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Author Topic: Beatles under a microscope - Past Masters 1  (Read 9720 times)

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tkitna

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Beatles under a microscope - Past Masters 1
« on: March 12, 2011, 02:28:06 PM »

After kicking the hornets nest in the George forum, I figured what the hell. I have nothing to lose. I'm going to disect the Beatles song for song, album to album (gives me a reason to open the Remastered Box Set). Theres going to be positives along with negatives. Opinions and facts. Each member will get his accolades and his beatdowns. Even George Martin wont be safe. I might make a mistake or a dozen reviewing these songs as to who played what and ask for your corrections as i'm not going to go to those depths or i'll never finish it. If this isnt a good idead, Bobber, HG, or Apps or somebody can tell me now because i'm going to start in the next few days. I figured an album a week maybe to get some discussion going. If it falls apart from bickering, we'll axe the whole thing. No big deal.

Pastmasters 1 will get the first shake.

Bobber

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Re: Beatles under a microscope
« Reply #1 on: March 12, 2011, 03:02:00 PM »

I'm not going to stop you. ha2ha

Actually, I think it's a good idea and a subject for good debates in which we again respect each others opinion. lol!
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Ovi

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Re: Beatles under a microscope
« Reply #2 on: March 12, 2011, 03:24:46 PM »

Yep...sounds pretty interesting.Good luck with that.
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Re: Beatles under a microscope
« Reply #3 on: March 12, 2011, 11:50:42 PM »

Jolly good, Sarge, carry on.

;)
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tkitna

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Re: Beatles under a microscope
« Reply #4 on: March 15, 2011, 01:04:24 AM »

Pastmasters Vol. 1

I didnt include the two German songs for obvious reasons, but anyways, here we go.

1. Love Me Do - I wish I could say this song was a decent effort for one of their first tunes, but it isnt. let me start off by saying that I hate John's harmonica. Its an annoying sound. As if there wasnt enough of it, he follows through with a solo. Great. Pauls bass playing is almost childish. Its too simple. The hand claps during the solo are just plain silly. Thanks to George Martin, Andy White handles the drumming as if it was going to be too tough for Ringo or any other person who's held drum sticks for more than 5 minutes (Sorry Pete). To top it all off, the harmonies are weird. Paul sings in a higher pitch then everybody else and it just sounds off.

2. From Me To You - This song is a better effort, but not by a bunch. Ah, there's that harmonica again. Sounds stupid in this song too. Ringo does a decent job, but he seems to rush his fills as if he's excited that he's allowed to do them. I give John credit for trying to sing with a bit of a raunchy voice to harden the blow, but it doesnt work. Paul and George do good enough for what the songs worth. Not much more to add.

3. Thank You Girl - A guilty pleasure of mine and I admit that its not a good song. Theres that dumb sounding harmonica again (see a trend here). Pauls voice is too high again in the background vocals. Theres the obvious tempo increase at the end too that always made me laugh. Ringo's fault? I think so. My notes have something written down about an echo too, but I dont know where that happens. Oh well.

4. She Loves You – First thing I take notice to is Pauls melodic bass playing. Sounds nice even on this little pop tune. Another thing I heard that I liked was George’s voice on the background vocals. He was steady as a rock here and for some reason I picked him out and liked what I heard. Ringo ending fills with the bass drum instead of the crash is just plain awesome. Great little early number.

5. I’ll Get You – Hey everybody, there’s that harmonica again. I’ll leave it at that. The ‘Oh Yeah’s’ sound outright annoying. At 1:13 they mess up the chorus. John sings one thing and Paul sings something else (think it was Paul). How can you let that slide? George Martin,,,,Hello! I do like Ringo’s high hat buildup through the song. John’s Louis Armstrong voice is decent too. Nothing else really stood out.

6. I Want To Hold Your Hand – John’s rhythm guitar sounds good and is solid. Paul’s bass playing is stout too. I cant say the same for George. That twangy sounding guitar throughout the song is bad. Sounds pretty terrible to my ears. At 1:22 they mess up going into the chorus. It was a pretty big song for something like that to be allowed to happen.

7. This Boy – I never really listened closely to this song before because I never liked it well enough to care. Ringo’s double time on the hats is nice. I wish there was no electric guitar in this song. Acoustic only would have been my choice. I don’t like the tone of the electric guitar. George and Paul’s backup vocals are tight and top notch. 1:27 mark you can hear the obvious studio break. The guitar at the end sounds stupid and shouldn’t have been there.

