Savory Truffle - The Beatles

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"Savory Truffle" - The Beatles (1968)

"Savory Truffle" was written by George Harrison for Eric Clapton who had a sweet tooth and after some dental work his dentist told him to cut out the candy.

The song mentions “Good News” which was the name of a candy assortment made by Rowntrees - and the song virtually lists the assortment. They included crème tangerine, montelimart, ginger sling, pineapple treat (not "heart"), coffee dessert, and savoy truffle. Other candy names were apparently fanciful.

The backing track contains the predictable elements of guitar, drums and bass, but what you remember most vividly after the fact is the saxophone section which alternates between jazzy licks in unison, and syncopated mass chords. Harrison had the sax distorted to create a distinctive sound. He is the sole vocalist on the track.

The musical vocabulary is split down the middle between stylized blues and a more progressive harmonic style that makes you feel constantly on the move, on the threshold of some new breakthrough. The lyrics’ attack on the corporate establishment is set elegantly against the harpsichord and string ensemble.

David Quantick, who is the only person to write a book on The White Album, says:

“The track itself- compressed to the point of constipation- is something of a pop rocker. It has a nice sheen to it as its use of brass section is something that Harrison would continue to develop in his solo work.”

Following Lennon’s example, Harrison also mocks anyone assembling clues to solve this Beatles’ riddle. He sings, “We all know Obla-Di-Bla-Da / But can you show me, where you are?”

In his essay Postmodern Politics and the Beatles’ White Album, Jeffrey Roessner writes:

“With a self-assured tone, he offers ‘Ob-La-Di, Ob-La Da’ as a common point of reference—but of course, that song comes three sides earlier on the same LP. Smugly referring to ‘Ob-La-Di, Ob-La-Da’—and mispronouncing the song’s title in the same instance— George sends up those who want to find the meaning, who want to know the song. And being asked ‘where you are’ must seem an ironically rhetorical question after having already listened to three sides’ worth of the album’s radically eclectic contents.”

Adds Professor Ken Womack:

“In addition to its musical brilliance, the White Album finds The Beatles engaging in a spate of self-reflexivity in which referentiality emerges as one of the band’s literary touchstones. Songs such as Savory Truffle with its pointedly feature intertextual references to yet other Beatles songs represents a growing effort to imbue their larger musical narrative with a sense of coherence and continuity.”
 

 

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