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The Beatles - My Bonnie CD (album) cover

MY BONNIE

The Beatles

 

Proto-Prog

1.54 | 10 ratings

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The Anders
1 stars "My Bonnie" was the single that made Brian Epstein aware of the Beatles (a fan asked for it in Epstein's music store). One can only say that they were really lucky in this case, for if you listen to the single without knowing who is playing on it, there is really not much to get excited about. It is the sound of an average singer and a decent orchestra at best.

It was first and foremost a single by Tony Sheridan, with the Beatles playing as backing musicians (as the Beat Brothers). Unfortunately Tony Sheridan is anything but an interesting recording artist, and had it not been for him playing with the Beatles before they got famous, he would most probably be forgotten today. Tony Sheridan is by no means a bad singer; he clearly has a good voice, but his Presley-like vocal style tends to sound unnatural and annoying, perhaps because he is trying too hard to sound like somebody else - unlike for instance John Lennon who basically just sounds like... John Lennon. The Beatles themselves would sing with a personality that is lacking here. Even though I am far from being an Elvis Presley fan, I very much prefer the real thing. For the same reason, I also prefer another early recording by the Beatles from the same period, but without Tony Sheridan: "Ain't She Sweet", with Lennon on raw and unpolished vocals.

Another problem here is the choice of material. Selecting a worn out school song like "My Bonnie" is an awkward choice to begin with, but I could forgive it if they had done something interesting out of it. Unfortunately, that is not really the case: We get a slow intro, and then it turns into some very ordinary rock'n roll. And since the original song has nothing to do with rock'n roll, it becomes a bit like a gimmick or a novelty act overall. The effect somehow reminds me of some of the many 90's eurodance revamps of old hits that I had to live through in my early teenage years. "The Saints" sounds similarily uninspired, and it quickly becomes monotonous and boring.

Then there are the Beatles themselves who drag the level up to some extent. The rhythm group sounds competent enough, and George Harrison gets to show off some of his trademark guitar licks of the early Beatles period, for instance at the outro of "The Saints". Still, the band sound pretty decent overall, and I think they lack some of the energy and excitement of their later recordings. A big part of the problem lies with Pete Best: his playing style is simply too boring, and he does little more than keeping the beat. With Ringo Starr replacing him in 1962 they got a much stronger and more unique rhythmic base, and he was clearly a key element in the trademark Beatles sound we know from their proper work. Here the sound is not quite there yet. Another reason for the musical decency on the record is probably the lack of George Martin to guide the band and help them improve their arrangement.

So all in all, the single is only interesting as an important document in the history of the Beatles; not as a valueable record in its own right. As with other records, I prefer to judge it as the latter, and it is a tough decision between one and two stars.

The Anders | 1/5 |

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