The Beatles “White Album” Super DeLuxe – What’s new?
|Mike Carrera finds out what’s new on the new super deluxe edition of The Beatles’ “White album”|
This is a quick fan review from the forthcoming Box Set The Beatles (aka The White Album) Super Deluxe Edition, focusing only on disks 3-6 containing the demos and outtakes versus what’s been already out on past official and bootleg releases. We’ll see what’s new and what’s not.
By Mike Carrera
The bootleg version in circulation is an off-line recording made by George to John so there are some ambient noises sometimes and chats between George, Paul and John before, during or after some demos not heard on the 2018 master tapes mixes. The 2018 edition of the Esher tapes are all way better in terms of audio quality, and they are also all in stereo, where bootleg editions were all in mono. So, disregarding audio quality, we are comparing this official release with the best bootleg of Esher demos, and also with the versions officially released on “Anthology 3”. We have found that in some cases, you will need to hang on to your bootleg edition, in order to have an as complete as possible representation of the track in question:
1. Back In The U.S.S.R. (Esher Demo) 3:00
Same as on bootleg.
2. Dear Prudence (Esher Demo) 4:47
Partially NEW. Two seconds longer here than on bootlegs, the initial chord heard at the intro is slightly longer.
3. Glass Onion (Esher Demo) 1:55
Partially NEW. Completely different mix from “Anthology 3”, John’s talk heard at the intro on the right channel on CD 1 of the third Anthology volume has been mixed out here. The mix done by George Martin with the two overdubs can be heard on the left and right channel, while on this new mix it’s all more centred. The end is new, John can be heard singing something like “Chicago, Chicago”.
4. Ob La Di Ob La Da (Esher Demo) 3:10
Three seconds longer on bootlegs, and at the end we can hear Paul and George talking – but this comes from the off-line recording while they were doing the copy for John, so it’s not part of the actual demo.
5. The Continuing Story Of Bungalow Bill (Esher Demo) 2:40
The bootleg version runs 2:54, here in the new mix the intro chat is slightly edited plus all the end: John continuing singing after the song has ended and Paul and George talking.
6. While My Guitar Gently Weeps (Esher Demo) 2:41
Partially NEW. George’s count-in is new, but the bootleg version (which runs 2:35) has an organ overdub and post ambient noise (Paul humming and George talking in the background) and this new version has the organ mixed out, but at the end you can hear it very low with it headphones. It seems the unedited bootleg version comes when they did the organ overdub while the tape was running, because if we listen closely while Paul is humming, the tape continues without any editing signal and the same organ now continues with a few notes, before overdubbing the next song on the original tape: “Circles”.
7. Happiness Is A Warm Gun (Esher Demo) 1:55
NEW. Here is the unheard double tracked demo for the first time. John doesn’t catch some phrases with his first vocal track at some points or sings in different keys and adds extra verses at the end and also extra guitar notes. Very interesting. The “Anthology 3” version is the single vocal and single guitar track running 2:14 that also has a false start not present in the new mix, but lacks the second vocal with additional verses from John.
8. I’m So Tired (Esher Demo) 3:08
The demo length is the same here as on bootlegs, but on the latter we can hear some chat from George at the end, three seconds longer than this 2018 mix.
9. Blackbird (Esher Demo) 2:33
Even though this and the bootleg start at the same time, on the bootleg you can hear some chat from George and a comment “Ok Mal” and Paul saying “ok?” as well as some extra noise. But on this new mix, those bits were erased from the left channel as we can hear at 0:07 the sound coming in from left channel that was covered with “hiss” during the first seconds.
10. Piggies (Esher Demo) 2:03
Partially NEW. George’s first “One” count-in is new, he then start again with “One, Two…” but at the end on the bootleg version we can hear George saying “living Piggie lives” and some extra noise of some background tape or distorted guitar. The bootleg version is 2:06. The official edit on “Anthology 3” was in mono, but like all the other Esher demos here, this is also presented in stereo.
11. Rocky Raccoon (Esher Demo) 2:41
This new mix and the bootleg are the same versions, but on the bootleg there’s an additional 16 seconds at the end, of some chat between John and George.
