Monday, 1 August 2016

Oasis: The Best Unreleased Recordings 1992-2013





Given that Oasis have been around for approximately thirty years less than most of the groups we cover, our latest regular feature about an AAA band's best unreleased material isn't half a lengthy and wide-ranging one. A testament to the burst of creativity that ran through most of the twists and turns in Oasis' career, it helps that the band tended to be more cavalier than most with their demo tapes, acetates and  early mixes, handing them out to friends, fans and associates and the band remain a big enough draw in the internet age for a vast majority of these to have made their way into the public eye at one stage or another. Though the Gallagher brothers have been notoriously reluctant to look back on the band's achievements since oasis broke up, there has been a softening of this policy recently with the excellent deluxe sets of 'Definitely Masybe' and 'Morning Glory' released on their respective 20th anniversaries in 2014 and 2015. It remains to be seen whether we'll get the deluxe 'Be Here Now' next year too - given the air-brushing of history that's gone on during the other Oasis retrospectives one suspects not. But what remains impressive about this list isn't just the quantity but the quality, with very few performances here falling short of Oasis' standard including the very earliest performances from the days when the band were still named 'Rain' to the collector's treasure trove of demo tapes rattling around Noel Gallagher's closet. Hopefully one day we'll get here a large percentage of these songs officially, perhaps on the band's 30th anniversary next decade - till then here's a heads up about what's out there in the mucky fingers world of bootlegs to keep an eye on. It's a candidate for one of the best hauls of the AAA canon, with multiple entries from all eras and far too many for us to whittle down to our usual thirty-odd.

1.    Colour My Life (Demo 1992/1993)
We start with Oasis in 1992, still searching for their signature sound. The band were signed to Creation in 1993, partly on the strength of a performance at a Manchester club Creation boss Alan McGee happened to be attending (in an aborted attempt to sign Oasis' support act that night) but also partly on the strength of an eight-track demo tape that had been recorded the years before. In typical perfectionist style, Noel had actually cobbled this together from the best of two separate sessions totalling some fourteen songs in all. Six songs were given the chop, of which five have since turned up on bootleg (the sixth may well have been an early version of 'See The Sun', though I've only ever heard a 1994 recording of it) and all are fascinating for revealing the band's early sounds before they've quite got going yet: the guitarists play off each other 'Rolling Stones' style rather than create that famous wall of noise, while Liam is unashamedly Mancunian and far more laidback than his later character. In short the band sound more like The Stone Roses than Oasis, a move that was probably deliberate given the long shadows that Mani and his friends cast over Manchester rock in the early 90s, having departed their own musical throne so suddenly and finally. As with the other songs discarded 'Colour My Life' is a great Noel Gallagher song you wish he'd returned to once Oasis had nailed their sound because the only thing holding the band back is a slightly lacklustre performance. The lyrics are particularly fascinating, with Noel clearly inspired by his roadie days with the Inspiral Carpets too, she talks about a loved one painting 'pretty pictures' with him, a soulmate who shares the  daydreams he wants to turn into reality. A twenty year old Liam really doesn't get this song, but it's clearly heartfelt for his elder brother, who turns in a stonking guitar solo that adds grit and drive to what's otherwise a laidback performance.

2.    Snakebite (Demo 1992/1993)
If 'Colour' was slow 'Stone Roses' then 'Snakebite' is fast 'Stone Roses'. Set over a daft but funky guitar riff that starts off pure Chuck Berry via Keith Richards and then adds a childish 'derderdittysdittyderder' that sounds very out of place, once it settles down the guitarwork and the slow burning groove magnified to a power of ten by the hugeness of the sound is not unlike 'Columbia' from the first album. Notable mainly for being the band's only 'pure' instrumental until the hidden bonus track on 'Heathen Chemistry' ('F*ckin' In The Bushes' has talking so it doesn't count!) it shows how far Noel had really taken over the band in just a short time, relegating Liam to (presumably) the tambourine just audible at the back. Though like many instrumentals this one runs out of ideas quickly, it does show off just what an under-rated band the original Oasis were with some terrific drumming from the unfairly maligned Tony McCaroll whose the one member of the band stepping toe-to-toe with Noel on his extended solos here, plus Bonehead's sturdy rhythm keeping the band together as their new boss goes 'mad fer it' in a big way.

