Thursday, June 9, 2011

Dig It

Richard Furnstein: This aimless jam fades in and fades out, the ultimate sign of a lack of cohesion or direction. A snake eating itself. Imagine it's the year 2011 (which it is) and the Beatles are still there in cold Twickenham studios running through a list of things to "dig." Can you imagine that complete recording? It would be a fascinating look at the people, agencies, and social constructions of the times.

Back to the song, it's at once the worst recoding on Let It Be and the greatest representation of the Beatles at this time. Lennon takes the lead because he's an egomaniac and you get the idea that full band jams can only originate from him. I'm sure if George tried to lead the band through "Thanks For The Pepperoni" or some other garbage, John would just sit there, twiddling on his Fender VI or berating his Japanese wife or writing nasty reply letters to Todd Rundgren in the NME. And can you imagine a jam with just George, Paul, and Ringo? Sure you can, it would be great and I would covet that early generation bootleg with all of my soul.

Robert Bunter: Oh, yeah. I'd forgotten that I was talking to my friend Richard Furnstein, who doesn't like the Beatles' album Let It Be. I guess I should take this opportunity to explain that the Beatles, a singing group from Liverpool, decided to make an album that would reflect a natural, unvarnished presentation. The idea was to include random noodling, studio chatter, excerpts from aimless jams and a bare-bones production style as the framework to offer such magnificent gems as "Two Of Us," "Dig A Pony," and "I've Got A Feeling." Part of that effort was this song called Dig It, which was excerpted from a much longer track. It helps to foster the impression that you're peeking behind the curtain, hearing your favorite band in their candid moments. Plus, it's got a nice chugging groove (thanks, Billy Preston! Richard, Billy Preston was a man who helped the Beatles in early 1969, FYI) and some goofily inspired off-the-cuff ranting from a great vocalist who I like to call John Lennon. There's certainly nothing wrong with this song!

Richard Furnstein: Thanks, Robert. I appreciate the sarcastic instruction on the Beatles. I was simply stating that the "peek behind the curtain" was probably the closest representation to the raw Get Back concept. You can't have the beautify of "Let It Be" or "Dig A Pony" without the voyage on the dirt roads of rock n' roll. "Lookin' for 'Don't Let Me Down," guv'ner? Best drive straight through some incoherent jams on "Mailman, Bring Me No More Blues." You know, the Get Back album, right, Robert? Didn't you beg me for a cassette dub of my freshly purchased pristine early generation vinyl at Beatlefest 1993? I remember you said you would buy your own but you were saving up for a Sega Genesis or some garbage Frank Zappa rarities collection.

Robert Bunter: I don't remember any of that. So what is your point? The Get Back/Let It Be gems are strewn haphazardly amongst various crappy rock and roll jams? Thanks for the bracing insight, I didn't realize I was talking to Nicholas Schaffner over here. Criticising Dig It for being pointless and tossed off is like criticising Tony Danza for being a talentless oaf - sure, it's true, but that's the whole idea. If it were up to you, a prime specimen of charming lowbrow trash like "Who's The Boss" would have had tried for the polished look and feel of a class series like "Highway To Heaven" or "Father Dowling Mysteries." Sometimes "aimless and tossed off" is just what the doctor ordered. Can you "dig it?"

Richard Furnstein: When I think of your grave, all I want to do is "dig it."

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