Saturday, August 9, 2014


In keeping with my tradition of doing songs I should not do, may I present a Paul McCartney song. I've always been fascinated by the chords he plays in this song and when I got the Beatle book with all of the scores written accurately, I finally had a chance to learn the song properly. Unfortunately, though I learned how to form the chords, I never have been able to play them rhythmically. Only three strings are played at a time -- the rest are muted -- and I never could get it right. So I used Band in a Box for the drums and bass, and played the rhythm using standard chords. Then I added the real chords as "stings". To make the stings more accurate, I actually recorded the drums, bass, rhythm and stings at about half speed, then sped the song up with Audacity's Tempo Change (which doesn't change the key of the song) to add the vocals.

As you may or may not know, I've been on a Beatle kick since reading Volume One of Mark Lewisohn's trilogy of Beatle history, TUNE IN. Then I got the huge book he wrote in the 90s listing technical data on all of the Abbey Road sessions. I'm still mired in it. Fascinating!

My fantasy: What if Paul were to spend an hour speed-listening to my 60 original songs and picking out the 18 that he thinks we could do the best. Then we spend a week at Abbey Road with him producing the album, playing drums, bass and whatever else he might want, and maybe adding some harmonies. At the end of the week we'd have a super album of originals that otherwise would never be heard outside of a few people I know. Surely it would be better than what's played on the airwaves now.

I imagine every state has several old songwriters like me who scribbled some sketchy songs in the past 50 years that have gone relatively unheard and unrecorded. Instead of hunting for the next perky video star, maybe it might be more fruitful for music moguls to find a trove of almost-forgotten masterpieces? I bet there are thousands of them out there.

Finally, everything about this song is shoddy compared to the McCartney version. I should be shot. Gavin O'Keefe added a viola solo to the instrumental verse and I outscreeched it with my ES-335 set at Blues House distortion. Here's an earlier take of the song without the ill-advised guitar and viola.

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