Saturday Side Trip: Track #9 From The Beatles FrankenAlbums

As many of you know by now, I’m applying the “FrankenSet” concept to Beatles albums and creating a Beatles FrankenAlbum containing the (subjectively) best song for each track number. I also have a “covers album” in the works, and voting on the Shlabotnik Report’s readers’ FrankenAlbum, and images from the 1993 River Group “The Beatles Collection” card set… like this one:

Recapping the voting from last week… “Strawberry Fields Forever” won a decisive victory, and for the first time my track matches the voting.

Here’s where we stand after eight tracks:

My FrankenAlbum:

  1. Help
  2. Norwegian Wood (This Bird Has Flown)
  3. You’ve Got To Hide Your Love Away
  4. Everybody’s Got Something To Hide Except Me And My Monkey
  5. And I Love Her
  6. I Am The Walrus
  7. Can’t Buy Me Love
  8. Strawberry Fields Forever

Your FrankenAlbum:

  1. A Hard Day’s Night
  2. Something
  3. I’m Only Sleeping
  4. Medley: Nowhere Man / Everybody’s Got Something To Hide Except Me And My Monkey
  5. Medley: And I Love Her / I’ll Follow The Sun / Think For Yourself / Octopus’s Garden
  6. Medley: I Am The Walrus / Let It Be
  7. Here Comes The Sun
  8. Strawberry Fields Forever

My Favorite Covers FrankenAlbum:

  1. “Come Together” by Aerosmith
  2. “With A Little Help From My Friends” by Joe Cocker
  3. “Lucy In The Sky With Diamonds” by The Hooters
  4. “Everybody’s Got Something To Hide Except Me And My Monkey” by Fats Domino
  5. “Sexy Sadie” by Phish
  6. “Tell Me Why” by The Beach Boys
  7. “She Said She Said” by Gov’t Mule
  8. “Porque (Because)” by Grupo Fantasma

If you want to see the prior posts, you can click on the “Beatles FrankenAlbum” link at the bottom of this post.

As before, I’m seeding the tracks in alphabetical order (highest vs. lowest, second-highest vs. second-lowest, etc.)

White-Album Play-In Round:
“Martha My Dear” (Disk 1) vs. “Honey Pie” (Disk 2)
The White Album is essentially four solo albums combined together, but Paul really pushed the musical boundaries of what makes a Beatles track.  In the case of “Honey Pie”, I’m not sure it belongs on a Beatles album.  I’ll go with the song Paul wrote about his sheepdog instead.
WINNER: “Martha My Dear”


Round One

“And Your Bird Can Sing” (Revolver) vs. “You Never Give Me Your Money” (Abbey Road)
Both of these songs are among my favorite “deep cuts”. I think that “Bird” got cemented into my subconscious as the title music for the syndicated version of the cheaply-made Beatles TV cartoons of the 1960’s, while “Money” is really several song fragments fused together into a killer track.

“Bird” is kind of like the Steely Dan song “Reeling In The Years” in that in both cases it’s not so much the song as it is the awesome guitar work.  I expected to go into this selecting “Bird”, but when I listened to the tracks back to back, I found myself gravitating towards “Money”
WINNER: “You Never Give Me Your Money”

“Girl” (Rubber Soul) vs. “Words Of Love” (Beatles For Sale)
When I was in college I enjoyed antagonizing my friend Scott with my joking interpretation of “Girl”. Scott insisted that it was a song of longing over the titular girl, but I teased him by miming a long drag on a joint whenever John made his wistful intake of breath… at which point Scott would get annoyed and insist that it wasn’t a “drug song”.  Like I said, it was a joke at the time, but over the years I’ve come to the conclusion that, joking or not, I was much closer to John Lennon’s intentions than Scott was.
WINNER: “Girl”

“Hold Me TIght” (With The Beatles) vs. “When I’m Sixty-Four” (Sgt. Pepper)
I like “Hold Me Tight”, but it’s as close as the Beatles come to a filler track. As for “Sixty-Four”, I can’t but help wondering how many people named their children “Vera, Chuck and Dave”. You know *somebody* must have.
WINNER: “When I’m Sixty-Four”

“I’ll Cry Instead” (A Hard Day’s Night) vs. “Penny Lane” (Magical Mystery Tour)
In prior posts I made comments about songs being “overplayed”, but I feel that I should elaborate on what I mean by that.  Being played a lot really wasn’t the problem with those songs….

