Would the White Album Have Worked Better as the "Kinfauns Basement Tapes"?

Discussion in 'Music Corner' started by mbleicher1, May 16, 2018 at 5:56 PM.

  1. mbleicher1

    mbleicher1 Tube Amp Curmudgeon Thread Starter

    Location:
    San Mateo, CA, USA
    In the long White Album thread, we started talking about how the White Album "feels" different than earlier albums, and not necessarily in a good way.

    I bought Revolver and White on the same day. I couldn’t explain what it was, but Revolver felt like an album that was positive and opened up the world, whereas the White Album seemed insular, dark, disjointed. The fun songs didn’t really sound like fun; the heavy songs all sounded like the prelude to tragedy. Even something like Dear Prudence felt slightly off, like the darker cousin to Lucy In The sky with Diamonds. Knowing more about the Beatles’ history, I think the tension, resentment, claustrophobia, and heroin addiction (John) seeped into the record—into the way the songs were arranged, the tones they chose for the instruments and mixes, the way they played, the way they sang. The Beatles’ friendship and capacity for joy infused their early recordings, and when they no longer felt the magic, we didn’t either. Whatever it was they did, you can’t fake.

    I don’t think they ever recaptured it, although a lot of people think Abbey Road did. I think Abbey Road was a beautifully played collection of leftovers, plus two George classics, with a little less tension because they knew it was over. But it doesn’t open new worlds.

    Lately, I wonder what would’ve happened if they had pulled a Basement Tapes and recorded the whole thing on four track at Esher, with John and George mainly playing acoustics. Maybe some of those songs would’ve worked better performed in the spirit they were written in India, and maybe the camaraderie was still there in May, before five months of Yoko, John on smack, and Paul bossing people around harshed the vibe.

    What do you guys think? What if they'd brought a piano, a drum kit, and a few guitars and amps to Kinfauns and run down the songs that way--same time, May 1968, same people - no Yoko, no George Martin--then picked 12 or 14 to release? And which songs do you think they'd have picked?
     
    Last edited: May 16, 2018 at 6:15 PM
  2. Rfreeman

    Rfreeman Forum Resident

    Location:
    Lawrenceville, NJ
  3. DRM

    DRM Forum Resident

    Not having Yoko there is DEFINITELY a sticking point. Anthology 3 is great. With the acoustic White Album material. But too many forces were coalescing together that led to the Beatles getting closer and closer to breaking up.
     
  4. Bill

    Bill Senior Member

    Location:
    Eastern Shore
    I think it's an intriguing question.
     
  5. fishcane

    fishcane Forum Resident

    Location:
    clay,ny
    no but Anthology 3 would have been better off if they gave us all the material
     
  6. mbleicher1

    mbleicher1 Tube Amp Curmudgeon Thread Starter

    Location:
    San Mateo, CA, USA
    That was helpful
     
    Doggiedogma and Rfreeman like this.
  7. warewolf95

    warewolf95 Forum Resident

    Long story short, Revolver is still a "group" Beatles album for the most part. The Beatles is often times, to me at least, simply 4 solo records put together with each member guesting on each other's songs. I don't know if OP has the same opinion, but I agree with what he says and to me it's a big difference.
     
    Dorian75, Beatle Ed and wavethatflag like this.
  8. mbleicher1

    mbleicher1 Tube Amp Curmudgeon Thread Starter

    Location:
    San Mateo, CA, USA
    My thinking is that, even though India was strained, they seemed to enjoy writing and playing just by themselves, with their guitars. Maybe some of the slapdash songs would benefit from being recorded in a more slapdash atmosphere, with less time spent on dozens of tales. Something like Bungalow Bill or Rocky Raccoon might have been a lot less fun by take 68 after three days in studio two. I think we can feel that lack of camaraderie on the final product.
     
    Tristero and DRM like this.
  9. mbleicher1

    mbleicher1 Tube Amp Curmudgeon Thread Starter

    Location:
    San Mateo, CA, USA
    OP, and agree. If they had made the album over a couple weeks, as a four person unit in conditions that mimicked parts of the Rishikesh musical situation, maybe it would have been a group album.
     
    warewolf95 and jricc like this.
  10. Bill

    Bill Senior Member

    Location:
    Eastern Shore
    I can tell you this: I play my Kinfauns footwear more than my White Album. I find it less overblown and more enjoyable than the official release. That George Martin couldn't take the White Album sessions and split says a lot. I think the official release evidences that tension.
    But I know many love the White Album.
     
    NumberEight and warewolf95 like this.
  11. jricc

    jricc Forum Resident

    Location:
    Jersey Shore
    Yeah, definitely agree with this. It might've been the get back to basics vibe they were going for in Let it Be.
     
