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The Beatles - With the Beatles CD (album) cover

WITH THE BEATLES

The Beatles

 

Proto-Prog

2.90 | 429 ratings

From Progarchives.com, the ultimate progressive rock music website

bfmuller
3 stars This one is, to my taste, the best of early and more naive Beatles' records. It rock more often and harder than the previous one. This is the case of It Won't Be Long, and absolutely exciting music that catches you by the ear from the very start. Very few people won't feel the energy and vibes this song transmit.

The album follows in great fashion with the ballads All I've Got to Do and All My Loving, the first one a slower by John, the second a faster by Paul. It continues with the very first George Harrison composition, quite naive but a pretty enjoyable tune. Rumour has it that he wrote while sick in a hotel bed, that's maybe the reason of the cranky and lonely message (though in a light way, obvious). Little Child is a faster number with John's harmonica, not one of my favorites, but decent. Till There Was You is another slower ballad, with a nice hawaiian-style guitar solo.

Many more rockers follow with cover songs Please Mr. Postman (faster and harder - and better - than the better-known Carpenters version) and Chuck Berry's Roll over Beethoven, a great version sung by George. The pace is kept fast with an excellent Lennon-McCartney original, Hold Me Tight, sung by Paul, with an explicit reference to sex, long before the Stones or The Who were even composing, let alone recording. Of course it is a "light" reference ("making love to only you", says the lyrics), but still it goes to refute the idea that The Beatles were merely a naive, well-behaved band that couldn't go any further than claiming that "I Want to Hold Your Hand". (They were clever, though, and saved their more audacious songs to the records, issuing singles - the most popular vehicle for promoting music at the time - with lighter lyrics more palatable to the conservative ears and minds of early sixties Britain.)

The following is the slower soul-like You Really Got a Hold on Me, another excellent cover version sung by John. I Wanna Be Your Man, a Lennon-McCartney original sung by Ringo (and later covered by the Rolling Stones) follows. It's not a particularly good song, but has the distinction of featuring Hammond piano, I don't know if this was the first time it happened on a pop album (probably not), but still uncommon at the time.

Devil in Her Heart is a good cover song, followed by the last Lennon-McCartney original, Not a Second a Time, good tune screamed by John, and, for the sake of curiosity a typical jealous-guy theme song so particular of him. Almost every album of The Beatles would feature a John composition around the theme of jealousy. He was himself a jealous guy and admitted it latter in his solo 1971 album, Imagine, with a very well know song with that confession in the title.

The closing song doesn't work that well to me. Money was to emulate the artifice of Twist and Shout - a screaming cover song. Not quite memorable, though word has it that was quite popular in the Cavern Club times.

In sum, apart from very few weaker moments, this one does very good as an introduction and summary for The Beatles' early sound. If you were to acquire only ONE Beatles record from this early period, I would strongly recommend this one. Like we'll see later, though, I do not count Help and Rubber Soul as a part of this early sound. So you would be sparing yourself from only three records, actually.

Tough to point out highlights in such a well-balanced album, but if I was requested to do so, I would mention the first three tracks (It Won't Be Long, All I've Got to Do, All My Loving), plus Hold Me Tight and You Really Got a Hold on Me (the only cover among the highlights, what testifies for the growing maturity and sharpness of the Lennon-McCartney partnership).

A 3-star record in its own merit, only because this is a prog-rock website. In the context of rock and roll regardless of genre, or even popular music in general, this one would easily deserve 4 stars.

bfmuller | 3/5 |

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