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Beatles Unlimited ABCDE Reviews

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Abbey Road - It Was Fifteen Years Ago Today - Live
(BEL) 5050 UPCD G7-3 (2002)
16 tracks / 60:13 / 4-page booklet

In one of the earliest Cover Corner editions (BU 125), I reviewed their first two releases, the Now mini album and the Tonight 2 Nights live 2-CD. Compared to the latter, the songs for their latest live album were put on one disc, instead of spread over two discs and no song appeared for the second time. Recorded entirely at the Ciney Expo in 2001, the choice of songs is equally divided between early and later Beatles repertoire and were put in non-chronological order. Over the years, the band’s performance has improved and they seem to patent for more gutsy approaches and the set starts exemplary with a solid version of I Am The Walrus, featuring a different way of singing halfway in the song. Lots of long, duelling or weeping guitar solos are apparent in While My Guitar Gently Weeps, Sgt Pepper (with drum solo), Revolution and others. Only a few are slightly subdued versions (Penny Lane) and some are swinging rock ‘n’ rollers like I Saw Her Standing There and Long Tall Sally, which closes the album with lots of audience participation. (B.U. 183)

The About - Iter Itineris (Promotional Copy)
(USA) Windfall Music CD WWM06008 (2007)
10 tracks / 43:09 / 6-page booklet

With a booklet obviously designed after the Beatles White Album (a sloppy Xerox promo as opposed to a more neutral definitive version) and especially the Lennon-like vocals, this album Iter Itineris (= the road, route, journey) may be filed under the Beatlesque bands efforts as opposed to soundalike Beatles tribute bands. The About (being Vic Morton and Tom Gordon) offers original songs that include lyrics with religious elements next to love songs (As I Do Now) all played in various music styles. Besides various piano ballads, there’s a guitar-rocking Mesmerized and a country styled Tomorrow Today. The Lennon-ish vocals may be obviously intended, but every once and a while there’s a déjà vu of Beatles and Lennon melody lines: Breath’s intro is like Because, When Messiah Comes features Harrison-like weeping guitar and I Recall halfway sounds like the ‘Remember…the 5th' part in Lennon’s God. So you might say that The About would perfectly suit on a follow-up to the Beatlesque bands sampler ‘We All Wanna Sound Like The Beatles’. (B.U. 202)

Beegie Adair - Yesterday; A Solo Piano Tribute To The Music Of The Beatles
(USA) Green Hill Productions GHD5574 (2008)
12 tracks / 43:55 / digipack, 3-page booklet

After a series of tributes to Frank Sinatra, Nat King Cole, Elvis Presley and Fred Astaire, for this Beatles piano tribute, besides the oft-mentioned Beatles ballads, Adair also selected more up-tempo songs like Can’t Buy Me Love, Got To Get You Into My Life and When I’m 64. You can hear the Beatles melodies being followed both in different pace as well as with little excursions on the way - often variations on the song themes. Besides Adair’s improvisations in these ballads, the up-tempo songs are played in a very joyful, swinging piano-boogie way. Variations like these contribute to a more balanced set of otherwise somewhat too solemn performances. (B.U. 202)

Jonathan Adams - Guitarist
(USA) (1998)
14 tracks / 40:10 / 4-page booklet

It’s always striking to see that you usually find a Beatles cover version on one in ten CD’s you check out in record stores or on the Internet. Jonathan Adams released a solo guitar album, comprising of Spanish, classical and traditional compositions and indeed, two Lennon-McCartney songs: Eleanor Rigby and Norwegian Wood. His performance swings from subdued finesse to raving finger picking on all the tracks. The Beatles songs are treated likewise, when he turns around the melody of Eleanor Rigby and in between adds a few small improvisations. For Norwegian Wood he starts with a small new intro, then follows the main melody line and fades the song within two minutes, playing the melody in higher tone. (B.U. 183)

Montana Skies - Cello And Guitar
(USA) PMC4489 (2002)
14 tracks / 41:12 / 6-page booklet

Five of the melodies from Adams’ debut album return in a new arrangement on Montana Skies, the album named after one of Jonathan’s own compositions. Jennifer and Jonathan Adams perform on cello and guitar respectively, a rare but highly musical and enjoyable combination. Besides five of his own tunes, Erik Satie’s Gymnopedie #1 and another version of Eleanor Rigby (re-titled as ‘The Many Moods of Eleanor Rigby’), there’s a cover of Here, There And Everywhere. On the latter, the cello has the leading role and follows the original vocal line, with subtle fills on guitar, whereas on Eleanor Rigby, the guitar comes in the limelight, adding newly made melodies which match the original melody, backed by the dark droning sound of the cello. I’d bet an album’s worth of Beatles melodies performed this way would be an instant winner. (B.U. 183)

TheAfterBeat - A Beatles Tribute Band - The AfterBeat Version 3
(FRA) Promo DVD (2006)
6 tracks / 6:01 / no booklet

As opposed to the videos on their website, including songs like I Am The Walrus, Penny Lane, Lucy In The Sky With Diamonds and Revolution, this promo DVD shows a set of edited clips of early years Beatles tunes. The band, with a sound-alike ‘Lennon’ and a right-handed, blonde ‘McCartney’ can be seen miming to their Xerox versions of songs like Can’t Buy Me Love and A Hard Day’s Night and a harmonious This Boy. I’ll Be Back can be heard during the credits. The black and white clips have abrupt endings, so for a better impression, I’d suggest you first go and judge the videos and audios on the band’s website. (B.U. 197)

American English - 1971 What If …
(USA) CD-R (2002)
13 tracks / 46 :16 / 2-page sleeve

Since they released a live album of various Beatles songs, from She Loves You to Sgt Pepper and Here Comes The Sun, American English thought of a concept that’s been on the mind of many a Beatles collector: what if the Beatles had recorded one more album - which songs would have been included on that album. Therefore, they’ve selected some of the solo Beatles 70’s material to cover: 6 Lennon songs, 4 McCartney tracks, 2 Harrisongs (one co-written with Dylan) and one of Ringo’s hits. It remains the question if this division between all four composers would really have happened, would Harrison still have agreed to squeeze in just two tracks? The songs are hit songs as well as album tracks, and except for Cold Turkey, all are from 1971 or the year before, varying from Behind That Locked Door to Monkberry Moon Delight. American English first brought this set live at the Liverpool Beatles Week and were eventually invited to record it at London’s Abbey Road studios. The band perfectly succeeds in note for note copying the original songs: the instrumental accompaniment, the four different vocals (all very sound-alike), every scream, every backing vocal, the rain in Uncle Albert, whatever … it’s all done with accurate precise. And since there is no official compilation of these original solo Beatles songs, they make you strongly believe that you’re listening to a real follow-up Beatles album. A refreshing album in the world of Beatles cover versions and an example to be followed. (B.U. 175

Eddie Angel - Meets The Beatles
(USA) Spinout Records SpinCD020 (2004)
17 tracks / 38:54 / 4-page booklet

This is ‘the album the Beatles would’ve made if they didn’t write songs’, with Beatles’ favourites from their earliest live and BBC-radio repertoire (although I don’t know about songs like Buzz Buzz A Diddle-It). Anyhow, accompanied by the Hi-Risers, Eddie Angel rocks and stomps in 50’s style through those familiar So How Come [No One Loves Me], Don’t Ever Change, Sheila, Soldier Of Love, Almost Grown, Thumbin’ A Ride and others, as listed inside the CD booklet on a sheet of paper from the Hamburg Kaiserkeller! Funny as well, is that part of the instrumental in Owen/Dixon’s Love Is A Swinging Thing vaguely reminds you of the Beatles’ Boys and a tiny fragment of the guitar intro of Parker’s Watch Your Step makes you think of I Feel Fine. But that’s as far as the Beatles-links go. All songs clock in appropriately under three minutes and easily make you tap your fingers and feet. The final song is an unmentioned bonustrack: an instrumental version of I Remember You. Next time a full tribute to Beatles songs in 50’s style? (B.U. 183)

Michael Armstrong - Rockabye Baby! Lullaby Renditions Of The Beatles
(USA) Baby Rock Records CD 9626 (2007)
12 tracks / 41:55 / 8-page fold-out booklet

And here’s something for the babies to enjoy - and doze off - too. Although I’m Only Sleeping is included here, you’d possibly also expect Golden Slumbers or Good Night, but instead there are the obvious choices like Yesterday, Michelle, And I Love Her and Something next to Across The Universe and Strawberry Fields Forever! The delicate dreamy instrumentals are all arranged and performed solely by Armstrong, using glockenspiel, vibraphone, mellotron and other instruments. His New Age-like renditions follow the original melody lines without many improvisations and should really get the babies (and their parents) to sleep - since even Yellow Submarine has been absorbed into the overall laid-back, peaceful and warm atmosphere of this album.
And if this isn’t enough, there’s more in this Rockabye Baby series: from Eagles and Bob Marley, Radiohead and Coldplay to Metallica and Nirvana. (B.U. 197)
www.cmhrecords.comwww.vitaminrecords.com /  www.babyrockrecords.com

Avant Strangel - Too Out There?
(USA) 6728CD (2003)
7 tracks / 33:08 / 4-page booklet

With seven tracks this album may be viewed as a mini album, featuring three versions of While My Guitar Gently Weeps: mentioned as Guitar Gently Weeps, Guitar (dj mix) and Guitar (instrumental). Starting with a Lenny Kravitz-like intro, his fully new arranged version has bombastic, thunderous guitar performances, interwoven with a reggae-rhythm, merry synthesizer sounds and a generally relaxed way of singing - except for a few rough draw-outs, a rich instrumentation which is even better audible in the instrumental version. Every once in a while an impressive interpretation of a song comes along - well, mind you, here’s one that easily equals other versions of this song. (B.U. 183)
www.avantstrangel.net / www.IndieMatrix.net



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B For Bang - Across The Universe Of Languages
(ITALY) KML Recordings KML 1115 (2007)
18 tracks / 53:07 / 8-page booklet

Half of this album by the B For Bang collective, comprises of Beatles songs, including Helter Skelter, Julia and Blackbird. The other tracks are speeches, instrumental interludes and compositions unrelated to the Beatles. The Last Man On Earth, on the other hand may very well be viewed as a Revolution No. 9 - like collage of speech and instrumental sounds. The core of the collective, Katia Labèque, David Chalmin and Nicola Tescari invited various friends to join in, including Patti Smith as co-composer and vocalist in Notes To The Future. The cover versions are often unrecognizable at first (Benefit Of Mr Kite) or have only fragments of the original song passing by. Others have a new instrumental intro, distorted vocals (Helter Skelter), minimal backing on piano taking turns with heavier outbursts (Golden Slumbers), strings-plucking ending up in cacophony with monotonous though fine vocals (I Want You), speech added to the instrumental Come Together (a story about a military battle, which pops up every now and then). All in all a compilation that offers highly experimental renditions, in total contrast to the originals. It may take some time to grow on you before you deservedly appreciate them to the full. (B.U. 202)

The Back Pack - The Grey Album
(USA) Halt Music Co HMC 019 (1999)
11 tracks / 38:54 / 2-page sleeve

The frontsleeve design as well as the start of the first track (reminiscent of the Back In The USSR intro) already betray the band’s favorite inspiration. Throughout this album, various other Beatles references can be heard in the band’s own original tough guitar songs, written in their idols’ tradition. You will find a Harrison-like track (Look At Me) with beautiful psychedelic harmonies, Don’t Go Away featuring a Get Back rhythm intro, a Lennon-like piano led song (Keys To Your Castle) as well as a Lennon tribute song (John Lennon Is Watching Me And You). The latter includes various words and lines from Lennon’s repertoire and a vague I Want You guitar line woven into it. Being There is a true Ringo soundalike country tune and the final song is a joint vocals effort by all three band members and has the same fare-well feeling as heard on some of Ringo’s own albums, complete with a Hey Jude-like finale featuring McCartney’s trademark screams. (B.U. 178)
Internet :

