So Eric Clapton's tendency to eat entire boxes of chocolates in one sitting has been forever documented in this song, which was really written just to tease him. Most of the song's lyrics are taken from a box of Mackintosh Good News-- George is essentially listing the types of truffles inside. The ginger sling sounds particularly tasty to me (I'm a spicy dessert kind of person), but I'll never know whether this chocolate was any good, since Mackintosh was an English company and doesn't seem to be making this assortment any more even in Britain, much less here in the States. (Someone correct me if I'm wrong.)
Anyway, this is a good song for a summer weekend, isn't it? A song this rocking and fun doesn't demand much of us other than that we dig some awesome sax and dance around our kitchens. They brought in a bunch of sax players for this, though it's not George Martin who scored their part-- it's his assistant, Chris Thomas. (Thomas would later produce albums for Badfinger and the Sex Pistols and many more cool bands, but at this point he was a young Martin protege.) The sax dominates the song more so than horns do on almost any other Beatles song I can think of, which gives this one a unique sound, especially since George insisted on distorting the horn sounds in the studio for the dirtiest feel possible. But I urge you to also take note of George's shrieky guitar, which is itself pretty dirty-- I particularly love the high on-the-beat licks he adds to the second refrain, and it's a darned solid solo too. I also think Ringo is going above and beyond, especially on the bridges. His fill going into that bit on the bridge under the lyric "when the pain cuts through"-- man, he rolls into that cymbal-riffic part like the master that he is. That might actually be the best part of the whole song for me.
But on this listen I have to admit to really noticing the bass line for the first time. Have I mentioned before that Paul is a god? Seriously, I don't tend to think of "Savoy Truffle" as one of the Paul's most celebrated bass moments, but he really never lets up on this one-- he's got crazy walking-bass-esque stuff all over the verses such that it's possible he's never doing quite the same thing twice (I can't entirely tell). My favorite bass bit might be on the refrains, though, when he just hovers on these two pitches playing this really groovy figure-- though even this he elaborates on slightly when the refrain repeats.
I haven't mentioned John because, well, he wasn't playing on this one, having a tendency at this point in 1968 to work less on everyone else's songs and more on his own (and also to stay in bed with Yoko all day). In this case, it's certainly not hurting for his absence. I don't know if "Savoy Truffle" ever gets the love it merits, though, tucked away on the last side of the White Album between the much-maligned "Honey Pie" and the also-underrated "Cry Baby Cry," but I feel like whenever it comes on it's a pleasant surprise. Like, yes, "Savoy Truffle" rocks! How could I forget!" In fact, as I wrote this, my husband had a similar epiphany, wandering into my study as I blasted "Savoy Truffle" for the fifth time and just saying "God, this song rules." Right on.
By the way, kids, I might be quite late in posting tomorrow-- I'm leaving this morning for a camping trip in central Mass. Did you know that the state of Massachusetts rents entire islands by the week? Well, they do, and I have friends spending the whole week on the one they got. Me, I just have a couple days. But I'll be away from the computer and from Beatles music, God help me, so look for me closer to tomorrow night.
"Savoy Truffle," released in the U.K. side D track 3 of The Beatles a.k.a. the White Album, November 22, 1968; in the U.S. November 25, 1968,