The Beatles Black Album

 
Original cover

Original cover

I’m sure this is something Macca regrets. This came from a bootleg called “The Black Album”. It’s certainly from Twickenham Studios, where they began shooting what would end up being “Let It Be”. They all hated it there. The dream was over, John was inducted into the cult of Yoko, had become a junkie, and was resentful that Paul was taking over the band.  All the tunes on this bootleg are astonishingly bad.  Nothing good enough for an oddity at the end of a compilation.  I think Paul was trying to inject fun into a dreary, cold session.  Elsewhere he sings “I’m So Tired”, trying to get John engaged.  “No Pakistanis” stands out for it’s intensely offensive lyrics, and calls into question what the song was really about.  In Mark Lewisohns excellent book, some of which is quoted below, he mentions that out of all the sessions, takes, etc, nothing ever falls apart because of Ringo.  He’s rock solid even on this.  I’m posting this as an interesting artifact.  The best band ever sounding like the worst punk garage band ever.

All the good stuff was recorded in Apple’s basement. Billy Preston dropped by and ended up in The Beatles.

Mark Lewisohn wrote:

Friday 22 – Wednesday 29 (January 1969)

So they could cease the Twickenham rehearsals and switch location to Apple, to their own brand-new basement recording studio. It was at this point, and this point only, that the footage shot at Twickenham for a “Beatles At Work” TV production turned instead into the start of a feature-film idea, to be called – like the album they’d now be making – Get Back.

Although the first Apple Studios shoot/recording session was set for Monday 20 January it didn’t take place until Wednesday the 22nd. The delay was caused by the fact that Apple Corps had a subsidiary company called Apple Electronics, run by a trusted friend of the Beatles, Alexis Mardas.
They named him “Magic Alex” and asked him to install their recording studio in Savile Row. Mardas promised miracles: EMI (Abbey Road) had only just expanded to eight-track recording, Apple would have 72- track. And there would be no need to use those awkward studio “baffles” around Ringo to prevent leakage of his drum sound into the other microphones. Magic Alex would install an invisible sonic force-field which would do the work unobtrusively.

Hardly surprisingly, it all worked out very differently and the Beatles lost two days work. Those around at the time recall that Alex’s mixing console was made of bits of wood and an old oscilloscope and looked not unlike the control panel of a B-52 bomber. The Beatles did a sample recording but when they played back the tape it was patently unusable. George Martin had to call EMI and ask for a temporary loan of two four-track consoles to go with Apple’s eight-track recorder.

Even prior to this, George Harrison had realized the Heath Robinson nature of Apple’s studio when he saw Mardas wandering around in a white coat, with a clipboard, muttering and trying to place box-loads of tiny loudspeakers around the studio, one for each track.

No Pakistanis

Dropped by and joined up

Dropped by and joined up

The Beatles Revolution Take 20

   

The legendary, unreleased “Revolution 1 (Take 20)” has surfaced. Mark Lewisohn tells us in The Beatles Recording Sessions  that this take (#18, revised to #20 after overdubs) was the first track recorded for The White Album, begun on May 30, 1968. Takes 1-17 were shorter, more conventional versions of the song, but #18/20 (the take edited and used on the album) went on for over 10 minutes, dissolving into chaos and inspiring the infamous “Revolution 9” – which used some of this track’s sounds, effects & voices (like Yoko Ono’s familiar “you become naked”).

Revolution Remix is mine.  Made out of all the opportunities created by “FULL DIMENSIONAL STEREO”

About 15 years ago I found “The Forger’s Art”, a book mostly about a famous case where an “artist” forged some “new” Vermeer’s and successfully sold them.  One ended up in a National Museum of Art somewhere.  He was tried and found guilty, but he was somewhat redeemed for fooling the Nazi’s, too. Besides reproductions of his really bad painting (it’s amazing they fooled anyone), there was reproduced “The Disintegration of Faith” by Jan Van Toorop.  The moment I saw it I spotted  The Beatles “Revolver” in it.  The more I looked, I became convinced there was a connection.

Where's John?

Where's John?

“Revolver” came out a few months after John Lennon was forced to publicly apologize for saying that The Beatles were “Bigger than God”.  I got to thinking that quoting “The Disintegration of Faith” was an inside joke between John, and Klaus Voorman, the artist responsible for the cover, and a friend of his since the Hamburg days.  Eventually I emailed Klaus directly and asked about it.  I lost his response, archived who knows where, which while not unfriendly, essentially denied there was a connection, but in a manner that could be interpreted a number of ways . I remember it started with, “High, Alan”.  So I wrote back, thanking him for answering, and with a promise not to continue harrassing him, but per chance he would enjoy seeing what I saw.  I attached what you see here, the area featuring the visual quote .  It’s really the drawn John with the hand over his head, near the middle, in the lower right quadrant.  I never heard from Klaus again.

Revolution Take 20
revolution_remix

Lucy In The Sky

 

The Yin to Shiina Ringo’s(Yer Blues) Yang would be this version of “Lucy In Sky (With Diamonds) a rendering so clueless and square as to be a true example of “it’s so bad it’s good”.  Apparently this entire album is “classic”.

Transformed into what?

Transformed into what?

Lucy In The Sky With Diamonds

Buzz Factory’s Chrome Ineptitude

 
Here’s another Beatles cover. This is a collaboration between Macca, and myself. We worked in different studios.  He wrote the lyrics and sang the vocals, and played a little electric guitar. I helped write the music and played all the rest. He’s good. I’d work with him again.

Oh Darlin

Every Little Thing

 
Another Beatles cover. I can’t say it tops the original, but it’s very big and busy, and is well worth hearing more than once. It’s Yes from their first album “Yes”, released in 1969. Original Guitarist Peter Banks is featured, and does a fine job. Not sure why they kicked him out. He’s about the only member that left and didn’t come back at some point. He started a band called Flash, which sounded identical to Yes, except with the “suck” knob turned way up. Banks also plays on Yes’ second,”Time And A Word”, although Steve Howe is on the cover. Tony Kaye is the keyboard player. With Jon Anderson, Bill Bruford, and Chris Squire.
I can’t remember the last time I heard the original. Obviously I love the Beatles, but I took them off the daily playlist decades ago.

Every Little Thing