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016 – Good Night – Jamie Rae

 

Original version recorded June 28,1968

Ukulele version recorded June 28th 2011

Jamie Rae Branthoover – Vocal
Mike Leslie – Ukulele
David Barratt – Ukulele, guitar, bass organ keyboards

Produced by David Barratt The Abattoir Of Good Taste, Brooklyn

Written by John Lennon
Credited to Lennon & McCartney

ABOUT THE SONG

Ringo sings this with out the help of any of his friends. Infact he is the only Beatle on the recording.

Ringo became the third member of the group (after Paul and George) to record a song credited to the group without the other members performing – ironically John was the last with Julia. 

John wrote the song as a lullaby for his son Julian. George Martin’s arrangement is excessively lush, and intentionally so. Lennon is said to have wanted the song to sound "real cheesy". The Mike Sammes Singers (the kings of cheeze) provided backing vocals.


On the backing track George Martin used a small string section, plus a sparse complement of woodwinds and brass; ditto for the small choir. And yet, the arrangement and recording come out sounding like a "cast of hundreds". A trick he learnt from film scoring where the composer wants maximum clout for his dollar.

The score, itself, is replete with little clichés of the Muzak genre: string tremolos and rapid upward scales, harp glissandos, chirpy flutes, and French horn inner voices. The choir alternately doubles and dogs Ringo’s lead vocal, obviating the need for any double tracking. The stage whispered lines over the outro qualifies as a cliché all on its own.

In order to fully appreciate the uncanny aptness of ending the "White Album" with "Good Night" you need to first back up and consider why the penultimate album slot is such a logical place for "Revolution #9".
 
Where else could you put "Revolution #9"? Too early in the running order would make the rest of the album seem a bit anti-climactic at best. At worst, you could lose your audience well before you’ve trotted out your rest of your best stuff. Putting it at the very end lends it too much emphasis. Maybe put it on the end of one of the other sides, but maybe no one will be sufficiently motivated to turn the record over. Next to last fells just right.
 
Now then, what kind of act, indeed, could possibly follow "Revolution #9"? You clearly need a sharp contrast, but exactly what kind? Virtually any other song from the album would sound a combination of anticlimactic, stylistically repetitive, underwhelming, or too weird.
 
"Good Night" has the simultaneous virtues of providing musically arch-conservative ballast, a change of style as refreshingly surprising as anything else on the album, and a clever, self-referential way of telling you the music’s over; turn out the lights.

The Ukulele version features the delicate tones of Jamie Rea Branthoover. Jamie has sung to troops about to be deployed to war when she was employed by The USO. We can imagine the memories of her performance echoing in the memory of a soldier in the battlefield. Her gentle voice takes away any worries of pain, sorrow or death. She is a true heroin(e).

It is no coincidence that she also sings in the band “The Little Death”
 

 

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