Saturday, February 21, 2009

Leave My Kitten Alone

After "Bad Boy" yesterday, I'm in the mood to just stick to the kickass rock and roll-- it's a gorgeous sunny Saturday, and I just want to dance to something relatively uncomplicated. Today's song is one that you need to hear right away if you haven't already. If "Bad Boy" is an obscure track, "Leave My Kitten Alone" is triply so, some kind of mythical treasure song. I didn't hear this until Anthology 1 came out in the '90s. It's possible (nay, probable) that this existed on bootlegs before Anthology, but I wasn't really into the bootleg scene at the time and can't verify it, and have only ever listened to it in this legally sanctioned way.

According to the detailed Anthology notes, they recorded this Little Willie John original in the Beatles for Sale sessions, the same night they recorded "Mr. Moonlight," another cover. This is take 5, the take they decided was the best, but in the end they left it off the album for reasons that appear lost to history. Maybe they thought that this bluesy R&B number would seem strange among the rockabilly songs that make up most of Beatles for Sale, but Lord knows "Mr. Moonlight" (which is a weird song anyway) sounds at least as strange on the album as "Leave My Kitten Alone" would have.

I remember listening to Anthology for the first time and just freaking stopping in my tracks when this came on. I'm not familiar with the original at all (I think I need to buy it) but if it's half as balls-to-the-wall as this cover is, it must be AMAZING. I adore everything about this song-- that messy guitar intro, the straightforward blues, the silly but threatening lyrics. And when they go into the verse and Ringo's drumming that aggressive on-the-beat thing, and then George comes in with this wicked awesome all-over-the-place guitar solo? Too much. LOVE. But most of all, as so often is the case with me, it comes down to John's gut-wrenching vocal. He is so good on these old rock & roll songs, isn't he? Gotta be one of the best rock vocalists ever-- ragged as hell, but so passionate and crazed. He's really at his best here, especially on that long falsetto stuff. This is the kind of song that makes you understand why fuddy-duddies used to think rock & roll was the devil's music, because it can totally get under your skin and make you nuts and get you all hot and bothered and lead you to do immoral things in the backseat of a car. Yow.

It's a crime this song never went out into the world until the '90s, but at least we've got it now, and we can dance and dance and dance. Kids, this is going to be a good frigging day. I can feel it.

"Leave My Kitten Alone," released in the U.K. and the U.S. disc 2 track 22 of Anthology 1, November 21, 1995.
I am indebted for all discography information to the tremendous

1 comment:

  1. This song is way too good not to have any comments.