Monday, November 2, 2009
The White Album, Single Serve
Yes, it does possess a kind of rambling perfection as two discs / records, but after listening to the entire remastered lot of it the other night in a single sitting, I’ve gone all George Martin and cut the thing down to an album of knockout tracks. You lose the sprawl and the stories, the sound of a band tearing itself apart and being pieced back together in an epic programming session, but for the kids who don’t need the story, and the folks who only ever wanted the songs to begin with, well, here you go. I know this is a familiar game to play not only with this very record, but with others. I nod discreetly to my predecessors.
I’ve kept the original album opener, which fits nowhere else and which is still, in this blogger’s opinion, still one of the album’s highlights. Otherwise there have been some drastic overhauls, starting with the loss of “Revolution 9”, both the album’s spirit of ’68 centerpiece and its most disposable track. Ringo loses his single tune. I’ve ditched the traditional album closer “Good Night”, but I’ve replaced it with a sufficiently epic track to fade away with. And I’ve played a great deal with the traditional running order, meaning some of the old segues are ditched. But, in my head, connections and transitions still run smoothly. Or smoothly enough. Ian McDonald in the essential Revolution In The Head opines that without its brilliant sequencing, The Beatles would be an even bigger mess than it finally stands. Well, he did warn me.
Retaining vinyl “sides”, the new albums runs as follows:
Back In The U.S.S.R.
Why Don’t We Do It In The Road?
I’m So Tired
Mother Nature’s Son
Long Long Long
Everybody’s Got Something To Hide Except For Me and My Monkey
Martha My Dear
Happiness Is A Warm Gun
Cry Baby Cry
While My Guitar Gently Weeps
As you can see, it’s evenly split along Lennon and McCartney songs, though outside of personal favorite “Long Long Long” (possibly Harrison’s greatest Beatles composition – no, I’m not forgetting “Something”) John nicks off with the album. My Side Two features three of the album’s best songs – “Monkey”, “Cry Baby Cry” and the still astonishing “Happiness Is A Warm Gun”.
Complaints? Outrage? Bemusement at my hubris? Alternate running orders? Ladies and gentlemen, the floor is yours.