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122 – Can’t Buy Me Love – Curtis King

 
Original version – January 29 1964
Ukulele version – April 2011
 
Curtis King – Vocals and vocal treatments
David Barratt – Ukulele
 
Produced by David Barratt at The Abattoir Of Good Taste, Brooklyn. Mixed at the Abattoir Mobile between Puerto Rico and New York 
 
Written by Paul McCartney
Credited to Lennon/McCartney
 
Essay: Natalie Barratt
 
ABOUT THE SONG
 
Money can’t buy me love.
 
Hmm. Really?
 
Ask that man that married Anna Nicole Smith. Or Elizabeth Taylor’s last husband. Or that back-up dancer that married J. Lo or Britney.  Whichever name it was, each one is testament to the fact that “Money Can’t Buy Me Love”. Or that it can. 
 
Depends which tabloid day it is.
 
Fact is, human beings are obsessed with the idea that money can or can’t buy you love. It is no surprise that The Beatles addressed this meme – even though they were baby-faced simpletons who didn’t know their arse from their elbow. 
 
Well, we could look at the four of the most successful, most monied men in the pop universe to consider this question.  
 
Paul, how did you do on this? You were rich, and you married a rich chick. Apparently you went on to be stupendously happy with the sweet and committed lady that was Linda McCartney. We can gloss over the awful Mills woman and now wish you well with the newest lady love. Good luck with that. 
 
You seem to be embracing the ‘Money can’t buy me love, but it does help’ philosophy.
 
John. George. Ringo. Frankly, money and fame are so part of your profile that is it hard to even consider its relevance. So lets move on on to the average American/Westerner/ How do we feel about your sweet, 21 year old song?
 
Turns out, we know that sweet song was bullshit. I can direct you to this amazing link to NPR’s brilliant show, Planet Money:
 
http://tiny.cc/MoneyLove
 
They have proved, without a shadow of a doubt, that Money DOES buy you love: Hell yeah. We knew that was the case. Just about every religion have told us that it should not be the case. But it is, and this link proves it. Listen, enjoy and relax. Your intuition was correct. I found it curiously peaceful.
 
Let’s have a chat about the way the song was recorded. This was Paul’s song. Recorded in four takes, it challenged John in the boring ‘Who is the leader of The Beatles anyway?” question that countless books have documented before. As ever, we can only rely on the music to tell the story.
 
I want to give a shout out to the brilliant blog The Beatles Bible, for their excellent documentary of the recording mechanics of the song. TBB is a very well researched record of ‘what happened’ during recording of any Beatles song. This is their full story: http://www.beatlesbible.com/songs/cant-buy-me-love/.  Let me tell you what stands out.
 
First of all, this was a Blues track. The idea of four skinny Liverpudlian teenagers falling in love with The Blues makes my heart twist. Thank god for the transforming power of music.
 
Secondly, the limitations of recording in those days makes me smile. Do you know that you can still hear the rejected Harrison guitar line on the original track? They re-recorded, but the over-dub still reveals the original as a ghostly souvenir of another day in 1964.  Love that. Something modern perfection of digital recording would never show up.
 
Curtis does an older, sweeter, more romantic and yet sadder version of this song. Every sound (apart from the ubiquitous ukulele) comes from his own mouth. 
 
How can a man as interesting and deep as Curtis not bring his life to this song? That is the genius of The Beatles.
 
Curtis is a tall drink of water, with a life that clearly has been lived, and his voice resonates that in this delicious rendition. I heard him sing the first time with Mr. Barratt, then saw them mix the track on a plane back from Puerto Rico. 
 
He is the real deal. Treasure the darkness he brings to this. 
 
Now we are older, He knows that money can buy us love, but it ain’t the kind of love one would want…  
 
 
ABOUT THE ARTIST
 
Originally from Philadelphia,Pa.,raised in Tallahassee,Florida,Curtis was a classically trained french horn player through out high school and college earning top honors. 
 
After college, he moved to New York to pursue a career as a singer/songwriter. He’s had the opportunity of recording or sharing the stage with,Povorotti ,Sting ,James Taylor,Meatloaf, Carly  Simon,Mick Jagger, Bonnie Raitt,Bruce Springsteen & The E Street Band and many more. He’s appeared on David Letterman,Jimmy Fallon,Conan O’Brian and Saturday Night Live, and Jingles a plenty.
 
Still a country boy at heart,he continues to pinch himself each time he thinks about  the incredible journey he’s been blessed with.

 

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