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Author Topic: The Star Club Hamburg Recording  (Read 367 times)

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KEROUAC

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The Star Club Hamburg Recording
« on: January 22, 2015, 01:23:07 PM »

Whilst reading about The Beatles early history in Mark Lewisohn's book I've been looking through old pictures and listening to recordings and getting a feel of the history. Here's something which perplexes me. According to Lewisohn and other commentators when The Beatles came back from their first Hamburg trip in Dec 1960 they were in amazing form and way better than the other bands in Liverpool from all those hours of playing.  Then when they came back from their second trip in July 1961, where they played even more stage hours than the first trip, they had shot up even higher in terms of their playing ability and tightness as a band and just blew the other bands away.

When I listen to the recording of The Star Club Hamburg gig from Dec 1962 (remastered versions on Youtube  https://www.youtube.com/user/HandmadeBootz/videos) whilst there are some great elements, there are so many playing errors and fluffs that I wonder just how good were The Beatles up till this stage? A lot of it seems to come from the guitars. Certainly George messed up a lot of these guitar parts and I can't tell if some of it is John. There is also George's vocal on Sheila which seems to lack professionalism. Ringo doesn't seem as steady as you would expect and I had to check that it wasn't Pete Best. I used to play in bands and whilst all musicians make the occasional fluff I always regarded it as a cardinal sin if you were looking to be seen as a tight band. Some of these songs they had played many hundreds of times over a period of years so it seems strange that they were making mistakes. It's not all bad. Ask Me Why sounds very tight and proved they were writing incredibly good complex songs.

Was this just an off night?
« Last Edit: January 22, 2015, 01:36:27 PM by KEROUAC »
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Bobber

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Re: The Star Club Hamburg Recording
« Reply #1 on: January 22, 2015, 07:11:44 PM »

I always thought the recordings are almost unlistenable because of the bad quality.
The Beatles are surely not at their best. I think they were pretty bored with Hamburg at the time and it shows. Full of Prellies and alcohol and very unmotivated to play their sets at the Star Club.
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tkitna

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Re: The Star Club Hamburg Recording
« Reply #2 on: January 22, 2015, 07:36:55 PM »

I always thought the recordings are almost unlistenable because of the bad quality.

Yeah, I always felt the same.  So one either takes it that the other bands in Liverpool were so bad that this portion of the Beatles is what we have to take them from, or as Cor said, they were bored and ragged and spent both mentally and physically at the time.  I'm betting its the latter.

Moogmodule

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Re: The Star Club Hamburg Recording
« Reply #3 on: January 22, 2015, 08:42:35 PM »

It seems that boredom and a  severe case of don't give a f$&@ probably was affecting them that night. 

Lewisohn also points out that the set list  seemed like an older one. They excluded most of their newer covers and delved into the back catalogue. So they might have also simply been a bit rusty on some of the older tunes.

I haven't listened to this in a long time. My recollection was similar to Bobber's. The poor quality made it very hard to enjoy.
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In My Life

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Re: The Star Club Hamburg Recording
« Reply #4 on: January 23, 2015, 03:31:43 AM »

I haven't listened to this in a long time. My recollection was similar to Bobber's. The poor quality made it very hard to enjoy.

I've only listened to it once for that reason. I wonder if it could be made any better in this day and age?
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Kelley

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Moogmodule

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Re: The Star Club Hamburg Recording
« Reply #5 on: January 23, 2015, 04:00:07 AM »

I had a listen to a few of the songs via a 1999 German release on Youtube. It sounds a bit better than I expected. The trouble is the vocals, which was always such a key element for the Beatles, are too buried and lack depth. The guitar sound remains mostly scratchy. Although some songs sound better than others. And a lot of the time you can hear only a basic thump from the drums with the ride cymbal dominating. There's probably a limit to how much it can be fixed.

Still. On the songs I listened to there was a lot of energy. I imagine being in the room for I Saw Her Standing there, Roll Over Beethoven or I'm a Gonna Sit Right Down would have been pretty impressive.
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In My Life

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Re: The Star Club Hamburg Recording
« Reply #6 on: January 23, 2015, 04:05:35 AM »

Still. On the songs I listened to there was a lot of energy. I imagine being in the room for I Saw Her Standing there, Roll Over Beethoven or I'm a Gonna Sit Right Down would have been pretty impressive.

I'd set my time machine for one of those nights! But I'd want to get out of there at the first sign of "The Hully Gully". I think it was in the Anthology book that George recounted how fights always broke out during that song. LOL
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Kelley

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oldbrownshoe

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Re: The Star Club Hamburg Recording
« Reply #7 on: January 23, 2015, 07:19:55 AM »

Going back to Hamburg after 'Love Me Do' must have seemed a bit of a retrograde step for the group and I suspect they were itching to get back to England.