1.    Life In Vain (Demo 1992/1993)
'Life In Vain' sounds like an early example of the acoustic ballads Noel was already throwing into the set to give Oasis a more rounded sound than just the thrash noise -sounding not unlike the prettier songs in The Jam's canon. Actually it's the only song known to have survived from the pre-Noel years when Liam and Bonehead were writing the songs between them - neither that convincingly. Sample lyric: 'I've been in that naughty league, I've been and gone - and I won't go back'. Unfortunately no one's told Liam he needs to sing differently than the way he treats the electric songs and he sounds more Mancunian and like Ian Brown than ever, even though the song couldn't be less like the Stone Roses. The lyrics recall the similarly titled Rolling Stones song 'Love In Vain' and is a typical 'goodbye' song, with the narrator realising he's come to the end of his road and moving on before he gets left behind. You can just imagine the look on Noel's face when he came back from years of heavy writing on the road with the Inspiral Carpets and heard what his brother's songs sounded like!

4.    Must Be The Music (Demo 1992/1993)
'Must Be The Music' is a slightly more polished go at the same sound as 'Colour My Life'. Liam sounds much more like himself, though the rest of the band are trapped in a very pastiche Stone Roses groove. Alas, though, Liam seems to be badly off mike (it's easy to forget how young and new to all this the band still were back at this point) so the lyrics are impossible to hear. What we can hear sounds suspiciously like a Slade song, though, which automatically puts this song a notch or two lower than the band's early Oasis, Stones, Jam or Stone Roses trademarks.

5.    Better Let You Know (Live 1992/1993)
The one song of the five that really should have made the demo tape is this urgent little rocker which is perhaps a little too like 'Columbia' crossed with 'Bring It Down' for comfort but is a real missing link in the Oasis sound. The band are by now much sharper on their feet, with Noel and Bonehead creating a 'mini-wall' as they cross and weave their guitars and work together rather than apart. Liam is singing down what sounds like the wrong end of a megaphone, which is perhaps an experiment too far, but on the demo tape recordings it's this track and a burgeoning 'Rock and Roll Star' where he sounds most like 'himself', sneering rather than singing the words as he dismisses the girl who 'thinks she's gonna break my heart!'


6.    Digsy's Dinner (First Radio Session August 1993)
Taped the same day as the B-side versions of 'I Will Believe' and 'Columbia' used to pad out the band's first two B-sides, Digsy's is even more primitive than either. Bonehead's rhythm part suffers from an almighty lot of distortion while McCarroll's clattering drums suggest he doesn't rate the song that much. Oddly Liam's right on the money though, picking up on the 'these could be the best days of our lives' philosophy with a sunny vocal even warmer than the version on 'Definitely Maybe'. His biggest difference is that he goes 'up' at the end of the word 'lasaaaaaaaagne', not down.
7.    Rock 'n' Roll Star (First Radio Session August 1993)
Similarly the first recorded go at 'Rock 'n' Roll Star' both trhives and suffers from the low-fi production. The lack of a wall of noise is in danger of making Oasis sound like every other band, while Liam still sounds like a wannabe not a 'star'. This is far from a bad version though and hearing Liam sing solo without the harmonies make the song sound even more direct and honest.
8.    Supersonic (Demos x 2 c.1994) - noel and liam
BY 1994 Oasis have a record contract and a whacking pile of songs old and new to choose from for the debut single. Noel has 'Live Forever' in his pocket he's saving for later on and surprisingly doesn't go with either of the songs that have been going down well in the live set: 'Rock and Roll Star' and 'Columbia'. Instead the band go with one of his latest batch of material and a song that purrs the Oasis manifesto of laidback urgency like no other. Noel is keen enough on the new song to record two demos for it, including a career long practice of singing the song himself (where the song is slightly slower and more like a hangover-induced comedy - 'She's Electric' if it was on acoustic, if you know what I mean) and getting his brother in (Liam sings it with the sneer of the record, though he's clearly 'reading' rather than 'living' this song). As with most Noel demos to come the song is here complete already, with very little variation in terms of melody or lyrics before the version we all know and love.

