THE BEATLES - A/B ROAD SESSIONS, JANUARY 2, 1969 [PURPLE CHICK]

March 11, 2020 – 8:29 am

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THE BEATLES
A/B Road Sessions, January 2, 1969 [Purple Chick PC 02-1, 2CD]

Complete Purple Chick Set v1.1 (Nagra Reels); “A/B Road” session tapes; Also known as The Nagra Reels; Twickenham Studios (Part 1); Apple Studios (Part 2). Very good soundboard.

The complete series - 83 CDs, 2,187 tracks, 97 hours, 44 mins, 7 seconds. If you are a Beatles fan, you’d likely have this already.

Thanks to the compilers, especially jameskg; Purple Chick; and to everyone who helped to share this over the years.

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Background info, from Doug Sulpy’s “Complete Beatle’s Audio Guide”
From Doug Sulpy
2006 Edition

THE “GET BACK” SESSIONS
I’ll make this easy for you. You need Purple Chick’s “A/B Road” series. Period. No doubt, using one of my previous books as a template (at least I hope he did - I’d hate to think of two people going through all that work!) Purple Chick has compiled every extant moment from the Nagra A and B rolls and edited them together in sequence.

In January, 1969, virtually every moment of The Beatles’ rehearsals and recording sessions were captured on audio tape as part of the project that ultimately became the film “Let It Be.” For the first part of the month, at Twickenham Film Studios in London, The Beatles’ performances were only preserved on small 16-minute long mono tapes (known as “Nagra” reels) that were recorded for use as the film soundtrack.

Two different tape recorders were running (usually off of the same sound feed), resulting in what was termed “A” and “B” roll Nagra recordings. The “A” rolls generally ran the full 16 minute length of the tape. The “B” rolls were more fragmentary, but often captured performances or dialogue missed while the “A” roll operator was changing reels. In addition, once the sessions shifted to Apple Studios on January 21, Glyn Johns began recording multi-track tapes of The Beatles’ sessions which, again, sometimes captured performances not heard on either the “A” or “B” roll Nagra recordings.

In 2004, Purple Chick collated these recordings, and issued them in a series of CDs called “A/B Road.” These are now the most readily available source for the “Get Back” sessions material.

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Further history on the Nagra Reels (source of this giant set)

By ALLAN KOZINN
Published: January 13, 2003

To read the statements made by British and Dutch officials after the arrest of a group of bootleggers in suburbs of London and Amsterdam on Friday, one would think that the police had apprehended a band of thieves who for the last three decades had been sitting on a vast trove of long-lost master tapes from Beatles recording sessions. There is an element of truth in what they say, but also a good measure of exaggeration. Whether the seizure of these tapes should be regarded as good news - and for that matter whether it will have any effect on the thriving trade in Beatles bootlegs - is another matter.

What the police seized was a collection of 500 to 550 reels of tape, each running about 16 minutes. They were recorded during the sessions for the Beatles’ ”Let It Be” album - originally to be called ”Get Back” - from Jan 2 to Jan 31, 1969. But they are not the multitrack session masters from which the album was made. Those are safely in EMI’s archives. Instead, they are monaural recordings made on a pair of Nagra tape recorders for reference purposes by a film crew that was documenting the sessions for a proposed television documentary. When the television plan was scuttled, the film was released theatrically as ”Let It Be.”

It is unquestionably an important collection. Unlike normal session tapes, which usually include only performances, the Nagra reels, as these tapes are known, run continuously and capture everything: rehearsals, discussions, arguments, clowning and loose jams on Buddy Holly and Chuck Berry classics as well as older Beatles tunes and oddities like the theme from ”The Third Man,” all in addition to the nose-to-the-grindstone work of making an album. No other set of Beatles sessions is so thoroughly documented.

