Thursday, July 15, 2010

Billy Preston

A rather battered LP on the Sue label, a subsidary of Island Records that was released in the mid 60's.

Wikipedia says -

"Preston began playing piano while sitting on his mother's lap at age three, and he was considered something of a child prodigy on piano and organ. By the age of 10 he was performing in the bands of gospel singers Mahalia Jackson, James Cleveland, and Andrae Crouch. At age 12 he began a side career acting, and appeared in the 1958 Paramount Pictures film St. Louis Blues, portraying blues composer W.C. Handy as a young man. In the 1960s he performed with Little Richard and Ray Charles. He also began a recording career as a solo artist with the 1965 album The Most Exciting Organ Ever. He was also a regular on the mid-1960s ABC-TV musical variety series Shindig! as a member of the show's house band.

Preston is one of several people sometimes referred to by outsiders as a "Fifth Beatle." At one point during the Get Back sessions, John Lennon even proposed the idea of having him as the "Fifth Beatle" (Paul countered that it was bad enough with four. Preston first met The Beatles in 1962 while part of Little Richard's touring band, when their manager Brian Epstein organized a Liverpool show, which The Beatles opened. The Washington Post explained their subsequent meeting:
“ They'd hook up again in 1969, when The Beatles were about to break up while recording the last album they released, Let It Be (they would later record Abbey Road, which was released prior to Let It Be). George Harrison, always Preston's best Beatles buddy, had quit and walked out of the studio and gone to a Ray Charles concert in London, where Preston was playing organ. Harrison brought Preston back to the studio, where his keen musicianship and gregarious personality temporarily calmed the tension. ”
Preston played with The Beatles for several of the Get Back sessions, some of the material from which would later be culled to make the film Let it Be and its companion album, during which he joined the band for its rooftop concert, its final public appearance. "Get Back", one of the album's singles, was credited to "The Beatles with Billy Preston," the only time such a joint credit had been given on an official Beatles-sanctioned release (as distinct from an unsanctioned reissue of some Hamburg-era recordings on which they were the backing group for Tony Sheridan). The credit was bestowed by The Beatles to reflect the extent of Preston's presence on the track; his electric piano is prominent throughout and he plays an extended solo. Preston also worked (in a more limited role) on the Abbey Road album, contributing to the tracks "I Want You (She's So Heavy)" and "Something."

Billy Preston - Don't Let The Sun Catch You Crying

Billy Preston - Soul Meetin'

Billy Preston - Let Me Know

Billy Preston - The Octopus

Billy Preston - The Masquerade Is Over

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