The Beatles

Unsurpassed Masters, Vol. 6

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Like all of the volumes in the Unsurpassed Masters bootleg series of Beatles outtakes, Unsurpassed Masters, Vol. 6 is much less valuable than it was when it first came out in the early '90s, as the three official Beatles Anthology volumes issued most of the most interesting material left in the vault. For the many hardcore faithful with an insatiable hunger for more, however, this has alternate takes and mixes that don't appear elsewhere, in stellar fidelity, and thus will be of some interest to scholars and fanatics. This volume is something of a catchall of takes, mixes, and odds and ends that escaped previous installments, stretching from 1963-1969. Although alternates of "There's a Place," "I Saw Her Standing There," "From Me to You," "Thank You Girl," "A Hard Day's Night," "Help!," and other early tracks appeared on previous volumes, the takes here are different ones. Some of the differences are subtle enough that you have to pay pretty close attention to spot them. But it's still nice to hear some false starts and complete performances with ever-so-slight variations, like the way George Harrison comically sings "rock & roll now" on the fadeout to "Don't Bother Me" (you have to crank the volume way up to hear that clearly); the odd shattering reverb on the chord that opens "A Hard Day's Night"; or how they goof up on falsetto harmonies at the end of "I'm a Loser." On the post-1965 material comprising the second half of the CD, the differences get more hairsplitting, like in the use of the mixes from the Sessions bootleg for tracks that eventually showed up on the Anthology volumes, or isolated instrumental or vocal tracks.