12. Julia (Esher Demo) 3:54
Partially NEW. The first two seconds here are new: John saying “Hellooo Paul”. On the bootleg version at the very end we can hear some birds that were cut out on this new mix, but at the intro and again after Paul says “OK” you can hear some birds as well (at least if you listen through headphones).
13. Yer Blues (Esher Demo) 3:29
Two extra seconds at the end on the bootleg version allow us to hear John talking, whereas on this new mix he’s missing.
14. Mother Nature’s Son (Esher Demo) 2:22
There seem to be no differences between this and the bootleg.
15. Everybody’s Got Something To Hide Except Me And My Monkey (Esher Demo) 3:01
The bootleg version has some post song chat from Paul, but the rest is the same.
16. Sexy Sadie (Esher Demo) 2:24
The bootleg version runs 2:29 and there are extra noises when the song ends, some guitar noise or amp, and George coughing.
17. Revolution (Esher Demo) 4:04
The bootleg version starts with one extra second on the intro (a guitar string noise is heard), and the end is 10 seconds longer (and this 2018 mix has an early fade out) while the song is still playing it’s final chords and John is singing at least three more times “all right” while also fading out, but not as early as in this new mix.
18. Honey Pie (Esher Demo) 1:57
There seems to be no differences between this and the bootleg.
19. Cry Baby Cry (Esher Demo) 2:25
No differences between this and the bootleg – but on the latter we can hear in the background some ambient noises and chat at the end, and a sound of a harmonium or organ but it’s not part of this song, still interesting to hear a different tape of the ‘Esher demos’ although not with the same quality as the 2018 mix.
20. Sour Milk Sea (Esher Demo) 3:41
NEW. A huge surprise to find out we are getting a new and unheard demo of this song, completely different from the bootleg. Here is a double tracked vocal acoustic demo (with percussion from Ringo(?) and handclaps) lasting 3:41 with different vocals from George, different count in and different end while the bootleg version lasts 3:25 and is a also a double tracked vocal demo with acoustic guitar, tambourine, bass and some electric guitar fill ins. Also the bootleg has extra 21 seconds of post chat between George and John.
21. Junk (Esher Demo) 2:34
John’s final comment is slightly longer here than the bootleg version, otherwise no differences.
22. Child Of Nature (Esher Demo) 2:35
No differences between this and the bootleg.
23. Circles (Esher Demo) 2:15
Partially NEW. The “one” from George’s initial count-in is missing here while it’s complete on the bootleg. The bootleg also includes two stray organ notes before (while Paul is talking) and also another one just when George counts in “two”. Paul’s voice can also be heard after the count-in of “three”, but all of this was erased in creating this new mix. The organ overdub is more prominent on the bootleg but this official mix has an almost perfect and clear vocal (double tracked) mix not heard before. The organ’s final chord is slightly faded out in the 2018 mix while it’s complete and with a few seconds of post chat on bootleg. After hearing the bootleg version and this official mix, we can assume what we have on bootleg is a copy of the organ overdub live on top of what was recorded earlier, while the 2018 version is a final mix not available before.
24. Mean Mr Mustard (Esher Demo) 2:03
Partially NEW. A completely different mix from the one available on “Anthology 3”, here everything is more centred (mostly vocals) while on “Anthology” we can hear the original demo on the left channel and overdubs with double vocal on the right channel. The 2018 mix is six seconds longer, with some extra chat from John and tape noises.
25. Polythene Pam (Esher Demo) 1:25
A completely different mix from the one available on “Anthology 3”, contrary to “Mean Mr. Mustard”, the two vocal tracks are separated here (left channel original demo, right channel overdub) but more clear on “Anthology 3”. It’s two seconds longer now, without the fade out.
26. Not Guilty (Esher Demo) 3:04
Since the bootleg tape comes from an off-line recording, we can hear some comments from George and John from time to time on the very background, while on this 2018 mix it’s a perfect recording but the end is complete on the bootleg, because it’s five seconds longer (we can hear Paul? And John chatting and also an extra guitar note).
