White Album 2018

Posted in White Album with tags , , , , , on November 13, 2018 by fred6368
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Side 1 All round to Rishikesh

Back in the USSR   first crossfade from EMI Jet Sound Effects into Pauls four-square drumming on his rocking, ironic Beach Boys tribute, now a 21st century live staple; Ukraine Girls!  Read the full review 

Dear Prudence  one of the most beautiful guitar sounds ever recorded, jewel-like; Endlessly circling!    Read the full review 

Glass Onion  a large, hand-blown, sensually-shaped glass bottle used aboard sailing ships to hold wine or brandy, with string arrangements similar to Strawberry Fields;  listen to me!  Read the full review 

Ob-La-Di, Ob-La-Da  the open nostalgia of the Rishikesh songs celebrate past times, like when the Silver Beetles followed Lord Woodbine around learning Calypso; Play it Like This!! Read the full review
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Revolution Live

Posted in White Album with tags , , , , , on September 8, 2018 by fred6368

<-Hey Jude           Back In The USSR->

When I first met Jack he asked what my favourite Beatles track was. Well that changes between about 6 tracks but currently it is Revolution. So I said “Revolution!” As there are 6 versions in the public domain (see below) he asked me “which version?” To which I replied, “the live version.”

Not everyone knows about the “live” version especially in the UK as it was recorded for the Smothers Brothers show in the USA and, unlike Hey Jude on the David Frost show, it was never shown on TV here in the UK at the time. Vevo finally made it available online in 2015. But why Revolution and not Please Please Me, Hard Days Night, I Feel Fine, Drive My Car, Taxman, Strawberry Fields, A Day in the Life, I Am the Walrus or I’ve Got A Feeling? Is it because it is the greatest B-side of all time?


Or is it because it is a part of John’s amazing run of B-sides? Or is it because the Beatles made me a revolutionary by enabling me to “act on my own recognisance” (not believing in outside authorities). Or is it because 50 years later it still sounds like a great slapdash piece of art work in progress? Or is it because it hints at its own back story comprising elements of rock, melody, country, harmony and musique concrete?


Revolution Live has 3 unique qualities; it has Lennon’s first explicitly political lyrics and he is definitely “out” and “in” on this version; it is a ferocious rock performance which was massively appreciated by the waifs and strays rounded up to be its studio audience and it is also a terrific live Beatles performance (my friend Deni says they were the best live band she ever saw, and she saw them a lot in 1963) containing all the Merseybeat and experimental elements that informed the recording of the White Album. No wonder Marmalade Skies say that they were “the greatest group in the world at the height of their powers” at this time…

Lennon has one of the great rock voices, aggressive, arrogant, tender and confused. Just perfect for a song that is aggressive, arrogant and confused with a tender “shoo be-doo-wop” chorus; which is what elevates the live version above the official B-side. Almost uniquely, and despite himself, Lennon’s id (his deepest feelings) keeps outing itself through the immediacy of his “newspaper” lyrics. In Liverpool he was neither at one end of the golf course or the other and this liminal confusion about identity keeps surfacing. I want a better world (for meeee!) but I’m not gonna kill anyone (I’ve suffered from loss too much). And Yoko was in his head for the first time on a recording with Revolution. Take 20 of Revolution was both the B-side and an Outro which became the first draft of his Revolution #9 dream. Lennon was King of the B’s for the Beatles because his id keep revealing his deeper, darker feelings, whilst his superego kept reeling in the fears. On Revolution Live his dark and light side were forced to fight it out in public as he delivered the lyrics with both a snarl and his neutral, but don’t mess with me I’m in charge, face. The lying bastard was forcing himself to be honest. It was the sound of John Lennon singing himself into being and not hiding behind group artifice… Awesome.

