05 April 2011

THE MUSIC AND PRESTON BLACK The Beatles, Acoustic Submarine

Some people think the idea of a soul in literature is a bit passé. A critique partner told me that. Thankfully, I disregarded her advice and wrote a novel about a guy who has to fight for control of his own soul. Don't we all have to fight for control of our soul from time-to-time?

I think soul is what moves Earth's 4.5 billion tiny little sparks through the universe. Soul gave us "Shall I compare thee to a summer's day..." and "If there's a bustle in your hedgerow....' Soul is why we distillers wait seven years for good bourbon.

Maybe soul, or a soul, is one of those things you don't notice until it's gone. That's kind of what happens to Preston Black in my novel. One day he wakes up, and life as he knows it is gone forever. His means of making music are taken from him by external forces. Without his old routine he's forced to make a change to pursue his passion or lose it.

Who better to guide Preston toward his grail than John Lennon, a man who seemed to spend the last ten years of his life searching for his own soul. Only recently have I started to see early John Lennon and late John Lennon as two totally separate entities. India is probably where the split began. John hooked up with Yoko just after returning to England. She was in the studio with him for most of The White Album sessions. Prior to Yoko he'd never had to choose. The Beatles were his soul.

During their time in Rishikesh with the Maharishi, The Beatles worked on thirty songs. Some were completed in India, some, like "Mean Mr. Mustard" and "Something" remained unfinished until the sessions for Abbey Road in 1969. Some, like "What's the New Mary Jane?" never appeared on any official releases. "Child of Nature" was reworked by Lennon as "Jealous Guy" and included on the album Imagine.

Most of what remained showed up on The Beatles, a.k.a. The White Album. (A month from now a purist is going to leave the comment, 'Um, there's no such album as The White Album. Did you mean...') In order of appearance, the India songs on The White Album are: Back in the U.S.S.R., Dear Prudence, Ob-La-Di, Ob-La-Da, Wild Honey Pie, The Continuing Story of Bungalow Bill, I'm So Tired, Blackbird, Rocky Raccoon, Why Don't We Do It in the Road?, I Will, Julia, Yer Blues, Mother Nature's Son, Everybody's Got Something to Hide Except Me and My Monkey, Sexy Sadie, Revolution, and Cry Baby Cry. Demos of these songs recorded at George Harrison's estate just after everybody returned from England, and show up on a bootleg called the Esher Demos or the Esher Tapes. The White Album songs on this bootleg come from those sessions.

To me, the songs from India represent the last drop of life The Beatles were able to squeeze out of their collective soul.

Download Acoustic Submarine.

Here's the recording info from Sugarmegs:

The Beatles - Acoustic Submarine
Teddy Bear Records

Liberated Bootleg

Original silver discs>EAC(secure)>SHN(mkw)

Disc 1:
Do You Want to Know a Secret
And I Love Her
I'm a Loser
Yes It Is
Norwegian Wood
I'm Looking Through You
We Can Work It Out
I'm Only Sleeping
Yellow Submarine
A Day in the Life
The Fool on the Hill
Christmas Time is Here Again
The Happy Rishikesh Song
Child of Nature
Everyone Had a Hard Year
What's the New May Jane

Disc 2:
Back in the USSR
Dear Prudence
Ob-La-Di Ob-La-Da
While My Guitar Gently Weeps
Rocky Raccoon
Mother Nature's Son
Hey Jude
I Lost My Little Girl
Teddy Boy
Mama, You've Been on My Mind
For You Blue
Two of Us
Across the Universe
I Me Mine
Maggie Mae

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