A Beatles' Recording Timeline: The Beatals At Home

An essay on the 1960 home recordings

THE BEATALS AT HOME

WHO: THE BEATALS
An early lineup of the group which would evolve into The Beatles.  They
are experimenting with the name of the band.  At the time of the recordings
discussed here, they are calling themselves The Beatals.

John Lennon (guitar/vocals/front man/composer).
Paul McCartney (guitar/vocals/composer).
George Harrison (guitar).
Stu Sutcliffe (bass).  
Occasionally Mike McCartney (percussion).  The Beatals have no steady 
drummer at this time.

WHAT: HOME RECORDINGS AND HOMEMADE ALBUMS
Known at first as Quarrymen At Home and Liverpool, May, 1960 recordings from
their bootleg titles, these are the earliest lengthy recordings of the 
group.

These tapes start out as straight live recordings of The Beatals.  They're 
eager to "make a record", and have simple reel-to-reel tape decks to work
with.  They record performances of numbers they have learned from records
of the day, numbers they have written themselves, and blues jamming.

The band play these back for their own education and amusement.  Because 
some songs are better than others, they borrow another tape deck and dub
their own "albums" onto new reels, selecting cuts from the original reels
that they want to keep.  Probably the original reels are re-used to conserve
money for new reels.  These "albums" are what have survived.

In the end, many reels with overlapping selections were assembled.  On any
given reel, any given title may be unique in its edit and in the number of
generations away from the original recording.  "Snippets" are found where 
the remainder of an earlier recording had later been recorded over with new
material.  Also, in the processes of swapping reels on the "master" tape 
deck, "snippets" may have appeared on the target reels, probably to allow 
one of the tape decks to ramp-up to speed. Also some simple superimposition
work was done on some of the selections. 

One snippet has been bootlegged.  Also, Gottfridsson has heard eight more of
these snippets: Six are 0:02, 0:08, 0:15, 0:02, 0:03, and 0:03 of 
indecipherable performances.  Also an 0:05 snippet of "Hello Little Girl", 
and a 0:02 snippet of "One After 909".  It would be nice to know if they 
were all from the ENDS of songs.  I suspect they are, and are all 
side-effects of the need to ramp up one or both of their tape decks when 
they were making gift reels for people.

Copies were made of these album reels.  Probably the Beatals hoped to secure
concert gigs using them as auditions.  Copies would have been made as gifts
for friends and as mementos for themselves.  The album reels available on
bootlegs such as Madman's Wildcat! were apparently Mike McCartney's copies.
Other album reels were taken along on their early trips to Hamburg, and 
wound up in the hands of friends there.

WHERE: McCartney's bathroom at No. 20 Forthlin Road mostly.  Other locales
in Liverpool may be involved. 

WHEN: April and May, 1960, over school vacation.  Other dates may be 
associated with these recordings.

MIXnotes: ALL TRACKS ARE [Mono]. 

The extant recordings of The Beatals at home have not all been heard yet.
  
Madman's Wildcat! provides a good point of reference for the common bootleg
material from these sessions.  And it's the only version I have!  It seems 
to be made from Mike McCartney's album reels.  It has so many recordings
that I once thought they were all that survived from this period.

Then Gottfridsson's book, The Beatles: From Cavern To Star Club came along.
(abbreviated as FC2SC below).  Gottfridsson has apparently had some access 
to tape reels of these recordings that were not used directly as sources for
the currently common bootleg versions.  The tape reels, the Icke Braun reel
[I], the Astrid Kirchherr reel [K], and the Charles Hodgson reel list both 
different timings and additional material from what we knew before.

When I set out to cross-index Gottfridsson's work against Wildcat!, I hit a
stumbling block.  Gottfridsson used some titles that I couldn't figure out,
like "Rhythm and Blues Jam 1".  I couldn't tell for certain which tracks he
was referring to, in order to compare what I could hear on Wildcat! to what
he was detailing.

I finally figured out that he must have been getting his titles from 
L.R.E. King's book, Do You Want To Know A Secret?.  Or else he and King both
got their titles from the same common source.  Once I cracked this puzzle, 
all of the alternate titles, alternate timings, and alternate sequencing 
became managable.  I could definitely correlate the tracks I had with all of
the (conflicting) descriptions I had.

