Just wrapped a music consulting gig downtown and included this bit; a favorite early soul ballad culled from an old soul an old r&b mixtape I put together years ago of tracks the Beatles covered. One of the great voices of his time, Alexander’s honey vocals and delivery are perfectly matched by the track’s drums and ivory run. While I love the Fabs rendition, it comes off somewhat tepid in comparison.

MP3: Arthur Alexander :: Anna (Go To Him)
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10 Responses to “Arthur Alexander :: Anna (Go To Him)”

  1. Will definitely agree that the Beatles version lacks a subtlety that makes the original very smooth, but tepid? Lennon’s vocals and the guitar make the track, if anything, much more jagged and hiccupy. Alexander’s delivery is one long monologue where as Lennon’s delivery seems so much more inconsistent emotionally, as if delivered over a longer period of time. In addition, may I add that the Beatles version contains some of the best backing vocals Harrison would ever lay down?

  2. not positive what B-Side it is ( I think it’s from his first single), but I’ve become VERY fond of ‘The Girl That Radiates That Charm’ which seems to really embody the whole Beatle and Stones early sound. What a killer track!

  3. any chance you might upload that beatle cover mix?

  4. agree! would love to hear that mixtape. thanks for posting this sweet tidbit though

  5. Didn’t Arthur also compose and sing Soldier Of Love? John Lennon and the Beatles do a great version of the song – and yet it never was issued during its recording era. Still we do have it today and enjoy it. Thanks for the Anna posting. Interesting to compare the original artist’s version with the Beatle version.

  6. I broke down and bought an anthology, and every song is as amazing as the last…this is seriously DEEEP

  7. And, considering your last post, it’s always fun to point out that Arthur Alexander is the only songwriter to be covered by the Beatles, Stones, and Dylan.

    Ditto on that great George “Annnnnna” backing with a touch of Paul on the cascade up–always reliable for the high-register backing work, Paul (see “Ticket to Ride,” “The Ballad of John and Yoko,” etc. etc. etc.). It’s also interesting that on this track you can really hear John’s cold/flu because he has to ‘speak’ more of the verse. Now about that “tepid” remark. What? When John lays into that second verse/chorus with his blistering “Twist and Shout” scream-sing, it’s nothing short of fucking Beatles magic. Just think of the song “Anna” partly inspired, “This Boy,” with its pretty group singing that sets up Lennon devastating scream break bridge.

    As for Alexander’s original. The piano playing the riff is key, and I’m surprised they didn’t double George’s lead with it like they would later on “Money.” Also, shoutout to both Ringo and Alexander’s drummer because both syncopate that funky kick and highhat wonderfully. Alexander uses strings, the Fabs use George and Paul. Fair trade. As for the lead singing, Alexander does an admirable job, but he never comes close to the Lennon emotion even though his composition calls out for it all over the place and provides plenty of opportunity (e.g. “What am I? What am I? What am I? supposed to do? Oh oh oh oh oh oh”). Not even in the outro does he go for it like Otis Redding, or another Beatles favorite, Little Willie John would have done.

    Sorry, but the Beatles win this contest, which is usually, but not always, the case.

    d

  8. Beatles fans just can’t understand other music sometimes. The drama and depth of this record is so perfect I can’t see how you can make comparisons. FAME production magic right here.

  9. Oh, c’mon. The Beatles Blinder argument is just a dodge. One doesn’t have to read Sweet Soul Music and all about FAME and the MSSS and listen to a zillion recordings by the originating American artists to know that the Beatles’ version is neither “tepid” nor inferior to Alexander’s. Neither recording is better than the other as a whole, but you can’t say that the Beatles’ cover isn’t emotional enough.

    I understand the temptation to make that kind of accusation because Beatles’ covers are, more often than not, British kids playing their favorite American music. But every once in awhile, I think they edge out a few.

    That said, it’s fun to play the Covers Game,

    d

  10. The true power of true R&B, I wish someone still made it these day’s.

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