Friday, 28 October 2011
News, Views and Music Issue 119 (Top Twenty): AAA Youtube Clips Part #1
This week it’s the first of our three-part special delving into the magical world of YouTube. You may remember that we covered a top five YouTube clips on our site round about 100 issues ago. Well, since then I’ve discovered so much more (and users have posted so much more) so this week here’s an extended version of that original top 10 – to the extent that it’s now a top 60! Now it goes without saying that YouTube is endless and I dare say there are millions of things I’ve missed out – (so why not point them out on our forum?), but this is the best of what I’ver discovered so far. The only rules to be included on this list are that the videos have to be ‘exclusive’ to YouTube – ie not available officially in any form as of the time of writing (though a couple of Hollies clips only got in by the skin of their teeth – see above). The results below can be anything an AAA member has ever done, including TV appearances, music videos, chat show appearances, concerts (though they have to be rare performances or rare songs or we’d just be listing whole track listings for ‘Smile’), adverts, interviews, rare bits of audio accompanied by pictures, all sorts in fact. Some groups are here more than others of course – partly because some groups have released absolutely every shot of them ever taken already on DVD and there’s nothing there to find or perhaps partly because I haven’t found the right links to take me to them yet despite looking for every AAA member in turn every few months or so – perhaps we’ll be able to a ‘top 100’ list in another 100 issues time? To view these clips, click on the YouTube links we’ve included and they should take you straight there to the heart of the action (apologies to our readers in the future when some of these links may have been taken down, but as of October 2011 they are all present and correct). Look out for 40-21 as our countdown continues next week! Oh and while you’re about it, if you’re a fellow YouTube member why not add me as a ‘friend’ on YouTube and you can have a look through my ‘playlists’ to see what was still interesting but not good enough to make the grade? (I’m Alansarchives if you hadn’t guessed!):
60) Ray Davies appearing on ‘Wonder World’ 1982 (Australian Children’s Show): http://youtu.be/86cxVO81-IY
There’s no music and hardly any insight into Ray Davies’ life on offer here, but you do get to see a couple of incompetent TV presenters throwing a custard pie in Ray’s face and the elder Davies brother’s quite hilarious responses (‘I had quite a promising career when I came to Australia, but now...’ ‘Please don’t ask me that question, I’ve got so many problems already man...’ ‘Can you even afford this?!’) We never actually get to learn anything other than what a good sport Ray Davies is, but it will have you cheering on Ray as he attempts to get his own back. Messy fun on a programme never actually seen in the UK at all outside YouTube.
59) The Hollies at the Rock ‘n’ Roll Hall Of Fame 2009:
http://youtu.be/nINruIwgEyE (Part 1)
http://youtu.be/jzSCIF8krp8 (part 2)
http://youtu.be/KvudWUAmyr8 (Part 3)
http://youtu.be/8OWrTET7aIA (Part 4)
The coming together of Allan Clarke and Graham Nash for what might well be ‘one last time’ is the reason I’ve bypassed my usual distrust of the Rock and Roll Hall Of Fame and added this video of The Hollies’ long overdue admission two years ago. Sadly the R and RHOF left it so late in the day to tell the current touring line-upof the band that Tony Hicks and Bobby Elliott were still on tour in Europe and couldn’t show. What we do get though is rare appearances from past Hollies bassists Eric Haydock and Bernie Calvert and rhythm guitarist Terry Sylvester, as well as the joy of hearing Nash and Clarke wrap their harmonies around each other as if the gap of 26 years since their last musical meeting was no time at all. Clarkey’s been retired for over a decade now and does find the notes on ‘Carrie Anne’ ‘Long Cool Woman’ and ‘Bus Stop’ a bit of a struggle at times but no matter – the blend between him and Nash is still one of the most magical of all time. There’s a bit of a now ‘legendary’ Hall Of Fame moment too where guesting singer Patrick Monahan from ‘Train’ (whoever they may be) is meant to be singing lead but harmonist Terry Sylvester is so into the moment on-stage he forgets to give the microphone back, starting a diplomatic incident between the band... (at least, that’s my interpretation of the look that Clarkey gives him when he scoops the microphone off him again!) Wow Clarke and Nash together again, 63 years after they first met – this is definitely the best R and RHOF date ever! (The Beatles performance is on YouTube too, the one where a missing Paul ‘had the script in his pocket’ according to George, but I haven’t added it to the list because Ringo – right in the middle of his ‘alcoholic’ years – is at his most inebriated and unwatchable).
