Thursday, November 24, 2022

The Beach Boys - SMiLE (Hitsville Mix)

The Beach Boys - SMiLE

(stereo “Hitsville Mix” by soniclovenoize)



Side A:

1.  Our Prayer

2.  Do You Like Worms

3.  Wind Chimes

4.  Heroes and Villains Part I

5.  Heroes and Villains Part II

6.  Surf’s Up

7.  Good Vibrations


Side B:

8.  Cabin Essence 

9.  Wonderful

10.  I’m In Great Shape

11. Child is Father of The Man

12.  The Elements

13.  Vege-Tables

14.  The Old Master Painter



Need something to be thankful about this Thanksgiving?  How about a new SMiLE?


I have gotten many requests for an update to my SMiLE mix lately… and while I don’t necessarily see any pressing need to upgrade my previous SMiLE reconstructions (as yes, I do stand by my ‘67 reconstruction!), I thought it would be a fun challenge to make a completely different SMiLE mix!  I call this the “Hitsville Mix” (named after a Brian Wilson ad lib while recording “Heroes and Villains”) and it is unassociated with my previous mixes.  It is a completely different mix and ideally, a different SMiLE listening experience, intending to be more unpredictable and bizarre, much like the actual Smiley Smile album.  Here, I am using ALL NEW stereo mixes I’ve made over the last few months, except “Good Vibrations”, which is the brand new 2022 official stereo extraction mix, which sounds the best it ever has! 

What is the theme/concept of the Hitsville Mix of SMiLE?  I gave myself a few guidelines:

1)  Unlike my previous “1967” mix, I am not beholden to strict “historical accuracy” or the theoretical artistic intent of Brian Wilson.  This is the mix that I wanted to make, rather than the mix I presumed Brian Wilson wanted to make.  

2)  ALL STEREO.  This requires, as aforementioned, new stereo mixes to be made for all songs, except “Our Prayer” and “Good Vibrations”, whose official stereo mixes are just fine. 

3)  As a challenge, I chose to limit myself to using the handwritten “Capitol Trackllist” as submitted to Capitol Records in January 1967 and subsequently printed on the reverse cover slicks.  The majority of SMiLErs discard this track sequence for various reasons and create their own track sequence–often based upon either Dominic Priore’s suggested tracklist in Look! Listen! Vibrate Smile! or Darian Sahanaja’s tracklist on Brian Wilson Presents SMiLE.  Here, we will try to make sense out of the long-derided track order.  


The end result of my Hitsville Mix is exactly how I hoped: it is a little more bonkers and less logical than my previous reconstructions, and keeps the vibe of Smiley Smile, albeit more hi-fi.  Songs are allowed to be fragments and don’t necessarily go anywhere; the listener is thrown curve-balls and the trajectory of the album is fairly unexpected; Side B is specifically bizarre but ends with a wow! 


Side A begins like any other mix–with “Our Prayer”, the stereo mix from Made in California as an unlisted introduction to the album.  This is hard edited into a new stereo mix of “Do You Like Worms”, which uses the tracking sessions from The Smile Sessions as a base, with isolated vocals from the Smile Vocal Montage, Unsurpassed Masters 17 and the (lousy) 2022 stereo mix from Sounds of Summer.  Following is “Wind Chimes”, here ignoring the stereo Made in California mix and instead presented as a similar structure as Brian’s 1966 test edit, using a pitch-corrected backing track taken from The Smile Sessions, with vocals taken from The Smile Vocal Montage and Unsurpassed Masters 16.  


The project’s flagship song “Heroes and Villains” follows, which is a completely stereo version of the classic “Cantina Mix”, including the Verse and Three-Score-Five sections!  But instead, after Whistling Bridge there is a cut to Bridge To Indians and Prelude To Fade to create an ending (since I am using the proper Fade to end the actual album).  Next is my attempt to create the theoretical “Part II” of “Heroes and Villains”, that would have been found on its 7” single (or combined to the legendary six-minute “Heroes and Villains”, if you are so inclined).  Using the Gee and Part 2 iterations as a base combined with excerpts from the Brian Wilson led psychedelic sounds, mock interviews and experimental raps, we are able to create a faux Vaudeville variety act!  What I am intending is that the listener can imagine The Beach Boys as a psychedelic barbershop quartet who are literally framing a series of comedy sketches, all onstage and concluding with a laughing audience!


One gripe SMiLErs have with the Capitol Tracklist is the placement of “Surf’s Up” in the middle of Side A; while strange, we will embrace it and own it, as a song about a maestro artist on-stage literally follows an on-stage performance!  Here is a brand new stereo mix I’ve created using the tracking sessions from The Smile Sessions as a base, combined with the isolated vocals from the Feel Flows boxset.  Here, I’ve chosen to use Carl’s lead vocal instead of Brian’s, which seemed more appropriate with the song’s placement on the album.  Following is the fantastic 2022 stereo extraction mix of “Good Vibrations” from Sounds of Summer


Side B begins with a new, improved stereo mix of “Cabin Essence”, using the backing tracks from The Smile Sessions, combined with the extracted vocal from 20/20 and The Smile Vocal Montage.  Next is a brand new stereo mix of “Wonderful”, with a more defined soundstage, sourced from the Good Vibrations box set and The Smile Vocal Montage.  Using the Insert as a segue, we can modulate up to “I’m In Great Shape”, which combines the backing track from The Smile Sessions and the vocal from the Humble Harve demo, hard edited onto a stereo “I Wanna Be Around”; this follows the BWPS structure, which was how I always envisioned the song being constructed.  


Next is a new stereo mix of “Child is Father of the Man”, using a structure that best fits this album’s track sequence, rather than any version that Brian Wilson specifically designed.  Next is an edit I am fairly proud of–a completely new version of “The Elements”, again made to fit this album sequence, rather than any historical accuracy.  It begins with the Earth section, represented by a brand new stereo mix of “Barnyard”; then it is overlapped with the Wind section, represented by the alternate Whispering Winds from Sunshine Tomorrow; Fire is next represented by “Mrs O’Leary’s Cow”, proper, without any Chimes or Heroes and Villains Intros which is otherwise common; concluding is the Water section, represented by the alternate Water Chant from Sunshine Tomorrow.  


