The Beatles Anthology 3

A Personal Review for Beginners

Almost a year ago, one of the first sections to appear in The Spanish Beatles Page, was this one of personal reviews on the Anthology series. The objective has always been he same, providing information to potential buyers on the virtues and defects of the new Beatles works shortly after their release. The overall impression of the Anthology 3, is even better than the one given by the previous volumes, if we consider it as a whole conventional album. It's true that we may have less unreleased tracks, we can even argue that there are no live tracks (for obvious historic reasons, since the third anthology covers a period when the Beatles were no longer touring). However, musically both CD's provide a wonderful listening experience as the contents seem to naturally complement perfectly to create a perfect farewell? album for the Beatles.

A Beginning: Finally George Martin has been given a place into the Anthology series. This orchestral composition was to serve as an introduction to Don't Pass Me By. Short, and yet, beautiful and effective, an authentic Martin.

Happiness is a Warm Gun: Recorded in the Esher sessions as a demo, it features John with his acoustic. The quality is quite high, and the track is interesting enough including a bit about Yoko which could not be heard in the final version.

Helter Skelter: Certainly the most expected track in the Anthology 3 volume... although not in this way. The campaign that many fans started towards the release of the 27 minutes Helter Skelter version, has only achieved the release of 5 minutes from take 2 (which only lasted for 12 minutes). The song is to be heard, as it differs quite a lot from the edited take in the White Album. Moreover, the editing by Martin and Emerick of the track is perfect and leaves a song of its own.

Mean Mr. Mustard
Polythene Pam
Glass Onion: Three more recording from the Esher sessions. John made a demo of the two first songs a year before they were recorded for Abbey Road. As all the Esher demos their beauty resides mainly in the acoustic simplicity of the recording so characteristic of the White Album. All three songs are recorded with John double-tracking vocals and acoustic guitars (a guitar-vocal per channel). In Glass Onion, a shaker can be heard at the end of the song in the left channel. Certainly worth hearing.

Junk: Another composition from the Indian trip, although Paul's Junk didn't make it to the White Album. For those of you familiar with the McCartney album, not much new. For everyone else a wonderful McCartney song.

Piggies:Recorded double tracking vocals, this version of George's song is a clear example of how most songs for the White Album were written, with just an acoustic guitar. A very simple version, where the harpsichord solo is substituted by Harrison's whistling.

Honey Pie: This version of Honey Pie is simply magnificent. Showing that no piano was needed to give the song its bouncy feeling so characteristic. Paul's second voice in the right channel completes a perfect picture of what was to be. Short and incomplete, but great.

Don't Pass Me By: Almost and identical version to the released one except for some slight details. The fiddle is missing, Ringo's vocal is not double-tracked at a certain point, sleigh-bells at the beginning (mixed quite loud), Ringo's speaking at the end with his best american accent.... and don't miss it! Maybe an error in the final chorus ( know darling...) where you probably can hear that Paul's bass is late a couple of times.

Ob-La-Di, Ob-La-Da: This is no longer an outtake, a demo or something of the sort. FULL alternative version, which nowadays would have gone into the EP as "the jamaican remix". Although faithful to the original idea, the song includes a brass section (3 saxophones) and an upbeat tempo which makes it a tough contestant for "the Best Ob-la-di version". A must hear!

Good Night: The Beatles "Disney" song can be heard here in previous stages. Ringo's voice with just a piano and a shaker, would put any baby asleep. An incomplete demo, crossfaded into the final version (great production job again, nothing audible)

Cry Baby Cry: Another heavy weight in this Anthology. Take 1 (yes, 1!!!) of Cry Baby Cry is nothing short of perfect. Slight differences in Paul's bass and the lead guitar waiting for an opportunity in the final master. Certainly a good track.

Blackbird: Paul, an acoustic guitar and a metronome. Slightly different version to the final released one (no birds, different structure and only a subtle difference in the playing at some point). Blackbird in all its glory.

Sexy Sadie: A slower tempo version of John's song with the final lyrics included. Although faded out, there are only a couple of mistakes in the organ lines -you'll have to look hard for those-. A very solid version.