Besides Wildcat!, the 910 Guide, and Gottfridsson, I found the articles on
Liverpool May 1960 from Illegal Beatles Nos. 8 and 17 to be invaluable.

============================================================================
Here is my track-listing, in Wildcat! order, with commentary.

Bootleg timings from the _Wild Cat_ CDs.

All tracks listed with the "o = collectable recording" mark are found on 
ANTHOLOGY 1, or among the bootlegs "The Beatals-Wildcat!", "The Quarry Men
At Home" & "Liverpool-May 1960".

o Wild Cat  [1:24] 
[Disc 1, Track 1]
AKA HR.17, Vocal #3, Oh No Not Me, Wild Cat #1, and Wildcat Version II.
General agreement that this times at 1:24.

o Wild Cat  [2:24]
[Disc 1, Track 2]
AKA HR.22, Wild Cat #2 and Wildcat Vesion I.  A concensus of 2:24.

_ snippet d [0:15]
The tape deck ramps up to allow copying of the next track?

o I'll Always Be In Love With You [2:19]
[Disc 1, Track 3]
AKA HR.18.
2:19 says Wildcat!, 2:23 says FC2SC.  Close.

_ snippet b [0:08]
The tape deck ramps up to allow copying of the next track?

o You'll Be Mine [1:42]
[Disc 1, Track 4]
AKA HR.19.  Features some primitive superimposition work. 
The version on ANTH1 is a shorter edit.
General agreement.  (1:42).

o snippet c [0:09]    
AKA HR.20  (Unknown) 
This 0:09 snippet didn't make it onto Wildcat!.  In IB #17, it was 
described as sounding like the tape drive was ramping up. It remains
associated with Matchbox on the Icke Braun reel (see Appendix below).

o Matchbox [0:53]
[Disc 1, Track 5]
AKA as HR.21.  A-OK at 0:53

_ snippet e of One After 909 [0:02]
The tape deck ramps up to allow copying of the next track?

o Some Days [1:32]
[Disc 1, Track 6]
AKA HR.23.  Agreement on time (1:32).

o Cayenne [2:31]  
[Disc 1, Track 7]
AKA HR.24, Cayenne Pepper (acc. to McCartney)
The version on ANTHOLOGY 1 is shorter due to editing.

o One After 909  [1:28] (or [1:42]?)
[Disc 1, Track 8]
AKA HR.25, Version 2.

This version features Mike McCartney banging on something.

On Wildcat!, it's timed at 1:28 - Gottfridsson says that's trimmed, he's 
heard a 1:42 recording of the same performance on the Icke Braun reel.  It's
supposed to be longer by means of a Beatals-engineered 0:14 false end to 
extend the track.

o Well, Darling [3:19] (or [5:11]?)
[Disc 1, Track 9]
AKA HR.26, Hey, Darling.  FC2SC says the 3:19 version on Wildcat! has been 
shortened from an earlier Kirchherr version of 5:11.

_ snippet f [0:02]
The tape deck ramps up to allow copying of the next track?

o You Must Write Every Day [2:32]
[Disc 1, Track 10]
AKA HR.27, You Must Lie Every Day.  (2:32).

o That's When Your Heartaches Begin [1:14]
[Disc 1, Track 11]
AKA HR.28.

_ snippet g of Hello Little Girl [0:05]
The tape deck ramps up to allow copying of the next track?

o Hello Little Girl [1:51]
[Disc 1, Track 12]
AKA HR.29.

o The World Is Waiting For the Sunrise [2:30]
[Disc 1, Track 13]
AKA HR.30.

_ snippet i [0:03]
The tape deck ramps up to allow copying of the next track?

o I Don't Know [5:52]
[Disc 1, Track 14]
AKA HR.11, Vocal #2, and Blues Vocal #2.
Wildcat! says 5:52, and Gottfridsson says 6:05.  Little difference.

