segunda-feira, 13 de março de 2017



Original released on LP Polydor LPHM 46612
(GERMANY 1962, January 5)

In June 1961, English rock and roll singer Tony Sheridan and the Beatles (then consisting of guitarists John Lennon, George Harrison and Paul McCartney, bassist Stuart Sutcliffe, and drummer Pete Best) were both playing in Hamburg's Top Ten Club, the two frequently performing together. German producer Bert Kaempfert visited the Top Ten and subsequently signed Sheridan and the Beatles to record some tracks to his company, Bert Kaempfert Productions. Kaempfert set a recording date for 22 June at Hamburg's Friedrich-Ebert-Halle. Engineered by Karl Hinze, the session featured Sheridan and the Beatles playing "My Bonnie", "The Saints", "Why", "Nobody's Child", and "Take Out Some Insurance On Me Baby". The Beatles performed "Ain't She Sweet" and an original instrumental, "Beatle Bop" (later titled "Cry For a Shadow"). Sutcliffe attended the session, but did not play, leaving McCartney to play bass. From these sessions, "My Bonnie"/"The Saints” was released in October 1961 as a single through Polydor Records (who had an exclusive deal with Kaempfert's company) credited to "Tony Sheridan and the Beat Brothers", as the Beatles' contract enabled the record company to use a pseudonym. The single was a moderate success, peaking at #32 in the national chart published in Der Musikmarkt, #11 in the national jukebox charts, and #4 in a local Hamburg chart. Kaempfert and Sheridan conducted another session on 21 December 1961 at Musikhalle Hamburg, without the Beatles. Ten songs were recorded at this session, which along with "My Bonnie" and "The Saints" formed the "My Bonnie" LP:

A1. My Bonnie
A2. Skinny Minnie
A3. Whole Lotta Shakin' Goin' On
A4. I Know Baby
A5. You Are My Sunshine
A6. Ready Teddy
B1. The Saints
B2. Hallelujah, I Love Her So
B3. Let's Twist Again
B4. Sweet Georgia Brown
B5. Swanee River
B6. Top Ten Twist

The German import of the single became popular in the UK. A music fan in Liverpool, named Raymond Jones, requested the single at Brian Epstein's record shop, which led to Epstein (then 27 years old) becoming interested to hear the Beatles at the Cavern Club (November 9, 1961). Shortly he’ll became the group manager. After the Beatles gained fame several songs from their sessions together were released. "Sweet Georgia Brown”/”Take Out Some Insurance On Me Baby" was released as a single in 1964. Although "Take Out Some Insurance On Me Baby" was from the June 1961 sessions, the A-side was not. Backing tracks to "Sweet Georgia Brown" and "Swanee River" were recorded by the Beatles 24 May 1962. This session was arranged by Brian Epstein and Bert Kaempfert to free the Beatles from their contract with Kaempfert and Polydor. Sheridan's vocals to "Sweet Georgia Brown", referencing the Beatles' fame, were added later. These versions of "Sweet Georgia Brown" and "Swanee River" are not the recordings featured on “My Bonnie” LP. "Ain't She Sweet"/"Nobody's Child" and "Why"/"Cry for a Shadow"" were also released as singles during 1964.


Original released on LP Polydor LPHM 46432
(GERMANY, April 1964)

"The Beatles' First" was released in in Germany by Polydor Records and was available in the UK as an import. On 4 August 1967, Polydor officially released the album in the UK, but with a different sleeve and catalogue number (236-201). All subsequent releases of the Tony Sheridan / Beatles / Beat Brothers recordings are repackages of the same tracks. The finished takes are represented in mono and stereo on two separate CDs as part of this Universal's Deluxe Edition series, packaged in a decorated, partly transparent slipcase with a booklet giving a history of the music involved. It's all very handsome and the sound is excellent, though no more impressive than the Bear Family package, and for reasons best understood by Universal has only been released in this edition in Europe. It's well produced and a bit on the expensive side as a double full-priced set, especially given that most of the American releases of this material have been mid-priced. And it's a very mixed bag musically - as with all incarnations of these recordings, to most modern listeners they're likely to be more notable as a very distant prelude to what the Beatles would become than as diverting entertainment. The brand of rock & roll represented here is closer to what influenced the Beatles than it is to what they came to generate themselves once they'd found their voice.

That said, as examples of early-'60s rock & roll as it was understood in Germany (and Liverpool), this is a good set, and it does contain some hints of what the Beatles would become - some of the singing behind Sheridan and some of the lead guitar and bass work prefigure the better work that George Martin would coax from them starting a year or so after most of these sides were cut. On top of that, it happens that Tony Sheridan could really rock out as a singer and guitarist, and these sides all make for fun listening, with a few even downright diverting - "Ya Ya" is a great cut, period, regardless of whether any of the Beatles are on it. The booklet includes a lengthy and sometimes interesting essay that - as an English translation of a German original - is sometimes a bit awkward to read. Featuring the mono version of the album, disc two is preferable for the richer, almost larger-than-life bass and rhythm section, although the stereo disc allows one to pick out the details of individual instrument parts with much greater ease. The material at hand has been treated far worse over the years, and it clearly deserves this sort of packaging - and for those who are fans of the band, the music, and/or the period, this is a good place to stop, if one doesn't already own one of the Bear Family releases of the same material. 

1 comentário:

Anónimo disse...

Thank you, Mr. Rato, for this piece of History.
Great sound indeed! And I prefer the mono sound: what a punch!

Jim McKay

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