Tuesday, August 23, 2011

The Spector and Pitney Sessions (not so clean)

After the successful recording of several single and album tracks, the February 4, 1964 recording sessions then degenerated into a hilarious, quasi-drunken free-for-all. Everybody involved had a great time cutting "Mr. Spector and Mr. Pitney Came Too" and "Andrew's Blues", both of which were quite rude. The first track perfectly encapsulates the uniqueness of the session.

A false piano intro was laughed at before Phil Spector takes control and starts it off with a 1-2, a 1-2-3-4. The band charge in with an infectious assault of rhythm and blues. Harmonica, Ian Stewart's boogie piano, lead guitars and a cognac bottle chiming in the background provide an alternate take to "Now I've Got A Witness".

At the very end of the sessions the air turned blue for a rude stab at manager Andrew Oldham and Decca, the band's record company at the time. Regarding "Andrew's Blues", Gene Pitney recalls with fondness the good fun and the 'pornographic' overtones of the track. Yes indeed, the sessions ended into a hilarious free-for-all.

Adapted from the following sources:
Martin Elliott, The Rolling Stones. Complete Recording Sessions 1962-2002, Cherry Red Books, 2002.
Andrew Loog Oldham, Stoned, Vintage, 2001.

1 comment:

  1. February 4, 1964: Regent Sound Studios, London, England.
    The Rolling Stones: Can I Get A Witness (Holland-Dozier-Holland) (2:58)
    The Rolling Stones: Now I've Got A Witness (Like Uncle Phil And Uncle Gene) (Nanker-Phelge) (2:31)
    The Rolling Stones: And Mr. Spector And Mr. Pitney Came Too (Nanker-Phelge-Spector) (3:17)
    The Rolling Stones: Little By Little (Nanker-Phelge-Spector) (2:41)
    The Rolling Stones: Andrew's Blues (Nanker-Phelge-Spector) (3:05)
    Andrew Oldham and Bill Wyman: Making the first album
    Andrew Oldham: We did the first album in about ten days. We'd decide to do a tune, but Mick wouldn't know the words, so Mick would run around to Denmark Street to Carlin Music to pick up the words to something like Can I Get A Witness. He'd come back 25 minutes later and we'd start.
    Bill: Andrew was always pushing us to get us to do Motown things like Can I Get A Witness. And he was right as well, he was more right than we were. And, of course, when Mick and Keith got into writing, the songs came out more like he was looking for. Keith was always more into soul music than me or Charlie, and Mick loved soul performers like Wilson Pickett and James Brown.

    640204A 4th February: Regent Sound Studios, London. Producer: Andrew Oldham. Sound Engineer: Bill Farley.
    - Can I Get A Witness (Holland-Dozier-Holland) - Ian Stewart on piano
    - Now I've Got A Witness (Like Uncle Phil And Uncle Gene) (Nanker-Phelge) - Gene Pitney on piano, Ian Stewart on organ, Phil Spector on maracas
    - And Mr. Spector And Mr. Pitney Came Too (Nanker-Phelge-Spector) - Gene Pitney and Ian Stewart on piano, Phil Spector on maracas.
    - Little By Little (Nanker-Phelge-Spector) - Gene Pitney on piano, Phil Spector and Ian Stewart on maracas
    - Andrew's Blues (Nanker-Phelge-Spector) - Gene Pitney and Phil Spector on vocals, Ian Stewart on piano, Graham Nash and Allan Clarke on backing vocals.
    Note: Andrew’s Blues is an obscene dig at manager Andrew Oldham. Gene Pitney and Phil Spector take the lead vocals and also imitate the voice of Sir Edward Lewis, then the president of the Stones’ record company Decca. Graham Nash and Allan Clarke of The Hollies provide backing vocals.
    Line-up: Mick Jagger (voc, harm, tamb)/Brian Jones (gtr, harm, tamb, bvoc)/Keith Richards (gtr)/Bill Wyman (bass, bvoc)/Charlie Watts (dr).