ON AIR – LIVE AT THE BBC VOLUME 2, CAPITOL RECORDS
A worthy follow-up to the initial 1994 release, this two-disc set rounds up and impressive 63 tracks gleaned from the numerous BBC radio appearances the Fab Four amassed between ‘63 and ‘64. Entertaining radio station announcements and snippets of studio banter are interspersed with a battery of love songs and pop-rock fancies that ruled the era of Beatlemania.
Stepping away from the wall of screams that greeted them at every turn, the lads seemed to take solace in the insular BBC studios and were inclined to let their hair down on spirited covers of Buddy Holly’s “Words of Love,” Chuck Berry’s “I’m Talking About You” and Ray Charles’s “I Got a Woman.” Bread-and-butter basics, like “Please Please Me” and “I Saw Her Standing There,” stack up nicely alongside more challenging selections from the across-the-pond, such as Presley’s jive “Long Tall Sally” and Carl Perkin’s crowd-teaser “Honey Don’t.”
A charming time machine of a compilation, Volume 2 hits the right nostalgic chord landing somewhere between pirate radio and Liverpudlian tavern. It’s a pleasure to hear such familiar voices exploring new territory and ringing in earnest performances that project a daring and gritty blues-rock attitude.
By Christine Leonard