Friday, September 14, 2012

I Am The Walrus: Part 1-A Dead Dog's Eye

Robert Bunter: I think this was the first time the terrifying monsters of John Lennon’s subconscious mind really bared their fangs. The unsettling scribbles and wordplay of his books (In His Own Write and A Spaniard In the Works) gave some clues, but back in 1964 and 1965, these could still be reassuringly dismissed as naughty schoolboy doodles. “Tomorrow Never Knows” delivered a frightening psychedelic shock to the senses, but ultimately guided the disoriented listener to a state of blissful, crackling rapture with benign homilies like “Love is all and love is everyone.” Of course, “Strawberry Fields Forever” (and the supremely creepy video clip which accompanied it) was no picnic, either, but the primary emotions evoked there were Lennon’s melancholy and confusion. “Being For The Benefit Of Mr. Kite” was menacing and the orchestra swells of “A Day In The Life” were nightmarish in their own way, but the impact was still blunted by the colorful fairground atmosphere that suffused the Sgt. Pepper album. OK, that’s a lot of examples, but they’re all offered in the service of my original point: “I Am The Walrus” lets the snarling bad acid trip hallucinations completely off the leash, with seemingly no greater purpose but to leave the listener’s mind puddled on the floor like curdled milk, spilled violently from a blood-red dairy saucer while The Thing With No Face cackles dementedly behind the moldy lace curtain of sanity.

Richard Furnstein: Lennon declared "No one I think is in my tree/I mean it must be high or low" in the earlier mind-horror template "Strawberry Fields Forever." It may be the single greatest lyric in Lennon's portfolio as it highlights the duality of genius and madness. "Strawberry Fields Forever" stands firmly on the grounds of genius; it's a slightly fractured version of the gentle introspective side of Lennon (exhibited in "In My Life" and "Nowhere Man"). The vision becomes a bit cloudier once the acid kicks in: the ego collapses, the eyes pinwheel, and the pixelated black-and-white stock images of post-war England are filled with blinding primary colors. "I Am The Walrus" is the nightmare. Lennon traveled into his mind with a true heart and a steady hand ("You know I know when it's a dream") but the passages within dreams can lead you further into the darkness. There is a horrifying sense of lost ego in "I Am The Walrus." The song's refrain ("I am the eggman/They are the eggmen/I am the walrus") isn't a simple playful masquerade. Lennon's deception isn't a mischievous redirection of Dorothy on the Yellow Brick Road. His goal is not to deceive, he simply has completely lost his sense of identity ("I am he as you are he as you are me and we are all together."). Which part of us is me? Is that the superego or the id lurking behind the mask? Is that the holy ghost or an evil spirit? There is a lost soul behind this song. Remember, there was never a guarantee that Dorothy would make it back home. "I Am The Walrus" suggests a mass of technicolor flesh lying shivering and broken on the ground after a failed leap of faith.

Remember, there was never a guarantee that Dorothy would make it back home. "I Am The Walrus" suggests a mass of technicolor flesh lying shivering and broken on the ground after a failed leap of faith.
Robert Bunter: Lennon initially conceived “Walrus” as a mocking retort to the obsessive fans who read too much into his lyrics (he’d subsequently attempt the same thing with “Glass Onion”). Supposedly he’d been reading his fan mail with boyhood chum Pete Shotton when he found a letter from a student at his Quarrybank alma mater. The young fan told John about how his teacher was explaining the hidden meaning of Beatles lyrics. According to legend, John scribbled down a bit of half-remembered gross-out boyhood doggerel called “Dead Dog’s Eye” (presumably the Liverpool equivalent of “Great Green Gobs Of Greasy Grimy Gopher Guts”) and gleefully declared, “Let the f___ers work that one out, Pete!” Maybe John was trying to vomit out a stream of nonsense in order to confuse the Beatleologists, but that’s not what ended up happening. The seemingly meaningless lyrics provide a window into his terrifying mental world. Bits and pieces of Lewis Carroll (the walrus), James Joyce (the eggman), Shakespeare (the King Lear dialogue segments at the fade) and Allen Ginsberg (the “elementary penguin singing Hare Krishna”) mix with fleeting visions of pigs, nuns, laughing joker clowns and improbable suntans. Non-words like “texpert” and “snied” contribute to the air of non-Euclidean unreality. In spite of himself, Lennon shows us his nightmare mindscape with such obscure clarity that we can all relate to it. I, you and we are all scared of “I Am The Walrus.” It’s the same instinct toward universal emotional connections that allowed John to touch our collective heart with “In My Life,” open our minds with “Tomorrow Never Knows” and weep for our sad, lost world on “A Day In The Life.”

