Early Beatles Catalog Highlights (Part One)

A friend of mine asked me for a few quick song purchase suggestions from the pre-Rubber Soul Beatles. I figured I’d take the opportunity to rummage through these oldie-but-good LPs to see what I could see.

Please Please Me.

The good:

    1. I Saw Her Standing There– Paul McCartney takes the helm on this album launching track about the greatest dance party you never attended.
    2. Please Please Me– One of the first Beatles compositions George Martin thought was half way decent. Uses power chords before they were invented on the riff between the lines of the verse.
    3. There’s A Place– First introspective Beatles song. They’d take this thing as far as it could go later with Across the Universe. For now it’s kind of like a weird cousin to In My Room.
    4. Twist and Shout– (See Ferris Bueller)

The not-so-good:

    1. Boys– This song brings to mind Brian Epstein suggesting tighter trousers.
    2. A Taste of Honey– Humanity may never understand why Paul did this to us.

With The Beatles

The good:

    1. All My Loving– John took the first two songs on this album, but the lights don’t really turn on until you hear the famous skittering guitar line of this Paul song.
    2. Not a Second Time– John Lennon gets upset at his wife and writes a damn fine tune. Nice meandering piano solo.

Honorable Mention

    1. Money– George Martin tickles the ivories with a chunky piano line that drives this respectable cover.
    2. Please Mister Postman– Brainless fun.
    3. Don’t Bother Me– George Harrison becomes the serious Beatle.
    4. All I’ve Got To Do– John takes his time, uses an off kilter drum pattern and gets the job done, more or less.
    5. Till There Was You– Paul takes the Beatles unplugged for the first time.

The not-so-good:

  1. This record commits no serious crimes…You got off easy this time Ringo!

Hard Days Night

The good:

The A Side- A nice EP for a breezy day.

    1. A Hard Days Night– You know it you love it. From the unique opening chord, to the hard charging rhythm, to the sentiment of the lyric Alex Chilton would subconsciously appropriate for the middle eight of September Girls about a decade later.
    2. I Should Have Known Better– My favorite early Beatles song, period. Makes me smile everytime I hear it.
    3. If I Fell– We’re slowing down but it’s still a great tune.
    4. I’m Happy Just To Dance With You– Hey, maybe it’s only a Northern Song, but George is lightening up.
    5. And I Love Here– Paul unplugs it again! The melody of this song reminds me of the bridge to an obscure Robyn Hitchcock song, ‘Executioner’…anyway.
    6. Tell Me Why– John hits a single…bases loaded.
    7. Can’t Buy Me Love– Paul smashes it out of the park. Grand Slam! (see mid-eighties Patrick Dempsey vehicles)

B Side Beauties:

    1. Any Time At All– John brings it again.
    2. Thing We Said Today– Paul can’t put the acoustic down, and just wants to remember the good times (in a depressive kind of way.)
    3. You Can’t Do That– More cowbell. If you want to trace the lineage of the melody for of a good chunk of the VU’s ‘She’s My Best Friend’, look no further than this song.
    4. I’ll Be Back– Interesting harmonies (see The Terminator)

The not-so-good:

  1. When I Get Home– It’s like a Frankenstein’s Monster of Beatles songs that adds up to a clunky mess. FIRE BAD!

End of Part One

Synchronicity

I do not believe in supernatural forces. I do, however, believe in synchronicity. This phenomenon, as I describe it, is a seemingly related cluster of events that interrelate due to the mind’s subjective understanding of them.

Instances of synchronicity occur when random instances turn simultaneously in a common direction, not unlike metal filings being pulled by a magnet. What is the “magnet”? This is the question that vexes me. It is not God. I know this. But it is a force, like a storm, or any other natural event: a wave, a ripple, gravity, entropy, creation.

My most recent experiences with this feeling of synchronicity are running toward the negative (for instance, in the last week, I experienced three mechanical failures, one very expensive to repair, and yet this is the least of my concerns regarding recent events…so just try to figure what that means). Systems all around me seem to be breaking down. The wave is ebbing. And as I stand here in this lull, I can only consider how low the valley goes. Have we bottomed, or is there an abyss coming to swallow me up? Fight the flow and it will break my back.

As I consider the totality of this synchronistic shitstorm, I can only find comfort in the total absurdity of the human condition. This absurdist philosophy is the balm that saves my life. That’s right, you read it here first; George Carlin, Monty Python and MST3K saved my life and give me the strength to face all obstacles…Sorry Jesus (that said, I do give the J-man big ups for touting the Golden Rule…not that he invented it).

As long as there is electricity bouncing around between my nerve endings, I trust I will see the other side of this valley, this wave. I’ve been here before and time is on my side. The energy that stacks all patterns, random or aligned, will turn around and I will not wonder why. I never do then.

Peter Jurich

My maternal grandfather, Peter Jurich, passed away this morning in his sleep after a long illness. He is survived by my grandmother, Ruth, to whom he was happily wed for some 69 years. I don’t subscribe to the whole “they don’t make them like that anymore” thing. People are people. I do know they don’t make a lot like him, they never did and they never will. He was a good man, a family man, generous, funny, a rock, an inspiration to others…to me he was the family member I always wished I knew better. Now, I will never have that chance (my Floridian cousins are very lucky to have lived so close to him). He lived a long, full life and he lived it well. Knowing him, and knowing his spirit through my mother, I am a better person. Through his example, I know when I am doing right. He will be missed, never forgotten.

My deepest sympathies go to my grandmother.