Monday, June 30, 2008

Any Road by George Harrison - ****

First released: 2002

Although George performed this track on a radio show earlier in the 90s, the album version from the posthumous "Brainwashed" came out in 2002. It also came out as a single, but by this point, anything The Beatles group or solo released as a single had a difficult time charting. Too bad, as it is one of George’s absolute best.

"Anthology 3" by The Beatles - ****

First released: 1996

The final (for now) "Anthology" came out a year after the first one, and featured no new track, although a new track was rumored to have been completed, but not released. To date, it has not seen the light of day. This volume covers the years 1968-1970 and features such unreleased goodies as "What's the New Mary Jane" and a early demo version of "While My Guitar Gently Weeps". It was also supposed to have a third brand new track called "Now and Then", but it was left off and still remains unreleased. There are still a number of quality, unreleased songs that could fill at least two more Anthology editions, and in fact the bootleggers did just that with "Anthology Plus" and "Anthology More".

Sunday, June 29, 2008

"Anthology 2" by The Beatles - ****

First released: 1996

A few months after the first "Anthology" was volume two which featured alternate takes and outtakes from 1965-1967. Again, there was one “new” track called "Real Love", which was even less exciting than "Free As a Bird", as the track was previously released as a Lennon solo track for the "Imagine: John Lennon" soundtrack. It was nice this time to finally have legitimate releases of "That Means a Lot" and "If You've Got Trouble", although many people might differ with that assessment.

Saturday, June 28, 2008

"Anthology 1" by The Beatles - ****

First released: 1995

After a seemingly interminable wait, the first volume of unreleased Beatles rarities were finally issued legitimately. This volume contained their earliest recordings from 1957 all the way through 1964. Though there are still many examples from this period still unavailable, it is nice to finally have a legal copy of "Leave My Kitten Alone" and "How Do You Do It". The big bonus was the “new” Beatles song "Free As a Bird", which had its world premiere only days before on the television version of the "Anthology".

Friday, June 27, 2008

"Anthology…So Far, The" by Ringo Starr - ***

First released: 2000

Though this album features a number of tracks previously released on "Ringo Starr and His All-Starr Band", "Ringo Starr and His All-Starr Band Volume 2 Live From Montreux", and "Ringo Starr and His Third All-Starr Band Volume 1", this set also features live performances from Ringo’s fourth, fifth and sixth All-Starr Band tours, including the excellent Peter Frampton/Jack Bruce tour (fourth). This is the live compilation to get. Strangely, Mark Farner was originally left off of a starring song, so after the UK version was released, a bonus track was added to the three CD US version.

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Answer’s at the End, The by George Harrison - **

First released: 1975

So what is the answer at the end? Why, it’s "Isn’t it a Pity". George must REALLY like that song. This time it’s on "Extra Texture", not "All Things Must Pass".

Answering Machine Messages: Paul McCartney by Paul McCartney - **

First released: 1993

This is a rarity off of an album by Rusty and the Boneheads from Bakersfield radio station 105.3 KKXX called "Bogged Down by Reality". Paul and other celebrities were coerced to record separate phone messages that listeners could use for their own home answering machines. Paul’s message isn’t much, but the joy comes from friends shocked to discover that you got such a famous celebrity to record your outgoing message.

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Another Thought by Lon & Derek Van Eaton - **

First released: 1972

Lon & Derek Van Eaton song produced and performed with George for their album "Brother". Maybe I should listen to it again, but I remember the Van Eaton’s album for Apple to not be much. It’s also never been officially released to CD, so I’ll have to dig out my vinyl.

Monday, June 23, 2008

Another Girl by The Beatles - ****

First released: 1965

A fun track by McCartney and playfully performed in the "Help!" movie as well as on the LP. When I saw "Help!" for the first time, I wished I was McCartney as he strummed across the bikini-clad girl’s tits emulating a guitar. Must be nice to be a Beatle! The visual jump cuts were also another step towards "The Monkees".

It's also on 2006's "The Capitol Albums, Vol. 2".

Sunday, June 22, 2008

Another Day By Paul McCartney - ****

First released: 1971

Though it began its life as a Beatles recording, as rehearsals do exist of this song from 1969, the proper version was recorded by Paul as his first single release. Strangely, "Maybe I’m Amazed" was never even considered for a single. This song in turn was never considered for album and didn’t turn up on an album until 1978’s "Wings Greatest", 1987’s "All The Best" and 2001’s "Wingspan". Strange, as it isn’t truly a Wings song. I enjoy it immensely for what it is, but it does seem a little lightweight for Paul and especially in comparison to what the other three Beatles were churning out by this time. It was also added to the UK CD reissue of "Ram" in 1993.

Saturday, June 21, 2008

Another Beatles Christmas Record by The Beatles - ****

First released: 1964

"A Beatles Christmas Record" from 1963 was popular enough for the UK crowd, so the next year a new message was recorded in basically the same way with the four huddled around a mike and “adlibbing” a message to The Beatles Fan Club. Although these seem totally off-the-cuff, they were scripted to some extent and outtakes do exist featuring The Beatles singing "Hello Dolly", which would still have needed copyright clearance. The recording was included in 1970 on "The Beatles Christmas Album".

