It’s still a mystery how I Can’t Believe ended up 20% slower after less than a
minute into the Columbia studio engineers’ recording. The tune was going
along nicely until at about 46 seconds in it abruptly stops on the 25th
measure – a couple of scratchy seconds later the same tune resumes at the
thirteenth measure once again already under way and somehow having lost a
lot of its nice tempo somewhere along the line.
The second part of I Can’t Believe is veritably fascinating but not quite
the delight that is the first. With all its double-timing, it should be a
joy for the up-and-down-stroke guitarists, even though Charles was actually
down stroking the whole time.
There is, however, a tremendous amount of creative guitaristic activity here
– more than can be found on any other piece. Enchanting wizardry.
Nonetheless it is, of course, an absolute musical performance.
There are familiar phrases to be found here and there but mostly it’s quite
unique work not to be found elsewhere in his recorded legacy. Magically
enthralling stuff, to be sure. Could even be used as an insightful exercise
book by the more advanced students of the instrument. In any case, the
entire recorded track is a delight.
As the bridge of the last chorus comes in, though, the guitarist seems to
have become distracted or just plain lost interest and started skating. The
tempo starts to drag during the bridge and the tune just barely manages to
hold up till Charles puts in some chords to bring an end to the chorus. The
next tune, Rose Room, starts up and fresh enthusiasm builds up again…big