The concept of this new mix of “Vege-Tables” is to make an all-stereo version of a specific edit of “Vege-Tables” I made 20 years ago, which mainly constituted Brian’s mono mixdowns from Unsurpassed Masters 17 and Mark Linett’s mix on the Good Vibrations boxset.  Thus, using the stereo mix from Made in California, tracking sessions from The Smile Sessions and vocals from The Smile Vocal Montage and Unsurpassed Masters 17, we are able to have both the extended reverb at the end of the first two verses, as well as the unique crossfade between the Do A Lot chorus and the Fade, now in true stereo!  The Hitsville Mix of SMiLE ends with a big send-off: “The Old Master Painter”, featuring a brand new (and more accurate!) stereo sync.  Note that the Barnshine Fade is used here to end the track as originally intended before it was gutted for the Cantina mix of “Heroes and Villains”, giving this SMiLE and joyous finale.  



Sources used:

Feel Flows (2021 CD box set)

Good Vibrations: Thirty Years of The Beach Boys (1993 CD box set)

Made in California (2013 CD box set)

The SMiLE Sessions (2011 CD box set)

Sounds of Summer (2022 deluxe edition)

Sunshine Tomorrow (2017 CD)

Unsurpassed Masters Vol 16 (1999 bootleg CD)

Unsurpassed Masters Vol 17 (2000 bootleg CD)

Saturday, October 29, 2022

The Beatles - Between The Lines

The Beatles - Between The Lines

(a soniclovenoize reimagining)



Side A:
1.  Let ‘Em In
2.  Crackerbox Palace
3.  Silly Love Songs
4.  Cookin’ In The Kitchen of Love
5.  Warm and Beautiful

Side B:
6.  See Yourself
7.  San Ferry Anne
8.  Beautiful Girl/Dear One
9.  Beware My Love
10. Tennessee


Hey folks.  Sorry about my absence…  A mix of being busy at work, a break-up, depression, etc etc etc.  I’ll try to “get back up on the horse” and drop some soniclovenoize reconstructions and reimaginings, starting with one that I think will be fairly unexpected and possibly exciting
for some (and loathed by others!).  I know long ago I said I would never do this, but during the pandemic (I had assembled this in November 2020, actually) I buckled down and made some Albums That Never Were I never expected to!  And you know what?  I actually really liked this one!  

If you couldn’t figure it out by the tracklist, this is an album “re-imagining” that postulates “What if The Beatles never broke up?” and is a part of my previous series of similar albums, including Instant Karma!, Imagine Clouds Dripping, Living In The Material World, Band On The Run, Goodnight Vienna and Skywriting By Word of Mouth.  This theoretical album– called Between The Lines (the tentative title of Lennon’s follow-up to Rock and Roll that was scrapped after being domesticated in 1975)-- encompasses The Beatles solo material spanning 1975 and 1976, and would have been theoretically released in fall 1976.  

As with my previous Beatles 70s Albums, I will adhere to three rules, although there are some slight modifications for these albums that follow Lennon’s real-life domestication and retirement:
1)  One album is represented per year, culled from tracks each Beatle recorded that year; this rule is revised so that one album spans two years instead of one.  Not only will this accommodate a lack of new material from some of the Beatles during this time, it will also force the outcome to be of better quality.  
2)  Generally speaking, to include five Lennon songs, five McCartney songs, three Harrison songs and one Ringo song; this rule is revised to presume that Lennon largely retired from The Beatles, occasionally contributing as a studio musician but leaving most of the heavy lifting for
Paul and George.   
3)  The chosen songs must be Beatle-esque in nature; we will attempt to avoid the idiosyncratic musical tangents each Beatle pursued in the 70s and vie for the solo songs that would have been most likely recorded by The Beatles (i.e. not vetoed by the rest of the band).
4)  The songs must flow together and make a unified album that shares a specific tone.

Between The Lines collects the highlights from Paul’s Wings at the Speed of Sound, George’s Thirty-Three and a Third, Ringo’s Rotogravure and, well, the six solo Lennon demos that date from his early Dakota era, approximately simultaneous to the aforementioned albums.  Both sides of the  re-imagining are edited to be two continuous sides of music.  The cover is taken from a Miro painting that somehow evokes the feel of this curious little album.  

Side A begins with my own unique edit of “Let ‘Em In”, which replicates the very rare original radio edit, only released as a promo disc; this is significant because that is the version I grew up listening to on the radio, and it is otherwise lost to time–and the unnecessarily long and repetitive album version.  This is followed by George’s classic “Crackerbox Palace”, which seems to somehow fit seamlessly before “Silly Love Songs”; like “Let ‘Em In”, this is my own unique ‘single edit’ since the song is likewise unnecessarily long.  Next is Ringo’s token song, written by John, “Cookin’ In The Kitchen of Love”, with the side closing with Paul’s ballad “Warm and Beautiful.”   Side B begins with George’s “See Yourself”, followed by Paul’s “San Ferry Anne”.  Next is a massive Paul-esque medley of George’s “Beautiful Girl” and Paul’s “Beware My Love”, using a brief bit of George’s “Dear One” to bridge the songs.  I couldn’t not have a John song, so concluding is the voice of our old friend: my own custom edit of “Tennessee”; although a Lennon home demo would sound drastically different from Paul & George ‘s studio output at this time, I believe this song works here as a closing piano solo.  

So sit back and imagine, if you will, an alternate timeline…
Although The Beatles went on an indefinite hiatus following the short 1974 tour for their hit album Goodnight Vienna, all four remained friendly, although not musically active with each other.  Paul took the opportunity to perform a solo tour (featuring wife Linda and his old friend Denny Lane as accompaniment) playing stripped down selections of his Beatles favorites from the last fifteen years.  George released a solo album Extra Texture, which had a lukewarm response despite featuring a moderate hit “You” (a duet with Ronnie Spector of The Ronnettes).  Ringo continued acting, building his filmography to include the role as The Pope in Listztomania, the voice of God in Monty Python and The Holy Grail and Uncle Ernie in the film adaptation of The Who’s Tommy.  John chose to stay home with his wife Yoko Ono and newborn Sean.  But the release of The Beatles’ Live at Madison Square Garden in late 1975 renewed some interest in the group continuing as a studio band, much like their late-60s era.  

