The Big Beatles Sort Out Series 2! Movie Special 5 – Let It Be

Series 2 continues with the last of our Movie Specials – Let It Be. Was this the tale of impending doom and misery everyone remembers?

https://anchor.fm/garry-abbott/episodes/Episode-60-Movie-Special-5—Let-It-Be-e1h58nm

This is our last episode for a couple of weeks as we relax over Easter. Will be back oon with a few bonuses to round off series 2!

I also have a new single out – you can hear it here on Spotify or Apple!

Thanks as always.

Garry

The Big Beatles Sort Out Series 2! Movie Special 4 – Yellow Submarine!

Series 2 continues with our fourth Movie Special – Yellow Submarine! The only animated Beatles movie – have they found their stride?

Episode 59 – Yellow Submarine

I also have a new single out – you can hear it here on Spotify or Apple!

Thanks as always.

Garry

The Big Beatles Sort Out Series 2! Movie Special 3 – Magical Mystery Tour!

Series 2 continues with our third Movie Special – Magical Mystery Tour! Let’s see where this surreal TV special lands in the listings of Beatles movies!

Episode 58 – Magical Mystery Tour

Sorry for the delay on this one! Both Paul and I have had Covid so we had to miss a week or two! Both feeling a lot better now though, so should be back next week with the final Movie episode – ‘Let It Be’.

I also have a new single out – you can hear it here on Spotify or Apple!

Thanks as always.

Garry

The Big Beatles Sort Out Series 2! Budokan Bonus!

We have a bonus for you this week to fill the gap while we are still working on the Magical Mystery Tour Episode – a look at the live footage of the Japanese tour show at the Budokan! We hope you enjoy.

Episode 57A – Budokan Bonus!

Not sure yet if we will be back next week as Paul is ill, so please keep an eye on our social for updates (@Big_Sort on Twitter and Instagram).

I also have a new single out – you can hear it here on Spotify or Apple!

Thanks as always.

Garry

The Big Beatles Sort Out Series 2! Movie Special 2 – HELP!

Series 2 continues with our second Movie Special – HELP! See how it stacks up against last week’s look at A Hard Days Night – which will come out on top?

Episode 57 – HELP!

It is very likely that we won’t be back next week with Magical Mystery Tour due to the extra time it is taking to write and record these episodes, so please keep an eye on our socials for the next episode (@Big_Sort on Twitter and Instagram).

I also have a new single out – you can hear it here on Spotify or Apple!

Thanks as always.

Garry

The Big Beatles Sort Out Series 2! Movie Special 1 – A Hard Day’s Night!

Series 2 continues with our first Movie Special – A Hard Day’s Night! Once again we have a new rating system, just for this short run of episodes!

Episode 56 – A Hard Day’s Night Movie

We should hopefully be back next week with Help! Though these episodes take a little longer to write, record and Edit, so may be in a fortnight – check our socials (@Big_Sort on Twitter and Instagram) for updates.

I also have a new single out – you can hear it here on Spotify or Apple!

Thanks as always.

Garry

The Big Beatles Sort Out Black Album Special!

Every 10 episodes of the main podcast we like to do a bonus special with a deep dive into a listener questioner.

So, after 20 episodes, here is the 2nd bonus, focusing on the concept of the ‘Black Album’ – a thought experiment basically curating a mythical 13th Beatles LP from their various solo and post-Beatles projects.

We also take a look at the aggregate album charts so far with a few other top 10s thrown in for good measure. Hope you enjoy! Back to the usual business next week.

Big Beatles Sort Out Episode 20a

Restoke – Man Up

Last night I watched ‘Man Up’ from the wonderful ‘Restoke’, a group of artists and collaborators who work with the local community to craft music, dance and spoken word performances in various unusual locations around Stoke on Trent.

This was the first year I was able to watch a performance purely as an audience member, having previously helped out with the technical crew behind the scenes, and regrettably missing last year’s performance due to baby duties!

What a year I chose to come and watch.

‘Man Up’ was pitched as “A gritty, humorous & revealing performance from the frontlines of masculinity & mental health.” (https://www.restoke.org.uk/man-up/), a strapline that is entirely accurate, but could not possibly convey the emotional heft and punch that we felt in the audience.

Almost radiating from the stage, there was a palpable energy in that room as the cast shared interpretations of their struggles with the concept of masculinity, identity and mental health.

And for what reason? Well, that was made clear early in the night: Suicide is the biggest killer of men under 50. The prison and homeless population is predominantly male. These facts are the surface reality of deep, social questions that we need productions like this to ask.

The received image of masculinity is that men are not great at talking, at sharing their feelings, at ‘connecting’ with their emotions. At worse, it is almost as if we should purposefully avoid doing so. Yet I just watched a group of men from all walks of life, who started this process as strangers, literally perform their anxieties, their stories, their hopes and fears, together, to yet more strangers.

If that’s not talking about your feelings, I don’t know what is.

This was exceptional in many senses. It was an exceptional production, but it was also an exceptional opportunity for those few who chose to share and see the process through. The hope, I would think, is that focussing on these issues will help conversations happen more regularly in ‘real’ life, whatever that means to each of us.

I certainly heard a lot of stories of audience members inspired to check in with friends, family, or even colleagues who might be needing an opportunity of their own to share, to reach out, to be heard, to be helped. And although these stories came from men who had experienced the extreme edges of mental health, there are none of us immune to the possibility of finding ourselves in those same places.

