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A Toot And A Snore In '74

Subject: A Toot And A Snore In '74 - The Complete Transcripts Are 
From: Malcolm Atkinson 
Date: 10 Apr 1996 13:11:13 GMT

Having seen you all debating this one for several days, I took pity 
and decided to sit down and do a detailed track listing/transcript.

OK, now first, some details:

The History

John Robertson reports in his book 'The Art And Music Of John 
Lennon' (1990) pp.166-167 that between April and May 1974, John 
Lennon was at Record Plant West in Los Angeles, where he was 
producing Harry Nilsson's album 'Pussy Cats'.

During this project, there were numerous late night jam sessions 
featuring star guests. At one of these sessions, Lennon produced 
Mick Jagger singing a Detroit R&B tune 'Too Many Cooks', with Jack 
Bruce amongst the supporting cast. On another ocassion, Lennon was 
joined by Paul McCartney for the only time since the break-up of 
the Beatles. The following people took part:

Paul McCartney: vocals, drums
Stevie Wonder: electric piano
Harry Nilsson: vocals
Jesse Ed Davis: guitar
Bobby Keyes: saxophone

Allen Wiener (Ultimate Recording Guide, 1992, p.237) does not 
mention Keyes (although he is present), but suggests that Danny 
Kortchmar played on the session, perhaps on bass (Kortchmar played 
guitar with both Peter and Gordon, as well as James Taylor). The 
album also credits Mal Evans with tea - and from Lennon's comments, 
the Beatles old roadie may very well be present.

It is also reported by John Robertson that the band performed 
'Midnight Special' during this session.  However, no recording of 
this song has appeared on a bootleg to date (we live in hope). Some 
30 minutes of the session have been released, on a bootleg called 
'A Toot And A Snore in '74'.

The Bootleg Details

'A Toot And A Snore in '74'
Mistral MM9225
Luxembourg 1992
Total Duration: 29.20

The Recording.

Note: Each track is listed with the title given on the cover, as 
well as a time.  Under each title is info on which songs are played 
and duration of each 'take'.  

Track 1 - A Toot And A Snore (0.25)

Paul is thrashing about on the drums. Someone is playing guitar.  
Lennon is giving instructions.

JL: If you can get the riffs, just so we can sing 
you want a snort Steve?  A toot?  Its going round...

Track 2 - Bluesy Jam Session (2.29)

The tape is already running, and John is singing a slow, bluesy 
number in his inimitable style.  He is acompanied by bass, lead 
guitar, organ and Paul tapping a cymbal.

JL (singing): And I fell upon my ass...nobody seemed to notice...I 
was wearing mother's bra...and she was wearing oh dear(?)...but 
noone seemed to care, over there, they didn't have the bus fare, 
didn't have the bus fare, didn't have the bus fare...yeah.  And 
later on, a distant relative passed away, so distant I didn't even 
notice...but I had to go to the funeral, just to see if they'd left 
any gold in their teeth or any jewelery.  So I say - never trust a 
bugger with your mother, she'll alway wear you out and say 
'anything on paper ain't worth a dime, but I like the suit just cut 
this way - ah gee, its been such a fun time.  When I look at Jack 
Lennon, and I look again, I feel him coming all over me, he he he, 
yeah, I just gotta say it, Brooklyn Bridge, San Francisco Boot, 
Elementary Canal, Boston Strangler...its so wonderful to be waiting 
for my Green Card with thee...I would never doubt it, but I have to 
shout it, 'Chicago, Chicago, its a hell of a town, solo, play it 
man!!!...I'd like to change the tempo a little now...don't play it 
here, don't play it here, don't play it here, Harry...OK OK OK 

The band comes to a halt.

JL: Somebody's gotta be bossy, right? 

Track 3 - Studio Talk (2.37)

In this segment, John tries to get a song they all know, and 
complains, presumably to Paul, about how bad most other musicians 
are at being able to jam.  The teack starts with Paul tapping out a 
slightly faster rhythm, and Keyes plays a few sax notes. It soon 
falls into a slow paced instrumental with drums, orgam and guitar, 
vaguely reminiscent of 'Lucille', until John gets bored and again 
stops them...

