To be or not to be…naked

The Beatles’ legacy continues with another collection of reissued tracks from the Fab Four.

Let It Be…Naked features the original, stripped down versions of the majority of the songs off the 1970 album Let It Be. The 11 cuts, recorded in January 1969, have a raw, bare quality that emphasizes the vocals and guitars. Producer Phil Spector later polished these tracks when he added orchestrations and choirs for the final album versions. The only song from Let It Be that the new collection does not include is “Maggie Mae.” It does, however, contain the single “Don’t Let Me Down,” which was the b-side of the hit, “Get Back.”

One would expect that with a title like Let It Be…Naked the songs would be rather rough, but they are actually quite similar to the later versions. Some tracks do have a more minimalistic feel, and fairly abrupt endings, but overall, the songs are not significantly different.

The CD does, however, achieve its intended purpose of making the listener feel as if he/she is in the room while the Beatles are recording. The clearness adds to the intricate nature of each song. Tracks like “Let It Be” and “The Long And Winding Road” especially benefit from this toned-down approach.

The collection contains an additional disc titled Fly On The Wall. It captures snippets from the Beatles’ 1969 recording sessions. You can hear random conversations followed by the beginnings of cuts from Let It Be and other various albums.

It’s interesting to hear how the Beatles interacted toward the end of their career. There were a number of concerns and disagreements that foreshadowed their eventual split. At one point, Paul was prompted to say, “We can’t go on like this indefinitely.” Beatle enthusiasts will particularly enjoy this unique and candid perspective of the band’s final rehearsal sessions.

When it comes down to it, the Beatles just wrote good songs. It doesn’t matter if they have a raw edge or if they showcase elaborate orchestrations; they are good either way. Serious Beatle fans will want to pick up Let It Be…Naked, but otherwise the later Let It Be album will be just fine.

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