Wednesday, September 9, 2015
MUSIC REVIEW OF THE DAY: THE BEATLES FEATURING TONY SHERIDAN - IN THE BEGINNING
This is the same old stuff that has been repackaged a dozen ways over the years, the tracks recorded in Hamburg with singer Tony Sheridan in 1961. The Beatles, then featuring Pete Best on drums, were asked to be the band for sessions involving the Elvis-style singer, a friend of theirs from the seedy clubs. The band even got to do two cuts on their own, Ain't She Sweet featuring Lennon on vocals, and the instrumental Cry For A Shadow, written by Harrison and Lennon.
Starting in 1964 after the Ed Sullivan Show explosion, these tracks were issued over and over in various combinations, and Ain't She Sweet even became a minor hit at the height of Beatlemania. This is a straight reissue of one of the best-known versions of the tracks, a 1970 album collection. The record label which by then had control of the tracks, Polydor, realized there could be significant sales if they were repackaged in a decent way, so there's a pretty good cover, and liner note reminiscing from Sheridan.
Still, there was barely an album here, just eight tracks featuring The Beatles, six of them as merely backing boys to Sheridan. Four more cuts padded out the set, credited to Sheridan and The Beat Brothers, who were merely whatever other players he used on later sessions. Sheridan was at best a bar singer, and while the band showed some spark and professionalism, there was little to indicate what would happen a couple of years later.
I guess if you're into the full history of The Beatles, you need these tracks, but I can't see them getting a lot of play, and I doubt there are any Tony Sheridan fans around, aside from some seniors in Hamburg. It's a nice job on the reissue of the original, that's about all to praise here.