Monday, October 26, 2009

Compare and Contrast (An Occasional Series): Part XXVI

Okay, this one's just cool. Which is to say I knew that George Harrison's 1987 hit was a remake of an oldie, but I had never heard the original and knew nothing of its provenance.

So -- from 1962, please enjoy James Ray and the original r&b version of "I've Got My Mind Set on You."





Although the song wasn't a big hit in its day, Harrison discovered it when he bought Ray’s album of the same name during a holiday visit to his sister in the US in September 1963. Obviously, it struck a nerve with George thematically; it is perhaps no accident that in Help!, two years later, there are already several references to the quiet Beatle being, how you say, a little tight with the cash. (The DivShare clip, incidentally, is to the longer album version, not the single itself, which is reputedly a lot shorter.)

And here's George's take, produced by Jeff Lynne. Nobody realized it at the time, but this was clearly the beginning of the whole Travelling Wilbury's thing -- clearly, this wouldn't have been out of place on their epochal first album.




If truth be told, Ray's version is a weird stylistic mishmash -- it's got a real Jamaican feel in spots, and even a bit of a lounge vibe, and to be honest, for a change I prefer the cover, inauthentic as it may be.

8 comments:

Moose said...

The single version clocks in at around 1:50.

Noam Sane said...

I just wish the snare drum had been a touch louder on the Harrison version.

DaveB said...

I prefer Harrison's version. And you can tell the Jeff Lynne touch from a mile away. Funny how it sticks out.

The original is one bizarre little piece.

Alex said...

Wow... I'd never heard the original either. It's certainly strange, but you can hear a great and catchy song struggling to emerge...

steve simels said...

Moose said...
The single version clocks in at around 1:50.

Makes sense...few records in 1963 dared to go over two, and three was all but unheard of.

Johnny Vandal said...

Great Post--

Peter said...

I'd only ever heard SeƱor Harrison's version and enjoyed it, albeit with that generic Jeff Lynne sheen (why do all post-ELO Jeff Lynne productions sound identical?).

As for the original, I must admit that as I clicked on the Play button I was hoping the song was going to be given an R&B workout (I can imagine it chugging along quite nicely with a funky groove). Instead, I found myself mildly bewildered at the light calypso treatment it received. And why the banjo?

That is one strange recording.

I can understand why the single version faded out at 1:50 -- the full song sounds like two different interpretations that are separated by those weird backing vocals at 1:57 (are they supposed to sound like a choir?), as the song gets a little less calypso and a little more soul/R&B.

Nevertheless, thanks Steve for giving me the opportunity to hear the original.

Nigel Tufnel said...

I'm a little ashamed to admit this (well, obviously not TOO ashamed, or I wouldn't be posting this to PowerPop's billions of international readers), but back in '87 when I first heard that song, I was sure George was singing "I got m-my scent on you".

It puzzled me endlessly why the Quiet Beatle had recorded a song (and hell, I thought he'd written it) about getting his smell all over his love. Ew. Luckily, my wife sorted me out as to the actual words.