9.    Live Forever (Rare Demo 1994)
This one is, I'm afraid, a bit of a cheat in that it was given away free as a special gift with an edition of the Melody Maker back when that magazine was in it's death  throes. I know because I bought that issue and I was the hero of my class for about two days when I passed the tape around before I went back to being that weird kid who likes The Beatles and CSN. Oddly the song has never been released since on anything 'Oasisy' (the 'Definitely Maybe' deluxe set would surely have been an obvious choice?) and you try tracking this one down, so I rest my case that it really is a 'rarity'. It's a very different recording to the finished product, performed on an acoustic guitar riff that makes it sound not unlike 'Wonderwall' to come, although Liam is already belting out the lyrics as if he means every word. Noel plays both guitar and a sweet church organ part that pushes this song about eternal life into the realm of gospel which suits it nicely, while the highlight is the interplay between the brothers, the only two that are here: their voices are so different to each other and yet they sound so perfectly in harmony here, uniting in their dreams of living on after their death. Though you miss the power, the speed and especially the solo-ing of the finished product, this is one hell of a demo of one hell of a song and already sounds fabulous as only this period Oasis can.

10.    See The Sun (Unreleased 1994)
A rare song rejected from the first album - Noel seems to have already worked out what songs go where for the first three records by this time according to his many notebooks later sold at auction, with a few notable exceptions such as 'D'Yer Know What I Mean?'  Probably for good reason: this six minute grunge epic would have slowed the album down alongside 'Rock and Roll Star' 'Bring It On Down' and 'Slide Away' without matching any of these three as a song. It is, however, deeply atmospheric, with a typical McCaroll drum pattern, a rare showcase for Guigsy's superb bass playing at the start and a terrific 'wall of noise'. Liam sounds awful though, temporarily going back to his Stone Roses impressions rather than sneering on a song that could use a good sneer: 'You missed the moon on Monday morning, you were lying in your sin, you don't mean a thing to anyone any more!' My guess is that this ambiguous and rather stoned sounding lyric is Noel's attempts to gee himself up, to return to the 'muse' or 'sun' that inspired him to write in the first place rather than relying on reflections of other bands represented by the moon reflecting off the sun (at least that's my take and by now Noel was enough of a music fan to understand that his loves The Beatles, The Kinks and Paul Weller used this metaphor all the time too).

11.    Slide Away (Backing Track 1994)
I'm quite a fan of backing tracks, as regular AAA readers well know - they offer a welcome glimpse into what made up a song without the distractions of trying to sing along. I suspect, though, that most Oasis backing tracks probably wouldn't work without Liam front and centre and would risk sounding like pure noise - at least in the case of the first two albums. 'Slide Away' is the exception, one of Noel's most melodic early songs which sounds great with his despondent, desperate guitar filling in for Liam's lead. The whole thing becomes rather hypnotic before the seven minutes are up, especially over that long fade where you can more properly hear a third guitar creep in and start solo-ing over the top, increasing the tension and the panic. Don't know, don't care - all I know is that it took me there!