Richard Furnstein: One thing that always intrigued me about "Walrus" is that it seemed to tap into hidden sinister vibes of the psychedelic age. The collage elements of the recording blend the shadows and vibrant colorscape of Jack Kirby's Silver Surfer artwork. The sleazy references ("pornographic priestess," "knickers down") touch on the increased commoditization of sex (particularly kink) in the 1960s, a theme Lennon would later pursue with the deviant characters that peppered "Happiness Is A Warm Gun" and "Polythene Pam." The Hare Krishna reference also seems plucked from the collective mind. The recording is the aural equivalent of a pornographic magazine left out in the rain, festering with mildew and tiny beetles. The adverts for antiquated sexual aides blending with the supple and soggy figures and confusing adult-oriented cartoons.

It's a testament to the song's unique imagery and production touches (surely George Martin's finest moment, especially the perfect arrangement) that we've only really touched on the mood of "I Am The Walrus." The song itself is unlike any other in pop music. It's like The Beatles went into the jungle and found an exotic animal that had never been seen before by human eyes. Then they had the nerve to stick it on a b-side! Holy My. I know I've said it before, but how did they do it?

Robert Bunter: You’re right, that’s a whole other can of worms. I could spend another four or five paragraphs just going deep into the implications of that moldy magazine and a fantasy sequences about the “Lennon/Shotton opening the fan mail at John’s house” scenario complete with hypotheses about what they were wearing and what the letter opener looked like. Let’s call this a wrap for today and take it further with a “Walrus, Pt. 2” installment next week. Are you still planning to stop by tomorrow to check out that “Take It Away” 12-inch single I just got from eBay? We’ve got pret-zels [tempting sing-song voice]!

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Love Me Do

Richard Furnstein: Oof. Open a window. I'm sorry but the stench of this one really lingers. I guess we have to cover it, though. Alright: "Love Me Do" is The Beatles' first single, so I guess that counts for something. The problem is that it's just not very good. I find it hard to imagine that "Love Me Do" was really their first huge step in becoming the superpower of the century as it offers very few hints as to the genius, majesty, prose, and social commentary of The Beatles' best work. Is there any greater leap than from the lifeless thud of "Love Me Do" to the cosmic awakenings of Revolver in less than four years? First off, the title of "Love Me Do" is complete nonsense. It's not a phrase that is actually used by English speaking human beings. John and Paul try to cover up the idiotic lyrics with their best Everly Brothers routine, but the song's stark instrumentation and non adventurous arrangement don't offer much in the way of support. John insists on bringing his mouth harp to the party and everyone is quickly annoyed. Is this supposed to be skiffle music? I guess skiffle music is terrible, then.

Robert Bunter: I can imagine the hypothetical responses of “Love Me Do” defenders – “You’re not being fair. You have to look at the context of what was happening in the British pop scene at the time. ‘Love Me Do’ was revolutionary because the Beatles were writing and performing their own material, plus it had a nice raw sound that was refreshing to listeners who were being inundated by teen idols and slick pop confections.” That all sounds plausible, but to my ears, this record still falls flat. Maybe the boys were holding their high cards close to the vest, giving it the old slow play so the world would have time to adjust to their haircuts. They’d lay more chips on the table with “Please Please Me” and “From Me To You,” then drop the hammer with the all-in one-two jackpot knockout of “She Loves You” and “I Want To Hold Your Hand.” I guess it’s possible, but the 1963 UK music scene wasn’t the World Poker Tour, and the Beatles weren’t Hoyt Corkins. Listeners familiar with the primitive live Hamburg bootlegs know that the Beatles could have recorded a debut single of considerably greater impact and merit. I’m picturing a beer-stained, Preludin-jacked proto-punk 7”, “One After 909” b/w “Nothin's Shakin'.” I can tell you with certainty that I would cherish my NM+ mono picture sleeve copy of this Parlophone single, if it existed. Instead, the Beatles gave us this penny ante plod-and-wheeze (backed with the equally heinous "P.S. I Love You"). Do George Martin and Brian Epstein deserve part of the blame?

