Thursday, July 17, 2014

I've Just Seen a Face

"I've Just Seen a Face" is a McCartney composition that first appeared on Help! in the UK on Parlophone, and in the United States on the Capital LP Rubber Soul (being the first track on the album).  The working title for the song was "Auntie Gin's Theme" since it was a favorite of McCartney's Aunt Gin, his father's sister.

McCartney liked the number very much.  He said, "It was slightly country and western from my point of view.  It was faster, though.  It was a strange uptempo thing.  I was quite pleased with it.  The lyric works.  It keeps dragging you forward.  It keeps pulling you to the next line.  There's an instant quality to it that I liked."  Other critics have noted that the song's "propulsion" that McCartney alludes to is achieved because of the songs internal rhymes, such as "I have never known/The like of this/I've been alone/And I have missed things. . . "

Music critic Ian McDonald said that the track "lifted the later stages of the Help! album with its quickfire freshness."

The song has been included in live performances in the span of McCartney's solo career.  It was one of five songs included in his Wings Over America tour in 1976.  He also played the song on the TV show Unplugged in 1991 and included it on his Live in Red Square CD in 2005.  The song has occasionally made the set list for his more recent tours, including his Out There tour (2013-2014).

The song has been covered by David Lee Roth, The Dillards, Calamity Jane, Holly Cole, The Paperboys, John Pizzarelli, Tyler Hilton, Jim Sturgis, and many more.  The George Martin Orchestra recorded the song as an instrumental.

The song was recorded at Abbey Road on June 14, 1965.  McCartney sings lead vocal with no backing.  Lennon, McCartney, and Harrison all play acoustic guitar, and Starr plays drums (brushed snare) and maracas.  It is one of the few Beatles tracks that has no bass.  The introduction is quite distinctive and features McCartney playing six string while Harrison plays bass notes on a twelve string.  The twelve string continues throughout as it punctuates the fast strumming of the six-string guitars with Harrison hitting just one string at a time on the twelve string.


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