Thursday, October 4, 2018

Revamping The White Album (Part 3)

More suggestions from our readers ...

Hey Kent -
Here goes my list of 16 choices: (in original running order)
Back In The USSR
Dear Prudence
Glass Onion
Ob-La-Di, Ob-La-Da
The Continuing Story Of Bungalow Bill
While My Guitar Gently Weeps
Happiness Is A Warm Gun
Rocky Raccoon
I Will
Yer Blues
Mother Nature’s Son
Helter Skelter
Savoy Truffle
Good Night
I know people love to trash “Rocky Raccoon” … but what’s wrong with having some fun on a track? First time I heard the White Album back in ‘68, my cousin played it for us. Holy shit!! We couldn’t wrap our heads around it then. And today, I still can’t!
- Larry Cave
“Rocky Raccoon” was one of the first tracks I heard from The White Album back in ’68 … and I loved it.  The Beatles were always such perfectionists in the studio that I just LOVED when they strayed from the formula to try something new and fun.  (As such, “Rocky Raccoon” and “You Know My Name” are two of my favorite Beatles tracks … simply because they don’t sound anything at all like what you would expect The Beatles to record and release.
I think Paul dominates the 2-Record Set anyway … tracks like “Back In The U.S.S.R.,” “Ob-La-Di, Ob-La-Da,” “I Will,” “Mother Nature’s Son,” “Blackbird,” “Birthday,” “Why Don’t We Do It In The Road” and even “Martha My Dear” have always been among my favorites … and I’ll even allow for “Honey Pie,” too, since (as I mentioned elsewhere) it kind of completes the trilogy of Macca’s tribute to the music of the 1920’s.  (“Helter Skelter”??? Not so much.  I mean, I get it … and the reason behind it … but it’s just never been one of my favorites.)  kk

Hi Kent: 
Here are my choices for the Top White Album tracks. (The Top 2 are definitely ahead of the rest now):
Back in the USSR
While My Guitar Gently Weeps
The rest:
Dear Prudence
Glass Onion
Happiness Is A Warm Gun
Cry Baby Cry
Martha My Dear
I Will     
Helter Skelter
Revolution #1
Ob La Di Ob La Da
Sexy Sadie
Me & My Monkey
Ken Freck

Hi Kent
My view is as follows … 
Too many "fillers" and too much Yoko influenced
Here would be my preference for a single album of 16 tracks:
Back in the USSR
Dear Prudence
Glass Onion
While My Guitar Gently Weeps
Martha My Dear
Mother Nature's Son
Helter Skelter
Long Long Long
Revolution 1
Sexy Sadie
I Will
Wild Honey Pie
Just my opinion of course
Regards -
Geoff Dorsett
Radio Presenter
Since they both cross-reference other Beatles songs, I’d have to include “Savoy Truffle” along with “Glass Onion,” because without “Ob-La-Di, Ob-La-Da,” they just don’t make sense!
I have always been a fan of George Harrison’s songwriting … he turned a major corner with his contributions to “Rubber Soul” and “Revolver” and I think ALL of his material for The White Album is exceptional.  While I’m totally fine with never hearing “Blue Jay Way” again for the rest of my life, I’ve learned to at least tolerate most of his Indian stuff … and I really like “The Inner Light.”
If you think about it, The Beatles easily could have put out another single between “Hey Jude” and “Get Back,” a stretch of about eight months.  (Maybe even two!!!) 
Certainly a couple of White Album tracks would have made excellent hit singles:  “Back In The USSR,” “Birthday,” “Ob-La-Di” or maybe even “While My Guitar Gently Weeps” … any one or two of these would have been a great way to fill the gap (and open up a few more spots on our new 16-track re-imagining of The White Album.  Tack on a couple of so-so B-Sides and I think you can get to 16 tracks pretty easily.)  kk  

Your question regarding the White Album has always been an interesting topic for debate.
As for my own feelings about the White Album, I'd say the only songs I wouldn't miss if I never heard them again are "Wild Honey Pie" and "Why Don't We Do It In The Road?" What were they thinking by putting them on the album? I don't even consider them real songs. "Revolution 9" is not really a song either, but John sure did love those sound montages at the time. I'd also get rid of that creepy coda at the end of "Cry Baby Cry." I always skip past that part.
I can tolerate "Don't Pass Me By" (you can't have a Beatles album without a contribution from Ringo). I'm on the fence about "Helter Skelter," which I've never liked, but I admire Paul's original intent with it, i.e. to out-Who the Who in terms of recording the most raucous, down and dirty track they could. 
The rest of the album is, of course, wonderful. I couldn't pare it down to 16 songs on a single disk, but eliminating just this handful would produce an unwieldy total also. It would have been interesting if they had chosen to include "Not Guilty" and "Child of Nature" (which, as most of us know, eventually became "Jealous Guy.") And, I've always been a bit puzzled by the Beatles' later comments about the album being a collection of songs with each individual member using the others merely as a backing group. To my ears, I hear a lot of collaboration in the songs. But what do I know -- I've only been listening to the White Album since it was released, when I was 7 years old.
Garry Berman
And for me, “Why Don’t We Do It In The Road” has always been one of my favorites, just because it’s SO out there and uncharacteristic of anything else they had recorded up to that time.  (And I can’t think of a better edit ever, showing the two extremes of McCartney’s vocal talents, than running “Why Don’t We Do It In The Road’ right into “I Will,” another album highlight for me.)
I don’t know that either Ringo vocal would have made my cut … “Don’t Pass Me By” ranks right up there with his weakest material ever … and honestly, although it makes for the perfect album closer, I’d probably cut the over-produced John / Ringo collaboration, “Good Night.”
I think it must have been the White Album where I really started to turn from a John fan into more of a Paul fan.  Cuts like “The Continuing Story Of Bungalow Bill,” “Everybody’s Got Something To Hide Except For Me And My Monkey” and “Revolution 9” would get skipped nearly every single time I played it (which was a big deal in 1968 because you had to physically get up and move the tone arm on the record!!!)  Then again I really like John's tracks “Happiness Is A Warm Gun” for its versatility, and his slower-to-mid-tempo tunes like “I’m So Tired” and “Sexy Sadie,” ALL of which I’d find a place for on my pared-down LP.  (kk)  

I have not forgotten about your White Album challenge. 
After much thought, I went with 16 tracks that I don't jump over these days: 

Side One
1.  Back In The USSR   
2.  Dear Prudence   
3.  I Will 
4.  Birthday  
5.  Blackbird  
6.  Rocky Racoon  
7.  Savoy Truffle   
8.  While My Guitar Gently Weeps

Side Two  
1.  Ob-La Di, Ob-la-Da  
2.  Mother Nature's Son  
3. Revolution 1 
4.  Sexy Sadie  
5.  Yer Blues  
6.  Glass Onion   
7. Don't Pass Me By  
8.  Helter Skelter
Phil Nee – WRCO

I cannot do it!!
I like it as it is, which is what the Beatles themselves wanted … they chose the tracks in the order they wanted us to hear them … that’s good enough for me!
Peter Noone  

You can’t reduce The White Album to just one disc … because if you do, it’s no longer The White Album. 
Bruce Spizer   

I agree that the white album should have been split into two separate albums … then you could have the white and the whiter album.   
Ringo Starr