_ snippet h [0:03]
The tape deck ramps up to allow copying of the next track?

o I Don't Need No Cigarette, Boy [5:53]  (or [7:36]?)
[Disc 1, Track 15]
AKA Vocal #1, R&B Jam #3 in King, and Blues vocal #1.  In FC2SC, 
it's Instrumental/Vocal K:5.

Wildcat! says 5:53.  Gottfridsson heard a longer version on Astrid 
Kirchherr's reel at 7:36.

o That's An Important Number [7:49]
[Disc 1, Track 16]
AKA HR.09, Instrumental #4, Come On People in King, Blues Instrumental #3, 
and in FC2SC, as Instrumental/Vocal K:4.

Wildcat! timing = 7:49.  Gottfridsson timing = 7:32.  A near agreement.

o Turn The Mixers Off [4:56]
[Disc 1, Track 17]
AKA HR.08, Improvisation, Instrumental #3, Unknown, Rock Instrumental #1, 
and in FC2SC, Instrumental K:3.  I like the title given here, based on the
comment audible in the track.  It's a 12-bar instrumental in G, but we 
already have one of those in HR.04.  Since the timing is in question per
Gottfridsson, we can't reliably refer to it as "the one that's 4:56 long"
either.  

Wildcat! times it at 4:56.  Gottfridsson says 3:00.  Again, did the tape 
get edited down when the Kirchherr reel was made, or was the track
lengthened by the bootlegger?  My ears do not detect any edits in
the version presented on Wildcat!.  

o I'll Follow The Sun [1:46]
[Disc 2, Track 1]
"w/Mike McCartney" 
AKA HR.03. General consensus here.  All agree on the title :-), 
and timings range from 1:39 to 1:45, call it 1:40.

o Hallelujah! I Love Her So 
[Disc 2, Track 2]
AKA HR.06/07.
All agree on the title, and the running time of 2:35.  Wildcat!'s cover 
shows 2:12 for this track, but the full 2:35 version is on the CD.  The
17-second intro is sometimes omitted.  The version on ANTHOLOGY 1 is edited
and shorter.

o One After 909  [2:25]
[Disc 2, Track 3]
AKA HR.12, Version I.  Wildcat!'s timing of 2:25 is within a couple seconds
of other references.

o Movin' N' Groovin' [3:19]
    ...in a medley with...
o Ramrod [0:26]
[Disc 2, Track 4]
AKA HR.13/14, Instrumental #5, Brown-Eyed Handsome Man, Guitar Bop, and 
random blues jamming.
Wildcat! timing = 3:45, FC2SC timing = 3:58.  Close enough?

_ snippet a [0:02]
The tape deck ramps up to allow copying of the next track?

o 12-Bar Instrumental In A [11:44]
[Disc 2, Track 5]
AKA HR.15, Improvisation, Instrumental #6, Rock jam (King), Blues 
Instrumental #4, and in FC2SC, Instrumental I:1.
Wildcat!'s Improvisation (11:44) is again accused of being artificially 
lengthened.  Gottfridsson hears a 7:15 version on the Braun reel.

o 12-Bar Instrumental in G [7:42]
[Disc 2, Track 6]
AKA HR.04, Improvisation, Instrumental #1, R&B Jam #1, Blues Inst'l. #1, and 
in FC2SC, Instrumental K:1.  I like the title given, it makes it possible
to discuss the track without confusion.
  
Wildcat! times this at 7:42.  Gottfridsson says that it's shorter on the 
Kirchherr reel at 5:33.  He also says the 7:42 version is lengthened by 
edit.  When I listen to the track on Wildcat!, I hear no edits.  My guess
is  that the version Gottfridsson heard was truncated by editing the 
Wildcat! version.

o 12-Bar Instrumental in F [11:06]
[Disc 2, Track 7]
AKA HR.05, Improvisation, Instrumental #2, R&B Jam #2 (King), ]
Blues Inst'l #2, and in FC2SC, Instrumental K:2.

Wildcat! times this at 11:06.  Gottfridsson says the Kirchherr reel runs
at 6:38.  Again, I don't hear any evidence of lengthening by the 
bootlegger.  Who would LENGTHEN this stuff for pete's sake?

o That's The End [17:40]
[Disc 2, Track 8]
AKA HR.16, Improvisation, Instrumental #7, R&B Jam #4 (King), Blues 
Instrumental #5, and Instrumental I:2 per FC2SC.  I like giving it a 
title based on the spoken words found on the track to distinguish it 
from the other blues in F from these sessions.