27. What’s The New Mary Jane (Esher Demo) 2:40
Partially NEW. The count-in from John is truncated on the bootleg (One/ee/Four) while it’s complete here (One, two, three, four), other than that, there is nothing new. At the end of the tape on the bootleg version there is a click from a tape being stopped, this is not present on the new mix but it’s not part of the demo, but an ambient noise when George was copying the tape for John (we presume?)
|George and Ringo during a break in the studio sessions. Photo: © Copyright Apple Corps Ltd.|
1. Revolution 1 (Take 18) 10:26
NEW. The basic take (drums, guitar and piano) that was used to create the final version, at this stage this take has many overdubs recorded: double tracked vocals by John, mellotron, a bass and many electronic sounds and Yoko’s tape also heard at the end, some bits from this take including John’s screams were used in ‘Revolution No 9’, but still misses the distinctive guitar overdub all through the song. We can note that the “Take Two” heard on the intro is not coming from any “take two”, it actually says “Can I take two?”. This take 18 are without any backing vocals from Paul and George. At 07:35 Paul starts singing “Love Me Do”. Take 20 RM1 is available on bootleg and comes from this very same take when it was bounced to another 4-track tape but adds some extra overdubs (backing vocals, extra tape loops effects, the unused “Mama, Dada” chorus, another John vocal, etc)
2. A Beginning (Take 4)/ 0:55
Partially NEW. The same take is already available on “Anthology 3”, where it’s not linked with ‘Don’t Pass Me By’ (so the end is clearer than on this new mix). but here for the first time is the engineer’s announcement From Take 1 (unlisted) “This is introduction to Ringo’s Don’t Pass Me By ” and edited together with engineer’s announcement for “Take 4”. The change of sound is very noticeable during the two slates.
Don’t Pass Me By (Take 7) 4:50
NEW. The violin starts on the official version at 00:39, while on this unmixed Take 7 it starts almost right away. There is also no intro on the piano as heard on the official version, here the piano starts directly with the drum beat. The original Take 7 presented here is one minute longer than the released version (3:50) because it doesn’t have one verse edited out on the final mix. The vocal track is the same as the released version also with Artificial Double Tracking (ADT) but we can hear Ringo singing the full end of the song, something that was faded out on the Anthology Version: “I want you to make me happy.. happy… happy…. ‘cause that’s what I want” and linked together with a real surprise: the original title of the song, Ringo is heard at the end saying “This is Some Friendly” while the others are whispering the same.
The “Anthology 3” version is more than a minute shorter (2:40) than the official version and more than two minutes shorter than this 2018 outtake.
3. Blackbird (Take 28) 2:15
NEW. The take runs 1:55 while the rest is Paul talking with George Martin and there is also a female voice heard near the end (Francie Schwartz?) when Paul says that it’s better to sing quieter. According to Kevin Howlett, the tape box of this was mislabeled as Take 9 while “Take 4” from “Anthology” is actually Take 23!
4. Everybody’s Got Something To Hide Except Me And My Monkey (Unnumbered Rehearsal) 2:43
NEW. A real jewel here was discovered while researching for this project, only three minutes survived from this instrumental rehearsal.
5. Good Night (Unnumbered Rehearsal) 00:39
NEW. Apparently the spoken introduction tryouts done by Ringo were recorded after the next track, another similar (but not the same) tryout is found on the “Anthology” video during the medley of “White Album” outtakes.
6. Good Night (Take 10 With A Guitar Part From Take 7) 2:31
NEW. With a combination of two takes, a splendid mix with the unused vocal harmonies from John, Paul and George. One of the highlights from this boxed set. But there is actually more than one guitar, Take 7 is a combination of three guitar recordings done by John on top of Take 5.
7. Good Night (Take 22) 3:46
NEW. The very same take as used on “Anthology 3”, it has a slate and some extra chat at the intro not heard before (the first 15 seconds are new) but the rest of the intro is the same but mixed slightly differently.
