Friday, 4 September 2009
♫ Welcome everybody to our new issue and to the 50 or so people who’ve looked around our site in the 10 days since setting it up. This has been an exciting time in the life of our AAA luminaries, too, what with the Beatles masters getting all new and shiny (something we’ve been begging EMI to do since our very first review three years ago – shame they didn’t take our advice about the bonus tracks and mono/stereo editions though) and Oasis getting all old and grumpy. Things are likely to be a bit hectic here at AAA headquarters over the next month or so, so there might not be many changes made to the site proper (we’re still trying to get the music player on the site to work, for instance) but rest assured your AAA newsletters will be coming at you thick and fast in the mean time. Meanwhile, on with the news...
♫ Beatles News: Amazon have just dropped the price of the new Beatles stereo box to £135 so bear that in mind if you are thinking of buying all the Beatles CDs individually (it’s spot on the same price as buying them all singly – and you get an extra DVD documentary too). Radio 2 have joined in with the act by offering four days’ worth of Beatle programmes over the Bank Holiday weekend and BBC 2 and 4 are set to follow. There’s nothing rare for Beatle-maniacs, however, who have almost all of this stuff before – the only new pieces I hadn’t heard before were an interview with Paul McCartney broadcast on Sunday night, a documentary about the BBC broadcasts (which should have been much longer and much better – see News and Views issue 24 for the true extent of the BBC’s Beatle library), a Cilla Black documentary about Beatles covers versions (nice – but hardly essential) and a forthcoming modern documentary about how the Beatles might fare in the modern age on their new lease of life. Not much in other words, despite taking up about 35 hours’ worth of airplay – let’s hope the new Beatles CD re-masters does all the talking for the group instead on September 9th.
Beatles Rock band is a similar mix of the exciting and the not actually that exciting at all. 45 songs are included in the set and include several of the usual suspects (Twist and Shout/I Want To Hold Your Hand/Hey Jude/Get Back etc) but, interestingly not all of them (Blackbird and Yesterday would be hard to do, given that they only feature a guitar plus sound effects/guitar plus orchestra but A Day In The Life and the Abbey Road Medley are less troublesome omissions). There’s also an interesting mix of under-rated Beatles songs (I Dig A Pony for one) and thankfully only one song – the best one – from the last splurge of Beatles hype (The ‘Love’ mix of ‘Within You, Without You/Tomorrow Never Knows) along with some truly screwball choices that are hardly among the Beatles’ better moments (Boys, And Your Bird Can Sing). You can, however, download all the missing songs by ‘buying’ the parent album at an extra cost after the game has been released – be warned, though, as buying the complete set will set you back even more than owning the new CD re-issues!
♫ Oasis News: Alas, the rumours we spoke about in our review of ‘Dig Out Your Soul’ appear to be true. Noel Gallagher has walked out of the band citing that he will never work with his brother Liam again – but, far from being the sort of brotherly tiff that saw Noel quit temporarily in 1995, 1997, 1999 and 2001 (I’m not joking!) this split seems to be a quieter, more dignified, less recriminatory split then the media-mangled walkouts of before. For the record, Noel blames attitudes within the whole band – surprising seeing as Gem and Andy Bell have been firmly on Noel’s side rather than Liam’s since joining the band and have performed with him at ‘solo’ concerts (they still don’t have a long-term drummer). Many people are making the joke about people not needing Oasis now that the Beatles are back again, but the Beatles phenomena will be all over again by next year – if Oasis really are dead then this will be a huge shame and Noel will be missed hugely. It’s also sad that the band have called it a day after their only truly weak album (though two tracks have been growing on me since writing my review in news and views 8a) – and will be even sadder if Liam limps on without him (even if is writing is on par with his brother’s these days, he’s not quite as prolific it has to be said). Anyway, watch this space for more...
