By Jim Fusco:
I swear we didn’t plan this… I’m sure by now, if you’re a rock music fan, you’ve heard about the Beatles Rock Band game that’s coming out tomorrow, Wednesday, 9/9/09. Everyone in the gaming world is excited about this new release, and you better believe I am, too! You see, it’s very rare we get an official Beatles release (any more “interview” discs floating around?), and it’s great to see the Beatles music brought to a whole new generation of youngsters that are sure to fall in love with it just like the rest of us did. I’m excited about the new Rock Band video game for Playstation 3, but I’m especially excited about the entire Beatles catalog (including the collection of singles in Past Masters Volumes 1 and 2) being remastered and re-released. I’ve wanted the Beatles albums remastered for as long as I remember hearing them. The original tape transfers sound so tinny- the discs they were selling on shelves all the way up until today were made in 1986 and have just been duplicates. Go ahead- check your CDs- they all say 1986 on them! That’s back in the time where they had to tell you the “great sound quality and fidelity” you get with CDs… Anyway, as I am happy that they’ve remastered the original two-track masters of the Beatles albums, I’m a bit disappointed in two things:
First, they’re not remixed. Not to say that they weren’t mixed great for the time, especially because (next to Brian Wilson, in my personal opinion) George Martin was the best producer ever. But, now you listen to these songs and many leave a lot to be desired. Imagine if you heard some of the songs on “HELP!” without all the vocals to the right channel and the music in the left. Imagine if the drums in the early records were panned more towards center so they don’t cut through the mix (especially the tambourine). As tacky as the “Love” CD from Cirque de Soleil is, it’s still pretty cool to hear the songs in such lush stereo, as opposed to the duophonic sound that they achieved before the late 60s.
And second, there are no bonus tracks. My father is quick to point out some key missing tracks that were left off the Anthologies (“The extended version of “Dig It”!”, he always yells) and we’re left with nothing more than the albums that we’ve already bought on LP, 8-track, cassette, and original CD.
So, there’s Beatlemania in the air and I love it. It’s been WAY too long since the fervor of the Anthology series and it feels great to say, “Oh yeah, well I’m only 25 and I’ve been a fan ALL 25 years!”
Which brings me to tonight’s Beatles cover song video. Let me tell you, folks- prepare to be blown away. Along with my mystery guest Steve and other off-camera guest Chris (not Moore) (from my new cover band, the Traveling Acai Berries, also featuring Bill, who couldn’t be at the session), we play a completely effortless version of “Two of Us” from the “Let It Be” album. Chris appears on-camera in the video I’ll be posting next week, but Steve, by request of his college-age daughter who would commit social suicide if her friends found out her father was on YouTube singing Beatles songs with a 25 year old 🙂 , decided that he would just show his guitar skills on camera. Actually, that’s Steve singing with me on this one, too.
And that way I described the performance: effortless. That’s what makes it different from many of my past collaborations. Whether it be getting the chords right, remembering the words, or remembering harmony parts, past duets have always been troublesome. But Steve, Chris, and I play this like we’ve been playing for years, and that’s what I love about this video. You can barely hear Chris in this video- he’s playing mandolin away from the microphone, but at times, especially late in the chorus, you can hear him plucking away. His sight reading was impressive. On next week’s video, you can definitely hear him, though. Steve’s playing is great, as he took the time to learn all those parts I don’t on guitar, which is just so great knowing that I can just sing and play rhythm. Steve reminds me a lot of my father- not only in his love for the Beatles music, but in how he can sing harmony parts without having to teach him every note. Somehow, he just knows. And that’s where this familiarity comes from- it really shows through in the video.
I sincerely hope you enjoy tonight’s performance- one’s that’s been in the works for months now. It was a lot of fun and I hope they’ll want to do more, especially when they see all the good reviews we’ll get! I’ll be back next week and hopefully I’ll be enjoying the new Beatles Rock Band game, too. I’m going to wait until Christmas for the Beatles remastered albums, though- in stereo, of course. And don’t even get me started on the new “mono” box set… 🙂 Until next week!!