12.    Talk Tonight ('Electric' Version 1995)
Another classic Oasis moment sounding rather different is a first abandoned attempt to make this sweet tale of fan encouragement sound like most other Oasis songs. Sounding much more wild and desperate - not unlike 'Where Did It All Go Wrong?' to come - this version of the song opens with a slur of feedback and seems to collapse across the course of the song. It's a far cry from the optimism and support that Noel felt the day he wrote the track (and agreed to go back to Oasis after a clash with his brother), which might be why it was abandoned and resurrected later. Noel sounds as if he's in a mean mood still, judging by the vocal which sounds more like his brother's (was it a guide part he expected his brother to replace?)
13.    Some Might Say (Noel On Lead c.1996)
This Oasis stomper, meanwhile, sounds far happier in concert form, reduced to the demented glee of period Noel-only tracks like 'D'Yer Wanna Be A Spaceman?' without Liam's vocals to give it extra power and ambiguity. It's been lost in the mists of time quite why Noel is singing his own voice live - was it one of the gigs where Liam got throat trouble? - but he does a great job at playing the song's tricky chords at the same time as singing the lyrics with real joy.

14.    Stay Young (Radio Broadcast 1996)
Over on the band's American tour, Noel dropped into a local radio station - the date and venue being lost to the mists of time - where he was in a particularly jolly and receptive mood. Asked if he's written any songs recently, Noel replies in the affirmative and sings a gloriously fun and enthusiastic version of this song from the future 'Be Here Now' album. It sounds very different with Noel on lead not Liam and sounds all the better for being a 'pure' song about happiness without the sneer of his brother's vocals.
15. Help! (Live c.1996)
Heard all too briefly in Oasis' live set of the era was yet another unplugged Beatles cover by Noel solo, sadly still unreleased unlike the similar cover of 'You've Got To Hide Your Love Away' released on the 'Morning Glory' deluxe. Better than either that cover or the noisy take on 'I Am The Walrus', Noel sings the song more the way that John Lennon intended before the song got 'jazzed up' by the other Beatles - as a slow poignant lament with soul and folk rather than pop and rock overtones. Noel, by now caught up in a whirlwind of success and parties is in the equivalent of  what Lennon called his 'fat Elvis' period two years into The Beatles' reign of stardom and must have identified with the themes of alienation and despondency. His 'won't you please please help me?' refrain is particularly mournful.

16. Stop The Clocks (Unreleased Version c.1997)
If you've read our rather scathing review of Noel Gallagher's debut album then you'll already know that the four best songs - the only listenable songs - from that album are all Oasis outtakes years older than the other material. 'Clocks' is a particular famous Oasis outtake, one that was recorded for 'Be Here Now' (where it would have been the best song, hands down) but left because it didn't fit the mood of joyful abandon and excess. A 'Masterplan' style plea for understanding what life is all about, Noel quotes from W H Auden as he imagines his death and wonders what a long cold rest might be like when the time comes. Empty is his answer, so he livens the track up with one final rage against the dying of the light, with a killer guitar solo that screeches its way out of the pearly gates as fast as it can. Though this last passage is rather better thought out on the solo recording and it benefits from some soothing harmonies, everything else is worse: Noel builds this Oasis era recording up slower, with a wall of noise made out of softer acoustic guitars that add one by one and his vocal is far more defiant and angry than the final version. A beautiful song in any version, but this first go particularly shines. In the name sounds familiar, this song was intended to appear on the Oasis compilation of the same name until the eleventh hour when Noel changed his mind and kept the song back to re-record.

17. Stand By Me (Live c.1998 Noel On Lead)
Liam's gone awol again, leaving Noel to extend his solo spot on the band's 'Be Here Now' tour. 'Stand By Me' is already enough of a favourite with the crowd that they do most of the work themselves anyway, but Noel sounds rather good adding an elder brotherly air to this song of comfort and support - ironic given that his brother's just let him down again! The song loses something played on acoustic without the power of a band, though.

18. Be Here Now (Live c.1998 Noel On Lead)
The rest of the band have turned up for an extended version of Oasis' new title rack but still no sign of Liam. Noel sounds great as he does his best impression of his brother's sneer, with the song still sounding like a glass-half-full recording in the elder brother's hands. Looping the opening keyboard riff for a full minute, Noel's guitar sounds louder than ever when it finally cuts in, Noel enjoying himself by responding to the fans' banners ('You wot?!?') I wouldn't say it's better than the album cut - which, let's face it, wasn't exactly a crowning morning glory in the first place - but it's as good at least.

