500.040 The Beatles
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Released on November 1987
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H ow deep is your love of The Beatles? Deep enough to get dirty digging through the muddy archives of their pre-somebody days? Then dive right in. But before you do, put in those ear plugs. The recording quality of these tracks is terrible; sub-sub-bootleg really. They date from the Tony Sheridan days, which means Tony sings a lot of the songs (no matter, since you can hardly tell who’s singing anyway) and Pete Best plays the drums. Presumably, the better-known releases from this period (e.g., Live at the Star Club 1961) are the best way to experience these early, formative years if you must. A life lived without hearing them, of course, couldn’t be counted empty. Listening past the limitations of the recording, which is a real challenge, you can hear the comfortable stage presence of Paul McCartney, the ambitious lead guitar work of George Harrison (whose amp is clearly in proximity to the recording device) and early versions of songs that would soon appear under The Beatles moniker. The latter will hold the most interest for fans: “Till There Was You,” “Ask Me Why,” “Everybody’s Trying To Be My Baby,” “Matchbox” and “Long Tall Sally.” Although The Beatles would trot out these covers again for their first few albums, only “Matchbox” had changed much from these early days. Of the songs they didn’t cover later in their careers, “Talking ‘Bout You” seems like a missed opportunity since their version here rocks out. The rest of the songs really belong to Sheridan I suppose: “Falling In Love Again,” “Hallelujah I Love Her So,” “Red Sails In The Sunset,” et cetera. He’s so poorly miked in these recordings that it’s hard to understand what appeal his voice may have originally held for audiences. Glimpses into the personality of the young, savage Beatles are afforded very briefly, from Paul’s giggling rendition of “Till There Was You” to some Beatles banter lamenting what’s lost in translation before “Everybody’s Trying To Be My Baby” is played. The audience, probably German, is receptive to the performance, unaware that they were witnessing history. Today, this ticket isn’t worth more than a few dollars in my mind; these recordings likely exist in several incarnations on various CDs, one of which probably includes some liner notes to put them into historical context.

TRACK LISTING

  1. WOOLY BULLY
  2. TILL THERE WAS YOU
  3. NOTHIN' SHAKIN (BUT THE LEAVES ON THE TREES)
  4. TO KNOW HER IS TO LOVE HER    (Phil Spector)
  5. LITTLE QUEENIE    (Chuck Berry)
  6. FALLING IN LOVE AGAIN    (Lerner/Hollander)
  7. ASK ME WHY?
  8. BE-BOP-A-LULA    (Vincent/Davis)
  9. HALLELUJAH I LOVE HER SO    (Ray Charles)
  10. SHEILA    (T.Roe)
  11. RED SAILS IN THE SUNSET    (Kennedy/Williams)
  12. EVERYBODY'S TRYING TO BE MY BABY
  13. MATCHBOX    (Carl Perkins)
  14. TALKING 'BOUT YOU    (R.Charles)
  15. SHIMMY SHAKE    (J.South/B.Land)
  16. LONG TALL SALLY    (Johnson/Penniman/Blackwell)
  17. I REMEMBER YOU

CREDITS

PETE BEST --
GEORGE HARRISON --
JOHN LENNON --
PAUL McCARTNEY --
TONY SHERIDAN --

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REGION RELEASE DATE LABEL MEDIA ID NUMBER FEATURES
FRA November 1987 Intertape CD 500.040  

 

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