• 11-18-2003, 06:43 PM
    BillB
    The Beatles: Let It Be...Naked
    For those of you that only visit the new forum, my review:

    Let me start by saying, it's been a very long day waiting to get home and play this one. It's been a long three + months digesting nearly 20 hours of outtakes from these sessions. Lastly, it's been 8 pints of Beamish and four spins so far of the new version (but alas all notes were taken on the first run through!)

    My first listen was a direct comparison to the original CD version. All notes are made off of that first listen (only 2 pints were consumed during that time). The second listen was a straight run-through of the new version to hear how it flowed (more pints were consumed since I didn't have to take notes!) Anyway, here goes:

    First let me get a few of things out of the way on MY overall impression of the new version. Everything sounds much cleaner; vocal, drums, guitars, bass, etc. That's not necessarily to say it's "polished". It sounds better but still maintains it's "rawness". It stays true to the sound of everything I've heard in all of those outtakes. I personally feel the album flows better with the reorganization of the tracks. Remember, I'm not one that was even around until nearly 7 years AFTER this album's release but I have been a diehard Beatles fan for 10 years.

    As has been mentioned, all of the intro and outro chatter and talk has been eliminated. That is one of it's downfalls IMO. I feel that added to the "live" aspect that the sessions had throughout.

    It's also my observation that different vocal tracks have been used in certain places (as you'll see mentioned) as well as slight speed differences. Again, this is all just my first impression. I'm hear to discuss with other Beatle nuts.

    GET BACK: Not a MAJOR difference from the original, everything's clearer, I can "see/hear" Paul's facial expressions as he sings.

    I DIG A PONY: The false start and nose blowing is gone. Can sense Lennon moving closer/further from the mic, the organ is much more prominent in the mix. Again, no MAJOR differences but still better.

    FOR YOU BLUE: Acoustic in the beginning sounds GREAT!!! Slide guitar moves from left in original to right in new version, picking swaps as well. Drums sound "right" on the new one.

    THE LONG AND WINDING ROAD: BIG difference! The strings are gone and thank God! They sound EXTREMELY tacky after hearing so many takes without them. This is the first time in a long time that I've listened to the original album version and many songs just don't sound "right". Paul's in my basement, his piano's stuck in my TV! I'm guessing that different vocal bits have been used. Either that or Spector's "wall of shiite" just drowned out the magnificent vocals. Plus Paul sings "You've ALWAYS known" rather than "You'll never know" and swaps the "Waiting" and "Standing" as he did throughout the outtakes.

    TWO OF US: Everything sounds better to me. Vocals more distinguished. Might be sped up slightly?? The whistling at the end is cut short. Not a major difference but an improvement.

    I'VE GOT A FEELING: Vocals more distiguished and without echo effect. New guitar tracks used or mixed different? Definitely different vocal bits if not entirely different tracks. Vocals stay centered throughout and drums sound 100 times better. Sound slightly slowed down??

    ONE AFTER 909: Bass is fatter, vocals are separated, definite different vocal tracks, ex: Lennon "Yes I did" They sound like they're having a blast!!! Bass prominent around 1:35 in orig, more even with guitar on new version.

    DON'T LET ME DOWN: Vocals up in the mix. Sped up slightly?? Lennon's vocal more breathy than before and his mumble around 1:40 is GONE in the new version. Drums spread across soundstage in orig., centered in new version.

    I ME MINE: Acoustic guitar and vocals MUCH better, hell everything's better! Backing vocal track to both speakers in new version, sounds like it's on a boombox behind George in the original. George's vocal sounds very deicate.

    ACROSS THE UNIVERSE: Another MUCH improved. The gaudy effects on Lennon's vocal and guitar are gone, leaving a much more natural sound. You can hear John taking breaths and making a point to annunciate every syllable. The strumming of his guitars strings are now crystal clear.

    LET IT BE: MUCH improved!! Paul's back in my basement with his damn piano. Drum kit is natural, no echo effect. Guitar solo is subdued similar to single version, no maracas or cheesy orchestration. Different vocal??
    tracks??

    Overall I'd give the new version a 9/10 and the original a 5/10. The one thing the original got right was the between-song banter that occurred throughout the sessions. The other, but minor, thing that the orignal got "right" was the inclusion of bits like "Maggie Mae" and "Dig It". Today they're often seen as filler but that's what these sessions were made up of, random, incessant jamming, sometimes of things that made no sense and went nowhere.

    It is a better version IMO though. It's like the way your car looks after that first coat of wax you put on it after a long cold winter. Layers of "dirt" have been stripped away and it sounds beautiful.

    BTW, make it 5 spins and add a pint of Beamish since I started this. Better get going now, have to work in the morning!
  • 11-19-2003, 08:19 AM
    DariusNYC
    Nice work! Thanks. Looks like it's a worthwhile purchase for a Beatles fan.
  • 11-19-2003, 08:23 AM
    Les
    There was a lot of hype during September and October in the UK around this (as you would expect). The album has received some very lukewarm reviews (Q and NME), slated by a number of high profile journos in the Sundays and generally hasn't been given a good press since it's release on Monday. I will buy it, maybe next week, maybe in a couple of months. I kinda lost enthusiasm for buying it though the original still figures highly in my mind. I've been a Beatles fan all my life and even surprise myself by not buying it on Monday. I'm pleased you think it's good, you give me some faith that I won't be disappointed :)
  • 11-19-2003, 08:56 AM
    Davey.
    Nice review Bill! But I still can't really get up any kind of enthusiasm for this CD, even after reading your post. There's a part of me that just can't understand why anyone would want to hear what some mostly anonymous engineers using a full set of Pro-Tools are capable of doing with old Beatles' tapes. Why not just an official release of one of the Glyn Johns versions? I know they rejected them at the time, but they're the ones with historical significance to me. And to go in and chop off the studio banter and process out wind noises and all that just seems wrong. Guess I'm just an old curmudgeon, but this whole Naked release just seems wrong and even exploitative to me and tarnishes the image of the Beatles in my mind.

    But if I can get it on sale for a real good price......:)

    The same thing happens in the book world once in awhile. I've reread a couple old books recently which had new content added and some changes made, mostly to restore what the authors say was their original intent. One worked very well and seamlessly added to the story while the other was nothing more than a distraction and was rightly edited out in the first place. So guess I'm kind of on the fence with this type of thing.
  • 11-19-2003, 10:00 AM
    tentoze
    Quote:

    Originally Posted by Davey.
    ..... this whole Naked release just seems wrong and even exploitative to me and tarnishes the image of the Beatles in my mind...

    On the way into work yesterday, the oldies station played a knock-off of Let It Be that started out something like,

    When I find myself in cash-flow trouble,
    Apple Records comes to me,
    Saying let's remaster Let It Be.

    The chorus was "Fed My Greed, Feed My Greed......"
  • 11-19-2003, 10:11 AM
    jasn
    Wasn't there an entire Lennon album produced by Spector that got hung up in egos or something so Lennon went out and redid the whole thing?

    Maybe that lost version should get released to rebalance the scales tipped by the Naked release?