19. My Big Mouth (c.1998 Noel On Lead)
'My Big Mouth' just sounds weird. Opening with a crunch of aggressive feedback, this live rendition sounds paranoid and tired, in great contrast to the heavy rocking of the album cut. Again, though, the song rather suits Noel's rather less aggressive voice. Oddly Liam hardly ever sung this track live with the band, though Noel performed it at most concerts his brother couldn't (or wouldn't) play.

20. Let's All Make Believe (Noel's Demo 1998)
One of the great unsung Oasis tracks, this B-side sound like a line in the side. Recorded after the 'Be Here Now' sessions, with the band in disarray, Noel asks the band to stop pretending it will all work out and has never sounded more terrified and alone. Though his vocals lack the classic sneer of Liam, Noel does a great job on a song that's clearly close to his heart, pleading to his brother for support 'because we need each other'. The arrangement is still much the same, even with Noel playing everything, including the band launching into first gear on the line 'let's all make believe that in the end we won't grow up!'

21. Little James (Oasis Live On Portland Radio c.2000)
Liam, meanwhile, has written a new song for his new girlfriend and son-in-law. Back over in the States, Oasis have returned to their ad hoc 'unplugged' sets and Liam has been coaxed into singing a track the band hardly ever did live. Sadly Liam sounds awful, as if he's singing down a telephone line, but the song itself is sturdy and a lot better than reputation suggests, sounding even more cosy and intimate in an acoustic setting.

22. Sunday Morning Call (Live On Portland Radio c.2000)
Another song both band and fans have professed a dislike of, I have a lot of time for 'Sunday Morning Call', which I like for precisely the reason Noel doesn't - the song pricks his usual jovial upbeat personality to portray a sense of despair the Gallaghers rarely let out into the world. The finished version on 'Giants' is sung as if in a daze, with a surreal mellotron part doing most of the work - this version is played more in Oasis' usual style with an aggressive vocal from Noel and an acoustic guitar doing most of the instrumental work. It sounds rather good too.

23. Where Did It All Go Wrong? (Noel on Jools Holland 2000)
We don't usually include TV soundtracks in our list of rarities, but this one is so different and so good that we had to. Noel has turned up with just a pianist and as such plays some very different version of songs from 'Giants'. This 'unplugged' version of the album highlight is slower and more menacing, sounding guilty rather than out and out angry without all the rock and roll crunch to keep momentum going. Noel's vocal is a marvel, veering from passionate cry to hoarse whisper over the course of the song, while the stately piano chords give this song more of a 'traditional' inward singer-songwriter feel.

24. Go Let It Out (Noel's Demo 2000)
A fascinating demo for the band's 'comeback' single performed by Noel alone. The opening makes use of soundbites from the 'Austin Powers' films, an idea later dropped (presumably for copyright reasons) but would perhaps have tied in with the earlier 'F*ckin' In The Bushes' and it's soundbites of the Isle of Wight festival. Noel sings lead and he's in a much mellower frame of mind than his brother, adding a very different vibe to the song, while revealing that the tight drum track on the final version is from a drum machine, looped round and round the spoken word. Typically Noel. Almost everything is firmly in place already, even the Slade-style 'Oooh-ah!' at the end of the middle eight, although there's no one here to 'pick up the bass' which is the one instrument not here.

25. Gas Panic! (Noel's Demo 2000)
Similarly, even the sound effects are there for this moody demo of another 'Giants' highlight. Noel sings double-tracked and with heavy delay, which makes for a very unsettling effect, and he sounds far more comfortable in his surroundings than Liam will. The sudden spark into life on the second verse is rather muffed and there's less electric guitar over the shade-too-slow fade and a lot more tuneless flute, but the principle idea is there and sounding rather good. Liam will do a better job though - in fact the vocal on the finished product is one of his greatest.

