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LET IT BE - NAKED

The Beatles

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3 stars Let It Be was always my less favourite albm of the Fab Four. The sound aways seemed sort of thin to me despite of all this Spector's wizardry. Until I bought the Naked version. Yes, that's it. Very good sound, stripped off many annoying things like choirs and unnecessary orchestrations. "The Long and winding road" is a good example here. I did not like this beautiful song before because of the arrangement.

In terms of prog-rockness, it is not much here. The Beatles decided to go back to their roots with this record. So it is mostly straight rock. Though the songs are excellent as usual. If you do not like the original version, try this one for sure.

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Send comments to Foxy (BETA) | Report this review (#85773)
Posted Friday, August 04, 2006 | Review Permalink
2 stars Let It Be has always been to me quite a weak album, fortunately tracks like "The long and winding road" and "Let It Be" itself show, in the standard edition, wonderful orchestral arrangements, something totally lacking in this work here, called Naked. This fact of course influence the entire final quality level of the album itself, which loses those particular characteristics which made it good in the first edition. The songs moreover are not really inspired and it's one of the less homogeneous works by The Beatles. Cd number 2 is simply a bunch of extracts from tapes containing conversations recorded during the recording phase of the album. Moreover there's not prog at all in this release. I do not recommend this album to anyone, unless you're a collector.

2 stars.

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Send comments to Malve87 (BETA) | Report this review (#115169)
Posted Wednesday, March 14, 2007 | Review Permalink
Finnforest
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR
Honorary Collaborator
5 stars The Black Sheep of the Beatle family is near perfection.

I could never quite figure out why this album turned off so many Beatles fans. It can't be the songs because this is one of their finest collections of songs. I sometimes wonder if it's the fact that people were mourning the passing of a great band that was almost like a family being ripped apart by divorce, or just good friends parting ways because of differences they couldn't resolve. Perhaps disappointments on a number of fronts for band and audience alike created a dark cloud. Perhaps the production problems inherent to the attempts at a film and live performance clouded the band's intent. Perhaps being released after Abbey Road make it seem somewhat illegitimate to fans who knew the party was over. Whatever the reasons they don't change the fact that there are some truly memorable pieces of music here. The boys had left behind the frills of psychedelia to confront adult themes in a very direct, honest, and yes painful way. While not comparable stories in some ways, in other ways the Let it Be album is similar to what the Dead did with the classic American Beauty. After years of flying through the acid cosmos and needing to come back to Earth, they delivered their most enduring collection of songs with the touching rootsy music of Workingman's Dead and the superior American Beauty. The Beatles similarly began this process on the White Album and continued with Let it Be. Their friendships as band mates may have been coming apart but their songwriting and singing talents were certainly not. Let it Be is not only better than the White Album, it's also better than Abbey Road. Through the pain there were plenty of light moments and joyful ones, but people don't realize that because the film insisted on showing all the bickering and not much of the love. Take if from the lads themselves: "There was a lot of emotional turmoil going on amongst us, but the music always surpassed any bull[&*!#] we were going through. Once the song started we turned back into those brothers." [Ringo]. And "There was a lot of emotion and love going on between us all but in a new and intense way which wasn't the worst thing for the music. It's actually very good for art, it adds an edge you don't necessarily get when you're happy." [Paul].

"Two of Us" is such a beautiful ode to friendship and nostalgia that it nearly brings me to tears when I hear it. "You and I have memories longer than the road that stretches out ahead.." My good God, listen to the vocal harmonies on this track dance with the bass lines and the wistful melody. I think I need a shower. I'm such a sucker for this kind of sentimentality. "Dig a Pony" is a classic John rocker with a great riff and harmonies that remind me why I love this band in the first place. "Across the Universe" is one of Lennon's very best songs, just haunting. Playing it this morming over coffee and looking out at the rain falling in the backyard this song goes right through me. Certainly more emotionally fluid than "Everybody's got something to hide cept for me and my monkey" and certainly more meaningful than "Mean Mr. Mustard." "I Me Mine" feels like George's understandable frustration bubbling to the surface and it's a great track. "Let it Be" is priceless, an absolute classic. I'm sounding like a broken record here but I have to because this is great stuff. "I've got a feeling" is Paul poring more of his heart out than ever and it's every bit as cool as "Helter Skelter." The alternating vocals of Lennon add a perfect balance to the song's emotions. It sounds like a band moving from anger to resigned acceptance over what was coming. "One after 909" is the lads having a bit of fun like the old days. "The Long and Winding Road" delivers just another songwriting masterpiece in the line of Yesterday, Rigby, She's Leaving Home, Fool, Blackbird. "For You Blue" is a pleasant George ditty and another example of fun where supposedly there was none. And then we end with "Get Back" which is a solid Beatle rocker and good pop song.