♫ Rolling Stones News: An odd news entry this one – the police say they now have new evidence in the ‘Brian Jones’ investigation and have re-opened enquiries as to whether the Stone died of ‘misadventure’ (drowning in his own swimming pool while drunk – or was he?) or was murdered (there was a supposed confession on the death-bed of a builder working at Jones’ estate). Questions have always remained about Jones’ death – he was a champion swimmer, for one, highly unlikely to have drowned in the small amount of water in his house no matter how far gone he was (and witnesses have claimed to have seen him sober just before the incident) and there was certainly enough motive (Brian owed money to quite a few people back then – his builder included) – but there have never been enough questions for the police to re-open the case. Until now, it seems. More news if and when we hear it.
♫ ANNIVERSARIES (September 4-10th): Happy Birthday Hopes, Wishes and
Dreams to all those who share their birthdays with the following AAA stars:
Gene Parsons (drummer with The Byrds 1969-72) who turns 64 on
September 4th, Roger Waters (bassist, chief lyricist and ‘driving force’ in
Pink Floyd 1967-85) who turns 65 on September 6th, Pigpen aka Ron
McKernan (keyboardist and soul specialist with the Grateful Dead 1965-72)
who would have been 63 on September 8th had he not died of liver failure in
1972 and Otis Redding (the gentle giant of soul) who would have been 68
on September 9th had he not died in a plane crash in 1968. Anniversaries of
events include: the Beatles’ first recording session takes place on
September 4th 1962 with 17 takes of debut single ‘Love Me Do’ – or at least
that’s what the fabs seemed to think it was; Abbey Road documentation
confuses the matter by claiming this was a recording ‘test’ to see whether
the Beatles really are suitable for recording; The Animals play their first gig
in the United States, the country that becomes pretty much their second
home (at Brooklyn Paramount Theatre, September 4th 1964, the day before
‘House Of The Rising Sun’ becomes an unexpected #1 there); The Who
innocently park their touring van outside Battersea Dogs Home to ask for
directions – when they return they find £5000 worth of equipment missing
(September 4th 1965); Tom Wilson, the producer who not exactly
discovered Simon and Garfunkel but played an important part in their early
career (see last week’s newsletter) dies on September 6th 1978); patent-
pending explodable irrepressible drummer Keith Moon finally gives way to
his reckless lifestyle, overdosing on the tablets he was taking to keep
away his alcohol addiction (September 7th 1978); the advert that kicks off The Monkees phenomenon (‘Madness!!Running parts for four insane boys’ etc) appears in the Los Angeles Daily Variety newspaper – actually only two of the Monkees (Micky and Peter) audition in this manner – so does Stephen Stills who fails to make the grade because of his uneven teeth (September 8th 1965); The Moody Blues play to their then-record number of fans – 300,000 in Paris; John Lennon releases his most famous LP ‘Imagine’ (September 9th 1971); Bob Harris begins presenting what will become a very important programme for AAA artists, BBC 2’s ‘Old Grey Whistle Test’ (September 9th 1972) and finally the Monkees’ first ever single, ‘Last Train To Clarksville’, is released in the US (September 10th 1966).
♫ And so to this week’s top five. As our regular readers or those who have been reading these newsletters in chronological order will know, we now have a shiny new laptop after our old computer finally gave up the ghost and decided to bleep mournfully whenever I tried to switch it on. During the two months or so since owning it I have now put practically every CD I have owned on it (330 hours’ worth –I know AAA readers would expect nothing less) and have been enjoying playing my whole collection on random. Now, we often said about our old computer that we thought it was human – with our new friend ‘Dell-Boy’ we’re absolutely convinced. So for this week’s top five, here are the five biggest themes/co-incidences from playing our collection at random.
1) Going to sleep to the Beatles’ ‘Goodnight’ (from ‘The White Album’ as if you didn’t know) – only to be woken up seven hours’ later by ‘What’s That You’re Doing’ by Paul McCartney and Stevie Wonder (from ‘Tug Of War, 1982) with the line ‘good morning...or is that good afternoon?!? And yes, I had been working late on the website the night before so it was indeed afternoon!)
