This file has been online at YouTube since October 2012, so I hope it survives.
Not perfect tracks, but it’s so nice to hear the boys being the boys again… a happy Revolution
Just when you thought that everything that could be said that was new, fresh, or unusual about the Beatles, along comes The Beatles: Unplugged, a bootleg CD so good that the folks at Apple and EMI ought to be kicking themselves for not thinking of it first. This disc (which is sort-of subtitled “The Kinfaun-Session,” referring to George Harrison’s Esher home) pulls together the 23 songs that Harrison, John Lennon, and Paul McCartney recorded as works-in-progress at Harrison’s home in May of 1968.
Most of what’s here was eventually heard either on The Beatles [White Album surfacing with new lyrics as &”A Jealous Guy,” etc.) or B-sides (&”What’s the New Mary Jane”), and on various bootlegs.
What makes this presentation better than most is that it’s part of that “digipak” bootleg series that’s been coming out of Europe since late 2000 and generally knocking listeners out with its quality. The production here is a match for any legitimate release, not just in sound quality but also the care that went into the selection, order, and editing of the tapes; there’s some hiss here and there, to be sure, and a few tracks are close to overload on the sound, but there’s nothing here that will make you jump to lower the volume or skip to the next cut — in fact, chances are most of the songs here will get repeated more than once.
It’s a lot like listening to an “unplugged” version of The Beatles (even re-creating The Beatles [White Album on this disc — just to cite one example — is as good as the released one, only brighter, and, if you will, bouncier, as the trio has unbridled fun with the lyric, the beat, and the rhymes without the need to pump up the wattage or the seriousness of it all; if the finished song is John Lennon’s message to the world about politics, hate, and manipulation of the Beatles, this is his handwritten draft of that message, with all of his momentary digressions and mental edits left in. McCartney and Harrison’s songs are just as well represented, and the only thing missing is a contribution by Ringo Starr, who didn’t participate in these recordings.
The curious element is that it’s the hard-rocking songs — “Yer Blues” and “Back in the USSR” come off the best, even though they’re the most different from the finished versions; the demo of “Ob-La-Di, Ob-La-Da” is just as entertaining, as the trio plunges headfirst into reggae armed with just their guitars and some good intentions. As the notes point out, whatever stresses the group may have been experiencing as a formal entity, the three guitarists had some productive and harmonious sessions and they still sounded as cool, creative, and cutting edge as they ever did.
I wish they had not tagged on the last two tracks
“Spiritual Regeneration” the Beatles/Beach Boys ode to the Maharishi (which segues into the Beatles’ birthday greeting to Mike Love) and a somewhat less-entertaining, informal, acoustic medley of traditional songs, all tracks recorded in India. Bruce Eder, Rovi
0:15 Cry Baby Cry
2:42 Child of Nature
5:25 The Continuing Story of Bungalow Bill
8:15 I’m So Tired
11:24 Yer Blues
15:00 Everybody’s Got Something to Hide Except Me and My Monkey
18:00 What’s the New Mary Jane
24:49 While My Guitar Gently Weeps
29:47 Sour Milk Sea
33:22 Not Guilty
45:02 Rocky Raccoon
47:49 Back in the U.S.S.R
50:50 Honey Pie
52:54 Mother Nature’s Son
55:09 Ob-La-Di, Ob-La-Da
1:00:46 Dear Prudence
1:05:27 Sexy Sadie
1:07:52 Spiritual Regeneration
1:10:22 Spiritual Christmas