Dad’s Vinyl: #1 Ticket To Ride

Dad recently had a long-overdue clear out of his double garage, which isn’t where he keeps the car, as there is no room. He had threatened for years to offload his vinyl collection on my and my brother, and this year he finally did it.

It’s not a huge collection of records, but there’s some good stuff in there. There’s also some terrible stuff in there, which I’m going to leave in the box.

There have been some disagreements with my brother about who gets what, but mostly our tastes differ enough that things haven’t got nasty. He was adamant that he was having  the ‘Strawberry fields/Penny lane’ single, and ‘Magical Mystery Tour’ EP.  This leaves me with all the rest of the Beatles stuff. Including this one:

'Ticket to Ride' by The Beatles 7" single

‘Ticket to Ride’ by The Beatles 7″ single

I don’t own much Beatles stuff (White album, Revolver. That’s it.) so I’ve not really heard much of their stuff, not since my 70’s childhood when they were on the radio all the time, or so it seemed. I’ve certainly not really listened to the songs, not properly.

This one comes bursting out of the speakers, sounding not unlike a less weird ‘Tomorrow Never Knows’ with a better melody, and some great harmonies.

Someone once said that the secret of The Beatles’ best songs was that something happens every 5 seconds or so, either a harmony, a guitar hook, a drum fill, a standout lyric or even another section to the song*. It goes something like this:

Rickenbacker jangle – burst of drums – singing starts almost straight away – harmonies come on second line – harmonies move up a notch on 3rd line – chorus comes in – last line of chorus harmonies move up a notch – etc etc**  . The ideas never stop, and your ears aren’t given any time to get bored as there’s a new thing along in a few seconds. Ok, it helps that the melodies were pretty good.

 

Copyright reasons (I’m guessing) mean that the YouTube videos are blocked or taken down, so this is the best I could find. But you know how this goes anyway, don’t you?

* In this case the “I don’t know why she’s riding so high..” bit, that’s not only different from the verse and the chorus, but has a wildly different drum  rhythm. I’d say it was the middle eight, except they play it twice.

**I was going to go through the track and list everything – with timings – but that would be almost as tedious to read as it would be for me to do, and turntables don’t have pause buttons… so I didn’t.

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Zombies!

zombies

They might have split up in 1967, but this week I have been listening to ‘Odessey and Oracle‘ by The Zombies quite a lot. (Yes I know the title is mis-spelled, apparently a mistake by their art department).

If you like your pop psychedelic or baroque, this might well be your bag. Or if you like proper tunes like granny used to make,.

This is one of the late sixties ‘lost’ albums, like The Kinks’ ‘Village Green Preservation Society‘, that were almost lost, but endured because they are so damn good. This is not quite as good as the Kinks album, but there are some incredible songs on here. Some of the arrangements sound a little dated, but not like some of the 80’s stuff does now, and it’s easy to forget about how ‘now’ things sound if you really get into really listening to the music.

The songs have the (muso alert!) slightly different sound that songs have when they are written by the keyboard player – they seem to approach chord changes differently, and are not so scared of key changes.

They also sound very English – listen to Colin Blunstone sing ‘Laughter’ as ‘lah- fter’ – and I can’t really imagine an American band sounding quite like this (although you can tell where Elliott Smith got a lot of his melodic ideas from) but then US band wouldn’t have still been using 4-track recorders in 1967. (This was recorded at Abbey Road, probably using the same gear The Beatles used).

The track everyone knows from this is ‘Time of the season‘, although there a number of covers of ‘This will be our year‘ (The version by Nobody is worth checking out, as is his band Blank Blue).

This album is worth checking out, especially if you like Mellotrons.