  12. daveidmarx

    daveidmarx Forem Residunt

    Location:
    Astoria, NY USA
  13. daveidmarx

    daveidmarx Forem Residunt

    Location:
    Astoria, NY USA
    You asked a question and was answered. Rather correctly, I would say. The White Album is their best by far. No need at all to tinker with it.
     
    Digu, Cheepnik, Raf and 5 others like this.
  14. Rfreeman

    Rfreeman Forum Resident

    Location:
    Lawrenceville, NJ
    To expand, they pretty much did what you say and while it is an interesting alternate way to hear it, I can't think of a single song I would say was better that way.

    So, no.

    At least TWA is a lot more enjoyable to me that Pepper or Mystery Tour. But they just weren't having as much fun post 66 and you can hear it. Still dig the records.
     
    plentyofjamjars67 and daveidmarx like this.
  15. mbleicher1

    mbleicher1 Tube Amp Curmudgeon Thread Starter

    Location:
    San Mateo, CA, USA
    It seems like they knew from the beginning of 1968 that they couldn't take the studio production thing much further. But, perhaps out of habit, or perhaps because they were so fractured, they took forever to record some fairly basic songs for White. It may be the first overworked rock album relative to the type of music it contained (as opposed to something like Pet Sounds or Pepper).
     
    DRM likes this.
  16. Scope J

    Scope J Forum Resident

    Location:
    Michigan
    Works fine as-is
     
    dartira likes this.
  17. DRM

    DRM Forum Resident

    Yoko is key. And addiction.
     
    Hardy Melville likes this.
  18. mbleicher1

    mbleicher1 Tube Amp Curmudgeon Thread Starter

    Location:
    San Mateo, CA, USA
    Agree. The other three Beatles did not change that much between 1967 and 1968.
     
  19. Arnold Grove

    Arnold Grove Forum Resident

    Location:
    NYC
    Was Yoko in attendance when the Esher tapes were recorded at George's house? Supposedly this occurred in late May (1968).

    Just wondering because, when the White Album sessions officially began on May 30th at EMI, Yoko was there from the start.
     
  20. schnitzerphilip

    schnitzerphilip "Custom Title" Unlocked Award

    Location:
    NJ USA
    Considering the White Album is probably thought to be the greatest Beatles LP by as many as 40% of their fans on the planet, no, I don't think this would be the album needing some alternate treatment. It's eclectic nature is its strongest attribute.
     
  21. Shaddam IV

    Shaddam IV Forum Resident

    Location:
    Ca
    Everyone seems to think there's something wrong with the WA? I don't.
     
    Last edited: May 16, 2018 at 7:37 PM
  22. mbleicher1

    mbleicher1 Tube Amp Curmudgeon Thread Starter

    Location:
    San Mateo, CA, USA
    I've wondered about that, but I think the answer is "no" because she's not in any pictures at George's house, and interviews with Paul, George and Ringo throughout the years all say they were very surprised when she showed up to the first White Album session and stayed in the studio with the band. Although an informal demo session is a bit different, if Yoko had been there (presumably at John's side), it likely wouldn't have been so shocking and so memorable when the same thing happened at Abbey Road.
     
    IronWaffle and Arnold Grove like this.
  23. DK Pete

    DK Pete Forum Resident

    Location:
    Levittown. NY
    I always prefer to leave The White Album as is cover to cover and everything inbetween. As a nearly-11 yeard old in 1968 and having just started my Beatle-album buying, it struck me as the most intriguing, mystifying thing they had ever done. That said, your fantasy proposal of having done it makes it sound, if it's possible, even *more* intriguing, artistically. It's also interesting to ponder how it would have sold being that it would have been a complete left turn in terms of production/sonics/arrangement. I will say this...the all-white cover would have suited your idea better than it does the actual thing.
     
    perplexed, IronWaffle and notesfrom like this.
  24. Arnold Grove

    Arnold Grove Forum Resident

    Location:
    NYC
    Interesting. I too always thought that Yoko was not at George's house, but there is still the possibility, because it was so informal, as opposed to bringing Yoko into the studio confines on Day 1 at EMI.

    Also: Are those photos taken from the exact date of the Esher taping? Or could they be from earlier in May, or some other time?

    Also, recording a set of demos over the course of a few hours while eating/drinking/partying at George's house does not necessarily preclude the presence of say Patti, Maureen, or Yoko. I think Paul and Jane Asher had called it quits by this time, although I'm not sure if Paul had started seeing Francie Schwartz yet.
     
  25. RickH

    RickH Forum Resident

    Location:
    Raleigh, NC
    You lost me at “Abbey Road...a beautifully played collection of leftovers”
     

Share This Page