Bobby Whitlock on All Things Must Pass.

If you have any interest in George Harrison’s All Thinks Must Pass album---especially in it’s upcoming 50th Anniversary incarnation---you have GOT to watch Bobby Whitlock’s new YouTube video about the recording of the album! Bobby is the organist/pianist/harmony singer (and player of other assorted instruments) on the album, as well as the same (along with songwriter) in Derek & The Dominos.

Bobby was very recently contacted by George’s estate regarding his recollections of the recording of ATMP, as his memory of that event far surpasses that of any other still-living participant, including Ringo and Eric Clapton. His recounting of the recording of the album is FAN-FREAKING-TASTIC! An utter joy to watch and hear. He and his wife/musical partner Coco Carmel recorded the video in their Texas home, and you may watch it on YouTube.

The video is very easy to find: Once on YouTube, do a search for "Bobby Whitlock", and click on his name. The first video in the queue is entitled "All Things Must Pass 50th/Just The Facts". I CANNOT wait for the newly-mixed version of the recordings (without Phil Spector’s gratuitous, grossly-excessive echo and reverb), to be offered in many different forms.
The Spector production seemed to work ok for the original vinyl.

It’s mostly the subsequent digital transfers that seem to have various problems.

Just how many attempts do they need?
Just how many attempts will we keep buying?

There’s been more versions than the Kinks’ Village Green Preservation Society and still no definitive version!

Only the Miles Davis’ Kind of Blue seems to have been revisited more often.
Oh no, the 50th Anniversary All Things Must Pass is FAR different from the original---any and all previous issues, analog or digital. Info about the 50th Anniversary is all over the internet, for those who really want to know what it’s about. Lots of out-takes and alternate versions, unreleased material, etc. If you're not interested, fine, ignore it.

As for the original version: I’m not alone in hating (from the day it was released) the Spector-ization of ATMP, including George himself, who for years wanted to revisit the album.

Geez, is there nothing someone won’t argue about on Audiogon?
Thanks for the info, @bdp24 .  The Whitlock interview seems like it will be very interesting.
Great perspective on what was going on

Maybe ATMP will be one of my rare reissue buys this year? When a musician, and NOT a producer type talks about liking an upcoming reissue, that catches my attention.

I've been giving my original presses of both ATMP and Joni's "Blue" playtime lately. Blue is very good. ATMP...not so much.

I didn't go thru my typical 3-5 buys to find my "keeper," so perhaps I just have an extra bad copy. If I could remix it, the drums/bass would be centered better, along with George's vocal. The overall mesh of instruments often sounds mushy.

Wah Wah is a perfect example. So many instruments and things going on. SQ is wah wah.
This is a 50th anniversary remix supervised by Dhani. Thankfully for me, Jeff Lynne got nowhere near this project, as far as I know. It will not make your copy of the original mix disappear.

According to Dhani, George repeatedly said that he would like to do a remix of the album. Dhani has said it is not a de-Spectorization of the album, but more a little clean-up and clarifying, and bringing George’s vocals more to the forefront.

There are versions ranging in cost from $20 to $1,000. You can see the different versions by going to George Harrison | Official Merchandise – George Harrison | Official Merchandise

Some people will like it, some won’t. I am certainly anxious to hear it. It’s going to be released August 6th.

Great interview with Bobby Whitlock.  Good thing his wife was there to keep it moving.  I wish someone would do that for me.
Yeah @tomcy6, Whitlock strays off topic a lot in their videos, and CoCo reins him back in. He has a lot of stories to tell, all the videos a lot of fun. Unlike a lot of musicians from the late-60's and early-70's who have foggy memories of that time, Bobby's memory is very clear. He didn't get into chemicals until later in life, but made it back to sobriety about twenty years ago.
Just for the record (no, you know, pun intended): I have no interest in nor see the need for the past remixes Dhani did of Beatle albums (Sgt. Pepper, Abbey Road), first and primarily because I'm not that fond of those two albums (a minority opinion, I realize). But imo ATMP was in serious need of "fixing"---it sounds like the mics were at the far end of a cement tunnel, the voices and instruments at the other. IMO Spector got carried away, overdoing it.

