A peculiar amalgam of Beatle bits, this is hardly the thing for casual fans. Lennon's mellotron "experiments" are nothing more than daft noodling, quasi-musical soundscapes which vary from mildly annoying to terrifying. "Stranger in My Arms" rears its head from this same wasteland, but its humor ("and the sky is on the ceiling") rises almost to the height of "You Know My Name." "Girl," a rough monitor mix, is essentially a throwaway. "We Can Work It Out/Lucy from Littletown" is McCartney's demo -- too quickly truncated by a zany Lennon wordplay taped over the top. Paul's basic idea is there in "Michelle" (another demo), but unrefined. Three of John's demo fragments comprise "It's Not Too Bad." This time, we hear the primitive essence of what later became "Strawberry Fields Forever." "Good Morning, Good Morning" (whose inspiration, it is said, came from a television commercial) is a dull snippet, heavy on metronome. What, you ask? Is there nothing to recommend this disc? Actually, there are two tracks collectors should zero-in on. "Julia" (John's acoustic home demo) seems more intimate and authentic than either the White Album or Anthology 3 versions. And "Revolution 9" (lifted from a double-sided acetate) should appeal to avant-garde aficionados -- the alternate mix brings many of the familiar version's unintelligible spoken words clearly to the fore. "Revolution I" is more properly Yoko Ono fronting a playback and overdub session. Nearly inaudible behind her self-absorbed prattle, the Beatles perform a lengthy slow version of Lennon's tune. If only some bootlegger had the technology and inspiration to filter her out! This CD's remaining tracks either appear on Anthology or are minimally different than their standard release. Beatles devotees may covet this disc for its eccentricities, but none other than they should consider it.
by Stansted Montfichet