The 1963 UK music scene wasn’t the World Poker Tour, and the Beatles weren’t Hoyt Corkins.
Richard Furnstein: It's possible, but I doubt it was strictly a slow play. George Martin was a respected producer with EMI, with professional roots in the BBC's classical music department. The Beatles were just another handsome beat group and his role was to capture whatever milk leaked from their shallow teats. I'm sure Martin heard "Love Me Do" and thought it was an innocent crossover. It had a spark of spook in the arrangement and a lyric that avoided the sexual confrontation of American rock (The Beatles would head in the opposite direction for the lascivious "Please Please Me"). Martin's role was to gently suggest material since contemporary pop performers were typically too idiotic to write their terrible songs. Epstein certainly had a better idea of their potential, both musically (the pillhead hysteria from the German skratch-und-klaw) and in terms of female and homosexual fantasies. Yet he made a series of nearsighted business decisions, suggesting that he saw their appeal as disposable and limited. It may not have been a slow play, EMI/Martin/Epstein may not have understood the significance of the cards that they were holding.

Here's the greater point: the selection of "Love Me Do" as the first single suggested that The Beatless--despite the famous origins story--were hardly a sure thing. There isn't much evidence to suggest that they were better than "Love Me Do" at the time. The ascent of Beatles man to "Please Please Me" and "She Loves You" was surely against the odds. The Beatles were given their big break and then realized that they only had a stale container of "Love Me Do" soup in the back of the cupboard. They'd warm it up slightly and deliver it in a clean bowl but it was hardly a memorable meal.

Robert Bunter: You’ve got a point there. With hindsight it’s easy to imagine that staid, conservatory-trained producer George Martin and delicate furniture salesman Brian Epstein would have treated their soon-to-be-incredibly-profitable meal ticket with awed deference, but the reality must have been much closer to your description. Their callous disrespect extended to their treatment of Ringo, who had only recently joined the band to replace the broodingly handsome Pete Best. Martin and the rest of the brisk, professional EMI studio staff quickly decided that his drumming on the original take wasn’t up to snuff and ordered a new session, handed Ringo a tambourine, then turned the drum duties over to faceless studio hack Andy White. One can only imagine the smug expression on Mr. White’s face as he settled his pale, underfed London flanks into the lightly-cushioned drum throne and picked up Ringo’s favorite pair of drumsticks. Some (me) even speculate that Ringo’s drumwork was not even the issue – the EMI brass just kept Andy White on hand for all sessions with new groups, in order to bring the poor lad’s confidence down a few notches and show them who was boss. Later, in my fantasy, the drunken sticksman for Derry and the Seniors (the criminally-underrated Giles “Ladbrooke” Gloanbottom) socked Andy White in his swarthy, over-fed face during a particularly tense first session. Meanwhile, hapless Ringo shook the tambourine with all the gusto he could muster on this revised take, recorded almost exactly 50 years ago on September 11, 1962. Subsequent re-issues of this track on various albums and singles have been split about evenly between the Ringo and the Andy White versions; you can tell the Andy White by the presence of the tambourine.

Richard Furnstein: It's entirely possible there was another angle to the Ringo dismissal. Have you heard the drum part on "Love Me Do"? It's hardly a Bill Bruford punishing workout. It's a simple thump/plonk pattern that a child can play. In fact, if your child can't play this beat you should mail him back to the hospital and conceive a new child and then name him Andy White. My point being that it would never happen because that drum part is garbage.

Robert Bunter: Ha! I’m sorry, but when it comes to pale drummers named “White” who can confidently handle a simple beat, I’m choosing Meg White of the White Stripes. Her primal, animalistic rhythms are extremely stimulating, and that beatific, glazed expression on her adorable face is infinitely easier on the eyes than Andy White’s self-satisfied smirk or even Ringo Starr’s hangdog droop-and-frown. She gives us all a lot to think about. I’m sorry, but these are the facts. 

Richard Furnstein: I hear you. It's easy to forget about all of the troubles of a Beatlemaniac when you see the fairer White Stripe handle the sticks and pound out some plump beats. It lends clarity to the vague yearnings and empty pleas of "Love Me Do" and other early Beatles failures. We are all just cavemen, drawn to the pale flesh and tribal rhythms, pulsing in a beautiful collection of need/want/love. Er, pardon me. I've said too much.

