The Beatles

The Other Way of Crossing (Abbey Road Outtakes)

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Ever wonder what Abbey Road might've sounded like if the Beatles had applied the back-to-basics approach of the "Get Back" sessions to that better body of songs? This digipack release answers that question, showing the album was a work-in-progress, comprised of outtakes, rough mixes, early edits, and other elements of the sessions that became the Abbey Road album, offering a glimpse under the overdubs and edits that played a big role in the content of the completed album. This reveals the Beatles sounding a lot like Creedence Clearwater Revival, like they did on the Let It Be rooftop concert -- opening with a nicely raw version of "Come Together" played in a rather loose tempo, the disc proceeds on to Take 37 of "Something," which is stripped down to its basics, and ends with a long piece of unrelated studio jam dominated by the piano, and then offers a mostly undubbed and utterly delightful basic mix of "Maxwell's Silver Hammer." "Oh Darling" is even more of a soul-shouter here than it is on the official release, with the lead guitar pushed up even further in the mix. "Octopus' Garden" and "I Want You (She's So Heavy)" get similar showcases, which will be a treat for anyone who loves listening to the Beatles as a basic four-piece band, cranked up nice and loud on the latter, of course. An alternate mix of the band's version of "Come and Get It" and a fragmentary Lennon number, "Oh, I Want You," leads into a preliminary assembly of the album's second side, which is sort of an "alternate universe" version of the most famous medley in rock music history, with the songs in somewhat different order from the way we know them (and the producers concede there is a bit of high-end distortion on the source tape for this section). The disc ends with 23 minutes of outtakes from these and related sessions, including a delightful slow-tempo rendition of "Ain't She Sweet"; a jam of "You Never Give Me Your Money" that slides into "At the Hop"; early alternate takes of "Maxwell's Silver Hammer," "Golden Slumbers"/"Carry That Weight," and "Octopus' Garden," mostly with no overdubbed instruments or backing vocals; and a George Harrison solo electric guitar run-through of "Something" -- the quality on some of this shaky, but it's all good listening.