Monday, September 29, 2008

A Slight Deviation

Only several posts in, the blog is already trending toward a formulaic approach - song description, then youtube clip. In an effort to prevent this from deeply taking root, I'm not going to post the youtube video of the Cookies' version of "Chains" quite yet. A change of pace is needed. Here is Allmusic's (formerly All Music Guide) lengthy review of "Chains", which considers each interpretation but with an emphasis on the Cookies'. It's both thorough and informed. I was particularly keen on its technical discussion of the handclap patterns that the Cookies deployed to such sugary effect. Handclaps can really do wonders for a song's texture. But I slightly disagree with its more positive take on the Beatles' version. In my view, it's a bit of a snoozer, though a pleasant one. And I'd argue that there's not even a marginal disparity in tone between the two. The reviewer for Allmusic, Richie Unterberger, describes the Beatles' one as having "a little more of a serious, committed (though still upbeat) air." I honestly can't detect a sliver of seriousness in either. But it's unbecoming to nitpick a quality review like this. I appreciate when a sizable chunk of words is devoted to evaluating and, in a way, celebrating a fairly obscure (even if the Beatles did cover it) pop tune.

Also, in going over the Cookies' discography, I noticed a gem of a title for one of their releases. It's an import compilation sassily entitled Don't Say Nothing Bad About the Cookies. Super boss. It's also worth noting that the Cookies changed their name to the Raelettes in the mid 50s when they became the backup band for Ray Charles. But, lest I forget, this is a blog about the Beatles. I absolutely adore John Lennon (that is, some of the time I do).

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