These tapes are well known to collectors. Instantly recognizable because the film crew is regularly heard announcing slate and roll numbers, the material was the source for some of the first Beatles bootlegs in the early 1970s. Until the early ’90s the trend in Beatles bootlegging was to compile collections of the most interesting performances and discussions. More recently, bootleg labels began releasing these tapes more systematically: unedited, in chronological order and with reel numbers and recording dates fully documented.

These tapes have also been the subject of two books: ”Get Back: The Unauthorized Chronicle of the Beatles’ ‘Let It Be’ Disaster,” by Doug Sulpy and Ray Schweighardt (St Martin’s, 1994), and ”The 910’s Guide to the Beatles’ Outtakes: The Complete ‘Get Back’ Sessions,” a comprehensive catalog of the material by Mr Sulpy (The 910, 2002).

As originally proposed, the idea for ”Let It Be” was elegantly simple. Having completed the White Album a few months earlier, the Beatles were to convene at the Twickenham film studios in London to rehearse an album’s worth of new songs. The rehearsals would be filmed by Michael Lindsay-Hogg, an expatriate American who had directed their promotional clips for ”Paperback Writer” and ”Rain” in 1966, as would the highlight of the project, a concert at which the Beatles would perform their new material.

What the plan did not take into account were the increasingly fractious relations among three of the four Beatles. John Lennon, more interested in his collaborations with Yoko Ono than in the Beatles, wanted either to involve her in the band or to distance himself from it. He brought a handful of songs to the sessions, and is heard in a few hilarious monologues (including one about how masturbation ”doesn’t make you go blind, only very shortsighted”) but is often passive and uninvolved.

George Harrison, by then a prolific songwriter, was disgruntled about his paltry representation on the Beatles’ albums, which were always dominated by the music of Lennon and Paul McCartney. He was also uninterested in performing in concert, and irritated by what he regarded as Mr McCartney’s condescension in telling him what to play. At one point Harrison walked out, effectively (if temporarily) quitting the band, leaving the others to pursue a series of aggressive but fascinating jams with Ms Ono vocalizing. Mr McCartney is at times almost despondent about his partners’ lack of interest and cooperation. Only Ringo Starr seems to be taking the sessions in stride.

In the end Harrison returned, but only after being guaranteed that his songs would receive greater consideration, and that there would be no more talk of a concert. The project was completed with a series of performances filmed at the group’s new Apple studios, and on the rooftop of their London offices.

What makes these tapes crucial to Beatles biographers and musicians interested in studying the band’s working process is that they capture it all. The rehearsals often begin with one of the Beatles playing a new song while calling out the chord progression to the others. The group joins in and works through the changes, and ideas for arrangements slowly accrue. Some songs - ”Two of Us,” ”One After 909” and ”Get Back,” for example - are tried as everything from sizzling, fast-tempo rockers to country-influenced ballads.

The process of lyric writing unfolds before the listener’s ears as well. In one session for ”Get Back,” Mr McCartney stops during a run-through and says, ”I’ve got it - Jo Jo left his home in Tucson, Arizona.” Lennon asks, ”Is Tucson in Arizona?” Mr McCartney replies, ”Yeah, it’s where they make ‘High Chaparral.’ ”

There is also a good deal of material that, even for the Beatles-obsessed, can be hard slogging - hours and hours and hours of ”The Long and Winding Road,” for example. And the discussions, which often last several reels at a stretch, range from the amusingly loopy to the contentious. Several are about the proposed concert. Among the plans suggested are playing in an amphitheater in North Africa, or on a cruise ship on the Mediterranean. When Harrison quits, Mr Lindsay-Hogg suggests going on with the show and saying that Harrison is ill, to which Lennon replies, ”If he’s not back by Tuesday, we’ll call Eric Clapton.” One reel captures a lunch meeting at which the group airs its problems in some detail.

Had these illuminating tapes not already found their way onto the collectors’ market, their seizure would be unfortunate, because it is unlikely that Apple, the Beatles’ company, will ever sanction their legitimate release. Apple has even tried to stifle scholarly discussion of them. When Mr Sulpy and Mr. Schweighardt were at work on their first book, they naïvely sent Apple a sample chapter and sought permission to hear the studio recordings. Apple responded by threatening legal action.

