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maslar

The Beatles, Stax And A Ric-Tic Question

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Fairly big news in Beatles circles surfaced this week with the auctioning of a letter written by George Harrison to Atlanta radio DJ Paul Drew. The letter confirms what was a previously a strong rumour - that the Beatles had planned or seriously considered  recording at least some of the tracks that went on Revolver  at Stax in Memphis instead of Abbey Road.

 

http://www.udiscovermusic.com/beatles-nearly-made-revolver-with-staxs-jim-stewart

 

 

In the letter (dated May 7 1966) GH thanks Paul Drew for the records he sent and says he "digs" the Edwin Starr ones who he hasn't heard much about. He then asks if ES has made an LP.  Coincidentally this happened at exactly the same week that Edwin Starr's first UK release on Polydor was issued.

 

My question is, given that GH received  Ric-Tic copies - maybe even demos since they were from a prominent radio DJ - how many Ric-Tic records were in circulation in the UK. I don't mean an exact number, rather were they obtainable at that time (early 1966) as imports. I know that Alex Harvey had already recorded his version of Agent 00 Soul in 1965  so obviously the whole Ric-Tic output was known to some degree.

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Sorry can't answer the Ric-Tic question but what a great letter. The 60s were my teenage years so the Beatles were and still are massive for me. And I love these little intimate details. John and Ringo picking him upon the way to the studio. Priceless. :) I wonder if GH took these records with him to Friar Park. If so every chance they are still there as Olivia (2nd wife) still lives there. 

MB

P.S. I am guessing that Alf in the letter is Alf Bicknell, Mark's Dad. Hopefully Mark will see this thread and can comment.

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Sorry can't answer the Ric-Tic question but what a great letter. The 60s were my teenage years so the Beatles were and still are massive for me. And I love these little intimate details. John and Ringo picking him upon the way to the studio. Priceless. :) I wonder if GH took these records with him to Friar Park. If so every chance they are still there as Olivia (2nd wife) still lives there. 

MB

P.S. I am guessing that Alf in the letter is Alf Bicknell, Mark's Dad. Hopefully Mark will see this thread and can comment.

 

Yes  I agree with everything you say. Seems  kind of strange that George may have been one of  the first people in the UK to own (in theory at least ) a Ric-Tic demo (or demos). Even if they were standard issues maybe he had the beginning of a small collection/label run. 

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George was a big soul fan and when on Ready Steady Go went out of his way to thank Dave Godin for his promotion of soul music in the UK. They were big chums with Doris Troy of course and signed her to their Apple label

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If they had recorded at Stax, I wonder what their engineers would have made of Lennon asking them to record the guitar solos backwards on I'm Only Sleeping and Tomorrow Never Knows which involves flipping the 2" multitrack tape over on the tape machine, an unheard of request outside Abbey Road at that time, in pop music. Might not have happened which would have been a huge shame. On the other hand, they would have probably got a better drum sound. 

Edited by autumnstoned

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George was a big soul fan and when on Ready Steady Go went out of his way to thank Dave Godin for his promotion of soul music in the UK. They were big chums with Doris Troy of course and signed her to their Apple label

 

Interesting. I didn't know George was such a soul music devotee. I wonder when they bumped into Doris Troy then? I often wondered where the Doris Troy/Billy Preston connections were made........

 

Ian D  :D 

Edited by Ian Dewhirst

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George was a big soul fan and when on Ready Steady Go went out of his way to thank Dave Godin for his promotion of soul music in the UK. They were big chums with Doris Troy of course and signed her to their Apple label

 

Yup  all the Beatles were big R&B/soul fans.  On the first US tour I think it was Paul who, when asked, gave the Four Tops' Baby I Need Your Loving as his favourite record of the moment, probably before most of the American audience had even heard of the Tops. 

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If they had recorded at Stax, I wonder what their engineers would have made of Lennon asking them to record the guitar solos backwards on I'm Only Sleeping and Tomorrow Never Knows which involves flipping the 2" multitrack tape over on the tape machine, an unheard of request outside Abbey Road at that time, in pop music. Might not have happened which would have been a huge shame. On the other hand, they would have probably got a better drum sound. 

 

I don't think they would have recorded the whole album  there. I think a couple of weeks was looked into so probably two or three tracks. I'm guessing Got To Get You Into My Life would be prime candidate.

Edited by maslar

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Yup  all the Beatles were big R&B/soul fans.  On the first US tour I think it was Paul who, when asked, gave the Four Tops' Baby I Need Your Loving as his favourite record of the moment, probably before most of the American audience had even heard of the Tops. 

 

Didn't Lennon once put The Dells Wear It On Our Face in his all time top ten.

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I don't think they would have recorded the whole album  there. I think a couple of weeks was looked into so probably two or three tracks. I'm guessing Got To Get You Into My Life would be prime candidate.

 

Who knows? Idle musings on my part really whilst sat on the sofa in my pyjamas waiting for my Levis to dry on the washing line. :) 

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Didn't Lennon once put The Dells Wear It On Our Face in his all time top ten.

 

I know he was obsessed with Sittin On The Dock Of The Bay when it came out, playing it over and over,

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According to Wikipedia John Lennon had Agent Double-O Soul on his 1965 KB Discomatic portable record player.

