The second volume in the bootleg series Ultra Rare Trax continues to delve into the Beatles' recording sessions, ranging from the February 11, 1963, date that produced the Please Please Me album to September 1967 for the tracking of "I Am the Walrus." The earlier recordings, such as a take of "Can't Buy Me Love" that leads things off, are preliminary alternate takes that lend insight into the development of the final versions of the songs, while "I Am the Walrus" is essentially the final version, albeit unedited and lacking later overdubs. The most interesting tracks are "That Means a Lot," a well-developed Beatles version of a Lennon-McCartney composition that was given to P.J. Proby instead of being released by the group and turned by him into a Top 40 U.K. hit, and "Leave My Kitten Alone," a cover of a 1959 Little Willie John hit that features a strong John Lennon vocal and deserved to be released in 1964 instead of being shelved. ("Leave My Kitten Alone" was given a legitimate release on the Beatles' Anthology 1 album in 1995, "That Means a Lot" on Anthology 2 in 1996.) At less than half an hour, Ultra Rare Trax, Vol. 2 is short, but the sound quality is excellent, and Beatles fans will welcome this glimpse into the recording studio.
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AllMusic Review by William Ruhlmann