The Badge - Live At The Cavern Club .... Plus The “Rooftop Concert”
(UK) Demo CD-R (2004)
15 tracks / 54:13 / no booklet

A demo album I came across during one of my daily excursions on the Digital Highway and this is an extra to the third volume of their Bootleg Series. This album’s special feature is the band’s recreation of the Beatles Rooftop Concert. The live performance of their own original songs also includes Watching Rainbows, but this is not a cover version of the well-known Beatles outtake. The concert recording suffers from repeated short sound drop-outs and audience talking during the performances. Although the singer doesn’t reach the occasional high notes (Dig A Pony), features like a prominent keyboard and vocals, that come close to those of an early Joe Jackson, Elvis Costello or the soulful voice of Paul Weller, add a great deal to a pretty sound-alike solid inciting and ‘swampy’ 20 minutes- version of  the “Rooftop Concert”. (B.U. 186)

Cedryl Ballou & The Zydeco Trendsetters - Let It Be Zydeco
(USA) Mambito Records MR 016 (2003)
12 tracks / 40:48 / 8-page fold-out sleeve

Three generations of the Creole Ballou family play on this album of Zydeco versions of Beatles songs. The album includes eight vocal versions (accompanied by an instrumental backing of guitar, bass, accordion, drums and washboard) and, besides an instrumental version of Ob-La-Di Ob-La-Da, three tracks re-appear as extra instrumentals at the end. The songs range from Love Me Do to Eleanor Rigby and Lady Madonna, so in general the usual favourites of Beatles tribute bands. The swinging music style alone is one that immediately guarantees enjoyment for every listener and dancer. And when it’s coupled with some of the world’s most popular tunes, one can hardly object to a release such as this. The songs all receive the same treatment, no matter if the original is a ballad or a more up-tempo tune. On nearly all the songs the instrumental backing is pretty basic, with tight drum beats and strumming of guitar chords. Fortunately, the most interesting contribution comes from the playful accordion melodies throughout each song. Especially worth mentioning is their version of Come Together, with some nice new melodious accordion playing. Halfway in Love Me Do and I Saw Her Standing There, the guitarist throws in his solos as well. The singing is somewhat even, without any thrills and the high notes seem to be avoided (as in I Saw Her Standing There). The three additional instrumental tracks have the same backing and accordion tunes, but an added guitar or keyboard, played by a guest musician, replace the vocal parts. Of these instrumentals only Let It Be features some extra guitar licks. So all in all it’s a pity that the band didn’t pay some more attention to making the instrumental backing and vocals as varied and swinging as the accordion parts. (B.U. 176)
www.neworleansproducts.com / www.mardigrasmambo.com

BeApple - Plays The Beatles
(NL) 2.007 (2008)
5 (6) tracks / 22:50 / 4-page booklet

This band was awarded Beatles Unlimited’s Golden Apple Award 2008 for their rendition of Fixing A Hole, with a surprising final part. They recorded five more songs for this mini album, including The Word, which can’t be found on the track listing but appears as an added bonus 6 minutes after Fixing A Hole. The album sounds like a vinyl pressing, with cracklings at the start and finish of each song. Their sound-alike performance on authentic instruments is omnipresent, including a powerful Sgt Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band. Their harmonies sound slightly uneven in You Won’t See Me but are astonishing in Blackbird (with acoustic guitar picking). A bold debut with a fine selection of songs. (B.U. 197)

Beat The Meetles - Live At Svendborg Theatre EP-DVD
(Den) BTM Music BTMDVD1 (2007)
4 tracks / 09:03 / cardboard sleeve

In BU 141, the band’s 3-track promo tape was reviewed as ‘their knowledge of Beatlemania and the Beatles gimmicks is well enough to create a true Beatles atmosphere’. For this EP-DVD taken from a theatre performance no overdubs and changes were used. With original instruments (early 60’s Höfner violin bass,  Rickenbacker, Gretsch) they perform sound-alike versions of early tunes like Please Please Me and Tell Me Why. Though not quite look-alikes, in their show they do mimic Ringo’s headshake and Paul’s perennial smile. (B.U. 203)
www.beatthemeetles.dk / www.cdskiven.dk

Beatallica - Sgt. Hetfield’s Motorbreath Pub Band
(USA) Oglio OGL89144-2 (2007)
13 tracks / 47:03 / 6-page fold-out booklet

After their two free downloadable EP albums, A Garage Dayz Night and Beatallica (a.k.a The Grey Album), and the cease-and-desist notice from Sony/ATV Music Publishing, Sony reached a legal agreement with Beatallica and their new label Oglio Records, and this official Beatallica recording was released. It features tidied-up tracks taken from both EP’s as well as new compositions, including Revol-ooh-tion, Helvester Of Skelter and Ktulu (He’s So Heavy), accidentally (?) versions of the Beatles’ limited amount of heavy rock songs. The band members names  as well as the song titles show a mix of Metallica and Beatles. The Beatles lyrics form the starting point for these metalized versions, with lots of Metallica elements taken in. To give you an idea: “Hey, dude - it's true not sad. Take a thrash song and make it better. Admit it! Metallica's under your skin! So now begin to be a shredder”. This is all aided by a perfect James Hetfield sound-alike voice (you have to like his cer cries at the end of some lines and the ‘explicit content’, as stressed on the CD sleeve). And it’s not all metal, there are occasional Beatles-like melody lines and harmonies, too. So the cleverly composed mixes are fun for both bands’ fans who don’t think too sacredly about their idols’ repertoire. (B.U. 200)

Beatallica - All You Need Is Blood
(USA) Oglio OGL85012-2 (2008)
14 tracks / 52:57 / 4-page booklet

Meanwhile, All You Need Is Blood was released, a recording of  All You Need Is Love, in 13 different languages plus an extra radio edit version of the English version, all translated and send in by Beatallica fans (‘Beatalli Bangers’). With versions varying from Estonian and Hebrew to Dutch and South Korean, this is a very funny initiative, with all versions shortly introduced by the appropriate national anthem. But can you listen to (more or less) the same song 14 times in a row? (B.U. 200)

Beatlegras - Beatlegras
(USA) GeMiDaCo Music LLC (2004)
10 tracks / 35:08 / 2-page sleeve

Two Beatles tribute albums by a trio of bluegrass and jazz musicians. The first is a full collection of Beatles songs whereas the second also has three of their own compositions tossed in. With such a varied musical background, their approach initially sounds interesting and their own songs fit in very well, since they are very Harrison- or Lennon-like. The beautiful vocals may remind you of Gerry Rafferty’s and are a highly appreciated element of their acoustic performance, which includes songs varying from Back In The USSR and Come Together  to Mother Nature’s Son, What Goes On and a medley of Things We Said Today and I’ll Be Back. Whereas some versions tend more towards one style, in a song like Eleanor Rigby, the different musical styles follow one another, with a classical intro and duelling jazz and bluegrass melody lines. Instead of all too much musical excursions, the original melodies have been injected by alternate musical fills and interludes on fiddle, bass, dobro and mandolin. To be continued, I hope.  (B.U. 192)

Beatlegras - Beatlegras 2
(USA) GeMiDaCo Records LLC (2006)
11 tracks / 43:06 / 2-page sleeve

Beatles Forever - Beatles Forever
(GER) Banana Rec. BFE 001 CD-R (2001)
4 tracks / 12:33 / 4-page booklet

The first album is already sold out and featured the band’s tender early years, with songs recorded after they finished playing small local pubs. Meanwhile however, their bass-man died and they had to stop for almost half a year to find a new replacement. Some of the songs showed some affection for a Byrds-like encounter of the Beatles repertoire, pointing at a promising path to follow. The trio then self-labelled themselves as ‘the smallest quartet in the world’ and so far released three more albums, all on Banana (!) Records. (B.U. 180)

Beatles Forever - Perfect Time
(GER) Banana Rec. BFE 002 CD-R (2003)
12 tracks / 30:00 / 4-page booklet

Perfect Time’s first half consists of live recorded songs of early years’ Beatles songs and Your Mother Should Know. Their acoustic drummer-less performance has some pretty enjoyable harmonious moments (a cappella There’s A Place). The second half of the set alternates between live and studio recordings, featuring friends and guest musicians, who toughen up the songs somewhat. You’re treated to new arrangements coupled with recognizable elements in all songs and vocals which tend to gently pass by in a laid back way. Main differences can be heard in alternate drumming (While My Guitar Gently Weeps), drums and synthesizer sounds (And I Love Her), futuristic synthesizer sounds (Norwegian Wood) or much obvious changes like a reggae-ish rhythm backing in Harrison’s You Like Me Too Much. (B.U. 180)

Beatles Forever - Carnaby’s Live World
(GER) Banana Rec. BFE 003 CD-R (2004)
16 tracks / 39:54 / 4-page booklet

Recorded with a small recorder, their Carnaby’s Live World comprises of 12 live performances recorded at various venues plus four added bonus tracks. The live songs, mainly taken from pre-1965 Beatles, are now with audible applause and audience participation (handclapping in Hey Baby / Things We Said Today). They also play a version of Tutti Frutti (mis-credited to Carl Perkins) and I’ll Be Back appears two times, the second one with much fuller sound. The bonustracks are more or less unplugged versions with beautiful harmonies in the partly a cappella version of I’ll Follow The Sun and you’ll hear new vocals and phrasing in I’m Looking Through You, which doesn’t satisfy enough, however. (B.U. 180)

Beatles Forever - Ready, Steady, Beat!
(GER) Banana Rec. BFE 004 (2004)
15 tracks / 37:33 / 4-page booklet

Contrary to the previous albums, Ready, Steady, Beat! has studio versions of both early and a few later period Beatles songs (including some titles which appeared in a live version on a previous disc) performed in either sound-alike style (Yellow Submarine, with the sound effects taken in, too) or in a very different arrangement (You Can’t Do That). The final song, And I Love Her, is presented in two parts: one not unlike the original and another featuring some added synthesizer sound effect and beautiful guitar playing at the end. Their instrumental performance has improved and most of the harmonies are again enjoyable, but the quality of the lead vocals varies and occasionally disappoints, because of little mispronunciations and due to singing on the verge of sound clarity. Nowadays they are a four-piece band again, and a very international one that is, with a German singer/guitarist, a bass-man from Strasbourg, France, the rhythm guitarist from Toronto, Canada and a Liverpool drummer. Let’s see what the next album will bring - a preview of their next album showed some more progress, but let’s hope they’ll select a few acoustic White Album songs, too (and please skip Till There Was You!). (B.U. 180)

Beatles Forever Band - The Very Very White Album
(GER) Banana Records BFE005 (2006)
13 tracks / 30:23 / 2-page sleeve

This quartet has now altered their name to Beatles Forever Band and released two more albums in their Beatles tribute series (see also BU 180).
Although the title of their fifth album suggests otherwise, they focussed on pre-Pepper stuff for ‘an unrealised project for impressive tunes’. The use of vintage Beatles instruments guarantee familiar guitar lines, harmonica, drum roll, and such, but now with a few more liberties taken in the vocals (I’m Looking Through You). In some, they have difficulties with the higher notes, whereas in others these are reached easily. Their sound, reminiscent of Hollies / Byrds harmonies (You’ve Got To Hide Your Love Away), may at times be neat and formal where you’d expect prolonged vocals or a guitar line. (B.U. 188)