2) Days of the week: Not quite in this order but within the same hour-and-a-half I heard ‘Monday Monday’ by the Mamas and Papas (from the highly recommended ‘Gold’ compilation from the now sadly defunct Woolworths), Tuesday Afternoon (by The Moody Blues, from ‘Days Of Future Passed’ 1967), She’s Leaving Home by The Beatles (from Sgt Pepper’s – with the opening line ‘Wednesday Morning at 5 o’clock as the day begins...’), Oriental Nightfish by Linda McCartney (from the ‘Wide Prairie’ compilation 1998) with its lines ‘It was a Thursday night...I was working late...’, Here Comes The Weekend (by The Moody Blues from ‘Sur La Mer’ 1988) with its lines about ‘Friday Night’, ‘I Wanna Be Around’ from Brian Wilson’s ‘Smile (which was given the bootlegger name ‘Friday Night’ for some reason), Jefferson Airplane’s ‘Saturday Afternoon’ (both the studio version on ‘After Bathing At Baxters’ 1967 and the live version from the ‘Bless It’s Little Pointed Head’ re-issue 1968) and finally Lazy Sunday by the Small Faces (from ‘Ogden’s Nut Gone Flake’ 1968). Hmm, perhaps my computer’s been studying the calendar I downloaded for her the other week?!
3)Songs of lost love/friends: I’m not joking I’ve had in order, The Hollies’ ‘I Had A Dream’ (A B-side included in the 2003 box-set ‘The Long Road Home’), ‘Rain On My Window’ (from ‘Evolution’; 1967) and ‘Down River’ (from ‘Romany’ 1972; weird enough that I should get 3 Hollies tracks in a row given that I’ve got about 125 artists on here), the Human League’s ‘Louise’ (from ‘Hysteria’ 1983), a bit of a gap and then The Moody Blues’ ‘I Know You’re Out There Somewhere’ (from ‘Sur La Mer’ 1988) and The Blue Jays’ ‘Who Are You Now?’, The Kinks’ ‘Do You Remember Walter?’ (from ‘Village Green Preservation Society’ 1968), The Beach Boys’ ‘Wendy’ (from ‘All Summer Long’ 1964), 10cc’s ‘Memories’ (from ‘10/10’, 1981), Cat Stevens/Yusuf’s ‘Everytime I Dream’) and The Beatles’ ‘Yesterday’. Weird.
4) Political songs: Neil Young’s ‘Let’s Impeach The President’ (from ‘Living With War’ 2006), CSNY’s ‘Ohio’ (a live version from Neil’s ‘Journey Through The Past Soundtrack’), Lindisfarne’s ‘Cruising To Disaster’ (from ‘Sleepless Nights’ 1982), The Beatles’ ‘Revolution’ (Past Masters Vol 2), The Rolling Stones’ ‘Street Fighting Man’ (from CD 3 of the Singles Collection – The London Years), Mr President (from a Dave Dee, Dozy, Beaky, Mick and Titch compilation), Neil Young’s ‘Campaigner’ (from the ‘Decade’ compilation), 10cc’s ‘Wall Street Shuffle’ (from 1972’s ‘Sheet Music’ – bit of a stretch that one but still...), Stephen Stills’ ‘Word Game’ (Stills II, 1971) and Super Furry Animals’ ‘Presidential Suite’ (from ‘Rings Around The World’ 2001). All I can say is...where was ‘Bring On Da Lucie And Freeda People?!’
5) It’s favourite tracks, which come up every 3 hours or so (bearing in mind there’s 330-odd hours to choose from): Many things from The Byrds’ ‘Younger Than Yesterday’ album (did I ever tell you that Dell-Boy’s got good taste?!) especially ‘CTA-102’ (perhaps its the sound of electronic aliens chatting?) and ‘Thoughts And Words’ (ditto the electronic sound effects?), plus The Who’s ‘I Can See For Miles’ (like I say – good taste!) and, curiously, the Lennon Anthology rehearsal take of ‘One Day At A Time’(!)
More computer wizadry – computers allowing – next week!