Dear readers, it’s been three months since my last Music To Sweep To. My bad. Things have been crazy. My bathroom sink got clogged then started leaking, I began re-watching Game of Thrones
with my girlfriend (totally forgot Bran hurt his leg), I revealed my identity as a secret sex blogger
, Trump did stuff, I tried eating an oyster, I shot a plastic bottle of Canada Dry Ginger Ale with a pellet gun, my cat threw up three times, I ignored thirteen calls from an unrecognized California phone number, and my laptop died. It’s been a whirlwind.
Today we’re sweeping to The Beatles’ instrumental covers. I put this playlist on over the weekend with a group of friends and it was a big hit, I was high-fived until my hands went sore. Beatles' melodies are among the most recognizable in the world and there’s something indescribably pleasing about hearing them in different contexts. Here we’re featuring music from R. Stevie Moore (okay, mostly R. Stevie Moore), Booker T. & the MGs, Ramsey Lewis, The Bar-Kays and Marty Gold. There are two Michelles, just like in Full House
(Pulitzer deserving reference).
Booker, Lewis and the Bar-Kays are all in the soul and funk realm, which you probably already knew. Marty Gold is a pioneering force in acoustic-electronic composition (music from the late 60s and 70s that integrates synth with live instruments, it was a novel concept at the time) who loved the Beatles. He’s got a lot of good stuff out there.
Front and center is R. Stevie Moore, a guy who writers are legally required to label “prolific.” He started self-releasing music in 1969 and hasn’t gone more than a year without new music since. Moore is an archetypal outsider artist: lo-fi and experimental but capable of startlingly poppy output.
Moore released RSM Reforms The Beatles
in 1975. He’s pretty loyal to the originals. No remixing or translation, they’re basically reenactments, though a little fuzzier than before (think of the distortion in “Helter Skelter,” that’s his production vibe here). It’s an illogically fun album to listen to. The only downside is that playing vocal melodies on a guitar sometimes sounds a little flat. It’s almost like his guitar is singing “dah-dah-dahdah-dah-dah-dah-dah-dahhhhh” when you just wanna hear “Help me if you can I’m feeling down.” Nobody’s perfect.
These covers make for good work music because everybody knows these songs, but there are no vocals to distract you. It’s the perfect balance of comfort and unfamiliarity. You probably haven’t heard the fifteen tracks on this playlist, but they still sound like old friends. If you’re on the fence about this whole thing, start with Moore’s “Abbey Road Medley.”
Best if you work in
: benefiting Mr. Kite, doing it in the road, selling warm guns, face seer