58) Graham Nash and Travis “Another Sleep Song” (c.2005)
My favourite Graham Nash song of all time gets a rare outing when Nash appears as a guest at a Travis gig where they’ve cajoled him to sing this song. It’s unusual to see Nash so far out of his comfort zone on the opening behind-the-scenes chat (‘My wife got me into this...I don’t know how!....Wonder if I can ‘feel’ my own song?!’), which is a long way from the Captain Organisation personality we’re used to seeing on Hoillies and CSN documentaries. Nash is also unusually defensive when the lead singer of Travis says the song came out ‘the year I was born!’ (and he’s no spting chicken himself!) Classic song though and – for all the nerves – it’s a nice version of it too, with Travis clearly doing their homework on the arrangement. I may hate the only two other Travis songs I have ever heard but they have good taste here I have to say!
57) Justin Hayward on “This Is Your Life” (1997):
http://youtu.be/-V7rqjMEMts (Part 1)
http://youtu.be/1PvGTGLXtdA (Part 2)
http://youtu.be/baFd5_Xx2Zg (Part 3)
http://youtu.be/0K1flf_xi8w (Part 4)
As far as I know Justin is the only AAA man to have ever been on the much-missed programme ‘This Is Your Life’ (producers and managers don’t count for now!) and he’s a more deserving recipient than most – I’ve never heard anyone say a bad word against Justin in all my years of collecting and I can’t say that about many musicians! Justin is as nervous and humble here as you’d expect, as he often is when caught off guard, and he’s completely flummoxed when Michael Aspel and the red book appear at a launch for his solo album ‘The View From The Hill’. You don’t get to learn much about Justin from the show actually – but then the Moodies have always kept themselves to themselves so its still fascinating indeed to see so much of Justin’s family and friends all in one place. Fellow Moodies Ray Thomas and John Lodge are there in person, Graeme Edge is there on video from one of his many holidays but sadly there’s no sign of Mike Pinder who left the Moody Blues in 1978 or replacement Patrick Moraz. The red book is handed over at the end not by the traditional big superstar but by the astronaut who took the Moodies compilation ‘Legend Of A Band’ with him in the 1989 space module Challenger, giving the band the moniker ‘first band in space’. Now why the hell isn’t this programme on any more, even on BBC4 (where all the good shows seem to have gone?)
56) Hollies “Snow On Heather Moor” and “Maureen” (Unreleased songs)
http://youtu.be/5BVjkD309Hk (Snow On The Heather Moor)
Two fascinating glimpses into how different two Hollies records could have been in the 60s and 70s. The first track is Bernie Calvert’s early version for what became ‘Reflections Of A Long Time Past’ on the ‘Hollies Sing Hollies’ album (1969), but in a more stylised orchestral form with less piano. The second, ‘Maureen’, was recorded during sessions for ‘Write On’ (1976) and was apparently a bit of a joke written especially for Tony Hicks’ sister – who just so happens to be Bobby Elliot’s wife! Despite being a bit of fun knocked off between ‘proper’ songs, its actually better than a lot of the songs from the same period, with especially tight harmonies that were sadly lacking on most of that album!
