Monday, January 12, 2009

You Can Talk to Me



I really don't mind this blog becoming a space for All Things Beatle. There are plenty worse obsessions. Really. I could be crowing about Joe the Plumber's faceplant in Gaza, say, or excoriating the Wingnut of the Week. Instead, lets relax with this video, shall we?

Their Fabuliciousnesses in-studio, just as things were beginning to go to hell in a handcart -- February 11, 1968, EMI Studios, between 4pm and 2am. According to The Complete Beatles Chronicle, this was the first promotional film made by the brand-new Apple Films.

I hadn't revisited "Hey Bulldog" in quite some time, and am struck anew by its brilliance. Check out those searching minor-key chords under the "you can talk to me" bridge (Bm - Bm+5 - Bm6 - Bm7 - Em - Em+5 - Em6 - Em7 -- basically, a climbing chromatic passing tone). Also, the guitar solo -- which this time I believe to be George and not Paul -- is mid-Sixties Vox-amp guitar oinkage par excellence. Good stuff indeed. (In the film, George is shown playing a Gibson SG into a Vox amp, but I'm not sure I trust the accuracy of the synchronization of film to performance. The Fabs were in the process of moving to Fender amps at this point of their career, and the bell-like tone George gets for the solo could easily have been a combination of Fender amp and Leslie speaker. The literature is ambiguous on this point.)

Oh! And Lennon's voice is particularly biting in this recording. What a rock and roller.

Many thanks to reader BreadBox, who hipped me to this vid.

15 comments:

Larry Jones said...

I love the preppy sweaters and Ringo's necktie! Meanwhile John is sporting the most outrageous possible facial hair, probably to piss off Paul, who no doubt wanted everyone clean shaven and wearing the same haircuts (and sweaters).

Still, this track is an overlooked diamond, and it shows that even as Paul had taken over, John could still write -- and rock.

HomefrontRadio said...

Emerick's book credits the 'sparkling' guitar solo to Harrison, stating it was 'one of the few times that he nailed it straight away'.

The next two studio sessions were the first appearances of Magic Alex and Yoko Ono, so Emerick also dates this as the last happy session.

Good eye. Andy Babiuk's book 'Beatles Gear', identifies Harrison's Gibson SG being run through a Vox Defiant amp for this track.

I've seen this footage for years as the 'Lady Madonna' video, so it's bizarre to see what they were actually recording.

John B. said...

"I really don't mind this blog becoming a space for All Things Beatle."

Me either.

Got anymore?

I love the Gibson SG, super guitar, rock and roll supreme, such a bad ass guitar, Les Paul wouldn't put his name on it...

cleek said...

they were passing that SG around like bong at a frat party.

captcha: mechrist

Neddie said...

Fascinatingly, Cleek, later that night they were passing a bong around at a aparty like it was an SG...

My complaint about the SG is its neck-heaviness. Thing'll be pointed straight at the ground in 4 seconds if you're not constantly adjusting.

Looked great on Frank Zappa, though.

cleek said...

IMO, Angus Young is the definitive SG player. or Tony Iommi. but mostly Angus.

Thing'll be pointed straight at the ground in 4 seconds if you're not constantly adjusting.

yuck. i had a plastic-bodied Yamaha like that. makes my shoulders twitch just thinking about trying to keep it balanced.

gray lensman said...

Zappa's SG was a copy some guy put together, so it might not have been top heavy. It had a lot of the funky electronics that Frank liked so it was probably neck-light.

racketmensch said...

OT?(I can't tell)
"To me, it matters whether you die in the service of liberty or tyranny."
-some living guy

The Viscount LaCarte said...

I've seen this video used with "Lady Madonna" as well.

Derek Trucks plays an SG...

bcelaya said...

regarding the SG- bear in mind Eric Clapton-George's buddy at the time- was favoring an SG during this period in his Cream days- the "fool" guitar painted all psychedelic, that Todd Rundgren later owned and played with Utopia

bobby lightfoot said...

Listen for that minor ascending motif in Colin Moulding's XTC b-side "Washaway".

Or not, y'know?

Neddie said...

Amusingly, the James Bond Theme uses it too, now that I think about it...

The Viscount LaCarte said...

Damn Bobby! Where you been?

Washaway always reminded me of "Hey Bulldog."

HomefrontRadio said...

I think in 'Losing My Mind' by Sondheim as well.

As for instruments, check out this sample set. The Fake Song clips, ('Untogether', 'Evolution'), are a lot of fun:

http://www.eastwestsamples.com/details.php?cd_index=1027

Neddie said...

Wow... Wish I had $408 lying around... Wish I had 408 of anything lying around...