Monday, November 5, 2012

The Beatles - Imagine Clouds Dripping (1971)




The Beatles – Imagine Clouds Dripping
(a soniclovenoize re-imagining)

Side A:
1.  Power To The People
2.  What is Life
3.  Dear Boy
4.  Bangla Desh
5.  Jealous Guy
6.  The Back Seat of My Car

Side B:
7.  Imagine
8.  Another Day
9.  Art of Dying
10.  Oh My Love
11.  Uncle Albert/Admiral Halsey
12.  Isn’t It A Pity?


This is the second in a series of albums that asks the question we’ve all asked at some time or another:  What if The Beatles never broke up?  This theoretical album attempts to cull the best of The Beatles solo material from 1971 (with some holdovers from All Things Must Pass) to create what could have been the band’s 1971 follow-up to my previous re-imagined Beatles album, Instant Karma!  This album is called Imagine Clouds Dripping, a surreal Yoko Ono quote that John had felt was particularly inspirational and sets the tone for a rather colorful album. 

The songs were chosen not only for quality but for what could continue to carry ‘the Beatles torch’.  While the solo members continued to stylistically diverge, there were always songs that could be described, in my opinion, as “Beatlesque” and we have the luxury of choosing those above the other more idiosyncratic numbers.  The best and least brickwalled/clipping remasters were chosen for source material, volume levels adjusted for song-to-song balance and all songs are tightly book-ended to make a continuous two sides of music.  Also, a completely unique edit of “Dear Boy” and “Bangla Desh” is created when the two are hard-edited together, making them a medley. 

Musically, Imagine Clouds Dripping abandons the bare-bones arrangements on the previous re-imagining for the lush Phil Spector arrangements George had requested for his songs.  “What Is Life”, “Art of Dying” and “Isn’t It A Pity” are all used on this album because they fit better with the RAM/Imagine contributions than with the Plastic Ono Band/McCartney contributions on the previous album.  The one drawback here is no contribution from Ringo; literally none of the Sentimental Journey and Beaucups of Blues songs even remotely fit on this or the previous album, and his more interesting solo singles chronologically appear later in my series.  But one must consider that over the course of The Beatles’ thirteen 1960s albums, a few albums had no Ringo contributions, such as Magical Mystery Tour and Let It Be; Imagine Clouds Dripping is simply one of those albums.   I feel this fellow Ringo-less album is excusable because this resulting album is so solid and unified.

So sit back, relax and imagine the following:  After the success of their first album of the 1970s, Instant Karma!, The Beatles regroup and focus diligently on a new album with some of their strongest songs since Abbey Road, often with grandiose arrangements from returning producer Phil Spector; Half-way through recording the album, George learns of the tragedy befallen in Bangla Desh and quickly writes a song in tribute that The Beatles record and release as a single; George organizes the Concert For Bangla Desh, at which The Beatles headline, marking their first live performance in two years; The positive experience of this concert gives The Beatles—particularly George and John—the courage to begin a limited-engagement European Tour in late 1971 in support of Imagine Clouds Dripping; The tour also features old friends Billy Preston on keyboards and Klaus Voormann who played bass when Paul was needed to play guitar or piano. 

The critics hail Imagine Clouds Dripping as one of the highest points of The Beatles career, comparing it to a second Sgt. Pepper.  There are a number of hit singles released throughout 1971, including “Imagine” with the non-LP B-side “Monkberry Moon Delight”, “Another Day” with the non-LP B-side “Crippled Inside” and “Jealous Guy” with the non-LP B-side “I Dig Love”.  And as aforementioned, “Bangla Desh” was released as a single to promote their concert, with the b-side being Ringo’s sole contribution from the Imagine Clouds Dripping sessions, an original “Choochy Coochy”.  While “Bangla Desh” was chosen to make the cut for the album, “Coochy Coochy” was not.  The success of The Beatles late 1971 European tour spurred them to plan an American tour in 1972, and a need for new material in the material world… 


Sources used:
All Things Must Pass (2010 40th Anniversary Master)
The Best of George Harrison (1990)
Imagine (2003 MFSL remaster)
RAM (1993 remaster)
Working Class Hero – The Definitive John Lennon (2005)

flac --> wav --> editing in Audacity and Goldwave --> flac encoding via TLH lv8
*md5, artwork and tracknotes included

49 comments:

  1. I love the cover art for these. They're so Pink Floydish

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  2. Also you should make the next imaginary Beatles album a rock opera.

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  3. Paul's songs improve in this context; George's sound worse; and John remains John, which is not too surprising since both George and Ringo played on some his material. Pity about the lack of Ringo vocals, I'd recommend mildly anachronistic cheating. But this is a great series, thanks!

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  4. Actually, of all these reconstructions, so far this is actually my LEST favorite.

    The main problem being that overall, the album is too gentle and soft. This gentleness makes the listener tired and sleepy, and taking into account the fact that it ends on such a downer of a song, "Isn't It a Pity" makes it feel more downbeat then your selections for Instant Karma!

    Side one starts off with the loud and overtop anthem of "Power to the People", followed by the surprisingly upbeat "What is Life" and then followed by the infectious "Dear Boy".

    But then, we're suddenly blindsided by the ultra-depressing and mournful "Bangla Desh" were George's vocals are, not to put too fine a point on it, whiny. Then we hear John's "Jelouis Guy" which, after a downer like "Bangla Desh", makes the listener feel down right depressed. Then we hear Paul's "The Back Seat of My Car" which stars all soft and introspective and only in the final two mins does it finally pick up and become a wild frenzied jam.