Gottfridsson says this originally 10:07-long track was lengthened by 
the bootleggers to the Wildcat! timing of 17:40.  This is the clincher.
No human could bear to work on lengthening this, it would be torture.
My ears hear no evidence of editing on the Wildcat! version.  
Gottfridsson has to be hearing SHORTENED versions of the familiar 
bootleg tracks.

Gottfridsson also introduces four more tracks not yet released, and
only to be found on the old reels...

_ When I'm 64

_ Winston's Walk

_ Ask Me Why

_ Spoken Lennon nonsense w/radio [3:46]

===========================================================================
APPENDIX:  SUMMARIES OF THE CONTENTS OF PRIVATELY HELD REELS
===========================================================================

((The Beatals at home: contents of the Icke Braun reel))
o Hallelujah! I Love Her So 
   o "Complete w/0:17 intro" [2:36]
   o "ANTH1 edit"
o One After 909  [2:25]
o Movin' N' Groovin' [3:19]
o Ramrod [0:26]
_ snippet a [0:02]
o 12-Bar Instrumental In A 
   o "Bootleg" [11:44]
   _ "I:1 reel edit" [7:15]
_ snippet b [0:08]
o You'll Be Mine 
   o "Complete" [1:42]
   o "ANTH1 edit"
o snippet c [0:09] "ragged end lead-in to Matchbox"   
o Matchbox [0:53]
_ snippet d [0:15]
o I'll Always Be In Love With You [2:19]
o The World Is Waiting For the Sunrise [2:30]
o That's When Your Heartaches Begin [1:14]
o That's The End 
   o "Bootleg" [17:40]
   _ "I:2 reel edit" [10:07]
o Wild Cat  [2:24]
o One After 909  "w/Mike McCartney"
   o "Bootleg" [1:28]
   _ "Complete, Icke reel's w/0:14 false end" [1:42]
_ snippet e of One After 909 [0:02]
o Some Days [1:32]
_ snippet f [0:02]
o You Must Write Every Day [2:32]
o I'll Follow The Sun "w/Mike McCartney" [1:46]
_ snippet g of Hello Little Girl [0:05]
o Hello Little Girl [1:51]
o Wild Cat  [1:24] 

((The Beatals at home: contents of the Astrid Kirchherr reel))
_ Spoken Lennon nonsense w/radio [3:46]
o 12-Bar Instrumental in G 
   o "Bootleg" [7:42]
   _ "K:1 reel edit" [5:53]
o 12-Bar Instrumental in F 
   o "Bootleg" [11:06]
   _ "K:2 reel edit" [6:38]
o Turn The Mixers Off
   o "Bootleg" [4:56]
   _ "K:3 reel edit" [3:00]
o Cayenne
   o "Complete bootleg" [2:31]
   o "ANTH1 edit"
o That's An Important Number 
   o "Bootleg" [7:49]
   _ "K:4 edit" [7:32]
_ snippet h [0:03]
o I Don't Need No Cigarette, Boy 
   o "Bootleg edit" [5:53]
   _ "LONGER K:5 reel" [7:36]
o Well, Darling 
   o "Bootleg edit" [3:19]
   _ "LONGER Kirchherr reel" [5:11]
_ snippet i [0:03]
o I Don't Know [5:52]

((The Beatals at home: contents of the Charles Hodgson reel))
This tape repeats 9 selections from the Icke Braun reel, plus..
_ When I'm 64
_ Winston's Walk
_ Ask Me Why
... then repeats 3 tracks from the Kirchherr reel.

--- Besides the reels detailed here, there is a "Dostal reel" consisting of
a fake stereo mix of the contents of the Icke Braun and Astrid Kirchherr
reels combined.


o To The BEATLES RECORDING TIMELINE Table Of Contents

athome.htm by Doug Carey mdcarey@compuserve.com, last updated 18JAN99.