The “Anthology” take is edited with Take 34 at 1:59 and ends at 2:34 while this is the full Take, lasting more than one minute longer. The liner notes of the “Anthology 3” album mention that this is a rehearsal take, while the new documentations prove that this is Take 22, another survivor of the erasing, along with part of Take 21.
|Photo: © Copyright Apple Corps Ltd.|
8. Ob La Di Ob La Da (Take 3) 2:54
NEW. In the same vein as the very well known “acoustic” version Take 5 also on “Anthology 3” and many bootlegs and the unreleased “Sessions” LP, this is the same take before overdubs but ADT in Paul’s vocal is present and also in some parts a double tracked vocal is heard (during the “Happy ever after in the marketplace” line starting at 2:14), plus backing vocals from John and George doing the “la la las”. What is missing from this Take 3 and present on Take 5 are the congas, saxophones and extra percussion.
9. Revolution (Unnumbered Rehearsal) 2:16
NEW. Another discovered rehearsal fragment that survives, having been thought erased. Main and backing vocals are already present at this stage including some low “shoo-bee-do-wop” by Paul.
10. Revolution (Take 14 Instrumental Backing Track) 3:25
NEW. Still to be added piano by Nicky Hopkins and another guitar part by John are not present at this take yet. It also has a slightly different and unedited ending.
11. Cry Baby Cry (Unnumbered Rehearsal) 3:02
NEW. Also known as “Version one”, another surviving rehearsal tape was found, and just a fragment is presented here. John’s vocal is already present.
12. Helter Skelter (First Version Take 2) 12:53
Partially NEW. Known as “Version one”, the now very famous slow version of this song sees the light of day being released in full. However, there is fade out involved, so we can’t hear how it actually ends. Kevin Howlett says we can hear this take in it’s entirety lasting 12:49, but it actually continues until 12:53 where there is a fade out. So maybe the third and most famous 27 minute take starts linked after Take 2? Just like Take 2 starts with a jam already in progress (from the end of Take 1?) and six seconds later we can hear the engineers’ “Take two” announcement. The “Anthology 3” version was heavily edited to a total of 4:35 using the “best” parts of this long take.
|Long Long Long tape box © Copyright Apple Corps Ltd.|
1. Sexy Sadie (Take 3) 3:08
NEW. We can hear George singing a few lines of ‘Getting Better’ over the intro. Part of the initial chat between John and George was already available coming from the “Rockband” intros (“How fast John?”, “however you like, you know?.. feel it!), the rest is new and with a fade out at the end, so we can’t hear the actual ending.
2. While My Guitar Gently Weeps (Acoustic Version Take 2) 3:02
NEW. An undocumented second take on the session tape box was discovered for this project. Recorded the same day and after the famous Take 1, which was also on “Anthology 1” and many bootleg releases (unedited and edited). George and Paul are the only members of the Beatles here.
3. Hey Jude (Take 1) 6:44
NEW. Another surprise for those collecting bootlegs, different from the other, mislabeled “Take 1” which is circulating and never heard before until now, recorded July 29, 1968, the second take from this same session appears on “Anthology 3”. George is playing some electric guitar riffs on this take as well.
4. St Louis Blues (Studio Jam) 00:50
Nothing new, there is even an early fade out.
5. Not Guilty (Take 102) 4:28
Partially NEW. The full length performance from beginning to end without any early fade out. The first five seconds are new, starting with the “Take 102” announcement and ending with post-song guitar riffs which can also be heard on the “John Barrett Tapes” bootleg but are more prominent here as the bootleg has a fade out but runs a few more seconds longer during the final riffs. So we still need both to get the complete take.
6. Mother Nature’s Son (Take 15) 3:11
NEW. Paul trying to sing some parts differently. The take runs 2:29 while the rest is Paul and George Martin talking.
|Photo: © Copyright Apple Corps Ltd.|
7. Yer Blues (Take 5 With Guide Vocal) 3:57
NEW. John comment at the end that “it’s getting better”.
8. What’s The New Mary Jane (Take 1) 2:06
Partially NEW. 35 seconds were already available coming from the “Anthology” video or DVD but mislabeled as “Take 2” on bootlegs, now this full breakdown take is available.
9. Rocky Raccoon (Take 8) 4:57
Partially NEW. Already available on the “Anthology 3” album, the intro there is more complete as we can hear a guitar note that was edited out in this new mix, the talk between John and Paul is the same. The “Anthology” version ends at 4:10 so now we have almost 40 seconds of an unheard passage with improvised lyrics from Paul, a real highlight for those expecting nothing new with the choice of the same take as on the “Anthology”.