8. Long Tall Sally – Ringo flat out kicks on this one. Solid, big time. Check him out at the 1:40 mark where he adds the toms. Paul’s voice is excellent. Not a huge fan of the piano for some reason. The guitar solo sucks. Its almost as though he almost gets it, but then loses it. Its really awful. Why didn’t they let him work it out for a few minutes and then do it again? Doesn’t make sense.

9. I Call Your Name – Is John’s lead vocals doubletracked here? Did they even have that at the time? They almost have to be because its so perfect. Paul and Ringo are locked in on the rhythm section together. And then theres the guitar. Not only do I hate the twangy tone, but the playing is horrible. The solo is a train wreck. See, its moments like these that I have to wonder why they even kept George. As a producer, I would have never let this go to the public.

10. Slow Down – Was this song put together in 2 minutes? Sure sounds like it. Georges guitar playing is once again, a travesty. Just atrocious. Another solo butchered. I just don’t understand. Its obvious he hit a wrong note and just went with it. He plays the same mistake three more times in a row as to try to convince us its right when its not. Whatever. Johns rhythm guitar isn’t much better though. 1:13 they mess up the lyrics. Ringo is solid as is Johns voice.

11. Matchbox – Another song I think the vocals are doubletracked, but these don’t match up as well as ‘I Call Your Name’. Probably wrong on that. Guitar solo is a joke again. Terrible. Bass is good. Ringo carries a nice shuffle throughout and the piano is good too.

12. I Feel Fine – You can tell they took care with this one. George’s guitar tone is great on this one and his solo is tight and confident sounding. Applause. Ringo’s best Beatle song on the skins. I’ve said it more than once, but I’ve never heard another drummer play it right. More applause. Paul could have added a bit more with the bass. The bass note on the 1 and 3 is boring. Background vocals are tight and sound great. Nothing bad to say about this one. Sounds more mature for one of their earlier tunes.

13. She’s A Woman – I don’t like the guitar strumming on this one. Tone more than anything else I suppose. I’ve never heard Pauls voice sound like this before. He sang it with a different tone or accent. I don’t know. He just sounds different and I like it. The piano sounds good in the background too. The 1:24 mark John flat out misses a bar with the guitar and again its allowed. George Martin needs slapped sometimes. Guitar solo was good, but I don’t like the tone (yes, I’m anal about this). Pauls voice doubletracked?

14. Bad Boy – John’s voice is great. Lead guitar sucks once again. Oh George, please change that tone. Its just old style country twang. It eats at me. Ringo rocks. The organ solo sucks in my opinion. George’s solo was actually decent. He stayed in the lower range and the ear piercing tone was tolerable. I actually enjoyed the tambourine as a space filler too.

15. Yes It Is – Hate the slide guitar. Hate it. Harmonies are too loose. Should have tightened them up. Around the 1:04 to 1:07 mark, Ringo either slows down or John speeds the tempo up. Something sounded off.

16. I’m Down – I don’t care for Johns goofing off, low background vocals. What I did hear was pretty neat and i’m not sure if its due to the remasters or not, but George’s guitar solo was layered on top of another. You can hear the other solo in the background at a lower volume. Was pretty neat. Organ solo was ok and I liked the bongo’s. They added nicely.

Mairi

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Re: Beatles under a microscope
« Reply #5 on: March 15, 2011, 01:16:29 AM »

I really admire your attention to details. I wish I was as good at picking out parts in music as you are.
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nimrod

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Re: Beatles under a microscope
« Reply #6 on: March 15, 2011, 02:16:10 AM »

excellent thread & excellent post tkitna, although Im going to take issue with you on your comments  ;D

I'll dig out my remastered set and re listen

btw thats a volume pedal on Yes It Is (not a slide guitar)
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tkitna

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Re: Beatles under a microscope
« Reply #7 on: March 15, 2011, 02:32:44 AM »

Thanks Mairi. I have fun with it.

Quote
btw thats a volume pedal on Yes It Is (not a slide guitar)

Is that what he's doing? Makes sense. I just dont like the sound.

nimrod

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Re: Beatles under a microscope
« Reply #8 on: March 15, 2011, 02:49:20 AM »

Quote
9. I Call Your Name – Is John’s lead vocals doubletracked here? Did they even have that at the time? They almost have to be because its so perfect. Paul and Ringo are locked in on the rhythm section together. And then theres the guitar. Not only do I hate the twangy tone, but the playing is horrible. The solo is a train wreck. See, its moments like these that I have to wonder why they even kept George. As a producer, I would have never let this go to the public.


