Various Artists

Beatle Originals (Original Versions of the Songs The Beatles Made Famous)

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A pretty neat concept for a record: 13 of the original versions of the more obscure songs covered by the Beatles on their early albums. The biggest hits that the group interpreted -- early Motown songs, Chuck Berry rockers, "Twist and Shout," "Long Tall Sally," "Chains," "Baby It's You" -- are not here, on the reasonable grounds that the originals are easily available, and most likely in the collection of many Beatle fans already. Instead it has the less traveled original tracks by Larry Williams and Carl Perkins (three songs apiece), Little Richard's "Kansas City/Hey Hey Hey," Buddy Holly's "Words of Love," Arthur Alexander's "Anna," the Shirelles' "Boys," and Buck Owens's "Act Naturally." The most noteworthy items are the two tracks which even collectors found difficult to locate: the Donays' girl group single "Devil in His Heart," and Dr. Feelgood's "Mr. Moonlight." The material is classic in its own right: equally important, it gives Beatle fans the opportunity to hear original versions that were virtually inaccessible for years, compare them to the (usually great) renditions by the Beatles, and appreciate the well-rounded scope of their influences. Unfortunately, it does not include the prototype versions of "A Taste of Honey" and "Till There Was You," on the debatable premise that they were too pop-oriented to warrant interest.