Ravings

The Beatles Go To 11: Tim Carbone's Picks

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The Impound is asking our favorite musicians to pick their eleven favorite Beatles songs in an effort to offer Fab-u-lous insights in our shared love of the greatest rock band of all-time. The latest entry comes from Tim Carbone, a musician DI has no problem describing as ridiculously talented and not a little magic. When Tim is firing on all cylinders – which is most of the time – he not only shines in his own right but works as an inspired catalyst to his fellow players. Put another way, Carbone makes music richer, better and a number of other positive adjectives. The Railroad Earth violinist was one of the first people DI thought of for this series and we’re happy to present a slice of his fertile, wisdom-rich mind.

Railroad Earth’s Tim Carbone’s 11 Favorite Beatles Songs

Tim Carbone by Suzy Perler

Tim Carbone by Suzy Perler

When Dennis asked me to do this I knew it would be hard. As an “uber fan” it seems almost impossible to pick eleven favorite Beatles songs. It might actually be easier to pick my eleven least favorite and then all the rest would be my favorite. I have decided not to put them in order of preference but instead I will put them in chronological order.

I have a very typical “reason why I became a musician” story, especially for a musician my age. I decided I was going to be a musician when I saw The Beatles on the Ed Sullivan Show on February 9th, 1964. I come from a musical family. My parents met while my mom was in a dance band playing at the Roseland Ballroom in NYC for dancers being instructed by my dad. Two of my older brothers were in bands and some of my earliest memories include my brothers and their friends singing “doo wop” on my front porch. But when The Beatles broke into “All My Loving” that night in 1964, my fate was sealed. I turned to my mom and said, “That’s what I want to do!” And so my first choice for my eleven favorite Beatles songs is where it all started…

[Chronological Order]

All My Loving Beatles_Carbone_AllMyLoving

A Paul tune all the way. Concise, crisp with a really strong vocal that bordered on a rasp. I loved it from the first downbeat. Ringo rocking back and forth and George stomping his foot, I was transfixed! Of course, seeing hundreds of girls go berserk may have had a bit to do with it. Ironically, the song would be playing on the sound system in the emergency room when John Lennon was pronounced dead at Roosevelt Hospital on December 8th, 1980, another date that changed my life. (LISTEN)

I’m A Loser

John in his “Dylan” period. John explained, “Part of me thinks I’m a loser and part of me thinks I’m God Almighty.” The record was recorded after coming back from touring America. The album title seems to sum up the time period and so do the album photos. Pretty dark compared to their previous work.

Beatles_Carbone_Loser

Geek alert! Just a word on the recording of these early albums: In England at this time the vast majority of the record buying public owned and listened to records recorded in mono. Record players that played stereo recordings were expensive and beyond the means of most post-war Brits. As a result the stereo mixes were treated almost as an afterthought. The songs were recorded to 2 and 4 tracks with drums almost always bounced (mixed down) to one track. That meant, most of the time, the drums were either going to be in the left or right channel – makes for an unbalanced listen. More importantly, the only mixes that The Beatles themselves had their hands on were the mono mixes. When they released the mono box-set some years ago I purchased them and it was almost like hearing the songs for the first time. It was remarkable! I’ll be geeking out along the way here so sorry to those who I will inevitably bore. (LISTEN)

I’ll Follow The Sun

Do you have a song you love that immediately puts you in the same mood you were put in the first time you heard it? “I’ll Follow The Sun” is such a song for me. There’s something about the “walking down the street” groove and the pitter patter drum beat that makes me happy-sad every time – a Paul song with a simple form. John and Paul double the short verses with Paul singing the single line verse alone. The bridge is classic with Lennon singing a descending harmony that also gives the song its happy-sad feeling. Love, love this song. (LISTEN)

Norwegian Wood

One of Lennon’s great songs, a thinly veiled reference to an affair he was having. Unusual for a number reasons, it was in 3/4 time, not too common for a rock band, and it also featured the first appearance of the sitar on a Beatles song, perhaps the first ever on a rock record. Paul helped on the middle eight. (LISTEN)

In My Life Beatles_Carbone_InMyLife

When I hear this song my mind rewinds the movie reel of my life and I relive the times and memories with the people I’ve loved and lost. As I get older the list of people this song conjures up to me keeps growing. A powerful song can do that, transport you. It sounds like a collaboration – middle eight has Paul written all over it. The solo sounds like a harpsichord but is actually a piano piece written and played by George Martin and recorded at half speed, thereby sped up on playback making it an octave higher. (LISTEN)