Gradually, three of the four Beatles found themselves in each other's periphery and began plotting a new album, to be begun in early 1976.  John was only able to casually commit to the album, as he was no longer interested in living the rock star life.  While making only scant appearances on rhythm guitar and some backing vocals (although he distinctly took the lead for Ringo’s contribution to the album), a question emerged in the fans’ collective mind: is it really a Beatles album without John?  Regardless, a Paul-and-George -driven quartet released Between The Lines in October 1976, promoted only with a handful of live television  performances.  Most notable was their performance of “Let ‘Em In” on Saturday Night Live, in which Chevy Chase guested on a marching-band snare, prompting John Lennon to lead the entire show’s cast in a march outside and around Rockefeller Plaza.  

The moderate success of the double A-side single of “Silly Love Songs” and “Crackerbox Palace” encouraged the group to plan a follow-up in this short-lived and strange era of the band, and broad talks were made to reconvene in a year or so to see what the trio (and hopefully quartet) could muster…  


 

Sources used:
Paul McCartney & Wings - Wings at The Speed of Sound (2014 Remaster)
George Harrison - The Dark Horse Years 1976-1992
John Lennon - Between The Lines (2006 bootleg)
Ringo Starr - Ringo's Rotogravure (2009 Rhino Remaster)


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

Monday, March 28, 2022

Neil Young - Homegrown (upgrade)

Neil Young - Homegrown

(soniclovenoize reconstruction)

MARCH 2022 UPGRADE

 

Side A:

1.  Separate Ways

2.  Little Wing

3.  The Old Homestead

4.  Frozen Man

5.  Homegrown

 

Side B:

6.  Star of Bethlehem

7.  Love is a Rose

8.  We Don't Smoke It

9.  Give Me Strength

10.  Vacancy

11.  White Lines

 

This an oft-requested upgrade of one of my favorite albums that never were. This is a reconstruction—actually, more of a re-imagining, really—of Neil Young’s famous unreleased 1975 album Homegrown. Originally meant to be released in 1975 as the proper follow-up to On The Beach, it was shelved in favor of the more electric and immediate Tonight’s The Night. While the album was finally released in 2020 as a part of The Archive Volume 2 project, many fans complained that the album was not what they had imagined or what it could have been; some even seemed to like my own reconstruction better than the actual release! So this is an upgrade to my original reconstruction using the newly-released sources, swapping some tracks for others to make Homegrown actually live up to it’s own hype as the stark, acoustic record that was the successor to Harvest.

Neil Young has always been a man on the edge, a troubadour who embraced his inner-turmoil.  This was a characteristic that informed his music and ensured a long-lasting artistic integrity.  Presented with mainstream success that outshined his previous musical outlets with several hits from his 1972 album Harvest, Neil Young choose to intentionally follow-up the album’s commercial acoustics with more abrasive and difficult material to challenge his newly horizoned audience.  The subsequent albums were called “The Ditch Trilogy”, formed by 1973’s Time Fades Away, 1974’s On The Beach and 1975’s Tonight’s The Night.  All three projects shared the theme of loss and how Young dealt with it emotionally, as Young lost three of his closest confidants in the course of making the albums.  But “The Ditch Trilogy” is a misnomer, as it should have been the Ditch Tetralogy: the fourth and final recorded project during Young’s turbulent 1972-1975 era remained in his vault, as it not only was too personal, but the sound of the album was too reminiscent of Harvest, the album he strove to shy away from.  Regardless, it is the quintessential Ditch album, the final word of that era, although it was never actually heard.

After being fired from Crazy Horse years earlier, Young had given guitarist Danny Whitten a second chance with a rhythm guitar spot in his backing band The Stray Gators for the upcoming Harvest Tour.  Unable to perform competently due to his rampant alcoholism and heroin addiction, Young fired Whitten a second time.  Within 24 hours, Whitten was dead, overdosed on alcohol and Valium.  The effect on Young was immense, as he felt he was responsible for Whitten’s death.  The initial outcome was Time Fades Away, recorded live on the subsequent tour, mere months after Whitten’s death.  The sloppy sound of anguish and denial—an artist in mourning with an inebriated backing band—Young has since regretted the album, possibly due to the sound quality of the album, recorded live by very early digital technology.  Time Fades Away exists solely as a document of this troubled time in Young’s career, which was only strengthened by an additional subtext of the tour: Young was growing apart from his wife Carrie Snodgress, the muse of his Harvest.  The freedoms of a rock star’s wife did not seem to gel with the pressures of a grieving and overbooked rock star, and the two became distant.

A brief interlude from the turmoil occurred as a hopeful writing and recording session with a reunited Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young in mid-1973, resulting in the genesis of the Human Highway project (which was also reconstructed on this author’s blog).  Unfortunately, a second casualty temporarily ceased the project, as Neil Young and CSNY’s long-time roadie Bruce Berry overdosed on heroin, a habit that was introduced to him by none other than Danny Whitten.  Leaving Crosby, Stills and Nash to their own battling egos, Young recorded possibly the rawest and most anguished recording of the 1970s, Tonight’s The Night, between August and September.  A painful ode to both Whitten and Berry, the album was perhaps too raw and Young sat on the completed recording for the remainder of the year while road-testing the material, toying with the mixing and sequence, finding the best way to release the album.  This cathartic tour for a soon-to-be-released record became a stereotype for rock band excess, and as Snodgress later recollected, was the beginning of the end of her marriage with Young. 

With a more-or-less completed album in his back pocket and a slew of even newer songs, Young returned to the studio in February 1974 and recorded the third of his Ditch Trilogy, On The Beach. While more refined than the previous Ditch albums, anguish still loomed over the songs while still soaked by the drug excess of the previous year’s tour. With Young both emotionally and physically absent, the lonely and hungry eye of the rock star’s wife looked in other directions; surely he had taken other lovers while on the road, why couldn’t Carrie? As the album was being released, Young's realization that Snodgress had been cheating on him unleashed a flurry of new songs about their disintegrating relationship and the break-up of their family. Young was given a surprise opportunity to road-test his new material with a re-reunited CSN&Y, on a much-hyped national tour through the rest of 1974 that the band later called “The Doom Tour”. During June rehearsals for the tour, Young recorded acoustic takes of a number of his new laments, including: “Love/Art Blues”, “Barefoot Floors”, “Homefires”, “Love is a Rose” and “Pardon My Heart”. Neil also recorded as an acoustic backstage duet with The Band’s Robbie Robertson on another of his new compositions “White Line” in September.

