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!

“Thank You Girl” (Beatles Cover)

Originally posted 2008-11-27 23:55:14. Republished by Blog Post Promoter

By Chris Moore:

Happy Thanksgiving to one and all!  I hope you had a joyous Turkey Day, “stuffing” yourself in the company of friends and “spuds” — I mean, buds.  If you have tomorrow off, then that’s just “gravy”…

Okay, that’s enough of that.

Seriously, I hope you had a positive day, filled with family members and friends, enjoying a day off from work.  As for me, I woke up late (almost afternoon) to a phone call from my sister.  Knowing me all too well, my mother asked her to call me and tell me that dinner would take place a half hour before it would actually start.

At least I got there on time!

My day essentially started as soon as I got out of bed (at the early hour of noon) and went to my parents’ house.  I had a nice, relaxing time talking with my parents and grandparents, as well as hanging out with my sister and talking about music.  I brought my laptop over so I could finally finish the “2008 Essentials” mix CD I’ve been wanting to make for weeks.  Some highlights were…

– “Living Well is the Best Revenge” (REM)

– “Valley of the Low Sun” (Jakob Dylan)

– “7 8 9” (Barenaked Ladies)

– “Cowboys” (Counting Crows)

and, of course,

– “These Streets” (MoU)

I’m not biased about that last one, I swear!  :-)

After dinner, I spent a long time talking with my parents and grandparents. Then, once the company had gone, my father and I watched the Tom Selleck movie The Shadow Riders.  It was based on a Louis L’Amour novel, so it was pretty cheesy at times, but overall, it was a fun film.  Once the movie ended, the day was still long from over.  I went over Jim’s parents’ house to watch this week’s special Turkey Bowl edition of TNA Impact! (the highlight of which was, without a doubt, Mick Foley “dealing with” Alex Shelley of the Motor City Machine Guns).

A half hour after TNA was over, Jim and I were back home recording this great Beatles cover song, “Thank You Girl.”  Why did I pick this song, you ask?  Is it a favorite?  Well, no.  In fact, I didn’t even know it until yesterday.  The reason is that it goes along with the theme of today — giving thanks!

I actually posted this video late because Jim and I ended up playing great Beatles and Christmas songs for another hour and a half before going downstairs to snack, watch a Jack Johnson DVD, and do research for our Black Friday adventure.

And, yeah, I’m going to bed at 4am, prepared to wake up at 5am…

May the Christmas shopping season begin!!

See you next session!

“In My Life” (The Beatles Cover)

Originally posted 2008-07-31 14:32:27. Republished by Blog Post Promoter

By Mike Fusco:

Hey there!  First self-written blog on the laptopsessions site, and I’m excited to be learning all the ins-and-outs of the process.  (Not really EXCITED, cuz it’s lots of work, but the end result is exciting!)  So I was in kind of a bind because 3 days comes and goes so fast, and suddenly I was left to do another cover.  And anyone who knows me knows I used to HATE doing cover songs, so I have zero in my prelearned catalogue.  However, I figured out this Beatles cover song, my second favorite Beatles tune of all time (The first being “Something”, which I will do in a future session on the Uke in tribute to George Harrison!)  I’ve always loved “In My Life”, Ringo’s drums are great… they sound like feet shuffling during a slow dance, and I think anyone who gives this song a good listen will have a slide-show of their whole life playing in their head.

As I sing it to myself pictures of faces I dont speak to anymore still pop up, (“some are dead and some are living”- it’s true!), and loves that have come and gone.  I dont know exactly what this song means to me, I guess just because there’s no current love to sing it to makes me believe it’s sung to my soul… and whoever out there shares it with me, and the Big Man upstairs who is responsible for it all.  (No, not my father upstairs! haha!)  Not bad for a 4 am recording on a binge of candy and diet Dr. Thunder.  Enjoy!

~mikey

“Honey Don’t” (Beatles and Carl Perkins Cover)

Originally posted 2010-09-30 20:02:36. Republished by Blog Post Promoter

By Jim Fusco:

Welcome, everyone, to another new edition of the Laptop Sessions with me, Jim Fusco!  I’m sorry the post is a bit later today- I was busy yesterday training for an upcoming 5k race with my Traveling Acai Berries member, Steve.  It’s tough motivating myself to run every other day, but I know it’s healthy for me to do so, and I’m using that as extra motivation.

The other day, I was searching online for Beatles covers and Beatles cover songs, but The Laptop Sessions page didn’t come up in my searches!  Well, that has to change.  I’m going to make it a personal goal of mine to get the Beatles category page up in the search engine rankings!

Tonight, I bring you a Beatles song that Ringo got to sing.  All the members of the Beatles (especially George and Ringo) were big Carl Perkins fans.  So, they took this song, “Honey Don’t”, and gave it the Beatles treatment.  I’m glad they let Ringo sing it, as his voice is perfectly suited for it.  Something about the chords on the verses gets me every time.  This song is pretty easy to play, but it’s got such a great tune.  And hearing Ringo sing it in a way only Ringo Starr can, it makes for a great combination.

Apparently, Carl Perkin’s brother even initially refused to play the song, citing its odd chord progression (for a blues song) in the verses.  I’m glad he finally came around!  The song has such a driving beat, too- I’d love to play this live with a band someday.  One of my favorite parts is the guitar solo.  I actually got to play it pretty spot-on even though it’s a solo acoustic version.  The guitar solo in the Beatles version is basically the E and C chords played as barre chords higher on the neck.  I never get to solo during these videos- it was fun!

I’ve wanted to play this song for the Laptop Sessions ever since I heard Ringo singing the song during his concert at the Mohegan Sun this past June.  He sounds exactly the same and they do such a good job of reproducing the energy and the sound of the recording live.  Actually, if I had my way about it, this would be “The Ringo Sessions with Jim Fusco”- I can’t exactly explain it, but I LOVE Ringo’s music.  I especially like his solo albums starting with 1992’s “Time Takes Time”, but there’s something about Ringo’s songs in general that really resonate with me.  Heck, he even makes “Honey Don’t”, a sad song when you think about it, into a jolly good time. :-)

I hope you enjoy tonight’s video and stay-tuned next week for a very, very special Jim Fusco announcement!  I think you’re going to love it, but you’ll have to keep checking back to see what it is.  See you then!