Mental health, like physical health, is a scale that we can all move up and down, and if society’s preconceived notions of gender identity are causing men to not seek the help they need, then we need to challenge and change society, in whatever way we can, even if that is simply telling someone that it is okay to talk about it.

Find out more about Restoke and their work here: https://www.restoke.org.uk/

Explore The Beatles – My pick of lesser known album tracks.

beatles

If you didn’t catch Part 1 of this blog (https://garryabbott.com/2014/05/13/access-the-beatles-part-1/) – here is part two of my attempt to share some of the lesser known album tracks by The Beatles that I think will enrich and enhance people’s appreciation for what they did for western music.

My full introduction can be found on part 1 – but just to reiterate a little: for those of you who have a good understanding of the Beatles catalogue, this blog may not be so revelatory, but hey, if you think these songs are cool already, then here’s a good excuse to revisit them!

For those of you (I guess quite a lot) who are aware of The Beatles number one records and most popular tunes, I think you may find that some of these songs will surprise you.

When I listen to these songs, I hear modern music. I hear the inspirations and experimentations that have shaped generations of artists. I hope you will too.

Note – I’m working chronologically following on from the last blog, hence numbers start at ‘6’.

 

6. I’m A Loser (Beatles for Sale – 1964)

I think this is the only song from ‘Beatles for Sale’ I’m going to include here. The album is great, and every song hints at the flexing of musical muscles they were building up at the time, but as a stand-out example, ‘I’m a Loser’ demonstrates the self-awareness that Lennon would go on to use (exploit?) to give his song’s meaning.

Meaning is sadly lost from a lot of modern popular music. The Beatles in part started this with a lot of songs that centred around pretty two dimensional love scenarios (She loves you, I want to hold your hand, from me to you etc…). The difference however, is that they were aware of this, and wanted to find better ways to express themselves. In this song, Lennon turns the lens on himself. It stills centre’s around a pretty banal situation (unrequited love), but shifting the focus and giving us hints of the ‘man behind the mask’ begins to introduce a depth of meaning (“although I laugh and I act like a clown, under this mask I am wearing a frown”).

Musically the song is, once again, nicely juxtaposed with the theme of the lyrics. There is obvious Bob Dylan influence here, and I fancy you can even hear Lennon trying his best to sound like him (especially in the harmonica section!). Using influences and making them your own is a huge part of a healthy creative process, as evidenced here.

 

7. I’ve Just Seen a Face (Help! 1965)

This is the only song I will offer from ‘Help!’ – mainly because the film and the album combined make many of them already so well known (Ticket to Ride, Hide Your Love Away, Help, Another Girl…)

‘I’ve Just Seen a Face’ is another foray into folk/country music, keeping us in theme with the last. It’s more jaunty, goes at a great pace, and goes to show that when they wanted to, The Beatles could do this style just as well as any band who were dedicated to the genre. This is another aspect that I think marked them out – they could cross genre’s with ease, almost like they were playing with them for fun. That shows understanding and talent, but more importantly, leads to catchy little numbers like this one!

Musically, I can imagine this song done as a slow ballad, a mid-tempo rock song, or even a fast thrash punk song! I reckon that’s a good clue to knowing when the foundations of your compositions are solid: when you can ‘hear it’ in different modes. Also – check out the introduction!

 

8. Think For Yourself (Rubber Soul, 1965)

George Harrison’s ‘Think For Yourself’ is a song of firsts. It was his fist none love song, and also the first song to feature a fuzz bass (possibly ever, but don’t quote me on that).

Here we see George Harrison start to look inwards and outwards, urging his listeners to make their own mind’s up about the lies and promises of the world, a theme that I guess took him on his spiritual journey and the study of Eastern thinking and spirituality.

The vocals are gorgeous. I can’t find a video of the harmonies isolated (though I’m sure that exists somewhere) – but just listen to the precise yet hauntingly slurring slide down the harmonic range accompanying each second line (also check out ‘If I needed someone’ on the same album for another example of this). It conveys a message, and it sounds cool. What’s not to like?

 

9. In My Life (Rubber Soul, 1965)

Okay, so many people may already know this song, but it’s worth putting it here even if it only reaches one person who hasn’t.

I haven’t much to say about Lennon’s melancholic masterpiece that can’t be understood just by listening to it. It’s the kind of song that brings tears to your eyes if you’ve ever lost anything that was dear to you. Lennon had his fair share of that, and even though this could be construed as a love song, I think it is primarily a lament for anything lost.

The use of the harpsichord for the solo is inspired, and shows a generosity by The Beatles in orchestration and allowing George Martin (the producer) to contribute. Without this, they couldn’t have developed like they did as their compositions transcended the need for strict format guitar solos and arrangements.

 

10. She Said She Said (Revolver, 1966)

As someone who grew up in the nineties and had my modern musical faith restored with the indie/Britpop resurgence that took us into the 21st Century, it is songs like ‘She Said She Said’ by the Beatles that made me wonder why it took so long to come back around. They had done it already. It was like everybody had forgotten and thought they were doing it for the first time. There is a line between rock, rock and roll, pop, and what we might recognise as ‘indie’ music today. The Beatles walked across all of them.

Musically – I think Ringo silence’s his critics in this song. As a former skiffle drummer, you can hear him ride the toms off the snare after nearly every phrase in a fusion of old and new that brings the song together. Interestingly, this is the only song not to feature McCartney: Harrison is playing bass! (I never knew that – the wonders of Wikipedia eh?)

 

Thanks for dropping by. More to follow at a date yet unspecified! Next week I am on holiday, so probably no blog – see you again soon!