55) George Harrison – music videos for “Faster”, “Blow Away” and “All Those Years Ago”:
http://youtu.be/jMm4bhs6GYY (‘Faster’, 1979)
http://youtu.be/ddnRtFd7Hps (‘Blow Away’, 1979)
http://youtu.be/85Smw33PKJA (‘All Those Years Ago’, 1981)
There are other George Harrison promos around of course, both earlier (‘Crackerbox Palace’ is a gem) or later (‘When We Was Fab’ and ‘This Is Love’ – the former directed by 10cc’s Godley and Creme during their ‘video’ phase). But those are either available officially (on the ‘Dark Horse’ DVD included in the Dark Horse box set) or are repeated often on TV and in biopics – whereas these three videos are comparatively rare. ‘Faster’ and ‘Blow Away’ both come from the highly under-rated ‘George Harrison’ album and feature Formula 1 legend Jackie Stewart driving George around the Silverstone race circuit to the soundtrack of a song written in his honour (‘he’s a master at going faster!’) and the latter has George staring into rain clouds and playing his guitar alongside huge blow-up rubber ducks bobbing in the breeze(!) ‘All Those Years Ago’, meanwhile, mixes archive footage of John Lennon to moving effect long before the ‘Imagine’ film pulled off the same trick, even if the breezy nature of the melody betrays that this song was originally written about an entirely different event altogether before the great man’s death (and the two still don’t quite match). The music, naturally, is brilliant and of course – as the Living In The Material World DVD makes clear – how photogenic was George?!
54) The Moody Blues’ Coca-Cola Commercial 1969!:
Who on earth thought of getting the oh so serious Moody Blues to write a poppy ditty for Coca-Cola?! Clearly someone whose never actually heard the band sing anything. Despite the date of 1969, the backing to this song actually sounds more like Justin Hayward’s songs from the ‘Seventh Sojourn’ album, with a sweeping melody that only salowly shifts gears and hazy mellotrons for the backing. Justin barely gets a chance to get the name of the product in, so busy is he setting up the scene of finishing his heavy workload and getting home in time to ‘say sweet things to you’ (while slurping coca-cola, naturally). Alan’s Album Archives would like to point out that other beverages are available, by the way.
53) The Who – live at Bingley Hall, Stafford, 1975:
http://youtu.be/QLV9Vu_ka2E (I Can’t Explain)
http://youtu.be/FiUE2kzOi8U (Squeeze Box)
http://youtu.be/nVKShU14PjE (Heaven and Hell)
http://youtu.be/93MYgjTYtPQ (Baba O’Riley)
http://youtu.be/hJD1hYxlTps (Behind Blue Eyes)
http://youtu.be/J4tNdRyy_8c (Amazing Journey/Sparks)
http://youtu.be/IQRpGgI8lnU (Eyesight To The Blind)
http://youtu.be/yXmaMQikH_Q (Acid Queen)
http://youtu.be/9GfIAaYMqSM (Fiddle About)
http://youtu.be/ascdQ7_FJXg (Pinball Wizard)
http://youtu.be/19xK8nTN8Ns (I’m Free!)
http://youtu.be/L3qIthbnHDM (Tommy’s Holiday Camp)
http://youtu.be/Wi-5haPoVpw (See Me, Feel Me)
http://youtu.be/NF4crcPLdHY (Summertime Blues)
http://youtu.be/rSfJuZd-0_E (My Generation/Join Together)
http://youtu.be/OJ1Dmr2fr0g (Magic Bus)
I know, I know, there are dozens of Who bootlegs out there so why pick this one? Well, I have a vested interest. I grew up just down the road from Bingley Hall and I still can’t quite believe that we once had the world’s greatest rock and roll band playing there, even if this magical event did happen seven years before I was born. After all, who else of note in the rock world has ever been to Stafford since (Lindisfarne at one of their last shows actually, but nobody taped that gig!) To boot the year of 1975 is also my favourite era for The Who, the ‘By Numbers’ album being the last great Who album in my opiunion even if evberyoine else says its ‘Quadrophenia’, even though the band actually only do one song from that record (‘Squeeze Box’, making only its second appearance in their setlist). Instead there’s an excellent mix of the cornerstone trilogy of ‘Tommy’ ‘Lifehouse/Who’s Next’ and ‘Quadrophenia’ in the set – if you stick to official live recordings of the band you only tend to get one of these and not the others. The band are also on particularly tight form, with Keith Moon enjoying one of his last concerts where hesounds like the hurricane of old. So there we have it, a full 90 minutes of the ‘Orrible ‘Oo at their near-best! The sound quality is also much better than around 90% of The Who bootlegs on YouTube – the guy who recorded it must have been right near the stage – in which case I hope his hearing is better soon!
