The Beatles

Ultra Rare Trax, Vol. 6

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As the final entry of the Ultra Rare Trax series of surprisingly high-fidelity bootlegs drawn from the Beatles' recording sessions, Ultra Rare Trax, Vol. 6 is looser than its predecessors. Heretofore, the unnamed compilers have been careful to construct highly playable compilation albums made up of fully developed alternate takes of Beatles songs ranging across their career. This one similarly jumps back and forth in time, from an April 1963 session for the BBC (all the other tracks come from recording sessions) to a July 1969 one at which Paul McCartney cut "Come and Get It," a song later given to Badfinger. But, especially in the second half of the disc, there are many free-form jams, including an instrumental that never led to a song, a lengthy breakdown on a take of "She's a Woman," another version of the John Lennon psychedelic trip "What's the New Mary Jane?" (there was also one on Ultra Rare Trax, Vol. 5), and eight-plus minutes of Lennon's improvised "Dig It," only a smidgen of which turned up on Let It Be. The real highlights of the album, however, are "Come and Get It"; the BBC recording of "I'll Be on My Way," a song given to Billy J. Kramer & the Dakotas, who wasted it on a B-side; and a take of "Strawberry Fields Forever" that provides more information on the song's eventual emergence in its finished, heavily edited and overdubbed form. Even in a series devoted to outtakes, Ultra Rare Trax, Vol. 6 contains some of the more ephemeral items from the Beatles' vault, but it is no less enjoyable for that, and, like the series as a whole, it served as inspiration for later legitimate releases.

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