Friday, February 27, 2009

Christopher Lee (dialogue) by Christopher Lee – ***

First released: 1998

I had never heard Christopher Lee speak other than in a movie before, so I was shocked to hear how low of a voice and how proper he sounded. Lee discusses his brief encounter with Paul and Wings and how he ended up on the cover of "Band On the Run" in his own matter-of-fact way on the "25th Anniversary Edition" of "Band On the Run".

"Christmas Time is Here Again" by The Beatles –****

First released: 1967

The name of the fifth Beatles Christmas record actually sported this title. The entire recording was also featured on "The Beatles Christmas Album". As with "Pantomime: Everywhere It’s Christmas", this record features little sketches that are similar in vein to "The Goon Show" or the forthcoming "Monty Python’s Flying Circus".

Christmas Time is Here Again by The Beatles – ****

First released: 1967

The highlight song of The Beatles’ fifth Christmas record, which was also called "Christmas Time is Here Again". A full version of the song was finally released as a bonus track on The Beatles’ "Free As a Bird" CD single in 1995. Ringo re-recorded the song for his 1999 Christmas album "I Wanna Be Santa Claus".

Christmas/Peace Message by John Lennon – **


John and Yoko recorded a self-explanatory message in 1969 announcing their upcoming projects.

Christmas Eve by Ringo Starr – **

First released: 1999

One of six original holiday tunes released on Ringo’s "I Wanna Be Santa Claus".

Christmas Dance, The by Ringo Starr – ****

First released: 1999

A great tune even by non-holiday song standards, this rocker graces Ringo’s "I Wanna Be Santa Claus". A definite highlight of the album, with a sweet violin part implying elegant dancing near the end of the track.

Christmas Comes But Once a Year by The Beatles – ****

First released: 1965

Another song from "The Beatles’ Third Christmas Record" and also featured on "The Beatles Christmas Album". It may be a pretty good tune, but it’s hard to tell as John seems to be adlibbing it and sings it out of tune and soon the four are off again singing "Yesterday" out of key, so who knows?

Saturday, February 21, 2009

Christian Pop by Paul McCartney – ***


Great, unreleased instrumental track by McCartney that dates back from 1987. Aka "Christian Bop".

Chords of Fame by John Lennon – (NR)


Lennon did a late 70s home recording of this song eventually recorded by Phil Ochs.

Chopsticks by The Beatles – **


Paul plays a lousy rendition of this piano lesson classic during the 1969 "Get Back" sessions.

"Choose Love" by Ringo Starr – **

First released: 2005

Well, after three great albums, I guess a little slump is ok. I don’t hate this album, it’s just not as good as "Ringo Rama", "Vertical Man", "Time Takes Time" or even "I Wanna Be Santa Claus". It is better than Ringo’s late 70s/early 80s output, but it seems like Ringo rushed this to meet a contract obligation so that he could jump ship and go back to Capitol Records. The standout tune is "Don’t Hang Up" with Chrissie Hynde and everything else is almost dispensable. It’s not a disappointment for Ringo’s career overall, just Ringo’s current career. The followup "Liverpool 8" is much better.

Choose Love by Ringo Starr – **

First released: 2005

The title track from Ringo’s album of the same name. Although this wasn’t a single, it was the track Ringo performed on shows like "The Tonight Show with Jay Leno" and others. It’s not a bad track, but I would have preferred "Don’t Hang Up" as the all-important album promotion track. Ringo liked it so much he also performed it on "Live at Soundstage" in 2007. It’s also on 2008’s "5.1".

"Choba B CCCP (aka The Russian Album)" by Paul McCartney – ***

First released: 1988

Paul’s first rock and roll tribute album ("Run Devil Run" being the second) was originally not supposed to be released anywhere than in the USSR. Eventually Paul had second thoughts and the album was released onto CD with an extra track not originally found on the original LP, "I'm in Love Again". In fact, there are two versions of the LP, one with "I'm Gonna Be a Wheel Someday" and "Summertime" and one without. The CD contains all the tracks. An additional track ("It’s Now or Never") was recorded for this, but released instead on the Elvis tribute CD compilation, "The Last Temptation of Elvis". Actually, according to Wikipedia, if you want to pronounce the title of this album correctly, you should say: "snova v ess-ess-ess-er".

Children of the Sky by Matt Batt – **

First released: 1985

George plays guitar on this "Hunting of the Snark" tune by Matt Batt. While I like this album, nothing of George’s playing here is particularly outstanding and this is not the best song on the album. I much prefer "The Snooker Song" by Captain Sensible.

Children of the Revolution by T.Rex – (NR)

First released: 1972

Ringo plays drums on this T.Rex song composed by Marc Bolan. I haven’t heard it as the only T.Rex song I’ve ever listened to is "Bang a Gong (Get it On)". Someday I may rectify that or at least I should see "Born to Boogie".

Saturday, February 14, 2009

"Amoeba’s Secret" by Paul McCartney –***

First released: 2007

Paul did a surprise concert at the Amoeba Records store in Los Angeles to promote "Memory Almost Full". This four-track CD from 2009 was originally released as a 12” single only in 2007. The release would have rated four stars if the entire performance were released.