52) Hollies – rare promo clips for “Little Lover” (1963) and “Now’s The Time” (1964):
http://youtu.be/zVq73jetMjI (Little Lover)
http://youtu.be/O8JvylP5FgE (Now’s The Time)
Two early ‘baby’ shots of the very early Hollies back when they seemed to be all teeth and hairdos. ‘Little Lover’ – the first Clarke-Hicks-Nash song to be released, even if it was under the pseudonym ‘L Ransford’ - was apparently intended as a single at one stage so The Hollies were filmed miming to it in an effort to race it up the charts (instead it ended up as a track on first album ‘Stay With The Hollies’). That’s the band’s first drummer Don Rathbone you can see, by the way, not Bobby Elliott with hair! ‘Now’s The Time’ dates from a year later but The Hollies still look impossibly young. It’s actually an extract from a weird biking film called ‘It’s All Over Town’ starring comedian Willie Rushton and is one of those 60s curios where the main action just ‘happens’ to go past a band singing before reverting back to the plot. The backing tape has been sped up so fast it makes Allan Clarke sound like Mickey Mouse, but the sight of a band barely out of their teens (and still in them in Tony Hicks’ case) is spell-binding when you know these two songs as well as I do. And get a load of just how badly that Graham Nash wants the camera to love him, flashing his teeth for all he’s worth! STOP PRESS: After sitting there, largely unloved, in my ‘favourites’ box for the past five years both of these film clips are now going to be made available officially on the Hollies ‘British Invasion: Look Through Any Window’ DVD. But technically the set isn’t out till November so I can still get away with listing them – just!!
51) Ray Davies “Soundtrack To Around The World In 80 Days” (1988):
Back in 1988, with The Kinks falling apart after yet another record company battle, Ray Davies decided he wanted to work on his own for a bit and set about writing a musical for London’s West End loosely based on Jules Verne’s novel ‘Around The World In 80 Days’. Contrary to belief the musical was put on that year, albeit ever so briefly in a minor theatre and long before many of the band’s fans got a chance to see it. This project has always intrigued the few fans still following the band by the late 80s (a very under-rated period for them I’ve always thought) and Ray recycled some of the themes and ideas for The Kinks’ excellent ‘UK Jive’ album, although sadly an early ‘Loony Balloon’ isn’t included in this ear-dropping 42 minutes’ worth of unreleased Ray Davies, though historically it should have been. Like many modern musicals by superstars, ‘80 Days’ is so aware of itself and its big ideas it’s uncomfortable to listen to in places, but for fans who love The Kinks’ big concept works of the 1970s then this is for you, with atravelling tale that’s actually a metaphor for the crumbling British Empire (similar to ‘Arthur’, in fact, but without the same emotion and humanity). Ray also hams up his ‘Englishness’ for all he’s worth with the Victorian setting – a big relief after 10 years of using a heavily americanised accent! ‘Ladies Of The Night’ – the second track from the end on this set – is in truth the only thing here up to even the average Kinks records of the period, but as all that’s left from a project cut off in its prime it’s all very fascinating to hear!
