Tuesday, October 19, 2010

1962, October (circa)




(above) John and Paul work on "I Saw Her Standing There" (photo: Mike McCartney)

BACKGROUND

After opportunity began knocking (about April of 1960), The Beatles became one of the hardest-working bands out there. They played every possible date, sometimes doing two or three shows on a particular day. In 1961, they performed approximately 270 days out of 365, and it’s safe to say that these amounted to over 320 shows. The year 1962 was more hectic, with close to 290 concert dates, totaling about 350 shows1.

THE TAPE HISTORY

On a particular day in the fall of 1962, the boys gathered (as it probably seemed to them they always did) at the Cavern Club in Liverpool, in order to rehearse and/or write material before their evening show. Since their schedule was too jammed for the more casual rehearsal (which had in times past been held at someone’s home), this was not an unusual occurrence. The exact date of this rehearsal is uncertain, but there are clues. First, Ringo is the drummer (his voice is heard on the tape), so it was no earlier than August 15. Second, a famous photograph taken by Paul’s brother, Mike, dated September 1962, shows John and Paul at work on “I Saw Her Standing There,” in front of them a notebook of the lyrics and chord changes2. But this rehearsal included a more-advanced version of that song, seeming to indicate that the photo came before the tape. Third, by the time the lads played Hamburg in December of 1962, “I Saw Her Standing There” was finished. Thus, the tape must date after August 15 (likely after September) but before December 16 (the last date the Beatles played the Cavern in 1962).

Allegedly, a jazz musician discovered this tape. Winn concluded that perhaps the same jazz musician recorded this Beatles' practice session, even played the Cavern that same night. Indeed, jazz bands played on the same Cavern bill as The Beatles. However, Winn limited the dates of possibility to September 23, September 30, and October 7, 1962. Several things here: (1) accepting that a jazz musician was present during the rehearsal doesn't necessarily mean that a jazz band was playing the night this tape was made. Bramwell, for example, wrote that the Cavern itself had been in times past a jazz club3, so that a jazz musician would not be an odd patron there at any time, (2) The Beatles actually played with jazz bands at the Cavern on many more dates in 1962 than permitted by Winn. The full list also includes September 2, 9, and 16, October 13, November 18 and 25, and December 9 and 164. It is therefore impossible to say whether this tape belongs to September, October, November, or even December.

My own arbitrary reason for choosing October is that the tape sounds to me like a nice autumn Sunday afternoon (warm hug).

Some sources (for example, Allen J. Wiener's The Ultimate Recording Guide) think this tape recorded in March or April of 1962, but such a claim appears to be impossible.

1 Lewisohn, The Beatles Live!

2 Coleman, Lennon (1985), p.85

3 Bramwell & Kingsland, Magical Mystery Tours, p.51

4 Miles and Badman, The Beatles: The Beatles Years

CATSWALK HISTORY

Paul wrote “Catswalk” ca. 1958-591,2. This song became one of those that Lennon and McCartney “gave away.” In 1967, The Chris Barber Band* recorded it and renamed it “Catcall” for their 45 (Marmalade 598-005), which did not chart.

* The Chris Barber Band had formerly been known as The Chris Barber Jazz Band. It's not known if any member of The Chris Barber Jazz Band recorded and/or found the 1962 rehearsal tape.

1 Davies, The Beatles, p.61

2 Lewisohn, Chronicles, p.362

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TRACKS:

“I SAW HER STANDING THERE”

ONE AFTER 909” (called “take 1”)

ONE AFTER 909” (called “take 2”)

“CATSWALK” (called “take 1”)

“CATSWALK” (called “take 2”)

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AUDIO SOURCES

Winn and Sulpy both noted the 1990 Japanese bootleg CD The Cavern Tapes Circa 1962 (details: here) as the most complete source. However, the cleanest source is the slightly-clipped Ultimate Collection, Vol. 1. Purple Chick combined these, squeezing out every sound at the best quality, for the bootleg Strong Before Our Birth.

Following is a comparison of the material from source to source:

The Cavern Tapes Circa 1962. Pending (I accept donations).

Ultimate Collection 1. Begins with Paul counting off, "1-2-3." "I Saw Her Standing There" commences. Volume drop from 1:49 until 1:52. Ends faded with Paul warbling "I saw her standing there," followed by harmonica and a stray guitar note. The first instance of "One After 909" commences, entering mid-song. Ends with a bass run. John is heard, "Got that beginning still?"*, followed by an edit, John then counting in "a-1-2-3-4." The second attempt at "One After 909" commences. Ends with a barrage. Someone momentarily scats "da-da." Paul says, "OK...k...1-2-3-4." The first performance of "Catswalk" commences. Ends normally. Paul says, "Everyone (?), try this, 1-2-3-4." Following, sounds like an edit, with someone saying a word (can't make it out), and Paul replying, "Yeah, 2-3-4." The second take for "Catswalk" commences. Ends with random guitar arpeggio.

Ultimate Collection, Vol. 1 tracks are: here.

Strong Before Our Birth. (difference to UC1 in italics) Begins with Paul counting off, "1-2-3." "I Saw Her Standing There" commences. Speed-corrected +3%. Volume drop fixed. Ends faded with Paul warbling "I saw her standing there," followed by harmonica, a stray guitar note, and about five more seconds of guitar and drums. The first instance of "One After 909" commences, entering mid-song, but one second earlier. Speed-corrected +3%. Ends with a bass run. John is heard, "Got that beginning still?"*, followed by an edit, John then counting in "a-1-2-3-4." The second attempt at "One After 909" commences. Speed-corrected -1%. Ends with a barrage. Someone momentarily scats "da-da." Paul says, "OK...k...1-2-3-4." The first performance of "Catswalk" commences. Ends normally. A moment of mumbling, or off-mike discussion. Then, sounds like an edit. Paul says, "Everyone (?), try this, 1-2-3-4." Following, sounds like an edit, with someone saying a word (can't make it out), and Paul replying, "Yeah, 2-3-4." The second take for "Catswalk" commences. Ends with random guitar arpeggio.

* It sure does sound like "Got that beginning, Stu?"

VIDEO SOURCES

None.

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RELATIVES: An entire webpage dedicated to “Catswalk,” and Chris Barber’s relationship to The Beatles, is: here.

RELATIVES: Keep up with Mike McCartney: here.

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Tom Wise
gengar843@msn.com

Although I use quotes from sources, or cited fact, much of the material on this and other pages of my blog is original, from my own pen. This is not cut-and-paste, it is a work of art. Copyright © 2010-11 Tom Wise.

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