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The end of "Cry Baby Cry" (Can You Take Me Back?)


At the end of The Beatles (aka The White Album) track "Cry Baby Cry," there is a 30-second snippet tacked on, featuring Paul McCartney and an acoustic guitar playing a haunting tune under the words "can you take me back where I've been from, can you take me back?"

It's a deceptive bit that sounds like some kind of partial minor-seven chord on the top strings, but with a moving bass line. My first attempt at figuring it out (many, many years ago!) resulted in this pattern:


The notes are correct, but the fingering is difficult, and the voicing doesn't sound quite right. It certainly didn't feel like something Paul McCartney would play. His acoustic pieces tend to feature very simplistic chord fingerings, lots of open strings, chords that use two or three finger patterns at most (see "Blackbird," "Mother Nature's Son," "Calico Skies," etc).

The always excellent Beatles Bible web site provides the necessary clue: this 30-second bit (for which a much longer recording exists) was recorded during the sessions for "I Will." As I've written elsewhere on this site, "I Will" is one of those songs that Paul recorded using a guitar that was tuned down a full step. It only stands to reason that, if he was using that guitar for the session, he played "Can You Take Me Back?" a full step lower than standard tuning.

A bit of transposition yields this result:


Now that is a song Paul McCartney would play, and the voicing is accurate with what we hear on the recording. I can't imagine why anyone would need to tune down a full step just to play this ditty, but maybe next time you're messing around with "Yesterday," or "Heart of the Country," you can throw this snippet out there for a fun party trick.

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