Beatles Forever Band - Four Lost Before Ten
(GER) Banana Records BFE006 (2006)
22 tracks / 54:02 / 2-page sleeve

On their sixth album, seven of the songs from the above album re-appear and Here Comes The Sun represents the Beatles’ later years repertoire. Here too, they tend to give the songs a more personal touch with different phrasing or alternative vocals (Eight Days A Week, You Can’t Do That), while others remain soundalike (Tell Me Why). Twist And Shout may be too slowed down to twist properly and Roll over Beethoven has somewhat sloppy pronunciation as opposed to nice guitar melody lines in Don’t Bother Me and a live version of There’s A Place, with beautiful harmonious singing, accompanied on acoustic guitar. This all doesn’t need to bother the band’s productivity to go and explore the world of the more complex songs. (B.U. 188)

The Beatles Revival Band And The Royal Peppermint Orchestra - Live At The Alte Oper Frankfurt
(GER) Nytingale Records PV1350 (2006)
21 tracks / 73:47 / 8-page booklet

The result of a 30 years jubilee concert of Germany's long standing tribute band, The Beatles Revival Band (not to be confused with the two Czech Beatles Revival bands). The setlist is a reasonable cross section of the Beatles portfolio, with a mix of ballads and rockers, starting with Help up until the Abbey Road medley and even a version of Love You To! The band performs in turns with the orchestra and their announcements are mainly in German and occasionally in English. The orchestral accompaniments deliver a firm element (listen to the Yellow Submarine) in each version as opposed to the generally Xerox interpretations of the band on its own. Nevertheless this is a fine showcase of an experienced band performing the songs live, some of which the Beatles never played live during their career. (B.U. 200)
www.nytingalemusic.de / www.beatlesrevivalband.de

Beatles Revival Band - Pangea
(Czech) Promo CD-single (2005)
4 tracks (+2 video) / 10:01 (+5:08) / digi-pack

Another regular visitor to this column, that keeps on releasing (promo) multimedia packs, is the Beatles Revival Band from Prague - although it seems that they’ve altered their name to Pangea (the name given to the super continent 225 m. years ago). * Read the next review about this [Edit]
This time, their multimedia promo features both video and audio clips of Tell Me Why and Something as well as audio versions of From Me To You and Penny Lane. And indeed, songs from the later period of the Beatles are present this time! Moreover, their sound-alike performance underwent a real improvement. A small TV plays the video’s and shows the band performing onstage, in appropriate Beatles outfit and a backdrop of original Beatles scenes. Perhaps it’s now time to release a full cover versions album, with songs taken from the whole Beatles era. (B.U. 188)

The Beatles Revival Band Pangea - Tribute To The Beatles
(CZECH) Multimeda Promo CD (2006)
4 audio tracks + 4 video tracks / 8:16 + 13:09 / cardboard sleeve

It’s now made clear that there are two different Czech Beatles Revival bands, one by the name of The Beatles Revival Band Pangea, from Sumperk and the other named The Beatles Revival, from Prague. The latter has released various demo discs before (BU 174, 175 and 183), whereas Pangea’s promo last year was reviewed in BU 188.
The video play list of Pangea’s new promo includes videos of Help, Magical Mystery Tour, two TV clips: a Beatles medley of early songs and a short From Me To You and two audio tracks: She Loves You and Hey Jude. On a CD player you also hear those two plus Help and Magical Mystery Tour. It all indicates that they’re performing songs from various stages in the Beatles career. Their vocal and instrumental performances are authentic and convincing, also emphasized by their costumes and authentic instruments and if the ‘McCartney’ should try playing left-handed, the picture would be even more perfect. The Beatles medley features a 5th member, playing piano and percussion, whereas a tape of the backing instruments is used in their Magical Mystery Tour version. (B.U. 194)

Beatles Revival Band Prague - The Beatles Revival
(Czech) Promo CD (2003)
5 tracks / 8:50 / 4-page booklet

This band selected four early mop top songs from their live repertoire, for their promo CD, one of which (Help) is included as video track as well. The band, playing on authentic equipment and dressed in the well-known Beatles outfit, is aiming to get the best sound-alike performance. This effort can be heard right away and may be visible during their successful concerts, too. But when you listen more closely, here and there the sloppy pronunciation (Pride can hurt you do) and accent betray their non-English descent, though. Besides, why not give us a few samples of the exacting later period Beatles songs? So, to compete with most of the tribute bands, there’s some catching up to do in this respect. On the other hand, the regular update of the audio and video downloads list on their web site shows they keep on trying. (B.U. 174)

The Beatles Revival Band Prague - New Promo CD 2004-03-02
(Czech) Promo CD (2004)
4 audio tracks / 8:42 / 5 video tracks / 13:21 / digipack+8-page booklet

After their initial promo disc (reviewed in BU 174), this 2004 demo comes with a more professional looking concept. The CD booklet informs about their career so far, which includes TV performances, appearing at the 2003 Liverpool Beatles Week and supporting 60’s artists and bands. The multimedia disc combines audio and video tracks to give you a varied impression of the band’s output. Since their repertoire is focussed on the 1962 - 1966 Beatles period, they again represent themselves with four studio recordings of early Beatles songs. Compared to the first disc, the pronunciation is far better, which improved their performances. But on the other end, with the Beatles originals in mind, there are still differences to be heard in every song. For the video parts two titles appear twice, though from different sources: Please Please Me and Twist And Shout, whereas the Help video differs from the one on their first disc. The video tracks (on 10 x 7.5 cm. screens) shows some of their stage outfits, although for their performance at the Cavern, they should of course have been leather-clad. All in all, the band has gradually improved itself over the years and may lighten up a 60’s festival (like they did last year when they toured the Netherlands) … as long as there aren’t any requests for later period songs? (B.U. 175)
www.TheBeatlesRevival.com / www.thebeatles.cz / www.bands-and-acts.nl

The Beatles Revival - New Promo CD 2005
(CZECH) Promo (2005)
4 audio tracks + videoclips medley / 9:59 + 2:02 / cardbox fold-out

The band is presenting themselves regularly with updates of their audio and video output (see BU 174, 175). The multimedia promo CD mentions the band as ‘the best early Beatles act ever’, which explains the selected audio and video tracks - although it’s got to be said, that Nowhere Man can be viewed as the least frequent track. On your pc, a screen shows the band’s instruments on stage and the five audio and video options. The video medley of clips from various TV shows (CT1 , CT2 and NOVA) is presented on a small screen above this stage set. The editing of the video medley is fragmentary but gives you an idea of their stage act and the reception of the audiences. (B.U. 183)
www.bands-and-acts.nl / www.TheBeatlesRevival.com

Promo CD with video clips for PC
(CZECH) Promo (2005)
4 video tracks / 12:17 / no booklet

We also received a disc with four full video clips of some of their TV performances, including three from the same TVP1 show: I Want To Hold Your Hand, She Loves You, A Hard Day’s Night, With A Little Help From My Friends and one more version of the latter song, from NOVA. For the videos of the first programme, they changed costumes three times and the band can be seen dressed in the same Pepper uniforms on both versions of With A Little Help From My Friends. The versions of that song are obviously a welcome improvement of their recorded repertoire, which so far included early Beatles stuff. With each demo disc, their sound-alike performance and pronunciation seem to better as well. As reported before, more audio and video downloads are available on their Internet site, where information in various languages can be found. (B.U. 183)
www.bands-and-acts.nl / www.TheBeatlesRevival.com

The Beatles Revival - New Promo CD 2007
(CZECH) Promo CD 2007 (2007)
3 audio tracks + 3 video tracks / 6:53 + 7:26 / cardboard sleeve

It’s now made clear that there are two different Czech Beatles Revival bands, one by the name of The Beatles Revival Band Pangea, from Sumperk and the other named The Beatles Revival, from Prague. The latter has released various demo discs before (BU 174, 175 and 183), whereas Pangea’s promo last year was reviewed in BU 188.
The Beatles Revival’s latest multimedia disc includes Please Please Me, I Want To Hold Your Hand and Twist And Shout, both in video and audio format. The video part plays the three songs in one go, showing the band in concert, with other footage edited in (live at the Cavern, in the Adelphi with Alistair Taylor, during shows in various cities, with big screen projections of Beatles images, and more). This editing is done quite well; there are only a few minuscule moments where the synchronisation of audio and video fails. As on their previous discs, this band chose for songs from the Beatlemania years, using authentic instruments (including ‘McCartney’ playing left-handed) and dressed in matching early Beatles outfit; their show however covers the whole Beatles era. (B.U. 194)

The Beatles Revival - Multimedia Promo CD 2006
(CZECH) , Multimedia Promo CD (2006)
5 audio + 4 video tracks / 9:19 + 9:31 / (pop-up) digipack

Three more examples of The Beatles Revival performances, in both audio and video formats. As mentioned before in this column, the band seems to focus on the early years of the Beatles, as on the 2006 and 2008 promo discs Help, Yesterday, I Feel Fine, She Loves You, You Can’t Do That and Harrison’s If I Needed Someone were chosen for the audio sections. However, you now also get With A Little Help From My Friends and the Sgt. Pepper Reprise! For the video tracks on the 2006 promo, they picked four songs from the Polish TVP1 and on the 2008 album, the audio tracks re-appear in one video clip. Their presentation in various Beatles outfits and the use of authentic instruments already show their eye for details. This way. their instrumentation is very true to the original, it’s just the lead vocals and pronunciation that betray there’s a cover band performing, although they come pretty close to a sound-alike band. The videos on the 2010 DVD, with footage of three Beatles episodes: 1962-1964 (including Please Please Me and She Loves You), 1965-1966 (with songs like Drive My Car, Nowhere Man and I Need You) and 1967-1969 (from Sgt Pepper to Come Together and Hey Jude) originate from live performances at the Royal Theatre (featuring the ‘Queen’) and the international Got Talent TV contest. This total programme as well as their performance of songs from the later Beatles period on the two promo CD’s (including standing ovations) prove that there’s a very good reason to go and experience their live act. (B.U. 202)
www.bands-and-acts.nl / www.thebeatles.cz

The Beatles Revival - Multimedia Promo CD 2008
(CZECH) , Multimedia Promo CD (2008)
4 audio + 1 videoclip / 8:48 + 5:26 / (pop-up) digipack

The Beatles Revival - New Promo DVD 2010
(CZECH) , Promo DVD (2010)
17 video tracks / 26:50 / digipack

Fred Benedetti and Peter Pupping - Moondance - Acoustic Guitar Classics Vol. III
(USA) Guitar Sounds GSCD3007 (2003)
15 tracks / 54:47 / 4-page booklet

The third in the acoustic guitar classics series (previous volumes reviewed in BU 157), now with special guest Peter Sprague. Amongst the pop selections from the acoustic singer-songwriter genre, the Beatles are favourites (Golden Slumbers, When I’m Sixty Four, Michelle, Norwegian Wood, I Will) and two songs from James Taylor’s Apple album (Carolina In My Mind, Something In The Way He Moves). Within each of the tracks, there’s again a rich variety in guitar playing techniques, from finger picking - following the melody lines, to playing chords or additional new backing guitar lines. These techniques almost seem to be chosen to get the style that suits the songs best: a bouncing, joyful When I’m Sixty Four or a modest Golden Slumbers. In others, a special guitar sound is used for a newly arranged intro (Norwegian Wood) and sometimes additional instruments are taken in (piano, percussion, harmonica). Instead of haphazardly copying the melodies, the guitar duo brings in interesting new guitar riffs and bits of new tunes interwoven with the original tune. (B.U. 174)

Fred Benedetti & Peter Pupping - Good Day Sunshine - Acoustic Guitar Classics Vol. IV
(USA) Guitar Sounds GSCD3011 (2006)
12 tracks / 52:08 / 4-page booklet