I love Spector's Girl Group productions, but that approach to the recording of a Rock 'n' Roll band doesn't work for me. Bobby in an earlier video says the core band on ATMP (Bobby on organ, piano, and other assorted instruments, bassist Carl Radle---as well as Klaus Voorman, drummer Jim Gordon---along with Ringo and Alan White, Bobby identifying the drummer on each song, and George and Eric Clapton on guitars, with George, Bobby, and Eric singing) created it's own "wall of sound", no need for Spector to add to it electronically.

We're finally going to hear the sound the band created. Bobby was sent the files, and was very pleased with what he heard. Lots and lots of alternate takes, unreleased songs, and the early jams the band did in order to get to know each other, musically. Bobby says the tape was constantly rolling the entire time they were in the studio (just being installed in George's Friar Park home). Hundreds and hundreds of hours of music.

Bobby is as big a fan of Jim Gordon's drumming as am I (he refers to Jim as the best Rock 'n' Roll drummer of all time), and explains in one video why he couldn't play music with Keith Moon, another of his close friends when he was living in England. He does a great "air drum" imitation of the playing of both, for those interested in learning the difference between "ensemble" playing and, as Bobby put it, constantly soloing (ala Keith, Ginger Baker, etc.). See. it's not just me. ;-) 
I think you're mistaking about Dhani having a hand in remixing S.P. or A.R.Having most of the available mixes I think the 50th anniversary of those and the White are the best.
Yup, ya’ll are of course correct, it WAS Giles Martin, not Dhani. I didn’t pay much attention to those two reissues, so didn’t absorb that info deeply enough to recall it.

And I myself haven’t heard about Dhani being involved in the All Things Must Pass 50th, though I also don’t know that he didn’t. It’ll be interesting to find out who was involved in making decisions in regard to the new mixes, removal of the tacked-on reverb and echo, song selection, etc.

I haven’t decided how far I’m going to go---it’s being made available in everything from the basic/original 3-LP (and corresponding 2-CD) song line-up, all the way up to an 8-LP boxset. I’m leaving out the $500 ultra-deluxe package, which features a wooden crate. I just want the music.

At the time of ATMP’s initial release---shortly after McCartney’s first solo album, a very "small" recording---I found McCartney’s much more to my liking. More intimate and "inviting", ATMP too bombastic and, again, over-produced. Of course, by that time I---and a lot of others---had had my tastes permanently realigned by The Band’s 2nd s/t album, itself very small and intimate.

And I REALLY didn’t like Lennon’s first album, and still don’t. WAAAY yonder too personal; I’m not interested in your deep internal and intimate problems, John. Tell it to your shrink ;-) . And stop screaming, will ya?

But Ringo’s Nashville-recorded Beaucoup Of Blues album (his 2nd) I quite liked. A lot of my new-to-me favorite musicians accompanied Ringo playing gen-u-ine Country music (Ringo’s first love), guys heard on a lot of Dylan’s mid-60’s albums. Sure, their musical talent tended to make more obvious Ringo’s lack of singing talent, but that’s okay; I much prefer a great song sung by a mediocre singer to a mediocre song sung by a great singer. In the same way that the script/screenplay is more important to the making of a good movie than is the talent of the actors. Do I really have to say imo? ;-)
Here’s a section of a recent Mojo magazine article on the 50th ATMP:
Paul Hicks was the guy who actually worked the machines for the restoration.
“BACK IN JANUARY 2001, only 10 months before his death, George Harrison expressed his ongoing dissatisfaction with the “big production” of All Things Must Pass in the liner notes for the album’s 30th anniversary reissue: “It was difficult to resist remixing every track,” he noted. Now, for the upcoming 50th anniversary motherlode edition of his already expansive 1970 album (pandemic-delayed and due in August), some tasteful retrofitting has been applied.

