Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Hallelujah, I Love Her So

I'm once more blogging on a flight, this time from Seattle back to Boston, thank God. My travels were fun and all, especially today when I was working less than I had been the rest of the weekend. But it will be nice to get back to normalcy. At any rate, I gotta do this super fast-- I'm fighting not only the usual fatigue and whatnot, I'm also fighting my computer's lagging battery. (I packed the cord in my checked baggage like an idiot. At least I HOPE I did.) So, super fast, a very early Beatles demo. Regular posts in the near future, kids, I swear.

Here's the problem: no one on YouTube seems to have made a version of this in the form it appears in on Anthology 1. Here's a video of a medley of very early Beatles demo tracks-- the version of this song from whence the Anthology recording is derived can be heard at about 5:26. Consider the rest bonus. For reasons I don't understand, the Anthology version was actually sped up significantly from the original and does some weird stuff with the fading in and out, but this version is close.

This is one of those songs the band messed around with recording, obviously in a very rudimentary way, in 1960 at Paul's family home. They apparently recorded a lot of songs that day, and three of them made it onto Anthology-- this one, "Cayenne" (an original) and "You'll Be Mine." Note that, as with all these recordings, there's no drumming here, as the Beatles were apparently between drummers, as they frequently were in their early years. Also, note that Stu Sutcliffe is playing bass. Honestly, though, these are recorded so poorly that I have a hard time picking out individual instruments to comment on. Maybe you'll have better luck than me. What I hear is a McCartney vocal that, awesomely, already sounds like a McCartney vocal-- he already just sounds so comfortable in his voice, and he's like 18! As for the rest, the band sounds tight enough, but like I say, I don't hear much beyond some pleasant jangly guitar messiness. (And it sounds like it could use some drums, frankly.) This is all very interesting in terms of hearing the Beatles develop as a band, but none of these tracks are what I turn to first when I want to listen to them, obviously. It sounds like the Beatles' early archives, which it is.

As for the original Ray Charles single, it was actually written around a gospel hymn, just set to secular lyrics. Which is pretty rad. It's a very early hit for him, released in 1956, and listening to it next to this super early Beatles version is almost unfair. Because it is AWESOME. I think it's one of my favorite Ray Charles songs, which is saying something. You gotta listen to this. You can actually hear that one distinctive gospel chord right as he plays into the chorus, can't you? The Beatles on their guitars are a step away from the gospel roots, but of course Ray Charles makes it sound much more gospelish, as he so frequently does. Gees, listen to him play the coda out and tell me he's not a god. Had I been a kid in a band in 1960, I would have tried to play this in my living room too.

Anyway, kids, sorry to be so brief again! Catch you back on the east coast.

"Hallelujah I Love Her So," released in the U.K. and the U.S. disc 1 track 6 of Anthology 1, November 20, 1995.

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