike Love / Nowhere To Go / Nowhere To Go / I’d Have You Anytime / Oh My Love / A Case Of The Blues / Don’t Let Me Down / Everybody Had A Hard Year / Everybody Had A Hard Year / Don’t Let me Down – Those Were The Days / Hava Negila – I Want You / Jerusalem / Woman Is The Nigger of The World / I Want You / The Maharishi Song / Give Peace A Chance / Give Peace A Chance / Give Peace A Chance / Get It Together / Happiness Is A Warm Gun / Because / Give Peace A Chance / Cold Turkey / Cold Turkey. (71:20)
The next set of demos from this internet set features – as mentioned in the review for volumes 1 and 2 – more demos compiled from the best sets of tapes that circulate in extant Beatles circles (barring the high end collectors who are privvy to such thing.)
Volume 3 concentrates specifically on the demos recorded at Kinfauns in early 1968 for the album ‘The Beatles’
Assuming you’re not already familiar with the premise, a quick recap – After a few weeks stationed in Rishikesh where the fabs plus a few members of the Beach Boys along with Prudence and Mia Farrow were supposed to be practicing Trancendental Meditation with their guru, the Maharishi Mahesh Yogi . The Beatles returned home with a stock pile of brand new songs for an intended new album. The decision was made to make a day of recording, running through these tunes with a mind to see which ones would eventually appear on vinyl. Of the 26 recorded that day, 20 would be recorded for the album, the other 6 would be held back either for “Abbey Road”, given to Jackie Lomax to record ( Sour Milk Sea ), saved for a solo effort (“Junk”, “Child or Nature a.k.a. Jealous Guy or left for later still .. (“Circles” wouldn’t appear until George’s 1984 album ‘Gone Troppo’)
The demos recorded that day were oft bootlegged after their appearance on the radio series “The Lost Lennon Tapes” in the late 1980’s first appearing on the vinyl series of the same name on Bag records ( A relation of Vigotones by all accounts ) before seeing a fuller release on Yellow Dogs “Unsurpassed Masters” disk and Vigotone’s “1968 Demos” around the same time. More, less important titles followed through the years until Vigotone issued a copy apparently recorded straight from John’s mono reel on “From Kinfauns To Chaos” in 1999.
13 years later, when the “You Become Naked” set was released to the internet a flurry of excitement occured over the internet as to the fact that this set featured an upgrade to the version that appeared on “From Kinfauns ..”
The difference between the two is discernable if slight – The first 4 tracks of the disk actually appear here from the official Anthology but the rest sound just that little bit brighter and closer to my ears than the Vigotone release. The amount of bass from the tape remains the same The odds to that end are no different also this release is out of order as opposed to the “Kinfauns ..” and missing “Piggies” and a little extraneous chatter after “Bungalow Bill” so if you missed out on the original release I’d certainly recommend it but you still need the others for the one omission.
Disk two deals with the post “White Album” demos that the Beatles recorded along with a few of the off the cuff improvisations that the band allowed broadcast to in the interim running towards the event of John’s first ‘solo’ record.
The set begins with Paul’s favour for Cilla Black “Step Inside Love”. This version appeared on the official Cilla Black anthology – if you’re not a fan of her other recordings this might be a good way to own the demo but without buying in to something that’s un- Beatle related.
The next two tracks come from the Magical Mystery Tour film – two pieces of incidental flimsy recorded by Shirley Evans and Reg Wale at EMI for the broadcast. While entertining for fans of the film of just the accordion they feature no Beatles involvement and only serve to pad out the disk.
The forth track at least features a little bit more Beatles involvement. Part of a programme from Italian television the audio is compilation of the Beatles, Donovan, the Beach Boys and the rest of the attendees chatting and running through some standards as well as Dylan and Donovan classics. The audio shows signs of a little wobble at times but it’s nothing that falters the recording and it’s something that the BBC would most certainly have recorded over given half a chance in the 1960’s. At nearly 10 minutes long it’s quite a long piece but entertaining none the less.
Another broadcast track, this time from the radio, is “Thank You Guru Dev – Happy Birthday Mike Love” – originally broadcast by Wolfman Jack on his radio show the track is a tribute to the Beach Boys and the Beatles Guru by name and style.
In to solo George territory – The two versions of “Nowhere To Go” are home demos recorded in Woodstock while staying with Bob Dylan and his family. The sound of kiddy noises in the back ground places him there rather than at home. The first has him singing out the chords ( Struggling with the lyrics there eh, George? ) while the second is a duet with Bob with completed lyrics.
“I’ll Have You Anytime” completes the set of three existing known demos. Bobby respectfully mumbles through his words, while George is a little more open, though probably hoping that he can offload these songs on to Dylan at some point.
The rest of the disk features the best of John’s late-era-Beatles demos from Kenwood and on the ‘Bed in Tour’ in Montreal.
The batch of Kenwood demos is reasonable fidelity and are mainly would be Beatles tracks or are as close as John might get while in the fug of miscarriges, drugs and apathy. The lyrical content mainly reflects this in the first lyrics of “Oh My Love” as John laments the death of his and Yoko’s first baby, “A Case Of The Blues” isn’t much lighter but deals with his mood more with the evocative wordplay that had become his piece while looping around on itself as John works around the lyrics.
“Don’t Let Me Down” and “Everybody Had A Hard Year” would become one and the same at the ‘Get Back’ sessions. The main refrain being Yoko’s love and the chance invested in his split to be with her while the second part (“Everybody Had ..”) runs in loops while journaling his discourse and dissatisfaction that year.
The set of Tittenhurst tracks labeled in the liner notes is, for some of the part, mislabeled. Indeed “Don’t Let Me Down / Those Were The Days”, “Hava Negila / I Want You” and “Jerusalem” all stem from the week that John and Yoko spent in Amsterdam, the Netherlands in March, 1969.
“Woman Is The Nigger Of The World”, “I Want You” (NOT the Beatles track – more of an early J&Y track and an improvised one at that. Make of it what you will ..) and “The Maharishi Song” (Not the ‘JL Anthology’ version – This ones a little more spikey) all stem from Kenwood.
The Montreal tracks are of a mixed bag. Three versions of “Give Peace A Chance” as the track progresses through it’s evolution – the first featuring a loud Murry The K, the second adding a provisional choir while the last is closest to it’s finished counterpart but without it’s off beat.
“Get It Together”, “Happiness Is A Warm Gun”, “Because” and Give Peace A Chance” is more audio verite. The first being the most interesting, using the decreasing chord progression from “Dear Prudence” while John praises, or rather promotes Hare Krishna through the coda of the song. “Happiness ..” isn’t the Beatles song, it just uses the same chords. “Because” is an acoustic guitar version and “Give Peace ..” is pretty much a solo John effort.
The disk ends with two early takes of “Cold Turkey”. Both of them pretty much the same as the other but rather than the howling electric beast, an acoustic rendition by John.