The Beatles
Complete Apple Trax Vol. 5
(Adam VIII 49-026)

First off, will someone please send me Vol. 4? I have been searching in vain for that damn disc since like 1991. The last time I saw it, I couldn't afford the $20 it would have cost me – proof once again that you should always buy all the CDs you want, and never wait. Oh yeah, that's the thinking that got me hundreds of thousands of dollars in debt. Oh well.

Anyway, Vol. 5 features more material from the ill-fated Get Back sessions – ultimately cobbled into the Let it Be album and movie, but at the time, just a whole lot of sleepy noodling. The Beatles would arrive at the studio early in the morning and try to get something going, but almost invariably it was utterly wasted time.

That doesn't make it wasted time to listen to now, though. Their studio albums don't allow much of a peek behind the curtain, and these discs not only peek behind the curtain, but tear the curtain off the runner, throw it over the microphone, and plop you right down in the middle of the room as the Fab Four punch the clock on rocker after rocker.

This volume in particular finds them mainly weary throughout, with not much spark to be found. They just play whatever comes to mind, and nobody seems to really be inspired by anyone's ideas. A lot of it makes the listener as weary and annoyed as the band surely was, which is actually kind of a cool achievement when you think about it.

But there are some really good moments: George and Paul harmonizing on "I Shall Be Released," an extended passage of several early run-throughs of "Two of Us," Paul and John on "Gimme Some Truth," and a tiny bit of "Crackin' Up," which Paul would revisit twenty years later on his Choba B CCCP album. Paul leads the band through a very sloppy "I'm So Tired," at one point singing "I wonder should I get up and fix myself a drink?/No, lay off the booze,boy."

George tries to get the band together on some covers he chooses ("All Shook Up," "Hitch Hike") but they don't seem any more interested in those than in his originals. George gets everyone in on "You Can't Do That," which is pretty cool. The boys do the "Third Man Theme," and an odd one called "Negro in Reserve."

There's no notation of recording dates for any of the CDs in the series, probably the one main drawback to the Complete Apple Trax discs, but what the hell are you, a history buff?

Review by Bonnie Bronson