As mentioned in my previous Beatles' post, there's an enormous glut of material out there.
Sifting through it all is one heck of an investment, even for the most ardent of fans.
I have tentatively dipped my cyber-toe but soon withdrew; overwhelmed by mop-top sludge, poor recordings, recycled 'rarities', rubbish (not something one would readily associate with the Kings of EMI), and collections of alternate takes: often of the same track (you know the kind of thing: 'on this version John's breath is more prominent during the harmonica solo...')!
I mean, I'm sure there are those out there who revel in a collection of twenty-five different takes of 'Help' or thirty versions of 'Strawberry Fields', but they're probably people who count out grains of rice into a bowl before serving, making sure everyone gets the same amount.
If you're not one of those types, but like a bit of Beatles, and maybe want to hear something a little outside of the ever-so-famous canon, try this.
It truly does what it says on the tin; it gives an 'insight into The Beatles' creative process', and it does this in a most informative and entertaining way.
There are complete versions of songs on this album, all of which are alternate takes: all more interesting than the released versions.
But the best tracks in this collection are those that are made up from extracts of different takes spliced together; allowing the song's history to be revealed.
The track may start somewhere near demo or early rehearsal stage (The Beatles recorded everything [which is why they're so heavily bootlegged, of course]), but soon segues into a more developed take; eventually melting into the released version.
It sounds a bit gimmicky (which it is), but actually makes for a fascinating listen.
The creator, bootlegger, whoever, allows the listener to appreciate the song's journey; to take in the song's development and change through time.
This is best exemplified by 'Good Morning, Good Morning', which begins merely as the animal sfx track that accompanies the piece (most prominently heard at the end of the released track - this freed-up version sends my dogs berserk!), joined by an early hard rock styled-version of the song, and then segueing, seamlessly, into the finished, familiar version.
As I've already said, it is gimmicky, but it's compelling.
And despite the fact that it is a kind of documentary of sorts of the songs, it's gratifying enough to be played again and again.
The sound quality is also superb throughout.
And if you are interested in The Beatles' music, another reason to grab this is for the track 'Sour Milk Sea'.
A song I know nothing about.
It's simply beautiful.
It sounds like a George song - I think George sings it.
Definitely the most interesting and thrillingly new, to me [fuck, I'm a Chuckle Brother!], Beatles' song I have so far discovered.
I have no idea why it isn't known or why it wasn't released.
But I'm sure there's someone out there who does...
The Beatles - Men & Horses, Hoops & Garters (2001 [?] )
Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band
With a Little Help From My Friends
And I Love Her
She Loves You
Eight Days a Week
She's a Woman
Good Morning, Good Morning
I Me Mine
It's Only Love
Sour Milk Sea
I Am the Walrus
Old Brown Shoe
Why Don't We Do It In the Road
What You're Doing
Everybody's Got Something to Hide Except For Me and My Monkey
Across the Universe
Let It Be
Isn't It a Pity / Hey Jude
King Lear Speech
Sour Milk Sea
CD rip to mp3s; artwork included.
Get this most essential of Beatles' boots here