The miserable CSNY tour ended that fall, and Neil was free to record the bounty of material he had for a new album. Beginning at his own Broken Arrow Ranch in November, he tracked the acoustic “Frozen Man”, “Give Me Strength” and “Bad News Come To Town”. Moving to Quadrafonic Sound Studios in Nashville in December, Young tracked a number of songs with a full band, with a decidedly Western-sounding Harvest-esque full band: “Love/Art Blues”, “The Old Homestead”, “Daughters”, “Separate Ways”, “Try”, “Star of Bethlehem”, “Deep Forbidden Lake” and the scant title-track “Homegrown”. At the end of the year, Neil tracked two more at Broken Arrow, the jam “We Don’t Smoke It Anymore” and the hard-edged “Vacancy”, which was also recorded acoustically in November. Perhaps thinking the album needed a final touch, Neil recorded several more songs at The Village Recorder in January 1975, rather desolate and hallucinogenic tracks “Florida”, “Mexico”, “Kansas” and “Little Wing.” Neil compiled a twelve-song master from the nearly thirty tracks recorded over the last six months and prepared it for release that summer.

While Young was uncertain about releasing Homegrown because of its brutal honesty—he even claimed he couldn’t sit through the entire album—the label was excited for Young’s return to a more delicate sound after his recent abrasive albums. But in typical Neil Young fashion, that was never to be. In the oft-repeated story, Young previewed Homegrown to a party of friends; after the album finished, the rough cut of Tonight’s The Night—still unreleased from 1973's work—played afterwards. More impressed by the later work, The Band bassist Rick Danko suggested to release Tonight’s The Night instead of Homegrown. And that is exactly what Young did that June of 1975 and Homegrown remained unreleased for 45 years, finally getting an archival release in 2020.

In the meantime, only a handful of the various songs from the Homegrown sessions had been released over the years, wetting fan’s appetites for what was mythicized to be Neil Young’s strongest and most emotionally vulnerable album; homemade Homegrowns—including my own approximated reconstruction—only fueled the homefire. Upon it’s eventual release, some fans were a bit disappointed—this wasn’t quite the stark, acoustic successor to Harvest they expected! While I don’t know if I necessarily agree or disagree with that statement, I was interested in upgrading my cut of Homegrown using the newly-released tracks. This re-imagination of Homegrown is neither meant to replace or improve Neil’s actual master; it is simply an improvement of my original cut of Homegrown, which a number of listeners seemed to have enjoyed. All sources are from Archives Volume 2, and follow the same template of my original cut: the album alternates between full-band and solo songs, trying to keep the “Stark, acoustic” vibe as much as possible. I have swapped out some of the songs to improve the album, and have chosen to almost exclusively use the songs about Neil’s divorce and the difficulties of being a touring musician.

My cut of Homegrown opens not with the title track, but similarly as the official version: “Separate Ways”, which in my opinion was an unheard classic Neil Young song. Staying true to my original cut, this is followed by “Little Wing” and “The Hold Homestead.” Next is “Frozen Man”, an amazingly honest track and one of the gems of this era. Ending side A is of course the title track “Homegrown”, here utilizing the Country-Funk version from the actual sessions rather than the later Crazy Horse version. Side B opens with “Star of Bethlehem”, followed by “Love is a Rose.” Next is “We Don’t Smoke It”; while some may question my choice here, I felt that the album needed the dynamic and emotional shift, which is a standard fare on Neil Young albums. My personal favorite, the proper studio version of “Give Me Strength”, follows. In this upgrade, we drop “Deep Forbidden Lake” and “Pardon My Heart” for the fantastic “Vacancy”, but close the album similarly with the proper studio version of “White Line”. 

 

Source:

  • 24 bit rip of lossless stream of Neil Young Archives
  • Homegrown

 

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

Sunday, February 6, 2022

The Beatles - Get Back (Upgrade)

The Beatles – Get Back

(soniclovenoize reconstruction)
February 2022 UPGRADE


Side A:

1. Get Back
2. Dig A Pony
3. I’ve Got a Feeling
4. All Things Must Pass
5. Don’t Let Me Down
6. Two Of Us


Side B:

7. One After 909
8. For You Blue
9. Teddy Boy
10. I Want You
11. The Long and Winding Road
12. Dig It
13. Let It Be



This is an inevitable update of the legendary unreleased Beatles album Get Back, what eventually was cleaned up by Phil Spector as Let It Be. Originally intend as a throwback to the band’s early days of live, in-studio recording in order to boost their diminishing morale and comradery, The Beatles set out to rehearse and record an album’s worth of material without overdubs, concluding with an actual live performance and a television special documenting the process. Unfortunately the end result, compiled twice by Glyn Johns, was simply too rough and sloppy to be release-worthy and was shelved. Phil Spector was later appointed to make an album out of the tapes in 1970 and, even though better performances were selected, Spector infamously added his own orchestration, going against the live “warts and all” concept of the Get Back album. This reconstruction attempts to offer what a fully-realized Get Back album would have sounded like if it had been properly completed in April 1969. This reconstruct features a number of custom, unique edits, most notably a full-band Beatles studio take of "All Things Must Pass".  As a bonus disc, I am including my own personal lossless rip of the streaming only Apple Rooftop Performance.


Recognizing a possible end to the band, The Beatles came up with a novel idea: write, rehearse and record an album as they first started in 1962, live in the studio without overdubs. Going “back to basics” and abandoning their now-commonplace methodology of extraneous overdubbing would theoretically allow The Beatles to once again operate as a cohesive unit. An album would be compiled from these sessions displaying, as John Lennon once quipped, “The Beatles with their pants down” and the January 1969 rehearsals and recording sessions would be filmed for a television special by Michael Lindsay-Hogg. As the first week progressed, it was pitched to conclude the sessions with an actual live performance, although the band could not agree on where or even if it should be done at all (with George the most adamant against it). While a good idea in theory, the reality was that this project—eventually titled Get Back—was doomed from the start, as none of the band’s issues from the White Album sessions where solved and seemed to be exacerbated by the band’s new setting: the cold, uncomfortable Tickenham film studio, working regular 9-to-5 hours, Paul’s aptitude for bossiness, ambivalence towards George’s songwriting and John’s girlfriend Yoko Ono ever-present.


