Aug 012021

Looks like McCartney 3, 2, 1 is not a winner. I don’t want to spoil the party, but the fact of the matter is that there isn’t much here to write home to grandma about.

Don’t buy into the hype, and know that all this comes from a fan on a Ripley’s-like level. The best thing about this whole snoozefest is McCartney’s Look, which borrows heavily from that of Paul Weller. Like Weller’s, it succeeds, and that’s saying a lot. Most geriatric rockers who opt for that kind of thing fail miserably. Those two pull it off. Kudos to the both of you.

What you get with McCartney 3, 2, 1 is 3 black and white turd-polished hours of a humble Rick Rubin (the Captain Lou Albano thing is getting old by the way ) encouraging McCartney’s telling of the same stories we’ve heard over and over again, once fascinating stories ruined by repeated retellings. If you’re looking for something truly revelatory, check out the interviews on YouTube with tape engineer Geoff Emerick and assistant Richard Lush. Emerick, surprisingly, doesn’t recall any of the Beatles mentioning anything about the Beach Boys’ Pet Sounds during his time with the group in or out of the studio. I always thought it was interesting how McCartney’s holy grail opinion of the LP kicked in around the same time as the mass-media revisitation of Pet Sounds in the early 1990s. Maybe McCartney’s Catholic upbringing got the better of him, and he decided to do an unhinged Brian Wilson a big favor by giving it his stamp of approval. (Honestly, is Pet Sounds that good, like Revolver good?)

Time will tell if all that’s true or not, especially if Mark Lewisohn is once again given permission from Apple to research its trove of tapes, films, and documents, which leads me to the real point of this critique/rant. What McCartney has served up post Band on the Run has been of marginal quality, entertaining at best, embarrassing at worst. What he’s done artistically for the last 45 years or so hasn’t been that much different from your average Joe’s continual weekly bowling nights. They’re fun, but they don’t add up to a whole lot.

Not so with McCartney’s work with the Beatles. It’s a body of work that would give God’s creation of the world a run for its money. And because of that, the story behind it deserves an attention to detail nothing short of The Rise and Fall of the Roman Empire. Mark Lewisohn has proved time and time again that he is indeed the man for the job. So Paul, I beseech thee, do something really worthwhile and memorable for the first time in such a long time. Give Mark back the keys to the kingdom so he can complete his Beatles trilogy in order that your otherworldly legacy will be laid out with all the painstaking precision and objectivity it so deserves.


  67 Responses to “McCartney 1, 2, 3, 4: Pardon Me While I Snore”

  1. Happiness Stan

    First things first, yes, Pet Sounds is that good, like Revolver good. No version of Smile, though, is even half Sergeant Pepper good, and Pepper is an album I hope never to be forced to ensure listening to again. Like the White Album, it’s an EP per LP resisting getting fit to hit the beach looking like Charles Atlas in the summer. Smile is one side of a single, even if that single is Heroes and Villains, which for me beats Good Vibes into the proverbial.

    Mark L brought his Hornsey Road show to our local theatre, and very interesting it was. If I remember correctly, he seemed very pessimistic about Macca readmitting him to the inner sanctum, and either puzzled about or not admitting the reason why. Which, I agree, is a most unfortunate turn of events.

    And I’m completely with you on Band on the Run being the last consistent thing of note. It’s a bloody good consistent thing of note, though.

  2. Happiness, love to hear from you. I’m more than fine agreeing to disagree. Your points are well taken. To these ears though, every track but one on Revolver is a masterpiece. That said, the weakest track, “I Want to Tell You” is every other band’s finest effort. Pet Sounds has too many of those slightly weaker tracks: “I’m Waiting for the Day”,”You Still Believe in Me”, “Don’t Talk”, “Let’s Go Away for a While.” That’s too many just about there masterpieces to call the thing one of rock’s holy grails.

    And your assesments of the White Album and Sgt. Pepper are just plain way off. As far as the White album is concerned, it can arguably be called a mess, but it’s still my favorite Beatles album.

