Thursday, March 10, 2016

RE-UP: The Beatles "The Alf Bicknell Tapes" - 1CD

THE BEATLES
THE ALF BICKNELL TAPES
2010 Remaster

These recordings have been issued in various (fair-to-poor) qualities by three different labels since 1992, before digital restoration techniques and software were available or advanced to the degree they are now.

Remasters Workshop is proud to present the Alf Bicknell recordings in as good a quality as you may ever hear them, unless someone gets access to the actual reels. Lineage: open-reel playback > cassette (1) > cassette (2) with Dolby C > Audition 3 > FLAC > MP3 > you. They do not sound radically different from the other releases (that wouldn't be possible), except that they are phase corrected and restored to true mono, thus eliminating the faux stereo sound. No FFT noise reduction was used. Very gentle attenuation was performed on the upper registers to lessen their impact without affecting the music. Extraneous clicks and thumps were removed. The sizzling of vastly overmodulated, distorted speech has been repaired as much as possible, but the content is still hard to make out. The quiet parts are a bit quieter. All recording and restoration was done in 32-bit, and the results downsampled to 44/16.

The only qualms one may have with the tracks presented here are possibly with the composing demos of "If I Fell" and "Don't Bother Me." When considering the pitch of the rest of the material, the way they appear on the tapes is closer to a semitone flat than to concert pitch. When sped up to A=440, they sound unnaturally fast. We have elected to leave them at a semitone flat of A=440, the only logical standard. It is probable that neither guitar was tuned to concert anyway - we will never know, we can only make an educated guess based on the sound of the recording.

Track listing:

01  If I Fell     4:05
    - John composing demo, Flat 3, 13 Emperor's Gate, London, between Jan 1-15, 1964
02  Don't Bother Me (composing demo)     5:52
    - George composing demo, Palace Court Hotel, Bournemouth, between Aug 19-24, 1963
03  Instrumental #1       :32
04  Instrumental #2      2:32
05  Michelle             1:03
06  Instrumental #3       :11
07  Instrumental #4      1:21
08  Instrumental #5      1:08
09  Three Coins In The Fountain     1:36
    - Paul, acoustic guitar ideas, 20 Forthlin Road, Liverpool, ca. July 1963
10  Rockin' And Rollin' (piano, bass, guitar)                     :59
11  Rockin' And Rollin' (fragments with trumpet + 2nd guitar)     :14
12  Rockin' And Rollin' (false starts)                            :23
13  Rockin' And Rollin' (overdub of trumpet & 3rd guitar)        1:25
14  Rockin' And Rollin' (2nd overdub of vocals)                  1:12
15  Instrumental *     1:17
    - Paul & John (* with possibly John on drums), 20 Forthlin Road, Liverpool, ca. July 1963
16  Please Mr. Postman (take 3)     2:38
17  Please Mr. Postman (take 9)     2:33
18  It Won't Be Long (take 7)       2:18
19  It Won't Be Long (take 10?)     2:01
    - monitor mixes of unused takes, Abbey Road, 7-30-63
20  Love Me Do     1:27
    - taped off the radio from PGTB #6, 7-23-63
21  Tammy / Over The Rainbow     2:03

    - John & Paul, possibly at 20 Forthlin Road, Liverpool, ca. July 1963
22  1 Kings: 17 / 18; Psalm 23, Psalm 24     9:51
    - John, George & Gerry Marsden, Royal Pier Hotel, Weston-Super-Mare, between July 22-27, 1963
23  Asking for directions #1     1:21
24  Asking for directions #2     2:24
25  Asking for directions #3     2:51
26  Asking for directions #4     1:56
    - John, George & Gerry Marsden, Weston-Super-Mare, between July 22-27, 1963
27  Dialogue (with music on the hi-fi)     4:59
28  Unintelligible, distorted speech       1:30
    - John, Cyn, Julian, George + unidentified man, 251 Menlove Ave., Liverpool, ca. 7-15-63

Recording information from "Way Beyond Compare" by John C. Winn. Thank you, sir.

Artwork is included.

               

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