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Where you once belonged
on 15 December 2001
How strange that no one's reviewed this yet! This is the Beatles as a pretty good pub band.
After the White Album in late 68, Paul McCartney had the idea of recording an album with no overdubbing, no fancy studio tricks, just the Beatles playing live - something old, something new etc. It didn't work in January 1969 when they tried it, but it did work throughout 1963 and 1964, when they recorded this whole pile of stuff for the BBC, dashing down to London in the van after doing a one night stand in Bolton or Ilfracombe or some such place, a couple of hours kip, then - er - what are we going to do for Saturday Club, lads? What about Nothing Shakin but the Leaves on the Trees? Okay, Paul, why don't you do Clarabella? Okay - here we go, one two three, wham bang - Thanks Brian, and thanks to all at number 44 Mount Street, Clacton for the kind birthday wishes, and the bag of jellybabies. Here Mr Matthew, have a jellybaby. Oops, look at the time - gotta dash, playing in Glasgow tonight!
In 1963 the Beatles were constantly racing around Britain, and in 1964 racing around the world. They made famous hit records. But when they recorded their many appearances on teenage radio shows they mostly played their favourite old country and rhythm & blues numbers, things which they'd done at the Star Club or the Cavern, very straighforward, no frills (no time for frills anyway!). It's delightful, but I must be honest. I could live without about half of this double-cd. The other half has wonderful obscurities like "A Shot of Rhythm and Blues", or "Soldier of Love", or Paul whispering "Clarabella" (another Little Richard impersonation) or Paul warbling "The Honeymoon Song" (which he later made Mary Hopkin sing). All their early influences are here displayed (the usual suspects, Carl Perkins, Chuck Berry, Ray Charles), and after all, it is the Fabs. And if I was booking groups in 1963, I'd definately have had them back again. Very professional. very workmanlike. Hard to believe that psychedelia was just round the corner.