Reason # 7005 – Flabby Soul

Occasionally you’ll hear the fab-blind discuss how soulful various songs and albums were.

Usually we just laugh to ourselves when we hear the word beatle and the word soulful in the same sentence, unless the sentence is, ‘The beatle were soulful of crap it was coming out of their mouths!’ We decided to find out exactly what sounds people are mistaking for soul. We came up empty handed.

Our first stop was Fab4Fan’s infamous Rankopedia to see what the consensus is for the most soulful beatles songs. Incredibly, there is no such category. The closest we found was ‘which beatle fan has the brownest nose and emptiest wallet.’ So a few weeks ago we created our own poll, Most Soulful Beatle Songs. Ten thousand opinionated members, and we only got two votes, not a good sign. Searches elsewhere turned up little more than slanted reviews with the word soulful getting battered like a piece of tempura. We’re left to our own devices to get to the bottom of this one.

The problem now becomes, how do you judge soul? Just to clarify, we’re talking about soulful music as opposed to soul music. There doesn’t seem to be any working soul-o-meters these days, they all disappeared with STAX. Lets define it first, and work from there. We can all agree that a fair definition of soulful music is music that is passionately sung and performed, full of both feeling and expression.

Now we need to identify a fair starting point, a point of reference to level the playing field. You can’t just listen to an FF song and decide, ‘yup – thats pretty soulful, way more than Yellow Submarine.’ The only way to do this fairly is to compare two performances of the same song, then we can begin to gauge who’s got the soul going on.

Lets get to it.

First we have Long Tall Sally, an original song written and performed by none other than Little Richard. It was covered by the likes of Elvis and the Tielman Brothers, as well as less adventurous artists like Pat Boone and the Beatles. Let watch this go down, live.

First up is Little Richard:

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZBUpVPk3j7I[/youtube]

Hot Damn!

The challengers, four lovable moptops from Liverpool with their version:[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=u9ESlLg5bFs&feature=related[/youtube]
…Uhhh. WTF?

To be fair, everybody knows that in those days the beatles had to suffer with inferior equipment. Whats that? They were both recorded the same year? Oh, I see…

Lets stick to official releases. Thats where they’ve been proven to really shine.

Next up is an excerpt of the FF singing their famous version of the Barret Strong/Berry Gordy classic, Money(Thats what I want):

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Next up is Barret Strong with the original version.

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Whew, getting a little hot in here. Bet you never realized that song actually has a groove.

Perhaps this isn’t fair. Lets give the FF an original song and let somebody else try and cover it. Nobody can touch the beatles…right?

Next up is an excerpt of the original smash hit We can Work it out:

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Followed by a cover of the same song by Stevie Wonder:

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Its seems Stevie interpreted the meaning of this song as ‘We can work out how to play and sing this thing soulfully.’ This version is surprisingly listenable, even enjoyable. Who would’ve thought that was even possible?

Okay then, final challenge. Its obvious the band as a whole should never, never, ever again be considered soulful. But vocals, thats another story. Its kind of odd that vocals-only mixes are so scarce for a band that releases two or three albums a year, forty years after they broke up. There must be hundreds of thousands of them in the vaults, but they never see the light of day. What could be the reason? I wonder if they’re trying to hide anything? Crappy vocal performances…covered up cleverly by edits and music….Nah, not beatlemart.

Here’s Paul singing one of their most soulful ballads Oh Darlin’:

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The flipside of the coin is you can find pretty much any Motown song you want as an a capella performance. We thought it would be funny, and just a little ironic, to post a Jackson 5 era Michael Jackson performance, but it might be just too cruel to destroy the beatles with a seven year olds soul, wouldn’t it?

Instead, here’s Marvin Gaye to single handedly destroy any semblance of soul left clinging to the fading reputation of this band:

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And what the hell, just to rub a little salt in the wound here’s little Mikey Jackson too:

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Final Verdict?

beatles_rubber_soul.jpg

1 Star2 Stars3 Stars4 Stars5 Stars (14 votes, average: 4.14 out of 5)
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12 thoughts on “Reason # 7005 – Flabby Soul

  1. CW

    Stevie Wonder should have done a whole Beatles albums. Don’t forget Boyz II Men did an a capella Yesterday, despite the lousy dreary songwriting they manage make it soar.

  2. Das Post author

    I see what you mean, but I’m glad Stevie Wonder stuck to mostly original material.

    BoyzIIMen eh?
    I…I don’t think I can do it. I have to! I can’t!

    I’m torn.

