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098 – Two Of Us – Alessi Brothers

CLICK HERE TO PLAY SONG

Original version recorded January 31st 1969
Ukulele version recorded August 2010

Bobby Alessi – Ukulele and guitar
Billy Alessi – Keyboards 
Lead Vocal: Alternates between Billy and Bobby

Written by Paul McCartney
Credited to Lennon and McCartney

Arranged, Produced and Programmed by the Alessi Brothers at Eden Roc Studio
Inspired by David Barratt

ABOUT THE SONG

In May 1969, an obscure New York based folk trio signed to Apple Records called “Mortimer” recorded a Paul McCartney song called "On Our Way Home" with Paul producing. I have never heard the band or the recording but, according to those that have, they both sucked. Not surprisingly the song was never released.

Paul reworked the song for the Get Back/Let It Be sessions with more success renaming it “Two Of Us”.

“Two Of Us” opens the “Let It Be” album. Just before the first chords Lennon declaims:
"’I Dig a Pygmy’, by Charles Hawtrey and the Deaf Aids… Phase One, in which Doris gets her oats!"

"The Deaf Aids" was the nickname given to their Beatles’ Vox amplifiers.

“Two Of Us” is clearly a Paul song but John falsely claimed credit for it in his 1980 interview with Playboy Magazine. He may have been having a "bad memory day" as the recorded evidence completely contradicts his statement.

On a bootleg recording made on January 2nd 1969 there is a 12 minute segment where Paul brings the song to George and Ringo. John is not in attendance. Paul takes them through each section. Not surprisingly they have problems with the part where the meter changes in the verse but the song is pretty much finished. 

There is another set of recordings where Paul is trying to teach John to sing a complicated harmony part but John just keeps getting it wrong. Paul, for the sake of his sanity, writes John the simpler part that made it to the final recording.

At this point Paul is clearly the leader and John seems past caring.

For the first time in ages Paul and John sang together. It all would be too cute for it’s own good were it not for the fact that what we hear almost sounds as if Paul is pleading with John to return to “The good old days”. There is a desperate innocence in the air. The scene seems idyllic but it was anything but. The band were in free-fall and arguing all the time about the most trifling things but Paul being Paul tries to create the fantasy of he and John being in perfect harmony.

It is a little like a “Perfect Family Christmas Dinner” where the drunken uncle in the corner letting everyone know how much he hates his brother while the mother smiles though gritted teeth everything. It could only be topped by hearing Louis Farrakahn and Glenn Beck sing “Ebony And Ivory”.

The song, however, was not written for or about John. Paul had fallen deeply in love with Linda Eastman and this was one of the first of many songs he would write for her including “Maybe I’m Amazed”, “Lovely Linda” and “My Love”.

This is really a love song about that first moment of an affair when everything is possible.

My favorite lyric is:
“You and I have memories, Longer than the road that stretches out ahead” 

This captures the moment in an early love where the present and the future collide. The irony being that as one love was ending (John/Paul) another was beginning (Paul/Linda).

Linda gave Paul a sense of freedom that he could not get within The Beatles. The postcards mentioned are those written by her from America to England.After she moved to England to be near him, they would drive out into the country with no destination in mind. She was easy going, laid back and loved to simply drive out with the sole purpose of being miles from anywhere. Paul found this liberating because as a Beatle he was always being told when and where he needed to be.

That simple pure love is also evident in the ukulele version of the song. The emotional bond between siblings is often complicated affair but the simple connection is not. Billy and Bobby Alessi have been singing together since they can remember and have been recording together for over 35 years. That bond is reinforced in their Beach Boysesque version of “Two Of Us”.

 
ABOUT THE ARTIST

The Alessi Brothers are an American pop singer-songwriter duo, best known for their 1984 hit "Savin’ the Day" and also their 1978 hit "Oh Lori". The duo are identical twin brothers, Billy and Bobby Alessi – born 12 July 1953, Long Island, New York. 
 
In 1978, they climbed to number eight in the UK Singles Chart with "Oh Lori", followed by “All For A Reason” and in 1982 they reached number 71 in the U.S. Billboard Hot 100 with "Put Away Your Love". This made them one-hit wonders on both sides of the Atlantic.

"Oh Lori" became a Top Ten hit in seventeen more countries. The Alessi Brothers recorded five albums on major record labels, the 5th. With Quincy Jones and Christopher Cross. They sold over eight million records worldwide, and toured with Andy Gibb on his Shadow Dancing tour. 

They collaborated with Art Garfunkel on his 1979 album Fate for Breakfast, mainly providing the background vocals. They wrote and produced the title track for Deborah Gibson on her 2001 album M.Y.O.B.

They’ve also sung/wrote or collaborated with many other artists including, Jonh Lennon, Paul McCartney, Sting, Peter Frampton, Barbara Striesand, Elton John, Whitney Houston and Olivia Newton John. 

In 1984, the brothers released a song, "Savin’ the Day", for the soundtrack to the film, Ghostbusters. The song was used in the 1986 cartoon based on the movie.
 
The Brothers have enjoyed success working on jingles and advertisements for many mainstream consumer products in the U.S.

In the 2000s they resumed their touring and album recording career as a duo, with the release of two new albums as Alessi, and also one as part of the group Barnaby Bye.

In 2010 they released “All Our Life/Pure Alessi” on the Home Of Jazz Label, a DVD/CD collection of a beautifully captured performance in Holland.
 
Billy and Bobby’s latest release, "All I Want For Christmas Is A Job" can be found at
 
 
A personal note from Billy and Bobby:

When we were six or seven we found out that we liked to harmonize and sing songs in two-part harmony. We would perform for the Aunts, Uncles and cousins at family gatherings; we’d stand on the steps so we felt like we were on stage. Our first record was made with a budget of 35 cents, recorded in the recording booth at the Penny Arcade on 116th street in Rockaway, New York. Growing up we realized that while most of our friends and schoolmates we’re fascinated by sports, we were passionate about music. One of our favorite things to do was to ride our bikes to Sam Ash music store in Hempstead just to look at the guitars and keyboards that to us were the coolest toys. As time went on we picked up instruments and recruited neighborhood friends into bands. We were 14 years old when we signed our first record deal. We’ve toured the world, collaborated with amazing talent; All Our Life is our eleventh Alessi album. How fortunate were we to have found our passion early in life and to be able to spend our lives doing what we love, making music.

 

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