Friday, March 02, 2018

The Beatles Live at the Star Club

After watching the George Harrison documentary yesterday I was naturally drawn to my Beatles vinyl this morning, initially thinking I would single out some Harrison tunes, but came across this and realized I hadn't heard it for quite a while. This is a single mic recording from the group's final appearance at the Star Club - and this time with Ringo in tow - before rising to fame in their native country. Taken from a few performances in December of '62, this shows the group in a pretty raw'n'raucous form, and is fairly low fidelity but to today's ears, the sound really isn't that bad - you can hear every instrument and while the vocals might be slightly muffled, this is significantly better than most bootlegs.

Apparently, there have been a variety of releases based on these tapes with some different song selections but this concentrates on their 50's r'n'r stylings, with a number of Chuck Berry covers ("Roll Over Beethoven", "Little Queenie", "Sweet Little Sixteen"), a couple of Carl Perkins ("Lend Me Your Comb", his take on "Matchbox"), some Ray Charles (pre-Stones version of "Talkin' 'bout You", "Hallelujah I Love Her So"), "Be Bop a Lula", "Long Tall Sally", "Hippy Hippy Shake" and plenty more. A few quieter moments, like "Mr. Moonlight" and "A Taste of Honey" are a nice change of pace (I'm sure they had to do all kinds of different styles during their residency), and they even have a guest vocalist or two.

Their irreverent stage banter is fun, as well, and this is a good documentation of their live shows, pre-stardom. I bought my 2-LP set ("also available on 8 track cartridges and cassettes"!) new in 1977 (Lingasong Records) and I don't know if this is still procurable - the band was not happy with its release - but I dig it as a fine moment in rock'n'roll history.