The White Album
Don’t be fooled by the name(s). The Beatles / White Album was less the collective work of a unified group than a set of blueprints for four prospective solo careers. As a reviewer at the time pointed out, the band were by now effectively operating as each other’s session musicians.
Not surprisingly, the outcome was a record of immense stylistic variety: rock & roll and blues; country & western fiddling and folk finger-picking; proto-reggae and proto-metal; vaudeville and brass bands; lullabies and musique concrete. About the only thing missing was the overt psychedelia that had dominated their previous two years.
The diversity of the material is matched by the diversity of the acts covering it. The most dedicated music sleuth would be hard-pressed to discover many other places where Lowell Fulsom rubs shoulders with Vera Lynn, The Pixies and a pre-fame Slade. Elsewhere, Desmond Dekker and John Holt imbue Blackbird and I Will with a Jamaican lilt, while Georgia’s own Arthur Conley splices the not-quite-ska rhythms of Ob-La-Di-Ob-La-Da with Muscle Shoals swagger. Most unexpected of all, from behind the Iron Curtain, Jiri Schelinger, “the first Czech hard rocker” takes on Ringo’s debut solo composition, Don’t Pass Me By.
And so to the big question: how do you solve a problem like Revolution 9? The answer in this case is to turn it over to avant-surf mischief-makers The Thurston Lava Tube who delve deep below the surface and uncover hitherto unsuspected traces of Ventures DNA buried within.
Making the White Album was stressful for all concerned, taking its toll on long-serving engineer Geoff Emerick, George Martin and even affable old Ringo who all bailed out at various points. To make matters worse the presence of Yoko drove a permanent wedge between John and Paul.
By now, the writing was graffitied all over the Abbey Road studio walls, but such was their innate professionalism, the Fabs were still able to pull together for one final hurrah…
1 john fred and his playboy band-back in the u.s.s.r
2 the five stairsteps-dear prudence
3 arif margin-glass onion
4 arthur conley-ob-la-di-ob-la-da
5 the pixies-wild honey pie
6 young blood-the continuing story of bungalow bill
7 charlie byrd-while my guitar gently weeps
8 the breeders-happiness is a warm gun
9 slade-martha my dear
10 alex chilton-i’m so tired
11 desmond dekker-blackbird
12 theodore bikel-piggies
13 lena horne & gabor szabo-rocky raccoon
14 jiri schelinger-don’t pass me by
15 lowell fulsome-why don’t we do it in the road
16 john holt-i will
1 the sensational alex harvey band-birthday
2 lucky peterson-yer blues
3 ayshea-mother natures son
4 the feelies-everybody’s got something to hide (except me and my monkey)
5 ramsey lewis-sexy sadie
6 the pretty things-helter skelter
7 tanya donelly- long long long
8 the brothers four- revolution
9 barbra streisand-honey pie
10 bull angus-savoy truffle
11 freedom-cry baby cry
12 the thurston lava tube-revolution 9
13 vera lynn-good night