    Then there's side two, which starts off with "Imagine" which only manages to make the listener more tired, followed by the oddly sad "Another Day" and then the dark and strange "Art of Dying" and then "Oh My Love", once again, too laid back, and the out of place "Uncle Albert/Admiral Halsey" which ends up feeling like it was forced in at the last second to try and make Side Two more upbeat. Followed by the emotionally taxing "Isn't It a Pity"

    Overall, this album comes off as strangely sad and emotionally dead, almost as if they were all drugged up on Xanax while recording it. With it lacking the emotional honesty that I found in "Instant Karma!", what with John's hyper-stripped down songs from "Plastic Ono Band" and George's spiritual yearning embodied in "My Sweet Lord" and "Hear Me Lord".

    But this is still really cool, as an experiment.

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  5. Hi,
    Really enjoying the 'what if' albums.
    Any chance you could update the links for this please?
    Thanks.

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  6. This is the great Beatles album that never was. Love it

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  7. Flac links are dead at the moment.....

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  8. Despite a couple of nega comments I would still love to hear this and appreciate all your hard work putting the Beatles 'Re-Imagined' (might have been a good title for this one) together. I'd have loved to have heard one where the Beatles, after the slog of Abbey Road, decided to have a rest for a few years, and then they come back in 1973 with one of the best double albums of all time...... all killer, no filler.

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  9. The weird thing is, I go to the E6 townhall to check out whether there's been anything posted about the forthcoming Circulatory System lp and find out that this is you! Cheers for reupping! Just don't go editing the CS debut! Some things are too good to tamper with. ;-)
    p.s. You on Facebook? This is me.... https://www.facebook.com/tel.sutton

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    Replies
    1. Oh haha, I am one of the moderators on the Townhall!

      Actually, search the archives a few years back, I had made a mock 3rd Olivia Tremor Control album using tracks from Age of The Sun and Circulatory System. Don't think I'd post it here or anything though. I don't want to jinx any chance of the actual 3rd Olivia Tremor Control album The Same Place to come out!

      Yep, freind me on facebook if you want. Same screen name as everywhere else.

      Delete
  10. Exelent Idea to imagine albuns that never were, my friend.
    Exept for the apsent of "Oh Woman Oh Why" (B side of "Another Day" in Brazil). It would be an exelent complementar song for a Beatles Imaginary album.
    Unhapply the link is Broken. Can you please reativate the it?

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    Replies
    1. Links updated!

      Not a huge fan of that song, it didn't seem to fit in here...

      Delete
  11. Links are all dead, ever consider having your genius hosted on a torrent service?

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  12. Pleeeeaaaasssseeeeeeee!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
    (Great Blog!!!!!!)
    Denis - Brasil

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  13. When I open the links it says file does not exist on server. if you can fix this please do

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    Replies
    1. OK the links are updated.

      They keep going down, and I assume they will continue going down (possibly due to the new George Harrison box or the new John Lennon hi-res downloads on universal).

      If anyone has any ideas of a different file hosting site, that will be welcomed. Maybe the flacs will have to go on a torrent tracker... Otherwise these links will just keep going down after a few days

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  14. Please update, mp3 is dead. Thank you so much

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  15. I just discovered this blog and it might be the best thing ever... Could you please update this file one more time though? It's all I need to complete the series... Thanks in advance and keep rockin'!

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  16. I just discovered this great blog today. Could you please upload this wonderful looking album? @320 is fine with me. Thanks again.

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  17. Thank you so much for uploading this one again!

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  18. Just found this wonderful blog. Thank you not only for re-imagining these albums but also for continually updating the links. Ah, if only the Beatles had kept going ...

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  19. John and George on the abysmal Admiral Halsey ? Don't think that ever would have happened. Pretty cool, otherwise.

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  20. Possible for updated links? Thanks!

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  21. Thanks for all the fantastic music. I am like a kid in a candy store here!! Can you please re-up this one please? I am looking for the mp3 version. Thanks man.

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  22. rerererrerererererere upload pleaseeee. fantastic blog!!!! thankssss

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  23. Also hope you could repost this one if possible...

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  24. I was just wondering what happened to the 1972 entry, "Living in the Material World." The entire blog post seems to be gone. I had already downloaded the flac files a few months back, but I was going back yesterday to print out your posts for a friend (I really like the "what if?" scenarios you have for each one) and it has just disappeared. Will you repost it sometime in the future? Thanks!

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    1. Hmmm, Ooops it was marked as a draft, I must have done that accidentally. I republished it, so it should be back up again.

      Delete
    2. Blogger has been notified, according to the terms of the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA), that certain content in your blog is alleged to infringe upon the copyrights of others. As a result, we have reset the post(s) to "draft" status. (If we did not do so, we would be subject to a claim of copyright infringement, regardless of its merits. The URL(s) of the allegedly infringing post(s) may be found at the end of this message.) This means your post - and any images, links or other content - is not gone. You may edit the post to remove the offending content and republish, at which point the post in question will be visible to your readers again.

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      The notice that we received, with any personally identifying information removed, will be posted online by a service called Chilling Effects at https://www.chillingeffects.org. We do this in accordance with the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA). You can search for the DMCA notice associated with the removal of your content by going to the Chilling Effects search page at https://www.chillingeffects.org/search.cgi, and entering in the URL of the blog post that was removed. If it is brought to our attention that you have republished the post without removing the content/link in question, then we will delete your post and count it as a violation on your account. Repeated violations to our Terms of Service may result in further remedial action taken against your Blogger account including deleting your blog and/or terminating your account. If you have legal questions about this notification, you should retain your own legal counsel.

      Delete
  25. Made an alternate album cover based on this project:

    http://i.imgur.com/bnBakxW.jpg

    Thank you!

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  26. Another blog is posting this: http://60-70rock.blogspot.com/2015/10/the-beatles-imagine-clouds-dripping-1971.html

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