Let’s state the obvious ! For something like 60 years the BEATLES have dominated popular music . There had never been a musical behemoth like them before and there never will be! Why they’ve just topped the singles chart again with their catchy, AI- crafted ‘Now And Then’! Countless tomes have been written trying to explain the phenomenon – but in essence the Fabs were four hugely talented and creative musicians who came together at just the right time and in the right place. And, again to state the bleedin’ obvious, their legacy is immense and in celebration of that legacy may we point you to a magnificent new compilation from Cherry Red imprint, Strawberry.
‘We Can Work It Out’ is a three CD, 85 track collection of Beatle covers. Now there have been albums like this before, but there hasn’t been one so comprehensive, thorough and entertaining. The compilers have trawled the vaults and put together music from across genres and across countries. Here you can find recordings that originate from France, Holland, America, Italy, New Zealand, Hungary, and Puerto Rico, all proving that The Beatles’ songs were so great that it didn’t matter what language they were sung in.
There are plenty of big names and some obvious choices – like fellow Scousers and part of the same Beatles management entourage – Cilla Black and Billy J Kramer but the real attraction comes via the unknowns and wannabes all trying to get a little of the Beatles’ magic by recording one of their songs. Thus enjoy Dick Rivers’ French version of ‘Love Me Do’, The Free Design’s ‘Michelle’, Paraffin Jack Flash’s ‘Norwegian Wood’, the Baskervilles’ ‘Another Girl’ and many more. And what about the wonderfully named “Frank Bacon and the Baconeers”? They get two tracks – an energetic version of ‘She Loves You’ and a more subtle ‘Nobody I Know’. The comprehensive sleeve notes reveal that good old “Frank” was Ross McManus – father of a certain Declan who is, of course, Elvis Costello! Interesting too to have some music from the old Woolworths’ Embassy record label. Those of my vintage will have fond memories of the old Woollies red imprint which offered at a knock down price two hit songs on one 45. Yes, they weren’t the original versions – but you got the songs!
Soul and jazz fans will find delight here in two Mary Wells offerings (‘Help’ and ‘Please, Please Me’) Kenny Lynch’s ‘Misery (the first ever Beatles covers) , Madeline Bell’s ‘You Won’t See Me’, Count Basie’s ‘Hold Me Tight’, Dave Baby Cortez’s ‘Can’t Buy Me Love’, The Supremes’ ‘You Can’t Do That’ and the Fifth Dimension’s ‘Ticket To Ride’.
Remarkably, all these wonderful songs come from just the first five years of the Beatles recording career – so maybe (fingers crossed) there’ll be a volume 2 on the way next year! In the meantime, WE CAN WORK IT OUT; COVERS OF THE BEATLES, 1962-1966’ is out now and can we suggest it would make a fab Christmas present for the music lover in your life! (see what we just did there!)