There are some interesting choices in a selection that is almost flawless. I never knew Lennon was such a mid-60s soul fan. I mean I know there were Motown remakes and some soul covers early on but there is so little of that flavor in their post-1965 music.
I love that Paul Revere and the Raiders' terrific "Stepping Out" is in there. It shows that Lennon's ears were opened to what was going on in American garage rock and that he wasn't unduly influenced by non-muiscal considerations like the silly outfits the Raiders wore. I suspect many of his Pepper era fans would have scoffed at the Raiders. They were really kind of a great group until they descended into a mediocre lounge act after Mark Lindsay took completely over.
The Ray record is also an interesting surprise. Ray's "Got My Mind Set on You", an album track, later became a huge hit in a radically revised remake by bandmate George Harrison. "Gotta Make a Fool of Somebody" is by far the better record though, a wonderful piece of low key sophisticated soul caught in between what the Drifters were doing and some of the stuff that was happening down South at the time. It's presence in the collection shows Lennon's real devotion to rock and R&B music. He had to look to find this music. This record didn't even make the Pop Top 20 here and I can't imagine it getting much play in Europe.
I also find the Williams' tracks to be interesting. It's not a surprise because the Beatles covered a few Williams tracks. However, it's a good addition to rock scholarship because with the exception of "Short Fat Fannie" no Williams track ever made the Pop Top Ten while say many Avalon records did. The influence that Williams had on acts like the Beatles and the fact that many of his records have survived and are known by fans today is an indication that the pop charts were not always the best example of what was going on at the time. Of course, we know this but it's easy to forget.
I also like the inclusion of "Hey Baby". I think its inclusion shows a bit of what made the Beatles superstars of superstars. The kind of breezy pop exemplified by this record informs all the Beatles early stuff giving it a kind of light kiddiness that makes it impossible to dislike. Compared to the Stones or the Animals or the Who, the Beatles were just more fun and fun is an underrated quality.
Last edited by likethebike on Sun Sep 11, 2005 10:52 am, edited 1 time in total.