Friday, June 27, 2008
Beatles EMI Tape #E92938
This reel is a test mix for the medley of songs on side two of Abbey Road. The working title of the medley was "The Long One" or "Huge Medley". This is the reel which, upon hearing the completed mix, Paul instructed engineer John Kurlander to cut "Her Majesty" out of the center (note the scrawled out title on the tape box). Kurlander did as instructed however, he spliced the segment back onto the end of the reel preceeded by about 20 seconds of leader tape.
The next day at Apple, Malcolm Davies cut an acetate of the mix and he included "Her Majesty" at the end. When Paul heard the acetate, with "Her Majesty" crashing in after the long pause, he liked the what he heard. On 20 August, when the final master reel (AR19795 previously numbered E93351) was assembled, "Her Majesty" was cut from this reel and spliced onto the end of the master reel. The is the way the album was released.
Since "Her Majesty" was cut out almost immediately, the available recording certainly comes after that was done. In That Magic Feeling, John Winn assumes that the available recording was made after "Her Majesty" was removed completely and spliced onto the master reel. His reason is "...there is no sign of "Her Majesty", either in the middle or at the end."
There are two primary sources for the available recording, No. 3 Abbey Road N.W.8 (Vigotone) and Unsurpassed Masters Volume 5 (Yellow Dog). The Yellow Dog release does not include "Her Majesty" in the middle of the medley. The Vigotone release does include the song in the middle. It is common opinion that Vigotone has "reinserted" "Her Majesty". As mentioned above, the cut-out was probably done almost immediately so the Yellow Dog release is probably the more accurate of the two releases.
In That Magic Feeling, John Winn states that Vigotone reinserts "the released version of 'Her Majesty'". In The 910's Guide To The Beatles' Outtakes, Doug Sulpy states that Vigotone "...simply lifted [the song] from the 'basic tracks' tape and re-edited [the song] back into the medley". Although Vigotone surely reinserted "Her Majesty", close examination reveals that the source is neither of Winn's and Sulpy's suggested sources. The version that Vigotone used maintains the same distortion and ambience as the rest of the medley and the edit appears seamless. It would appear that the "original" source might, in fact, include "Her Majesty" at the end and Vigotone reinserted that version. On the other hand, Yellow Dog might have chosen to simply omit the song since it is, in essence, the exact mix that was used on Abbey Road.
I also have an additional theory. The available recording was certainly made after "Her Majesty" was cut out of the center. But I find the sound of the recording to be consistant with that of a well-worn acetate. I feel that it's possible that the available recording could be sourced from one of Malcolm Davies' acetates. The distortion might be the result of the acetate being well-worn and/or someone's attempt to clean up the sound of the acetate. However, because no surfaces noise is heard in the quiet portions of the recording, I am not completely sold on my own theory.
Additionally, in That Magic Feeling, John Winn questions why this recording is announced as "RS2" when the session sheet clearly states "RS1". My guess is that the "RS1" designation is for the original mix of each song which were made on different reels that were not preserved. Those reels were then edited, crossfaded and mixed together onto this reel (E92938) which made THIS mix "RS2".
Lewisohn describes this day's activities as stereo mixing each song as "RS1" and concludes with "Editing, crossfading and tape compilation". This would seem to fit my "RS2" theory. John Winn also concurs, based on EMI practice, that this is a plausible theory.
All tracks presented here are sourced from Vigotone's release. However, in an effort to create what is probably an accurate representaion of the source recording, "Her Majesty" has been excised and placed at the end with a twenty second leader. Note, too, that although this is announced as "RS2" all available recordings are mono. The recording is certainly a high generation copy of some original source. It was probably folded to mono somewhere along the line. But... this could also lend credence to my acetate theory mentioned above. Some acetates feature stereo mixes folded to mono.
You Never Give Me Your Money (take 40 RS1)
Sun King/Mean Mr. Mustard (take 35 RS1)
Polythene Pam/She Came In Through The
Bathroom Window (take 40 RS1)
Golden Sumbers/Carry That Weight (take 17 RS1)
"Ending" (The End) (take 7 RS1)
Her Majesty (take 3 RS1)
Her Majesty (take 3) mono
This mix predates (2 July) the medley mix by almost a month . It does not include the crashing opening chord. That chord is actually the last chord of "Mean Mr. Mustard". That's how Kurlander cut it out of the reel. However, this recording features the lost final chord which was buried in the opening chord of "Polythene Pam" where it remained. Again, a result
of Kurlander's edit. This is found on reel E92839.