Wednesday, May 27, 2015

Act Two Scene One: Rolls 11-A + 50-B

The Morning of Friday, January 3rd, 1969
Act Two Scene One

In Act One, the Beatles showed up on the Twickenham Film Studio soundstage and began the process of creating an LP of new compositions in front of the movie cameras of film director Michael Lindsey Hogg. At the end of this process, they planned a dramatic live show, and some sort of televised documentary illustrating the Beatles' creative process. Three new compositions received extended work:

1) I've Got a Feeling (Paul with John's Everybody Had a Hard Year song fragment woven into the ending of the song).
2). Don’t Let Me Down (John writing about his soon to be wife, Yoko)
3) Two of Us (Paul writing about his new girlfriend, and soon to be wife, the Lovely Linda).
Ringo, though mostly silent, is always uncannily perfect in his musical instincts, able to follow the other three’s musical gambits in a split second. Lastly, George has floated several compositions, most notably his moving All Things Must Pass, which failed to make the day one rehearsal cut. Despite this omission, a promising start to a new and revolutionary Beatle adventure.
In an incidental oddity, day two, a Friday, sees the four Beatles arriving in the exact reverse sequence (Paul, Ringo, George, and John) in which they arrived onto the set on day one (John, George, Ringo, and Paul).
And there is a significant addition to the set: a second roving camera whose soundtrack is referred to a B-cam. Throughout the day, the primary instrument of record was the A-cam. However, at key moments, and occasionally by itself, the B-cam unit began to shoot additional material of the events transpiring on the set. At this time, the two camera soundtracks recorded onto the twin Nagra recorders, were separate (that is, not mixed together). Later, this will not be the case.
But for these early ones, when you digitally match (infinitely more difficult than one might assume) A-cam and B-cam recordings of the same event as a L/R channel separation, the result is a wonderful stereo sound image. You will hear them start to pop up throughout January 2nd. Later, when the project moves to Apple, the A-cam and B-cam units begin to run almost continuously allowing for long unbroken expanses of take after take after take of a song.
Before this day is complete:
  • Paul begins the day running thru his songbook of in-progress compositions, a pattern he will continue throughout the Twickenham phase of the project
  • George also puts on his own version of a one man morning show
  • Ringo will debut two new in-progress compositions, never again to be heard from
  • The Beatles put on their own memorable morning and afternoon tour de force performances, moving thru a series of improvisations, 50's oldies, a song from a cold war thriller movie soundtrack, and John and Paul will each lead the band in delightfully bizarre, back to back musical drive-bys of one another's compositions from the White Album
  • Paul will fail in an attempt to enlist John's vocal help on the weakest link of one of his new compositions. On the very next performance attempt, Paul will solve the problem by creating the songs defining vocal signature, and sending the song into the orbit that will take it all the way up to the rooftop
  • In one of the defining moments of Let it Be, John will personify the heart and soul of the “back to the roots” nature of the project by reaching back to one of the first songs he wrote in the late 1950’s. The Beatles attempted, and failed to record this song as follow-up to their first UK number one single Please Please Me, being unable to find the right musical feel. Now, they make it one hell of a ride from the first two performances, and carry that excitement all the way up to the rooftop.
  • George will finally get his turn at bat. Despite a series of mildly disruptive loud yawns from Paul, and a series of electrical shocks that mysteriously only George is susceptible to, the song will eventually grab John’s interest, leading to a truly passionate and heartfelt Beatle performance of this classic George composition.
  • Lastly, the Beatles will begin work on one of Paul’s new compositions, revealing a theatrical, and much darker musical arrangement than how it eventually ended up on the Abbey Road LP, matching the murder and mayhem themed lyrics about a psychopathic boy named Maxwell.
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