“My dad was not a fan of reverb,” Dhani Harrison tells MOJO, on the phone from his family’s Friar Park estate in Henley-on- Thames, explaining that the new, from-the ground-up mixes of the landmark triple album involved painstaking audio restoration and a foregrounding of his father’s vocals, somewhat stripping back Phil Spector’s layers of effects. “It’s like restoring a painting,” Harrison adds. “We’re so careful. Every stage has been A/B’ed [comparing the new and earlier versions] along with the original. When you hear it, it’s just mindblowing.”

The new Super Deluxe All Things Must Pass comprises 70 tracks over five CDs or eight LPs, reclaiming the solo acoustic demos from the hands of the bootleggers. Dhani recalls his dad having a significant conversation with Bob Dylan regarding outtake curation: “I remember him talking back in the ’90s to Bob and saying, ‘You’ve just got to release all your bootlegs. Make it sound great and own it. Take it back.’ We wanted to make it so good that there’s no way you could ever want to bootleg these ever again.”

From the 30 included demos (26 previously unreleased), Dhani singles out the whimsical groover Cosmic Empire, along with the mantra-like Dehra Dun, while other highlights include a different version of Sour Milk Sea from the Esher sketch for The White Album and a Sun Records-style slapback rocker titled Going Down To Golders Green.

Harrison and engineer Paul Hicks (also responsible for recent sonic restorations for The Beatles, the Lennon estate and The Rolling Stones) together mixed a staggering 110 tracks, before making the final selection. Of what Dhani calls the preliminary “small band” versions of ATMP songs (featuring Ringo on drums and Klaus Voormann on bass), he admits that the mixing of an alternate I’d Have You Anytime was an affecting moment.

“It broke my heart,” he says. “I just started sobbing. Paul looked at me and said, ‘OK, so we’re doing it then.’ There was no question as to whether or not this was the right way to go because it’s just so powerful. Ultimately, everything had to be emotional.”

Meanwhile, an Über Deluxe Edition of the album, limited to 3,000, will be housed in a wooden crate along with Rudraksha prayer beads, a seven-inch-tall figurine of George and ¹/ ¹² th-scale laser-scanned gnomes as featured on the original cover, and a bookmark cut from a pine tree on the Harrison estate.

“You actually get a piece of Friar Park history,” Dhani enthuses of the crate edition, modeled on a Victorian ale chest. “I wanted it to be like a time capsule. It looks like it’s lasted years and will last another 100 years.”

Some fabulous information spoilt unnecessarily gratuitous self indulgent opinions. If anyone had a right to express his feelings it was John Lennon. After all he'd be doing all of his career; In My Life, I'm So Tired, A Day in the Life etc.
Fantastic @tomcy6, just the info I was looking for! I missed that issue of Mojo, a mag I love and for years had a subscription to.

As for "unnecessarily gratuitous self indulgent", I don’t know what that means (as least as it is in this context applied), and don’t care. This thread was instigated by myself; I’ll give my opinion about anything related I want. If you don’t agree with my opinion, fine. If you disapprove of me expressing it, too bad.

If one can’t differentiate between "In My Life" (one of my couple of favorite Lennon songs, along with "Strawberry Fields Forever".) and "A Day In The Life", and, say, "Mother" (unlistenable, retched. Narcissistic, too, as well as sadistic.), well, I can’t help you there.
I, too, find the first Lennon solo studio LP self-indulgent but I still like some of the songs.  "Remember" and "Working Class Hero" are two examples.I have the Giles M. version of SPLHCB but not Abbey Road.  I like it, but I'm long since oversaturated with the Beatles original albums.  I prefer listening to the tracks on the Anthology set these days.Let it Be, Naked is a good example of what can be done with something that was originally Spector-ized,  I'm hoping the same for ATMP.  I liked the original in spite of, not because of, Spector's touch.  All things must pass, including Phil's relevance as a producer. 
Excellent post @tostadosunidos, agree with your every point.

Lennon's solo output is kind of a trainwreck. How 'bout the Rock And Roll album he did (with Spector producing!)? Oy! Terr-i-ble. Starting Over coulda been great (he was originally going to record the album using Cheap Trick as his band! I think I remember reading he actually got as far as doing some recording with them, still unreleased. THAT I would like to hear!), but ended up being MOR mush. IMO, of course.

