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Beatles Recovered: Rubber Soul

December 10th, 2015 Leave a comment Go to comments

Rubber Soul Recovered - front

The progression of The Beatles from mop tops making uncomplicated pop music to the innovators who blew the minds of their peers was at its most dramatic in the 14-month period during which they proceeded from the fine pop of You’re Going To Lose That Girl on Help (recorded on 19 February 1965) to the psychedelic workout that was Tomorrow Never Knows on Revolver (recorded on 6 April 1966).

The link between those two very different albums, whose releases were separated by exactly a year, was Rubber Soul, which was released 50 years ago on December 3. Rubber Soul recalls Help in tracks like Wait (which had been recorded for Help) or You Won’t See Me or Michelle, and it presages the future with songs like In My Life, Nowhere Man, Drive My Car or Norwegian Wood. And then there is George’s If You Needed Someone, which seamlessly incorporates the old sound and the new.

Remarkably, The Beatles wrote and recorded Rubber Soul under immense time pressure, still writing some of the songs as they were recording. In an age when thoroughly unoriginal bands take two or three years to bring out an album, it seems impossible to grasp that The Beatles began recording Rubber Soul on 12 October, less than two months before the scheduled release date. The first track recorded that day was Run For Your Life. The Rubber Soul recordings ended on 11 November with a highly pressured marathon session. The last full song to be recorded that day was Girl, which Lennon had hastily written.

On top of that, they were expected to write and record two non-album tracks for a single release. These songs turned out to be We Can Work It Out and Day Tripper. Lennon wrote the latter virtually off-the-cuff in the studio; he and Paul called it a “forced” composition. And in between all that, The Beatles were expected to create the annual Christmas record, for distribution on flexi-disc to fan club members.

The strength of Rubber Soul does not reside so much in the songs but in the album’s feel. Here our boys are high on pot, not freaked out by LSD, and it shows in the sound. It is also the most country of Beatles albums. What Goes On is the only country song on the set, but some of the covers here show just how well suited these tracks are for that genre.

Rubber Soul Recovered - back

The best cover here is Johnny Cash’s take on In My Life. Lennon sang the song when he had just turned 25; the song’s wistfulness is measured against the fact that the singer memories are still pretty young. Cash sung the song a year before his death. The ravages of age are reflected in his voice, and he sounds like the tired old man her is, looking back at a rich life where some places and some people have indeed gone and some have changed. I think the great video for Hurt would have been even more potent for this song, which appears on the same album.

The most radical reworking of Rubber Soul’s songs featured here comes right at the top, with the bluesy take on Drive My Car by Humble Pie. It appeared on a 1975 LP, Street Rats, with two other Beatles covers, We Can Work It Out and Rain, as well as a cover of a Beatles cover, Chuck Berry’s Rock & Roll Music.

Nancy Sinatra, appearing here with a Lennon song which the composer despised, also recorded more than one Beatles song. On the Boots LP of 1966, on which Run For Your Life appears (as well the hit song which gave the album its title), she also sang Day Tripper.

Naturally the mix fits on a standard CD-R and includes covers. PW in comments.

1. Humble Pie – Drive My Car (1975)
2. Tangerine Dream – Norwegian Wood (2010)
3. Anne Murray – You Won’t See Me (1974)
4. Randy Travis – Nowhere Man (1995)
5. François Fabrice – Les Garçons Sont Fous (Think For Yourself) (1966)
6. Mindy Smith – The Word (2005)
7. King Curtis – Michelle (1966)
8. Charles River Valley Boys – What Goes On (1966)
9. The Brothers Four – Girl (1966)
10. Steve Earle – I’m Looking Through You (1995)
11. Johnny Cash – In My Life (2002)
12. Connie Evingson – Wait (2003)
13. Roger McGuinn – If I Needed Someone (2007)
14. Nancy Sinatra – Run For Your Life (1966)
Bonus tracks:
Dionne Warwick – We Can Work It Out (1968)
Whitesnake – Day Tripper (1978)

GET IT!

More great Beatles stuff:
Beatles Recovered: A Hard Day’s Night
Beatles Recovered: Beatles For Sale
Beatles Reunited: Everest (1971)
Beatles Reunited: Live ’72 (1972)
Wordless: Any Major Beatles Instrumentals
Covered With Soul Vol. 14 – Beatles Edition 1
Covered With Soul Vol. 15 – Beatles Edition 2

Any Major Beatles Covers: 1962-66

Any Major Beatles Covers: 1967-68
Any Major Beatles Covers: 1968-70
Any Bizarre Beatles
Beatles – Album tracks and B-Sides Vol. 1
Beatles – Album tracks and B-Sides Vol. 2

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  1. halfhearteddude
    December 10th, 2015 at 07:20 | #1

    PW = amdwhah

  2. GarthJeff
    December 10th, 2015 at 13:04 | #2

    An excellent selection AMD. You never disappoint. It just goes to show what an incredible influence The Beatles have had in forging music as we know it today. All of their contemporaries were in total awe of them, America needed the shake they brought. Decades after they left the scene, their albums still features on the Top 200 Albums….5 of them!! Many thanks for your unrelenting weekly blog, your efforts are much appreciated. http://www.billboard.com/charts/greatest-billboard-200-albums

  3. JohnnyDiego
    December 10th, 2015 at 13:55 | #3

    You can find Beatles cover albums all over the World Wide Web. I, myself, have collected maybe 1000 covers over the years (all in MP3, of course.) But your comps are always diverse in genres, well thought out, and well planned. I thank you again and always look forward to them.
    It’s nice to see The Charles River Valley Boys represented here. I bought their Beatle Country album back in 1966 and still have it in great condition today. In the mid-seventies I met Joe Val at a club in Cambridge, Mass. I asked him about that album and he told me that it was a major embarrassment to him. Joe was a New Englander but he was a purist. I wonder what he thinks now that his most hated album shows up on the Web time and time again and has achieved cult status.
    Thank you, Dude, for another outstanding share. As my mom would say, you do good work.

  4. halfhearteddude
    December 10th, 2015 at 14:07 | #4

    Oh thank you, JohnnyDiego and Garthjeff, for your kind words.

  5. Trod
    December 10th, 2015 at 23:18 | #5

    Well done, man, my hat’s off to you.

  6. Rhod
    December 11th, 2015 at 22:45 | #6

    Thanks Amd

    Nice diverse compilation love the Humble Pie. I am a big Steve Marriott fan.

    Regards

    Rhod

  7. Anders Franzén
    December 12th, 2015 at 12:40 | #7

    As much as I love Tangerine Dream, their Under Cover album must be among their worst. Didn’t You find another cover of Norweigan Wood?

    Anyway, a good effort like this deserves a hearty Thank You!

  8. halfhearteddude
    December 13th, 2015 at 10:02 | #8

    I like that version. A bit different from all the more or less straight covers.

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