Friday, June 20, 2008

Annie by The Beatles - **


Unreleased Lennon song dating from 1969 during the "Get Back" sessions that he supposedly wrote for Ringo. Apparently, there is only a 22-second snippet in existence.

Thursday, June 19, 2008

Anna (Go to Him) by The Beatles - ***

First released: 1963

A pleasant sounding song with a Lennon vocal and some nice back up harmonies. Nothing terribly remarkable, but another track from the highly efficient "Please Please Me" sessions. Arthur Alexander wrote and recorded the original version released in 1962. It also appears on "The Beatles" (EP) and on "Introducing The Beatles", "The Beatles vs. The Four Seasons", "Songs, Pictures, Stories of the Fabulous Beatles", "The Early Beatles" and 2006’s "The Capitol Albums, Vol. 2".

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Angry by Paul McCartney - **

First released: 1986

One reviewer at the time said that Paul should never compose a song about being angry; "I’ve Had Enough" being another example. Mainly because he cannot sing with the vocal intensity required for such an emotional song. Turned out that this is not one of the strongest tunes off of "Press to Play" anyway and seems unfinished in a certain respect.

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Angela by John Lennon - **

First released: 1972

John and Yoko nicely sing this simple tune devoted to the work of Angela Davis. It seems to lack a bit of punch, especially during the chorus. It’s on "Some Time in New York City". The only personal attachment I have to this song is that Angela Davis was an instructor at San Francisco State University when I attended there from 1986-1988. I didn't officially meet her but passed by her on campus as she walking by with a student. I did meet David Peel as well, but that’s a story saved for the entry under the song "New York City".

Monday, June 16, 2008

Angel in Disguise by Ringo Starr – (NR)


Unreleased McCartney/Starr tune intended for Ringo's "Time Takes Time" album in 1992. I haven't heard it.

Sunday, June 15, 2008

Angel Baby by John Lennon - **

First released: 1975

Originally released briefly on the Roots album by John Lennon and strangely left off of the officially released "Rock ‘n’ Roll" album. It later appeared on an official release on the 1986 compilation "Menlove Avenue". It was also on 1990’s "Lennon" and "Instant Karma" from 2001. It finally made a home on "Rock ‘n’ Roll" on the 2004 CD reissue. Rosy & The Originals had the original hit in 1961 written by Rose Hamlin.

Lennon's version, while good, has nothing distinctive going for it, which is probably why it was left off the original album. He does have a nice vocal however.

Saturday, June 14, 2008

And Your Bird Can Sing by The Beatles - **

First released: 1966

One of three Lennon tracks inexplicably left off of "Revolver" in the US in favor of the "Yesterday and Today" compilation. Although it is not one of my favorite tunes by The Beatles, it was and is a travesty that their material was treated that way up through 1966. When CDs were released in 1987, this song was there, on "Revolver", as it should have been. A demo version appears on "Anthology 2" in 1996 complete with The Beatles incessant giggling.

The main reason for my dislike of the song is that it always seems that Lennon is straining to sing it, and the lyrics and music are below the standards of a typical Beatles song of the time, especially when you compare it to "Tomorrow Never Knows" off the same album.

Friday, June 13, 2008

And I Love Her by The Beatles - ***

First released: 1964

Yet another hit from "A Hard Day’s Night" and the b-side of "If I Fell" in the US. I like the clicking stick sound that was prominent on this tune. Besides the "Hard Day’s Night" soundtrack, it’s on "Something New". Later it appeared on 1973's "1962-1966" and 1977’s "Love Songs", 1980’s "Rarities" (!) in a slightly longer version, and on 2004’s "The Capitol Albums, Vol 1". A demo version appears on "Anthology 1" from 1995, and McCartney does a live take of the song on "Unplugged (The Official Bootleg)" in 1991.

Thursday, June 12, 2008

Amsterdam by John Lennon - **

First released: 1969

Finally, an actual listenable side of a John and Yoko album. The b-side of "The Wedding Album" features various interviews from John and Yoko’s Amsterdam Bed-In.

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

American Woman by Burton Cummings - ***

First released: 1993

A live version of the classic Guess Who song by Burton Cummings appears on "Ringo Starr and His All-Starr Band Volume 2 Live From Montreux" in 1993 (this version reissued on 2000’s "The Anthology…So Far").

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

America by The Beatles – (NR)


The Beatles apparently perform a little bit of this patriotic classic at Shea Stadium in 1965. I don’t know for sure, as I’ve never heard it.

Monday, June 9, 2008

Almost Grown by The Beatles - **


The Beatles run through this Chuck Berry classic during the "Get Back" sessions in 1969. Two different, but very brief performances on different days were tried. Nothing serious.

