50th Anniversary all things Beatles White Album

Discussion in 'Music Corner' started by tinnox, Feb 8, 2018.

  1. Ken Wood

    Ken Wood Forum Resident

    Thanks so much BuCo! That is further illuminating the beginnings of the WA - at least from Paul`s perspective.
    BTW I am not amazed that so many documents seem to stem from Paul`s archive - he not only was producing a lot but also seems to be a good keeper of things.
    So let`s see what we got here and compare it with that other list (from another notebook I guess)

    Anthology list
    1. Obla-dee Obla-da.
    2. Scrap heap [Junk (in the yard.)]
    3. Ballad
    4. Back in the U.S.S.R.
    5. Country Boy. Mother Nature`son
    6. Martha my dear.
    7. Silly girl.
    8. Rocky Racoon

    Spring songs list
    1. Obla Dee Obla da
    3. Mother Natures Son.
    5. Back in the U.S.S.R.
    7. Rocky Racoon.
    9. Junk
    11. Honey Pie. (title only, switch to black ink after number)
    Maxwell`s Silver Hammer (untitled/unnumbered)
    Honey Pie. (unnumbered)
    Song Index (blue ink again)

    Spring songs list index
    1. Obla dee Obla da.
    3 Mother Natures Son.
    5 Back in the USSR
    7 Rocky Racoon.
    9 Junk.

    It immidatly shows that Honey Pie (version with lyrics) and Maxwell were late additions. Different ink, no numbering, not included in the song index, only appearing in one notebook.

    These songs are present in both (or shall I say all three) lists:
    Ob-la-di Ob-la-da
    Back in the USSR
    Mother Natures Son
    Rocky Raccoon
    Junk

    These songs only appear in the Anthology list:
    Ballad
    Martha my dear
    Silly girl

    I think the Anthology list came before the notebook list because in the later he already decided on the titles for Mother Natures Sun and Junk while in the first he is unsure about them.

    I also believe that the Anthology list is a collection of ideas while the notebook shows them worked out with lyrics.

    Ballad & Martha my dear/Silly girl do not appear in the notebook because they were still in a unfinished state.

    Honey Pie was already around but without much lyrics.
    The lyrics for Honey Pie and Maxwell are the latest additions here, possibly only done back in the UK.

    With that I put out a theory regarding the order in which the songs were "done" although I am sure many were worked on simultaniously:

    In India:
    1. Ob-La-Di Ob-La-Da
    2. Junk (receiveing corrct title / full lyrics a bit later)
    3. Ballad (assuming this is I Will, which has been brought to India as a instrumental, received lyrics there by Paul and Donovan which were then scraped and redone in the UK)
    4. Back in the USSR
    5. Mother Natures Son (final title decided later)
    6. Martha my dear / Silly girl (put aside for a while before being combined and receiving lyrics, possibly much later as it was not demoed in Esher and only brought to the sessions late)
    7. Rocky Raccoon
    8. Honey Pie (lacking full lyrics)

    Later in India or back in the UK:
    9. Maxwells Silver Hammer (as an unfinished/untitled idea)
    - Honey Pie receives lyrics
    - I will receives lyrics
    - Martha My Dear is being put together / receives lyrics
     
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  2. Ken Wood

    Ken Wood Forum Resident

    Back in the USSR has the lyrics corrected from "awful" (as he sings it in Esher!) to "dreadful" (studio version).
    The corrections looks like it was done with the same pen (at the same time) as the initial lyrics. I still think India though, Paul just being undecided.
     
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  3. Ken Wood

    Ken Wood Forum Resident

    Oh, I completly forgot that Lil is not only a character in the song but also Mal`s wife`s name!
    A 4 poster is a 4-poster-bed (also called canopy I think).
     
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  4. Ken Wood

    Ken Wood Forum Resident

    Thinking about it again I am actually quite puzzled by "Martha My Dear" being on an India songlist.
    This after all is not only a piano-based song but THE piano-based song - probably the most complicated thing Paul ever played on that instrument and he talked about it being almost like a practise piece he invented for himself to see how far he could go mastering that instrument.
    Also it is often brought into connection with Jane Asher breaking up with Paul though this has never been verified by Paul.
    And in India they were still an item.
    Either it was something Paul started on guitar in India and later made it a piano piece or it originated as a piano-song before India and had a brief moment of being tried out on guitar, quickly abandoned (especially as it didn`t feature in Esher in either form).
     
