Liam Watson toerag studio

White stripes producer and toerag supremo Liam Watson gives his expert verdict on ‘Let It Be… Naked

“When I was kid and I was into The Beatles, my mum had a lot of their records. We used to listen to them all the time but one of the albums she never had was ‘Let It Be’, so I remember listening to it at my friend’s house and never being quite sure about it.

There was something I didn’t really like about it, but now it definitely sounds more modern. At the same time, however, if this new version had been released at the time it would have been even more modern. Don’t forget that back in the early ’70s there was quite a bit of a back-to-your-roots rock’n’roll thing going on.”

“A lot of the songs are very throwaway. By The Beatles‘ standards there’s not the really strong material, but the running order as they’ve got it now is more sympathetic and make it a more playable album.

The original album always had a feel of being salvaged, that maybe to lighten it they put these funny bits in, but listening to that now you don’t want to hear that too much. It’s probably better the way it is now. I miss that song ‘Dig It’, which wasn’t a real song, it was like a little jam thing, and they’ve put ‘Don’t Let Me Down’ on it, which again was never a big one for me.”

“Have they uncovered the garage record that was screaming to get out? Well, the garage aspect of it, the stripped down, basic rock’n’roll is no more like that than the original – they’ve just taken the orchestration off three ballads, which were never stripped-down rock’n’roll. The other songs weren’t really messed around with.”

“You definitely get a better record if you’ve got the musicians playing in a room, working stuff out and recording together. If there’s bad feeling involved then that might not be the best time to record it and maybe what’s wrong with some of it is they should’ve had a few months off before doing it.”

“If ‘Let It Be’ came out now, by a new band, it would still be successful. After all, there are some good songs on it and by today’s standards people would think it was great. Is it better than ‘Elepehant’? I can’t answer that – you’d have to ask Jack White and Paul McCartney!”

© NME Mag Nov 2003

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