- Album name: Silver Walrus? / The Silver Album of the World’s Greatest?
- Group name: the Beatles
- Year: 1969?
- Number of discs: one
- Label: Jarris Records
- Collection: Selman
- Distinguishing characteristics:
- There are no markings at all on the album, which is just a plain silver cover.
- The album sleeve is labeled “SHIT!” with a track list.
- The LP is marked “Side 1 / SHIT!” and “Side 2 / SHIT!”
- “JARRIS 0020 B” is etched into side 1 of the LP and “JARRIS 0020 A” is etched into side 2 of the LP.
- Buy a similar, but not identical, LP on Ebay: $149.99
Level of familiarity before listening
I have never listened to this Beatles bootleg, but it’s the 13th Beatles record that I’m reviewing, and also the third bootleg (and second bootleg from the Get Back / Let It Be recording sessions). The previous 12 were:
- Revolver (1966): 5/5
- Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band (1967): 5/5
- The White Album (1968): 4/5
- Abbey Road (1969): 5/5
- The Beatles’ Story (1964): 2/5
- MORE get back session (1969?): 3/5
- Studio Sessions Volume One (1973): 4/5
- Rock ‘n’ Roll Music (1976): 5/5
- The Beatles at the Hollywood Bowl (1977): 5/5
- Love Songs (1977): 5/5
- Rarities (1980): 5/5
- Reel Music (1982): 4/5
What I expected
This is one of the most enigmatic records in my possession. I was originally meant to review it months ago, but at the time, I couldn’t figure out anything about it, since it had no markings that would give away what it actually was, and I set it aside for further investigation. Eventually I realized that I could search by the etchings on the LP face, and when I did so, I found resources like Beatleg.online and Beatleg.info that were almost right. The track list is switched around on the bootleg that I have, however:
After the Beatles did their famous rooftop concert at the end of their Get Back recording sessions in January 1969, Glyn Johns spent the better part of that year making multiple attempts to compile the material into a releasable record, but all of the versions he pressed were rejected by the band, who proceeded to record and release Abbey Road. They instead handed the Get Back material over to Phil Spector, who later produced the version that was released as Let It Be. From what I can understand, this record seems to be one of the versions of Get Back that Johns produced during 1969, possibly with sides 1 and 2 mislabeled.
What it was actually like
The sound was pretty rough throughout.
Don’t Let Me Down and Get Back were the two that sounded the closest to their respective record versions, and might have been the same takes, but with worse quality.
Dig It had a crying baby sound, as if Scratch Perry had produced it, and it was nowhere near ready for the general public, and was much, much longer than the release version, and without the weird speaking part at the end.
Let It Be might have had different backing vocals, and its electric guitar part also sounded like it might have been different, and there were no maracas.
Long And Winding Road seemed to start in the middle, was maybe a bit slower than the release version and lacked the whole orchestral production (I guess that was what Phil Spector was for), and cut out suddenly at the end.
One After 909 was a bit slower, with what sounded like different vocals and lead guitar, and lacked the piano part.
Across The Universe had a very demo sound to it, with Lennon sounding like he was singing into a tin can or something. The backing vocals were also not quite there, and it didn’t sound like he had figured out the song’s pacing yet. It faded out pretty suddenly at the end.
I Dig A Pony was very different from the release version, much slower (and worse) and with much less instrumentation.
Two of Us was also far slower, and sounded like a pretty early rehearsal of a mostly finalized version, with harmonies that were not tight yet.
For You Blue had different percussion and guitar picking than the release version.
In general I like the Beatles as a rock group, which is why I think about half of Let It Be is pretty good: the rock (or directly rock-adjacent) songs One After 909, Don’t Let Me Down, Get Back, For You Blue and Two of Us. And I don’t enjoy piano ballads very much, which is why I don’t care at all for Across The Universe, Let It Be and especially Long And Winding Road.
Quoting my own review of the earlier (or later) MORE get back session bootleg from the same sessions that produced this material:
I believe that any Beatles fan with eight hours to spare should just watch the [Get Back] documentary…
Lake Street Dive did one of the coolest Beatles covers ever, an ode to the Beatles’ legendary rooftop concert that is also portrayed in the documentary. Here is Don’t Let Me Down, and also Two of Us.
3/5: interesting, but not for me