She Said, She Said

Beatles_Carbone_SheSaid

A total Lennon song. In fact, Paul doesn’t even play on it. That’s George playing the bass. A very trippy track. It was included in many of my psychedelic soundtracks. “I know what it’s like to be dead.” The story goes that Peter Fonda spit out the line describing a near-death experience he had whilst tripping with John, George and Ringo. It wasn’t the only or last LSD inspired bit of Lennon writing. I love the jangling, semi-distorted guitar figures and the circular drumming. (LISTEN)

Got To Get You Into My Life

This is a highly underrated Paul song. The horns! Close miked, compressed and right in your face! The vocal is so amazing, especially the ad libs at the end. The outro on the mono version is completely different then the stereo version we’re so used to hearing. It goes on about 10 or 15 seconds longer with the trumpet and Paul’s vocal wailing away. (LISTEN)

Good Morning, Good Morning Beatles_Carbone_GoodMorning

An underrated Lennon classic. More overly compressed horns courtesy of Sound Incorporated. I love this song mostly because I’ve always thought the guitar solo was the most ripping on any Beatles record. I played air guitar in front of the mirror in my bedroom when I was a kid a thousand times to it. It wasn’t until I started recording and producing records and studying how these recordings were made that I found out that the guitar solo was performed by Paul! (LISTEN)

Within You Without You

One of the few songs featuring just one Beatle. In this case George. The lyrics are my essential philosophy in life. They are the simple pieces of the puzzle. Thank you, George, for introducing me to this way of life and the music of India that has so moved me and influenced my music and way of thinking. (LISTEN)

Revolution #1

Beatles_Carbone_Revolution

I had the [White Album poster up in my room for two years. I stared at it for clues. Paul, upper left corner. Paul is dead. He blew his mind out in a car. There it was! Turn me on, dead man,, turn me on, dead man. They had practically ceased being a band. They were recording their separate songs many times separately, occasionally on the same day in different parts of Abbey Road. Even their long time engineer Geoff Emerick bailed on them. Ken Scott engineered most of the record. Me and my friends had had it with the Vietnam War, school, parents… Fuck it all! This song was the soundtrack of my life then. The geek point in this song is that the incredibly distorted guitar was achieved by plugging the electric guitar directly into the Redd mixing desk and cascading one overdriven pre-amp into another. Rip your head off guitar tone achieved! (LISTEN)

Something

Beatles_Carbone_Something

The first A-Side single for George and what a beauty! My second favorite guitar solo on a Beatles record. It has a tonally uplifting bridge thanks to the modulation from C major to A major, then back. Going to A minor (the relative minor) would have been more conventional. “You’re asking me will my love grow?” A major baby. It makes the song feel like it’s growing. After the discord of the White Album and the disaster that was Let It Be, Abbey Road brought the team back together. Geoff Emerick and George Martin were both back and The Beatles finished their career as a band on a very high note indeed. (LISTEN)

Like I said, all (or most) of The Beatles songs are my favorite and I could write about them all. These are but a small portion of them, the ones that most shaped me as a musician and a person. Thanks, Dennis, for letting me share my thoughts on these songs!

Mix Tape

Cheer The Fuck Up V

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”Well you know I don’t get off on workin’ day after day. I wanna have some fun while I’m here”

If this doesn’t put a spring in your step consult a medical professional.

Track listing below. If you experience playback problems pop over to the mix page and it should play fine.

Cheer The Fuck Up V from dirtyimpound on 8tracks Radio.

You can listen to 8tracks mixes on your iPhone (pick up the app here) and Android (pick up the app here).

track listing

Ravings

The Beatles Go To 11: Jeff Massey's Picks

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The Impound is asking our favorite musicians to pick their eleven favorite Beatles songs in an effort to offer Fab-u-lous insights in our shared love of the greatest rock band of all-time. The latest entry comes from Jeff Massey, guitarist-singer-songwriter with one of DI’s fave-o-rite working rock bands, Chicago’s The Steepwater Band, who just get ALL the fundamentals right and rock with such obvious sincerity and natural capacity for the genre it brings a tear to our eye. If you ain’t familiar with ‘em then it’s time you get on it!