JL: Alright, lets make some backing...I like both you and Bobby, 
but I don't understand why you're sitting right on top of 
me...somebody think of a friggin' song. I've done 'Ain't That A 
Shame' in twenty studios on these jam sessions...(someone says 
something off mike to Lennon) Yeah, its just that we had a jam and 
nobody knows when to change. You do a twelve bar, or somebody picks 
a song.

PMC (off mike): 'Little Bitty Pretty' (?)

JL: Anybody can no no, anybody know...we did 'Do Ya Wanna 
Dance' for three fuckin' sessions.

The band starts to play a medium paced riff.  They are frightfully 

JL: Anybody know it? (singing) little bitty pretty one...that's all 
I know...see what I mean? 

Paul now gets a mike, and his comments are more audible.

PMC: Hey Steve!

JL: I've forgotten all the words...(singing) left my woman by 
the...that's all I know.  if somebody knows a song that we all 
know, please say so, caus I've been screaming here for hours...its 
gotta be something done around Fifties, or no later than '63, or we 
ain't gonna know it...I got it, I got it! 
Track 4 - Lucille (5.57)

JL: Who's got a mike besides me? Come on, somebody join in  PMC: 

JL: OK, OK, yeah, hey hey - that's it...

Lucille (5.48) The band, led by Stevie, pull it together and start 
playing the riffs that underpin 'Lucille'.  They play three 
instrumental choruses, with saxaphone, organ, lead guitar, bass and 
drums before John comes screaming it, aided by Paul, who provides a 
distinct harmony vocal. They sing two choruses and a middle eight 
before an instrumental break.  dominated, initially by the sax, 
before a guitar takes over. They resume with another middle eight, 
followed two more choruses.  This is followed by a ragged guitar 
solo from John (?).  Paul's drums have been faded out of the mix at 
this point.  Paul and John then sing a middle eight acapella, 
followed by another chorus and instrumental.  Yet another middle 
eight and chorus follow, with some more instrument 'drop-outs' and 
then another more ragged guitar led solo by John which lasts for 
two choruses before the band grinds to a halt(?)

JL: it is a little better, if we think it is a song, right? And 
somebody turn my vocal mike down...give Stevie a vocal mike...and 
where's all that drink they always have in this place?

Track 5 - Nightmares (2.36)

Someone picks out the chords to a slow ballad. The CD lists it as 
'Nightmares', but it is actually the 1961 Shadows instrumental 
'Midnight'. John ad-libs some lines over the tune, but is keen to 
do something else, trying to play the opening riff from 'Sweet 
Little Sixteen'.

JL: What bass note...what key?  Nobody's ever told ya?  C 
again...(singing) Hi, this is Sato, we'd like to change the...OK OK 

PMC: Hello?

JL: (singing) Nightmares, my love, every night, nightmares, never 
go...when I saw me standing there, I said, 'Gee, was that 
me?'...come on, let's do something! Save it, save it...

However, the band keeps playing

PMC (singing): Yeah yeah...

JL: Come on...wait a minute!

PMC: (singing) sleepwalk...

JL: Somebody give me an E or a snort...

The band tunes up.

JL: G? G?

Track 6 - Stand By Me (2.15)

JL: Lets do a tewlve-bar harmony to 'Stand By Me'

The band tries to play the riffs.

JL: OK OK OK, you get it, you get it good. OK OK...lets not get to 
serious, we're not getting paid...we ain't doing nothing but 
sitting here together...OK, lets do that, and anybody who gets 
bored with me, take over...two, two, two.

Stand By Me (0.45) Led off by a guitar playing the opening riff, 
joined by sax, organ, bass and drums.  John starts singing and gets 
through half a verse before stopping...

JL: What happened to the earphones?  OK, lets do it again...hey, 
hey hey!

PMC: (singing): darling...

JL: Right, yeah

PMC: Woah

JL: Boys, boys, in the control room? You suddenly turned the voice 
off and one ear off.  If you're trying to get rid of me guitar, tell 
me...just put it up.  Just turn the friggin' vocal mike up again 
and put it all flat, and put one mike in the middle of the room and 
pick up everything! Come on Steve...hello,hello?  Mal? Get us a 

Track 8 - Stand By Me (3.35)

JL: two, two two

Stand By Me (0.23) Yet another attempt at the song, which breaks 
down before Lennon sings a note

JL: Turn the organ down in the ears...and again, lets go again, 
lets go again.  We had a beautiful mix in the ears about an half an 
hour ago - there' was nothing wrong with it, and now its like we 
got muffles on it...anybody else get the same thing? It changed, 
like somebody started getting serious?