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DDSI numbers

DDSI numbers were published by Doug Sulpy when these tracks were initially pieced together and cataloged, in order of recording, for the most part, and presented in the book, “Drugs, Divorce and a Slipping Image (DDSI).

TRACK TITLE FORMAT:
Month.Day - Disc-Track - Title DDSI#.flac

example:
Jan.02 - D1-35 - Sun King 2.24.flac

Not all tracks from Purple Chick were assigned the DDSI numbers, so some are just in-between takes.

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Credits:

I note these here, not for boasting, but for general information. This set has been notoriously hard to complete, especially with any consistent lineage. Here is the chain of custody for this set:

THE FILM ENGINEERS - recorded thousands of audio reels over 4 weeks
<unnamed> - the people in between
PURPLE CHICK - initial compilation and lots of hard work piecing the reels together
PC_ECLIPSE & HEXER - initial individual distribution of the 83 CDs
alGo - initial compiling from the 83 individual Discs to 4 big sets
ROGERLANCELOT - computation of times & track data.
JAMESKG - final compiling and file naming, flac tagging, and fixing a non-compliance problem

I have gone through this set with a fine tooth comb and Doug Sulpy’s 2006 edition book’s list by DDSI #s. I found a few anomolies with track #s and DDSI #s and have re-aligned to Sulpy’s book. Something like 100 or so errors out of all 2187 tracks. I’m pretty sure this is as accurate as the documentation has ever been for this set.

jameskg, January 2007

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(Original) notes about compression* [mainly for completists]:
*Ed: A moot point here as this set is shared as mp3s.

This set has long been the subject of debate… is it lossy or not?

Basically the two arguments go like this:

1) Uncompressed: These thousands of 16-minute reels were recorded on a set of Nagra recorders for possible film use. The tape and recorders used likely didn’t reproduce the entire spectrum from 20 Hz to 20kHz - these were not the tapes used for the albums. The lack of dynamic range on the equipment and media would produce high-end roll off around where we see the MP3 codecs of today roll off, and that makes these tapes appear lossy, when they simply were not recorded full-spectrum.

2) Compressed: Regardless of the frequency reproduction range of the recorders and media (tape), a lot of this set exhibits characteristics of ATRAC compression on a graphic frequency analyzer, like that found on MiniDisc recorders. Old analog equipment wouldn’t produce these kinds of characteristics, so it is likely these tracks went through a MiniDisc recorder at some point.

The dilema: No one… NO ONE seems to have these tracks in any other quality. They all seem to be the same, no matter where you get them from, and now that the original reels have been recovered (see the story above (you were reading, weren’t you?), it doesn’t seem that we’ll ever see a cleaner, more pure transfer.

It is my opinion that this set was archived from reels to MiniDisc and the source for the splicing was those MiniDisc transfers. I’d be surprised if a lossless transfer to digital was ever done of this 98 HOURS of audio. Since this seems to be all there is to have, The Traders Den has made a special exemption for this set, to allow it to be posted - just like if a concert was only recorded to MiniDisc and that’s the only way it exists.

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Click on the highlighted tracks to download the MP3s (320 kbps). As far as we can ascertain, these tracks have never been officially released on CD.

Please Do Not Hammer The Links. Due to the size of some of the files, please be very patient when downloading the tracks. It could be that the server was very busy. The tracks should still be around. Please try again later.

Kindly email us if you encounter persistent problems downloading the files. Also email us if you have any rarities you’d like to share with our readers.

