Hey Gang. It’s been a while. I know it’s not Tu(n)esday. Let’s call it Friendsday. Got tripped up for a bit working on A4B and Povolos stuff and life-ish fiascos. Feels good to just revisit some Beatles tunes and familiarize myself with my new audio interface and my new Pro Tools bundle. Also got to record with my new bass ukulele for the first time. Rubber strings on a uke sized body should not sound like a badass bass, and yet it does.
This weeks tune was the October 1962 B-Side to Love Me Do. A L-M tune that undoubtedly was mostly Paul. Ringo had just joined the band, so his contribution was limited to Maracas. A session drummer by the name of Andy White is responsible for the cha-cha rhythm, which upon learning made complete sense! Even when Ringo is just holding it down, his drumming has SUCH personality. This cha cha might as well be a drum machine. This worked for me, as I’ve got a very similar preset beat on my casio that I was able to drop in.
I probably should have changed the key down a step or three. My tenor is not as effortless as a 21 years old Paul Macca to say the least. But the goal here was to get more fluid transposing guitar fingerings on the ukulele (if you play an A maj guitar fingering on the uke it’s actually a D maj). It’s hard to unlearn almost 20 years of guitar habits.
Hopefully can keep it up this time. Twisted is around the corner!
Hey gang. This weeks offering. I was gonna get started on Christmas covers but it felt too soon. I’m just not there yet. And I’m a pretty Christmas-y dude. I’m excited about Christmas tunes as my roommate Gloria is a wonderful singer from a small German Christmas village. Seriously. We drove up to Wisconsin for thanksgiving and when the radio pooped out, we sang duets of Oh Tannenbaum, and Stille Nacht to name a few. There are a lot of things Germans tend not to do well, but churning out timeless Christmas classics is not one of the things they don’t do well. Which is to say, they do it well.
In any case, here I join in in celebrating the Rolling Stones (at least Jagger/Richards/Watts) in their 50th year of being alive and making music. This song was omitted from the American version of 1965’s “Aftermath” ultimately appearing on 1967’s odds and sods “Flowers.” A nice simple tune emphasizing Jaggers underrated melodic sensability. I particularly like the little goose he adds by coming in on the 6th of the A major chord on the arrival of the refrain. A slightly weird melodic move that hooks your ear. I’m sure Jagger was unaware of the theory behind it, but it’s possible the bands guitarist/multi-instrumentalist Brian Jones wasn’t. He was the real genius behind the early Stones lineup responsible for the marimbas in “Under My Thumb” and the sitars anywhere you hear ‘em. On this tune he added the subtle texture of the Japanese Koto. That said, I omitted that part from my rendition.
See you next week. Likely with a hint of Christmas.
I’ll be briefer than usual. Gotta scramble and get in to work. Very simply late period Bowie does mid period Beatles doing early period Simon and Garfunkel. I was supposed to do this one with Meredith, but I’ve been busy as heck lately. But it works as a Thanksgiving offering as I’m very thankful to have met her so serendipitously just over a year ago, and thereby the whole StarKid crew. Fans and company members alike! Happy Thanksgiving everybody!
Can’t do a Tunesday a day before Halloween without at least grazing the realm of spooky. I will say, I’m not a huge Halloween nut. My reasons are manifold. A.) I never really had a sweet tooth (more of a meat tooth), so there are no ecstatic childhood memories attached to the binging of milk chocolate and hard candy. Don’t get me wrong, I enjoyed trick or treating, but nothing really could ever compare with the seasonal smells, sounds and melodies of Christmas for me. I was born on December 10th, so my first days were literally spent bundled under a Christmas tree. Near lethal doses of sundry goods, generous melody, and natural pine scent wired my brain irrevocably toward a supremely biased predilection for the Yule Tide Season. B.) Idiots have co-opted Halloween. They dominate the scene. Halloween (at least in Chicago) has become a more scantily clad New Years Eve.
In any case…this week’s selection comes from 1976 courtesy of Cliff Richard. Richard is an interesting figure. Though history seems to have largely forgotten the 72 year old, he is the third biggest selling singles artist of all time in the United Kingdom, with total sales of over 21 million in the UK and has reportedly sold an estimated 250 million records worldwide. His popular peak came in the late ‘50’s and early ‘60’s just before the Beatles changed the entire landscape. He was really Britain’s first rocknroller, something akin to their Little Richard.
He went on to find the Lord, and his music took on a more mellow if not milquetoast variety.
In 1976 he released a comeback record of sorts entitled “I’m Nearly Famous.” It had the effect of garnering the attention none of his earlier material ever could in the states selling over 1million copies.
It’s kind of a silly tune. I copied this next part from WIKIPEDIA because I’ve been staring at a ‘puter for 12 hours and am barely able to form thought. “The song is told from the point of a view of a man jinxed from an encounter with a stray cat with evil eyes, and his discovery that the psychic medium (aGypsy woman) whose help he sought to break the curse was the one responsible for the curse in the first place. The latter-mentioned have some notable parallels with Cher's 1974 hit single “Dark Lady”.”
So there you have it. This week’s cover. Devil Woman, by Cliff Richard written by Terry Britten and Christine Holmes.
This week we’re back with more Beatles. Their second ever single, and first American release from 1963, “Please Please Me.” A John tune. Though, only two minutes in length it packs in tons of hooks, from John’s harmonica intro (which he also did notably on other early hits, Love Me Do, I should have known Better, and From Me to You) to the Everly Brothers-escent harmonic trick of Paul holding the high vocal note, while John descends down the scale, to the sweet ascending call and response on refrain.