The Steepwater Band’s Jeff Massey’s 11 Favorite Beatles Songs

[No Stated Order]

I, Me, Mine

Beatles_I_Me_Mine

This song is one of Harrison’s finest moments. What a perfect combination of a sorrowful waltz mixed up with straight bluesy rock n roll. The contrast between the mood of the verse and the chorus is such an amazing flow of effortless songwriting. Melancholy blended into an uplifting frenzy of a jam!

Lyrically it stands timeless as an ode to people who are completely unconscious from what life is about. Without love and sharing you really never see any light At least that’s what I hear in the message. Yet another wonderful aspect of the Beatles is the room they leave for interpretation of a lyric.

The killer guitar tones don’t hurt the song any either. I know there has always been question as to what George played and what Paul played. Unless I’m mistaken Paul played some of the key guitar parts including the solos on the early material, but I’m guessing by this point in time this is George laying it down. (LISTEN)

Dear Prudence

Beatles_DearPrudence

Lennon’s mournful vocal is almost too much to take in if I’m in a fragile listening mood. This song is the epitome of intensity. It cuts through an emotional bone like butter. Dark folk music which, like George’s “I, Me, Mine,” shifts between sorrow and joy both musically and lyrically.

I love the way the intro descends into a hypnotic drone that sucks the listener in for the remainder of the song. It’s that haunting pulse of repetition that makes this song so mesmerizing.

No other vocalist can be as haunting as Lennon at times. Lennon is a master of imagery who easily switches from yearning to commanding with the flick of a switch.

The chaotic crescendo rises perfectly into a drumming frenzy and melody overload!

The Beatles are such a powerful influence on everything musically that came after. I hear everything from Pink Floyd to Wilco in this song. Where would be without The Beatles! (LISTEN)

Michelle

Beatles_Michelle

Only McCartney can turn such a sappy lyric into a joyful journey of the heart. A wizard of bass melody, or perhaps a tone cut guitar, sometimes it’s hard to tell the difference with Paul.

My struggle over which is my favorite Beatle will never cease, they are all four beyond a standard talent in their own right, but to me McCartney is the master of melody and range. The shift between French and English lyrics only adds to the mystique and feeling of sitting in a café somewhere in Southern France as young Paul serenades his love. The simple lyric compliments the music and the melody wrapping it all up in a beautiful piece of sophisticated ambient genius. One of my favorite Beatles songs. (LISTEN)

Octopus’s Garden

Beatles_Octopus

Just when you thought a particular Beatles record might be getting too serious, well, here comes Ringo!

Man, I love Ringo! I hate when Beatles fans rag on Ringo. The average music listener might not understand what a great talent someone like Ringo Starr really is. It’s that backbeat that makes all that great early material swing! No need for a bunch of pointless drum noodling – it’s that beat man!

Not to mention he played with three other guys who are just a bit more talented than the average bear, so grabbing attention from the others isn’t so easy. Again like George and the guitar, there are a few rumors floating around in the cosmos about Paul handling drums on certain songs, but ya still got to have some Ringo on board!

Anyway, “Octopus’s Garden” is such a creative little twist on country twang music. The nursery rhyme quality is hard not to sing along to. Once again another Beatles rumor that good ol’ Bob Dylan wrote these words for Mr. Starkey. Who knows? Rumors aside I had to give the man props on at least one Beatles cut. Go Ringo ! (LISTEN)

I Want You (She’s So Heavy)

Beatles_IWantYou

Geoff Emerick wrote an amazing book titled Here There and Everywhere about the many Beatles sessions he worked on as an engineer including Abbey Road. This is probably what I’m basing all the previously mentioned rumors on. I remember him discussing in the book how Lennon fought with the others about this particular ending. The short abrupt closed door really catches the listener off guard, and isn’t that part of the great collective genius that is the Beatles: The unexpected musical turns that keeps the listening journey exciting and unknown.

The Beatles are masters of the blues among many other musical styles, and this song is a radical interpretation of minor blues. You can hear this influence in things like Zep’s “Since I’ve Been Loving You” as one example. The Beatles undeniably influence just about everyone who came after and this song in particular is beyond innovative.