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

While My Guitar Gently Weeps

Robert Bunter: Sometimes it seems like George's default songwriting position was perched on his high horse, sorrowfully lamenting the shortcomings of the rest of the world. Listen to "Think For Yourself," "Within You Without You," "The Inner Light," "I Me Mine" (as well as most of All Things Must Pass and lots of subsequent solo records) for the characteristic message - the world could be a beautiful place if the rest of you would just open your eyes and transcend the artificial boundaries of ego, like I, George Harrison, have already done. Isn't it a pity? Even his early efforts ("Don't Bother Me," "You Like Me Too Much," "If I Needed Someone") betray a thinly-veiled sense of superiority. This tendency could be grating, especially coming from a smug multimillionaire who had his own personal shortcomings (greedy with money, boned Ringo's wife in the '70s, didn't return phone calls, thick phlegmy voice, questionable facial hair), but "While My Guitar Gently Weeps" is a great song despite its arch, judgmental tone.

Richard Furnstein: "While My Guitar Gently Weeps" presented a new side to George's hectoring. Previous efforts had focused on putting down a lady or moaning about having to do a press junket in Central Florida; "Gently Weeps" finds him judging his aimless bandmates and their self-destructive egos.1 It's a theme that would serve him well during the solo years. I do find that the grumpy George vibe seems a bit easier to take on this one. First off, it's a lovely melody, taking the descending guitar line trick that George loved and pairing it with simple action-based rhyme. The arrangement has a lot of great moments, particularly Paul's bass and his opening piano riff (which always seemed to me to be linked to the flamenco guitar that prefaces "The Continuing Story of Bungalow Bill"). Perhaps most importantly, "Weeps" connects with the listener, despite relying on a series of loose metaphors. We want to take George's side in the slowly evaporating friendships of The Beatles. Like an adult child feeling sympathy for a parent who gave their life to supporting a crumbling marriage, the listener believes that George is on the losing side of the divorce of his childhood gang. I'm not sure they could say that George gave his best years of his life ("You Like Me Too Much"), but he certainly deserved better than to have this number--his best offering yet--dismissed due to an album real estate turf battle between Paul and John. "Sorry, Georgie, no time for your guitar song. We've got to record stupid 'Glass Onion.'"

You could play every blues from "Drivin' That Thing" to "Death Bell Blues" with the same spider fingered finesse, milking the willing prostate of your white Stratocaster.
Robert Bunter: You've got a point there, except for the part about it being George's "best offering yet." Perhaps you've forgotten a little number that I like to call "I Want To Tell You" from an album which I like to call Revolver? Remember my electrifying fantasy sequence about the "Swinging London" undertrousers and the sweet-smelling girl from Stockholm? Although "While My Guitar Gently Weeps" is often cited as an example of George's second-class status in the group (John, Paul and George Martin "could hardly be bothered with it" according to most re-tellings), the first-class contributions of the others belie such pat analysis. Paul's bracing Morse code piano intro and characteristically inventive bass playing don't sound like the products of a disinterested participant. Ringo's drums are better than perfect, understated yet powerful; plus there's that funny galloping percussion noise on the verses, and his crucial tambourine, whcih punches up the second half of Clapton's guitar solo quite nicely. Oh, did we mention the Clapton thing? Less-knowledgeable readers may not be aware that George drafted hotshot Yardbirds/Bluesbreakers/Cream axeman Eric Clapton to sit in on "Weeps" and stink it up with his second-rate Stratocaster noodling; one can only imagine the pursed grimaces, rapidly-shifting eyebrows and other shameless poochy guitar-face mugging that "God" Clapton probably indulged in while the tapes rolled. According to the history books, when Crapton (as I call him) showed up to the previously acrimonious White Album sessions, the others were instantly on their best behavior, not unlike the function Billy Preston would serve during the latter half of the Get Back project. Maybe so, but I'll tell you one thing, I'd rather he'd stayed home, even if it meant John would have pushed this track off the album in favor of "What's The New Mary Jane." If I want to listen to a British guy play shitty blues guitar riffs over a melancholy acoustic guitar strum underneath a set of pretentious "meaningful" lyrics, I'm going to just go ahead and fetch my copy of Ten Years After's "A Space In Time" and cue up "I'd Love To Change The World." It's track three, right after the trippy space alien invasion fantasy "Here They Come." Meanwhile, if everyone is taking my advice all of a sudden, let's just go ahead and make the White Album a four-record set featuring the full "Revolution 1-9" suite, the 27-minute "Helter Skelter," the Anthology acoustic version of "While My Guitar Gently Weeps" and the blurry "Not Guilty" mix from the Peter Sellers tape. Wait, where am I?

