Please Please Me

For my 200th blog post of the year it seems fitting that I finally get to The Beatles. This may take three or four posts to get through. Like many kids of the 60’s The Beatles were my first real music crush. On one mp3 collection I have: Please Please Me; With The Beatles; Yellow Submarine; The White Album along with George Harrison’s Wonder Wall and Danger Mouse: The Grey Album. Which covers the start, late & finish of their career. I’m get to the other lps in a few weeks.

tree03 can you see the forest

What struck me about their first couple of lps was the amount of US music covers they did. R’n’b, soul & some rock. There is a crisp fresh quality to the sound itself, sweet almost innocent. The early hits here are so simple, direct and tender. I remember being allowed to see them on Ed Sullivan & the audience screamed so much you couldn’t hear them singing “I Want To Hold Your Hand.”

When we jump to the White Album the sound is more complex, the emotional content more adult & worldly. Fine moments but it sounds as if it was harder for them to even be there (which in fact it was.)

tree02 little tree I once knew

Yellow is the original lp with the George Martin suite on side two. Just hearing it brings back lots of Peter Max memories. Is there a pop group today who would dare do something on the scale of Yellow Submarine? Wonder Wall – Harrison’s sound track for a movie I’ve never seen has lots of sitar, raga-esque mixed with honky tonk and scraps of other genres. If it weren’t Harrison it would be totally forgotten.

tree01

stumped again

Danger Mouse’s Grey Album (quickly suppressed for copyright reasons) is dense with samples music from White Album with Mouse rapping over them. I love the samples & the notion of it but for me recognizing those snippets drowns his lyrics.

sample

Christmas Hamper

The gun kept slipping out of her hand. Blood! So much she didn’t know if it was his or hers. Jill pulled herself closer to the wall behind the laundry hamper. For once she was glad of its size. Extra large for her extra dirty family. She breathed a prayer that she’d get to wash those clothes again.

This was her first chance to take a breath since the attack had began. It started innocently enough. A group of five nondescript kids outside singing Christmas Carols. They were fund raising throughout the housing complex. Something for the new day care centre.

Jill had already bought the chocolate almonds, the raffle for a trip to Las Vegas. The carol singing was the latest in that series of wallet squeezing.

When they had started singing she was sorry her husband was still out with their three kids. Off to see Grandma Val, the mother-in-law, whose drunken tirades Jill no longer she felt she had to endure even in the name of festive forgiveness.

When the group had finished their first off-kilter Frosty one of them, a girl it turned out, came to the door to see if Jill wanted to hear another. Jill had fished out a ten dollar bill and was about to hand it across when she saw the small luger in the belt of girl’s nylon jogging pants.

“Don’t feel safe?” Jill had asked.

“That’s right ma’am.” A boy stepped up to join the girl only he had his larger gun in in hand. “Now if you don’t mind we’ll come into the safety of your house.”

“What …”

The boy shoved Jill hard back into the house. “Shut the fuck up bitch and you won’t get hurt. We’re making some pre-Christmas pick-ups of our own.”

That’s when Jill closed her hand around the handgun in her purse. She fired without taking it out. The bullet tore through the bag and slammed into the boy’s shoulder. Blood spurted over her, over the wall. The girl yanked out her pistol and fired.

Jill felt a sting in her calf.

“Bad aim sister.” Jill dropped the purse off her gun. She saw that the other carollers had lunged in behind the first two. One had a sawed-off shot-gun.

“Lady,” he growled as he cocked the gun, “if you don’t want to join the decorations on your tree just back off.”

“Ho! Ho! Ho!” Jill laughed, “Back off this you little asshole.’

Her one shot hit him directly between the eyes. She turned and dashed up the stairs to the bathroom. Jack kept the automatic behind the hamper. This would certainly be a Christmas to remember.

 tree03 pile’em high

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On The Animals’ Twain

Almost at the end of my extensive Animals collection – The Twain Shall Meet. Twain is one of those recordings in the wake of Sgt. Pepper – the Stones did “Satanic Majesties” – groups scrambling to show off mystical leanings along with sound engineering. The Animals didn’t have George Martin at the helm and it showed.

mirror broken reflections

This was one of my favourite Animals recordings, with its sometimes cheesy lyrics ‘orange & red beams’ and the forced philosophical depth garnered from the Maharishi. Sky Pilot is a staggering anti-war song even with it weird wash of effects – bagpipes, machine guns.

redcoat plum tuckered out

Side one opens with Monterey – about the pop festival & flower power pervades the rest of the side. Spinal Tap skewers this stuff mercilessly. Side two is a sort of suite of three longish cuts that flow seamlessly into each other and fades out in a haze of patchouli incense. Eric became disenchanted with the Maharishi by the time he recorded Year of The Guru.

My music pals at the time hated this Lp, felt it was a shallow sell out no better than something the Monkees would have recorded but it stuck to me. My Cd is a reissue by One Way Records – no bonus material plus they get the name of one of the cuts wrong – Orange & Red Beams becomes Orange & Red Beans.

plates picnic sans basket

The other Animals Cds on the shelf are hits collection: Best Of: (before LSD( & Greatest Hits, (after LSD). More about Eric in another post, because as I’ve written about about the band I’m understanding what appealed to me and why they still do. That’ll be my Friday post.

 

samples

Waltz

 

Lazy grey waltz

Show me the steps

Glide across the floor

A feather

In the fiddler’s sleeve.

 

Shadow creased vision

Hushed distance of recall

Layers webs flickering

Smokey images crumbling

Wondering

How did I ever get this away

So far, far away

From the hoedown moon?

 

A sorrow tugs at my sleeve

Timid but persistence,

When the river flows

It’s easy top wash it away;

The sun dried me so quick

Here it is back again

A tear to keep me in check,

Wondering

Why did I turn around

When I heard night

Sweep the webs away

Again

Against my will to know

That it was time to rosin up the bow.

 

2

 

Languid hazel waltz

Watch my steps

Skip over the lawn

A thorn

In the fiddler’s shoe.

 

My life is the mist

Hovering around the moon

Cutting golden across the floor

Through the open windows

Of the haystack ballrooms

Where here comes that waltz

Again

Slow and close, almost in tears

Slightly futile, music echoes

You are far away and I dance alone

Again,

Out into a starless night.

 

Smooth white waltz

Follow my steps

Carefree through harvest fields

A gleam

In the fiddler’s eye.

myseat

my Loyalist seat