Like many of the aforementioned songs it shifts between minor blues, jazz swing, and builds into yet another hypnotic powerhouse riff before that ever so surprising door slams shut. Lennon is a master of tension Songs of this nature stick with me when I pick up a guitar. I have a tendency to drift towards that minor key vibe a lot, and songs like “I Want You” are uncontrollably etched in my musical subconscious
As Nigel Tufnel says, ‘’D minor: the saddest of all keys.’’ (LISTEN)

Tomorrow Never Knows

Beatles_TomorrowNever

If any song is going to capture color with sounds it’s “Tomorrow Never Knows.” I can’t help but to ‘’see’’ the melody! A circle of swirling colors dance through my brain and drift into unknown consciousness even without any influence of chemical substance. Yes!

It’s rock’ ‘n roll hypnosis, which one might consider the birth of psychedelic music, the worldly influence of rhythm and beat unknown to rock music before this track emerged. I love music that sounds like it comes from another planet, music that stands timeless and mysterious even after it’s heard for so many years.

Also if I’m not mistaken this might be one of the earliest attempts at drum looping, which is such a standard and abused necessity in popular music of today.

I can’t help feeling so otherworldly and surreal when I’m listening to this song. It’s a complete escape from reality and that is why I love it so much. This song demands your attention. Nothing against “Twist and Shout” but it’s amazing that they developed into a songwriting machine that could manipulate music into something so new for the time and so everlasting against the test of time itself. (LISTEN)

Blackbird

Beatles_Blackbird

Paul’s tale of a slave gone free is to me one of the most heartfelt and powerful songs of all time. Not to mention it’s rewarding to play on the guitar with such a rich combination of chord and melody. It strikes me for some reason as a song Paul might have written very quickly and spontaneously. It has that shot of inspiration to the sound that cannot be forced.

This composition always stands out among the so many amazing Beatles compositions. I’m lucky enough to have witnessed Paul perform this in Chicago a few years back and it was really an incredible thing to see and hear. (LISTEN)

A Day In The Life

Beatles_Day

The same intensity that I spoke of with “Dear Prudence” but recorded a bit earlier in the Beatles career for the groundbreaking Sgt. Pepper’s record. Probably the most haunting Lennon melody ever.

I’m realizing as I make this list that I lean towards the darker, surreal aspect of the Beatles catalog when I speak of my favorites.

What a perfect blend of McCartney/Lennon with Paul’s lighthearted lyric about waking up and grabbing the day! I especially love the line, ‘’Dragged a comb across my head’’. The ending had to be another Lennon idea. Epic!

Lennon was the guy that frustrated George Martin the most because he would explain his musical ideas in such an abstract manner. He would say things in the studio like, ‘’I want the song to sound green with a touch of the moon!” (I made that up but I’m guessing he would say something to that effect). Paul on the other hand would say something like, ‘’ I need a clarinet to come in on the sixth measure and the tambourine should fade towards the end of the first bridge.’’ (again, I made this up but Paul seemed more practical). Obviously, the two genius minds could come together to create masterpieces such as “A Day In The Life.” (LISTEN)

Get Back

Beatles_GetBack

Ah yes, the bluesy record with Phil Spector’s over the top production. Unless of course you prefer the version that was released with Spector’s handy work basically removed.

It’s well documented that The Beatles were not in the best of relations during this period but this track would indicate otherwise. Having a special guest like Billy Preston come in for a session seemed to put The Beatles on their best behavior according to Paul.

Besides leaning towards the surreal aspect of their music, my favorite thing is when they hit the blues-based numbers. Preston’s now legendary workout with the Fender Rhodes piano on this song is enough to suck me in and get the ol’ foot tapping. And as with every Beatles song, the vocals are strong and infectious! (LISTEN)

Eight Days A Week

Beatles_Eight

It took me awhile to appreciate the earlier work as opposed to the latter but when I hear it these days it is really groundbreaking in its own way. What a masterful work of simple chord changes and melody and the always incredible vocal range that was so prevalent throughout the Beatles work. This is just rocking!

One thing that gets under my skin is when musicians of today call The Beatles a boy band comparing them to today’s bad thrown together corporate boy singing groups. The naïve ignorance of such a statement should be obvious when hearing compositions such as “Eight Days A Week.” The vocal performance alone is a testament to the talent involved in the work. As a vocalist if you ever try singing the early material you might find an even greater appreciation for the strength of Paul and John’s vocals. (LISTEN)

Something

Beatles_Something

This is one of my favorite George compositions – a heartfelt lyrical statement amidst that swirling Leslie speaker inspired guitar. I love the bridge in this song and the way it elevates to an even higher musical place only to land into one of my favorite George guitar solos ever! Simple and melodic guitar playing like George is known for.