The Beatles are one of those instances of the whole being greater than the sum of it's parts. The four of them made better music together than did any of them alone. As should go without saying, imo.

I fully expect the 50th Anniversary ATMP to completely change my opinion of the album.
ATMP is my favorite solo Beale album by far and easily in my top 7 favorite albums of all time . Could not help but go for the Uber Deluxe edition. I'm usually just about the music, and I am dying to hear it all unSpectorized---but when you throw in the gnomes with vinyl and blu-ray....

Thank You for starting this thread. I will check out the Bobby Whitlock vid on YouTube.
Agreed, I am looking forward to the ATMP 50th offering as well.

Happy Listening!
As with Let it Be, the un-Spectored tracks of John Lennon Rock and Rolll sound fresh and strong (they can be heard on the 4-disc Lennon Anthology set).  Apparently the sessions were one long drunken party but there's some good stuff in there IMO.  I think he sang with passion, albeit it alcohol-driven.
ATMP is my favorite solo Beale album by far and easily in my top 7 favorite albums of all time . Could not help but go for the Uber Deluxe edition.

That is one nice looking Uber set, gpgr4blu.  It doe look like something that will become an heirloom.
Ooh @wweiss, too confessional for me. It's the kinda thing you expect more from a girl singer. John, baby, take it like a man, like the rest of us do. You're not that special.

Even more embarrassing was John's drunken behavior at The Troubadour in '74 (I believe it was), when he, wearing a Kotex pad on his head (oh for God's sake), started heckling Tommy Smothers, who was on stage performing (class act, John). When his cocktail waitress asked him to behave himself, John asked her "Do you know who I am?" "Yeah", she replied, "an *sshole with a Kotex on his head." Good one!
Back to George:

My favorite of his post-Beatles work is, by far, that made as a member of The Traveling Wilburys. I don't think George was a strong enough singer to be a "front man", but well suited to being a member of a group.

I also think his talent on guitar got forgotten after his style became---in the wake of Hendrix, Jeff Beck, Clapton, and the other Blues-based players of the late-60's, the playing of which became "the" style---viewed as old fashioned. He was a fabulous guitar player, very musical. His "solos" weren't "show-off pieces", but rather musical parts, played in service to the song.
bdp24 I agree about George's solos--short, sweet, to the point and so well-crafted.  None better at what he did. 
I might add that years after the fact I discovered that a few of my favorite Harrison solos were actually played by McCartney--most notably Taxman and Drive My Car.  Must be nice to have so much guitar talent in one band.  John's few solos aren't so notable although I once read he did the tasty lick on Honey Pie.  And then there's the guitar "battle" at the end of The End (Abbey Road) where the three of them fire away in succession.  Great stuff IMHO.
The Beatles solo work seemed to start off pretty good, All Things Must Pass, Plastic Ono Band/Imagine, Band on the Run etc but by 73 they were more or less done.

Whatever had made the Beatles no longer existed. 

George in particular seemed to suffer without having a good team around him, and has been pointed out had some of his best moments with the Wilbury's.  It would seem as if Phil Spector gave both him and John the confidence they sorely needed at that time. At least 3 of the Beatles also seemed to love that heavily reverb drenched sound that Phil was famous (notorious?) for.

It's also interesting that the Beatles may have owed some of their US success to the Capitol versions of their albums as opposed to the UK ones which were felt to be too 'dry' stateside.

I've always been a fan of a little added reverb and echo but obviously some folks aren't, are they Paul?

You can remix these albums as much as you want as long as the demand is there but ATMP 2021 is no more likely to replace ATMP 1971 as Let It Be Naked replaced the original.

At best I believe this might be an interesting, if an oddly priced adjunct. If it is more than that it would be a pleasant surprise as most Phil Spector productions are usually best left alone.

Anyway we shall soon find out for ourselves as August 6th is only weeks away.

Full details below.

Yup tostado, Paul is one fine musician. I still really love his first few albums (I have them on UK LP’s), and they have held up very well. I lost some respect for him, however, when Denny Seiwell (Wings’ drummer) told those of who attended the drum seminar he gave at the Pro Drum Shop on Vine Street in Hollywood during the late-90’s that Paul was paying him only $150/wk salary. C’mon Paul, you can afford to do better than that!

