Back in July, the Grateful Dead released a collection of never-before-heard outtakes and session material from the band’s 1970 classic Workingman’s Dead. The digital release was entitled The Angel’s Share, after a whiskey distillation term, and offered the most comprehensive glimpse yet into the Dead’s creative process. Today, Rhino announced that there’s more of The Angel’s Share – this time, a digital release with over two hours of never-before-heard outtakes, demos, and alternate takes from the follow-up to Workingman’s Dead, American Beauty.
American Beauty: The Angel’s Share is streaming now with 56 tracks curated by archivist Mike Johnson and engineer Brian Kehew under the supervision of legacy manager David Lemieux. The set opens with 10 demos recorded in August 1970 at Pacific High Recording Studio; those ear-opening performances are followed by work-in-progress takes of four tracks (“Operator,” “Friend of the Devil,” “Attics of My Life,” and “Hand Me Down,” the latter of which would morph into “Ripple”) plus an acoustic mix of “Box of Rain,” alternate take of “Candyman,” and alternate mix of “Truckin’.”
This collection arrives in advance of the October 30 release of the 3-CD 50th anniversary edition of American Beauty with the remastered original album plus a previously unreleased concert from February 18, 1971. Podcast fans can dive deeper into the album on Season Two of The Good Ol’ Grateful Deadcast which has just released its first episode. Each of the season’s ten podcasts will focus on an individual track from American Beauty, with hosts Jesse Jarnow and Rich Mahan welcoming special guests to the discussions. The Angel’s Share is also streaming now. As with Workingman’s Dead: The Angel’s Share, no plans have been announced for a physical issue.
On November 8, 1920, readers of the British newspaper The Daily Express first met Rupert Bear. Created by Mary Tourtel and further developed by Alfred Bestall, Rupert became a beloved part of children’s culture. 100 years later, the paper still publishes new adventures of the friendly bear, and new hardcover annuals are published every year. One of his biggest fans is none other than Paul McCartney. In 1984, Macca wrote, produced, and lent his voice to an animated short starring Rupert. The BAFTA-winning Rupert and the Frog Song included a new song by McCartney, “We All Stand Together,” which featured The King’s Singers and the choir of St. Paul’s Cathedral. George Martin handled the production.
It took many years for the film to reach fruition; McCartney acquired the film rights to Rupert in the 1970s, recorded “We All Stand Together” in 1980, and began working on it in earnest in 1981. On November 6 – just two days shy of exactly 100 years from Rupert’s first appearance – MPL/Capitol/UMe will release “We All Stand Together” on a limited edition shaped vinyl picture disc replicating the 1984 original. The 2020 edition will also include a poster. Both “We All Stand Together” and the B-side, the song’s instrumental “Humming Version,” have been remastered at Abbey Road by Alex Wharton.
The song which remained in the U.K. charts for 13 weeks was in the mold of McCartney’s past music for children including The Beatles’ “Yellow Submarine.” He comments in the press release for the new single, “I’ve always loved animation. It started with Disney cartoons and went on from there. As a kid, I would always get the Rupert Annual at Christmas. I remember getting the idea for a film project when looking through one of them. There was a standout image in color, and when I saw it, I could imagine a concert of frogs with them all doing different parts, a choir, and an orchestra, and I could almost hear the music.” He continues, “I had wanted to make a Rupert feature film for a while but didn’t realize what a difficult task it actually was. I remember telling John Lennon about it, and he encouraged me to have a go, which was great, but you need more than that to make a film. There were so many different things to think about, things like securing the rights. It was all too much. Eventually, I had the idea to make a short film with an animator I admired, Geoff Dunbar.” The movie earned Paul an Ivor Novello award and a BAFTA, as well as a Grammy nomination. It was the biggest-selling video in the U.K. in 1985.
In conjunction with the single release, Rupert and the Frog Song will be reappearing, too. On the same date of November 6, a restored version of the 13-minute film will premiere on YouTube. “Congratulations to Rupert on his 100th birthday,” McCartney offers. “The great thing is he never looks a day older. Having been a fan of his since my early days in Liverpool, I know what he means to generations of young and old kids. In his character and attitudes to the world, he sums up the best of British tradition and reminds us of an innocence we would all love to cherish. So, congratulations, my little bear. Your fans are celebrating your 100th birthday, and I, for one, think you deserve a telegram from the Queen.” Look for “We All Stand Together” and the restored short on November 6. The single is currently available for pre-order at McCartney’s website, and will also be available via your local record store!