In this new set of acoustic guitar versions ofpopular songs, their predilection for Beatles compositions is obvious again, with four out of 12 songs: From Me To You, She’s Leaving Home, Good Day Sunshine and Sgt Pepper. Some of these tracks show that the duo has left the ballads stuff and have encountered more up-tempo songs (Sgt Pepper features an electric guitar playing lead and has some tiny sound effects -applause). Besides the two guitars, you’ll hear additional instruments in a few songs: ukulele in She’s Leaving Home, Benedetti on piano (Good Day Sunshine), William Wilson on harmonica (From Me To You) and all-time guest Peter Sprague (guitar) on She’s Leaving Home and Country Road. Initially From Me To You and She’s Leaving Home start with one acoustic guitar playing the familiar melody and another taking care of the backing, with new musical fills related to the original, and after a while, it all comes back to the well-known tune again. Their predecessors (see BU 157 and 174) already showed progress in this way of performing. Anyway, I’ll guess it’s time to compile all Beatles cover versions onto one album… (B.U. 193)
Internet :

Fred Benedetti & Peter Pupping - Beatles, Guitar Instrumentals
(USA) Guitar Sounds GSCD3013 (2007)
14 tracks / 44:56 / digipack

In BU 193 I reviewed the duo’s fourth set of acoustic pop selections with .a predilection for Beatles compositions, and concluded by saying: “Anyway, I’ll guess it’s time to compile all Beatles cover versions onto one album…” And see what’s here: their compilation of most of these Beatles songs (six were left out) plus two unreleased tracks, Honey Pie and Do You Want To Know A Secret. About previous volumes (BU 157, 174, 193) I said, “All in all simply pure and intimate high-grade acoustic guitar versions, crystal clear recorded and enjoying the listener track after track.” and “Within each of the tracks, there’s again a rich variety in guitar playing techniques, from finger picking - following the melody lines, to playing chords or additional new backing guitar lines.” Of the two new tunes, Honey Pie has more improvisations, with added bass and guitar and the well-known tune popping up every now and then. The only small set-back may be the exclusion of the more up-tempo songs (such as Sgt Pepper), but then again, these can be heard on the separate issues. (B.U. 200)

Stephen Bennett - Beatles
(USA) Cimirron / Rainbird Records C/RR-036-CD (2005)
15 tracks / 40:43 / digipack

In his already vast collection of albums, this Beatles disc offers fifteen of their songs which Bennett reworked after he’d been playing them for years and range from early ballads to later years’ Strawberry Fields Forever and Maxwell’s Silver Hammer. His solo efforts closely follow the originals without shocking alterations or new intros; sensitive versions (In My Life) take turns with cheerful renditions (A Hard Day’s Night and the bluegrass-sounding All My Loving). He played various guitars (including two harp guitars and a 1965 Gibson 12 string) and has a technically perfect guitar picking style, taking in both the lead vocals and instrumental backing (even Penny Lane’s trumpet parts isn’t forgotten) - technically interesting elements which you’ll notice once you listen ‘between the lines’ of the lead vocal part. (B.U. 187)

Andrea Benzoni - Timing
(GER) Acoustic Music Records 319.1199.242 (2000)
17 tracks / 55:32 / 4-page booklet

Andrea Benzoni’s album includes instrumental guitar versions of songs from Stevie Wonder, Jose Feliciano, Tito Puente and some of his own compositions. Besides those, three Lennon & McCartney songs appear, Norwegian Wood, Yesterday and Lady Madonna. The first starts the disc and is played in an up-beat style, full of spirit. He takes us away from the melody, to play some guitar improvisations, which matches the original melody perfectly well. Yesterday is at first hardly recognisable, but once the original tune is set in, Benzoni plays the song right up until the end, only the final part has some improvisations again, on picking and slapping Spanish guitar. The third Beatles song has a new intro, a constant guitar slapping sound besides guitar picking of the melody line, including a small blues-line. His flamenco-flavoured improvisations, using various guitar playing techniques, frequent each tune and go hand in hand with the original melodies on the disc. (B.U. 181)

Das System Klaus Beyer Buch
ISBN 3-927795-38-0 / photo’s: b&w and colour / language: German / specifications: hardcover / published: 2003 / pages: 128 / price: €24,50 / size: 175 x 245 mm / index: no

Publisher Martin Schmitz Verlag had already published ‘Das Grosse Klaus Beyer Beatles-Buch’, mentioned in the Klaus Beyer cover corner special (BU 156) and reviewed in BU 163. Now they’ve come up with ‘Das System Klaus Beyer’, also written by Frank Beyer’s manager, Frank Behnke (with a little help from a few friends). The book focuses on the many aspects of making art, by following the career of candle maker turned cult figure, Klaus Beyer. In previous columns, we’ve paid much attention to one side of Beyer’s arty efforts: performing his own German translated versions of Beatles songs, including full Beatles albums in German. Klaus Beyer as film maker, author, performer, compiler of tape recordings or ‘fifth Beatle’, is described in all its details, spread over 35 chapters. The book should provide you with all the answers related to the origins of art. The majority of the fully illustrated chapters include coffee table discussions with the artist, the author and their friends on the many aspects of Beyer’s art forms (colouring, Super-8 films, video). Other chapters include excerpts from Beyer’s personal concert diaries. Most of the chapters have one-word titles, eight of which are fully Beatles-related (such as Beatles, Happiness, Lucy). In other chapters, various references to the Beatles can be found and are larded with Beatles- and related illustrations: Beyer’s cover-album sleeves, collages of Beatles song titles, features from the animated movie Geh Nicht Vorbei (Don’t Pass Me By), shadows-clippings of Wein Baby Wein (Cry Baby Cry), Schweinchen (Piggies), Amsel (Blackbird) and Ich Will Dich (I Want You), a cartoon of Lucy In The Sky (with the German lyrics), self-made Beatles puppets, Beyer photographed as Hauptmann Pfeffer (Sgt Pepper) and a press-article on Beyer as the 5th Beatle. It all reads like a scrapbook, with the interviews cementing the illustrations and clippings and thus suggests it seems anyone can make art as long as you persevere in the things you do. (B.U. 174)

Klaus Beyer - System CD
(GER) Amsel Rec. 3009 CD-R (2003)
25 tracks / 71:51 / 2-page sleeve

An accompanying CD to the System book is available separately. This CD is quite like the book, a hodgepodge of music, interviews, announcements and recitals. Beatlewise, the disc opens and closes with a 10sec. jingle of the original Paperback Writer song, a German translation of that song (a badly recorded live version), and a somewhat better live translated version of Lucy In The Sky With Diamonds (both sung over the clearly audible original Beatles song). As opposed to that familiar way of Beyer’s interpreting the Beatles, an a-cappella version of Help (also in German) is included as well - sung with Christoph Schlingensief, which meets quite some enthusiasm from the audience. (B.U. 174)

Klaus Beyer - For Fans Only (limited, numbered edition)
(GER) Amsel Rec. NO RAP 3008 CD-R (2003)
29 tracks / 79:00 / 2-page sleeve

This compilation, released for members of his Fan Club as a farewell gift. It is filled to the brim with various un-released tracks from Beyer’s repertoire, includes various of his improvisations of Beatles and related stuff as well as some of his own compositions, either recorded on his own or live and accompanied by befriended bands. There are German versions of two Harrison classics Here Comes The Sun (accompanied on piano and with backing vocals) and Something (with a backing band and sound effects that save the song) as well as Octopus’s Garden (in which surf music and sound effects of seashore or water bubbles accompany the song), all three for an unissued ‘The Lost Abbey Road’ album. And there’s Lennon’s solo song My Mummy’s Dead (re-written as ‘John Lennon Ist Tot’ (John Lennon is dead), backed by a repeated guitar chord from the original song). The German lyrics don’t always fit that well, and his uneven singing may sometimes even be called reasonable - meaning in the right rhythm and height (Here Comes The Sun). The ‘Linda McCartney’ tribute song tells about Beyer’s reactions to her death and how he appreciated that she has accompanied Paul. Hello Little Girl is the only one sung in English, backed with a Wooly-Bully intro, but is not the same as the Lennon/McCartney give-away song. The added bonus track is his all-time classic sing-along interpretation of Yellow Submarine, Das Gelbe Unterwasserboot, in a live version accompanied on guitar, done in a Status Quo-like 3-chords performance and starting with the infamous Birdie Song instrumental. These rare cover versions are a nice addition to your collection, but otherwise: for fans only, indeed. (B.U. 174)

Klaus Beyer - Im Radio Vol. 2
(Ger) Amsel Rec. No Rap 3010 CD-R (2003)
42 tracks / 70 :27 / 2-page sleeve

Various radio shows have been compiled on Klaus Beyer’s second Radio show album, and includes live and often acoustic impromptu versions, instead of the annoying ones with Beyer singing over a tape of the original Beatles recording. During these radio shows, recorded from 1998 to 2003, he of course played some of his Beatles favourites, varying from three versions of Yellow Submarine (one English a-cappella and two in German), translated German versions of Octopus’s Garden, Why Don’t We Do It In The Road, I’m A Loser and many more. One radio show is represented here because of the selections they’ve played of Beyer’s Sgt Pepper cover album, whereas other stations featured a commercial ad for his songs. For the rest, this disc gives you the opportunity to hear Beyer’s own view on the matter and how the media takes interest in this all (in German, though). (B.U. 176)
Internet :

Klaus Beyer - Rätselhaft Magische Tour
(Ger) Amsel Rec. No Rap 3011 (2003)
13 tracks / 44:31 / 2-page sleeve

Once again, another follow-up in Klaus Beyer’s ever-growing series of German versions of the Beatles albums, being the result of his well-known home taping and editing. A few years ago, he didn’t have all the songs ready when he made his own film version of Magical Mystery Tour, but now he’s recorded a copy of the whole album. The CD-booklet (at least its front page) is another detailed parody of the original Magical Mystery Tour album, with pictures of the artist himself cut and glued onto the original - unfortunately, there’s no copy of the original book… This time, it seems the original backing of the Beatles vocals have been put somewhat more to the back, as opposed to previous releases in the series. Klaus Beyer also plays some additional keyboard on the title track and the instrumental Flying. The track listing is the same as the Beatles original, except for the two added bonus tracks: live versions of I Am The Walrus (Hamburg) and Penny Lane (Berlin), each with a different backing band. (B.U. 176)
Internet :

Klaus Beyer - Ein Harter Tag
(GER) Amsel Records NORAP 3012 CD-R (2004)
15 tracks / 34:46 / 4-page booklet

Although Klaus Beyer doesn’t release his home-taped, self-edited German versions of the Beatles original albums in the same chronological order as the Beatles did, he sustains in his parody effort. On the well designed spoof sleeve of his German Hard Day’s Night, he claims being the four Beatles in one person and again used the original songs, with the vocals turned down to make way for his own lead and backing vocals. On If I Fell, it sounds as if he found a new acoustic accompaniment. The recording quality varies from track to track, with some pretty sloppy ones, when parts of instrumental backing is repeated over and over again or when his singing and the backing don’t sound well synchronised. Therefore, these tracks are much harder to listen to without reluctance, as is one of the two bonus tracks, the 1986 home studio collage of I Should Have Known Better, without vocals in the refrain, which is a real hotchpotch. On the other hand, the bonus 1999 live version of If I Fell, accompanied on acoustic guitar, represents him better as our Beatles exotic cult-figure. (B.U. 183)

Klaus Beyer - Helft!
(GER) Amsel Records No Rap 3013 CD-R (2005)
18 tracks / 43:18 / 4-page booklet