Disc 1
Track 101. Dialogue And Slates 0:04
Track 102. Dialogue And Slates 0:05
Track 103. Dialogue And Slates 0:27
Track 104. Dialogue And Slates 0:08
Track 105. Dialogue And Slates 0:05
Track 106. Dialogue And Slates 0:11
Track 107. Dialogue And Slates 0:06
Track 108. Don’t Let Me Down 2.01 0:34
Track 109. Tuning 0:04
Track 110. Tuning 0:19
Track 111. Tuning 0:04
Track 112. All Things Must Pass 2.02 0:27
Track 113. Tuning 0:28
Track 114. Don’t Let Me Down 2.03 4:17
Track 115. Dig A Pony 2.04 3:06
Track 116. Everybody Got Song 2.05 0:46
Track 117. Don’t Let Me Down 2.06 3:10
Track 118. Let It Down 2.07 2:14
Track 119. Let It Down 2.08 0:54
Track 120. Improvisation 2.09 0:58
Track 121. Brown-eyed Handsome Man 2.10 1:44
Track 122. I’ve Got A Feeling 2.11 1:20
Track 123. A Case Of The Blues 2.12 1:09
Track 124. Improvisation 2.13 0:24
Track 125. Improvisation 2.13 0:52
Track 126. On The Road To Marrakesh 2.15 2:09
Track 127. Revolution 2.16 0:09
Track 128. I Shall Be Released 2.17 1:54
Track 129. Sun King 2.18 2:20
Track 130. Sun King Don’t Let Me Down 2.19 5:00
Track 131. Don’t Let Me Down 2.20 3:34
Track 132. The Teacher Was A-lookin 2.21 1:01
Track 133. Don’t Let Me Down 2.22 0:21
Track 134. Don’t Let Me Down 2.23 0:27
Track 135. Sun King 2.24 0:29
Track 136. Mailman, Bring Me No More Blues 2.25 0:21
Track 137. I’ve Got A Feeling 2.26 3:40
Track 138. Unknown - Unnumbered 0:09
Track 139. I’ve Got A Feeling 2.27 1:16
Track 140. I’ve Got A Feeling 2.28 0:04
Track 141. I’ve Got A Feeling 2.29 0:06
Track 142. I’ve Got A Feeling 2.30 11:01
Track 143. I’ve Got A Feeling 2.31 1:23
Track 144. Unknown 2.32 3:46
Track 145. Speak To Me 2.33 1:58
Track 146. I’ve Got A Feeling 2.34 0:33
Track 147. I’ve Got A Feeling 2.35 5:00
Track 148. I’ve Got A Feeling 2.36 0:12
Track 149. Mighty Quinn (Quinn The Eskimo) 2.37 1:06
Track 150. I’ve Got A Feeling 2.38 4:04
Track 151. I’ve Got A Feeling 2.39 2:00
Track 152. I’ve Got A Feeling 2.40 1:22
Track 153. Dialogue 0:46
80 mins

Disc 2
Track 201. Dialogue And Slates 1:43
Track 202. Dialogue And Slates 0:07
Track 203. Dialogue And Slates 0:05
Track 204. Dialogue And Slates 3:21
Track 205. Dialogue And Slates 0:07
Track 206. Dialogue And Slates 1:52
Track 207. Dialogue And Slates 1:12
Track 208. I’ve Got A Feeling 2.41 1:29
Track 209. Tuning 0:31
Track 210. Slate 0:06
Track 211. I’ve Got A Feeling 2.42 0:38
Track 212. I’ve Got A Feeling x.xx 0:28
Track 213. I’ve Got A Feeling 2.43 0:09
Track 214. I’ve Got A Feeling 2.44 1:24
Track 215. I’ve Got A Feeling 2.45 2:18
Track 216. I’ve Got A Feeling 2.46 5:37
Track 217. I’ve Got A Feeling 2.47 0:37
Track 218. I’ve Got A Feeling 2.48  4:01
Track 219. Sun King - Don’t Let Me Down 2.49 2:07
Track 220. Don’t Let Me Down 2.50 3:55
Track 221. Don’t Let Me Down 2.51 2:14
Track 222. Sun King - Don’t Let Me Down 2.52 1:55
Track 223. Don’t Let Me Down 2.53 6:45
Track 224. Don’t Let Me Down 2.54 0:31
Track 225. Improvisation 2.55 1:24
Track 226. Unknown 2.56 0:19
Track 227. Don’t Let Me Down 2.57 3:10
Track 228. Don’t Let Me Down 2.58 0:06
Track 229. Well, All Right 2.59 1:12
Track 230. Well, All Right 2.60 1:08
Track 231. Unknown 2.61 0:25
Track 232. All Things Must Pass 2.62 1:24
Track 233. Two Of Us 2.63 7:22
Track 234. We’re Goin’ Home 2.64 0:23
Track 235. Two Of Us 2.65 4:18
Track 236. Two Of Us 2.66 0:39
Track 237. Two Of Us 2.67 3:37
Track 238. Two Of Us 2.68 0:34
Track 239. Two Of Us 2.69 0:05
Track 240. Two Of Us 2.70 0:55
Track 241. Two Of Us 2.71 4:36
Track 242. It’s Good To See The Folks Back Home 2.72 0:22
Track 243. Two Of Us 2.73 4:46
80 mins

