The Beatles In Scotland (Unicorn Records UC-159)
She Loves You / Telephone Interview – Paul / Johnny Gentle Interview / Rock & Roll Music / One After 909 ( 1963 version ) / Interview – Fans / To Know Her Is To Love Her / Roll Over Beethoven / Slow Down / Johnny B. Goode / Love Me Do / Interview – Stan Parks / Long Tall Sally / Till There Was You / I Saw Her Standing There / Please Please Me / Money / Twist & Shout / Long Tall Sally / I Want To Hold Your Hand / Interview – Edinburgh 1963 / Can’t Buy Me Love / Interview – Edinburgh 1963 / She Loves You / A Hard Days Night / The Lost Beatles Interview. ( 65:00 )
Another Unicorn release, another BBC broadcast. To be fair to the label this is one of the better documentaries that I have heard that was produced by the BEEB and it’s in markedly better condition than Unicorns sister release “In Gloucestershire” abet with a few nagging drop-outs
Presented by BBC stalwart Brian Matthew ‘The Beatles in Scotland’ makes a little more sense than the Gloucestershire doc because of John Lennon’s attachment to the country ( via his extended family ), the fact that Stuart Sutcliffe was originally born in Edinburgh along with the added advantage that, through his friendship with the fabs, Brian was able to procure a new phone interview with Paul McCartney ( Who has a farm there .. )
The documentary is pretty much painted by numbers – Song, introduction, song, interview, song, etc but because Brian and his team have dug up a few more people who had a stronger connection than a gig-goer, a theatre manager or bakery owner ( Don’t worry, there are still a few loose connections ) then the show makes for more a solid listen.
The show begins with a chat with Macca about the country over the border before rewinding history back to the birth of the Silver Beetles and their session work with fellow Liverpudlian Johnny Gentle and the reasons why they weren’t destined to become jobbing musicians behind their allotted singer.
Brian does his best with a few choice anecdotes that lovingly poke fun at the success that the Beatles weren’t having at the time, interspersed with a few of those famous talking head interviews of people who had shared time with the pre-fame fabs and deftly follows the career of the band as they muddled their way from mediocrity to megastardom, losing band members ( Tommy Moore who was the original Silver Beatles drummer who, not long after losing his teeth in a traffic accident, lost his job as back beat to the band ) along the way, the struggle that the band faced while earning pittance from their gigs, the near miss of almost being hired by Larry Parnes.
The documentary then skips through the Hamburg and Pete Best years to return at the beginning of Beatlemania and begins again with an interview with John’s cousin Stanley Parks who notes the excitement over the “Love Me Do” single.
The show continues to cover the fact that even though the boys were on the cusp of fame they were still struggling to make ends meet and would often borrow money for unrolled cigarettes. They seemed to make no difference on the opinion of the promoters that hosted them too – they still didn’t think too much of them – but were shrewd enough to bargain around with Brian Epstein, who in turn was trying to run a high cost for the increasing fame of the Beatles.
Obviously we know how the story turns out but having it retold in different ways by the people who were there, in whatever minor way, is generally quite interesting and well researched and edited programs like these are always welcome.
That said, if Unicorn continue to mine some of these BBC broadcast they would do well to research their sources a little better sometimes – Much better quality is available via many like minded wireless enthusiasts. Even some of the shows from way back in the 60’s are in great quality but for trying to capture these things Unicorn earn a tip of the hat.
The lost interview this time comes courtesy of Scottish television, an interview recorded on Thursday, 30 April, 1964 that was recorded and then lost for 44 years turning up in 2008 and the cleaned up and rebroadcast on BBC Radio 4 in the UK.
The recording is much clearer than the main even itself and doesn’t suffer from those awkward drop outs that the main presentation does.If you liked this review, buy me a cup of joe. (Suggested: $3 a shot or $7.5 for a double)