In his enduring effort to release all Beatles albums in German language, Cover Corner habitual Klaus Beyer now arrives with his 7th cover album, Hilft! a.k.a. Help! And again, he used the same formula, with a parody of the album sleeve and the tracklisting that follows the original. As opposed to previous releases, the original vocals on the music he’s singing along with, is heard only in a few songs. Besides that, there are harmonies backing the lead vocal, so that’s all an improvement. But instead, he’s been cutting and editing the music, at times in a pretty annoying, messy way (Act Naturally / Naturgetreu) and coupled with his ‘uneven’ and a-rhythmic vocal performance it’s hard to play and listen the entire album. An announcement and (a cappella) live versions of three album tracks were included as bonus tracks. Judging by the laughter on these, the people are enjoying themselves. (B.U. 188)

Klaus Beyer - Das Gelbe Unterwasserboot
(GER) Amsel Recordings No Rap 5014 CD-R (2006)
19 tracks / 46:03 / 4-page booklet

There he is again, with his latest release in his ongoing task to cover all Beatles albums in German and on the booklet images of Beyer are again edited in, as him being the 5th Beatle. The disc, which looks more professional than previous CD-Rs, starts with a new version of his all-time favourite ‘Exotic Beatles’ tune, Das Gelbe Unterwasserboot. The new version features funny German announcements by captain Klaus, whereas the ‘Exotic’ version, with the original sound effects, appears as one of bonus tracks. Klaus Beyer’s recording method is well-known and this singing along with the original song only works when the original Beatles lead vocals aren’t audible, so when it’s like he’s singing along with a karaoke backing tape. In each song, every now and then, he succeeds in this (such as during the first part of All Together Now) but then, his version of All You Need Is Love however is very fragmented and is as such a messy performance. The George Martin composed orchestral instrumentals haven’t been really covered, but were replaced by Beyer’s own dreamy, psychedelic instrumentals on keyboard, including lots of water sounds and occasional humming, with related titles like Wilkommen Unterwasserboot (Welcome Submarine), Meer der Freiheit (Sea Of Freedom). Besides the above mentioned extras, the six 6 bonus tracks, referred to as ‘side 3’, further include two announcements and All Together Now with family and friends and another ‘cut-up’ version of All You Need Is Love. What’s next - The White Album? I can hardly wait. (B.U. 194)

Klaus Beyer - Revolver
(GER) Amsel Records No Rap 3015 (2007)
20 tracks / 44:20 / 2-sided sleeve

Yes, he’s still going on with the release of his very own German interpretations of all Beatles albums. Contrary to what I’d expected / suggested in my previous review of his version of Yellow Submarine, in BU 194 (“What’s next - The White Album? I can hardly wait.”), Beyer issued two other discs first: his versions of Revolver and Beatles For Sale. We won’t discuss his eccentric way of singing and readers of this column should know Klaus Beyer’s way of recording these German versions by using the instrumental part of the original songs and singing straight over the original vocals. On this album, he succeeds in this only every now and then: in some songs you still hear the original vocals - which in my opinion spoils the fun of it. In a few the instrumental part is loud enough to sing along with (Got To Get You Into My Life). Again, bonustracks are taken in, including an unplugged radio performance of his own cover classic, Das Gelbe Unterwasserboot (you should know the original title by now), 1990 ‘demo’s’ of two Revolver songs, with repeated singing of the same line and a (German) live version of Here There And Everywhere at ‘Dutschke’ in 1994.  (B.U. 200)

Klaus Beyer - Beatles Zum Verkauf
(GER) Amsel Records No Rap 3016 (2008)
19 tracks / 42:20 / 4-page booklet

The same can be said about Beatles Zum Verkauf (For Sale), some of his recordings seem to work out better than elsewhere, as soon as the original vocals can hardly be heard and the instrumental is played much to the fore. A funny aspect in his What You’re Doing is that he seems to be racing against the speeded up melody. The extras include four songs from the album: 1978 home demo’s (including an instrumental I’ll Follow The Sun, with repeated ‘hiccups’) and two performed live with country-rock band Ron Randolf & Los Nachos. A final remarkable thing on the CDsleeves, is that on Revolver, he’s still one of the Beatles, whereas on Beatles Zum Verkauf, he has replaced all four Beatles heads with a picture of his own (taken at various ages). And what’s still in the can? Please Please Me, White Album and Abbey Road. What will be the next? (B.U. 200)

Tim Biancalana - Village Idiom / Tribute To John Lennon
(USA) www Press (2002)
16 tracks / 43:42 / 24-page booklet

This Lennon tribute album doesn’t comprise solely of songs but for the majority it features poetry reading, done in the same vein as the later Beatles Christmas messages or Lennon’s reading from his own books. Cabaret, sound effects (especially in Emperor Constantpain) or some instrumental backing - it’s all included. The first song, Doctor’s Office Blues, may very well remind you of the BBC recording of Chuck Berry’s I Got To Find My Baby, as performed by John Lennon. The song Samsara re-appears as a bonustrack. Biancala not only has the looks, he’s very Lennon sound-alike as is the instrumentation, played by a backing band - where there are echoes of Beatles or Lennon solo melodies and one song, Eat Little Sixteen is a parody of Chuck Berry’s Sweet Little Sixteen. The CD booklet has the lyrics as well as nice little illustrations - also made by Biancala - which are clearly influenced by Lennon’s doodles. (B.U. 186)
http://tributetojohnlennon.com / http://ttjl.com

The Bingo Kids - Sing Beatles Hits For Kids
(USA) Bingo Records BR2832 (2004)
15 tracks / 43:18 / digi-pack

This tribute not only has the usual kids’ favourites you would expect (Yellow Submarine, Ob-La-Di, Ob-La-Da, Octopus’s Garden), they also picked Penny Lane, Your Mother Should Know and Golden Slumbers. As said before in these columns, when it comes to children’s performances, it’s odd to hear them sing adults-themed lyrics. Fortunately on this album, the lead singers in most of such songs are two grown-ups, one of whom also plays all instruments on the album. Their vocals are very pleasant and almost Beatles sound-alike and the overall approach is generally in the same vein as the originals. The six Bingo Kids mainly sing backing vocals, but on a few, the children take care of singing lead vocals: Ob-La-Di, Ob-La-Da, in which the kid reaches some of the high notes only just, a low-voiced one in Love Me Do, somewhat bored-sung Yellow Submarine, various kids take turns in When I’m 64. At the end of the disc you hear the well-known ‘Hope we passed the audition’ line. As a matter of fact, they did, showing an example for parents who are afraid of a musical generation gap. This album gives each family the opportunity to all join in and sing to the parents’ favourite 60’s music - and as such it’s the easiest way to Beatles-brainwash your kids! (B.U. 181)

The Bingo Kids - Sing Beatles Hits For Kids Volume 2
(USA) Bingo Records BR 2180 (2006)
16 tracks / 36:50 / digipack; no booklet

As opposed to the first volume (see BU 181), all re-creations but We Can Work It Out feature lead vocals done by one of the 13 kids. This second volume is book ended by the Sgt Pepper threesome and a 4 seconds ‘Bingo Theme’ and further includes songs like Any Time At All, All Together Now, Across The Universe and more oft-covered songs. Almost all instruments are played by Scott ‘The Beatle’ Bricklin, who stays close to the original melodies. The main feature again is the kids’ fine way of singing, ranging from a rocking’ Drive My Car, a clear Blackbird, harmonious singing in Across The Universe to a few vocals that sound very adult. It’s again a good example for other kids to sing along with during long car rides and a further initiation for them into the Beatles repertoire. Also in this series: Motown Hits For Kids (BR 1949), with Please Mr. Postman a.o.). (B.U. 197)

The BlackBirds - Demo CD 2005
(HUNG) Private Release (2005)
10 tracks / 23:38 / 2-page sleeve

A new young Hungarian quartet, which follows in the footsteps of earlier Hungarian tribute bands, with no less than two demo CD’s. The first offers various songs from the Beatles’ early years, whereas the unplugged album offers twice the amount of music, being a hotchpotch of original R&R songs (Be-Bop-A-La, Good Rocking Tonight, Blue Suede Shoes), more early years Beatles stuff (I’ll Be On My Way, All I’ve Got To Do, I’ll Follow The Sun, In My Life) and a McCartney solo song (Every Night) and one song McCartney’s covered, too (Twenty Flight Rock). As (almost) usual, most foreign bands try and perform like the original Beatles versions, with mixed results - often with pronunciation troubles. If only they’d perform in their native language or add some more personal notes to their performances, it would probably be far more interesting. Although the BlackBirds selected a more varied listing of songs and play the familiar (instrumental) Beatles elements in their songs, this band is no exception in this. Nevertheless, their intention is obviously good and their audiences probably love their performance for being the next to real thing. Their version of Every Night betrays a more personal touch to the song (a slowed down rhythm, a cappella interlude and such). Do they perhaps raise the veil here of things to come? (B.U. 188)

The BlackBirds - Best Of Unplugged
(HUNG) Private Release Demo CD (2005)
17 tracks / 46:56 / 2-page sleeve

Julie Blue - Here Comes The Sun Beautiful Beatles Ballads
(CAN) Ancient Echoes Music AE111CD (1996)
11 tracks / 41:35 / 4-page booklet

This is Julie Blue’s first album without her own compositions and although she’s been praised for her singing on her latest album, Wing And A Prayer, we have to do without it for this is one of her fully instrumental albums. She already confesses her selections in the album’s title, so we won’t be surprised to find the regular obvious titles. On most songs, she starts with a short but new intro (Eleanor Rigby with a Tubular Bells - like intro), which usually comes back by the end of the song as well. On others, she leaves out a new intro and sets in the original melody right away. She has a lively performance and stands out in subtlety and clarity, in a song like Michelle there’s a new intro, followed by the melody line in a more solemn style and a classical ending. Besides the familiar melody and harmonies, she takes instrumental side steps and returns right on time to the original melody. Performances on instrumental albums must attract as such, without the help of lyrics and vocals and added melodies, harmonies and improvisations are welcome features. (B.U. 183)

The Boatles - Live In Studio
(FRA) Private Release Kapple Records (2006)
7 tracks / 18:35 / 4-page booklet

From the official French Beatles Fan Club arrivedthis mini disc, a “live recording” of seven songs, starting with two Let It Be tracks, followed by five earlier Beatles tunes. The trio tries to remain close to the original sound, without much frills. The lead vocals aren’t much sound-alike, and the harmonies sound just fine at times (Please Please Me). The instrumentation approaches the originals very well (check the drumming in Ticket To Ride). And since almost all songs are uptempo ones, it’s all over before you know it.  (B.U. 193)

BOB - Beatles Live Music
(GER) BOB (2005)
18 tracks / 53:02 / 4-page booklet

This second album of Beatles cover versions by BOB starts with the same song that closed the previous one: Birthday, of which I said in the review of the album in BU 168: ‘I would welcome more personal touches (as shown somewhat in the final track, a live version of Birthday)’. Besides this 1999 version, the other material is recorded live at the Landesgartenschau in Strasbourg/Kehl in 2004, with songs ranging from It Won’t Be Long, I Feel Fine and Chuck Berry’s Roll Over Beethoven to Back In The USSR, Oh Darling and While My Guitar Gently Weeps, so their selection of songs is quite representative for the Beatles career. Although it sounded promising so far: some more live versions of Beatles songs, in which the band could show more of themselves, in reality it turned out otherwise. Their cover versions of the songs are still faithful reproductions without much alternatives. Moreover, there are some annoying mispronunciations, indistinct lyrics and apparent accent (All My Loving, the French lines in Michelle, All You Need Is Love) or vocals that can’t keep up with the instrumental backing (Penny Lane). When it comes to songs performed with vocals and harmonies in higher regions (Yesterday, It Won’t Be Long), it all gets the more shivering. Unfortunately, their craftsmanship is only heard in a few songs (I Feel Fine) and for the rest, the above errors spoil most of the fun at home, although you can hear the audience judged otherwise that day. (B.U. 183)