Richard Furnstein: I'll tell you where you are. You are in London, England so it is raining. It's 1968 and you are wearing finely a tailored white pirate shirt and cavernous sunglasses to hide your junkie gaze. Your best friend invited you to guest with his band The Beatles to "blues up" a number that he had been nursing over the last few months. You heard the song once. George played it for you on his back patio in Kinfauns, fixing his eyes on yours as he bared his soul with a series of awkward and pedestrian rhymes. Ha, he even had a line about humans as actors in the play of life or some dumb shit like that. Luckily he later scrapped that verse. You tried to break away from his gaze--his famous eyebrows tense with concentration while his curry-stained spindly fingers plodded out the song's progression on an old Martin. To be honest, you only wanted to come over to George's house to be closer to his nubile young wife, Patti. Bugger that, because Patti was off shopping for wide-legged pants and now you were stuck with George's thin voice and his lentil-infused flatulence. He finally finished the song. You lit a Chesterfield and sat back in the recliner, "I could do something with that one." Of course you could. You could play every blues from "Drivin' That Thing" to "Death Bell Blues" with the same spider fingered finesse, milking the willing prostate of your white Stratocaster.

Months later it was go time. You almost forgot about the song (George called it "While My Guitar Gently Weeps" while you liked to call it "Willing Wife Blues"), but you ambled into Abbey Road Studio anyway. "Ricky, what are you doing here?" John asked. "Great to see you, lad," offered Paul. Ringo didn't say anything, he was too busy eating a can of beans that Mal Evans had prepared. "He's here to play on my new song," George said blankly. So you played the song. You could feel the distance between them at the beginning of the session, yet the recording came together perfectly. Like a tray of Walkers' Nonsuch Toffee from God's own oven. You are Eric Clapton. And you stink.

Robert Bunter: Oof, that really hits home. I can almost smell the Chesterfields and lentils. Hey, what was John doing on this song? No backup vocals, no noticeable guitar contributions ... maybe that was the source of George's irritation. Lennon couldn't be bothered because he was cueing up tape loops for "Revolution 9" with Yoko. I think you're right, this song is addressed to the other Beatles as much as it is to the inhabitants of the larger outside world. Still, we can all learn some lessons from Harrison's lyric: wake up your sleeping love, sweep the floor, unfold your love, learn from your mistakes, don't be perverted. Keep this advice in mind and remember not to let Eric Clapton anywhere near your wife. Thanks, Dark Horse. We miss you.

1"Only A Northern Song" is clearly an antecedent, but George's fury was directed at the music business in general. 

Friday, September 7, 2012

We Can Work It Out

Richard Furnstein: "We Can Work It Out" seems like the ultimate nose-to-nose, grind-out-a-hit song from the Lennon/McCartney team. The whole thing seems like it was written and recorded in thirty minutes, and most of that time was probably spent trying to fix Ringo's uneven tambourine playing. The song comes in as a swell of acoustic guitars, spastic percussion, and the lurching wheeze of John's harmonium. Paul seems to be appealing to a lover, an extension of the emotional turmoil that runs through his Rubber Soul compositions. Meanwhile, John takes a universal love force approach to the middle eight which gives the song an unexpected and vaguely philosophical color. We are suddenly rushed back to the crisis of the heart in the verse (spurred by John's at once tender and confrontational offering "So I will ask you once again"). It's a completely effective blend of their songwriting personalities. "We Can Work It Out" is one of the greatest examples of the two sides of the Lennon/McCartney team. It is almost a shame that it didn't bolster an already stellar Rubber Soul tracklist, an album that starts to show the growing separation between Lennon and McCartney as songwriters/voices. Even Ringo's clumsy percussion suggests that "pobody's nerfect," yet things still work out for the best.

