Guest Post: “Who Cares about Paul McCartney’s Voice, What About His Guests?”

Who Cares about Paul McCartney’s Voice, What About His Guests?

by Brody Duggson

Paul McCartney has been receiving flack about his singing voice during his current “One on One” tour.  

Some fans, mainly those who spend too much time on the internet, think his advanced age (he’s 75) has diminished his vocal prowess and made him too reliant on his backing band.

A few want Sir Paul to lower the keys of his songs.  The tune that appears to draw the most ire is “Maybe I’m Amazed.”

I think they’re being a little harsh.  Granted, no one has a higher bar than Paul McCartney, but when compared to most of today’s music, there’s no comparison.  An off-key Macca is still better than a current singer on key. And all you need are a pair of Macca tickets to hear for yourself!

There is reason to critique Paul on his current tour, but it’s not his singing.  It’s his choice of guests.

New England Patriots tight end Rob Gronkowski, Tonight Show host Jimmy Fallon, and Barbadian singer Rihanna have all joined him on stage.  

If you’re going to deride a former Beatle don’t do it over his voice.  Do it for having to share his sound system with Rihanna.  

Yes, I know he recorded “FourFiveSeconds” with Rihanna, performed with her at the 57th Annual Grammy Awards, and she has sold more than 230 million records, but I can’t name one of her songs (besides “FourFiveSeconds”), nor do I ever want to.

And what about Jimmy Fallon?  Jimmy Fallon!  Jimmy Fallon shared a stage with the guy who conceived Sgt. Pepper.

Thankfully Rob Gronkowski just danced to “Helter Skelter.”  Great job on not giving him a tambourine or something like that.  Now, Gronk is a great football player, but he’s the Tom Arnold of sports celebrities.  

Gronkowski being on the same stage as McCartney is like McCartney lining up in the slot during a Patriots game.

What’s next?  Is Macca going to perform “Things We Said Today” with Jared Kushner, “Band on the Run” with Sarah Silverman?

If you want to share the stage with Paul McCartney you should have to meet a certain high artistic standard.  Shouldn’t we, as a society, have stringent safeguards to protect our cultural icons from publicly performing with mediocrity?  I think so.

Let’s hope that during his next round of concert dates, Macca’s guests are of a higher caliber.  

McCartney returns to his “One on One” tour on Sept. 11 with the first of two shows at the Prudential Center in Newark, New Jersey.

He travels to New York City for two concerts at Madison Square Garden (Sept. 15 and 17) and two at Barclays Center (Sept. 19 and 21).

He remains in New York State for a show at the Carrier Dome in Syracuse on Sept. 23 and two at NYCB LIVE’s Nassau Veterans Memorial Coliseum in Uniondale on Sept. 26 and 27.

On Oct. 1 and 2, Sir Paul concludes the North American leg of his 2017 “One on One” tour with two performances at the Little Caesars Arena in Detroit, Michigan.

His latest setlist contains some deep cuts, although a deep cup for McCartney is a hit for most artists: “Here Today,” “Temporary Secretary,” and “Nineteen Hundred and Eighty-Five.”

He ends his shows with “Golden Slumbers,” “Carry That Weight,” and “The End.”

Leave a comment

Filed under Paul McCartney

Documentary Review: “Brian Epstein: Inside the Fifth Beatle”

I delved back into my Amazon Prime account to see if there were any new Beatles flicks I could watch for free. That’s where I discovered the 2004 documentary – Brian Epstein: Inside the Fifth Beatle. If you don’t have Amazon Prime, you can rent it for $1.99 or buy it on DVD for about $5 or less at Amazon. Or you can skip all of the above and just watch the documentary online here for free!

Okay, now that you know you can buy it, rent it or watch it for free….maybe you’d like to know if it’s at all worth it?

