Saturday, August 13, 2011

1961 One Off Covers

August 13-20, 1961

One has to wonder what were the Beatles attitudes toward their careers at this time.  On the one hand they are making pretty good money doing something they obviously love.  On the other, there is a lot of work involved in what they do and anyone who has been in a long term musical relationship with other people knows that conflicts are sure to arise.  Looked at from one perspective, they could seem to be stuck in a bit of a rut.

They are playing this week four times at the Cavern, where their teenage following is becoming a rabid Beatle army.  The other places they play are St John's Hall, the Aintree Institute and Hambleton Hall., where fighting, fueled by the high energy music, often breaks out.  They have played all these places many times before  and to the same audience of local kids.  They have to be wondering where all this will  eventually lead.  They won't be young and happening forever.

The list of songs they are doing at this time is heavy with the very popular Presley, Chuck Berry, Buddy Holly, and Little Richard.  But there are lots of artists whos songs they cover rarely and they are of interest, too.  They cover some pure American country songs like All Over Again from Johnny Cash, road house barn burners like Watch Your Step by Bobby Parker and very treacly pop songs like A House With Love In It from (believe it or not) Vera Lynn.  This is the fundamental source of  their amazing talent for catchy arrangements.  They are learning how to give anything a "Beatle spin" and make it sound great .  Wonderful training, indeed.

The songwriting talent is still largely beneath the surface, but there can be no doubt, the diverse selection of material is developing that subconsciously, too.  As a young man, Hunter S Thompson typed out the entire text to The Great Gatsby and A Farewell to Arms, hoping to gain an insight into the process of creative writing.  Seems a somewhat absurd approach, until you really think about it.

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