Latest posts by Michael Gerber (see all)
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In the process of refurbishing Nancy Carr’s earlier post on the Seattle-based Beatle-tribute band Apple Jam, I discovered these videos and had to pass them on.
2009’s “Off the Beatle Track” is Apple Jam doing an LP’s worth Lennon/McCartney songs never released by the Beatles (a recent obsession of mine) in the style of the early Beatles.
What I’m noticing as I listen to this stuff is the pure songwriting chops; the variation between songs and sounds, the multitude of hooks. And Apple Jam’s performance is convincing me that, if The Beatles had wanted to apply themselves to these songs, all of them could have found a place in the early catalog… maybe even become hits. It’s inspiring.
This is an album any Beatles fan should check out, though I can’t agree that “all of them could have found a place in the early catalog” of the band. I think the quality is variable, with “I’ll Keep You Satisfied,” “From A Window,” and “A World Without Love” being the strongest, and “One and One is Two” and “Hello Little Girl” the weakest.
To me there’s not much doubt that Lennon and McCartney saved their best work for their band’s albums. But even their farmed-out songs are worth listening to.
And Apple Jam does do an amazing job — the arrangements, instrumentation, and vocals are spot-on for the mid-60s Beatles.
OK, OK, Hyperbole Cops… But on the other hand, I woke up this morning with “One and One is Two” in my head! If Apple Jam were the 1963 Beatles, they would’ve certainly added a guitar break in there, for starters. And a middle eight of some sort. AJ didn’t have the confidence to really finish the song, and I can’t blame them.
Save for “You’ll Know What to Do,” which I find cloddish, to my ear nothing on here is measurably worse than “One After 909” — a strictly by-the-numbers workout resurrected solely ’cause Lennon didn’t wanna write anything for Get Back. “One and One is Two” is as rote as 909, but has a more interesting vocal line. To me.
I think my favorite is, perhaps, “It’s For You.” I would’ve loved to hear the Beatles give that the “Michelle” treatment.
The other thing you hear in this album is just how electric both John and Paul’s voices were. Truly beautiful timbre.
“Hyperbole Cops” — I want to pitch that as a reality show! Kind of like Karma Police.
The Lennon and McCartney singing redeems One After 909 for me, Btw.
I like it, too, Nancy — and that’s exactly the kind of sprucing that they could’ve done to these songs, had they committed to them.
Don’t get me wrong, I’m not calling these tracks all world-beaters; I’m as much underlining the importance of the Beatles Process — how they very well could’ve taken a song like “From a Window” and, via their talents and taste, made it into recognizable Beatles. Something as good as “Words of Love,” surely, or “What You’re Doing.”
Wow this is great! My favorites are I’m in Love and World Without Love. I agree Nancy that the quality does vary though. I really enjoyed listening to this.
I like three of the songs I’m In Love, Tip of My Tongue, and I Don’t Want to See You Again so much, that I downloaded them. Thanks for posting this Michael. It’s like getting a new Beatles album although I don’t like the entire album as much as these three songs. But since I first heard these I have been wondering why these three and some of the others, like From a Window, Bad to Me, and the two other songs (besides I Don’t Want to See You Again) that they gave to Peter and Gordon were never considered for their own albums. I don’t know if any of them are necessarily Beatles A sides but any of the ones I mentioned above would have been great as B sides or album filler. I wonder for instance why songs like Hold Me Tight or even Thank You Girl made the cut but not any of these. Or why they always wanted to pad out their albums with songs like Dizzy Miss Lizzy or Mr Moonlight when they had enough of their own songs which to my ears are better, to fill up the space. Yes even the songs they regarded as “crap” were great. Lastly I agree Michael that One and One is Two is pretty damn catchy. It’s not as bad as Lennon and McCartney seemed to think. It’s not any worse than One After 909 which they seemed to flog to death trying to make it into some kind of hit.
“which they seemed to flog to death trying to make it into some kind of hit.”
Ain’t that the truth! The Beatles grew up a bit as artists when they decided to cut bait on that one… and regressed when they dusted it off. Thank god for Abbey Road.