This hour long film actually isn’t bad at all! There are many familiar names and faces of people that provide personal stories and commentary on working with the fifth Beatle – Brian Epstein. Included among theses are promoter – Sid Bernstein; Brian’s personal assistant Alistair Taylor; Brian’s secretary Beryl Adams; Mersey Beat owner Bill Harry; Beatles first manager Allan Williams; historian Richard Porter; and Beatles chauffeur Alf Bicknell. (Interesting note that Alistair, Beryl and Alf all passed away within months of this documentary being released.) There are snippets of conversation with Cilla Black, John Lennon, Paul McCartney and Derek Taylor mixed in with the often repeated, but tolerable newsreel and film clips.

One point I couldn’t help but notice is that Alistair Taylor is very prominent in this film and provides most of the narration and maybe that was because he was the closest to Brian before and throughout the Beatles years. And interestingly, Alistair also wrote several books on the topic of the Beatles himself, but I’ll save the topic of Alistair’s books for next week’s review!

Though this film is 13 years old, it proved to me that there is still more for me to learn about Brian Epstein. And since one of my criteria for rating system in my reviews is based on whether or not it provides factual information for anyone that is new to The Beatles, I’d have to say that this easily passes that test. And for that reason…

I rate this documentary, 3 out of 4 Beetles!

 

 

 

 

Leave a comment

Filed under Brian Epstein, Documentary

Book Review: “How Music Works” by David Byrne

Stop what you’re doing and go get yourself a copy of  How Music Works by David Byrne of the Talking Heads. You won’t be disappointed.

I received this book from the Blogging for Books program in exchange for a review. I usually post these reviews as a Bonus Book Review, but since this book is actually about music and the Beatles get mentioned about 5 times, I thought I should just make it my weekly review. Plus, it was just too good to limited its readership.

David Byrne gently walks readers through the hows and whys music is created. From the drums of Africa to the sound editing software on a laptop, readers can’t help but get engulfed in this book. How Music Works is an easy read, but not one that should be attempted in one sitting or two. You’ll want to read a chapter or two, digest what you’ve read, then pick it back up and learn more. There were times when I thought maybe Mr. Byrne could have backed away a little on his own personal history with creating his own albums, but there is still a lot to learn about music and sound while reading how his genius mind works and how he collaborates with other musicians. And just when you think he’s covered it all, he introduces a new topic like – why CBGB in the Bowery was such a successful music club or why it’s important to support not just large opera and musical halls, but also amateur musicians and music education in schools.

This book is truly a great read for anyone truly and deeply interested in music, including all you Beatles freaks out there. I also think it would be a very interesting book for music educators. And for that reason…

I rate this book, 4 out of 4 Beetles!

 

 

 

 

P.S. – The winner of the Mea Culpa Contest is Joe Birish! Congratulations Joe…please email me your mailing address so I can get your winnings out to you ASAP!

Leave a comment

Filed under Book Review

Mea Culpa Contest

My apologies for not having a review this week, but you’ll be happy to hear that I’m in the middle of reading a very good book. Not a lot of Beatles content, but still great.

So as my ‘mea culpa’ to my readers, I’m going to giveaway some stuff from my trip to NAMM this past January. The prize package includes: a NAMM media bag,  a Voxx Amplification Ltd sticker, a NAMM show guitar pick, a Lennon Educational Bus guitar pick and a Lennon Educational Bus passenger bag.

All you have to do is leave a comment below to be entered. Only one comment per person is allowed. I will announce the winner on Sunday, July 16th. Good luck.

IMG_0192

10 Comments

Filed under Contest, Uncategorized

Book Review: “Dreaming The Beatles” by Rob Sheffield

Dreaming the Beatles: The Love Story of One Band and the Whole World by Rob Sheffield was published on April 25, 2017.  I had seen this book mentioned in the Beatles Book Collectors group on Facebook, but really didn’t pay it any mind until I stumbled upon it in a small book store while walking around a quaint little village with friends last week.

Rob Sheffield was born in 1966. He is a columnist for Rolling Stone magazine and a former writer for Spin magazine, so he’s got the qualifications and background in music for writing a book. But even after telling friends he was going to write a book about the Beatles and them replying, “Another book about the Beatles?!”, he didn’t take the hint.