26. Roll It Over (Noel's Demo 2000)
Noel's personal favourite of the 'Giants' songs, 'Roll It Over' is a neat bookend to the brit pop fire of 'Roll With It' and it makes sense hearing Noel himself sing about passing over the beacon of music making to another generation. Oddly he sounds angrier than his brother and seems to take the changing of the guard as a personal affront - Liam sounded more 'zen' on the record, as if it was all just a fact of life.

27. Acquiesce (Live in Japan 2000 - Noel On Lead)
Liam has turned up to the stage this time, but not for very long - he gets through exactly three lines before getting a frog in his throat and dropping out with a strangled cry. Noel picks up instantly on what's happened and cuts his guitar solo short to finish off the first verse at the drop of a hat (he clearly knows this song well). Liam sits out the rest of the song, which makes this the closest to a 'solo' rather than a 'duet' version of the song ever played. By the end a clearly embarrassed Noel tells the crowd to 'talk amongst yerselves' while telling them that the singer's lost his voice and 'we'll have to carry on as best we can - ask the promoter for your money back or whatever'. Noel then ushers on an official from Japan 'who can tell you all that again - but in Japanese, obviously!'


28.    It's A Crime ('Let There Be Love' Demo c.2000)
Noel has admitted that the 2005 single 'Let There Be Love' has taken him more time to write than almost any other. An early version, with the same chorus but very different verses and played on guitar rather than echo-drenched piano, sounds as if its ever so nearly there but is being channelled through ther wrong 'inspiration'. Taken slightly quicker, Noel is treating this as one of his Slade first-pumps, rather than an inward solo Lennon ballad. The lyrics are very different to the final edition's take on brotherly love: 'You can say what you want but you won't get a  thing from me, and if you don't understand it's not in your hands you need, let there be love...' The middle eight, meanwhile, doesn't have the 'baby blue' bit but veers from guilt and shame to realising that messing up occasionally 'is no crime'.

29.    I Wanna Live A Dream (In My Record Machine) (Unreleased Version c.2000)
Another outtake returned to by the High Flying Birds, Noel changed suspiciously little of 'Record Machine', a pretty song about escapism that would have livened the 'Giants' album up no end. The outtake is still the better, though, if solely for missing out on all that rather over-glossy polish of the finished version. After all a song, about the glory of music to inspire you to make your own needs a few rough edges intact, right?

30.    Songbird (Liam's Demo 2002)
Liam's in on the act now, turning in a wonderfully over-produced demo that I prefer to the final version again. Over a 'Beatles circa 'Rain' style bass, someone plays a Dylanesque harmonica and the riffs just keep on coming, one Townshend-esque windmill after another. Though lacking the informal beauty of the finished version, Liam's vocal here is even better, thick and fat and as passionate over the new love in his life as he usually is on his more sarcastic vocals. A gonzo guitar solo (which sounds like a Gem one to me) followed by some demented whistling are two more touches I wish they'd kept. Presumably this is the version of the song Courtney Love (Kurt Cobain's widow)  remembers guesting on and she was upset to hear the song changed when it came out.

31.    Show Me Your Love (Unreleased 2004)
Another early Liam-written love song was sadly never captured properly, although Liam can be heard playing it's simple piano chords on a series of bootlegs, handily stuck together by one hardworking Oasis fan. This is, sadly only a fragment with overtones of 'Hello Goodbye' Beatles, but it's a promising fragment with Liam promising that he will show love and affection, but 'in my own ti-e-ime'. It's not that impossibly that this song might have mutated into 'I'm Outta Time' from last album 'Dig Out Your Soul', though if it did the song lost it's twinkly riff and happy-go-lucky vibe along the way.

