Tuesday, 1 September 2009

1988 Wet Wet Wet: With A Little Help From My Friends/Billy Bragg: She's Leaving Home

Charity time again, Childline this time. The Beatles' 'Sergeant Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band' album was re-recorded in its entirety by various artists to greater and lesser effect for the cause, but this was the only single taken from it.

One single, two songs - there was much hype as to the 'double A side' nature of this release but I doubt too many people flipped it over to listen to Billy Bragg put 'She's Leaving Home' through an industrial meat grinder. And if they did, they didn't do it again (I well remember the crushing sense of disappointment and confusion amongst the Top Of The Pops audience when Bragg appeared to perform 'his' side on the single's fourth week at number one instead of
Wet Wet Wet. It wasn't number one the week after). No, it's the Wet's track that's the chief selling point here.

Whilst the Beatles' original was deliberately written in a limited key range to accommodate Ringo Starr's own flat and limited voice, Marti Pellow cheeses his way through his ever present fixed grin
('Oooooh! I get high') with none of the self doubt implicit in the words, while the rest of the boys accompany him with all the competence and style of a covers band playing the local workingman's club on a Saturday night.

In fact, to get the most out of this I'd advise listening to it sandwiched in-between three games of bingo and a fat stand up comedian. Chicken in a basket optional.

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