Robert Bunter: This is a nice early example of the Paul/John dichotomy which would subsequently play out via the contrasting flipsides of singles like “Strawberry Fields Forever” b/w “Penny Lane,” “Hello Goodbye” b/w “I Am The Walrus” and “Hey Jude” b/w “Revolution.” On “We Can Work It Out,” these oppositional attitudes are actually competing for attention within the same track – Paul sings with major-key confidence that the lovers or friends will be able to work it out, while John bursts in with minor-key urgency and abrupt, jarring time-signature shifts to point out that life is short and things don’t always end up as happily as the Paul-figure would have them. It’s difficult not to hear this song and reflect on the ultimate fate of the friendship and creative partnership which it simultaneously addresses and exemplifies. Life was very short for John Winston Ono Lennon, they did fall apart before too long, and it was a crime that these two couldn’t ultimately bury the hatchet. Paul was right, too: they could have worked it out, and John was a selfish pig who couldn’t see past his own ego long enough to make nice with the others and record the multi-platinum series of 1970s and ‘80s alternate-universe Beatle records of which I’ve so often dreamed. Let me tell you about them. I’m seeing an extension of Abbey Road’s moog experiments on an experimental fall ’71 LP which I imagine would have been titled …

Richard Furnstein [interrupting hastily]: Oh, not this again. Listen, Robert. I've listened to "Power Cut," your mix of Red Rose Speedway and Mind Games filler. It's clearly inadequate. Lennon's "Meat City" fading into a live cut of "Soily" by Wings? Oh, the places you'll go.

I am not completely sure I buy the theory that Paul was eager to reunite with John in the 1970s. Think about it: Paul had everything to lose by working with John again. Wings were one of the biggest bands on the planet. Paul could easily shed conflicting band members and ego trips, handling the overdubs himself if needed. Meanwhile, John was dependent on Yoko and a slew of sleazy Los Angeles session musicians to bring life to his musical visions. Unfortunately, many of those visions turned out to be dank, reverb-soaked oldies covers, sticky with saxophone ooze and monstrous snare drums. John didn't want to tour, get into minor and goofy concepts, or create medleys on the second sides of his albums. He just wanted to gaze into the spotty studio walls and moan about psychosexual power trips with Yoko. Sure, life was very short but John seemed to be speeding up the rate of decay by becoming a grouchy old man in his mid 30s. Meanwhile, Paul was smoking spliffs in Nigeria and writing Bond themes and having efficient normal person sex with Linda.

Lennon and McCartney both understood that love is all you need, and they were just trying to piece together the jigsaw of understanding that scattered across the table of love.
Robert Bunter: Stick to the point, Richard. We were talking about “We Can Work It Out.” Along with “All You Need Is Love,” “Within You Without You,” “The Word” and a handful of others, this song deals explicitly with the ideas of human love and understanding that were so foundational to the Beatles’ entire message. Superficially this song deals with a lovers’ quarrel, but by this point in their career (“sixty … FIVE?!?” – Graham Nash, I Just Wasn’t Made For These Times) they were already starting to address the larger problems of mankind. “We Can Work It Out” is sunny and optimistic while still acknowledging the risks and potential consequences of self-absorption and lack of empathy. You would probably have a more solid understanding of these concepts if you weren’t such a pig and didn’t spend every minute trying to belittle me and my carefully-considered hypothetical post-’70 Beatles albums.

Richard Furnstein: I'm trying to see it your way, but I'm disgusted by your vacant stare. Do you have to keep on talking until you can't go on? No, I'm seriously asking because I can see specks of food around your stabbed-fish-open mouth, your toxic saliva running down your unshaven chin. You don't think I understand the social awakening implied by Lennon/McCartney? That's a junior varsity analysis. You can't bring that slow pitch here to the big leagues. I'll play along: Lennon was thinking globally while McCartney was acting locally. They both understood that love is all you need, and they were just trying to piece together the jigsaw of understanding that scattered across the table of love. You are completely right, it's a beautiful sentiment and I'm sorry I pointed out that you have the mouth of a murdered carp.

Robert Bunter: Hah! You fell for it. I was just proving the Beatles’ point, and you couldn’t have illustrated the whole thing more beautifully. Maybe a few more meditation sessions or a handful of low-milligram Xannies are in order, Furnstain. I’d love to spend more time explaining the obvious to you, but it’s getting late and I have a thing. Let me just briefly point out that Stevie Wonder offered a wonderfully re-inventive, funky take on this song; the wheezing harmonium offers an enchanting whiff of eastern European peasant gypsy music; the mono mix is better than the stereo, and I love you deeply, old friend.