    That McCartney would ban Lewisohn from Apple’s vaults is sinful. I have a feeling much of that might stem from Lewisohn’s well researched objective look at each Beatle. McCartney, according to Lewisohn’s accounts, comes off at times more conservative than the others. That viewpoint has been a stick up McCartney’s ass for some time, and he’s spent the last 40 years or so trying to prove to the world that that’s just not the case. And he was doing pretty well in this regard until Lewisohn’s first volume of All These Years bio came out and began chipping away at McCartney’s progress. McCartney is clearly concerned about his legacy, and he most probably doesn’t want his take weakend by Lewisohn’s efforts.

  3. I didn’t know Lewisohn was granted special access – or that it had been removed. Is there a story anyone has heard about this? Is his work controversial? All I have completed reading by him is his first great work, on the recording sessions. One of these days I need to man up and get through the first 100 pages on George’s third uncle in volume 1 of his Beatles bio. Is that whole thing in jeopardy, with his access now being blocked?

    I have not yet seen this McCartney thing. My expectations will be low, as I’ve always thought he’s the worst storyteller in the band.

  4. We must have been writing at the same time, EPG. Interesting…and not surprising from the one Beatle with the largest stick up his butt. I’m still waiting for him to claim, “I could have shagged Yoko first.” And I say this with no less love for Paul and his artistry.

  5. Hi Moderator, good to see you up here again. Just a few comments.

    1) I’m a huge Mark Lewisohn fan. I follow him. Years ago, he worked for McCartney as his personal research assistant. When that job ended, Lewisohn began writing his proposed three volume Beatles bio and was given full access to Apple’s archives, something that George Harrison wasn’t too keen on. At some point after the first volume of All Those Years came out, Lewisohn’s back stage pass was yanked. My explanation probably needs some fine tuning, but that’s more or less what happened.

    2) I’d die to see one of Lewisohn’s Hornsey Road presentations. That probably won’t happen for some time due to the fact that 71 million or so demented cultureless republican assholes still refuse to get the covid vaccine.

    3) I’m beginning to think a lot like my good friend in Harrisburg who believes it’s fine and dandy that those fucks aren’t getting the vaccine. If they all die off, our democracy might survive.

  6. I thought that the first one was worth it for the presentation of “While My Guitar Gently Weeps” with the bass isolated and with no bass. It’s a revelation to see that the crunchiness of that track rests entirely on the grungey sounding bass part that sounds like its played with mittens on.

    I liked it. I’ve gotten past the Ingratiating desperation of McCartney. I appreciated the stories which, although they reflected the general tenor of McCartney’s last 25 years or so of blabbering, at least contained some new nuggets that I hadn’t heard, for instance, the stupid song he and George had made up while trying to catch a ride somewhere while still young teenagers.

    I did feel that McCartney fudged one important fact regarding his bass playing. He implied that he plunked out a part in the basic tracks and this was in a discussion about some later tracks where Geoff Emerick has already described McCartney’s extensive solo sessions working up detailed bass parts. Something like “Something” which was specifically discussed, although possibly not where he made the less than candid claim, was clearly worked up with a pretty clear picture of the entire track.

    I also think Rubin did a decent job of getting McCartney going, without too much fawning or personal agenda. A lot of folks could’ve been worse at that job.

  7. Geo, thanks for reminding me about the bass sound in “While My Guitar Gently Weeps.” That was indeed an ear and eye opener. Just for the record, the 5th and 6th episodes are a lot more interesting than the first four.

    You know what? It’s worth a watch. That said, I was expecting a lot more. i bought all the hype about the untold stories, and that alone put me in front of the TV. What can I say? I’m a die hard who just can’t get enough.

  8. I did watch them all over the last week or two. Maybe some of the stories were new to me because I haven’t been a Beatles obsessive for 45 years or so. Another one I liked was that Michelle was a faux French chanson to impress artsy girls at parties when he was tagging along with John, the older art student. I liked that Lennon brought it up years later that he should finish it for real.

    I didn’t necessarily think episodes #5 and #6 were significantly better, except that they followed episode #4 which included both “Maxwell’s Silver Hammer” and “Live and Let Die.”