Yes double tracked, sung twice as there was no ADT at this time.
IMO a great Lennon vocal, sung with power and feeling, Ive always loved it.
Overall I think I disagree about George's playing, I mean although technically it is quite poor, i think its saved by his invention, its a great 'choice' of solo with its very own melody, I also like the lead guitar in the chorus's.

I always liked how the tempo changed in the guitar solo with the others playing a kind of ska beat, very clever..
What does annoy me was Ringo's use of the constant cowbell like he did on its sister song  You Cant Do That.
This was a gem for a B grade Beatle track, would have love to see them live doing it.
« Last Edit: March 15, 2011, 03:44:08 AM by nimrod »
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Hello Goodbye

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Re: Beatles under a microscope
« Reply #9 on: March 15, 2011, 03:13:42 AM »

I think this is going to be a fine thread, tkitna, and a great reason to listen to my remasters again.

I kind of like the volume pedal on Yes It Is.  It adds a dream-like effect to the song.
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tkitna

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Re: Beatles under a microscope
« Reply #10 on: March 15, 2011, 04:04:15 AM »

Yes double tracked, sung twice as there was no ADT at this time.

Man, he nailed it then. The timing was just about perfect.

Quote
Overall I think I disagree about George's playing, I mean although technically it is quite poor, i think its saved by his invention, its a great 'choice' of solo with its very own melody, I also like the lead guitar in the chorus's.

Yeah, we're going to have to agree to disagree here.

Quote
I always liked how the tempo changed in the guitar solo with the others playing a kind of ska beat, very clever..

I like it too.

Quote
What does annoy me was Ringo's use of the constant cowbell like he did on its sister song  You Cant Do That.

I almost mentioned the cowbell, but I couldnt decide if i liked it or not when i listened to the song. I guess i'm neutral about it.

Quote
This was a gem for a B grade Beatle track, would have love to see them live doing it.

Eh, its only alright with me.

nimrod

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Re: Beatles under a microscope
« Reply #11 on: March 15, 2011, 06:55:01 AM »

Quote
Yeah, we're going to have to agree to disagree here.


its like i said in the george thread, with me his arse is saved  ;D by the little melodies he came up with in his solo's which were different than the song melody, I always liked that, clapton did it well on sunshine of your love

georges playing on many songs on this album is poor technically though with lots of misstimed and bum notes, I agree with you there.
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tkitna

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Re: Beatles under a microscope
« Reply #12 on: March 15, 2011, 08:58:48 AM »

The thing about George with me is that when he's good, I love him. When he's bad, he's down right awful.

peterbell1

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Re: Beatles under a microscope
« Reply #13 on: March 15, 2011, 10:01:10 AM »

With regard to some of the production issues/mistakes on these early Beatles tracks - missed chords, bum notes etc......

I suppose back in 63/64 they weren't predicting that people would be sitting round listening to and analysing perfect CD-quality copies of their recordings 50 years later. They were recording for vinyl releases, which would be played on poor quality turntables and through crappy speakers.
They let stuff get through the net because they were being rushed for new "product" and studio time was limited. A song could be written, recorded and released within a matter of weeks so there was no time to get things totally perfect. I presume they let some of the mistakes go because the rest of the take was acceptable and it wouldn't have been noticed at the time.
So to us today it might sound like sloppy production but back then it was the way things happened - you could record an album in a single day, complete with overdubs etc. A modern band might take a day just to get the drum sound OK for one song - they wouldn't even have thought about starting to record anything!

And I think this also affects what the Beatles actually played as well. You take issue with a few of Geroge's solos and guitar tones, but there was probably very little time for him to actually sit and work out parts for a new composition. They didn't have days in rehearsal studios to perfect each individual part - it was more or less made up on the spot or maybe in a hotel room or tour bus. If you listen to some of the outtakes where we have multiple takes of one song (like From Me To You or Hard Days Night) you can hear the different parts coming together literally as it is being recorded. I accept that this doesn't hold for the cover songs that they had been playing for years.

Also, they were all laying down the backing tracks together, so as soon as they got a take that was acceptable they would go with it. They wouldn't want to play the same song 100 times to get it perfect - they'd go with something that was almost there.

