Sunday, December 17, 2006

Groovin' with the Beatles

I proposes a look at the more groovy pieces of The Beatles re-interpreted by musicians that, in the 60’s and 70’s, were part of that sound that we all now define as Groovy Beatles! Why The Beatles? Simply for two reasons: above all they are and always will be my favourite band as well as being the ones who opened my mind musically when I was young, in fact I can state that my Karma as a DJ made itself known at the age of six when I used to listen to “Let It Be” (that came out only six years before!). The second reason is that last November 17th of last year “Let It Be” was re-published in its original version, that which the authors themselves would like to have seen pressed. Phil Spector, the producer at the time, remixed unknowingly by them the whole album in an effort to make it less raw and more sweeter, he added angelic choruses and orchestras and created many upsets amongst The Beatles who were close on breaking up, that now, at a distance of 33 years, see again (sadly only Mc Cartney and Starr) published their piece of work just how it was planned at the time! Before closing this Beatles section I want to be precise, once and for all, that “Let It Be” was not their last album that they realised in the studio but was in fact the one but last, even if the last, “Abbey Road”, was published in ’69 and “Let It Be” in ’70. Now, as always, I will list a quick but significant quantity of titles and authors, starting with George Benson, a very famous jazz guitarist, who published an album entitled “The Other Side Of Abbey Road” in which, of them all, stands out the very ‘Soul Beat’ version of “I Want You”. Ramsey Lewis also, another very famous artist, re-proposed with the electric piano that characterised his sound the famous White album in a groovy version, calling it “Mother Nature Son” like one of the pieces of Paul. Ramsey was also a big fan of The Beatles, in fact right from the beginning of the 60’s he proposed many cover versions of the group in lots of his albums. In a precedent appointment that was dedicated to the Sitar I mentioned how The Beatles were the first to introduce this instrument into pop, therefore, what better way, in the swinging sixties, to make a cover of their songs than using a Sitar? Here then is Big Jim Sullivan at work on “She’s Leaving Home” (originally taken from “Sgt. Peppers”) or Lord Sitar who put two pieces on his self titles album, “Blue Jay Way” and “I’m The Walrus”, both taken from “The Magical Mystery Tour”. Moving on to the Hammond organ we rediscover two extraordinary and highly danceable versions of “Get Back” respectively done by Shirley Scott (very jazzy) and the guitarist Dennis Coffey (touching on psychedelic funk rock contained on the album “Hair And Things”). Another great organist, Jimmy Caravan, in his “Look Into The Flower” proposes a great version of “A Day In The Life” in trio where the cacophony orchestra of the original piece, that divided the two ‘separate’ pieces of Paul and John, is substituted by a cacophony organ that gives you goose pimples with the Lesley (for those that don’t know this is a trumpet shaped amplifier that the Hammond possesses, capable of creating an effect like sucking). Rob Franken also, a less noted German organist, proposed his versions of “The Fool On The Hill” and “Ob La De Ob La Da” worthy of noting (they are contained on a very rare record that, however, is well worth looking for). Also Sergio Mendes was another big fan of the ‘fab four’ and, just as you can hear on many of his albums, loved re-interpreting their songs. Staying in South America I will tell you about a wicked version of “Come Together” that has been looked after by the very famous and much sought after Brazilian drummer Wilson Das Neves of whom his 70’s album entitled “Samba Tropi” is at the moment valued at around 250 dollars! El Chicano, a group that was born ‘bad’ like Santana but remained that way, offered us their Latin funk version of “Eleanor Rigby” where the sweetness of the original piece leaves space to a very aggressive Latin beat that is worthy of the most dusty powdered Mexicans! Astrud Gilberto also (an artist that is better known by us) re-proposed “In My Life” (in 1968) and “Here There And Everywhere” (in 1969) including them on her rarest (just for a change) album “Windy” and “17th September 1969”: there is no point mentioning that her Brazilian sweet voice makes these songs even more pleasurable.

Some other titles with Beatles reinterpretations are :

Booker T anbd the MG's Soul Limbo Stax
Ella Fitzgerald Watch whats happens MPS
Shirley Scott and the Soul Saxes Atlantic
Andrew Tartaglia Tartaglian Theorem Capitol
Ramsey Lewis Mother Nature Son Cadet
Steve Marcus Tomorrow never knows Vortex
George Benson The Other Side Of Abbey Road CTI
The Knut Kiesewetter Train Stop!Whatch!and Listen ! MPS
Mongo Santamaria Working On A Groovy Thing Columbia
Shirley Bassey Something UA
Big Jim Sullivan Sitar Beat Mercury
The Harvey Averne Dozen Fania
And loads more .....

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