Brazil And Beyond - Beatles
(USA) 8101-3 (2003)
12 tracks / 54:18 / 4-page booklet

The various Latin music styles you would expect on a tribute album like this are mentioned inside the CD booklet and vary from well-known Bossa Nova and Samba to the unfamiliar Afoxé or Marcho Rancho (to name but a few). The album shows a broad interest in the Beatles repertoire, from This Boy to Dear Prudence and While My Guitar Gently Weeps. Completely new intros can often be heard before the well-known melodies pass by (And I Love Her). Except for I Want You, with a voice-over halfway and during the final part of the song, the album is fully instrumental. The instrumental line-up is rich in variety with lots of exotic instruments, the basis for both rhythmic and melodic (bass) guitar playing backed by stomping drumming and percussion. Perhaps the performance of the ballads is laid-back (although Eleanor Rigby has a very swinging finale after a short interval), they alternate with instant catchy rhythms in other tracks, during which you can’t keep your hands or feet still. (B.U. 188)

Joseph Breznikar - George Harrison Remembered: A Touch Of Class
(USA) Sterling Sounds Music Co. SSMCD-03 (2003)
12 tracks / 41:26 / 4-page booklet

There we have one more George Harrison tribute album of both Beatles and solo songs, including the obvious ones as well as some unexpected choices (Within You Without You, Give Me Love and Cheer Down). Acclaimed classical guitarist Breznikar performs not only the vocal lines on his guitar, but does the accompanying guitarparts as well as the occasional special guitar interludes. Sometimes, he throws in a newly arranged intermezzo of his own, opts for a finger picking style as opposed to the original guitar strumming or weaves in the sound of Hey Jude (at the end of Isn’t It A Pity). As an intro to Within You Without You, Brzenikar found Louise Harrison willing to recite lyrics of the song. Here, Breznikar shows ‘a touch of class’, when he makes his guitar sound like a sitar, an admirable effort. All renditions are dynamic and joyful; there’s hardly a moment where you’d long for another album to play! (B.U. 177)

Vadim Brodski - The Beatles
(POLAND) Dux Recording Producers Dux 0386 (2002)
14 tracks / 38:20 / 4-page booklet

A hometown re-release of a 1986 Beatles col­lec­tion, by violinist Vadim Brodski & Warsaw Philharmonic Or­chestra, recorded in Warsaw. Way back in BU 126, another re-release of this album, titled Beatles Symphony Tunes Made Famous By The Beatles (‘given away’ by the Sunday Express), was reviewed. It’s an album of the familiar easy-listening songs, the usual favourites chosen for most albums with instrumental covers versions. Both violinist and orchestra generally stay close to the original melodies and make you hum or whistle along. Both Brodski and the orchestra get their prominent roles, but especially Brodski's mellifluous performances remain catchy enough to keep you entertained, if you're in the mood for easy-listening, that is. (B.U. 169)

Hal Bruce - In My Life ...
(CAN) Cavern Music CM-005-B (2004)
16 tracks / 44:03 / 4-page booklet

Two acoustic guitar albums recorded by ‘The One-Man Beatles Tribute Show-Stopper’, both with a very broad selection from the Beatles repertoire. On In My Life, you can hear him playing acoustic guitar as well as taking care of vocals and harmonies, with the main percussion performed by engineer Scott Ferguson. Hal’s vocals are in clear sound-alike style, although in a few songs, his voice sounds somewhat rougher (I’m A Loser). His guitar playing changes from strumming to guitar picking, sometimes both done in the same song, and when it comes to already acoustic tunes, he faithfully plays the same melody. Even the more complex constructed songs (I Am The Walrus, A Day In The Life) get the same acoustic approach, plus the added treat of  a brass part or various other sound effects done on vocals. The album is closed with a 48 seconds acappella version of Help in two voices. (B.U. 177)

Hal Bruce - I Will
(CAN) Cavern Music CM-006 (2004)
19 tracks / 48:50 / 4-page booklet

Although he again does all vocals, guitars, bass and strings, the other album is not the one-man band job like the previous album, since it features extra musicians on drums, cello and French horn. The song order is once more versatile and un-chronological, jumping from Harrison’s If I Needed Someone to White Album tracks and two Lennon solo compositions. The songs have the same rich sound, with nice percussion in songs like And I Love Her, P.S. I Love You and Tell Me What You See and acoustic songs like Julia and Dear Prudence are kept that way. There’s a Greek touch in Jealous Guy and I’m Only Sleeping features backward played guitar parts. His vocals are pretty authentic and in Grow Old With Me it’s as if McCartney is singing lead. All in all two very sound-alike productions that hardly bore or make you long for ‘something completely different’. (B.U. 177)



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Cab City Combo - Cabbie Road
(USA) Rubin Bros. Audio (2004)
12 tracks / 46:25 / 4-page booklet + inlay

The second CD, after Pork Side Of The Moon, released by novelty band Cab City Combo, in the tradition of Bonzo Dog Doo Dah Band and Frank Zappa, who are both featured on the Sgt Pepper parody sleeve of this disc, as are Screamin’ Jay Hawkins, Rolf Harris, Weird Al Yankovic, Michael Nesmith, Dr. Demento, a.o. They don’t just discuss (by way of singing and talking) music and music business, the songs are performed in various musical styles as well. Besides original songs, parodies are included of Ghostriders In The Sky, John Barleycorn Must Die (incorporating the Peter Gunn Theme) and the Beatles’ Bungalow Bill, retitled as Bungalow Bill Ad Nauseam. Of the latter’s original lyrics, only the title and the line ‘what did you kill’ are remained intact. For the rest, the new lyrics, written by vocalist Paul Rubin, tell us why they can’t get the melody out of their head. Banned By The Man says they’ve ‘violated Beatles copyright’ and states that a novelty band’s parody doesn’t devaluate the original song, but usually makes you go and buy that original one as well. In the new version of Peter And The Wolf, the (new) characters are presented and played as musical styles (punk, surf, reggae, death metal, the ‘sort-of-psychedelic-Hendrix-influenced-acid-rock-fusion’ and the burrito played as the Champs’ Tequila tune). To complete it all nicely for us, Beatles fans, the backsleeve shows a parody of the Abbey Road cover, with a chalk drawing of someone who’s been run over by a car. (B.U. 183)

Peter Calo - Here Comes The Sun / An Instrumental Tribute To The Beatles
(USA) North Star Music NS168 (2002)
14 tracks / 46:28 / 4-page booklet

An album made in memory of George Harrison, featuring the usual (give or take a few) Beatles melodies, played on guitar, strings and percussion. The main vocal line is generally followed on guitar, accompanied by violins and cello; sometimes the instruments take turns in playing the melody (For No One). On the other hand, musical variety can be found in some of the tracks when a new melody is played as an intro or the instruments fill in with various little improvisations of the original melody or an occasional fully new tune (I Will). Some songs were given a Spanish or Latin feeling (And I Love Her, Fool On The Hill), with acoustic guitar picking and the use of tomtoms, whereas others have a C&W atmosphere (Mother Nature’s Son, Blackbird). On the whole, perhaps one or two tracks pass by without any surprises, but then the others have just the right extras to get a convincing instrumental album. (B.U. 177)
www.northstarmusic.com / www.petercalo.com

Deborah J. Carter - Daytripper
(NL) TimelessCD SJP 473 (2006)
11 tracks / 46:53 / 4-page booklet

On this jazz tribute, jazz vocalist Deborah J Carter and her backing trio (plus a few guest musicians) opted for a mix of the obvious choices (And I Love Her, Yesterday) and a few not much covered ones (I Will, Fixing A Hole), as well as two medleys, the title track plus Trippin, a vocalese composed by Carter and I Will coupled with Here There And Everywhere. Another striking thing is that she sings the songs from a woman’s perspective, with gender changes in the lyrics when necessary. However, the main reason for buying this disc isn’t the track listing but the beautiful bright interpretations of the songs. With a gorgeous voice that is beyond dispute and the way she treats an up-tempo song like Day Tripper or a rocking Oh Darling by moulding them into her own soulful jazz or gospel style (With A Little Help From Her Friends) - it’s simply a delightful treat for fans of cover versions and sheer pleasure for anyone’s ears. And all embedded in exciting improvisations by her band, without losing sight of the original Beatles melodies - clearly made with respect and love for the Beatles compositions. (B.U. 192)

Cat Designers - Tomorrow Never Knows
(UK) Googlie Mooglie GOOCD003 (2006)
14 tracks / 48:07 / 4-page booklet

A 40th anniversary tribute to one of the most favourite Beatles albums and another one in a row of Beatles album tributes. Album tributes like this also provides cover versions of otherwise forgotten songs like Love You To and Dr Robert. In general, cover versions tend to leave something intact of the originals, performing in a Xerox style or featuring recognizable elements thereof. This reworking however is quite the opposite and just uses the lyrics and intently performs them with fully new instrumentation and drastic re-arrangements. Nick Troop’s creative mind has searched for inventive approaches, such as in his version of Taxman: the bass line from Taxman was taken by the Jam for their song Start, so Troop took the bass line from the Jam song A Town Called Malice for his version of Taxman. Just occasionally the vocals sound like the original (Eleanor Rigby) or the similar guitar line is picked up (And Your Bird Can Sing),  but in general the songs are remarkably fresh and sound like fully new, contemporary songs. Other remarkable interpretations include a guitar-led ‘handclapping included’ version of I’m Only Sleeping, a pub-song version of Yellow Submarine and a bluesy Got To Get You Into My Life. Anyway, Nick Troop (with just a little help from a few friends) has transformed them into often danceable, at times bombastic glam rock versions (featuring Mark Almond-ish vocals and sometimes Oasis-like accompaniments). It all goes to show that one can go pretty far in making cover versions, with the original lyrics being the only distinctive mark of the performance, set into new musical entourages. (B.U. 194)
www.coogliemooglie.co.uk / www.catdesigners.co.uk

Brian Catanzaro - The Forgotten Beatles
(USA) Cat Records (2005)
10 tracks / 24:24 / 4-page booklet

For this collection, Catanzaro has used the sheet music piano arrangements for some (not all) of the Beatles give-aways songs - with only Nobody I Know clocking in over 3 min., it’s obvious the CD uses just a third of its capacity. Catanzaro did not present these tunes in a really soundalike style and differ from the familiar recordings. But his unvarnished approach resembles an Alan Price / Randy Newman piano/vocal performance (especially in I’ll Keep You Satisfied). Nevertheless, his performance is quite acceptable as such and moreover, his suggestion to use his recordings as demo versions to give these compositions a better chance, is a worthy cause for this ‘forgotten’ part of the Beatles’ repertoire. (B.U. 188)

Chantal - Get Back - Beatles Strictly Instrumental
Audiophile edition, 24 carat gold CD
(GER) Zounds 2700060014 D (2002)
16 tracks / 54:38 / digipack, with 20-page booklet

