Friday, 23 July 2010

The Smokin' Mojo Filters 'Come Together'

Chart Peak: 19


Since the last two tracks we had here were Paul Weller and a Beatles cover, it seems only fitting to wrap up the first disc with a Beatles cover fronted by Paul Weller. Indeed this is a return to the War Child project which makes this seem almost like a summary of the forgoing side of the album (ignoring the Sacred Spirit track, anyway). And credit where it's due to Noel Gallagher, who pulled a double shift on the Help album, recording an exclusive Oasis track and then working on this in the same day.

The full line-up as given in the single sleeve was:
Paul Weller lead vocal & guitar
Paul McCartney guitar/piano backing vocals
Noel Gallagher guitar
Steve White drums
Carleen Anderson backing vocals
Steve Craddock {sic} guitar
- oddly, no bass player is mentioned, but then Ocean Colour Scene member Damon Minchella is briefly seen in the video and as he was also part of Weller's band at the time, it must surely have been him. Presumably, had McCartney played the bass he'd have reprised the same part he did on the original.

As I said in yesterday's post, it isn't really adviseable to try and cover a Beatles song in exactly the style of the original, and this group seem to have taken that to heart; unfortunately they seem to have been more focussed on not duplicating the existing version than on any fresh interpretation. Of course since one of them actually was a Beatle and the others were huge fans, that's not exactly surprising: also one imagines they wouldn't have had a lot of time together to work this out. Weller's gruff vocal is very different from John Lennon's creepily measured delivery on the Beatles record, and despite the large number of players, the backing track has a rough-and-ready sort of energy which is closer to Lennon's live performance of the song than the original (bag) production.

As a tie-in of all those talented people it's arguably a little underwhelming, but at the same time it remains a solid performance of a classic song and it does the job OK as a charity record; unlike some collective covers, at least you can tell they all like the song. Whether because of the more upbeat style, or the fame of the people involved, or just because it was marketed as a single rather than the confusing multi-artist EP format, this became the more popular of the two singles from this album, reaching the Top 20 just before Christmas (and in fact after Now 32 was released, which might have held down sales even more). In fact it's the only time this song has officially been a hit in its own right, since the Beatles and Michael Jackson both released it as part of a double A-side. Weller himself released another version (very similar to this apart from the absence of McCartney's keyboard and backing vocal parts) as one side of a limited-edition charity single in 2005.
As is my usual practice with charity records, I supply a link to make a donation and I've also linked below to War Child's download store, which is where I usually buy my downloads anyway. As I predicted in the Radiohead post, I have indeed bought another copy of the Help album myself.

And so ends what might be my favourite ever first disc of a Now album. Let's see next week whether Disc 2 can keep up the standard.

Available on: Help (also available direct).

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