Music Review: The Beatles’ “Please Please Me” (2009 Stereo Remaster)

Originally posted 2009-09-09 22:43:06. Republished by Blog Post Promoter

By Chris Moore:

Of all the remastered Beatles discs, the Fab Four’s debut album might seem the least likely to be the first you’d want to hear.  After all, it is their most raw effort, not only for the fact that it was their first experience in the studio but also because they were pursuing a “live” sound.  It was essentially recorded in a day under the supervision of a profoundly talented producer (George Martin) and four boys with a tremendous deal of potential (John, Paul, George, and Ringo), all five of whom had yet to re-create — or, really, create — the genre in which they would spend much of their respective careers and earn much of their respective fame.

Perhaps for all those reasons, Please Please Me is an excellent place to start.

"Please Please Me" - the Beatles' debut album, remastered for 2009!

“Please Please Me” – the Beatles’ debut album, remastered for 2009!

Amidst all the controversies over mono versus stereo, should the remasters have been remixed?, etc., Please Please Me has been released in the awkward stereo format — instrumentation at the left, vocals panned right — that would have been available only to “a small number of hi-fi enthusiasts,” as the liner notes recall.

I had to chuckle to myself as I sat in the parking lot today, cellophane wrapper on the floor and new-CD smell filling my nostrils, as I imagined how exciting and fresh this format must have been at the time, a hint of what was to come in the not-so-distant future.

For the first time today, I too was excited to purchase a Beatles album.  Each of my previous purchases of a Beatles record on CD left me feeling empty.  Sure, the music was excellent — phenomenal and mind-altering, even — but the packaging has always been far too sparse, nothing more than the cheapest of cheap jewel cases and a one-fold booklet.  The packaging of this 2009 remastered album makes it worth the purchase alone.  There are reprinted liner notes, rare photos, and a mini-documentary that, although very brief (less than four minutes), includes entertaining footage and interesting narration from all four band members as well as George Martin.

The songs themselves sound as good as they ever have.  The Beatles’ rapid ascent to pop music stardom becomes clear after hearing tracks like the energetic “I Saw Her Standing There,” the vocally superb “Please Please Me,” and George’s lead vocal debut “Do You Want to Know A Secret?”

As if these weren’t enough, the other Lennon/McCartney originals round out the set nicely — the classics “Love Me Do” and the lesser-known but equally catchy “Misery.”

Even the covers, like “Anna (Go To Him)” and “Twist and Shout,” shine almost as bright as Lennon/McCartney originals.  Although I have always maintained that “A Taste of Honey” is disposable, it is interesting to hear the first instance of Paul’s double-tracked lead vocals on a recording.

Throughout this remastered album, as with the original release, the words that continually come to mind are “energetic” and “fun.”  In all reality, the remastered tracks are merely cleaned up versions of the original mixes — the same as always with a sharper focus, so to speak.

If the past four decades are any indication, this may be the last overhaul of the Beatles catalog for a very long time.  For those of us “hi-fi enthusiasts” in 2009, it seems a shame to go on for the foreseeable future without all the Beatles’ material — arguably the most essential albums and tracks of rock and pop music — in full, lush stereo sound, each vocal and instrument standing out.

And yet, even if you feel this way, the 2009 remaster of Please Please Me — with all its simplicity and raw energy — should provide nothing but pleasant listening and reading.  And if you’re interested, make sure to check out all of our Beatles cover songs here on the Laptop Sessions acoustic cover songs music video blog!

“She Belongs to Me” (Bob Dylan Cover)

Originally posted 2009-02-20 23:52:50. Republished by Blog Post Promoter

We’re looking for more Guest Sessions submissions! So, sit down, pull up your acoustic guitar and camera, post the video on YouTube, and CLICK HERE!

As I always say, it’s never too soon for another Bob Dylan cover video!  Personally, I’ve attempted to restrain myself from recording a comfortable, enjoyable Dylan cover this year.  However, tonight’s installment of the Guest Sessions is a Dylan cover song music video with an interesting twist.

First of all, this is a song from Dylan’s 1965 album Bringing It All Back Home.  This is perhaps one of his best albums, and it was a transition point for him, half of the album being full band renditions and the other half being classic acoustic-only compositions.  (For his next album, Highway 61 Revisited, he would dive deeply into the world of electric rock…)

So far, I’ve recorded two covers from this album — “Subterranean Homesick Blues” for the members-only area of the site and “Love Minus Zero/No Limit.”  No one here has yet dared to take on the more noteworthy songs, such as “It’s Alright, Ma (I’m Only Bleeding)” or the song that the Byrds launched to chart success, “Mr. Tambourine Man.”  This being said, I was truly impressed with the apparent ease with which Stan Denski, our guest tonight, played “She Belongs to Me.”  Granted, this is a fairly straightforward song, but he changed the tuning and plays in an interesting fashion.  His version is true to the original, yet very much his own and sung well.

Thank you, Stan, for sending this very entertaining video!

I’ll let him introduce the video — Stan writes,

This is a cover of Bob Dylan’s “She Belongs To Me.”  It is played on an old Guild 12-string tuned to an open D and played by barring chords from the top of the neck which allows the highest strings to ring open and create diminished chords.  It also uses a lot of harmonics struck at the 12th fret.

I was showing a friend how to play this version and he videotaped it and, later, stuck it up on YouTube.

Stan Denski, Indianapolis