Every now and then these sets come together with very little effort and they’ll follow the same thread from beginning to end. Other times there’s a little more work involved and we end up cobbling together two or more smaller sets with a common theme. This is one of those. The first part comes from June of 1965 when The Byrds released their first album and their first single, both of which were called “Mr. Tambourine Man.” Those opening notes and the sound of Roger McGuinn’s 12 string Rickenbacker were irresistible and like nothing we’d heard before. Or had we?
Well, that depends on when you bought another album that was released in June of 1965 featuring a guitar sound that was virtually identical to what McGuinn achieved on Tambourine Man. And it wasn’t just the sound of the guitar either, but the actual sequence of the notes as well. The song’s title was “What You’re Doing” and the US version of the album was called Beatles VI. And these are the songs that got us started on today’s batch of All Hand Mixed Vinyl. Fortunately for what we do, “What You’re Doing” has a false ending that allows us to slip neatly into the Byrds and back again before moving to the second part of the set.
Since we started by mixing songs with similar guitar riffs, I figured we’d keep going down that path, and in no time at all, I had five more tracks to work with. And, as luck would have it, three of those had false endings. A regular embarrassment of riches that left us with nine songs done in thirteen parts when all was said and done. Five of the tracks involve George Harrison and / or Eric Clapton. Two feature the Beatle-esque sounds of Badfinger, with the crunchy guitar riffs of Joey Molland. And with all those false endings, the set becomes an eccentric exercise in waiting for the other shoe to drop. So, playing songs you know in ways you’ve never heard before, from the Way Back Studios, here’s the Fab Four.
|Beatles||What You’re Doing (part 1)|
|Byrds||Mr. Tambourine Man|
|Beatles||What You’re Doing (part 2)|
|Cream||Badge (part 1)|
|Ringo Starr||It Don’t Come Easy|
|Cream||Badge (part 2)|
|George Harrison||What is Life (part 1)|
|Badfinger||No Matter What (part 1)|
|Badfinger||No Matter What (part 2)|
|The Byrds||All I Really Want to Do|
|George Harrison||What is Life (part 2)|
The last twenty-five minutes or so is a virtual catalogue of classic rock guitar riffs. Ending with one from an album featuring the guitars of George Harrison, Dave Mason, Eric Clapton, Peter Frampton, Pete Ham and Joey Molland. I just wish Roger McGuinn had played on it too for reasons that will be clear in a minute. But for now, let’s just leave the Byrds out of this and focus on Badfinger, the Beatles, and George Harrison. Their songs at the end of the set used to be in one of their own. And after putting it together, it occurred to me the set had a seriously morbid subtext. Check this out: “All Things Must Pass” was produced by future convicted murderer Phil Spector. In 1999 Harrison was nearly murdered by a knife-wielding lunatic before dying prematurely of cancer two years later. At the false ending of what, in this context, is the ironically titled, “What is Life?” we mixed over to a song by Badfinger, a group whose primary creative forces, Pete Ham and Tom Evans, both committed suicide. In the middle of Badfinger’s “No Matter What” we heard the Beatles screaming for ‘Help,’ a song written primarily by John Lennon who was murdered by a crazed fan. How’s that for creepy?
The common thread in the set was George Harrison. Obviously he played on the two Beatles tracks and his solo album, but George also co-wrote “Badge” with Eric Clapton which we heard in the middle of the set and he played on and produced Ringo’s “It Don’t Come Easy”; he also played guitar on and started off as the producer of Badfinger’s “Straight Up” album before Todd Rundgren took over. And, as mentioned at the top, Badfinger also played on All Things Must Pass. The only connection I found to The Byrds was from an interview where Roger McGuinn talked about visiting George once and playing the Rickenbacker George had played on “A Hard Day’s Night.” Well, I could go on for days, but I’m out of time. If you want to find out more, drop by the website or Amazon or Facebook and poke around till you find me. I’m Bill Fitzhugh in the Way Back Studios and I hope you’ll join us next time for another batch of All Hand Mixed Vinyl right here in the Deep Tracks.