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  5. zipp

    zipp Forum Resident

    I agree that the Anthology list came before the spring songs list. The Anthology list is probably just a way to remember possible song TITLES that McCartney had in mind and that he wrote down in India. The spring songs list shows us the lyrics to actual songs which were often not far from being completed.
    This would explain why Martha and Silly Girl existed as ideas for song titles but the song(s) in question didn't yet exist. When Paul came back to England, Martha My Dear took shape as a piano song, something impossible in India.
    Incidentally I wasn't expecting Martha My Dear to be one of the white album songs in this box that would provoke such interest!
    Whatsmore, the Beatles playing on this song now seem to be finally known. Ian McDonald said this song was Paul on his own. Mark Lewisohn also thought it was Paul on his own. And even Barry Miles in the official McCartney book Many Years Ago said it was just Paul on his own.
    But we now know it was Paul plus Ringo plus George.
    So it makes all those Beatle specialists look a bit silly. Silly boys in fact.
     
  6. Kim Olesen

    Kim Olesen Gently weeping guitarist.

    Location:
    Odense Denmark.
    Mark said that it could not be determined whether Martha was a solo Paul recording. That is a helluva lot away from MacDonald who stated is a fact.
     
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  7. BuCo

    BuCo A Guy Who Can't Have Enough Super Deluxe Box Sets

    Location:
    New York City
    Photo evidence:
    [​IMG]
     
  8. zipp

    zipp Forum Resident

    No, Mark Lewisohn said Martha My Dear "may well have been another one-man Paul McCartney recording".

    That's why I said Mark "thought it was Paul on his own".

    Ian McDonald and Barry Miles both definitely said it was Paul on his own.
     
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  9. Ken Wood

    Ken Wood Forum Resident

    "Martha My Dear" song by The Beatles. The in-depth story behind the songs of The Beatles. Recording History. Songwriting History. Song Structure and Style.
    Then, on October 4th, 1968, Paul, Ringo and George Harrison entered Trident Studios in London at 4 pm to begin working on the song. The rhythm track was recorded first, the instrumentation being Paul on piano (track seven) and lead vocals (track five), with both George on electric guitar and Ringo on drums together on track six of the eight-track tape.
     
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  10. Kim Olesen

    Kim Olesen Gently weeping guitarist.

    Location:
    Odense Denmark.
    May well=it’s possible= inconclusive.
     
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  11. zipp

    zipp Forum Resident

    "May well have been" means "more likely than not".

    The WELL is important in this context since it emphasises the possibilty of it being true.
     
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  12. Ken Wood

    Ken Wood Forum Resident

    WELL none of us error-proof. :D
     
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  13. Arnold Grove

    Arnold Grove Senior Member

    Location:
    NYC
    I have been told that I may well be a genius ... ;)
     
  14. zipp

    zipp Forum Resident

    Great work, Mal.

    If I understand correctly, you're saying that the white smudge we can see in the top right corner of the back window could be Ringo.
    Whether or not it really is him, the main point is understanding the layout of the studio and the reason why Ringo is out of shot.
    The de luxe box tells us that maybe the strings and brass were dubbed separately which would explain why no string musicians can be seen in this photo.

    The photos for this session are attributed to Linda Eastman/McCartney and on the page opposite the notes on Martha My Dear is a photo of Ringo on the drums. Presumably this is from the Trident session and confirms once again that Ringo was there. For the technically minded (which I'm not) the headphones he's wearing may be another clue.
     
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  15. Ken Wood

    Ken Wood Forum Resident

    You are right, my mistake. I was initially looking for a list of songs the Beatles composed in India, reading this Wiki-entry:
    The Beatles in India - Wikipedia
    There I found this:
    "According to the diary kept by one of the Maharishi's aides, Ravindra Damodara, however, at times McCartney "talk[ed] mean" to Harrison and appeared to want to be the Beatles' "boss"."
    I was then looking for more of that diary and found the USA Today article that also draws info from that diary but not this info - so I mixed up the two sources.
    I now went back to see the source for this claim and alas:
    Giuliano, Geoffrey; Giuliano, Avalon (2005). Revolver: The Secret History of the Beatles.
    Oh well,...
    Still would like to read that diary in full where it concerns the Beatles!
     