50) Paul McCartney “There’s A More Moose Coming Up!” (Remix):
Remember the Beatles’ Love’ project, which was basically an excuse for George and Giles Martin to mess around with sacred master-tapes on a big budget? Well, it was actually a bootlegger’s idea first and there were dozens of the things long before that project was even started. By far the best remix I’ve ever come across – the only one worth adding to my ‘favourites’ box in fact - is the merging of two of my favourite McCartney songs, ‘Coming Up!’ and ‘More Moose’ (from Wings’ London Town album). The two go together magnificently well in the style of ‘Tomorrow Never Knows/Within You Without You’ – the highlight of the ‘Love’ record – with the loose improvised jamming style of ‘More Moose’ merging with the punchy power pop of Macca’s best solo single to make a whole that, if not better than the parts, is certainly equal to them. And it’s not just my opinion that ‘Coming Up’ is a classic – even John Lennon pops up on a radio interview discussing the song as his ‘inspiration’ in coming back from his house-husband years – and as ever I’m with him, I prefer the ‘freaky’ version of this song too! The bootleggers have also remixed the ‘Coming Up’ promo video to match the new tempo of this song which is all very clever – how do they do that?! Someone should play this to Macca and tell him to give it an official release...
49) Dire Straits with Nils Lofgren “Solid Rock” (Live at Wembley 1985):
A true meeting of AAA minds, never to be repeated sadly. Knopfler and Lofgren have always shared something in common both guitarwise and headgearwise and they both bounce off each other to great effect on this rocking version of one of Dire Straits’ better early tracks. Alas Nils doesn’t seem to have had the chance to sing one of his own songs (‘I Came To Dance’ virtually is a Diore Straits song, music-wise, some five years before that band existed), which is a shame because everyone involved seems to be having fun here. Now, the question which has vexed musical scholars across the ages: which came first, Mark’s headband or Nils’ bandana?!
48) Pete Townshend “Blue, Red and Gray” (performance c.2000?):
A rare solo performance of perhaps Pete’s greatest song, one that sounds all the better for the added age and experience in his voice on this comparatively recent performance against the original from 1975. As anyone whose read my review for ‘Who By Numbers’ will tell you, this is one of the greatest and most under-rated songs of all, hopeful without being trite and adding real depth to the rest of The Who’s canon around it, even if Pete himself doesn’t seem to think so (‘I was such a fucking liar when I wrote this!’ he declares at one point)
47) Noel Gallagher’s lead vocals on several Oasis songs he wouldn’t normally sing (1996-05):
Roll With It: http://youtu.be/BOiOgqHEUuI
Some Might Say http://youtu.be/0m5Ils-CCF0
Stand By Me http://youtu.be/J0AtUzJoBxQ
My Big Mouth http://youtu.be/TyEUjLeUqkQ
Be Here Now http://youtu.be/MPzXJ1-NK-4
Go Let It Out http://youtu.be/KHDhJX-fGGo
The Hindu Times http://youtu.be/SzxHXCfi_1I
A fascinating assortment of Oasis bits and pieces with the ‘wrong’ Gallagher brother singing lead! The first five are straightforward live versions with Noel singing for whatever reason (perhaps Liam was having a tantrum or Noel just fancied taking over that might), mainly taken from a fascinating Oasis bootleg of unusual live recordings. What’s interesting is hearing Noel reclaim some songs from his catalogue that aren’t that well known and as far as I know he never sings in public again, such as the title track of ‘Be Here Now’, which sounds tonnes better here than it does on record with an optimism rather than the arrogance Liam gives the song. The sixth song here, ‘Acquiesce’, is of particular note because Liam starts off taking the lead, coughs really badly midway through the first verse and Noel swiftly comes to his aid in a rare display of brotherly love (he knows all the words too!)The next three songs are Noel’s working demos for the band, with him taking the lead, naturally – ‘Go Let It Out’ is especially different with an abandoned spoken section near the beginning while both ‘The Hindu Times’ and ‘Lyla’ sound better without all those overdubs stuck on top. A veritable treasure trove of what could have been in an alternate Oasis timeline where Liam Gallagher never existed!