Children Children by Paul McCartney – **

First released: 1978

Paul McCartney and Denny Laine co-composed this tune from "London Town". It's very similar to "Deliver Your Children" from the same album and if it were up to me, would have opted to vote this song off the island and keep "Deliver".

Chi Chi’s Café by The Beatles – (NR)


Unreleased Lennon/Starr tune dating from 1967!

Cheese and Onions by The Rutles – ***

First released: 1975

Strangely, this Neil Innes composition was confused as to being by the real deal when performed on "Rutland Weekend Television" and on "Saturday Night Live" and it made its way onto a couple of bootlegs amazingly as a lost Lennon tune. Oh well, it ended up being a highlight of The Rutles' "All You Need is Cash" as the song performed in the animated film "Yellow Submarine Sandwich".

Cheer Down by George Harrison – ***

First released: 1989

The third and final new track on George’s "Best of Dark Horse 1976-1989". This song also was a single that didn’t go anywhere and was featured in the closing credits and soundtrack album for "Lethal Weapon XXIII" or something. Also performed on George Harrison’s "Live in Japan" album and tour in 1991.

Check My Machine by Paul McCartney – **

First released: 1980

Eventually making its way on to the CD version of "McCartney II", this song was originally released as a b-side to "Waterfalls". The song is not much, just saying “Check My Machine” over and over again ad infinitum. The highlight for me (especially at the time of release) was the small samples of Mel Blanc’s voice from a couple of Looney Tunes cartoon soundtracks. The “Hi George, Morning Terry” exchange comes from a cartoon which starts out at a zoo where two zoo animals greet each other; the “down, down, down, down, down” is Yosemite Sam at his best; and “Sticks and stones may break my bones, but names will never hurt me” I believe is from a Sylvester cartoon. I could be wrong, but this is a Beatles book, not a Looney Tunes book. You’ll have to ask my friend Jerry Beck for more details.

"Chaos and Creation in the Backyard" by Paul McCartney – *

First released: 2005

I have finally come to some conclusions about this album. First of all, it is an album that you really love or really hate. Those who really love it tend to be first generation fans and probably find it hard to rock out anymore, just like McCartney. For me, a second generation fan, I find it very pedestrian and plodding with only three standout songs ("Fine Line", "English Tea", and "Jenny Wren"), the rest are truly dispensable and seem unfinished. I long for the days when McCartney could compose a rocker. It’s amazing that while McCartney’s releasing drivel such as this, he can go out on tour and belt out "Helter Skelter" at the top of his lungs every night. He has the vocal capacity still in his mid-60s for a powerful rocker, yet he always seems to want to write yet another variation on "Yesterday". McCartney, you already wrote it! Try to make albums more like "Flaming Pie", your last good one! Postscript: Since I originally wrote this, Paul has! (See "Memory Almost Full".)

Chains by The Beatles – **

First released: 1963

This has never been one of my favorite tracks, but I guess The Beatles really liked it as it was part of their live stage act at the time and as such, made the final cut for "Please Please Me". It's also on "Introducing the Beatles" and "The Early Beatles". Originally recorded by The Cookies.

Saturday, February 7, 2009

Certain Softness, A by Paul McCartney – **

First released: 2005

C'mon everyone, sing along: "A certain dullness..." Oop, sorry. I just don't get it. It's from Paul's "Chaos and Creation in the Back Yard".

Central Park Stoll (Dialogue) by John Lennon – ***

First released: 1980

Not a song, but literally dialogue of John and Yoko strolling through Central Park in late 1980. Not officially released on album until the 2000 CD reissue of "Double Fantasy", the dialogue had been heard numerous times previously on various news reports and in the "John Lennon: Imagine" documentary from 1988.

Celtic Stomp by Paul McCartney – **

First released: 1994

A track from McCartney's trance album "Strawberries Oceans Ships Forest" released under the pseudonym The Fireman. As every track on this album sounds the same, it is hard to distinguish this from another track on the same album.

Celebration by Paul McCartney – **

First released: 1997

Part of Paul's "Standing Stone". I love classical music, but I don’t think that Paulie has the knack for creating something memorable in this area.

Cayenne by The Beatles – **

First released: 1995

McCartney original that was home recorded in 1960. The rough recording first appeared on "Anthology 1". Average.

"Caveman" (feature) by Ringo Starr – ***

First released: 1981

One of my favorite Ringo films and also one of the stupidest. You have to be in a goofy mindset to really appreciate this one and also be a fan of Ray Harryhausen stuff and probably Mel Brooks as well, since this was written by Rudy DeLuca and Carl Gottlieb who both wrote for Brooks at various times. I didn’t know that would be the swansong of Ringo’s movie roles ("Broad Street" and "Princess Daisy" don’t count).

Catswalk by The Beatles – ***


The Beatles recorded a demo version of this McCartney original instrumental in 1962 that was officially released by Chris Barber's Jazz Band in 1967 as "Cat Call".