  9. I’m not sure I’d call myself a Beatles obsessive, but I don’t think I’m too far off (and if anything, it’s modesty which inhibits), and there were several stories there which I’d never heard before. And for the isolated tracks, if nothing else, I thought it was absolutely well worth the watch.

    Paul was always my fave, but about 25 years ago, his ingratiating side started to really grate. Then about 5 years ago I realized I found it quite humanizing (if still a bit annoying), that even at this point in time, he still feels the need to be appreciated. Because I really do think, deep down, that’s what it is: despite everything, I think he’s got a serious streak of insecurity festering.

  10. Good points all around. Geo, thanks for bringing up the episode that included “Maxwell’s Silver Hammer.” Another thing that bothered me about the series is McCartney’s continual need to champion work that’s hasn’t been appreciated. “Maxwell’s Silver Hammer” is a perfect example of that kind of thing. The song is universally detested by most Beatle fans for its insipidness and its backstory, how McCartney rammed it down his bandmates throats, regardless of their continual protestations to work on the song.

    That said, I know I’m being a little hard on McCartney. My wife recently found out that she’ll be returning to her school, once again, wearing a mask. The info coincided with my screening of the series, and McCartney, unfortunately is the kicked dog. That said, he needs a good talking to, similar to something he most probably got from his friends 41 years ago. I can live with 10 more years or so of mediocre music and the trumpeting of subpar work as long as he allows Lewisohn to once again have unlimited access to Apple’s archives.

  11. As a frequent purveyor of Youtube music theory videos, it is amazing to consider the sophistication of McCartney’s ear. His organic knowledge of chords and their function, with virtually no specific terminology or underpinning theory is really something. He was never really my favorite Beatle, but I must say, I think he had the most raw talent. It’s something to see his musical memory of some of these pieces at a granular level, clearly tracking non-repeating through-composed bass lines as if he worked them up yesterday.

  12. Agreed. I too think he’s incredible. That said, McCartney’s years of serving up that which is Ripley’s are obviously over. At this point, he needs to look at his work as objectively as possible. If he did that, he’d see the importance of giving Lewisohn the back stage pass. What’s most important is the legacy of the Beatles, and he should do everything in his power to have the best story told.

  13. Special access to the vault!?! C’mon, guys. There’s nothing left to learn. What, Ringo actually wrote all the songs!?!?! The Apple archives have already been stripped bare. We know every story. You really think there’s more to be pumped out. I drink your milkshake!

  14. Did you read Tune In?

  15. I have not read Tune In, but I read the giant recording sessions book he wrote. It sure seems like he saw/heard whatever is in this mysterious Apple vault when he wrote that book.

    Talk of this vault has produced an image of Indiana Jones or Nicholas Cage as their Hollywood archeologists stumbling upon the missing underground Apple vault; “Good God, Man! The original backing tracks of Fool On the Hill! Do you have any idea how much this is worth? This needs to be in a museum”.

  16. hrrundivbakshi

    “My god, man… do you realize what this means? We’re the first people since Magic Alex to have heard the original stereo mix of ‘What a Shame Mary Jane Had a Pain At the Party.’ “

  17. Funny stuff. What’s even funnier is that the jokes don’t make any sense. If you read the book, you’d see that.

    You know what? Skip all that.Why waste your time on a painstakingly researched Beatle book when you can spend countless hours listening to solo Alex Chilton records and Replacements bootlegs.

    My apologies.

  18. There have been whispered rumors that the secret Apple vault has the stuffed corpse of Jimmy Nicol propped up behind a drum kit.

  19. hrrundivbakshi

    Chicken, you have once again made me laugh out loud!

  20. hrrundivbakshi

    Hey, EPG, serious question: is the expanded, two-volume version of the Lewisohn early Beatles bio worth it?

  21. Chickenfrank, thanks for knocking me off my high horse. That was a riot!

    Hrundi, yes indeed. Read it twice.