10. Back In The U.S.S.R. (Take 5 Instrumental Backing Track) 3:09
NEW. No extra comments since it’s already out.
11. Dear Prudence (Vocal, Guitar & Drums) 3:59
NEW. A real surprise where you didn’t expect one, as this could be read as a “channel mix”, judging by the description – and it’s not! It’s a full length take without overdubs (except for a double tracked vocal by John) and also a different guitar is heard near the end plus John continues playing his guitar with more extra riffs. The track ends with John saying: ‘Can I just do the last verse?’.
12. Let It Be (Unnumbered Rehearsal) 1:17
NEW. Undocumented track (second engineer John Smith wrote “Ad Lib” in his recording notes) during the ‘While My Guitar’ sessions with mister Slow Hand himself, we can hear George Harrison telling him at the end “Cans On Eric”.
13. While My Guitar Gently Weeps (Third Version Take 27)
Partially NEW. George’s initial comments regarding his sandwich and coffee were already available from the “Rockband” and “Anthology” video intros and apparently comes from Take 1 (Third Version session), even the count-in is the same here and there. The breakdown is also available from the “Rockband” intros where George is referring to sing like Smokey Robinson but the rest is completely new and not heard before.
14. (You’re So Square) Baby I Don’t Care (Studio Jam) 0:42
NEW. Recorded during the session for the second version of ‘Helter Skelter’.
15. Helter Skelter (Second Version Take 17) 3:39
NEW. The “keep that one, mark it Fab” comment that has been repeated over and over from “Rockband”, “09 09 09” back catalogue, bootlegs, etc comes from this session and this take 17 although the group tried more takes until Take 21 became the actual master.
16. Glass Onion (Take 10) 2:12
NEW. Full of alternate or unfinished lyrics. John can be heard at the intro asking George Martin’s assistant Chris Thomas about his opinion so far.
|Paul in the control room. Photo: © Copyright Apple Corps Ltd.|
1. I Will (Take 13) 2:20
NEW. Starts with a breakdown so we don’t know if that could be Take 12?.
2. Blue Moon (Studio Jam) 1:11
NEW. Played before Take 28 of ‘I Will’, according to the liner notes.
3. I Will (Take 29) 00:26
NEW. A breakdown take, Paul finish it by singing ‘If you want me to- I won’t!” and John replying “Yes you will!”
4. Step Inside Love (Studio Jam) 1:34
Partially NEW. Although it’s the same as the bootleg version (also incomplete on the intro as there was a tape change) what’s new is part of the next track, after John says “Los Paranoias” and Paul laughs, it seems that there is an edit on the bootleg as this improvisation starts immediately but here there is something new: John comment, Paul laughs and the tape continues three more seconds where we can hear John singing something unidentified and Paul adds “Ok” (and move to the next track as the two are linked).
5. Los Paranoias (Studio Jam) 3:58
Partially NEW. (tape keeps rolling from previous track).. Paul adds “come on now chaps, swing A-la-Latina” and sang a little something like “Ya-ka-tan” while strumming his guitar not heard on the bootleg, then the song starts, that’s the only new thing here.
6. Can You Take Me Back (Take 1) 2:22
Partially NEW. The version circulating on bootlegs for many years is an edited one and also runs slightly faster. This 2018 mix and the bootleg starts almost at the same time (one extra second longer on the bootleg), and also finish almost at the same time (a tiny bit longer on the bootleg where you can hear the tape being cut), but there’s an unbooted segment in the middle. The underground version runs 1:56 and here we are having almost 30 seconds extra. The new segment starts at 1:11 and lasts until 1:37, while the edit on the bootleg occurs at 1:14. This song was preserved on the session recording notes as ‘Jam- Unidentified‘ (I Will Take 19).
7. Birthday (Take 2 Instrumental Backing Track) 2:40
NEW. A very interesting backing track with some alternate guitar riffs (buried by the piano on the released version). Paul can be heard counting to eight during the break as well as shouting and guiding at some points.