32.    Lyla (Noel's Demo 2005)
Don't believe the truth - especially if it comes from David Cameron, whose forgotten what the truth is by now. Anyway that's the next Oasis album and there's another slew of demos and outtakes from this era. The most 'finished' of these is Noel's foot-stomping demo for first single 'Lyla', which sounds rather good with the elder Gallagher's softer, friendlier vocals. Noel said later this song was a Mccartney-esque tribute to strong women in general and his wife in particular and this versions very much has the 'feel' of a Wings track - the final sneered version is more Lennonish. There's one lyric change too: instead of 'hear me when I call' the line heading into the quick solo is here 'Make my world stand tall!'

33.    Everybody's On The Run (Soundcheck c.2005)
The final 'High Flying Bird' outtake was taped by an enterprising fan at a sound-check across the band's last tour, where it captures Noel in a rare mournful and bittersweet mood. The grottyness of the bootleg actually enhances the mood of this future album opener as Noel pours out his heart over the sound of just his single acoustic guitar on a mood closer to 'Where Did It All Go Wrong?' and 'Gas Panic' rather than the finished version's uncanny resemblance to 'All You Need Is Love'.

34.    Tomorrow Never Knows (c.2006)
A John Lennon tribute night brought a whole host of famous faces to pay tribute, including several Gallagher heroes such as The Smith's Johnny Marr and britpop rivals Cornershop. Noel bravely tackled one of the fab four's spacier ideas, performing an Indian version of the 'Revolver' closer complete with electronically treated vocals. The song, taken by Lennon from the Egyptian Book Of The Dead, is much closer to his original vision for the song (a chorus of chanting monks) and the backwards guitars and sitars repeating the song's drone make for a fitting and enjoyable reading, even if you miss McCartney's tape loops.

35.    Lord Don't Slow Me Down (Liam's Vocals 2007)
Oasis had a quiet year in 2007, two years after their last album (their usual 'gap' between records). They did however release a documentary film and a tie-in standalone single which features Noel back to his Slade impressions again. The demo, unusually, featured Liam trying out for the song and it sounds far more in keeping with the Oasis signature sound, with more of a sneer than a cheer. Oasis have never sounded more like The Sex Pistols than here on this simple guitar crunch and Liam sounds terrific. You wonder why the singers changed round?

36.    Within You Without You (Live At Abbey Road 2007)
Another Beatles cover, this time from the 40th anniversary special of 'Sgt Peppers' that saw thirteen bands re-record the album's thirteen tracks in the fab's old studio no 2 at Abbey Road. Once again Oasis didn't go for the obvious and instead turned in a revved up version of George's solemn lecture (and one of the album's better songs, whatever critics said then and now). This Oasis version sounds far more like the band's recent remix on the 'Love' album which twinned the song with the repetitive drum part from 'Tomorrow Never Knows' - a part noticeably absent from Noel's version the previous year (it's the only decent remix on that album and the only thing you need to buy it for, so good choice). The Beatles may lack the sophistication and intelligence of Harrison's moody original, but they have all the power. Fab indeed, especially Gem's authentically psychedelic guitar breaks.


37. Cry Baby Cry (Beady Eye 'Acoustic At Abbey Road' 2013)

We end with another Beatles cover, this time from the Liam-led Beady Eye. The band recorded some terrific concerts across their two tours and even started doing regular sessions for BBC radio - something Oasis had done comparatively little of in their years together (going from zero to heroes at such a speed the BBC execs weren't quick enough off the blocks back in 1994). One of Beady Eye's best performances was for Absolute Radio in support of second and final album 'Be' in 2013 where they performed some great stripped down versions of that album's songs (which all sound so much better) and this forgotten Lennon classic from 'The White Album'. Liam's sneer is well suited to a song that started off as a riposte to a TV commercial ('Cry baby cry, make your mother buy' runs Lennon's original lyric), while the unplugged setting gives Beady Eye a chance to both show off their fine playing and add to the 'eerie nursery rhyme' feel of the original. All in all a perfect fitting of band to song and another of the band's best Beatles covers.

And that ends another article. be sure to join us next week when we'll be looking at Oasis on TV!

No comments:

Post a Comment