Friday 23 November 2018


Since time immemorial Beatles fans and scholars alike have been debating (often heatedly) whether or not the White Album coulda/shoulda been released as a single album; trim the fat, ditch Revolution No.9 (the Emperor's new clothes, without doubt) and generally rid it of anything devoid of FABness. Pah! I hear you say. Even four sides isn't enough - we want six sides, eight even.

Image result for the beatles white album white vinyl
Blue Vinyl (1/1) - signed by Macca (rare as fuck)
Well, as you're probably aware, this month saw the majestic release of a whiter than white White Album with alternative takes, demo recordings made at George's house in Esher - complete with Harrison asking Macca how many sugars he wants in his tea - and is, essentially, the kitchen sink in vinyl format. Indeed, fetching it home from your local record shop would necessitate mechanical lifting machinery and, possibly, road closures.

Not for me, however. I fell in love with this album just the way it was intended way back when; and I've got all the Esher demos on bootlegs anyway.

But to go back to the double album/single album hot potato for a second - if you ever wondered what the perfect pared down track listing would have looked like (5 tracks on Side 1, five on Side 2) - then jazzer Ramsey Lewis has beaten you to it. By 50 years. That's right, Lewis went into the studio and recorded his White Album (he actually called it Mother Nature's Son) in December 1968 and released it later the same month: only a handful of weeks after the Beatles released theirs in the November. He didn't mess about did he? The world was still coming to terms with how utterly brilliant Lennon's Cry Baby Cry was, and here was Ramsey Lewis straight out of the traps giving us his sublime instrumental take. And, I have to say, almost edging it for me. Almost.

Ramsey Lewis - Cry Baby Cry (1968)


  1. See also the 'Sandinista would've made a great double LP' argument. I'm with Joe Strummer when it comes to that particular bone of contention - '...I stand proud of it, warts and all. It's a magnificent thing! I wouldn't change it even if I could...'
    The White Album box-set has some groovy stuff on it, that's for sure, but not enough to tempt me to splash the (considerable amount of) cash on a physical copy...yet. Definitely tempted by that Ramsey Lewis LP though.

    1. I am of course only playing Devil's Advocate: there is no conceivable way I would want it paring down to ten tracks (you can do that with a playlist should you so wish).
      But...Revolution #9 is pish. Simple as. And I'll go toe-to-toe with anyone who says otherwise!