The rehearsals at Twickenham studios did not go according to plan. Paul offered an endless amount of new original compositions and thoroughly dictated his songs' arrangements to the rest of the band; Lennon seemed distant, completely uninterested and often communicating only through Yoko Ono, himself head-deep into a writer’s block and a heroin addiction; George was resentful over John and Paul’s disinterest in his own compositions, of which there were now plenty of high quality to choose from; Ringo simply went along for the ride, played solemnly and remained stoic and reserved. George eventually quit the band after an argument and refused to rejoin The Beatles until they had vacated Twickenham and nixed the notion for a televised concert.


With George temporarily subdued, The Beatles returned to the basement of their new Apple Studios with engineer Glyn Johns at the helm, intending to properly record the material rehearsed at Twickenham, live without overdubs. With Glyn needed in Los Angeles to track with The Steve Miller Band and Ringo needed to film The Magic Christian, the band had until the end of the month to record fourteen new songs. The serious contenders for the Get Back album included “Don’t Let Me Down”, “Get Back” “I’ve Got A Feeling”, “Two of Us”, “Dig A Pony”, “Teddy Boy”, “One After 909”, “All Things Must Pass”, several iterations of a jam loosely titled “Dig It”, “Let It Be”, The Long and Winding Road”, “For You Blue”, “Maxwell’s Silver Hammer”, “She Came In Through The Bathroom Window”, “I Me Mine” and “Across The Universe”. Further newly-written songs were introduced as the sessions progressed: “Oh Darling”, “Old Brown Shoe”, “Something”, “I Want You (She’s So Heavy)” and “Octopus's Garden”, among others scantily observed. Although sessions were initially unproductive, the addition of keyboardist Billy Preston livened up the mood and forced The Beatles to not only settle their differences, but to perform better!


As the weeks soldiered on, it was unclear what the goal of the proceeding was: were The Beatles rehearsing for a live performance at the end of the month? Or were they recording an album live in the studio with the cameras rolling? The answer was a combination of both, as it was decided to rehearse and keep the great takes as possible masters, while prepping for the concert itself. In the process, The Beatles successfully tracked master takes of “For You Blue” on January 25th, “Get Back” on January 27th and “Don’t Let Me Down” on January 28th. Additionally, a passable master of “The Long and Winding Road” was tracked on January 26th by Glyn Johns’ account, although The Beatles themselves thought they could do better. The quintet concluded their sessions with a now-legendary concert on the rooftop of Apple Studios on January 30th, capturing lively masters of “I’ve Got a Feeling”, “Dig a Pony” and “One After 909”, as well as admirable takes of “Get Back” and “Don’t Let Me Down”. The following day, The Beatles with Preston recorded three additional tracks back in the basement studio, songs that didn’t suit a live electric set: “Two Of Us”, “Let It Be” and a penultimate “The Long and Winding Road.”


As February arrived, The Beatles went their separate ways, the album a wrap. Or was it? Out of the goal of recording fourteen new songs, they had only tracked masters for nine. With five songs short, The Beatles reconvened in February 22 with Ringo and Glyn called back from their obligations to record John’s “I Want You (She’s So Heavy)”, a song the quartet had rehearsed a handful of times the previous month. Although the song wasn’t completely finished, it is generally believed that this session was meant as a Get Back “clean up” session. On February 25th, George recorded solo demos of his three key offerings for Get Back: “Something”, “All Things Must Pass” and “Old Brown Shoe.” Furthermore, it was decided that “Get Back” and “Don’t Let Me Down” were to be rush-released as a single and The Beatles decided to break their Get Back rule—overdubbing of a second vocal track onto “Don’t Let Me Down”, and an edit piece from an alternate take of “Get Back” from January 28th was edited onto the master take from the 27th as a coda.


Around this time, Glyn presented to the band a rough mix of some of the tracks recorded in January, presented in a “fly-on-the-wall” fashion, purely from his perspective as an outsider to The Beatles’ inner circle. Tasked to make a full album in this fashion, Glyn spent March compiling his vision of a Get back album. Although admirable, there were a number of shortcomings that ultimately led to the compilation’s rejection: sloppy takes of “Don’t Let Me Down”, “Dig a Pony” and “I’ve Got a Feeling” were chosen from January 22nd, rather than the master takes from the 28th and 30th; a rough “Two of Us” from January 24th was chosen instead of the superior master from January 31st; Glyn’s favorite rehearsal of “The Long and Winding Road” from the 26th was chosen over the final performance master from the 31st; and five minutes of the meandering “Dig It” and almost four minutes of a painful rehearsal of “Teddy Boy” both made the cut.


Just as the “Get Back” b/w “Don’t Let Me Down” single was released in April, there was an explosion of recording activity, mostly of songs already woodshedded in January: both “Old Brown Shoe” and the backing track for “Something” was recorded on April 16th; additional overdubbing on “I Want You” was done on April 18th and 20th; “Oh Darling” was recorded on April 20th; and “Octopus’s Garden” was recorded on April 26th. Finally, The Beatles again broke their own rule, as George overdubbed a new guitar solo onto “Let It Be” on April 30th. Simultaneously, Glyn Johns was tasked to mix and assemble an album in the documentary-style of his March acetates. Could these April sessions have also been meant to complete the Get Back album for release the following month?


Regardless, these recordings were never destined to make it onto Get Back, as The Beatles must have decided at some point in the summer of the album’s lost cause, instead earmarking the new recordings for an even newer album, tentatively titled Everest. Returning to the studio in July and August, the band finished the new batch of recordings, now titled Abbey Road, released to critical and commercial acclaim in late September. As for the actual January sessions, The Beatles were still hopeful for it’s eventual release as editing for the film dragged on and various versions of the soundtrack were mixed by Glyn and subsequently rejected by Apple.