Everybody knows of my love for The Band (so did George, and Ringo---and Clapton---continues to), so I will be forgiven for dragging them into the conversation. Few know that pianist Richard Manuel plays drums on about half the tracks on the s/t "brown" album, the song signature-parts long attributed to Levon Helm. Very funky drummer! And a great, great singer, one of Clapton’s very favorite.
@rwwaer, It's good to know I haven't been alone in feeling as I have since the original releases of ATMP. And to learn that George himself had misgivings and eventually regrets about Spector's production of the album.

Bobby Whitlock enthusiastically endorses the new mixes, stripped of Spector's unnecessary and inappropriate post-recording production work. To me, it's like colorizing a beautiful black & white film. Why? Because it's the only style of production Spector understood. My question is: Why did George hire Spector in the first place? He had already ruined the Let It Be album.

I'm happy that we will finally hear the music in a better presentation (Dhani likens the work done on the album to that of restoring an old painting), and sad that George didn't live to see it made available.
Something must have happened between the mixes Bobby & Coco were sent and the pressing of the vinyl, because the negative  reaction they posted today was pretty visceral. 
I understood Whitlock to say the original was exactly what Harrison and Spector wanted at the time. GH best Lp's were with the big sound with PS and later with Jeff Lynn.
I returned home this afternoon from a nice week on the Oregon coast. As I downed a few glasses of whiskey on the rocks I caught up with a bunch of my fave YouTube video posters, including Bobby Whitlock and CoCo Carmel (she tapes and asks questions from behind the camera, he responds on screen). Their latest video is dedicated to the Uber boxset version of ATMP that Universal sent him, and man, he wasn't afraid to call it as he heard it. The video is entitled "All Things Must Be A Joke", a hint of what is to come:

CoCo starts the video by saying she and Bobby just listened to the LP's on "our great stereo system" (they've never described or shown it in any video), and then asks him "What did you think?" His response is:

"Mortified. That's the worst sounding sh*t I ever heard in my life. I can hardly believe's f*cking awful. You can't hear anything on it. It's all muddy bass, and muddy drums, there is no clarity to it whatsoever."

Well, that's quite a bit different from how he described the sound of the streamed version he received a few weeks ago, which was generally complimentary and positive. Bobby says he played his original 1970 LP's just to make sure of what he was hearing, and describes the original thusly: "It's clear, you could hear the band, you could hear his voice. It's crisp and alive." He then says "I can't even hardly describe how terrible this (the new remix) is." Yow.

Bobby and CoCo then talk about the sound of the streamed remixes sounding quite good, so the obvious question is did Paul Hicks create one mix for the LP's, and one for digital? Another question is obviously what are the digital and analogue players Bobby and CoCo listened through?

As for now I believe I'll hold off on getting ANY version of the 50th Anniversary ATMP. 
@bdp24, From what I’ve read, mostly on the Steve Hoffman Music Forums where there are plenty of opinions, the mix is the same but the digital may be more compressed than the vinyl. One reason for this is that the bass is turned up (what Dhani considers a more modern sound, I guess) and it is not tight bass but is pretty indistinct and boomy.

In spite of this, most people like the remix in digital. It’s not an In Your Face compression like the Stones’ Blue and Lonesome. To most people the compression is not that offensive. There’s still plenty of reverb and numerous instruments on most tracks, so it’s a somewhat different take on the album rather than something very different. George’s vocals have been removed from the wall of sound and put up front. Some people like that some people don’t. As with all remixes, reactions will vary from person to person.

Many people feel that the demos and alternate takes are the best part of the set (3 not full discs worth) and alone worth the price of the set, which will probably be coming down.

Bobby seems to be upset more because he feels his contribution to the album, which he thinks was major, was downplayed and he was asked to take down some youtube videos talking about the album prior to its release (they’re back up now). I’m glad that Bobby feels free to speak his mind, but I think his very negative reaction may have more to do with his relationship with the Harrisons than the music. Of course there are other people who think the remix sounds like crap too.
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