Studio Three, EMI Studios, Abbey Road
Producer: George Harrison
George Harrison produced a session on this day for fellow Liverpudlian musician Jackie Lomax, recording Harrison’s song Sour Milk Sea.
Lomax’s group, Lomax Alliance, was managed by NEMS prior to Apple’s formation, and his previous band, The Undertakers, had played in the same Hamburg clubs as The Beatles in the early 1960s. He had signed to Apple as a solo artist in early 1968.
Harrison had composed Sour Milk Sea in India, and it was an early contender for the White Album. An unreleased demo version was recorded at Kinfauns, Harrison’s bungalow in Esher, with Harrison on vocals and acoustic guitar, Paul McCartney on bass guitar, and Ringo Starr on tambourine.
The Beatles never attempted a studio version of Sour Milk Sea. However, it was recorded by Lomax at Abbey Road over three days, on 24-26 June 1968, as well as a Lomax song, The Eagle Laughs At You.
Harrison produced the songs and played acoustic guitar, with McCartney on bass, Starr on drums, Eric Clapton on guitar and Nicky Hopkins on piano. The Eagle Laughs At You featured Harrison and Clapton playing rhythm and lead guitar alongside Lomax, but no other Beatles.
For the first two of the days McCartney was out of the country, but added his bass part on 26 June. It is likely that the backing track for another Lomax song, You’ve Got Me Thinking, was also recorded during these sessions. McCartney also busked the song on 21 January 1969 during the Get Back/Let It Be sessions.
Jackie Lomax was the first artist to sign to The Beatles’ Apple label. Sour Milk Sea was released as a single in August 1968, with the catalogue number Apple 3. It was part of Apple’s “Our first four” set of singles, which also included The Beatles’ Hey Jude, Mary Hopkin’s Those Were The Days and the Black Dyke Mills Band’s Thingumybob.
The song also appeared on Lomax’s debut album, Is This What You Want?, released by Apple in March 1969.