46) The Monkees “So Far Out, She’s In” (Live 1967)
This one’s interesting for those of you who, like me, loved the Headquarters Sessions boxed set. One of the first songs The Monkees performed together as a band in early 1967 after their ‘coup’ against musical director Don Kirshner, they sadly abandoned the song after recording just the backing tape despite it being one of their more coherent moments during the sessions where they really ‘cooked’ as a band. This live version features Mike Nesmith singing the words to the song that the band never got around to adding (buried under an awful lot of screaming!) It sounds like a good song too – and it’s great to hear how it should have sounded, although other off-cuts from the same sessions such as ‘The Story Of Rock ‘n’ Roll’ and what may have been ‘Masking Tape’ fare less well.
45) The Small Faces on the Morecambe and Wise Show 1967:
What do you think of it so far? Glorious actually – the Beatles appearance on the M&W Show was one of the funniest clips around (the highlight of the early episodes of ‘Anthology’) but this is even better, with a truly awful pun about needing ‘four faces’ and a rare live clip of the band singing ‘I Can’t Make It’. And very live it is too, sounding downright cacophonous compared to the polished studio version. Also, has anyone else noticed how hard it is to take your eyes off Steve Marriott when he’s in the ‘zone’, even with those short fat hairy legs on screen.
44) The Hollies “On A Carousel” (The Hollies recording as taped for a 1960s documentary on Abbey Road)
The Beatles weren’t available and Pink Floyd were acting ‘weird’, so who else could a BBC film crew go to for film footage of a band hard at work at Abbey Road’s seminal studios? Why The Hollies of course, who mime recording their latest single ‘On A Carousel’. As far as I know, this is the only footage of the band ‘at work’ to exist (even if it’s sadly not that genuine and every bit as ‘faked’ as The Beatles doing ‘All You Need Is Love’ at the ‘One World’ broadcasts the same year), so it’s fascinating to see such things as the band interplay at work and where each musician stood to record their parts and do their vocals, etc. There’s an interesting modern-day interview with the band (what was left of the original line up circa 2000 anyway) around too on YouTube if you want to look for it. Bobby Elliott says this was ‘an actual recording’ by the way which surprises me – they’re playing and singing at the same time as late as 1967 and it still sounds this good? Even for The Hollies that’s a tall order! This version of ‘Carousel’ doesn’t sound like an alternate take either, by the way, despite the billing, although there does appear to be a slightly different mix near the end in the harmonies. STOP PRESS: This is another clip said to be included on the forthcoming Hollies DVD ‘British Invasion: Look Through Any Window’. At this rate I won’t have any of my list still here by 2012!
43) Godley and Creme “Consequences” (Cinema Advert 1975)
http://youtu.be/h28R5LhTRCw (actual advert)
http://youtu.be/oyT6o3aT1a8 (news item)
Remember when music was so big it was treated to adverts in your local cinema? No, me neither – it only seems to have happened twice in AAA history, but then 10cc’s Godley and Creme weren’t ones for doing anything in the normal manner! Their first work as a duo was the triple LP ‘Consequences’ which must be one of the most sprawling, confused, weird, oddball, bizarre, convoluted, peculiar and downright bonkers concept albums ever made covering love, life, death, destruction, devastation and 5 O’Clock alarm calls in two hours, half of them instrumental. In other words it’s exactly the sort of thing that could have been turned into a film – so here’s the next best thing, an album treated as a cinema trailer featuring album guest comedian Peter Cook and various scenes of natural disasters. Can music save the world, as the announcer ponders? Well, two or three tracks can and are among the best the pair ever did with or without 10cc – can’t say I’ve ever played the rest too often as it makes even ‘One Night In paris’ sound normal. As an added bonus I’ve also added the link to a news item about the making of the album (see – music was important back then, it even made the news!), focussing on the Godley-Creme invention ‘The Gizmo’. And very fascinating it is too, with Lol Creme in particular very excited about showing off his new ‘toy’, used to ‘bend’ the sound of each instrument (which here sounds more like a string-based mellotron than the usual examples Godley and Creme gave in interviews). Have a look out for rare appearances for two other ‘Consequences’ tracks on YouTube, TV clips for ‘5 O’Clock In The Morning’ and ‘Honolulu Lulu’, also available on YouTube. And a huge hurrah to the 10cc Fanclub for uploading all of this rare footage – you’re doing ‘your’ band proud!