  22. Haven’t listened yet, there’s a new podcast interview with John Leckie.

  23. Looks good, Oats!!!! Greatly appreciated!!

  24. cherguevara

    I think EPG summed it up well. The show is ok, it’s nice to hear the multitracks a little and hear Macca tell (mostly) the same old stories. In that sense, Rubin is only there to say, “wow!” “yeah” and “incredible.” He seems kind of pathetic here. I don’t know why Rubin bothers me, it’s not that I dislike his productions but that I don’t particularly care for any of those albums. I mean, I can get into an early Run DMC song, that’s fun, and I suppose Wildflowers is a good MOR album. I don’t get the adulation for Johnny Cash singing NIN, that’s not Johnny Cash to me. (Yeah yeah, it gave him exposure for new fans to find his classic music, ok…) I don’t get off on his whole guru vibe, but he’s done very well for himself so who am I to argue? A friend of mine was in a band signed to his label, and he said there were many people at the label going for the same guru/chill-guy vibe. It’s a shame that Rubin cannot come up with one question that opens up an unexplored memory lane, or brings out a previously unknown detail. But this is Macca’s production, and it’s a shame he sets himself up to win at Tee-Ball, instead of being open to pushing his memories and candidness.

  25. Cher, YES!
    I’m a casual Beatles fan. I’ve only read two books, one of which was that horrible Larry Kane book (my Aunt gave it to me), so I don’t know all the stories. I would like to hear them but I turned this off after 15 minutes. As an unenlightened Beatles guy, I’ve always thought that the other three lived in John’s shadow and had to reconcile with that over the years. But Paul seems like he’s still struggling with it 50 years after the Beatles broke up and 40 after John’s death. There always seems to be a manipulative quality about his story telling that feels like it is born out of neediness. He’s Paul McCartney for Christ’s sake! He has written some of the most classic, indelible pop songs of all time. Even if he was only in Wings, we’d still be talking about him. Stop entertaining, drop the armor and just tell some frigging stories already.

    And you are spot on with Rick Rubin too. His production is fine (Wildflowers is a household favorite), but he’s really starting to buy into his own image of being the yoda of production. His recent interview with Marc Maron was frigging annoying with his faux humility and studiously chill guy affectations (“I don’t even no how to work a mixing board, man…”). I think it’s just marketing at this point. Plus, I will never forgive him for giving the Red Hot Chili Peppers the veneer of respectability and extending their career. And yeah, that Johnny Cash stuff was a real head scratcher for me. I bought that first album because it was so well reviewed, and kept wondering what everyone was hearing that I was missing. Then it went on for 4 or 5 more albums. I’m glad he helped give Johnny Cash a late career boost, and lord knows, Johnny Cash was entitled to a victory lap but that music does absolutely nothing for me.

  26. Yeah, Cher. You really nailed it. I didn’t mean to be such a prick, but I was expecting so much more from that series.

  27. hrrundivbakshi

    I can’t claim unerring accuracy with this observation, but I feel like all of Paul’s Beatles recollections are about THE BEATLES — we were just four lads in a band… John and I used to feed off each other’s energy… we always loved the states… back then, it was all about the radio…” — rather than interesting, funny, humanizing stories. Don’t tell me what it was like touring with the Beatles, tell me about that time you got stuck in the elevator with the 80 year-old lady who didn’t know who you were, or the fact that you wrote “Nowhere Man” when you were laid up in bed with hemmorhoids.

  28. cherguevara

    What makes the Lewissohn book so great is that he counters several bits of Beatle lore through use of original sources and not just accepting the mythology.

    I think this comedy skit sums up how I feel about those Beatles stories (they are good, the first few times):

  29. Happiness Stan

    Maybe Macca is so wedded to Beatles lore, he sees Lewisohn as a threat rather than an ally.

  30. Cher, good points once again. Happiness, I think that’s definitely how McCartney sees Lewisohn.

    One of the biggest revelations was finding out that George Martin was more or less forced to sign the Beatles. Apparently, he fought it for a long time until the head of Parlophone stepped in and more or less said you’re out of here unless you sign them up. That’s huge. Yeah, if I were McCartney, I’m not so sure I’d want Lewisohn sniffing around.

  31. While we are talking Beatles, here are some interesting videos to check out about the new All Things Must Pass. The first two are Bobby Whitlock talking about it

    Have any Townsfolk heard this 50th anniversary edition? Any opinions?