This “live” rock performance was pre-recorded in line with Musicians Union policies and the customary way of bypassing them. So the backing track is a live recording to which they mimed for the video (listen to the last few seconds of the video to catch the actual live guitars kicking back in). The greatest rock guitarist of all time Jimi Hendrix loved Lennon’s guitar playing, preferring him to Clapton, and you can hear why here. As a guitarist he served the song, just as Ringo, as a drummer, served the song. But the intense overdriven guitar sound was produced by “golden ears” wunderkid engineer Geoff Emerick who said he “would have sacked himself if he had been the studio manager” for putting the sound so into the red. Their live performances on Revolution and Hey Jude were so good and the audience reaction in the studio so positive that it persuaded them that they should play live again, birthing the Get Back (Let It Be) project. Foolishly they had read and believed the critical reviews of Magical Mystery Tour and, fools on the hill that they were, also believed that the British public no longer loved them. Well Hey Jude and Revolution (the second best single of all time) are enough to persuade anyone that “love makes sweet music” (as we say in Canterbury) or in this case bitter-sweet music makes love.

At the height of their powers, as The Beatles are here, they have become crafty artists who have evolved into working in an atelier called The Beatles, where the studio is just a rooftop over their diverse talents. They have become the Rembrandts of popular music. They have evolved from the early poppermost “where is Beatles Band?” so beloved of the NME and also from the experimental psychedelicists who are within us but are without us. They were always at their best on albums where they had time to prep. For the White album they had both been up in Rishikesh writing and also all round to Georges at Kinfauns on 28/29 May demoing the Unplugged version of the album. Now they were in the “studio” of their artistic ambitions playing around with different “takes” on how the music might finally “look.” Revolution Live is one take and, in this case, the best as all four are contributing something slightly different to last time; and the next time.

For me, with the Beatles, you can always hear the music for its visceral immediacy, but there is always a fascinating back story to unravel and be inspired by. And 50 years later there is also the history you, they and the music have been through…

The Six Revolutions (plus #20) Continue reading

Sgt Pepper remix 2017

Posted in SgtPepper50 with tags , , , , , , on May 26, 2017 by fred6368

Remix Master Giles Martin… Thank You!

Finally a real digital remix rather than a mere digital remaster (of 4-track analogue tapes) of the wonderful Sgt Pepper. Listening again, and really enjoying it for the first time in years, after just one hearing this is what I can say… Thank you, Thank you, Giles Martin. I think this outstrips his brilliant work on Love by actually taking a revered national treasure, ignoring the pitfalls that might bring, and simply improving it sonically. First George Martin, now Giles; oh how well we Beatles fans have been served by the productions of this brilliant family.

Rather than sounding like a fascinating set of pop curios left over from some mythical Edwardian era Sgt Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band now actually sounds like a great rock band embellishing their core sound with fabulous sonic explorations and colourations that, as was customary, serve the purpose of the song, whatever the original quality of the writing. The Beatles rock hard like a working band and several tracks reveal this difference in the new mix by Giles Martin.

Mojo4music have always maintained that this is Ringo’s best album for drumming and the drums sound just *great* here. The explosive shock of Continue reading

All You Need is Heutagogy

Posted in Open Context Model of Learning with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on August 27, 2014 by fred6368

Beatles Creativity

I’ve just summarised the 6 blog posts on Beatles Creativity as a graphical slideshare called All You Need is Heutagogy

I think the Beatles Career went through 6 phases;

1. Live 1957-1963 From That’ll Be The Day;

Until Love Me Do

2. Singles 1963-1964 From Please Please Me;

to Hard Days Night Continue reading

Act Naturally & Celluloid Beatles

Posted in Beatles in 12 Songs, Beatles50, Hard Day's Night with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , on April 13, 2014 by fred6368

The Beatles in Twelve Songs (3)

Act Naturally? In the main they didn’t. The black leather boys from Hamburg were stuck in suits by Epstein, discovered in Transylvania for their cartoon identity, and peppered up in military Edwardiana for their day-glo re-invention as submarine alter-ego’s. And don’t even mention the milk-float Bondage of HELP! even though it did give us Act Naturally, the legendary B-side of the all our Yesterday single. They’re going to put The Beatles in the Movies