  3. jp

    ughh..Dave Marsh made a point about how HE really liked the beagles versions of songs like Baby its you..over the beautiful originals. “Anna” is a good example of beagles vs originals..Arthur Alexander’s version..have a listen at youtube..while you are there..”you better move on” as well, though that’s the other guys who made millions..

    good point in the above..though to me it’s boys VERSUS men..because even though he probably wasn’t older then lemon, Arthur sounds like a growed man singing ..and not somebody at the hi skool hop..

    slim harpo vs mick..same thang.

  4. Das Post author

    I’ve come to realize this article could have gone on forever, there will have to be an addendum at some point.

    I can see how Dave Marsh could have said “Anna is not the worst FF cover I’ve ever heard…” I’m afraid I can’t agree with anything else.

    I’ve you pitched Arthur up about 6 semitones…

  5. jp

    You’d really like Arthur A, Fas..Razor and Tie “Best of” is a good intro..especially the track “Soldier of Love” which I think “elvis” costello did..but he murders shit worse than you know who. also check Percy Mayfield, but that’s another guy they killed..

    there was an innerstin time in the magical awfuler than even now seems impossible don’t it 70’s..when lemon was yappin about how he and the lads had stolen and usurped all the music; had exploited it, and basically ruined it..this at a time when yoko was wearin hot pantz and screaming in a bag about liberation (and I hope I just gave Sheryl Crowe and/or what’s her dick..the chick from Chicago who is even worse..some NEW fashion/marketing ideas to exploit)..anyway… he was makin a clean thing for himself..yes that’s right you DID fuck it all up..but then a few years later, we have the John Lemon Rock and ROLL lp where he did all the covers..hmm..let’s see..

    this is really making me feel old..and tired..Life in the kulture of the United States of Amnesia..

  6. E Fish

    Everyone’s entitled to their opinions about the various versions, of course, but your case would be a lot more convincing if you didn’t so obviously stack the deck with such tendentious selectivity (a mediocre live “Money,” not the album version, etc.) This makes your comparisons meaningless and your “argument” just plain silly.

    But hey, you got yer hate on. Have fun with it!

  7. Das Post author

    I’ve read your comments E Fish, and I’m still getting over the shock of encountering a beatlefan who can not only form a sentence but hasn’t called me a ‘fagot’ yet. Bravo!

    In my defense, I didn’t realize this particular version of Money was live. If you think it’ll make a difference on the soul’o’meter I’ll track down their studio version for an updated comparison. Conversely, if you’d like to contribute a soulful beatles song, please be my guest.

  8. E Fish

    “Why Don’t We Do It In the Road” — great vocal performance by Sir McCarthy.

    My wife and mother disapprove (“Why don’t you put on a NICE Beatles song?”) which makes it all the better, no?

  9. ned mortenson

    Oh man.. Arthur Alexander was something else.. check out ‘you don’t care’ from ’65 and tell me that doesn’t blow a three foot hole in the old Beetleboat. And while we’re on the subject of covers – try to find any performance by the FF that comes close to the smouldering soul of The Animals’ “house of new orleans”. I don’t even particularly like the song, but Eric Burdon knocks out of the fucking park.

  10. Truth

    It seems that you have devoted yourself a lot of time to look for images and information about ‘The Beatles’, though they don’t even know that you exist. You must have a very sad life, if you dedicate your time to doing this class of trash. Surely, it will be because you don’t attract attention by yourself and you need to be a nuisance for someone sees you. Well, I believe that now you will attract more attention if you do a page against Justin Bieber, one million girls they will be fixed in you (thing that hasn’t happened to you in all your life). It’s sad, very sad… (Forgive me if there isn’t understood very well what I have written, my English level is very basic. You can answer whatever you want to my comment, I’m not going to read it. I have life). And, if you read it, I suppose it is because you got bored of your fucking life and you’ve committed suicide. Good luck, loser. 🙂

  11. Beatlegirl

    Why is every single artist that you are comparing the Beatles to, black? Come out and say it……you think blacks make better musicians than a sorry white boy band. If somebody were to ever say the reverse, they would get in trouble for racism.

    You are comparing the Beatles to other artists here based on “who has more soul?”. That is one criteria out of many. And even if we take this one criteria seriously, it is still just a matter of your opinion.

    The Jackson Five is one of the worst groups that ever existed. I thought Stevie Wonder’s version of “We can work it out” sounded awful when I listened to it just now.

    Those other songs from the Beatles that you picked were some of their earliest pieces. Lots of people did covers of other peoples’ songs back then. So what? When it comes to original stuff, the Beatles were by far the most creative, and not only that, but they wrote their own music and played their own instrumentation…..something that can’t be said for most of these others you just compared them to.

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