Sunday, 9 October 2011

Re-imagining The Beatles #1 - Pot Liquor

One of the marks of a great song is its ability to stand up to re-interpretation by other artists and in some cases to scale new heights in their hands. Don't shoot me for suggesting that Badfinger's Without You is a mediocre performance of a superb song which only revealed its true beauty when Harry Nilsson made it his own. Pete Ham admitted that Nilsson's rendition of his song was "the way we wanted to do it, but never had the nerve." The Beatles' With A little Help From My Friends suffers, some might say, from Ringo Starr's naive, tonally-challenged vocal, which manages to disguise the quality of the composition. Thank God that Joe Cocker was able to recognise the song's potential and gave the world one of the greatest Beatles covers to date. To call it a cover doesn't perhaps do it justice as Cocker's reinvention of the song launches it into the stratosphere. The fact that such a great song was handed to Ringo to sing on Sergeant Pepper attests to the embarassment of songwriting riches in the Beatles camp.

I seem to recall reading somewhere that Yesterday is the most covered song of all time, with versions ranging from instrumental Tijuana Brass-style interpretations to reworkings by Elvis, Dylan, Sinatra and beyond. In recognition of the wealth of Fab Four covers that exist, today sees the first in an ongoing series of posts featuring unusual, surprising, and downright wonderful re-workings of Beatles songs. It's up to you to decide which category they fall into.

Here's Louisiana band Pot Liquor's interpretation of Lady Madonna. To my ears, their version invests the song with a Little Feat / The Band vibe. There's blues and hard rock influences aplenty on this LP, but there's also a heavy dose of what would now be termed Americana. See what you make of their take on The Beatles classic.

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