Presumably at that date it would have to have been on Ric-Tic?

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/John_Lennon%27s_jukebox

So how would he have got hold of that?

Well, The Beatles toured America until 66. 'Double O Soul' was a US hit in 65. And as wealthy American nusic fanatics, i am sure they would have found ways of keeping up with and getting hold of the latest US sounds. But given their Beatles' prominence and influence in the music industry at the time,I would imagine they got sent / given all kinds of releases from artists and label owners trying to catch a break. In this case, especially so when you think about the fact that their early material included a lot of covers of US records and by 65 people didn't have a clue about the direction that their music would take. It was probably just assumed they'd continue doing some covers. So I am sure they were sent songs in the hope that they would record them.

Btw...their early covers are sonetimes cited as evidence of the 'sailors bringing back records from America via Liverpool docks' theory. But i think i read, or worked out, that all of those had come out on UK before The Beatles recorded them. Can anyone confirm? I used to find quite a bit of UK label early soul around Liverpool and i always assumed these records had found their way there on account of the Mersey Beat boom.

Oh also just remembered, Brian Epstein ran a record shop which used to have a service where customers could order imports. I believe he claimed they could get you any record released anywhere in the world (I am perfecting my time machine if anyone wants to put in an order)..Supposedly, this is how The Beatles came to his attention in the first place as fans of their live act were coming in to try to get that one they did in Germany with Tony Sheridan.

Edited by son of stan

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My question is, given that GH received  Ric-Tic copies - maybe even demos since they were from a prominent radio DJ - how many Ric-Tic records were in circulation in the UK. I don't mean an exact number, rather were they obtainable at that time (early 1966) as imports. I know that Alex Harvey had already recorded his version of Agent 00 Soul in 1965  so obviously the whole Ric-Tic output was known to some degree.

 

Didn't think it was legal for imports prior to 67/8 however, US records were brought in by the US forces at their bases and also a few did creep in via the ports, hence the North-South divide, Beatles,Stones, etc, who were all recoding cover versions of US records.

Due to this embargo what happened was the UK labels (both Majors and Independents) then pressed up records leased from the USA in the UK due to demand from UK punters (perhaps the start of NS as we know it) a practice that continued into the 70's and beyond.

It had been done beforehand by labels such as London, but not necessarily due to demand (although a good many soul records were released on London).

Interestingly enough JJ Barnes did cover versions of Beatles tracks, Day Tripper for example (good version too imo) which was released on Ric-Tic and Polydor

 

Doesn't answer question I know but may clarify in some way.

 

R E Gards

Edited by theothertosspot

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Interestingly though despite the Beatles acknowledging Dave Godins championing of soul music , Dave himself didn't speak that highly of them and frequently mentioned their pillaging of the soul catalogue. It was one of his pet gripes. Also just to add he was still very close to Doris Troy in the later 60's, even gave me several pieces of signed memorabilia of Doris, along with other UK based Soul artists.

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Interestingly though despite the Beatles acknowledging Dave Godins championing of soul music , Dave himself didn't speak that highly of them and frequently mentioned their pillaging of the soul catalogue. It was one of his pet gripes. Also just to add he was still very close to Doris Troy in the later 60's, even gave me several pieces of signed memorabilia of Doris, along with other UK based Soul artists.

True but he reserved most of his vitriol for the Moody Blues great version of Go Now, so different from Bessie Banks they could have been different compositions; but weren't of course

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Well, The Beatles toured America until 66. 'Double O Soul' was a US hit in 65. And as wealthy American nusic fanatics, i am sure they would have found ways of keeping up with and getting hold of the latest US sounds. But given their Beatles' prominence and influence in the music industry at the time,I would imagine they got sent / given all kinds of releases from artists and label owners trying to catch a break. In this case, especially so when you think about the fact that their early material included a lot of covers of US records and by 65 people didn't have a clue about the direction that their music would take. It was probably just assumed they'd continue doing some covers. So I am sure they were sent songs in the hope that they would record them.

Btw...their early covers are sonetimes cited as evidence of the 'sailors bringing back records from America via Liverpool docks' theory. But i think i read, or worked out, that all of those had come out on UK before The Beatles recorded them. Can anyone confirm? I used to find quite a bit of UK label early soul around Liverpool and i always assumed these records had found their way there on account of the Mersey Beat boom.

Oh also just remembered, Brian Epstein ran a record shop which used to have a service where customers could order imports. I believe he claimed they could get you any record released anywhere in the world (I am perfecting my time machine if anyone wants to put in an order)..Supposedly, this is how The Beatles came to his attention in the first place as fans of their live act were coming in to try to get that one they did in Germany with Tony Sheridan.

I doubt he claimed that, it would have been impossible then. I think all the covers they did came out on uk labels and Epstein used to order one of everything or summat like that

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The first Beatles album features cover versions of Motown songs, Please Mr Postman, You really got a hold on me, Money. Twist and Shout was a favourite live song when they were in Hamburg. John Lennon once took a copy of Stop in the name of love to Brian Epstein played him the intro and asked "why don't  we don't sound that good". They also specifically asked for Mary Wells to support them on an early UK tour. Those boys had taste! All recorded Motown songs had already had UK release.

Edited by ulyssees

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