The Beatles

Quarrymen Rehearse with Stu Sutcliffe Spring

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Available under several titles besides the one listed above, this is the earliest tape of any appreciable length of the Beatles -- or the nucleus of what became the Beatles -- to surface on bootleg (though some short tapes that even predate this one also exist). Let the general fan be warned: this is tough listening, of interest almost solely for its historic value. This is a just a rehearsal of teenagers who barely know their way around their instruments, in fairly poor fidelity. But for all the scholars who want some idea of what John, Paul, and George (there is no drummer on this tape) sounded like when they were starting to play together, here it is. Most of these are plodding, bluesy numbers, some identifiable '50s rock standards ("Matchbox," "Hallelujah, I Love Her So"), some apparently originals in the same vein, or thin variations of the usual '50s-rock formulas. There are, amazingly, primitive versions of a few Lennon-McCartney originals that would be recorded years later: "One After 909," "I'll Follow the Sun," and "Hello, Little Girl" (which the Beatles never officially released, but did perform for their widely-booted Decca audition tape). An interesting artifact, but not much more than that, with the bonus inclusion of a 1958 version of "That'll Be the Day" that the Quarrymen, as they were then called, recorded at a make-your-own-record outfit.