From the jacket of the book:

Sheffield focuses on the emotional connections we make to the music. Chronicling his lifelong obsession with the Beatles along with the rest of the world’s, Dreaming the Beatles is a passionate celebration of the band and their music…

To me, it seems, when he isn’t bashing Paul (He actually wrote a chapter about called “Paul is a Concept by which We Measure Our Pain”), he’s writing about things that are so incredibly repetitive to a true Beatles freak. There are chapters dedicated to songs, albums and each Beatle. There are also chapters with titles such as: Beatles or Stones; Something (1969) vs. My Love (1971; The Cover of Abbey Road; When George sang In My Life. At times, it was as if he was pulling ideas out of left field to write about or telling us his own personal stories.

Chances are you’re not going to find anything new in these pages excepts for one man’s opinion of the Beatles, along with the story of Rob Sheffield’s experimentation with drugs and the fact that The Beverly Hillbillies were the top rated show in the U.S. from January to March 1964.

I took one for the team reading this one, folks…and for that reason…

I rate this book, 1 out of 4 Beetles!

 

 

 

 

8 Comments

Filed under Book Review

7″ Single Review: 25th Anniversary Limited Edition – “Saltwater” by Julian Lennon

Last week, I received my 25th Anniversary Limited Edition 7″ single of Saltwater  by Julian Lennon. This song from his Help Yourself album was originally released in 1991. According to Wikipedia, the song charted at #6 in the U.K. and #1 in Australia, but failed to chart in the U.S. The song was written by Julian and Mark & Leslie Spiro. Julian had originally asked George Harrison to do a guitar solo, but George was too busy and instead sent Julian several recorded rifts that were eventually played by Steve Hunter. This beautiful song is about how we’re running out of time to deal with environmental conservation and world poverty.

So I guess the big question is: Did I play the record? No.

Next question: So how do I know it’s really a recording of Saltwater and they didn’t just repackage a bunch of Toto singles they found in a warehouse? Well, I don’t know that. But if any of you are willing to put a record needle to your copy, please let me know!

In the meantime, I can tell you that this clear vinyl edition is even more beautiful to behold in person. The pictures just don’t do it justice. The only thing that could make this any better would be to have Julian’s signature scribbled across the label, but I guess we’ll have to wait for the Limited Signed Limited Editions to be released. Hey Julian! Can you get on that ASAP?

NOTE: This 25th Anniversary Limited Edition Clear Vinyl 45 rpm is limited to just 250 copies!

You can order your own copy at Julian’s website for £25 (approx. $31.89).

Until then…enjoy the 1991 and 2016 versions of the Saltwater video.

 

 

I rate this record, 4 out of 4 Beetles!

 

 

 

Leave a comment

Filed under Julian Lennon

Book Review: “The Beatles: Fab Finds of the Fab Four” by Noah Fleisher

The Beatles – Fab Finds of the Fab Four by Noah Fleisher is another book recommended to me from Amazon. Author Noah Fleisher is the PR Director at Heritage Auctions (the largest collectibles auctioneer and third largest auction house in the world), providing him with a first hand knowledge of the worth of music memorabilia and collectibles.

Published in November 2016, Fab Finds of the Fab Four is a 240 page paperback filled with beautiful color images of some of the rarest Beatles memorabilia you’ll ever see, though the author does acknowledges that the book only scratches the surface of what the Beatles merchandising machine actually put out on the market. This book not only provides the value of the items as they were set at auction, Noah also tells the story of the Beatles climb to fame and how each stage of that climb produced various items of worth. This book covers items from before they were famous up to the 2015 auction of Ringo Starr’s collection. Posters, tickets, photos, instruments, jewelry, letters, gold records, etc….it’s all in here.

I loved this book. But (and there is always a but…) it’s a difficult read at times because every page includes pictures and descriptions of various items mixed in with the text of the book. When the text/sentences continue on the next page but you’re not done reading about the memorabilia, it can get a little annoying to be going back and forth between the pages. The book is also not without it’s small typos. The thing is, though, this book is still worth the purchase price whether you’re a collector or not. It’s more than just a price guide…it’s a walk through Beatle history. And for that reason…

I rate this book, 4 out of 4 Beetles!

 

 

 

 

1 Comment

Filed under Book Review, Collectibles