The original has a little bit of a cha-cha vibe. I went in a slightly more Ramones-ian direction. I remember first getting the idea to do this song in this style about a year ago while listening to the Futureheads impossibly fistpumpingly energizing jam “Beginning of the Twist.” I think it works. I banged it out pretty darn quick. I’m a little upset about where my drumming is at, and I think I’m just gonna start bringing in guest drummers more regularly. Beat 06 on my Casio Previa is starting to drive me insane. My tambourine playing is improving though, and that has me feeling warm inside. See y’all next week.
This week we’re back with a deliciously simple song. “The Way I Feel Inside,” by The Zombies off their 1965 debut record “Begin Here” as titled in England, or “The Zombies” as it was known stateside. It was written by their chief songwriter Rod Argent.
It’s featured in 2004’s Wes Anderson film “The Life Aquatic.” My guess is that that’s where I first came across it. It’s been a mixtape staple over the years as you can squeeze it in at the end of a side if you’ve got a small window left.
My intent was to keep it about as stripped down as it is, while also using it as a trial run for a new sound I’m going for this Halloween season that I like to call “Boo-Wop.” It’s basically what I’d like to think a barbershop of ghosts would sound like, with some twinkly, echoey, high on the register piano sparkle and big echoey tribal drums.
Where’s “Mellow Chihuahua (the song)” two of you might be asking. I am working in earnest on it. Not daily, cause I have a life with jobs, and tacos and bills and friends, and a workout regimen to maintain, but it is swirling around the mind, and ruminating. I recorded the final section yesterday that has forced me to reevaluate everything that came before it. The song has grown from a 2 minute verse chorus verse chorus to something much weirder and sci-fi. A song of transformation. Interludes. And wonder. No more promises. You’ll get it when you get it.
I left my brain in San Francisco
We’ll back back next week with a very special double feature next Tunesday. I’ve been in San Francisco since last Thursday, and got back to Chicago just in time to head to work. I had WAY too much fun. What a beautiful way of life out there. Just insanely ideal. San Francisco, where chaos and crostini’s meet. Elegant debauchery. Enough. I might need to move out there.
Here we go again. Still no “Mellow Chihuahua (the song).” However, a new twist to this week’s cover. A special guest! JaimeLyn Beatty was kind enough to drop by Camp Manchild and lend her lovely pipes to this weeks cover, “Rose Garden” by Lynn Anderson.
This song is one of those mysteriously massive hits that time has somehow forgotten. I’d have still never heard the song (at least on the radio, or through friends) if not for finding this song on a country sampler at a rural Washington outpost a few years ago. But the song was a massive crossover hit at the time. Which was late 1970. It topped the country charts, hit as high as #3 in the pop charts, topped the charts in Germany, and hit #3 in the England pop charts.
The original version has a bombastic orchestral intro that I have done zero justice to. But JaimeLyn does lovely work singing Lynn’s lines. It was a real joy to record someone with such a pure wonderful voice. I hardly had to do anything to it. A light coat of reverb is all. My voice often requires doubling, harmony parts, copious amounts of reverb and eq. What joy.
I had some fun infusing this country number with a little more of my personality than recent posts where I’ve been pretty faithful and straightforward to the original. This version sounds like country met reggae in a spaceship and had baby named Dean.
My hope is to continue the trend of bringing in friends to help out with the covers project. We’ll see about next week since I’m heading to SF on Thursday, and won’t be back until Tuesday. But certainly the following week I’ll be actively harassing my friends into helping out here and there. Some friends you know already, others you’ll soon meet.
Enjoy. And special thanks again to Miss JaimeLyn Beatty!
Hey Guys. This weeks Tunesday Cover comes from the Beatles excellent 1964 album “Beatles For Sale.” Fittingly, this was to be the last of their albums to be cover laden. No less than 6 of the 14 tracks on here are covering the likes of Buddy Holly, Chuck Berry, and Carl Perkins to name a few. This was a hugely significant shift in pop music. They became the paradigm for all bands to follow in the sense that virtually every band felt it necessary to write AND perform all their own music. Some have argued that this has been to the detriment of music as it created an environment where peppering your set/albums with covers was a sign of weakness, and even amateurish. The problem is that nearly every band that followed did not have two (arguably three) of the greatest pop songsmiths of the past century in their band pushing each other to fart out a hit every few days.
With that, I give you my take on “No Reply” Tons of reverb. I think my John Lennon imitation is pretty spot on here.
To GrahamCrackuz. I’m sorry. This weekend was filled shooting a video, and as soon as the NFL refs stripped victory from my boys last night, my focus shifted from “MellowChihuahua (The Song)” to protest music. That is what where I am now. But seeing as I have dashed your expectations, and pissed on your patience, I will honor any cover request (within reason - I probably can’t quite yet tackle “Bohemian Rhapsody”) of yours in addition to bringing “MellowChihuahua (the song)” to the world soon.
Ugh. I have raised the bar the M.C.(T.S) too high. There’s no way it can ever be good enough now! Oy!
Stay tuned. Especially if you’re as outraged by last nights officiating as I am. Talk about watershed moments. The NFL is slitting its wrists.
Hey gang. This one’s pretty sparse. Not that it needs too much. I dusted off the Beatles bible and used their exact vocal arrangement for this week’s selection, “If I Fell” from “Hard Days Night.” I doubled the parts to give it a bit more heft. Actually if you listen closely, John doubles his vocals in many Beatles recordings. Amazingly, he hated his voice. Especially in the early days. I guess splitting vocal duties with Paul McCartney will make you second guess the quality and character of your voice.
One or two of you may be wondering why the song “Mellow Chihuahua” didn’t get done again. I had a busy weekend at work and have been showing my apartment the past two days, and was working on a recording with Blim, Meredith, and Zwiderski on Sunday night, so time crashed down. But the lyrics are done! I’ve actually just gotta edit it down from 8 verses to maybe 4. NEXT WEEK. PWOMISS!