Friday, August 28, 2009
VINYL DESTINATION 5: Revolver
I've heard John Lennon's own voice on "Anthology" stating that the live work done by the Beatles in their Cavern Club days in Liverpool and on the nightclub circuit in Hamburg, Germany was their best work, and sadly, was never recorded. Judging from the end result of the 1966 offering, "Revolver", I am apt to say, "That must have been some good shit."
Because "Revolver" is the bomb.
"Revolver" is in essence, the epitome of the transition album. Still carrying the sweet melodies and almost naivete of their early "bubble gum" work,("Good Day Sunshine", "I want to tell you", "Got to get you into my life"), it also injects a bit of angry cynicism with "Taxman", "She Said, She Said", and "Dr. Robert". Most importantly, the drug-related psychedelia which would be their forte during the last several Beatle records makes it's rookie appearances here with "Yellow Submarine" and "Tomorrow Never Knows".
Beside the obvious variety in the stylistic nature here, because it's apparent that there is something for every Beatles fan on this platter, is the eclectic nature of the lead vocals. Strong harmonies obviously not withstanding, George Harrison does lead vocal work on my favorite Fab4 track of all, "Taxman" and "I want to Tell You", Ringo Starr on "Yellow Submarine".
"Revolver" is straight up one of the best rock records ever recorded, and is the band, at least in my opinion, at the apex of their abilities as musicians and songwriters. This is because they were right in the maelstrom of what they were capable of doing, both in their past and what would be down the road.
I hold this record near and dear, because my on-air handle in my earliest broadcasting days was "Dr. Robert". Because it has "Taxman" and "Tomorrow Never Knows". Because, even though I'm not fully sure of what "she" is talking about on "She Said, She Said", Lennon and McCartney's harmonies evoke a melancholy but not unpleasant vibe.
And "Eleanor Rigby". Damn.
"Sgt. Pepper", "Rubber Soul", "The White Album" etc. etc., great records all, but for me "Revolver" is the Beatles in their absolute prime, and at the top of their game.