Although the Chantal ensemble has recorded Beatles songs before on earlier albums, this is their first full Beatles tribute album. Their intention, according to the CD booklet is to play the songs as they are, without too much re-interpretations. So a whole range of instruments have been set in to play songs from various phases in the Beatles career. Love Me Do’s mouth organ is featured, as is  In most of the songs, various instruments (guitar, violins, harp, flute) each play lead at times or take turns in this, while the others join in; this way, the sound gets richer and fuller. With A Little Help From My Friends even gets a swinging performance of all instruments playing along the original melody and Norwegian Wood sticks out with percussion and bells being used. Besides that, three solo songs are also played: It Don’t Come Easy, My Sweet Lord and Imagine. While My Guitar Gently Weeps is included twice: a classical version, dedicated to George Harrison, with a gentle acoustic intro on guitar and a harp fitting in nicely, followed by the main melody, played on flute, guitar and violins in turns and the harp playing occasional melodies. The other version has the violin and flute in the main role, with guitar backing up and filling in with the ‘weeping’ parts. So all in all a very decent but instrumentally rich rendition of Beatles songs. (B.U. 174)
www.zounds.dewww.chantal.de / www.beatles.chantal.de

Chantal - Live At The Cavern
(GER) Zounds Music CD 2700060022 (2003)
14 tracks / 51:04 / 8-page booklet

A second fully Beatles cover versions album, the follow-up to Strictly Beatles (reviewed in BU 174). The set-list shows songs from various periods in the Beatles career, from Love Me Do and Chuck Berry’s Roll Over Beethoven to Magical Mystery Tour and a 6 ½ min. version of Get Back and as opposed to the first tribute, no solo songs were played. As we know, the Chantal ensemble uses a wide variety of instruments (guitars, recorders, oboes, flutes, violins, pianos) which all have their own prominent role in playing the vocal lines of a song, where others join in, take turns or stick to an accompanying task. As such, the peaceful, laid-back double bass plucking of Yesterday stands out on his own, while on the other hand, the use of electric solo guitar saves their performance from becoming a too relaxed New Age-like style. Although nine songs also appeared on their first Beatles tribute disc, their performance before a live audience at the ‘birthplace of the Beatles’ on 22 February 2003, adds extra dimension to these renditions. The occasional swinging performance on their first Beatles tribute album is now exceeded with more uptempo songs like the really rocking versions of Get Back and Roll Over Beethoven (plus a reprise). Must be a joy to watch people playing classical instruments in such a swinging and rocking way as they show here. Obviously, the audience must have had a great time that evening. (B.U. 180)
www.chantal.de / www.zounds.de

Chantal - At Abbey Road
(Audiophile Edition Vol. 6)
(GER) Zounds CD 27000 60030 (2005)
15 tracks / 53:15 / 16-page booklet; digi-pack

Following two earlier Beatles tribute albums (reviewed in BU 174 and 180), the Chantal ensemble released the above CDs and DVD, which all have the same focus point: Tell Me If You Can, the up till then unreleased Paul McCartney - Tony Sheridan composition, written in Hamburg, 1962 (although  other sources mention June 1961). With these releases, Tell Me If You Can is now available in no less than five versions: Chantal’s own instrumental version (At Abbey Road and CD single), live with Tony Sheridan (Meets Tony Sheridan CD / DVD) and at the Abbey Road Studios (CD single), two versions (Unplugged and Studio) featuring Geff Harrison (CD single). The instrumental version has a few lines that remind you of As Tears Go By, but the ones with Tony Sheridan and Geff Harrison’s sand paper versions that flavour the song even more. Except for Tell Me If You Can and (Chantal ‘godfather’) Michael Hoffmann’s composition Tandoori (a sitar-melody which is followed by a surprising similar performance of Norwegian Wood), At Abbey Road again features a broad selection from the Beatles years. There’s also a high percentage of McCartney solo songs, including Band On The Run, Ebony And Ivory and My Love (two versions, including one live track featuring former Wings drummer Denny Seiwell). On this album, you’ll find an ideal balance between the ballads and rocking songs, performed with Chantal’s notorious wide musical range of instruments - with individual instruments following the lead vocal line and others backing up. Prize winner here is a classy performance of Band On The Run in which ballad and up-tempo performances converge. The Meets Tony Sheridan album on the other hand is a mix of Beatles repertoire plus Tony Sheridan’s choices like Why, When The Saints, My Bonnie, Skinny Minny (also as a reprise) as well as rock ‘n’ roll classics like Fever, Not Fade Away and Whole Lotta Shakin’ Goin’ On. The DVD, when compared to the CD, has additional Beatles songs, including Love Me Do, Help, I’ve Just Seen Her Face, You’ve Got To Hide Your Love Away, Mother Nature’s Son, And I Love Her and the solo songs It Don’t Come Easy, My Love and Band On The Run. As opposed to At Abbey Road, Chantal Meets Tony Sheridan starts and finishes with the Sheridan-lead tracks, which are really rocking. In between, there’s a set of instrumental performances by Chantal, with up-tempo (Magical Mystery Tour) and more laid-back songs (Here Comes The Sun) taking turns. As said in previous reviews, their instrumental versions tend to become all too relaxed until more rocking songs or richer, fuller sounds pass by. On the DVD version (with 5.1 surround sound), the concert footage shows the musicians’ skills and enthusiasm and how well attuned they are to one another and, as said before, ‘a joy to watch people playing classical instruments in such a swinging and rocking way’. It must be said, that some of the Beatles songs which were selected for their first Beatles tribute albums, have again reappeared, but then in a different recording. Both CDs are available in standard as well as audiophile 24-karat gold format. (B.U. 194)
www.zounds.de / www.chantal.de

Chantal - Meets Tony Sheridan
(Audiophile Edition Vol. 8)
(GER) Zounds CD 27000 60038 (2004)
18 tracks / 79:28 / 16-page booklet; digi-pack

Chantal - Meets Tony Sheridan
(GER) Zounds DVD 2715000013 (2004)
26 tracks / 1:56:47/ 8-page booklet

Chantal - Tell Me If You Can
(GER) Zounds CDsingle 27000 60053 (2005)
4 tracks / 20:27/ CD-single booklet

Silvia Chialli - Samples Of Songs
(ITALY) CD-R (2007)
20 tracks / 44:12 / 4-page booklet

Way back in B.U. 176, Silvia Chialli’s Dedicated To The Beatles … With Love home-made cassette tape, was reviewed as: ‘a clear alto voice which at times shows sloppy pronunciation of the lyrics. She usually follows the same melody lines as the original, without any personal touches - as soon as she tries a new approach (Yesterday and the two ‘duets’), her singing gets uneven and whimsical’.  Now in a digital format, she picked 14 Beatles and Lennon solo ballads, starting with Yesterday, via When I’m 64, two versions of Imagine up until Good Night. Most of these songs are performed in acapella style, without any accompaniment and as such sound like being recorded in a big empty room. In some of these recordings, annoyingly strange squeaking sounds are heard throughout the song. As opposed to these, she used more complete backing on others, which makes When I’m 64 a frolic 50’s movies style song. Still pronunciation leaves something to be desired for and occasionally parts of the lyrics aren’t right. Moreover, the recordings not only differ in length (most around 1-2 minutes) but in loudness as well: just compare When I’m 64 and Here Comes The Sun. A few 50’s pop and Italian songs close the disc. In the end one may sigh that she fortunately refrained from singing along with a Beatles song. And again: please put in something personal! (B.U. 201)
E-mail: silvia.chi-at-libero.it


Silvia Chialli - Dedicated To The Beatles … With Love
(Italy) Home-made Cassette Tape (2003)
A-side: 9 tracks / B-side: 4 tracks

Silvia Chialli has extended her devoted Beatles fan life by recording a few songs of her favourite band. Except for a version of I Saw Her Standing There, she has picked out Beatles ballads, including an acappella Good Night, a daring but short A Day In The Life and Lennon’s Imagine. On two songs, she sings along with an original Beatles or McCartney recording, thus creating a duet with Paul McCartney - a thrilling experience, she admits. While singing over an instrumental backing tape, she also accompanies herself on guitar, with a clear alto voice which at times shows sloppy pronunciation of the lyrics. She usually follows the same melody lines as the original, without any personal touches - as soon as she tries a new approach (Yesterday and the two ‘duets), her singing gets uneven and whimsical. But at least, it’s a start … now let’s go and practise some more on the personal tinges. (B.U. 176)
E-mail: silvia.chi-at-libero.it

Danny Colfax Mallon - George
(USA) CD-R (2004)
13 tracks / 30:26 / 2-page sleeve

‘Harrison’s compositions interpreted on piano’, it says on the CD-sleeve, although If Not For You is of course originally Bob Dylan’s song. But nevertheless, D.C. Mallon took some nice songs from both Harrison’s Beatles and solo years, to perform on piano. And he does so in various ways: from a squeeking, light tinkling piano sound in Here Comes The Sun, I Me Mine and Give Me Love to grand piano in Think For Yourself. Numerous new and often funny little countermelodies (Piggies, I Need You) and bass lines (Something, Don’t Bother Me) accompany his piano playing of the original melodies. However, the piano boogie style in All Those Years Ago may perhaps be a bit too joyful for a tribute song, although as a tune it very well deserves such a rhythm. His version of Flying starts with a bass intro, which is joined by a light piano playing, which easily flows into Within You Without You, just as if it’s one and the same melody! Because of this variation in piano playing and new melodies passing by here and there, you’ll get an entertaining set of new interpretations of Harrison tunes. (B.U. 178)

Danny Colfax Mallon - Tragical History Tour
(USA) DCM Records (2007)
15 tracks / 43:35 / 4-page booklet

As a follow-up to his Harrison homage, ‘George’ (see: BU178), Danny Colfax Mallon decided upon an album honouring John Lennon. Included are his interpretations on piano of some of Lennon’s Beatles and solo work, Harrison’s Lennon tribute All Those Years Ago as well as a few of Danny Colfax Mallon’s own tribute songs and instrumentals (titled Liverpool Lad, Just Like John And Yoko, Serenade For Cynthia and Meteors For Sean). His forceful piano and keyboard playing differs from time to time and result in either a tangle of piano pieces out of which the original melody pops up occasionally, a cheerful I’ll Be Back (as I’ll Be Bach), weird sound effects and frolic Christmas bells in Happy X-Mas, woolly New-Age-like Woman and a boogie-woogie styled All Those Years Ago. Some versions are instrumentals, whereas others feature synthi-pop vocals coupled with a 50’s feel (I Should Have Known Better), an a cappella Imagine and She Loves You with a gravel voice, all of which contribute to a very personal Lennon tribute. (B.U. 202)

Jack Convery - Beatles On The Banjo
(USA) Banjo Jazz Records 004 (2005)
12 tracks / 35:11 / 2-sided page

On his website, Jack Convery has a recording of John Lennon speaking about his first instrument, a 4-string banjo. It is this instrument that Convery has mastered and picked a dozen Beatles hit songs for his tribute. You may initially expect an acoustic, solo performance, but that’s not the case here. He follows the original melodies using different playing styles with technical finesse (note for note finger picking and mandolin / balalaika-like strumming). All renditions are accompanied with (pre-taped) additional instruments, including guitars, drums, piano and orchestra (The Long And Winding Road) and vocals (harmonies in When I’m 64 and Here There And Everywhere or parts of the lyrics sung in Ob-La-Di, Ob-La-Da and Penny Lane). When he had chosen for a sole banjo homage, it would possibly have annoyed the average listener. Now that he has achieved a fuller sound, it’s more enjoyable, with that cheery banjo sound still in the limelight. (B.U. 194)