    And, be honest, did you go for the Uber Edition?

  32. Hi, Al. Not an All Things Must Pass fan. That’s a real snoozer for me. As I’ve stated previously, the whole thing can be reduced to a single featuring the following tracks: “What Is Life” b/w “If Not for You”. “My Sweet Lord” doesn’t even cut it. Hell, half of it is that Hari, Hari shit that goes on for 2 minutes or so.

  33. EPG:

    I was wondering if you had heard the Sgt. Pepper remix from about 3 years ago and what you thought?

  34. Happiness Stan

    I don’t think I’ve ever got around to listening to All Things Must Pass and am considering treating myself to the standard anniversary edition for my birthday later this month. It feels slightly less daunting than the Arthur Brown box set I’m saving for best in the car.

    I’ve always approached the solo output of all four with considerable caution, I got further into Lennon’s output than the others, but not sure how much I want to hear any of it again now. Band on the Run is ace, but his singles scared me if the rest.

    It’s about time I gave George a chance. And then on to Ringo…

  35. I’ve never really done the reissue thing. Not an audiophile dude. For the most part, music is something I put on while I’m doing something else, which is why those electronically reprocessed stereo pressings don’t bother me.

    Solo Beatles besides Band on the Run, Plastic Ono Band, and some of Ram and Imagine are pretty bad. The truth of the matter is that they wouldn’t even warrant a spin if they weren’t Beatle related records.

    Most of my listening in the house is pretty much based on what I pick up. I just bought a big jazz collection, and there was a lot of good stuff in there. So, for the last couple of days, I’ve been listening to that stuff, in particular Steamin’ with the Miles Davis Quintet, which hasn’t left the turntable since Saturday. Love it!!

  36. Happiness Stan

    I’m only thinking of the new set because I don’t already own a copy of any other version and thought the booklet might be interesting.

    With you on audio as well. I don’t even own a record player any more and only have a CD player in the car. In strictly wireless earbuds these days. So long as I can hear the gist of something I in fine.

    Never heard Ram.

    So what’s the best Ringo album?

  37. Ringo’s 1975 greatest hits collection, Blast From Your Past. I haven’t done this exercise in years, but I think it may be better than George’s 1970s “best of” collection (, which leans on his Beatles songs for side 1, and also give John’s Shaved Fish a run for its money.

  38. Moderator, good call. Blast from the Past is indeed a winner. The best of Harrison should be retitled My Pathetic Stab at a Greatest Hits LP Which Includes Some of My Beatle Stuff Because My Solo Career Has Thus Far Sucked.

  39. Steamin’ is great. I thought those four albums (Steamin’, Cookin, Relaxin, etc) were all released at the same time but I just looked it up and they were spread out over about a 5 year span, with albums like Sketches of Spain interspersed. Maybe I lumped them together just based on the names, but I thought they were similar in style. I thought Miles was always moving forward. Did he double back to previous styles/vibes or am I misremembering those albums? I need someone like GEO to set me straight on this.

    As an aside, Sketches of Spain is one of the biggest gap between how excited I was to hear an album and how disappointed I was when I actually heard it.

  40. I’m pretty sure those albums Steamin’ etc. were all recorded in a marathon session for Prestige so that Miles could move over to
    Columbia, beginning with the “Round About Midnight album. The fruits of the session were parceled out gradually while the newly recorded Columbia stuff came out.

    Prestige was known as a label that devoted minimal resources to recording, basically, get the band in, set up, play a set and get out. Blue Note was more generous with the rehearsal and studio budgets. Columbia was on a whole other level, making records rather than just recording groups. I’m only marginally familiar with the Prestige stuff, but if you listen to the opening track of that first Columbia album, Monk’s “‘Round Midnight,” the additional care in the arranging is clear. The Prestige records use a pretty standard head, solo, solo, solo, head template.

  41. mockcarr

    Geo, I think those albums were recorded in producer Rudy Van Gelder’s parents’ house in my lyrical home town. They still sound amazing.

