Funky16Corners Radio v.30 – Rubber Souled Pt3
Overton Berry Trio – Hey Jude (Jaro)
Freddy McCoy – Hey Jude (Cobblestone)
Jimmy Caravan – Hey Jude (Vault)
Clarence Wheeler & the Enforcers – Hey Jude (Atlantic)
Fabulous Counts – Hey Jude (Cotillion)
Wilson Pickett – Hey Jude (Atlantic)
Greetings all (a day early).
I’m not sure what it is, whether I’m work-fried, life-tired or what, but I decided to jump the gun by a day and whip the last installment of Rubber Souled on you all ahead of time.
A cursory look at the tracklist ought to clue you in that this edition of Funky16Corners Radio is a little different.
Sure, I’ve done a ton of “theme” mixes, but this is the first time that the content of any of them has been limited to different versions of a single tune.
It goes like this…
Back about a month ago, when I started rolling the idea of a Beatles covers podcast around inside my fevered brain, I had no idea it would grow not into two, but three separate mixes. When I started to pick through my crates (and boxes and shelves and piles and stacks) and pulling out Beatles covers (ones that I was already aware of and some that I was just becoming aware of) I was keeping a mental inventory and discovering that I had a surplus of ‘Hey Judes’, all of which were very cool.
I decided that it might be cool to end the series with a mix composed of nothing but versions of ‘Hey Jude’ (perverse, and probably not for everyone, but I dug it).
As I made a brief reference to a couple of weeks ago in the Dennis Coffey post, when I was a kid, the Beatles’ ‘Hey Jude’ was a big favorite of mine (and certainly millions of others). The neighbor kid and I would play the record over, and over again, digging into the seemingly endless chorus of NANANANA’s at the end of the song like a couple of termites.
Oddly enough, a few years later, when I really started to get into the Beatles I found myself avoiding ‘Hey Jude’ (thought the US singles compendium ‘Hey Jude’ was the second record I ever bought with my own money) and working my way through the lesser known (to me) corners of their catalog.
I got to the point – sometime in my mid-teens – where I had pretty much completely absorbed the Beatles music, to the point where many years later, upon the advent of CD reissues, I didn’t really make an effort to replace my long gone LPs. This may have had something to do with Capitol/EMIs policy of grossly overpricing their CDs, but I bought a lot of overpriced CD imports at the time, so who knows.
Anyway…when I started working on ‘Rubber Souled Pt3’, I discovered that even though the six artists included in this mix were all ostensibly recording the same song, they were all working it in different ways.
Things get started with a deeply spiritual (and groovy) version of ‘Hey Jude’ by the Overton Berry Trio. Pianist Overton Berry was something of a journeyman musician, working in and around Seattle, as well as taking his trio on USO tours of Vietnam. This take on ‘Hey Jude’, recorded in 1970 at the Doubletree Inn in Seattle is a soulful epic, highlighting the funky bass of Bill Kotick. Berry manages to take the Beatles classic and locks it into a deep, deep groove. This was recently reissued on the comp ‘Wheedles Groove’.
Next up is a slice of good vibes (pun intended) by Mr. Freddy McCoy. McCoy and his band take ‘Hey Jude’ in some mellow directions (even singing along behind Freddy’s vibes) until the end, where they cut loose for a jazzy little freakout.
We take the tempo up a notch with a ‘Hey Jude’ by San Francisco organist Jimmy Caravan. Caravan – who’s cover picture suggests an uncanny resemblance to mid-90’s Elton John – recorded two LPs in 1968 and 1969, the first (‘Look Into the Flower’) for Tower, and the second ‘Hey Jude’ for Vault. Both LPs contain a variety of contemporary covers, but if you happen upon a copy of ‘Hey Jude’ grab it as it contains some certifiably funky Hammond action.
Speaking of funky Hammond, we bring you Clarence Wheeler and the Enforcers. Featuring organist Sonny Burke on both of their Atlantic LPs (‘Hey Jude’ appeared on 1970’s ‘Doin’ What We Wanna’), the band, led by saxman Wheeler took the organ heavy soul jazz sound of the 60’s in some new directions. This is the 45 edit of ‘Hey Jude’, which also features some cool, echoey trumpet.
Moving on to a point where the jazz is toned down and the funk turned up, is the mighty Fabulous Counts. The Fab’s version of ‘Hey Jude’ appeared as a track (one of the few not to have also appeared on a Moira 45) on their sole Cotillion LP. Featuring organist Mose Davis and saxmen Jim White and Demo Cates (tenor and alto respectively) the Counts tear into ‘Hey Jude’ with a vengeance. If you aren’t already hip to the Fabulous Counts, their consistently excellent 45s aren’t too hard to come by, and their LP has been reissued.
This edition of Funky16Corners Radio closes out with a version that I feel is the ultimate soul version of a Beatles tune, that being ‘Hey Jude’ by the mighty, mighty Wilson Pickett. Recorded in 1968 in Muscle Shoals, with no less a sideman than Duane Allman (yes, that Duane Allman) on guitar, Pickett and the Fame rhythm section kick the tempo up a soulful notch or two. Pickett’s vocal is (typically) amazing, and his version was a Top 40 hit in the winter of 1968/69. Note the horn chart in the NANANANA section, which was quoted by the Fabulous Counts in their version.
Anyway, I hope you dig this mix, and that you’ve enjoyed the whole ‘Rubber Souled’ thang here at Funky16Corners.
We’ll be back next week with some more excellent funk and soul for your aural delectation.
Enjoy what promises to be an ungodly hot and humid weekend, and I’ll see you all on Monday.
PS The first person to e-mail me the correct identity of all of the artists in the clips at the beginning of the mix wins a prize (not sure what yet..)