I think this is the final disc in the Adam VIII Complete Apple Trax series, and it ends things on a high note. I'm pretty sure everything on this disc is from the Apple studios, where the Beatles ended the Get Back sessions with the famous rooftop concert.
As far as I can tell, the series blends music from the Twickenham film studio sessions with music from the Apple studio sessions: the former tends to be pretty weary sounding, while the latter tends to sound more inspired. This disc finds the group having tightened up (though some seriously unpleasant work) a good deal of material, and the presence of Billy Preston on keyboards is keeping everyone on their best behavior.
The cuts are much more focussed and coherent, and more in line with how they probably envisioned the project to begin with: the Beatles playing together as a band again. Therefore, the disc features far fewer thirty-second snippets of the band starting a song and quitting from pure lethargy.
The CD opens with a really raw but great version of "I've Got a Feeling" (John and Paul keep their Martin Luther King jokes away from this one wonder why) that features John in the scariest, most ripped apart voice I've ever heard him sing in. Must have been from all the heroin oops, I mean from singing real loud.
Lots of 50s rock songs that they clearly are enjoying playing ("Blue Suede Shoes," "Lawdy Miss Clawdy," "Shake, Rattle and Roll, etc.) so much so that you can't help enjoy hearing it, even though many of the songs are pretty damn tired. "Polythene Pam" creeps in, as does, surprisingly, "Back Seat of My Car," which would end up on Ram two years later.
"Singing the Blues" is given a run-through (Paul would record it on his Unplugged album much later), and George does an "All Things Must Pass" that actually gets the group's full cooperation (Billy Preston probably said it was a great song, so then John and Paul would have had to acknowledge it). It's a great moment, and the Beatles' loss that they didn't insist on doing the song for Abbey Road. "But George already has two songs on the album, and we have to leave room for 'Maxwell's Silver Hammer' and 'Octopus's Garden!'" counters Paul.
Lots of great stuff here (a brief snippet of "Blowin' in the Wind" is another), but most of all, it's great to have some unedited performance tapes of the late-period when they were actually getting along. The whole series of Complete Apple Trax is worth having, but Vol. 6 is especially nice since it washes some of the bitter taste away after some of the other volumes. Mind you, I like a lot of that bitterness, since it makes for some really interesting stuff, but despite all my big talk, in the end, I just want my Beatles to love each other. I felt the same way about my parents, too, and look how that turned out. Well, maybe if I could buy bootlegs of my parents, I'd begin to understand. Yikes, that was probably the scariest idea I've come up with yet.
Review by Bonnie Bronson