Thursday, October 5, 2017

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 show up on the Twickenham Film Studio soundstage and began the process of creating an LP of new compositions, in front of the movie cameras directed by Michael Lindsey HoggAs filming continues, they plan a dramatic live performance, and a televised documentary illustrating the Beatles' legendary creativity. Three new compositions receive their attention: 

1) I've Got a Feeling: Paul with John's Everybody Had a Hard Year song fragment woven into the ending.

2). Don’t Let Me DownJohn writing about his soon to be wife, Yoko Ono.
3) Two of UsPaul singing about his new girlfriend, and soon to be wife, the ‘Lovely Linda’.

Ringo, though usually silent, is stunningly perfect in his musical instincts, following the other’s musical gambits in a split second. Lastly, George floats 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 revolutionary Beatle adventure. 

Day two, a Friday, sees the Beatles arriving in the reverse sequence (Paul, Ringo, George, and John) to which they arrived on day one  (John, George, Ringo, and Paul).

There is a significant day-two addition to the set: a second roving camera, whose soundtrack is referred to as B-cam. Throughout the day, the primary instrument of record is the A-cam. However, at key moments, and occasionally by itself, the B-cam unit begins to shoot additional material capturing the events transpiring on the set from a second perspective. At this time, the two camera soundtracks, recorded onto Nagra recorders, are not mixed together on the soundboard. Later, this will not be the case. 

When A-cam and B-cam recordings of the same event are digitally matched up as a L/R channel separation, the result is a wonderful stereo sound image. You will hear them 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 recordings of take after take after take of each song. .

Before this day is complete:

  • Paul begins with a ‘morning show’, running thru his songbook of in-progress compositions, a pattern he will continue throughout the Twickenham phase of the project
  • George puts on his own version of a one man morning show
  • Ringo debuts two new in-progress compositions, both of which are destined to be never heard from again
  • The Beatles put on their own memorable morning and afternoon performances, moving thru a series of improvisations, 50's oldies, and song from a cold war thriller movie soundtrack.
  • John and Paul each lead the band in back to back musical drive-bys of one another's compositions from the White Album
  • Paul fails to enlist John's vocal assistance on the weakest link of one of his new compositions, 'I've got a Feeling'. On the very next performance attempt, Paul solves this problem by creating the songs defining vocal signature, sending the song into an orbit that will take it all the way up to the rooftop
  • In one of the defining moments of Let it Be, John personifies 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, One After 909. In 1963, the Beatles attempted to record this song on the same day that they recorded From Me To You. They were unable to find the right musical feel. Today they make it one hell of a ride from the first performance and carry that excitement all the way up to the rooftop.
  • George finally gets his turn at bat. Despite some mildly disruptive loud yawns from Paul, and a series of electrical shocks to which only George is susceptible to, the song eventually grabs John’s interest, leading to a passionate Beatle performance of this classic George composition, All Things Must Pass.
  • Lastly, the Beatles begin work on Paul’s Maxwell Silver Hammerrevealing a much darker composition than what eventually ended up on the Abbey Road LP, matching the murder and mayhem themed lyrics about a psychopathic boy named Maxwell. Press to Play Rolls 11-A + 50-B

Click to read the Listener's Guide - Rolls 11-A + 50-B