In the beginning, however, there was Hard Days Night. The kind of quick exploitation movie that sneaks out under the creative radar then transcends the sordid commercial origins in which it was brewed up, in this case by United Artists. As Stephen Denny put it “a low-budget exploitation movie to milk the latest brief musical craze for all it was worth.” UA wanted a quick exploitation picture starring The Beatles in order to get their hands on a Beatles soundtrack which they estimated would make them £1m. They offered a budget of £100k, later upgraded to £200k,and duly gave UA their soundtrack album and, fatally, the rights to 2 more Beatles movies. Although UA originally thought “our record division wants to get the soundtrack album to distribute in the States, and what we lose on the film we’ll get back on this disc” the film ending up taking $11m worldwide becoming tagged “the Citizen Kane of Jukebox movies” In 2013 Mojo rated it 8th out the top 100 music films of all time, with a song written specifically as an overture for the film – Hard Day’s Night

Ringo joined The Beatles  on August 14th 1962 on August 22nd they were filmed for the first time performing Some Other Guy in the Cavern in Liverpool by Leslie Whitehead, later to write the incredible How The Beatles Rocked The Kremlin. It’s an oft-bootlegged bit of film as it iconic, filmed the moment before the first Parlophone single but in the heart of their fanland; one of whom shouts “bring back Pete” at the end. Significantly Continue reading

I Want To Hold Your Hand & Going Global

Posted in Beatles in 12 Songs, Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on February 10, 2013 by fred6368

The Beatles in Twelve Songs (2)

It was 50 years go today that the Beatles taught America to play, with the biggest prime-time TV show audience ever (73 million viewers) on the Ed Sullivan show, February 9th 1964. In the UK I Want To Hold Your Hand had been the cherry on the cake of their annus mirabilis 1963 where it went to Number One in the charts by knocking off their own She Loves You, which had been in the Top 3 ever since it was released, and had just returned to the top after Beatlemania had gone national. In the USA I Want To Hold Your Hand popped a nations cherry and they laid down begging for the first British Invasion since 1812. This is how The Beatles woke them up and how America succumbed

Surprising huh? Quite a flat performance of a song tooled by McCartney to be a hit single written specifically to break the American market whilst he was living in the house of his girlfriend Jane Asher. Asher’s father was a Harley Street doctor, and her musical mum, Margaret Elliott, was a Professor at the Guildhall School of Music where she had taught producer George Martin the oboe. Frustrated by Capitol Records not promoting, or even releasing, early Beatles singles, manager Brian Epstein had asked Lennon and McCartney to write a song specifically to be a hit in the USA, and it was Paul who did. Jane’s brother Peter Asher was the first to hear the song, played on piano, as his room was opposite Paul’s  at 57 Wimpole Street London. This is what a made to order US hit record sounds like

Peter Asher’s bedroom proved to be amazingly strategically placed. He became good friends with McCartney, showing him round London and later became head of Apple Records, signing James Taylor with whom he Continue reading

Please Please Me & MerseyBeat

Posted in Beatles in 12 Songs, Beatles50 with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on January 11, 2013 by fred6368

The Beatles in Twelve Songs (1)

It was fifty years ago today that The Beatles released their first smash hit, the second official release on George Martin’s Parlophone label, Please Please Me. beatlesnumber1

In this series of blog posts, in honor of many Beatles 50th anniversaries throughout 2013, I will be writing a history of The Beatles in 12 songs. Through this I hope to capture and reflect all that they gave us musically and culturally.

Merry Crimble; In The Beatles first Christmas record for their fan club in 1963 John Lennon is asked what most pleased him about the year 1963 and he replies (50 secs in),  “it was a gear year for us, and it all happened really when Please Please Me became a number one hit”: .

In the UK the breakthrough single for the Beatles was Please Please Me, which, to my ears, was the first recording that captured a British Merseybeat sound. (More on Mersey Beat here) Originally an attempt by John to write a Roy Orbison song (the biggest selling artist in the UK in 1962)  it was considered by George Martin to be too slow. The Beatles speeded it up and finally offered George Martin a version in the exuberant tempo that we now expect to hear. Martin re-arranged it and so created both the version we love, along with the template for recording other Merseybeat artists, it certainly pleased George. “Gentlemen you have your first number one record” 

So how did The Beatles become so good at writing smash hit singles Continue reading