The Star Club recordings could surely be lovingly remastered to a quality higher than in 1977 and given an official CD release on Apple? Hey! we could even call it 'Bootleg Series Volume 1'.

It really is time that all the strands of the group's career (the Decca audition, the 'Get Back' album, the 'MMT' soundtrack with incidental music, Tony Sheridan, the various live releases) were housed under one roof.

I would have thought the 50th Anniversary of all these things would have been the ideal time but.....erm....Apple seemed too busy completely c***ing up the 'Love Me Do' release and putting things out, for some reason, on 'vinyl'. Jolly good.
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Normandie

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Re: The Star Club Hamburg Recording
« Reply #8 on: January 24, 2015, 07:34:23 PM »



I didn't even realize any Star Club recordings were available. (I still have somuch to learn!)

Thanks for sharing that, Kerouac; I added it to my favorites and will be going back to listen to each song.
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KEROUAC

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Re: The Star Club Hamburg Recording
« Reply #9 on: January 26, 2015, 12:48:46 PM »

If you check out the Youtube link in my post someone appears to have done some remastering of the sound. It sounds clearer than previous versions I've heard although the bass is a bit submerged. Although I'm reading Lewisohn's book I haven't got up to this point yet so perhaps the reshuffled setlist had something to do with it and maybe the Beatles weren't keen on doing the gig.
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In My Life

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Re: The Star Club Hamburg Recording
« Reply #10 on: January 27, 2015, 03:48:58 AM »

Thanks for sharing that, Kerouac; I added it to my favorites and will be going back to listen to each song.

What did you think of it Kathy... if you've had a chance to listen that is!
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Kelley

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Normandie

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Re: The Star Club Hamburg Recording
« Reply #11 on: January 27, 2015, 10:23:26 PM »

What did you think of it Kathy... if you've had a chance to listen that is!

I was so amazed to actually listen to a recording of them playing in Hamburg that nothing sank (sunk?) in at first, but I have to agree with what others before me have said: They sounded spent and not up to what I assume was their usual quality. It was magical to listen to, though. So far I've only listened to two tracks.
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Casbah

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Re: The Star Club Hamburg Recording
« Reply #12 on: February 17, 2015, 02:33:40 AM »

Yeah they weren't into it. They were getting big in England at this point and didn't want to go back to do these shows.


But I don't know man, listen to Talkin Bout You.  Good stuff right there.


I think, as a musician you can appreciate this, when you're playing a B.S. gig, you just go through the motions to get it over with, more so when you're a kid than as an adult. (Hopefully as an adult we pick our gigs a little more carefully!  ;D).
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Bobber

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In My Life

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Re: The Star Club Hamburg Recording
« Reply #14 on: February 17, 2015, 06:42:35 PM »

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Kelley

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Bobber

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Re: The Star Club Hamburg Recording
« Reply #15 on: February 19, 2015, 08:09:53 AM »

Found this on Wogblog

Looks like the Star Club tapes with the Beatles and others have appeared for sale once more, as reported by The Guardian and echoed by Rolling Stone, who are inferring that the famous rock'n'roll venue was a strip club... So much for rock and roll journalism.

The original tape recorders and another tape appeared for sale by Heritage Auctions in December without attracting any buyers.

The current tape offered up for sale is supposedly a seven-inch reel safety master of the original unedited Beatles mono tape that ran during the performances, often when John, Paul, George and Ringo were not playing. It has previously been up for sale over at American Memorabilia, where it has been around for years without anyone bothering to buy it. Now that it has attracted the attention of the mainstream media, maybe they'll find a buyer, who knows?

Auction house Ted Owen & Co. will offer up the tape with a reserve price of £100,000. Registration and bidding commences from the 27th of February with the online auction to start on March 26th 2015 6pm (GMT) 10am (PST).
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KEROUAC

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Re: The Star Club Hamburg Recording
« Reply #16 on: February 24, 2015, 12:19:04 PM »

Yes since I posted my original comment I've now read more about this period and many of you were correct. They didn't want to go back to Hamburg and Epstein had to coerce them as he didn't want them to get a reputation of breaking contracts. When they were there on this trip they hated being there and were bored. It was also one of the coldest winters on record which made it a miserable place to be. They probably saw this as a step backwards.

I hope more material comes out from the tapes as I heard there were a lot more songs recorded.
« Last Edit: February 24, 2015, 12:20:44 PM by KEROUAC »
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Bobber

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Re: The Star Club Hamburg Recording
« Reply #17 on: February 24, 2015, 12:48:33 PM »


I hope more material comes out from the tapes as I heard there were a lot more songs recorded.

I think that is doubtful. There must be a thread somewhere on this forum with a complete overview of played and recorded songs during this Hamburg visit.
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