I even like Elvis-esque borderline corny lounge version and, of course, McCartney still does this live on the ukulele as an ode to he and Georges love for that particular instrument. It’s common Beatles fan knowledge that George was all about busting out the ukulele around the house to entertain band mates and guests.
I don’t what else I can say accept when George sings a ‘’love’’ song it takes on a deeper meaning and feel than most other performers could ever achieve. (LISTEN)

Mix Tape

Cheer The Fuck Up II

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”Streets of gold, that’s where we’re going, you and I. We’ll cross over these uncertain waters and make our home on the other side.”

More endorphin stimulating sounds to lure you away from the abyss. Smoke ‘em if you got ‘em, kids!

Track listing below. If you experience playback problems pop over to the mix page and it should play fine.

Cheer The Fuck Up II from dirtyimpound on 8tracks Radio.

You can listen to 8tracks mixes on your iPhone (pick up the app here) and Android (pick up the app here).

track listing

Ravings

The Beatles Go To 11: Dave Brogan's Picks

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The Impound is asking our favorite musicians to pick their eleven favorite Beatles songs in an effort to offer Fab-u-lous insights in our shared love of the greatest rock band of all-time. This second installment comes from Dave Brogan, drum pro and pop-rock maestro of SF’s ALO. Here’s what Dave – a man who knows the wheres and what-fors of a good rock ditty – had to say about his choices.

Beatles_Brogan_CantBuy

1) “Can’t Buy Me Love” (A Hard Day’s Night)

I love the way John and Paul sing this- in unison and LOUDLY! This song is the confectionary equivalent of a sugary wad of bubble gum wrapped around a street-scored Dexedrine pill – an edgy remnant from their teen days slogging it out in Hamburg rock clubs high on speed and banging strippers. (LISTEN)

2) “Drive My Car” (Rubber Soul)

Foundationally, the song is just guitar doubling an incredibly funky, melodic bass line. As a drummer I very much appreciate Ringo’s stamp on pop-rock drumming, but instrumentally it’s always Paul’s bass parts that consistently blow my mind. If you “soloed” that track on a mixing board- taken alone – it’s a masterpiece. “Beep-Beep, Beep-Beep, YEAH!” (LISTEN)

Beatles_Brogan_WeCan

3) “We Can Work It Out” (Rubber Soul)

This is one of those songs that often creep around my thoughts. Anyone experiencing conflict has felt this sentiment before: “Life is very short, and there’s no time for fussing and fighting, my friend.” Perhaps only a fraction of listeners catch that the perspective of the verses is very one-sided: “Try to see it my way.” Paul is certainly not trying to see it “their way” in this one. It’s an ultimatum. A foreshadowing of things to come? (LISTEN)

4) “Girl” (Rubber Soul)

For me, deep enjoyment of The Beatles starts with Rubber Soul. It’s the launch off for everything to come and the beginning of their revolutionary pop careers – all-night studio hacking sessions that saw the transformation of John from edgy punk rocker into a hallucinatory lord of darkness. These lyrics are REAL. And then the heavy inhalation in the chorus – visionary! (LISTEN)

5) “Paperback Writer” (Single Release, 1966)

Beatles_Brogan_Paperback

Anything I could ever write would only detract from the total overwhelming masterpiece that is this recording. It just has to be listened to and enjoyed. This track exists in the mystical realm of pure beauty, heroic journeys and the musings of gods and can only truly be reflected upon in poetry or, possibly, dance.

Interesting fact: the history of modern recording has been marked by moments of wonderful intersections between art and technology, and “Paperback Writer” is one example. EMI had recently developed a high-level disc cutter that allowed the bass level to be jacked up in the mix (before that high-volume low end would make the cutting needle skip) and this was the first track ever cut on that machine. What better way to demo the new cutter than with a genius Paul McCartney track!