By January 1970, director Michael Lindsay-Hogg had decided to include rehearsal footage of “Across The Universe” and “I Me Mine” into his cut of the documentary film—two songs never properly tracked by The Beatles in January. While Glyn simply made a new “stripped down” mix of the original 1968 take of “Across The Universe”, The Beatles—minus John—reassembled at EMI to properly record “I Me Mine.” Additionally, more work was done to “Let It Be”, including horns, bongos and backing vocal overdubs, along with a spicier guitar solo. The changes greatly improved Glyn’s cut of Get Back, but Apple regardless rejected his compilation yet again. By March, the legendary producer Phil Spector—himself building a working relationship with both John & George—was tasked to remix and compile a completed album, now titled Let It Be. Although Spector ultimately used better takes of the material, he heavy-handedly added orchestration to “I Me Mine”, “Across The Universe” and “The Long and Winding Road”, as well as a number of smaller changes to “Dig a Pony”, “For You Blue” and “Get Back” (not to mention dropping “Don’t Let Me Down” entirely!). Released as Let It Be in May 1970, a month after Paul’s first solo album and effectively after The Beatles ceased to exist, the album was a hodge-podge and a far cry from the band’s original concept. Can we reconstruct what both Glyn Johns and Phil Spector failed to accomplish?


The key tenet of my Get Back reconstruction is to use the nine master takes from January as the core of the album—specifically the studio versions of “Get Back” and “Don’t Let Me Down” released as a single, the master of “For You Blue” that excluded all later overdubs, “Dig a Pony”, “I’ve Got a Feeling” and “One After 909” from the rooftop performance on the 30th and “Two Of Us”, “Let It Be” and “The Long and Winding Road” from the basement performance on the 31st. To round out the album, we will assume the early mix of “I Want You” from February was meant for Get Back and finds it’s place here (the early April takes of “Old Brown Shoe” and “Oh Darling”, as head on the Abbey Road SDE, are also fair game, but not necessary). We will also use a little less than a minute of “Can You Dig It” as miraculously, The Beatles had intended the jam to appear on Get Back in some form or another, and creating a concise edit of “Teddy Boy”. Finally, we will be construct a complete Beatles version of “All Things Must Pass”, which was originally meant as George’s second Harrisong for the album.


Side A begins with the Giles Martin single remix of “Get Back” from 1+, with the actual studio dialog intro restored using an edit of Giles’ LP remix and the WBCN acetate. “Dig a Pony” and “I’ve Got a Feeling” follow, taken from my own 24/48 rip of the lossless Tidal stream of the Get Back Rooftop Performance. My own reconstruction of a Beatles “All Things Must Pass” follows, which utilities George’s demo from Anthology 3, the drums, bass and backing vocals from A/B Road and Billy Preston’s electric keyboards from The Beatles Rockband Stems. This crossfades into Giles’ 2021 single mix of “Don’t Let Me Down” that includes it’s natural studio chatter intro. The side closes with Giles’ 2021 remix of “Two Of Us.”


Side B starts with the energetic “One After 909” from my rooftop stream rip, followed by Glyn John’s original 1969 mix of “For You Blue”, which was mistakenly included on the Get Back disc of the Japanese Let It Be SDE; this is the only professional mix that excludes the later vocal overdubs. Next is my own edit of “Teddy Boy” that follows the song’s structure as heard on McCartney, limiting the song to just over two minutes and making the song reasonable. “I Want You”, clearly intentionally recorded for Get Back, follows from the Abbey Road SDE with a tad of reverb via Wave’s Abbey Road Chamber plug-in to make it fit with the rest of the reconstruction. Next is the superior take of “The Long and Winding Road” from 1+ and a bit of “Can You Dig It” from the Let It Be SDE, as a link track to Glyn’s 1969 mix of “Let It Be”, also from the Let It Be SDE, the only professional mix to exclude the song’s later overdubs.

 

Since it does not seem to have a physical or even downloadable release, I have included my rip of the Apple Rooftop Performance as a bonus, sourced from the Tidal lossless stream into a Scarlett 2i2 into SONAR Pro at 24/48.  Some slight EQ changes were made to make the master sound more like the original 1970 Spector mixes and it was downsampled to 16/44. 

 

Sources used:

  • 1+
  • A/B Road (bootleg, Purplechick 2004)
  • Abbey Road (Super Deluxe Edition, 2019)
  • Anthology 3
  • Get Back Rooftop Performance (24/48 rip of lossless Tidal stream, 2022)
  • Let It Be (Super Deluxe Edition, US and Japanese, 2021)
  • Rockband Extraction Stems
  • The WBCN Acetate (bootleg, Masterjedi 2019)


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

 

 

Friday, January 14, 2022

Hey we got BAND SHIRTS for sale!

 We finally have something you never asked for!  

 

Because I am a broke ass musician/sound engineer/music nerd/blogger effected by the pandemic, I am now selling BAND SHIRTS for the various album covers that never were that I have done over the years.  Although initially a silly idea, who wouldn't want a Beatles "Band On The Run" shirt?  And they're only $25 which is kinda the going rate for band shirts, is it not?

 

Get 'em here:  https://www.etsy.com/shop/AlbumsThatNeverWere

 

I currently only have a handful of options to test the waters.  If this is a thing you like, I can add more designs, and possibly do requests of previous and future album reconstructions.  

 

Thanks and apologies for being a sellout!  

Thursday, December 2, 2021

The Beach Boys - Landlocked (and friends)

 The Beach Boys – Landlocked (and friends)
(soniclovenoize reconstructions)
November 2021 UPGRADE



Disc 1 – Landlocked
Side A:
1.  Loop de Loop
2.  Susie Cincinnati
3.  San Miguel
4.  HELP is On The Way
5.  Take a Load Off You Feet
6.  Carnival
7.  I Just Got My Pay

Side B:
8.  Good Time
9.  Big Sur
10.  Falling In Love
11.  When Girls Get Together
12.  Lookin’ For Tomorrow
13.  ‘Til I Die


Disc 2 – Add Some Music
Side A:
1.  Susie Cincinnati
2.  Good Time
3.  Our Sweet Love
4.  Tears in the Morning
5.  When Girls Get Together
6.  Slip On Through

Side B:
7.  Add Some Music To Your Day
8.  Take a Load Off Your Feet
9.  This Whole World
10.  I Just Got My Pay
11.  At My Window
12.  Lady (Fallin’ In Love)


Disc 3 – Reverberation
Side A:
1.  Cottonfields
2.  Loop de Loop
3.  All I Wanna Do
4.  Got To Know The Woman
5.  When Girls Get Together

Side B:
6.  Breakaway
7.  San Miguel
8.  Celebrate The News
9.  Deidre
10.  The Lord’s Prayer
11.  Forever


Disc 4 – Dennis Wilson – Hubba Hubba
Side A:
1.  All Of My Love
2.  Ecology
3.  Behold The Night
4.  Baby Baby
5.  Old Movie
6.  Hawaiian Dream

Side B:
7.  It’s a New Day
8.  I’ve Got a Friend
9.  Barbara
10.  Make It Good
11.  Before
12.  (Wouldn’t It Be Nice) To Live Again


Here is a massive update for you!  This is a reconstruction of The Beach Boys’ mythical unreleased 1970 album Landlocked, which was the precursor to their comeback album Surf’s Up.  Included are two bonus reconstructions that date from the same era—Add Some Music and Reverberation, both precursors to Sunflower—and Dennis Wilson’s unfinished 1971 solo album Hubba Hubba.  Most of the sources are taken from the new Feel Flows box set, so sound quality is superb.  

