Let’s get the bad out of the way. Yes, Phil Spector’s production is pretty bad. The sound is compressed and peaky in a way nobody else would really start to mess up until this century. The bits of dialogue around the songs, which ended up being illuminating on the Anthology releases, are distracting and annoying here. And three of the songs (“Dig It,” “Maggie Mae,” and “For You Blue”) are half-finished, in an even rawer state than that of what I call Brad’s unfinished tracks. In his defense (though I’m loath to defend Spector at all), the band completely scrapped the first version of the album, titled Get Back, they was not getting along at all and I believe were not even communicating with each other as this was recorded individually. Point is, he probably didn’t have a lot to produce.
And granted, this isn’t as good as Abbey Road, BUT (huge but), that’s setting the bar awfully high. Furthermore, to write this album off is to ignore many of the band’s best songs, in particular McCartney really coming into his own as a songwriter, particularly on the ballads. There’s not a band song on here and the highlights include “Let It Be,” “The Long And Winding Road,” and “Get Back.”
In a way, the half-finished songs serve a nice role in breaking up what otherwise would be such a collection of excellent songwriting that it might crumble under its own weight. That’s kind of a cowardly way out of that conundrum, but if I had to wildly speculate at what brought down Get Back (and let’s do that, why don’t we?), I’d guess it was along the lines of not being able to get all these great songs to work together. It’s like the Bulls of the 90’s or the Lakers of the 00’s, but Spector’s not Phil Jackson and so couldn’t get them to the championship.
Anyway, great album. Not without its faults, but definitely under-appreciated.
– “I Me Mine,” “Let It Be,” “I’ve Got A Feeling,” “One After 909,” “The Long And Winding Road,” “Get Back”
– “Two Of Us,” “Dig A Pony,” “Across The Universe,” “Dig It,” “Maggie Mae,” “For You Blue”
Filed Between: Abbey Road and 1967-1970
Song Notes: After the jump
- Two Of Us – crap sound. Good song that I was unfamiliar with.
- Dig A Pony –
- Across The Universe –
- I Me Mine – Great Harrison guit licks.
- Dig It – Sounds like Dylan
- Let It Be –
- Maggie Mae –
- I’ve Got A Feeling – Had soured on it after hearing all the Pearl Jam versions in their 2003 tour, but this is a really good song.
- One After 909 – The pleasant surprise on the album. I’d never heard this one before and really like it.
- The Long And Winding Road –
- For You Blue –
- Get Back – One of the band’s all-time bests.