What does it sound like?:
Around ’63-‘64 The Beatles were shitting out songs like a labrador on vindaloo and, because my parents were cheapskates and wouldn’t shell out for Sgt Pepper, this 1967 pooper-scoop of the thinly-smeared excrement they trailed behind them was my first introduction to the sound and smell of the Fabs when I found it at the back of the stereogram 10 years later.
Let’s start with the cover. Lennon, McCartney, stars… wallop. That’ll be £50 please. Paul’s whistling in this photo – can we call it The Stars Whistle Lennon and McCartney? No? Suit yourself. The artist has thoughtfully added clip-art frames to John (already transitioning) and Paul (still full moptop) as if to say: Don’t worry! They’re not really adrift in the vacuum of space! It’s just pictures!
And the stars! Pity poor Kenny Lynch, bottom of this default-font bill. The notion of ‘stars’ gets a bit inverted here, as you’d think that this motley collection of Epstein-stablemates and blokes whose sister Paul’s trying to shag would normally not exist in the same universe as their benefactors. But then ‘Lennon and McCartney Get Sung by People Who Will Dine Out on Their Brief Association With The Beatles For The Next 50 Years’ is a rubbish title for an album.
You know what? Some of this stuff ain’t bad. Bad To Me, I’ll Be On My Way, World Without Love and Nobody I Know could easily fit on the early albums. Cilla’s Love of the Loved is written for her, I guess, and just about survives the full-on assault of her Cavernous volume and enunciation– I see the lurr, wurr heaven lies. It’s The Foremost I feel sorry for, trying to make something of Hello Little Girl and I’m in Love.
Brian: Lads! John and Paul have written a song for you!
The Foremost: Great!
Brian: When they were 16
The Foremost: Oh.
David and Jonathan are a shit version of Peter and Gordon, if you can imagine such a thing. McCartney must have been sniffing around their sisters too, because they get She’s Leaving Home. Not sure what Bernie Cribbins did to get When I’m 64 off of Paul, and perhaps it’s best that we never know. Kenny Lynch fails to inject Misery with anything other than a vague sense of disappointment. I’m just not buying it, Kenny.
What does it all *mean*?
Not buying it was probably the right thing to do with this album, even at the 59p that this copy went for. I suppose I had the advantage of starting at the bottom of The Beatles catalogue and working up, and the fact that some of this is no worse than stuff they kept for themselves – in the case of World Without Love, I’d say even a bit above par – means it’s worth a listen, even now.
Goes well with…
Beatles ephemera. There could have been a Volume II. Billy J. Kramer’s From A Window, Peter & Gordon’s Woman, The Applejack’s Like Dreamers Do, P.J. Proby’s That Means A Lot, The Strangers’ One and One is Two, Tommy Quickly’s Tip of My Tongue, Chris Barber’s Catcall and Jimmy Tarbuck’s cover of Blue Jay Way.
Might suit people who like…
The Beatles and reviews. I even put a list in there too.