The Beach Boys were a band of true ups and downs.  From pioneering baroque-pop in the mid 1960s which coalesced into Pet Sounds and SMiLE, to pioneering lo-fi pop towards the end of the decade with Smiley Smile and Wild Honey, the band also saw their share of commercial waves.  By 1969, The Beach Boys were struggling to keep up with the times,  their de facto bandleader Brian Wilson succumbing to his own mental illness and self-imposed isolation.  After the relative failure of the 20/20 album and being released from their contract with Capitol Records, the group circled their wagons and doubled down to work together and record a comeback album worthy of their mid-60s output, to be released on their own label Brother Records.  

With all six band members contributing their own material to the new album project, The Beach Boys began recording in January 1969 with: Dennis Wilson’s “San Miguel”, “Got To Know The Woman”, “Celebrate The News” and “Forever”; Bruce Johnston’s “Deidre”; Brian Wilson and Al Jardine’s collaboration “Loop de Loop”; Brian and Mike Love’s “All I Wanna Do”; and Brian’s own “Breakaway”.  The later was chosen as a single release backed with “Celebrate The News”, released for the band’s own European tour in June.  Reconvening that summer, the band recorded Dennis’s “Slip On Through”, Brian’s “Soulful Old Man Sunshine” and Al’s requested Country re-arrangement of “Cottonfields”.  That fall and into January saw a sudden explosion of new recorded material after receiving interest from Warner Brothers/Reprise Records: Brian’s “Games Two Can Play”, “This Whole World” and “I Just Got My Pay”; Brian & Mike’s “Add Some Music To Your Day” and “When Girls Get Together”; Brian & Al’s “Our Sweet Love”, “At My Window”, “Susie Cincinnati”, “Good Time”, “Take a Load Off Your Feet” and “Back Home”; Bruce’s “Tears in the Morning”; Dennis’s “Lady”; and the group’s psychedelic take on “Over The Waves (Carnival).”

By February 1970, The Beach Boys had an unfathomable amount of new material,  consisting of the eight songs recorded before the European Tour and seventeen recorded afterwards!  Of those 25 tracks, 12 were selected for the new album—now titled Add Some Music—and a master was prepared on February 18th.  Unfortunately, Warner Brothers rejected the album, although they did elect to release the title track “Add Some Music To Your Day” b/w “Susie Cincinnati” as a single and suggested the band rethink the album itself.  Meanwhile, Capitol Records was still interested in a final release from The Beach Boys.  After a summer tour of Australia and a single release of their reworked and countrified version of “Cottonfields”, the band compiled a completely separate album called Reverberation (sometimes also known as The Fading Rock Group Revival), using ten of their recent 1969 recordings not used for Add Some Music (as well as new stereo mix of their 1963 recording of “The Lord’s Prayer”).  Capitol rejected the album for unknown reasons, instead choosing to release Live in London.  This was for the best.  

With urging by legendary record executive Larry Waronker, The Beach Boys reconvened in June to record “It’s About Time” and “Cool Cool Water”, the later which had been worked on during the SMiLE, Smiley Smile and Wild Honey sessions.  A completely new album was created by combining the two new songs, six songs from the rejected Add Some Music and four from the rejected Reverberation.  This new album—Sunflower—was released in August and although it was one of the strongest albums The Beach Boys had released since Pet Sounds, it flopped.  The band needed a facelift…

In August 1970, The Beach Boys hired Jack Rieley as their new manager, who set out to revamp and modernize the band’s image for the 1970s.  Hitting the studio, the band started recording new material for their second Brother Album release: Al’s “Lookin At Tomorrow”; Mike’s “Big Sur”; and Brian’s “HELP is On the Way” and “Til I Die”.   In September, Beach Boys’ house engineer Stephen Desper compiled a thirteen-track master with these four new songs and nine of the 1969 tracks not used on Sunflower, meant as a compilation of songs in consideration for the next album.  Unfortunately, Warner Brothers was again not thrilled with the compilation, and The Beach Boys once again went back to the drawing board.

Regrouping in the Spring of 1971, The Beach Boys recorded a new set of songs all the way up into the summer—tentatively called Landlocked—again pooling their collective resources: Dennis’ “4th of July” and “(Wouldn’t It Be Nice To) Live Again”; Mike & Al’s “Don’t Go Near The Water”; Mike’s “Student Demonstration Time”; Carl’s “Long Promised Road” and “Feel Flows”; Brian’s “A Day In The Life of a Tree”; Bruce’s “Disney Girls (1957)”.  Simultaneously, Dennis was recording his own material with Daryl Dragon of Captain & Tennille for a tentative solo album called Hubba Hubba (or, absurdly, Poops).  Finally, Rieley persuaded the group to finish Brian’s incomplete recording of the SMiLE track “Surf’s Up” to act as the centerpiece for the album.  A completely new master was prepared with the meat of the 1971 sessions, “Til I Die” and “Lookin At Tomorrow” from the 1970 sessions and curiously “Take a Load Off Your Feet” from the 1969 sessions.  Retitled Surf’s Up, the album was released in August to critical success, deemed as The Beach Boys’ 1970s comeback and reinvention album.  But as we’ve seen, this long promised road yielded a number of bumps.  Can we recover these lost precursors to Sunflower and Surf’s Up?