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  16. maandrade

    maandrade Forum Resident

    Last edited: Jan 14, 2019
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  17. Onder

    Onder Forum Resident

    There's a possibility that they could have been working out a section where only brass were needed. Pity that the multitrack wasn't checked for the definite answer.

    As for Linda taking photos at the sessions for the first time, @Ern might give the answer when did that happen.

    Ondra
     
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  18. beatleroadie

    beatleroadie Forum Resident

    "Martha" drums sure sound like Ringo to me.
     
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  19. Ern

    Ern Forum Resident

    Location:
    Portugal
    I think Linda's first photographed session is this one:
    The Beatles Recording
     
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  20. Ken Wood

    Ken Wood Forum Resident

    Regarding the Martha My Dear session may I once again point to this imho excellent source that seems to incoporate new info from the WA 50 Deluxe book as well as considering photographic evidence:
    "Martha My Dear" song by The Beatles. The in-depth story behind the songs of The Beatles. Recording History. Songwriting History. Song Structure and Style.
    In short:
    - Paul, George and Ringo recorded the backing track inc. vocals
    - brass instruments recorded
    - string instruments recorded
    Things that DO puzzle me however:
    - How brave they were to schedule all three parts for one session! They must have been sure to be able to lay down everything correctly and in time
    - Why Paul and George need to "guide" the brass musicians with live piano and guitar when they would play on(to) a pre-recorded track that contains those instruments anyway
    - Why Paul and George wear headphones while the brass musicians don`t
    I think the photo could show Paul and George still doing the backing track while the brass musicians are already in place, waiting to do their overdub, either Paul and George being a bit late with finishing their task (possibly due to Ringo breaking the skin?) or the other musicians a bit early.
     
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  21. Mal

    Mal Phorum Physicist

    On the "without brass and strings" version, I can only hear leakage of the brass section during the instrumental break. I wonder if the brass section played that live with Paul, George and Ringo and then the rest of the brass and strings arrangement was overdubbed afterwards.

    That might explain why we see the brass section in the photo if they are laying down the basic track and it included the brass for the instrumental break.
     
  22. Ken Wood

    Ken Wood Forum Resident

    I gotta say I hear no leakage at all but then my ears are not what they used to be.
    Still possible that the brass was done at the same time as the backing track and that the WA book got it wrong.
    But why do only Paul and George wear headphones?
     
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  23. Mal

    Mal Phorum Physicist


    It's way in the background but can be heard most clearly towards the end of the instrumental break.

    I'm now thinking the whole brass arrangement was played live as they laid down the basic track - it's not clearly audible but there are hints of something that would be consistent with the brass arrangement. It makes sense that it is most audible in the break where they play loudest.

    Headphones are usually worn on a session to help one hear ones own playing and/or singing, perhaps along with certain other parts if it helps. Back then monitoring was fairly basic - EMI headphone motoring was mono only until 1969, not sure about Trident. Still, they are likely getting a mix without the brass to help them hear themselves better.
     
    Last edited: Jan 16, 2019
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  24. Ken Wood

    Ken Wood Forum Resident

    The leakage could still be from the redone vocal-overdub Paul did after the brass-overdub however.
     
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  25. Mal

    Mal Phorum Physicist

    I did consider that but the brass leakage appears to be on the piano track - panned slightly to the right on the "without strings/brass" mix.

    Presumably George Martin was there conducting the musicians? Maybe he's the mystery figure in the reflection in the session photographs...

    ...assuming it's not the stack of chairs seen in that photo taken from the back of the room at Trident. That shot appears to show Ringo's Ludwig kit set up off to the side - I wonder if that's where he was on 4th October 1968 and he's just out of shot on the session pics?

    [​IMG]

    [better quality image shown in RTB]
     
    Last edited: Jan 17, 2019
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