Some of my other favorite details: What is up with the mondo delay on the vocals right before the chorus? I also love the super-slammed compression on the drums, also made possible by gear specifically designed for Abbey Road. This is The Beatles starting to explore the edges of sonic extremes. “Paperback Writer” is a milestone in modern recording and still an amazing song! (LISTEN)

6) “Tomorrow Never Knows” (Revolver)

Beatles_Brogan_Tomorrow

I never realized what an impact LSD had in the 60s on the London music scene until I read Andy Summers’ (guitarist for The Police) autobiography. Everyone was doing it and getting into Eastern mysticism, freaking out and whatnot. The Beatles released Rubber Soul in December 1965 and four months later – FOUR! – John started working on “Tomorrow Never Knows,” a huge departure from the band’s previous work. WTF?

This is the beginning of psychedelia in recorded music. The Grateful Dead had yet to make an album and the Velvet Underground were just beginning to play at Andy Warhol’s factory. Frank Zappa’s Freak Out! wouldn’t come out until mid-year, and he wasn’t even on acid! One connection between Freak Out! and this song is the influence of Musique Concrete, the technique devised in the 50s and 60s by art music composers of cutting and splicing tape to create otherworldly sounds and tape loops, which could play a set of sounds over and over endlessly.

John, George and Ringo first dropped acid with Peter Fonda and The Byrds in L.A. in August of ’65 (according to Peter Fonda). Reportedly, Paul refused, George freaked out and Ringo played pool with the wrong side of a cue stick. But John wrote “Tomorrow Never Knows.” John was the strongest Beatle.

His instruction to producer George Martin on this track: “I want to sound as if I’m the Dalai Lama singing from the highest mountain top.” This is at a time when most bands still clocked into the studio at 8 am, clocked out at 4 pm, and never once walked into the control room.

Most likely it was the first instance of running vocals through a Leslie speaker, first use of tape loops on a “pop” recording, and definitely the first time a pop singer ever told a producer he wanted to sound like the Dalai Lama and wasn’t committed for it. (LISTEN)

7) “Taxman” (Revolver)

Beatles_Brogan_Taxman

The emergence of George as a songwriter in the band. George is my favorite Beatle. I admire his struggle for acceptance. The guitar playing on this song is as f-ing sick as it gets. The solos are like being attacked with a Dremmel tool. Ringo and Paul are locked-the-hell in so hard. That’s what I like about great rock rhythm sections: they lock-in somewhere outside of, and beyond perfection. They’re all trying to sound R&B, but it’s the synthesis of their failing that that makes it perfect. (LISTEN)

8) “Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band (Reprise)” (Sgt. Pepper)

I don’t often listen to Sgt. Pepper, but when I do, I listen to the reprise. Stay funky my drummer friends. (LISTEN)

9) “Two of Us” / “Don’t Let Me Down” (Let It Be)

Beatles_Brogan_DontLetMe

Eleven songs to choose as my favorites are not enough, so now I’m cheating by combining songs. But it’s okay because I like both of these tunes from Let It Be for the same reason – stylistically they strongly hint at what’s to come from Paul’s (“Two of Us”) and John’s (“Don’t Let Me Down”) solo careers. For Paul, it’s the humble, homemade vibe, and for John, the emotional primal scream. I love both of those guy’s solo careers, a lot.

I’ve always thought that the title of this album was so sad given that the band was on their way to dissolution, especially when you consider that the project was originally called Get Back and Paul wanted to make a film and play live again and try to regain what once was. Instead, it ended up as an exercise in acceptance – Let It Be. Or as many people say today: it is what it is. (LISTEN)/(LISTEN)

10) “Come Together” (Abbey Road)

Beatles_Brogan_ComeTogether

Thank God it didn’t end with old, depressing Let It Be. No, it ended with the band reuniting with George Martin for one last artistic triumph! The guys were getting along like never before. Paul’s not trying to force the situation. Let It Be is over. The old Beatles chemistry is back – they finally Got Back! – but the product wasn’t a “throwback.” Abbey Road is, at turns, tight, artsy, stylistic, whimsical and moody.

By the way, it wasn’t Let It Be that poisoned The Beatles. It was that damned, nihilistic and totally misnamed White Album – notice, I didn’t pick any songs from it. Also note, Let It Be was recorded mostly before, but released after, Abbey Road.

