Kinfauns - Part Two

11 Cry Baby Cry 2:32
12 Child of Nature 2:46
13 The Continuing Story of Bungalow Bill 2:42
14 I’m So Tired 3:10
15 Yer Blues 3:32
16 Everybody’s Got Something to Hide Except Me And My Monkey 2:59
17 What’s The New Mary Jane 2:40
18 Revolution 4:08
19 While My Guitar Gently Weeps 2:35
20 Circles 2:19
21 Sour Milk Sea 3:43
22 Not Guilty 3:00
23 Piggies 2:07

KinfaunsIn many ways, the Beatles' trip to India in March of 1968 to study Transcendental Meditation with the Maharishi Mahesh Yogi can be seen as the true turning point of the group being a group. After completing sessions for a stopgap single, "Lady Madonna" / "Inner Light" in early February, they left for Rishikesh united in their desire for enlightenment, but came back fragmented and somewhat disillusioned. Ringo left the meditation compound after two weeks, blaming bad food, but not before stating that the experience had been "just like Butlin's", the holiday camp where he used to play with Rory Storm and the Hurricanes in the early 60's. Paul flew off after a month, claiming he'd "gotten as much as he needed". John and George brought up the rear after John had gotten wind of some possible misbehavior by the Yogi regarding one or more of the women who accompanied the Beatles on their trip. This deterioration of the trip was an ominous foreboding of the remainder of the Beatles career: still a group in theory, but not a group in practice.

        During the period the four were there, however, the three songwriting Beatles' muses were working overtime, fueled by more "down time" than they had enjoyed in over five years, and the bucolic atmosphere in which they were living. The songs flowed as they hadn't in years…but in their composition the tunes were truly solo efforts, each reflecting John's, Paul's and George's own interests musically, philosophically and spiritually. Between the three composers, almost forty songs were written, most of which would end up on the Beatles' next eponymously-titled LP. Others were left for the last two Beatles album projects, Get Back/Let It Be and Abbey Road. Additional tunes were used for future solo projects, in either complete or similar form compared to the 1968 versions, with one in particular, George's "Circles", not seeing the light of day until fourteen years after its composition!

        After John and Paul returned from the activities in New York to publicly launch their new company, Apple, in mid-May of 1968, the Beatles did something as a group that they had never done prior to this period. The four gathered at George's house, "Kinfauns", in Esher, Surrey around the third week of May to record group demos for almost thirty of the songs they had penned in Rishikesh. While the individual Beatles had all recorded home demos before, the group generally rehearsed their songs at EMI either after having heard the solo demos, or simply after having the writer(s) in question show the others the chord changes, etc., in person. However, never before (and never again) did they join together to undertake something of this rudimentary nature. Recorded on George's four track equipment, the tracks were mixed to mono by George, and John, Paul and Ringo each received copies of this reduction tape. 

        George held on to the "Kinfauns" masters, and in 1996 was able to claim ownership of them in the credits of the third edition of the Beatles Anthology CD series. Geoff Emerick newly mixed some of these songs to stereo at the time of Anthology's production, but John's copy of the original mono tape reduction is the source for this set. While bits of this tape have been heard on The Lost Lennon Tapes (both the radio and Bag records LP series), as well as previous, inferior CD issues, this is the first time that this copy of John's tape has been heard in its entirety, in crisp, glorious mono.

        The "Esher Tapes" represent one last great gasp of the Beatles working as a unit, displaying the joy and spontaneity for which they had once been revered. The previous year's activities had severely curtailed such looseness in the recording process, what with the technical marvels of the "Strawberry Fields Forever/Penny Lane" 45, Sergeant Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band, and the other fabs' psychedelic wonders of 1967. Here were the four Beatles, playing and singing with abandon in a wonderfully loose atmosphere. Much of the recording actually echoes the 1965 Beach Boys Party! LP in terms of the taping's laid back approach (not to mention the fact that, as on Party!, one can hear conversations in the background throughout most of the tape!). Never again would the fab four sound this happy; the upcoming sessions for The Beatles would cement that fact.

Anthology 3


White Album Sessions

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