What am I missing here folks? It's raw, personal, emotional, rocking, beautiful, with painful intimacy and light hearted moments sprinkled throughout. Top if off with a rooftop concert to say a proper goodbye to us and what do you have? One of rock music's most poignant moments. I will take Let it Be over the polished musings of Abbey Road or the excessive filler of White Album any day of the week. Abbey Road has fine moments but it also has a lot of fluff and subpar material when weighed against the authentic emotions of Let it Be. Without Harrison's amazing songs and McCartney's classy ending, Abbey Road is really quite a disaster. Maxwell? Octopus? Poly Pam? Ouch! Remember that most of the tracks on Abbey Road are just unused ideas from the Let it Be sessions. So if you rave over Abbey Road you're really just appreciating the Let it Be leftovers with better production values. And White Album would be a classic were the best tracks condensed to one disc, but there is so much filler on the album. There is little if any filler on Let it Be.

So why Naked? I'm reviewing Naked instead of the old version because it's a rare case where I feel a re-worked album is vastly superior to the original and that newbies should buy this one instead. You'll get a vastly superior sound with the songs coming to life in a new way, minus the awful hiss and background noise of a film being made. The acoustic guitars now sound fresh as a spring day and the harder riffs have more bite. You'll get rid of Spector's nonsense and hear the stark plain paper emotion of the band's heart in that moment. You'll get a superior track list with "Don't Let Me Down" replacing the inferior "Dig It" and "Maggie Mae." You'll get a fine booklet and a bonus disc if you're into such goodies. While some of the critics howl about McCartney's revisionism, and while they may have a point, it again is a mute point because this is about music and not politics. Let it go people! Let go of all the many debates about this change or that decision, and just listen to the music. What you'll hear is exactly why Let it Be is near the top of the Beatles best album list, not at the bottom as its critics charge.

Not a prog masterpiece, but a rock masterpiece. Essential for every rock collection. Please, if you haven't heard these songs since you played your crusty vinyl version or the first cd version of the original back in the day, find the Naked version and hear why these songs are WAY better than you remember.

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Send comments to Finnforest (BETA) | Report this review (#133646)
Posted Saturday, August 18, 2007 | Review Permalink
4 stars I love this set , although it has to be admitted that its not the finest record they made. I do miss the silly studio outtakes in there original placing on the first release (let it be) but other than that the songs sound far better stripped down. One real bonus for fans is a chance to hear the original work from a digital transfer. The richness of the sound is quite stunning. This proves that despite everything the production values remains very high by 60's standards. I am not going to bother to list the songs but I will say I like George's ah me mine. This record and the anthology's are just such a treat. It doesnt quite get 5 stars though the band isn't on its very best form, but even though they are falling apart they still pull out all the stops. When this record is good its magick and it does hold together very well. There is a continuity of sound on this record that is unique in Beatles albums. The music is not a diverse but we are given some great little rock songs by a very good little band. The Beatles are dead , long live the Beatles. Is this prog well probably not if anything it is a backward looking record. Of course you could say the studio outtake disc is a masterpiece of experimental recording but its really less entertaining than Faust live which is an achievement. I say don't bother with disc two unless you really want to know what happened to maggie may and Charles Hawtree and the Deaf aids.

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Send comments to burgersoft777 (BETA) | Report this review (#158955)
Posted Friday, January 18, 2008 | Review Permalink
Easy Livin
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR
Honorary Collaborator / Retired Admin
3 stars Get back to the basics

The Beatles, and in particular Paul McCartney, were never happy with the way Phil Spector smothered their final release (but not their final recording) with orchestration. They felt that he had imposed far too much of his own personality on the record.

So it was that in 2003, with the approval of the other two remaining Beatles, McCartney set about working on a re-mixing and re-mastering of the album. The timing of this work was prompted by a desire to finally see the "Let it be" film released to the domestic market using these new mixes as the basis for the music. To date, the film remains stubbornly unavailable.

The track listing here is not identical to the original album, as two tracks ("Dig it" and "Maggie Mae") have been dropped, while "Don't let me down" is added. A couple of the recordings are taken from the rooftop performance the band gave rather than simply re-using the "Let it be" versions and the order in which the track appear is also different.

