Monday, 9 April 2012

The Best Of Let It Be (pt.8) - Don't Let Me Down And I've Got A Feeling

Don't Let Me Down

PM - A studio version recorded Jan 28th 1969 which was released as the B-side to Get Back. Mixed by Glyn Johns. Lennon's guitar is panned left, Harrison's Hendrix/Mayfield style lead is right, and Preston's electric piano is centre.

Paul is really screaming his head off at points and John makes a cheeky self reference at 3:22 (“can you dig it”). It sounds like Lennon's vocals on the first verse are doubled tracked, though it could possibly be Paul syncing up perfectly with John. You can hear Lennon say something just after this section (at 1:43) which may support the 'punched-in overdub' theory. The vocals are really poorly recorded, with lots of noise (2:11, 2:25, 3:06) and the pitch of the whole track is slightly flat.

LIBN – An edit of the two rooftop versions recorded on Jan 30th 1969 (they recorded a second take because Lennon forgot the lyrics). The positioning of the piano and Lennon's guitar is reversed (piano L, guitar C). Slightly sharper than concert pitch and slightly faster than the studio version (16 seconds) and there are fewer vocal pops.

I've Got A Feeling

LIB – Studio recording. The rhythm guitar and piano are in the left speaker. Unusually the right speaker fades in, and the initial total silence making the guitar sound very small. There is Lennon-style slap back echo on McCartney's vocals. Most of the instruments sound ragged or out of tune, especially the bass. The vocals are centre till the final 'overlapping' section where McCartney moves left and Lennon, right. At the end of the song there is an edit piece taken from the rooftop gig consisting of a floor tom roll, bass noise, Lennon (singing) “Oh my soul... (speaking) so hard” and then applause.

LIBN - A composite of two takes from the rooftop concert on 30 Jan. The rhythm guitar is left, piano and bass are centre. Both vocals are without slap back echo and remain centre throughout. Lennon's comment and the applause are removed.

A3 – Rehearsal take recorded at Apple Studios on 24 Jan 1969. The piano part seems to be a work in-progress (you can hear Lennon telling Billy Preston to play E at 1:13) and the ascending guitar riff after the chorus is missing (it possibly it hadn't been created yet). The whole performance is more laid back, Lennon's vocals are clearer but full of ad-libs and mistakes

I've got a feeling (yes you have!)
That keeps me on my toes (on your what?)

Everybody had a hard year
Everybody got their feet up
Everybody let their hair down
Everybody put their socks up

The track breaks down before the final doubled vocal section with Lennon saying “I cocked it up trying to get loud...not bad though”.

The LIBN version of Don't Let Me Down is much clearer than the PM version, and pushing the piano out on the left is a big part of that. It's hard to believe Glyn Johns thought the quality of the vocal recording on the PM version was worth releasing. At least LIBN has the excuse of being a genuine live recording on a roof.

I've Got A Feeling's rehearsal take is OK by Anthology standards, which isn't saying much. As with most of LIBN, the production is sonically clearer than LIB but the standout here is the band, the performance is far better and McCartney absolutely on FIRE as a vocalist.

Best versions

Don't Let Me Down - LIBN
I've Got A Feeling – LIBN


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