Friday, January 26, 2007

FBO: "Celebrating Global Warming (and the Beatles), Part One"

This is the first of a three- or four-part series of the FBO ‘celebrating global warming’ by listening to the Beatles and Wings...

No one ever covers a single song of the second side of the Beatles’ Abbey Road, one-song-bleeds-to-the-next ensemble that wraps up with the Beatles’ sort of ‘last’ song ‘The End.’ Some say it’s just ‘unfinished ideas thrown together’ – John Lennon among them; others award it a special honor in the Beatles’ catalogue. FBO-member-001 Tall Tales had occasional Beatles flirtations, though it wouldn’t have been known outside of the practice room. Tall Tales once worked up ‘Everybody’s Got Something to Hide Except Me and My Monkey’ (from the ‘White Album’) as an extension to the 90-second original ‘I’m a Rodeo.’ Never played it, regrettably. Bass player Mitch Edward Newlin had to show guitarist Robert Edward Reid the guitar parts, a common occurrence in the back yards of Tall Tales’ music making.

→ I never listen to this so let’s go have a re-listen:

“You Never Give Me Your Money”
The guitar overdubs throughout rule this piano-based song that turns into a wacky boogie break, then a multi-tiered cascade of song parts… Not 100% that it’s not Paul on some of those guitars, particularly that crescendo guitar pick part that’s so integral to the song structure… This song is basically Paul introducing a full-side medley with a one-song medley, so many parts, some of which get picked up later on... Very crafted… Lyrics are meaningless… Paul could write a song, but had nothing to say that wasn’t predicated on the Beatles World… Does he really want some gal to give him money? Am I not getting something here?

“Sun King”
John is barely on this side, but this pre-Pink Floyd-‘Eclipse’-y thing with dreamy, around-the-bong vocals introduces his three-pack... Not memorable, but I give him credit for grammatically abusive intro (‘here come the sun king…’) and the unnecessary Italian verse that name-drops ‘paparazzi,’ an Italiano sarcasmo later picked up by Fred Mercury in the ‘mama mia’ operatic parts of ‘Bohemian Rhapsody’

“Mean Mr Mustard”
Lovely segway into a one-minute joke song that never really describes, or cares to, tell you why Mustard is so mean…

“Polythene Pam”
Another one-minute joke. Never bothered to look up ‘polythene’ before… it's a lightweight thermoplastic... why not 'Lightweight Thermoplastic Leslie Thorpe?'... lyric: ‘she’s so good looking but she looks like a man…’ Maybe Ray Davies heard that before writing ‘Lola.’

“She Came In Through the Bathroom Window”
Back to Paul and the best song of side two, but it should have been a STEVE MILLER song… Relisten to it: this is Steve Miller. Just imagine California’s most charismatic rocker singing lead with a vest on, bumping shoulder to back-of-the-head with his remarkable 5’4” rhythm guitarist… you know, that guy who looked like Richard Simmons, played a left-handed guitar (volume likely off), sang back-ups a bit too comfortably, and – could this be too good to be true? – played barefoot. Whoever can name that Steve Miller back-up guitarist – and honorable FBO member – WINS… Anyway, those little guitar whipperwhirls to fill the gaps in the verses – must be George – are absolutely gorgeous.

“Golden Slumbers”
I bet that no other Beatle is on this song but Paul. He often did drums, and that opening drum fill is a bit non-Ringo-ish. I’m guessing that this song is a ‘Let it Be’ left-over that never panned out into a song. Like the name of the song.

“Carry That Weight”
Overworked way of reprising melodies from the ‘Money’ song that started this whole mess, but it’s almost OK since they wisely put Ringo’s voice louder than anyone’s on the choruses… I downloaded a fairly recently recorded Ringo solo version of ‘Love Me Do,’ which he had never sang, with Jack X Blades of Night Ranger singing back-ups… there is never a day that that version doesn’t sound good…

“The End”
This song, the most famous of the side, is nearly a Cheap Trick song… listen to Robin Zander style of intro: ‘oh yeah, all right, are you going to be in my dreams tonight?’… Paul sounds good there… that opening burst leads to a chant of ‘love you, love you, love you, love you…’ and the overly famous ending ‘and in the end, the love you take is equal to the love you make…’ which really isn’t true. When the guitar – the under-rated rhythm – comes in with the drums after the drum-solo bit, as good as anything on the side… yet the dueling guitar solos don’t really catch much for me. As a whole, doesn’t hold up to its fame.

“Her Majesty”
Oh Paul. Couldn’t let it end as an ending. Had to put a 17-second blip of nonsense at the end. Sometimes you wonder if the Beatles would have even happened if Paul – smarter than the other boys, a teacher’s pet, a keen student – had been punched to the face, hard, several times, at a cafeteria or hallway, in front of everyone, at the age of 13. Probably Herman’s Hermits would have written ‘Hey Jude.’

Wrap-Up Thoughts
* Not sure John is even involved in half of these songs
* Some particularly remarkable guitar playing by George or someone
* Way overrated, as a whole. The best part is the Mustard/Pam/Bathroom trio… the rest is a little sticky if you’re honest with yourself
* Mitch’s initials spell ‘MEN’

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