It is a matter of record that the recording sessions for this album were not the Beatles finest hour. The constant bickering and sniping was bound to have an effect, and the brevity of the tracks and the final product reflects the problems the band encountered. Of greater concern though was the quality of the material and lack of innovation. With "Let it be", the Beatles simply became another pop band. There are some great songs of course, "Get back", "The long and winding road" and "Let it be" are all classic Beatles numbers. There are though too many songs which are average at best. "Dig a pony", "I me mine" and "Two of us" all fall into this category.

The stripping out of the Spector wall of sound leaving the bare tracks is a matter of taste. Personally, I am one of those who felt that Spector did not do a bad job of making some dubious material sound alright. I liked his treatment of "Let it be" and "Long and winding road". Devoid of his work, these versions sound like unplugged renditions. Great songs will always be great songs though, regardless of the circumstances of their recording or any post production work (or lack of it). "The long and winding road" certainly has an intimacy here with Paul plus piano being pretty much it. Probably the most effective song is John's simple performance of "Across the universe" accompanied only by acoustic guitar.

Ironically, "Let it be. naked" simply serves to demonstrate that the problem with "Let it be" was not in fact what Phil Spector did to it, but what the Beatles themselves did.

Early releases of the album included a second disc called "Fly on the wall". This contains a "unique insight into the Beatles at work in rehearsal and in the studio in 1969". It really is for Beatles fanatics though, being a dull, rambling barrel scraping selection of tapes from the studio floor.

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Send comments to Easy Livin (BETA) | Report this review (#185006)
Posted Wednesday, October 08, 2008 | Review Permalink
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.

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Send comments to Guillermo (BETA) | Report this review (#186866)
Posted Saturday, October 25, 2008 | Review Permalink
Rune2000
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR
Prog Metal Team
4 stars This album basically came out of nowhere and ruined all my childhood memories for many years to come! Yes, I agree that the previous statement was a bit harsh, but now you're probably more inclined to read on to see how on earth I could still give this album such a high rating!

As I previously stated in my review of the original version of Let It Be, this album has been a huge favorite of mine ever since my early childhood and not once have I ever considered Phil Spector's orchestral overdubbs and other mixing with these original songs to be unfulfilling. The only reason why anyone would want to release this album after more than 30 years is because the naysayers who criticized the original release have now grown old and have become a liable market demographic group to pump more money out of. It's obvious that any new or improved studio release from the Beatles is likely to sell and once the CD-reissues have stopped selling in the quantities that they did in the '90s some new product had to be invented.

This is a truly genius scheme since the only two major differences that this album brings to the previous experience are the reworks of The Long And Winding Road and the newly added Don't Let Me Down. Looking at the rating difference it just doesn't make much sense to me why this experience is suppose to be this much better than the original. Still, since I'm into music reviewing and not the business surrounding it, I can't give this unnecessary album the rating it really deserves. Instead I can only see Let It Be... Naked as a slightly less interesting version of the album that I've loved ever since I heard it in the early '90s.

The music offered on this so-called improved version of the Let It Be album didn't really have a purpose other than to make the fans spill out even more of their hard earned cash. The fact that the record was released on 17 November, only a month before Christmas, says more about the whole scheme than I ever could put in words. Music-wise it's just a slightly inferior version of the original which is why I actually can't rate it lower than the excellent addition rating even though I really want to.

***** star songs: Two Of Us (3:21) I Me Mine (2:21) Across The Universe (3:38) Let It Be (3:55)

**** star songs: Get Back (2:34) Dig A Pony (3:28) For You Blue (2:27) The Long And Winding Road (3:34) I've Got A Feeling (3:30) One After 909 (2:44) Don't Let Me Down (3:18)

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Send comments to Rune2000 (BETA) | Report this review (#292878)
Posted Saturday, July 31, 2010 | Review Permalink
baz91
PROG REVIEWER
4 stars Let It Be... as it was meant to be heard

This is the remastered, remixed version of the 1970 album 'Let It Be', which was released in 2003. This album simulates what the original album would have (and should have) sounded like if Phil Spector hadn't tampered with the recordings and had simply, well, let it be. This version also eschews a lot of the crap (if you'll pardon my French) that is heard on the original edition. By crap, I mean oddities like Dig It, Maggie Mae and all of the annoying banter in-between tracks. Of course, removing the banter makes these classic songs easier to listen to because, for example, I don't want to hear John shouting 'I DIG A PYGMY' every time I put on Two Of Us. On the other hand, if you found the banter interesting, then there is a second disc in this set with a 22 minute audio track of behind-the-scenes Beatles, which is far more insightful than the fragmented banter ever was, and of course, well-removed from the actual music (as it should be). Sonically, each track is better than the original, making this a far more enjoyable endeavour.