I think if you listen to the early songs with all this in mind you do get a different perspective on how good they actually were at writing and recording.
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nyfan(41)

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Re: Beatles under a microscope
« Reply #14 on: March 15, 2011, 11:33:21 AM »

that was a good read
=
agree and disagree with some of your comments,
when there's a 'mistake' such as them singing different words together, tempo shift or minutely fudging the way into a chorus - i like that.
to me it humanizes the song, shows that they deliver 'off the cuff' and paints the picture of enthusiastic early efforts
=
you are very tuned into ringo's parts which is interesting to read
from the songs on pastmasters i think i notice ringo's playing most on she loves you and thank you girl - maybe i need to listen for the drums more as a beatles fan, i kind of take them for granted
-
people get bored with the simplicity and monotony of love me do (including aunt mimi).... but i zen out on it  ;D
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peterbell1

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Re: Beatles under a microscope
« Reply #15 on: March 15, 2011, 12:53:53 PM »

The thing about George with me is that when he's good, I love him. When he's bad, he's down right awful.

I agree with you there! I think listening to the Get Back/Let It Be sessions shows us that George was no good at improvisation. He couldn't "feel" his way round a song very well. He needed time to work on a part and perfect it, and then he'd get it spot on. There's very few bum notes by George in the live recordings we have of The Beatles, so I think this shows that he was a consistent player once he had learned his part. Many of his later 60s guitar parts were much more advanced than the early ones because he had more time to sit and perfect them (although that doesn't explain what he was doing with All You Need Is Love!)
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Ovi

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Re: Beatles under a microscope
« Reply #16 on: March 15, 2011, 01:03:52 PM »

I extremly love both "Yes It Is" and "I'm Down".

Yes It Is - love the lyrics and John's voice. The guitar is pretty interesting, maybe a little boring, but I like it.
John didn't like the song, he considered it "a fail attempt to rewrite This Boy", but Paul described it as "a very fine song of John's".

I'm Down - the song rocks ! Paul's voice is brilliant, the lyrics are kinda funny and catchy. I never saw it as a serious song (like "Let It Be" stuff), so John's goofy piano seems perfect for it.

Also, am I the only person on Earth who likes "I Want To Hold Your Hand" more than "She Loves You" ?
« Last Edit: March 15, 2011, 01:07:49 PM by The 5th Beatle »
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Gary910

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Re: Beatles under a microscope
« Reply #17 on: March 15, 2011, 02:32:27 PM »

Tkitna.

It is amazing to me that you would call yourself a Beatles fan. It seems that you think that there are more songs that "suck" than ones you think are great. I think this thread is a great idea and criticism is welcome (obviously as long as others are respected). I like other artists but when I don't like most of their songs, I can truly say, "I am not a fan". This is just my opinion.


Also, am I the only person on Earth who likes "I Want To Hold Your Hand" more than "She Loves You" ?

No, I am in your club too. (That doesn't mean I don't like "She Loves You", or I think it stinks.)
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Re: Beatles under a microscope
« Reply #18 on: March 15, 2011, 09:30:38 PM »

2. From Me To You - This song is a better effort, but not by a bunch. Ah, there's that harmonica again. Sounds stupid in this song too. Ringo does a decent job, but he seems to rush his fills as if he's excited that he's allowed to do them. I give John credit for trying to sing with a bit of a raunchy voice to harden the blow, but it doesnt work. Paul and George do good enough for what the songs worth. Not much more to add.


From Me To You was the song that made me take notice of The Beatles in late 1963 when New York City radio stations first started airing it.  I liked it a lot, harmonica and all.  Earlier that year, Del Shannon covered it...

Del Shannon - From Me To You


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nimrod

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Re: Beatles under a microscope
« Reply #19 on: March 15, 2011, 11:28:47 PM »

I agree with you there! I think listening to the Get Back/Let It Be sessions shows us that George was no good at improvisation. He couldn't "feel" his way round a song very well. He needed time to work on a part and perfect it, and then he'd get it spot on. There's very few bum notes by George in the live recordings we have of The Beatles, so I think this shows that he was a consistent player once he had learned his part. Many of his later 60s guitar parts were much more advanced than the early ones because he had more time to sit and perfect them (

Partly yes but I think the reason his later parts were better is that george worked very hard at playing the guitar over the years and became a lot more accomplished on it. I alwys got the impression he wanted J & P to take him more seriously as a guitarist (as well as a songwriter)
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