In May 1968, the Beatles assembled at George Harrison's home to demo material for their upcoming White Album sessions. The results have been frequently bootlegged; this is the most comprehensive single-disc collection, including 24 tunes in all. Predominantly acoustic in arrangement, with minimal percussion (if Ringo is present, it's not immediately evident), this has a great informal, almost campfire spirit, despite the tensions so widely reported of the group in the subsequent studio sessions. Many of the songs are extremely close in arrangement to the final studio versions, but it's great to hear them approach their ultimate shape with a camaraderie and light, joyful tone that unavoidably got muted when they were ironed out in the control room. John's songs are the most interesting (great versions of "Revolution," "Julia," "I'm so Tired," and "Sexy Sadie" especially), with occasional added half-serious lyrics; there are good versions of "Back in the U.S.S.R." and "Blackbird" as well. Also interesting are a bunch of songs that didn't make it in onto the album: Lennon's "Child of Nature" (changed into "Jealous Guy" for Imagine), McCartney's "Singalong Junk" (which would surface on his first solo LP), and Harrison's "Sour Milk Sea" (given to Jackie Lomax), "Not Guilty," and "Circles" (both of which he'd eventually release on solo albums).
Share this page
AllMusic Review by Richie Unterberger