Sunday, June 8, 2008

All You Need is Love by The Beatles - ****

First released: 1967

There’s a Beatles book out there that comments on the composing abilities of the group and really badmouths this song claiming that it is only based on one note. If that truly is the case, then it is the most glorious one note song ever recorded. Others bad mouth it as being too simple coming on the heels of "Sgt. Pepper" and not included on the album. It was a hit single and added to the "Magical Mystery Tour" album in the US, as well as being a highlight of "Yellow Submarine" and included on its soundtrack album as well. It's also on "1967-1970", 1999's "Yellow Submarine Songtrack" and 2000's "1". It is also used for 2006's "Love".

It was never performed live except for when it was originally recorded for the "Our World" special, but Paul did record it live for the "Party at the Palace" in 2002 accompanied by Rod Stewart, Joe Cocker and Ladysmith Black Mambazo. On this version, the "French National Anthem" opening was replaced with the opening bars of "God Save the Queen".

Saturday, June 7, 2008

"All You Need is Cash" (feature) by The Rutles - ***

First released: 1978

Though not as funny as it could be, there are quite a few laughs in Eric Idle’s sendup of The Beatles story. I thought the original brief sequence from "Rutland Weekend Television" and "Saturday Night Live" in which Idle was really trying to be David Frost was a lot funnier. Overall, it was well done, but you really had to be a hardcore Beatles fan to even “get” some of the references. Some things were so subtly done, as the humor was even lost on me. "Get Back" to "Get Up and Go" anyone? George Harrison makes a cameo as a reporter though you may not recognize him in grey hair and specs.

Friday, June 6, 2008

All You Horseriders by Paul McCartney - *

First released: 1986

One of McCartney’s stupidest songs, and wisely left off of "McCartney II". It basically features McCartney shouting out some basic horse calls in a strange cartoony voice backed with a fast-paced clip-clop beat. It is unintentionally laughable. Recorded in 1979 and featured in "Blankit's First Show" in 1986.

Thursday, June 5, 2008

All Together on the Wireless Machine by The Beatles – (NR)


Debatable 1967 recording as to whether it is McCartney or not. I'm not sure as I have never heard it.

Wednesday, June 4, 2008

All Together Now by The Beatles - ***

First released: 1968

One of four “throwaway” songs The Beatles dashed off for "Yellow Submarine". It actually isn’t that bad considering the very simple lyrics. McCartney has used dopey lyrics like this later on (see "Driving Rain", for example), but here it comes across as charming in its simplicity. It was successfully released as a single in some countries, though not the US or the UK. It's also on 1999's "Yellow Submarine Songtrack".

I always liked it when San Francisco TV station KTVU used this song with an interesting edit for a children’s public service announcement about race relations back in the 70s. The line “can I take my friend to bed?” was removed for possible sexual overtones. Like kids would think that. I was a kid when I first heard the song probably around 1971 or 2, and I didn’t even think anything of the line.

Tuesday, June 3, 2008

All Those Years Ago by George Harrison - ***

First released: 1981

The Beatles tribute single for John that wasn’t supposed to be. In other words, George wrote and recorded this song with different lyrics with Ringo playing on drums. After the tragedy of 12/8/80, George recorded the vocal with new lyrics and then Paul and Linda added backing “oohs” and “aahs” to round it out. Not a bad tune, but not that great either. It sold well, due to it being a tribute and the fact that all three were on it. It was a hit single and included on the final version of "Somewhere in England" and later on "Best of Dark Horse 1976-1989". Also performed on George Harrison’s "Live in Japan" album and tour in 1991.

Monday, June 2, 2008

"All Things Must Pass" by George Harrison - **

First released: 1970

If this is your favorite George Harrison album, don’t read this review. George Harrison’s first real solo album and one for me is somewhat overrated and overblown. While I like Phil Spector’s “wall of sound” technique appropriate for other releases, here it seems quite out of place. The album has always struck me as extremely padded and noisy, yet it is usually considered George’s crowning achievement during his solo years. Don’t get me wrong, some of George’s best songs are on this album, but they would have been that much better, if they weren’t so overproduced. Sorry Phil.

The 2001 CD reissue adds some alternate takes of some songs, an outtake ("I Live For You") and a brand new version of "My Sweet Lord" called "My Sweet Lord (2000)". This last one adds nothing to the album.

The album was originally padded out to three discs. If one would discard ("Isn’t it a Pity (Version Two)") or shorten some tunes ("Isn’t it a Pity (Version One)" and "Hear Me Lord") and thrown out the third "Apple Jam" disc, "All Things Must Pass" would be a greater single disc release. As it is, I find the thing too much to take in one sitting. With the advent of CD burners, I have made my own single disc version, which is far superior to the released version. George was just showing off.

Sunday, June 1, 2008

All Things Must Pass by George Harrison - ***

First released: 1970

You’d think that this song was composed as a result of The Beatles break-up, but in reality, it was demoed during the 1969 "Get Back" sessions. That version was finally released on "Anthology 3" in 1996. A different demo snippet is featured on 2003's "Fly on the Wall". George recorded it in this finished version and decided to title his first post-Beatles album after it.

You’d also think that a song like this would be nasty and biting, but instead it is a beautiful ballad of acceptance.