It seems that most things with the Beatles name turns to gold. The Get Back series from Disney proves it. The three episodes spawned other material and even a movie of the rooftop performance. After January 1969, the Beatles took a long break after what they thought was an utter mess and failure of those sessions. At the time, the band was near the end and all were burned out with being Beatles. The sessions yielded a few stellar songs like Get Back. The idea of selling the film to American TV also had failed- they were not interested. So, in 1970 or so, the Get Back film, version 1, was retitled and put into theaters as Let It Be. Within less than two weeks, it was no longer found in theaters. It would resurface years later as a DVD with the same failing result.
Some 50 years pass and all of the material from those sessions were locked inside a vault at EMI. The Disney Get Back sessions film was a product of a known movie director who loved the Beatles as a kid. It was his passion to restore the film to today's digital standards that included a lot of previously cut material from the original director. After a few years of devotion, the Get Back film, version 2, is a historical visual and audio record for all time.
The Get Back Audio
Since 1969, various tracks from those sessions have existed as bootlegs, recordings not officially released. The sound quality of nearly all of them is abysmal since they had been re-recorded from the original sources and most were on LPs.
Today, the quality is much better but still can be rather bad. During the sessions, the audio portion was recorded professionally at that time for it was the soundtrack to those sessions. Until recently, the source audio has never been available but with the new Get Back release that changed.
While there are now many CDs out there with the sessions, the one I have is from Voodoo Records with the Apple label. It is a three CD of those sessions. This is a compilation of the "better" songs the band played. There are CDs with a complete soundtrack (which is not needed, many times, the band would rehearse one song many times).
After the sessions were done, John Lennon, often said that it produced just a bunch of shit. From his perspective, I guess, but when heard 50 years later as an historical artifact, I would say, there is some really good shit left undone. These CDs are like being the recording engineer while the band is in the studio running through a variety of material like lightening. It is as close as one will be to how it really was. The sound quality in stereo is crystal clear as if it was a new LP.
After listening to all three CDs, one can see just why the band was a top rock band in Hamburg, Germany, in 1961. One is amazed on the variety of music they did and how they no doubt really rocked live when playing in bars. The chemistry shines through especially when John and Paul are jamming and singing. They are having fun and loving it. Another thing is how quickly they switch songs in perfect unison without missing a beat, it is instinctive. Often, one of them will begin with just a riff that resonates with the others who join in and in no time, there is a song, like in Get Back. Like any band, they jam many times, sometimes good, and not so good. They introduce new songs uncompleted, like Get Back, or one that could have been a great song but never was, like Child of Nature, left over from their 1968 White LP. You also hear several uncompleted songs that will end up on Abby Road, which was done in August, 1969. These are Mean Mr. Mustard, Golden Slumbers, I Want You (She's so heavy), Her Majesty. All sound different than what is on that LP.
These CD's are live. One hears the band members talking, camera men chatter, stop and starting songs, but it is all very minimum. The end result is a must for the Beatle die-hard fan. What is most fascinating are songs that could have been gems had they chosen to work on them and different versions of songs that had been released. In some cases, even the rough one takes of a song shows promise.
The Best Songs
Like anything, it is subjective. But my list is those songs is mostly completed (instead of simply partially). With these, one could compile a new Beatle CD. Most of these songs you have never heard.
1. Because I Know You Love Me So
2. Hitch Hike (has a nice funky vibe to it)
3. Short Fat Fanny- A solid rocker
4. Sure to Fall - Perfect C\W old style with John+Paul
5.Across the Universe- A very different one than what was released
6.Gone, Gone, Gone - Another John rocker
7. Get Back (No Pakistani) - This version is a heavier metal rocker very different
8. Commonwealth- Some clever lyrics and Paul's Elvis impersonation along with John make this a great listen
9. The Back Seat of My Car - Clever melody from Paul that is catchy as he works out the words. He has the tune and hook, just needs words.
10. My Baby Left Me - This could have been on the LP with more work. John's voice is perfect for it.
11. Child of Nature (aka On the Road to Marakesh) - Left off the White LP, this is truly a great John song that he does not know what to do with. It is missing a middle section. Beautiful melody.
12. I Lost My Little Girl -Again, could have been on the LP with more work. John has the melody, words, just need a middle section! Good blues-rock.
13. Dig It - This IS on the LP, but it is only 20 seconds. The real song has John and Paul singing at times to a catchy melody. Some great music in there also.
14. Shake, Rattle, and Roll - This is a cover of a classic rock number, like all their covers, it's great.
15. Besame Mucho - An amazing song with great guitar and incredible vocals from Paul impersonating someone (it's not Elvis). They used to this one in 1961 for variety.
16. I Want You (She's So Heavy) - a very different, but still good, than what is on the Abby Road LP. This is more of a blues sound.
After listening to the soundtrack, one can understand why the Beatles were iconic. Must have for any Beatle collection.