Thursday, March 28, 2013

"From Me To You" From Us To The World

We recently heard about a project  called Beatles Global Relay.  According to the email we received from Jo Gamble of Creative Concern, "This will be the first time the world's talented Beatles tribute acts have joined forces to make a single tribute spanning the continents!"

The project celebrates the anniversary of the release of "From Me To You" by inviting bands from all over the world to submit their own versions of the song, which will be used to create a composite video.

It was fascinating, but we had no way of knowing whether any effort recording the song and making a video would result in our being included in the global compilation video. Still, our fearless leader Dennis saw the opportunity, and found that we already had some good footage of us playing the song from a couple of concerts over the last couple of years.

What we needed to do was to make a quality audio recording of the song, to go with the video. To make sure our performance would match, David did his usual high-tech Sherlock Holmes work by assigning a tempo click to our stage version, which was pretty consistent, but not exact. 

In our study of Beatles songs, aided by David's relentless search for the musical truth, we've found that their tempos would fluctuate. Not a lot, but enough to reveal that they were human, and got their groove by playing together. It never sounds wrong, because they worked so well as a unit. I suspect that's part of their magic, and what made them so irresistible. 

We had to squeeze various commitments out of small increments of available time, but we put it together over a week or so, in successive parts. 

We did vocals at Dennis's studio. David and I harmonized the double lead, and in studying the record again, discovered a few more notes we weren't doing correctly. Nathan played McCartney's bass part on his Hofner, and Dennis put his chromatic harmonica to work. For guitars, I attempted to duplicate John's driving rhythm on my Epiphone, and some of George's lead parts.

Beatles songs hold up really well. This particular one is less than two minutes long. (The time is 1:58) It has a solo, lots of harmony, some relatively sophisticated chords, and plenty of energy. It's pure Beatles, a great example of their early period magic.

After our tracks were recorded, we polished it off with our favorite mixing engineer, Gary Dales. It turned out to be Gary working in Dennis's studio without Dennis there, because the deadline was approaching, and Dennis was already committed to being in Florida this week.

Here's how it sounds with Gary's magic applied.
for audio)

The video is basically two different live versions combined. One was at the Alhambra Theater in Hopkinsville KY, and the other was at the Renaissance Center in Dickson TN. The Kentucky concert was shot by a videographer, so there are several good camera angles. The Renaissance concert includes a few audience shots, which may be from some other song, but it's still people listening to us, and having a good time. 

Our old friend Vince Pinkerton, who also did our "Paul" and "Betty" videos, put the video together for us. It opens with a shot of us sitting on the steps in Dennis's house, greeting the camera - which was held by Dennis's son Ryan. 

Click here to see the video, although this version doesn't contain the finished audio.

If all goes well, we'll be included in a global tribute to the song. The date the final film will be released is April 11, the 50th anniversary of the release of the original record.

It's great to be part of the excitement. Congratulations to all the other bands, and Liverpool, and everyone who's been affected by the Beatles' music around the world.

Bloggin' Bryan 28 March 2013

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