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Beatles Recovered: 1967-70

April 11th, 2023 Leave a comment Go to comments


In the evening of December 8, 1980, I played the Beatles’ 1967-70 compilation, the Blue Album. On my copy, there was (and still is) a skip on Strawberry Fields Forever. That record was still on my turntable when my radio alarm went off at 7:00 next morning, with the newsreader announcing that John Lennon had been murdered, just a couple of hours earlier. I have associated the Blue Album with Lennon’s assassination ever since.

On April 2, it was 50 years since the red and blue compilations were released. The Red Album was recovered a few days before that anniversary. Both albums served as great introductions to The Beatles for people born just too late to have experienced the band on its run (as it were). I’ve seen the eight sides described as the “gateway drug to The Beatles”, and that is a good metaphor.

As on the Red Album, the 1967-70 set contains a few non-single tracks which would have been big hits in their own right, and which are superior to some of the singles that were hits. The Sgt Pepper’s album, which yielded no singles, is represented four times; the White Album features with three non-single cuts, and Abbey Road with four. Two of these tracks, Obadi-Oblada and With A Little Help From My Friends would become big hits for other artists.

It is incredible to think that tracks like While My Guitar Gently Weeps and Here Comes The Sun were not released as singles, at least in the UK. Inexplicably, the pedestrian and obviously self-referential Ballad Of John And Yoko was, backed by Harrison’s substandard Old Brown Shoe. Both of these songs feature on the Blue Album, on which Harrison gets four tracks (which is four more than George had on the Red Album).

Where the Red Album was almost flawless, the Blue Album includes some songs I can happily live without: Ballad Of John And Yoko, Old Brown Shoe, Obladi-Oblada, Octopus’s Garden…. I think some of the covers on this Recovered mix are better than the originals.

Obladi-Oblada gets the proper ska treatment by Prince Buster, and Octopus’s Garden gets the appropriate Sesame Street treatment. Old Brown Shoe — one of The Beatles’ least covered songs — is interpreted competently by South African rock group The Rising Sons, who were active from 1967-74. The Ballad Of John & Yoko gets a great a capella reworking by The Persuasions, who also featured on the Red Album Recovered set. Penny Lane is also rendered a capella, to fine effect, by Chapter 6, who are highly-regarded exponents of that vocal form.

Elvis Presley released a few Beatles songs, and his take on Hey Jude was shortlisted for this mix. But, truth be told, it’s not very good. Instead we have an out-take cut of Elvis singing Lady Madonna, and having fun doing so, from the sessions for his 1971 album Walk A Mile In My Shoes. Likewise, Aretha Franklin’s version of The Fool On The Hill was recorded during sessions for an LP which would not include it, in this case This Girl’s in Love With You, which was released in January 1970.

Hey Jude gets a soul remake by Jr Walker & The All Stars, which is very enjoyable (great bassline), if not quite in the same class as Wilson Picket’s definitive cover (featured on Covered With Soul Vol. 14 – Beatles Edition 1)

It makes sense that Billy Preston should feature here, and especially with a cover of Get Back, the track on which he was a credited featured artist, the only act thus honoured in The Beatles’ catalogue.

Claudia Lennear is perhaps best known for being the alleged inspiration for The Rolling Stones’ misogynistic and racist anthem Brown Sugar. Here she does Let It Be as a guest on Joe Cocker’s Mad Dogs & Englishmen live set, with producer Leon Russell on keyboards (whom she backed at George Harrison’ Bangladesh concert). Her recording of Let It Be was not on the Cocker album but was released as the b-side of Leon Russell’s Mad Dogs And Englishmen single. Joe Cocker, who had his breakthrough with a cover of a Beatles song, features here in his own right, doing Something.

The mix ends with a cover by another legendary backing singer, Clydie King, who also was part of the Mad Dogs and Englishmen tour.

But the track that really needs to be heard is William Shatner’s Lucy In The Sky With Diamonds. Bizarre doesn’t begin to describe it (“…the GIRL…with kaleidoscope eyes…”). Shatner had a line in rather freaked out spoken-word cover songs. I don’t recommend listening to a whole album of that — at least not without the aid of mind-altering substances, which might make them bearable — but as individual tracks Cap’n Kirk’s records are great novelty fun.

The mixes will fit on two CD-Rs; home-somethinged covers are included, as is this post in PDF format. PW in comments.

Disc 1
1. Todd Rundgren – Strawberry Fields Forever (1976)
2. Chapter 6 – Penny Lane (2011)
3. Big Daddy – Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band (1992)
4. Betty LaVette – A Little Help From My Friends (1969)
5. William Shatner – Lucy In The Sky With Diamonds (1968)
6. The Fall – A Day In The Life (1988)
7. Echo & The Bunnymen – All You Need Is Love (1984)
8. Bud Shank – I Am The Walrus (1968)
9. Milton Nascimento – Hello, Goodbye (1991)
10. Aretha Franklin – The Fool On The Hill (1969)
11. Camel – Magical Mystery Tour (1969)
12. Elvis Presley – Lady Madonna (1971)
13. Jr Walker & The All Stars – Hey Jude (1970)
14. Thompson Twins – Revolution (1985)

Disc 2
1. Ramsey Lewis – Back In The USSR (1969)
2. The Jeff Healey Band – While My Guitar Gently Weeps (1990)
3. Prince Buster and The All Stars – Ob La Di Ob La Da (1969)
4. Billy Preston – Get Back (1974)
5. Dillard & Clark – Don’t Let Me Down (1969)
6. The Persuasions – The Ballad Of John And Yoko (2002)
7. The Rising Sons – Old Brown Shoe (1970)
8. Rumer – Here Comes The Sun (2015)
9. Diana Ross – Come Together (1970)
10. Joe Cocker – Something (1969)
11. Sesame Street – Octopus’s Garden (1976)
12. Claudia Lennear – Let It Be (1971)
13. Colin Hay – Across The Universe (2021)
14. Clydie King – The Long And Winding Road (1971)


Beatles Recovered: Please, Please Me
Beatles Recovered: With The Beatles
Beatles Recovered: A Hard Day’s Night
Beatles Recovered: Beatles For Sale
Beatles Recovered: Help!
Beatles Recovered: Rubber Soul
Beatles Recovered: Revolver
Beatles Recovered: Sgt Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club  Band
Beatles Revovered: Magical Mystery Tour
Beatles Recovered: White Album
Beatles Recovered: Yellow Submarine
Beatles Recovered: Abbey Road
Beatles Recovered: Abbey Road
Beatles Recovered: Let It Be
Beatles Recovered: 1962-1966

Covered With Soul Vol. 14 – Beatles Edition 1
Covered With Soul Vol. 15 – Beatles Edition 2

Any Major Beatles Covers: 1962-66

Any Major Beatles Covers: 1967-68
Any Major Beatles Covers: 1968-70


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  1. amdwhah
    April 11th, 2023 at 08:54 | #1

    PW = amdwhah

  2. Jens Martens
    April 11th, 2023 at 11:25 | #2

    Thanks, Dude … what a nice, diverse collection once again – some real gems, among them

    …the Red and Blue Album were my gateway drug, indeed, to the Beatles … apart from a ramshackle compilation called “The world’s best…”

  3. individu1671137
    April 11th, 2023 at 14:38 | #3

    Milton Nascimento turns a bad song into a good song.

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