Now for the actual music itself. This album is absolutely chock full of classics songs, now presented in the original format without the pretentious orchestra. Some of the better known songs off this album are Get Back, The Long And Winding Road, Across The Universe and the timeless Let It Be. While I absolutely adore Let It Be, I think the others are just good songs, with the exception of Across The Universe, which I've never been a fan of. I guess I just don't like the pretentious lyrics (unusual for a prog fan!)

However, there are some other wonderful gems here too. For You Blue is a great blues track by Harrison. His other work on this album I Me Mine is phenomenal, and is the hardest rocking piece on the album. One of my particular favourites was the brilliant, yet slightly rough I've Got A Feeling. The guitar on that song grabs you instantly. Replacing Dig It and Maggie Mae is the brilliant non-album track Don't Let Me Down which is far more welcome here than the former songs. The only song I really don't like listening to is One After 909, which was actually a song from The Beatles' early days that they never recorded until these sessions. This was meant to be a chance for them to pretend they were the old Beatles, but it fails really, as this is quite a bad song with poor lyrics and an annoying riffs. Maybe if they'd written something along the lines of From Me To You, this would have worked.

This is the better way to hear 'Let It Be'. The use of the word 'Naked' in the title makes this album seem naughty and attractive. I feel priveleged to have heard this version before the original, and in fact, I actually view 'Let It Be... Naked' as the proper 'Let It Be' album, and the original as an inferior version. The music on here doesn't quite make it a masterpiece, but there are many tunes on here worth checking out! Without a doubt, a brilliant reissue, and just what every Beatles fan should have.

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Send comments to baz91 (BETA) | Report this review (#439959)
Posted Thursday, April 28, 2011 | Review Permalink
AtomicCrimsonRush
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR
Symphonic Team
3 stars The Beatles "Let It Be- Naked" album is a makeover of the old album, a remixing of the original version of the legendary final Beatles studio outing. I never really adored the album though it has some excellent songs, but this remix without Phil Spector's tampering hand, is quite extraordinary. It shows how an album can be improved in the right hands. It features some definitive Beatles classics such as the title track and 'Get Back' which are huge worldwide hits in their own rights. In their remixed form there are notable differences and it is more fun to discover these yourself than to read about them here. Suffice it to say the album is very different on many levels. the sound quality is one of the drawcards to revisiting this classic.

The masterpieces such as 'Across The Universe' and 'The Long and Winding Road' sound even better here in their naked state. The driving rock of 'One After 909' and 'Dig a Pony' are revamped and have a great clean sound. I still feel that a lot of tracks on "Let It Be" are forgettable and uncharacteristically dull such as 'Two Of us' and 'For You Blue', though marginally better on this remix than on the original without all the Beatles ranting voices that ruined the originals.

This is the version to get hold of if you want to hear really good versions of these tracks, and the quality is ineffaceable compared to the original. Own both versions if you are worried but really this version makes the original surprisingly obsolete in my collection.

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Send comments to AtomicCrimsonRush (BETA) | Report this review (#791458)
Posted Friday, July 20, 2012 | Review Permalink
3 stars When it comes to recorded good sogwriting; I prefer; badly recorded good songs over perfectly produced or over-produced supid ones. To prove my point I surrender evidence "a". A naked production-wise version of the public released well known "Let It Be" Beatles album; that now; we all know was not exactly their last joint effort . Good songs are still good and bad songs even if produced by GOD ; will still be bad. Simple lesson; good proof! The relevance of this release is really make this pont very clear. Surprising; because it was not intended to be heard and a very good lesson for anyone who thinks that anything that is recorded in a studio will turn to gold; just like as if.. "touched by fairies". No!;.. Good songwriting survives in any kind of abusive (early American Black music) or over-comfortable (The Beatles´s "Let It Be" produced version) conditions. Besides; its fun!! 3 stars because the way to the 4th is missing; and that was the whole idea.

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Send comments to admireArt (BETA) | Report this review (#971667)
Posted Wednesday, June 05, 2013 | Review Permalink

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