“Come Together” is just super stylie, dark, sexy art rock. This is the total Yoko-fication of John, and I love it. Is there a more vibey, badass song in existence? No. All the little textural episodes are so genius. Bass riff and tom fill intro – 4 bars. Then a heavy floor tom beat with the verse – punch lines are just vocal and bass drum. Bare power chords on the chorus – out of nowhere? Uh, ok. This song is deconstructionist when academic dudes were still dreaming up post-modernism. (LISTEN)

11) “Something” (Abbey Road)

Beatles_Brogan_Something

The total arrival of George. I love a late bloomer. Not that he didn’t write many great songs over the course of their years but songs like “Something?” Not quite. This is one of the best Beatles songs ever and has had as much staying power over the decades as anything the other guys wrote. Reportedly, it’s Frank Sinatra’s favorite song of all time.

What I dig about the lyrics is sometimes the best way to express true love is to not mention it at all, but mention something about it that you could never experience without its presence.

I just wish it wasn’t followed by “Maxwell’s Silver Hammer.” Ugh. Vibe killer. From one of the deepest love songs right into Saturday morning cartoons. Someone must have resisted and someone insisted. That’s the kind of stuff that breaks up bands. (LISTEN)

Up next, Dirty Impound’s Head Water Buffalo offers up his Beatles picks, which include three cuts from the White Album. Take that, drummer boy!

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The Beatles Go To 11: Reed Mathis’ Picks

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The Impound is asking our favorite musicians to pick their eleven favorite Beatles songs in an effort to offer Fab-u-lous insights in our shared love of the greatest rock band of all-time. This inaugural selection comes from Reed Mathis, bass wunderkind of San Francisco-based Tea Leaf Green, a true Beatles connoisseur with a positively obsessive knowledge of what went into the making of their landmark music. Here’s what Reed had to say about his choices.

[In Chronological Order]

1) “I’ll Be Back”

I adore early Beatles, but this one from their third album really stands out to me. Harmonically, melodically, and lyrically it presages a lot of their later, darker work. Also, I love the outtakes from Anthology where they first try it as a waltz! Oh, sweet, sweet process. ( STEREO MASTER) / (WALTZ DEMO)

2) “Help!”

In a 70s interview, Lennon was asked what Beatles songs he was most proud of. He answered that he thought he’d written three good Beatle songs – “Strawberry Fields”, “In My Life” and “Help!” In this one, he reveals perhaps much more than he meant to about his inner life, as much great art does. And the groove! Jeez. Home run. (MONO MASTER)

3) “The Word”

Did someone try LSD? :) Suddenly spirituality and universality creep into Lennon’s writing, along with Day-Glo harmonies and exaggerated arrangements. And, speaking as a bass player, Paul’s stuff on this one is just unreal. They’re trying to be Motown, and they’re killing it. (MONO MASTER)

4) “Tomorrow Never Knows”

In April 1966, The Beatles entered Abbey Road to begin their seventh LP. George Martin: “Who wants to go first?” John Lennon: “Well, I’ve got one…” This was the first tune they tackled. Chord progression? Drone. Groove? Breakbeat. Lyrics? Tibetan Book of the Dead. Mix? Lennon said he wanted his voice to sound like “a hundred chanting Tibetan monks”. They ended up re-wiring the Hammond Organ’s Leslie Cabinet to run Lennon’s voice through it. Sound effects? Paul recorded dozens of incidental sounds around his home, and they cut the tapes up with scissors, threw them up in the air, and re-spliced them at random. OK. That’s one way to make a masterpiece. My only complaint? I wish the outro was 10 minutes longer. (STEREO MASTER)

5) “Rain”

Again with the spiritual metaphors? Wow. Lennon’s taking a real stand. “She Loves You” it ain’t. He can show us! The recording is notable for several reasons. He tuned the guitar down a whole-step to D, but then slowed the tape down so he’s got a low C. Pretty epic. Also, it’s the first time that Paul overdubbed his bass after the fact, and rather than use a mic on his bass amp, they rewired a huge woofer to receive rather than amplify sound and used THAT as a mic. Ringo said this was his best drumming on any Beatle track. AND John took the rough mix home and put it on his reel-to-reel, but (stoned) but it on upside down, and listened to it in reverse. The next day he proudly showed his discovery to the team, and they tagged his reverse voice on to the end, thus creating for the first time in history backwards recording. You’re welcome, Mr. Hendrix. (STEREO MASTER)

6) “I’m Only Sleeping”