First thing’s first, the elephant in the room:  There was most likely no actual Landlocked.  Or more specifically, the unreleased album that is attributed to Landlocked is not actually LandlockedLandlocked was simply a working title for Surf’s Up.  The 13-song master attributed to the name was simply the compilation Desper assembled in September 1970, showcasing the four then-new songs and the nine Sunflower outtakes considered for the second Brother album.  Regardless, we will honor this mythos and simply reconstruct Desper’s compilation and call it Landlocked.   The reconstruction opens with the original 1969 mix of “Loop de Loop”, taken from Feel Flows.  The excellent modern remixes of “Susie Cincinnati”, “San Miguel” and “HELP is On The Way” from Feel Flows follows, then the album version of “Take a Load Off Your Feet” from the 2012 remaster of Surf’s Up (which I feel was better than the Feel Flows remaster).  “Carnival” from Feel Flows is next, but I have added the dizzying phasing that replicates a carnival ride, which was present on it’s bootlegged 1969 mix but not in this modern one.  New Feel Flows mixes of “I Just Got My Pay”, “Good Time” and “Big Sur” follow, along with the original 1969 mix of “Lady”.  The album concludes with a new Feel Flows mix of “When Girls Get Together”, “Lookin At Tomorrow” from the 2012 Surf’s Up, and Desper’s alternate 1970 mix of “Till I Die” from the Endless Harmony soundtrack.  The cover artwork is reconstructed from Jack Rieley’s own description of the unreleased Landlocked album cover, as well as unused promotional proofs.  

Full disclosure: I love this reconstruction of Landlocked, moreso than the actual Surf’s Up album!  This album doesn't take itself so seriously, and features an exuberant sound texture reminiscent of SMiLE.  Because of this fact, Landlocked is the heart of this reconstruction, and it’s related Beach Boys albums that never were (the ‘friends’) are assigned as bonus discs.  Disc Two reconstructs the February 18th, 1970 master of Add Some Music, with all Sunflower tracks taken from it’s (superior) 2012 remaster with the remainder from Feel Flows.  My cover art is based upon the actual unreleased cover art for Add Some Music (which was simply reused for Sunflower anyways).  

Disc Three reconstructs the June 19th, 1970 master of Reverberation, although I have made a few modifications to tie up it's loose ends: we will use the new stereo mix of “Cottonfields” from Feel Flows, as opposed to a duophonix mix; “Got To Know The Woman” is the standard stereo version from Sunflower as opposed to a mono mix; “When Girls Get Together” is the full remix from Feel Flows, rather than an instrumental version; “The Lord’s Prayer” is the proper stereo mix from Hawthorne, California, as opposed to a duophonic mix.  The rest of the songs are sourced from either the 2012 Sunflower or Feel Flows, except for the stereo remix of “Breakaway” from Made In California.  The cover art is my own creation.  

Disc Four is the real bonus here: my reconstruction of Dennis Wilson’s unfinished solo album Hubba Hubba (or Poops, if you will), recorded during the making of Surf’s Up.  Using the material from Feel Flows, as well as “Make It Good” from So Tough and “(Wouldn’t It Be Nice To) Live Again” from Made In California, I have assembled the material recorded during the 1971 sessions with Daryl Dragon (which thus excludes the 1970 single of “Sound of Free” and “Lady”) and organized them into two continuous suites of music for each side of the LP—which is what I believe Dennis and Daryl intended.  The result is half instrumental, but it gives you a clue as to what the pair were going for and what could have been.  The cover art is my own creation.

Sources Used: 

  • Feel Flows
  • Surf's Up (2012 remaster)
  • Sunflower (2012 remaster)
  • Hawthorne, California
  • Endless Harmony
  • Made In California
  • So Tough


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

Sunday, October 31, 2021

The Beatles - Imagine Clouds Dripping (UPGRADE)

The Beatles – Imagine Clouds Dripping

(a soniclovenoize re-imagining)

October 2021 UPGRADE

 

 

Side A:

1.  Back Off Boogaloo

2.  What is Life?

3.  Dear Boy

4.  Bangladesh

5.  Jealous Guy

6.  The Back Seat of My Car

 

Side B:

7.  Imagine

8.  Another Day

9.  Gimme Some Truth

10.  Uncle Albert/Admiral Halsey

11.  Oh My Love

12.  Isn’t It A Pity

 

 

Happy Halloween!  Here it is, my friends, an album that never was that is unrelated to Halloween!  This is an UPGRADE to the second re-imagined album in a series that posits “What if The Beatles never broke up?”  This collection would have theoretically been released near the end of 1971, and uses Lennon’s Imagine and McCartney’s RAM as it’s basis.  Additional tracks are pulled from Harrison’s All Things Must Pass and his “Bangladesh” single, and of course Ringo’s single “Back Off Boogaloo” as it was recorded in Fall 1971.  Notably, this upgrade uses the new All Things Must Pass remix, which sonically fits much closer to the other tracks.  The tracklist has been slightly revised as well, dropping “Power To The People” for “Gimme Some Truth”, which is admittedly more Beatles-esque and was actually familiar to The Beatles in 1969.  I have also replaced the Version II of “Isn’t It a Pity” with the more Beatle-esque Version I, edited to fit on the album. 

 

To restate once again, the “rules” of these 70s Beatles albums are:
1)  One album is represented per year, culled from tracks each Beatle recorded that year; the only exception is All Things Must Pass is split over 1970 & 1971, and Living In The Material World is split over 1972 & 1973.   
2)  Generally speaking, to include five Lennon songs, five McCartney songs, three Harrison songs and one Ringo song; there might be some deviance to this rule depending on availability per year.
3)  The chosen songs must be Beatle-esque in nature; we will attempt to avoid the idiosyncratic musical tangents each Beatle pursued in the 70s and vie for the solo songs that would have been most likely recorded by The Beatles (i.e. not vetoed by the rest of the band).
4)  The songs must flow together and make a unified album that shares a specific tone. 

 

Note that a suspension of disbelief is required to fully enjoy these 70s Beatles albums, and I encourage listeners to imagine what each Beatles would have contributed to each other’s songs, had they actually made these albums together.  

My original album notes from 2012, slightly revised:

 

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 “Bangladesh” 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” 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.  Additionally, “Back Off Boogaloo” will be used as this album’s Ringo song, as it was recorded in September 1971, fitting in with RAM & Imagine’s timeline.  

 

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 “Smile Away.”  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:

George Harrison - All Things Must Pass (2021 50th Anniversary remaster)

John Lennon - Imagine (The Ultimate Collection, 2018 remaster) 

Paul McCartney – RAM (2012 remaster)

Ringo Starr – Photographs: The Best of Ringo Starr (2007)

 

 

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