Have you ever gone on a vacation of a week or more with a very good friend and then by the end you’re ready to kill each other? That’s how it is with me and certain songs… it’s not that I don’t love them, but after repeated exposure they really just need to get the hell away from me for a while.  There are entire albums that are like that for me:  “Dark Side Of The Moon”, “Aqualung”, “Rumors”, there are a couple of others.

Right now for me, Penny Lane is an “Ill-advised long trip with a friend”… but I won’t pretend that it’s not a much better song than “I’ll Cry Instead”.
WINNER: “Penny Lane”

“It’s Only Love” (Help) vs. “P.S. I Love You” (Please Please Me)
I really like the “Live On The BBC” album that got released in 1994, but when the follow-up, “On Air”, was released in 2013, it was largely “been there, done that” for me. One of the few exceptions was “P.S. I Love You”, which I found I enjoyed more than the studio version. It really benefits from the live-in-studio performance.  Either way, it doesn’t stand up to a middle-period love song from John.
WINNER: “It’s Only Love”

“Martha My Dear” (White Album) vs. “One After 909” (Let It Be)
The bridge of “Martha My Dear” – “Take a good look around you…” – saves the song from being overly sentimental. “One After 909” was an early unreleased song that the Beatles dusted off for the sessions which would end up on “Let It Be”.  “One After 909” is by no means a great song, but they seem to have fun playing it and perhaps comes closest to that project’s original intent to “get back” to being a band instead of a bunch of very very good studio musicians. That alone is good enough for me.
WINNER: “One After 909”


Round 2
“You Never Give Me Your Money” vs. “One After 909”
Oh, that magic feeling… Nowhere to go.
WINNER: “You Never Give Me Your Money”

“Girl” vs. “It’s Only Love”
WINNER: “Girl”

“When I’m Sixty-Four” vs. “Penny Lane”
Having Penny Lane and the other Magical Mystery Tour “Side 2” tracks in this FrankenAlbum is something of a cheat, given that The Beatles had nothing to do with the track selection. “Magical Mystery Tour” was released as a double EP in the UK, but in the US Capitol Records expanded it to a full album by adding five songs from singles released earlier that year (1967). When the time came in the late 1980’s to issue the CD’s, they used the original UK albums’ track listings except for Magical Mystery Tour which used the US format.
WINNER: “Penny Lane”


Championship round: “You Never Give Me Your Money” vs. “Girl” vs. “Penny Lane”
My brain tells me I should go with the biggie biggie song “Penny Lane” or at least with the “1962-1966”-worthy “Girl”…. but my gut says to follow the Money. Truth be told, I’m wondering how this would’ve turned out had I chosen “And Your Bird Can Sing” in the first round… but I’m not going back and re-doing these..
WINNER: You Never Give Me Your Money


Cover Version Frankenalbum

I’ll Cry Instead – Billy Joel
This was released in 1983 as a B-Side to the “An Innocent Man” single, and was, I believe, intended as a John Lennon tribute.  It’s a very Beatles-esque cover, but it’s also not a carbon copy of the original… plus I don’t know a whole lot of covers for the tracks covered this week, so Billy wins.

 

And now it’s time for the voting… but just so you’re aware there’s a bonus video at the bottom.


Bonus Material

I took guitar lessons as a kid, but my slow learning curve overwhelmed my patience and I quit… but I still love watching people play. I just get fascinated by the fingerwork and how they get certain sounds out of the instrument and so on. While researching this post, I ran across a series of videos by someone called “Rock With Bock” who does a bunch of Beatles tracks without vocals, but the camera is solely on the instruments and not on the musician.

This is not a completely flawless performance, but it’s fascinating stuff.  I spent far too much time watching his videos this morning.

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5 thoughts on “Saturday Side Trip: Track #9 From The Beatles FrankenAlbums

  1. If I did something like this, I think I’d have to fiddle with the tracklists so that songs that connect would count as one track. Like, I couldn’t bare to have “Sgt. Peppers” and then have it cut to a song other than “With a Little Help From My Friends”. And likewise the medley songs on Abbey Road would have to be combined for me.

  2. “…Money” is a great song, but for me there’s no question, it’s “And Your Bird Can Sing”. It’s rocks and it’s so incredibly catchy. Right up there with my very favorite Beatles songs.

    I really need to go through my mp3s to pick a cover, though, so I’ll have to get back to you. BTW, going to see McCartney at MSG next weekend. It’s my 11th Paul show and the fourth time I’m seeing him at the Garden. (Maybe he’ll finally bust out “Rock Show” “at the Madison Square”.)

    • OK, much as I did last week, I’m going to pick a cover of my second choice by an artist I like: “You Never Give Me Your Money” by Glenn Tilbrook of Squeeze with Nine Below Zero.

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