Last Saturday, April 23, I went to see George Bedard and the Kingpins perform at a local blues club. I hadn’t seen them for a couple of years, and it was great to get reacquainted with all of the guys, George Bedard, Rich Dishman, and Randy Tessier, especially after their triumphant opening act engagement for Jeff Beck!
If you are unfamiliar with The Kingpins, you need to bring yourself up to date. They do a superb job of mixing many musical styles including blues, rockabilly, swing, jazz, R&B, country, surf, and indie rock-and I’m sure I’m forgetting a couple! They select a few well chosen oldies to go with the originals that they’ve carefully placed on each of their three albums. Most of the time, unless you are familiar with the song yourself, you won’t be able to tell the difference between the originals and the covers! In my book, that is one of the highest compliments I can give them!
And guess what? They’re getting ready to release a new album within the next couple of months. So far, each of their CDs has had a couple of instrumentals – music that is much underappreciated these days. The new one is going to be 100% vocal-free, which will give everyone the chance to hear their impressive musical skills within the team framework that has always worked for them. I mean, come on. There are only three of them! When I find out what the name of the new album is, I’ll let you know!
I have been an avid listener to Beatle Brunch hosted by Joe Johnson for almost as many years as it has been on radio. Today’s show featured highlights from the recent annual Beatles Tribute Cruise-which the show promotes. When Joe was interviewing a member of Yesterday, a Beatles tribute band (sorry, I didn’t get his name), about his favorite Beatles song, he pulled out this gem: “Hold Me Tight” from “With the Beatles” (or “Meet the Beatles” if you’re still old school American). Now that is a great, often unrecognized, song – and a favorite of mine, too! It is one of the hard driving rockers on that album and features some great “Wipe Out” style drumming by Ringo Starr during the “middle 8.” The drumming is down in the mix so it’s not really obvious – but that makes it even greater! The Beatles did so many little things within their songs that you have to actively listen for, because most of the time, the listener is only catching the “surface.”
The reason for talking about this song is because it triggered a memory about it from an introduction interview conducted by Beatles archivist, Mark Lewisohn, for his book The Complete Beatles Recording Sessions: The Official Story of the Abbey Road Years, 1962-1970, with Sir Paul McCartney. The song, since it was sung by Paul, had to be written by Paul. The astonishing thing to me is that when he asked him about it, he had no recollection of the song whatsoever! The Beatles did at least 29 takes of “Hold Me Tight” because the final result was a mixture of takes 28 and 29.
You often hear that a musician thinks of their songs as being their “children” because they created them. Paul, you can’t remember one of your “children!!??” Oh well, he’s given us so many other great ones that I guess he can be forgiven for not remembering such a great song, that he must have considered a “throwaway!”
Until next time, take care of yourself, and take care of each other!