  42. I meant to mention that the Columbia album was actually recorded just prior to the four Prestige records.

  43. I recall reading that the 4 Prestige albums were recorded in about two weeks or some Ripley’s like time span as a contractual obligation for Davis’ release from Prestige. Insane. And they’re all unbelievable.I can’t give any analytical reasons for why I like them, but everytime one of them hits the turntable, everything just sort of fades away, and I’m in a whole ‘nother universe.

  44. Very helpful, thanks.

  45. CDM;

    Is your beef with Sketches of Spain that it sounds too much like “Bullfight” music? Just askin’.

  46. I’m not saying that I don’t like them, but they do contain all of the elements that put me off to jazz in my teenage years. I didn’t like the rote formality of the head/solo structure and and I didn’t like drumming that focused so heavily on the ride cymbal as the basic time keeping with no backbeat. I got over this aversion by getting hooked in by Bitches Brew and Pharoah Sanders and eventually came to the point going backward where those aspects no longer bothered me.

  47. Happiness Stan

    I’ll put the Ringo one on my Christmas list. I’ve never heard of it before, apparently it didn’t chart over here and was somewhat overshadowed by Shaved Fish, released about the same time. I’ve heard Photograph on the radio a few times, it’s s little gem and I’m glad he refused to let George loose with lord praising in the background.

  48. I was expecting Kind of Blue with some Spanish touches. Instead, it sounds like an operetta or a broadway show about bull fighting. So not bullfighting music so much as a melodramatic score to an overwrought story about bullfighting.

    But I freely admit that I’m a jazz lightweight.

  49. That’s my take on the LP as well. CDM, it looks llike we’re at odd when it comes to rock but not so with jazz. Interesting.

  50. I can see that. SOS is a little on the lush side, and emphasizes the lush over the exciting. I prefer Birth of the Cool for Miles with Gil Evans arrangements, but Miles is one of many soloists on there, and the ensemble parts are really swinging and interesting.

  51. Speaking of Sketches of Spain and my well-known beef with “bullfighting music,” would you believe that’s probably me second-favorite Miles Davis album? No joke.

  52. I can’t say I know the catalog that well. but that one never really worked for me. That said, it’s one of those records that opened up the jazz door to the masses, like Take Five.

  53. Mr. Mod,

    I knew you’d get the reference, but I think it might’ve sailed over the heads of everyone else. Something about the discussion in this context makes me think that you’re biggest problem with Forever Changes might’ve been the lame drums, to some extent the playing and especially the weakness in the mix. I think that the songs sounded better at the Arthur Lee and Baby Lemonade show with a small orchestra that Chad and I saw in New York. On your next periodic revisitation, try to imagine the same arrangements with some balls behind the drums to offset the chiming guitars and fey vocals.

  54. “your”

    I need to improve my typing.

  55. That’s like trying to imagine a Wes Anderson movie without his standard semi-obscure 60s soundtrack. Take the soundtrack away, and you have a whole lot of nothing.

    And big thumbs up to the Moderator for pointing all that out before anyone else.

  56. BigSteve

    Forever Changes was mixed during the era just before they figured out that drums don’t have to be panned to one side of the stereo mix. If you have not heard it, check out a reissue called Forever Changes: Alternate Mix and Outtakes. The outtakes are ok, but the ‘alternate mix’ is a stereo remix with the drums beefed up a bit and centered. The songs that rock are much improved by this, especially Bummer in the Summer, Maybe the People Would Be etc., and extraspecially The Daily Planet (supposedly with Hal Blaine sitting in). The more ‘orchestral pop’ songs still have fairly mild drums, probably appropriately so, but overall the sound is much improved.

    Check this out if you want to hear what might have been. Both Spotify and Amazon Music have this version, so I guess it’s widely available.

  57. BigSteve

    Actually I just discovered that the alternate mix is available as a playlist on You Tube.

  58. BigSteve,

    Thanks. I was not aware of that. I did buy the 2001 version but this really is an improvement, even on the first number which is not especially rockin’. There’s a physicality to the acoustic guitars that was also not there on the original mix.