Click here to order The Beatles’ Anthology series.

  1. 32 Responses to “THE BEATLES - A/B ROAD SESSIONS, JANUARY 2, 1969 [PURPLE CHICK]”

  2. Rumor has it The Fab Four was a band of Lil Uns

    By U L E on Mar 11, 2020

  3. With John being the Lilist Un

    By U L E on Mar 11, 2020

  4. What happened to all the music discussion. Nothing but penis talk and discussion about niggers / foreigners etc . Music is an escape from this shitty fucked up planet.

    By Tim on Mar 11, 2020

  5. I love the Beatles but what’s the point in multiple takes of the same songs over and over.

    By Tim on Mar 11, 2020

  6. It’s quite simple.. the ‘Get Back’ sessions were merely 4 musicians messing around in the studio.
    its not meant to be a huge step forward in musical progression or a landmark masterpiece. ..It was just an attempt to cobble together 12 songs for an upcoming album.
    Also how can anybody complain about the postings on BigO?
    There is more than enough variety on here for everyone..

    By Sarah Novak on Mar 11, 2020

  7. Who are these bozos?

    By Smashmouth on Mar 11, 2020

  8. What Sarah said . . . . . worth it just to read the notes and have most of this from Purple Chick ages ago but worth revisiting. To answer Tim’s question some of us find it fascinating to hear the process of songwriting and recording in action but then I enjoyed the film too!
    Not for everyone I guess
    Thanks Big O

    By swappers on Mar 11, 2020

  9. I like alternate takes , but over 2 or 3,Intros is a little much especially when there not complete songs JMO

    By Tim on Mar 11, 2020

  10. 8 two of us

    By Tim on Mar 11, 2020

  11. Antichrist and Derrick Rapist and Jew Scumbag Harvey Weinstein sentenced to 23 years in prison on two counts of rape . I’m sure he’s guilty of many more . Let’s hope he’s in the general population. Sorry to give you the bad news Mark , Billy , Russ etc.

    By HHH on Mar 11, 2020

  12. Great motherfuckin news triple h . That Dic suckin jew bastard is fixing for a asshole stretchin in the big house

    By Derrick on Mar 12, 2020

  13. Instead of starlets and hot show biz babes . Weinstein is gonna get big ugly hairy ass coons takin turns on his asshole and mouth

    By Derrick on Mar 12, 2020

  14. Anti bud , you doin ok ? Health wise ? Hadn’t heard from you in awhile

    By Derrick on Mar 12, 2020

  15. Derrick, Weinstein is probably going to be on suicide watch . They don’t want another Jeff Epstein scenario. Although many think Epstein was killed .

    By HHH on Mar 12, 2020

  16. @ Derrick and HHH
    tell me please, how can those dump creatures like you start a computer????

    By dugfried on Mar 12, 2020

  17. Track # 210 is AWESOME!

    By Yummy on Mar 12, 2020

  1. 16 Trackback(s)

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