There’s not another song in the entire Beatles catalog like this one. Such a creative, weird form. Such a sexy, lazy groove. Such amazing singing! And, George really digs deep on the backwards guitar….someone’s got a new toy! (MONO MASTER)

7) “Penny Lane”

They finished their final tour. They took four months off. Then, they reconvened to do… what? They could do and be anything now. They decided to make a concept record with all songs about their childhoods. John’s first offering was “Strawberry Fields”. Paul’s was “Penny Lane”. Incidentally, their label demanded a single in time for Xmas, and took the only two finished songs, so these two were not a part of what was, by then, becoming Sgt. Pepper’s. This song is a quantum leap in sophistication and production. The piano you hear is actually FIVE pianos, played by John, Paul and George. The changing feel on the drums is ingenious. And the bass playing….well, I’m not sure I’ve ever heard better. I personally channel the bass playing from this tune every single night. Astounding. (MONO MASTER)

8) “Getting Better”

Another entry in the original Pepper concept of songs about childhood. A good friend of mine once said that if you were ever with someone who was having a bad LSD trip just put this song on. :) I thought of that when I learned later that the one-time Lennon was tripping in the studio (on accident, it turns out) and he was recording the backup vocals on this tune. The huge quarter-note pulse that rolls through the whole thing is the definition of ICONIC, and something that I’ve tried to get every band I’m in to pull off, with limited success. So sick. Again, the overdubbed bass has much more freedom than it would have if it had been tracked live with the band. (MONO MASTER)

9) “Within You, Without You”

George’s masterpiece. Aside from “Revolution 9,” The Beatles never ventured farther from “Love Me Do” than this, and they rarely spoke so profoundly of real truth. George Martin’s orchestration is absolutely masterful. This one’s brought me to tears on more than one occasion. And then when I heard Martin’s 2006 remix with the “Tomorrow Never Knows” drums and bass underneath, I nearly lost my shit. This song almost makes the rest of their catalog look silly. (MONO MASTER) / (2006 remix)

10) “Fool On The Hill”

This one is Paul at his absolute best. Light/heavy, simple/surreal, catchy/mystical, melodic/groovy, profound/absurd. I love how it’s basically a piano song, and all the other instruments just add a tiny touch here and there. The baritone harmonica sounds like an ancient ritual. They didn’t flirt with the guru, they married the guru. Then, yes, they divorced the guru. But, for a time, they meant it. (STEREO MASTER)

11) “You Know My Name (Look Up The Number)”

I vividly remember my reaction the first time I heard this track: “THIS is the Beatles?!?!” The drums and bass on the intro are so heavy, so funky, I thought surely it was The Pharcyde. This was cut as an instrumental just days after Sgt. Pepper’s was completed. It then sat in the vault for three years. Then, at the absolute end of The Beatles career, they needed a B-side for “Let It Be”. John and Paul pulled it out, and overdubbed some AMAZING vocals, that are nothing short of pure Monty Python-esque brilliance. Also, that’s the Rolling Stones’ Brian Jones on saxophone at the end. Truly a unique recording in the history of music. Paul once said this was, without hesitation, his favorite Beatle track. I concur! (STEREO MASTER)

Up next, the Impound’s own picks. It’ll be less erudite but just as heartfelt. See y’all around the virtual water cooler soon!

Mix Tape

Snack Time V

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When we were young, radio was a blessing, something one turned on to find a smile, a comforting shoulder, or just a nifty tune that made the world shine a bit brighter for a few minutes. Those days – very sadly – are largely past with the commercial radio programming of today, but we at Dirty Impound like to conjecture what a better radio world might sound like. Our fifth installment in this daydream offers Beatles covers, Richard Thompson tackling a Squeeze hit, fresh new talent right at the top, and more with ample nods to the 70s AM radio magnificence of our youth.

Listen to this mix HERE. Track listing below.

You can listen to 8tracks mixes on your iPhone (pick up the app here) and Android (pick up the app here).

track listing

Mix Tape

Another Road Song I

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With so many heading out for parts unknown and faraway places dear to them, Dirty Impound has decided to offer up some of our favorite road songs sequenced in a way to make the miles fly by more smoothly. For the next few Fridays, we’ll be outfitting y’all with sounds for traveling. Don’t say we never did anything for you.

Listen to this mix here

track listing