Charlie Bertsch (cbertsch) wrote,
Charlie Bertsch

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I'd Buy It If I Could

"That's awful," said Kim. "How could you say that?," I replied, "This is history!"

Yes, I'm finally getting to listen to those records The Beatles made for their fanclubs every Christmas. I read about them as a child, but never imagined I'd actually get to listen to them one day.

I'm not opposed to downloading music per se, so long as you buy the music you want to listen to more than once or twice. In this case, of course, there's nothing to buy. So thank you, whoever made them available on the internet.

They're silly in the extreme, of course, but in the best Monty Python fashion. Maybe Kim would like them better if they weren't taking a time slot reserved for Christmas music. She takes it very seriously. Aside from Earth Kitt asking the red-and-white one to fill her chimney, irony is in short supply in the Nicolini-Bertsch household during Advent.

Anyway, I just went to take the CD off, figuring that the project-fixated Bean would want me to put something more sincerely festive on. But she immediately objected. "Dad, I want to hear the funny singers. Put it back on!"

So we're hearing the compilation once more. And it occurs to me the second time around that, for all the records' silliness, they actually feel a little like the vaunted Basement Tapes that Bob Dylan and the Band made up at Big Pink. The context is different in ever respect. Instead of Greil Marcus's "weird old America," The Beatles are playing off the English music-hall tradition they also referenced in Sgt. Pepper, Magical Mystery Tour, and The White Album, not to mention the radio and television humor shows of their youth. But the irreverence they demonstrate gives the recordings the liveliness that Marcus and others discern in the Basement Tapes.

Did I mention that they are also extraordinarily postmodern?

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