While My Guitar Gently Weeps: One of the best Anthology tracks. Simply outstanding, superb, incredible. Only a song like this one could do without Eric Clapton's solo, the orchestral overdubs, the voices, and sound as good or even better. Very intimate version with just George's acoustic (wonderfully played) and an occasional organ. Worth the buy.

Hey Jude: A simpler version of Hey Jude without backing vocals in which the piano plays a vital role. Tight performance by the four Beatles, in which the electric guitar only shows up towards the end. The final na-na part of the song is sung just by Paul, making it quite shorter. A very good version.

Not Guilty: The mythic 100 takes that were needed to record it, are fully justified by this excellent song by George Harrison. The production job done by George Martin is once again excellent, and the song has improved dramatically from the bootlegged versions available until now.

Mother Nature's Son: If the new technologies are more evident in one of the tracks of the Anthology 3, this is the one. The quality achieved registering this Mother Nature's Son is incredible even by today's standards. Pick up your phones and hear Paul talk before singing the song right by your side.The quality of the guitar and the voice recording is superior to the available White Album version. It's true that by avoiding some of the reverb in Paul's voice, some of the noise is reduced considerably. Anyway, it makes me wonder how much of a sacrilege it would be to have George Martin mixing all Beatles albums all over again with todays' means for today's hi-fi equipment. Concerning the version itself, it's almost identical to the released version except for the brass, drums and guitar overdubs.

Glass Onion:Same version as the released one, lacking the string arrangements from George Martin and having instead some sound effects mixed by John in Martin's absence.

Rocky Raccoon: Take 8 of Rocky Raccoon taped the same day as final take 10. The take is at some point no longer a serious one and gives The Beatles the chance to lighten it up, with the doctor "sminking" of gin. A curious item -notice the bass line going a little nuts after a certain stage-.

What's the New Mary Jane?: One of the most famous bootlegged sons from The Beatles. In the pre-Anthology era often quoted as "the next Beatles single". The song seems quite chaotic and little prepared, but Lewisohn helpfully points out that almost all takes were similar following the same scheme. The production work done on Mary Jane makes it also much more audible than in the simple mixes released as bootlegs. Another reason to go for Anthology 3.

Step Inside Love
Los Paranoias: For British readers Cilla Black is more than a familiar character. For older British readers, Step Inside Love will also be familiar as the theme for a TV show, as Paul wrote this song for Cilla and her show. This track is only an ad-lib rendition of such track with excellent percussion by Ringo. For those of you who didn't know the track, notice the "post-Beatles" McCartney feeling of the song. Afterwards a Lennon comment leads The Beatles into another jam "Los Paranoias" (hey, another Beatle track with Spanish title!). Two jewels for rare track collectors.

I'm So Tired: It's quite amazing the ability of producers in confusing the public with studio tricks. This solid version of I'm so tired, quite similar to the released one, except for the lead guitar, is nothing but a mixture of 3 different takes!. You can try as an exercise to discover where the "cuts" are -I think I've got at least one... but I wouldn't bet on it-

I Will: Excellent version of I Will, with just Paul on acoustic and John and Ringo on percussion. It lacks from the dum-dum bass-vocal of the released version and there are slight differences in the guitar chords, and yet it may capture even better than the final song the mood of the song. If you love this song as much as I do, you have to hear this!

Why Don't We Do It In The Road?: What a great surprise this ACOUSTIC version of Why Don't We Do It In The Road! It adds a new sense to the song, and although not comparable to the released version, it shows how Paul's idea was turned into song.

Julia: A great way to see how John recorded one of his greatest songs. The acoustic guitar track recorded in the previous to final take, is as beautiful as an acoustic guitar song can get. When the take breaks down, Paul encourages John to keep on, as the song "is really great". This track also offers the opportunity to check that John's skills with the acoustic guitar were not as good as Paul's... and yet, many will always think that no one else on Earth could have written a more beautiful song for his mom.

Can you wait to discover what's in CD2?

©Copyright Enrique Cabrera Productions 1996