42) Cat Stevens Unreleased Demos 1970-78
http://youtu.be/p_6Cr8UM0J0 (Can This Be Love?)
http://youtu.be/giEZEVeWuuU (The Joke)
http://youtu.be/TT3ZgwBPqXg (Lookin’ For The Sailor)
http://youtu.be/xjBtYCqSKuI (It’s So Good)
http://youtu.be/4PzrfHbN9Dc (The Fisherman)
Five unreleased Cat Stevens demos that have never appeared on album and show off five very different sides to Cat’s personality. ‘Can This Be Love?’ is a thoughtful song of doubt that questions whether a relationship really is ‘the one’ and would have fitted nicely onto ‘Teaser and The Firecat’ or ‘Catchbull’. ‘The Joke’ is a bluesy song in ‘Foreigner’ mode about old hang-ups getting in the way of a ‘new’ generation, ‘too many schemers and not enough dreamers’. It’s simpler than most of Cat’s oeuvre, but has a strong hook. ‘Lookin’ For A Sailor’ sounds like a studio jam that never quite develops, but if completed would have tied in nicely with the whole ‘Tea For The Tillerman’ theme, nautical but nice. ‘It’s So Good’ is a cute sounding song filled with double entendres that would have had ‘Mona Bone Jakon’ blushing which sounds like the acoustic songs written for the ‘Harold and Maude’ soundtrack. Finally, ‘The Fisherman’ is the best find of all, a story song about a simple man enjoying simple pleasures that sounds like another ‘Mona Bone’ outtake with twinges of ‘Caritas’ in the greek-style playing. All five are strong songs – far too strong to remain unreleased all these years, even with a box set (‘Majikat’) that did a good job of mopping up stray odds and ends with more rarities on it than most similar sets.
41) Yoko Ono, Paul McCartney and various members of the Ono-Lennon and McCartney families ‘Hiroshima Sky Is Always Blue’ (sound only, 1995)
Despite the popular media idea that Paul and John’s widow hate each others’ guts, there’s actually a lot of camaraderie between them and it must be remembered that Macca’s early tape loop experiments while in the Beatles (circa 1966) weren’t that far removed from what Yoko was up to. That said, it’s still amazing that this recording exists, dating from the days when the pair used to see each other regularly during the ‘Threetles’ ‘Free As A Bird Reunion’ and – from what I’ve read – was recorded at John and Yoko’s Dakota home. Yoko sings, speaks and growls her way through a song about the nuclear bomb dropped on Japan that so damaged her family and changed her life forever (see any of our Yoko albums reviews for more on the story she kept hidden all those years), while Macca adds some cod operatics and improvised guitar playing, similar to his work on the ‘Fireman’ albums and not that far removed from John’s work on ‘Two Virgins’ (but with less whistling). It’s not the best thing that either artist involved in this work did and you can’t really hear the Lennon or McCartney clan at all, but it’s undoubtedly fascinating and in its own way moving – not least Yoko’s opening announcement ‘John...we’re here together now, for peace on Earth’ as if the magnitude of having John’s closest allies in the same space will be enough to unite the world and bring about peace. If only, but it’s good of them to still try. And if only either party had released this revealing, if obscure, musical gem.
And that’s that. You can visit us next time here on ‘news, views and music’ for clips no 40-21! In the meantime, why not drop us a line about what you thought of our choices. Any obvious choices left out? Anything new you’ve just added and want to tell us about? Get in touch! See you next issue for more newsing, viewsing and music-ing!