  59. BigSteve

    Thanks for bringing this album up, because it set me off on a search that ended up with me finding these versions. I agree about the physicality. It’s almost like you’re right there in the bullfighting ring.

  60. trigmogigmo

    I love going down a little rabbit hole. BigSteve, checked out your youtube link to Love “Alone Again”. Credits show the producer is Bruce Botnik. Name sounds vaguely familar to me? Wikipedia to the rescue. He also engineered the Doors albums, and Let it Bleed. Produced Eddie Money. But for me the kicker at the end of the trail is, he produced the power pop gem The Beat (the Paul Collins Beat).

  61. Never really understood all the hoopla over Love, especially DaCapo. I have a soft spot for “Alone Again” because its always been one of my wife’s favorites. As far as the rest of their catalog is concerned, “My Little Red Book” and “Always See Your Face” are solid as a rock. I’ll throw “7 and 7 Is” in there too, and that makes a solid EP. The rest can be curbed with no tears shed.

  62. I won’t go on record as describing Love as a great band primarily because there is something weak in their execution, especially so in the frou-frou production of Forever Changes. I wish the band had more power, because there are certainly a lot of interesting and unique things going on in their songs. That’s why I asked the question of Mr. Mod that I asked and which BigSteve answered with this alternate mix. It definitely improves the power quotient on that album just by giving the band more sonic space.

    I sent an e-mail to the guitarist I work with, who is a lover of Love, regarding this mix. Upon hearing the alternate, he responded that it was excellent.

    Said guitarist is one of the reasons that I feel compelled to defend Love. Several of his best songs, including MHB RIP, utilize various changes and tricks that he sources back to Love. I hope we execute them with a little more ferocity, but those Love songs do have something that makes them special.

  63. Happiness Stan

    I saw Arthur Lee with the Wondermints version of Love doing Forever Changes at Glastonbury twice and was blown away on both occasions.

    I always thought I should like that album more than I do.. I’ll definitely check out the remix.

  64. BigSteve

    I’ve seen the videos of Arthur Lee at Glastonbury, and it always brings a tear to my eye to see him finally get showered with love and admiration as he deserved. He did not have a great life for the most part, and he could supposedly still be ornery even in later years, but it sure looks like redemption to me.

    One of the things I like about Love and Forever Changes in particular is that they’re totally psychedelic but mostly without flowers and incense and peppermints. I mean, the lyrics are way harsh, and they’re probably a more accurate picture of what daily life was like in L.A. than what usually passed for psychedelia. Drugs were not all fun and games, you know? Bummer in the Summer indeed.

    If I recall the Botnick connection was that both Love and the Doors were on Elektra.

  65. Happiness Stan

    Hi Steve, I’ll go along with that.

    I’ve not seen any film of him at Glastonbury, I’ll have to look for it. Until last year when I was supposed to be going again, I’ve never watched any of the TV coverage. If I’m there I’ll be too busy enjoying it and if I’m not I’ll be grumpy and it would feel like missing out.

    If I remember correctly, they played in one of the bigger tents one year, then returned the next to do it again on the second stage late one afternoon. The sun shone and it was pretty magical stuff. And yes, if I’d had his life, if have inclined to the ornery, I imagine.

  66. I’ll check out that alternate mix of Forever Changes. My first experience with Love, the band, was “My Little Red Book.” I love that pounding feel and the silly, chromatic guitar lick/melody, then the way it opens up on the choruses. I remember trying to rip that song off minutes after I first heard it while I had a guitar handy. I think I’ve tried to rip it off a few times since then.

    Other than that song, which of course they didn’t write, my main problems with the band run far deeper than the drums or mix of their records. I simply don’t get moved by their songs, and I don’t like Arthur Lee’s voice. He’s got a hectoring, melodramatic quality that doesn’t give me a good vibe in any way, man.

    I’ll put aside some time this week for another try with that album, with that band.

  67. Mr. Mod,

    I feel guilty dragging you into another reexamination of this, especially considering my own reservations regarding some of the problematic aspects which you’ve identified. But the soft focus weakness of that album was probably my biggest issue, and the alternate mix is much more aggressive.

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