8. Piggies (Take 12 Instrumental Backing Track) 2:10
NEW. John starts chanting “I’m a fabulous fabulous vegetarian”, followed by George: “One More.. One More Time..” which is the exact phrase (“One More Time”) heard on the official version near the end of the song (not present here). This intro comes (possibly) from a different take. This is mostly a “channel mix” rather than an outtake. It’s Take 12, the master take with overdubs except for the animal noises and vocals, but if you use headphones you can hear the first verse sung by George buried in the mix – possibly from a live vocal guide although it could also be from the final vocal track.
9. Happiness Is A Warm Gun (Take 19) 3:09
NEW and fantastic! It has an extra verse repeated twice, something that was later changed on the final version (‘I need a Fix’) and replaced by a guitar solo. John sings it in a very raw form at this stage.
10. Honey Pie (Instrumental Backing Track) 2:40
NEW. This is just a simple instrumental mix, no outtake.
11. Savoy Truffle (Instrumental Backing Track) 2:56
NEW. Contrary to the past track (Honey Pie) although this is also a channel mix simply erasing the vocal track, we can hear three extra seconds of actual session noises at the end: a tambourine and George’s ‘How’s that’?” comment.
12. Martha My Dear (Without Brass And Strings) 2:29
NEW. Another good surprise where you didn’t expected based on the track description. We can hear Paul’s “Four” count in over the intro, plus his vocal is single tracked and there is also a noise made by his piano at the end.
13. Long Long Long (Take 44) 2:54
NEW. Another highlight, it’s an incomplete take including a false start and after the 2 minute mark George starts singing one of his unreleased compositions: “Gathering Gesturing”.
14. I’m So Tired (Take 7) 2:29
15. I’m So Tired (Take 14) 2:17
NEW. Take 7 is more interesting than the master Take 14 which only adds a few extra elements which were erased from the final version, one of them a very good three-vocal harmony part and a familiar guitar riff present on the “Monitor Mixes” bootlegs and extra gibbering from John. The intro chat from John is clearly edited from a different take. Why Giles opted to include two takes with not very much difference between them, and for other songs only went for a rehearsal or a backing track but no vocal outtakes is questionable.
16. The Continuing Story Of Bungalow Bill (Take 2) 3:12
NEW. A different beat in Ringo’s drum is present here at some points, at the end we can hear the announcement for Take 3 as well.
17. Why Don’t We Do It In The Road? (Take 5) 2:03
NEW. Paul’s intro comments is a continuation of the speaking heard on “Anthology 3”, a very similar take (quiet verse and loud verse) that ended up as the master to made overdubs.
18. Julia (Two Rehearsals) 4:31
NEW. “Is it better standing, what’d you think?” John starts asking George Martin. As previous rehearsals presented on this box set, this is also a survivor that remained on the tape where the actual takes were recorded.
19. The Inner Light (Take 6 Instrumental Backing Track) 2:47
NEW. Although “Take 5” circulates on bootlegs, it seems that is a so-called outfake made by the bootleggers by simply erasing the vocals, where close examination shows that at some point they are still present. Also, a “monitor mix” circulates from a very old bootleg but there too there’s no evidence whether it’s real or not. Here for the first time is Take 6, a copy-to-tape from Take 5, which was recorded in India. It features engineer’s announcement as well. A completely different alternate take (maybe take 2 ,3 or 4) is available as bonus track on the recent ‘Wonderwall’ CD re-issue.
20. Lady Madonna (Take 2 Piano & Drums) 2:25
NEW. Starts with the engineer announcing “Two” and is simply the backing track. Take 3 was used as master for overdubs.
21. Lady Madonna (Backing Vocals Take 3) 00:54
Although everything from this track is available on bootleg (one of the “Monitor Mixes” tracks), this mix has the voices so clear that is worth listening to. But it’s incomplete so you will still need the bootlegs for completion!
22. Across The Universe (Take 6) 3:52
NEW. An unheard version, this is the take before the one that was used as master for overdubs, it has not been heard or released before, and is a simple take, only with John’s vocal track, his guitar and Ringo on tom-toms.