PMC: Yeah, yeah

JL: I'd sooner have more fun in here and forget about it in there.  
Its gone all sort of dead, dead in the earphones, you know, 
DEAD...DEAD man!!!  Look, let's not get to serious Gary, you 
know...hands up who dooesn't know 'Stand By Me'?  Arm in the air, 
OK OK, then we all know it, right.  Just turn the fucking vocal 
mike up...McCartney's doing the harmony on the drums, Stevie might 
get on it there, if he's got a mike...

PMC: Hey, hey hey

JL: Alright, I'd just like more vocal, treble..

Stand By Me (0.56) Paul sings a few wordless yeahs in the intro.  
John is still unhappy with the mix, and talks to the control room 
as the band plays...

JL: And another one, still dead in the earphones! Alright...still a 
bad sound.  Trebel.  Lets hear it!!! 
John tries singing, with Paul echoing his lines, but John's getting 
angrier about the sound, and stops them after only a line.

JL: I can't hear a fuckin thing now, I can't hear a thing.  Sorry, 
I'm sorry.  Stop stop, Hey Hey!!! You just keep turning my 
earphones off, I can't hear nothing.

PMC: Ah, ah, ah

JL: Just one ear's on now. Before it got serious I could hear 
everything, I can't hear a fucking thing.  Hello, hello? C'mon, you 
know, 'Darling darling stand by me' but we can't do it with no 
fucking voices.  I can hear plenty of bass, plenty organ, plenty 
guitar.  I can't hear hardly any of my voice, only in one ear.  
What what? Can you hear me in the control room?  The mike was good 
two hours ago and they heard me shouting, they thought I was too 
loud so they turned it down. So don't worry about distortion...
PMC: Oh yeah, oh yeah...

JL: You don't have to change nothing, just put it back where it 
was...its a good mike...fuck it

Track 8 - Stand By Me (6.02)

PMC: (singing) yeah, oh yeah...

JL: Now the guitar's gone bad

Stand By Me (5.56) John finally starts singing, joined by 
McCartney, who echo's John's vocal in the second part of the verse.  
Someone in the control room has added echo to the vocals. Half way 
through verse two, John's mike is turned off, leaaving only Paul 
singing.  Of course, because Paul can still hear John singing, he 
keeps on adding his harmony vocals (you can vaguely hear John's 
vocal leaking onto Paul's). As a result, it sounds like a 'kareoke' 
version of the song with the lead vocal removed.  Towards the end, 
Harry Nilsson also joins in the 'Stand By Me' refrain.

Track 9 - Cupid/Take This Hammer (3.10) 

Cupid/Working On The Chain Gang(?)/Take This Hammer (3.10). Stevie 
Wonder takes the lead vocal on this track, singing two verses of 
'Cupid' with assistance from Paul.  They then switch to 'Working 
For The Chain Gang' (?) with Stevie and Harry trading verses before 
Harry finds problems with the mikes too.

HN: Turn him up...turn Stevie up.  Turn me up  PMC: Oh yeah, oh 
yeah HN: Yeah, well the mike's gone bad

There is another verse and then a guitar solo an then Paul leads 
them into a short version of Take This Hammer.  The track is then 
faded out.


Beyond the historical significance of this recording, it has little 
going for it.  It is little better than most of the 'Get Back' 
sessions.  Paul's contributions are minimal (OK, he was playing 
drums, so he may be excused for being less talkative), and the 
performances of the others are fairly ragged.  The problems with 
John's mike mean that most of the 'Stand By Me' performances are 
useless, while Lennon himself spends almost as much time swearing 
at the control room as he does singing.  Only 'Lucille' stands up 
to repeated plays, although John's ad-libbed songs are amusing.

The sound quality is very good stereo, and is only marred, as has 
been suggested, by various instruments and vocal tracks being mixed 
out by the control room.

Overall, for all of you hoping for some Beatle magic, don't hold 
your breath.  Its only real value comes from being able to hear 
John and Paul together again for one last time.  But you might 
enjoy listening to 'Free As A Bird' or 'Real Love' abit more. 

Malcolm Atkinson
Down Under

"You might very well think that, but of course, I couldn't possibly 

    Malcolm Atkinson of New Zealand 

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