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The Beatles - Let It Be - Naked CD (album) cover

LET IT BE - NAKED

The Beatles

 

Proto-Prog

3.55 | 131 ratings

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Guillermo
Prog Reviewer
3 stars Once called "the most miserable sesions on earth" by John Lennon, the original "Let It Be" album was "re-produced" in the studio by Phil Spector in March-April 1970, promoted by Allen Klein and approved by Lennon, George Harrison and Ringo Starr, all this going on while Paul McCartney was very busy recording his first solo album in 1970 and apparently knowing nothing or very little about it. By the early years of this new century, McCartney, never happy with the original album, was thinking to do his own version of the album, so he asked Harrison and Starr for their approval and they agreed with him. So, McCartney contacted two recording engineers who worked in the "Anthology" CD packages, and these young engineers used the new digital studio technology to produce this new version of the album, now called "Naked", because they left out the orchestral and choral arrangements done by George Martin* and Phil Spector for the songs "Let It Be"* , "Across the Universe", "The Long and Winding Road" and "I Me Mine".

I have to say that it is very difficult to really know, simply by listening, if the takes of the songs are the same as in the original album. Some of them are the same, but with new mixing and editing ("For You Blue", for example, has a more clear Harrison`s acoustic guitar; "I Me Mine" almost has the same editing done by Spector, but with new remixing and fading out a bit earlier). The song "Get Back" is the same studio version used by Spector, but without the spoken introductions and the "roof concert" final spoken words by Lennon at the end. "Dig a Pony" is almost the same version done by Spector, but again edited and remixed. "The Long and Winding Road" is another take in comparison to the original album. I prefer the remix of the original track which was released on the "Anthology 3" CD. "Two of Us" is the same take as Spector`s but also edited and remixed without the humorous "I Dig a Pygmy..." spoken lines by Lennon at the start of the song. "I`ve Got a Feeling" sounds more like a combination of several takes. "Don`t Let Me Down" wasn`t included in the original album, but sounds more like a different take from which was included in the B-side of the "Get Back" single in 1969. "Acroos the Universe" sounds like the same take used by Spector, but remixed and edited. "Let It Be" sounds like a different take as the one included in the original album.

The additional disc called "Fly on the Wall" is a collage of sounds taken from the original recording sessions in January 1969. You can listen to the band rehearsing and chatting. There are some interesting bits: Lennon playing parts of the "Imagine" songs on the piano without lyrics. You can also listen to the band playing to versions of Lennon`s "Child of Nature" (a song which with different lyrics became "Jealous Guy", recorded for Lennon`s "Imagine" album in 1971), George Harrison`s "All Things Must Pass" (re- recorded by himself in 1970 as the title track of his great triple LP package solo album), Ringo Starr`s "Taking a Trip to Carolina" (never recorded by the band or himself years later), Paul`s solo piano piece which opens the "Let It Be" film, etc.

I have to say that I really prefer the original version of the album. I like the orchestral and chorus arrangements done by Spector. He really did a very good job, because I agree with Lennon: Spector was given the tapes of the worst recording sessions the band did, because they sound tired and bored, without a clear direction (this can be seen more clearly in the "Let It Be" film and in the tracks of these sessions included in the "Anthology 3" CD package). Spector`s work on the original tracks was very professional, and he tried to hide the mistakes in playing and singing. This "Naked" album is good, but not better than Spector`s version. Of course it sounds better due to the use of modern technology. but...after years of listening to the original album it is really hard to take this "Naked " album as better. The "Get Back / Let It Be" project was recorded during a very tense and sad period in the band`s career. Harrison was asked about the "Let It Be" film in 1970, and he said that he wasn`t going to see it as it really reminded him of hard and sad times for the band and for himself. Maybe this is one of the reasons why the film is still not released on DVD.

In conclusion, "Naked" is a good version, but it looks more like McCartney`s "vengeance" due to not being really consulted by the other three members of the band when the original album was prepared for release in 1970.

Guillermo | 3/5 |

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