Yeah, yeah I'll admit it. Like most late 40s boomers I have a copy of "Let It Be" in my vinyl collection. However it's never been one of my favorite Beatles works, at least when compared with "Sgt. Pepper" or the White Album. It's got a collection of mostly great songs but it just didn't sound like a Beatles concept record to me when I first got it. Never has. Until now.
I just received a copy of the 2003 remastered and re-engineered "Let It Be - Naked" and it blows me away. I know it's a tricky proposition to redo a 1970 classic but it has been done beautifully. The sound is crystal clear, the murky Wall of Sound expunged completely. The between tracks chatter has disappeared. Two real pieces of crap are gone, replaced by the John Lennon composition "Don't Let Me Down". The order of songs is changed so that "Get Back" opens the compilation and "Let It Be" closes it.
The Beatles minus all the strings and voices sound like well, the Beatles - with an uncanny sort of basic energy that would be right at home in the New Wave to come 10 years later.
It's probably naive revisionist history to assert that this is the "director's CD" - the one the Beatles really wanted to make. After all John and George are dead, and we know how much Paul wanted to redo "The Long and Winding Road" without all the dreck. Maybe this remixed CD is a bit of a nod to Paul's ego - but you know, he was right. "The Long and Winding Road" comes out as a thing of beauty when it gets naked.
I don't think you could get away with such radical surgery on a truly great Beatles album like "Revolver" or "Magical Mystery Tour" but it certainly has worked with "Let It Be."
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