Cool Case - Recreation
(Fra) JFH001 (2003)
14 tracks / 46:06 / 16-page booklet

From France the self-pronounced non-professional but Beatles-loving band Cool Case came with this love and fun project: an album’s worth of both Beatles and solo Lennon, McCartney and Harrison songs. Besides an unorthodox choice of songs, the performances show some very personal interpretations, set in various music styles and unexpected arrangements. This varies from drum & bass backing on various tracks, an acoustic guitar-strummed For No One to the rock-a-billy Heart Of The Country, a Latin groove for Give Me Love or a combination of styles (I Want To Hold Your Hand). And all is played with a variety of instruments: strings, steel guitar, mandolin, clarinet and more. The lead singer, José Ferré, can hardly be called a sound-alike singer, but his way of singing seems to fit in quite rightly. At the end, two unmentioned bonus tracks appear: one short, silent track (!) and another take on Give Peace A Chance. The CD-booklet looks inspired, like McCartney’s Pipes Of Peace album, by Van Gogh’s Chair And Pipe painting, with ten different images of a chair. So, if you’re looking for some contemporary renditions of 40 years old songs, don’t look further and mind you: the disc is made available in a limited number. (B.U. 175)
Internet :

Sir Frankie Crisp & The Friars - A Gardener’s Songs Tribute To George Harrison
(ITA) Promo CD (2005)
7 tracks / 28:21 / 4-page booklet

A non-profit tribute album to George Harrison byItalian band Sir Frankie Crisp & The Friars, (bearing Harrison-related names like L’Angelo Misterioso, Harri Georgeson, Far East Man). The songs originate from various of Harrison’s solo albums and include one hit song (Give Me Love), an originally give-away tune, Run So Far and a demo version of All Things Must Pass - a fully solo effort by Sir Frankie Crisp. The band have a scrupulous sound-alike performance, both in instrumentation and lead vocals. In a few songs, you’ll notice bits of new musical melodies, but the familiar melody isn’t that far behind. The choice of not too obvious songs and sound-alike performance  make this an intriguing release. Of course, no-one sounds as wailing as George Harrison, but this band comes very close, which is why they were invited to the Liverpool Beatles Week Festival, let’s hope they’ll get the chance to release an official album soon. (B.U. 193)

Allison Crowe - Tidings
(CAN) Rubenesque Records (2004)
12 tracks / 46:47 / 2-page sleeve

Allison Crowe’s name appeared on Art Monkey’s compilation ‘It Was 40 Years Ago Today’ (BU 177) and here we have her own seasonal album, with some obvious traditionals (Silent Night, The First Noel, a.o.). The other somewhat contrasting half consists of two Leonard Cohen songs (including the fantastic Hallelujah) and tracks written by Joni Mitchell, the Stones and Beatles: In My Life and Let It Be, which also appeared in a slightly different version on the above mentioned sampler. In an acoustic setting, where she gently accompanies herself on piano (on only three tracks she’s joined on bass and drums), her vocals are the most intriguing aspect on every track. She easily flows from dark, soulful and firm to an occasional high note (Mitchell’s River) or long vocal draws (as proven in the final album track, a startling version of Sarah McLachlan’s Angel). By giving Let It Be the gospel flavour it deserves and with an emotionally sung In My Life, the two Beatles songs fit very well in the album’s concept. This all leads to only one conclusion: don’t play this during Christmastime … play it the whole year through! (B.U. 181)

Jenn Cuneta - Come Rain Come Shine
(USA) Ultra Records BLT 1306-2P Promo (2005)
5 tracks / 32:49 / 2-page sleeve

The title may distract you at first, but when a famous brass intro starts the first track, you know that this CD-single is nothing else than one of the latest reinterpretations of Paul McCartney’s Silly Love Songs. Samples portions from the original instrumental parts are used throughout Come Rain Come Shine, sung in true Madonna style over a swinging, driving beat. New lyrics were composed by Frank Lamboy and Andrew Wedeen, who as ‘Andy and The Lamboy’ also took care of production, recording and mixing of five different mixes of this song, all but one (the ‘Original Radio Edit’) clocking in around 7 minutes. In the longer mixes, the samples don’t pass by that much, but then again, this way Silly Love Songs - to some people a drag song in McCartney’s repertoire - gets a change to conquer today’s dance floors. Being the first time McCartney authorized one of his songs to be sampled, there’s perhaps more to come? (B.U. 186)
www.ultrarecords.com / www.jenncuneta.com



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D.E.F. Orkestra - Beatles Alaturka
(TUR) Muzikotek MUZ 0017 / Imaj 200101 (2001)
10 tracks / 39:26 / 12-page booklet

The 23-members group, a mix of classical players of the Istanbul Symphony Orchestra, and both ethic and rock musicians, fronted by name-givers Daghan Baydur, Erdal Kizilcay and Fuat Güner finally succeeded in releasing this album. With Istanbul regarded as a melting-pot of music styles, it was the trio’s long cherished dream to colour some of the Beatles songs with Turkish musical elements. And a wonderful blend it is: a wide range of ethnic instruments, well-pronounced - almost ‘xeroxed’ - singing (in English) and an unusual choice of songs (She Said She Said, Don’t Bother Me). The tracks start off with new intros, played on the ethic instruments, sometimes slightly reminiscent to Harrison’s eastern excursions. Once the vocals set in, the eastern and western elements almost duel for the leading part, but often the two seem to be well attuned to each other, with supplementing arrangements from both sides. This melange-effort is one that deserves to be followed: flavouring songs with your own original music style, as opposed to the copycats’ versions that seem to flood the market these days. (B.U. 170)

Nirantara Däsa - Transcendental Beatles Volume 1
Private recording
27 tracks / 79:28 / no booklet

Krishna monk Nirantara Däsa recorded this ‘labour of love’ and it is chockfull of Krishna-ized Beatles songs. He’s composed new lyrics, all based on Krishna themes, although in most of the songs parts of the original lyrics were still kept in. These are often mingled with new words or lines, sometimes a song even starts with the original lines before the transformed text takes over. Aside from And Your Bird Can Sing, which is sung in a slightly different way, most of the songs are performed in a sound-alike style, with fine clear vocals over well-accompanied instrumental backing of guitars, bass, keyboard and drums. At first it all is very entertaining and funny at times, but after a few dozen Krishna mentions, it tends to be somewhat overdone. The songs were taken from all the Beatles episodes, including not too obvious ones like What You’re Doing, The Word, Piggies, a 9 min. version of Cry Baby Cry (Jaya Krishna, Jaya) and of course this set concludes with a new version of My Sweet Lord.

Daytripper - I’ll Be Back
(USA) Skytemple Music CD02 (2003)
10 tracks / 25:20 / 4-page booklet

Day Tripper is a band that goes for interpreting Beatles songs in mainly neat Xerox style, with very precise pronunciation (which possibly make their versions sound a fraction slower than the originals) and only a slight variation in instrumentation (like in When I’m Sixty-Four). Their song selection (from various phases of the Beatles career) consists mainly of McCartney ballads and Harrison’s Here Comes The Sun. Their aim for perfectionism in pronunciation and instrumental accompaniment may be applauded, but I wouldn’t mind hearing an occasional roughness or personal touches here and there. (B.U. 197)

Dice - If The Beatles Were From Another Galaxy
(Ger) Scene Records 4620-3 (2004)
8 tracks / 55:44 / 6-page fold-out sleeve

With such an album title and an Abbey Road parody sleeve (and another one inside the CD booklet), this band soon got their media attention for their tenth album. As a first in their repertoire, in between their own ‘prog-rock’ (as they like to be filed under) compositions, three Beatles cover versions and a John Lennon tribute can be found. On these songs, the vocals follow the original line, whereas the instruments add some extra intermezzos in the shape of electric guitar licks and keyboard sounds. After the first verse of a song, a solo part by one of the instruments arrives, although sometimes quite unexpected. In Penny Lane, keyboard sound effects are included and the band also uses the effect of echo-vocals, by repeating a line of the lead singer. The tempo of each song is slowed down, evidenced by Fool On The Hill in waltz-tempo. The Lennon tribute, God Bless John Lennon, has some Lennon song titles and features predictable lines like ‘greatest man in rock’n’roll’, ‘you are the winner of your game’, ‘peace for all that was your reign’ and ‘love and peace - I wish you the same’. The same goes for their own original songs, which can hardly be called groundbreaking with some cliché lines and ditto rhyming. (B.U. 176)
www.scene-records.de / www.dice-band.de

The Digbees - Beat The Meetles: The Stinky Blackwater Tapes
(USA) CD-R (2006)
9 tracks / 34:52 / 2-sided CD-sleeve

For a music contest, the Digbees decided to do a Beatles spoof, complete with a fictive story about Stinky Blackwater, who would ‘most definitely have been bigger than Jezus’. A close listen to the album immediately shows the Beatles’ heritage we’ve also heard from the Rutles: a mix of humour and clever musicianship. You’ll hear them twisting Beatles melodies and lyrics and thus turn it all into a musical quiz to find out the right original Beatles composition. A few song titles already give a clue: Baby Is Black, Revolution B and PS Send More Cash - although the latter leans more towards Nowhere Man! The rest of the album further includes numerous references to Beatles songs as well: a well-known line, the Rickenbacker guitar or sitar sound, hand clapping and Hey Jude-like finale, right up to the CD shorty Stinky’s In A Pinch, which sounds very familiar to Maggie May. This way, the band creates an atmosphere that comes pretty close to the feeling that Beatles songs generally give. (B.U. 190)





DJ Axel - Breakin' The Law
(USA) Holden Records Promo (2007)
15 tracks / 57:38 / 4-page booklet

The images of all artistssampled on this album were put on the front sleeve of the album, which parodies the Beatles‘ Sgt Pepper album cover, hence the inclusion in this column. On this sleeve, Fergie, Snoop Dogg, Bob Marley and Slash take in the place of the Beatles. Of these four artists, you’ll find Salt ’N Pepa vs Fergie vs JJ Fad (“Push It Fergasonic”), Stevie Wonder vs Snoop Dogg & Dr Dre (“Snooperstition”), Bob Marley vs Lupe Fiasco vs James Brown (“Could You Be Kicked, Pushed & Loverd) and Guns N’ Roses vs Jay-Z. (“Guns N' Hovas). The remaining tracks are also some fine, danceable or just enjoyable mixes of other popular (hard rock, reggae, soul) hits with hip hop songs, all produced by DJ Axel, a la Dangermouse's The Grey Album, which mixed Jay Z’s Black Album and The Beatles White Album. (B.U. 200)

Doctor 3 - Jazz Italiano Live 2007
(ITA) Gruppo Editoriale L’Espresso CD J2_08 (2007)
13 tracks / 56:18 / digipack with 12-page booklet

In a series of live concerts, Italian trio Doctor 3, played the whole Sgt Pepper album on piano, bass and drums: Danilo Rea, Enzo Pietropaoli and Fabrizio Sferra. Their concert was of course full of improvisations on the Beatles themes, either fully unrecognizable or built along the original melody lines. There’s a frighteningly build-up of She’s Leaving Home, Being For The Benefit Of Mr Kite has an almost cacophonic piece, taken over by small ditties on piano of the original tune, Within You Without You has a prominent role for the contrabass, Good Morning, Good Morning features Latin elements and in A Day In The Life, each individual musician can be heard in his full glory and shows that they don’t just accompany but complement each other in each performance. All these varied approaches make the album an enjoyable event for both Beatles and jazz fans. A list of the band’s five favourite Beatles albums may suggest that they’re in for more - I’d be the last to refrain them from doing that. (B.U. 200)

Floyd Domino - Baby Road
(USA) Golliber Records GLBRD1 (?)
12 tracks / 32:08 / 4-page booklet

Although both titles suggest the inclusion of tracks from the Abbey Road and White Album, only Something, Honey Pie and I Will are included, whereas two others appear on the ‘wrong’ album (Good Night and Golden Slumbers). The ‘lullabies dedicated to all children and their tired moms and dads’ being the slower songs, are all played by a basic line-up of piano/keyboard, acoustic guitar and (upright) bass, in laid-back, relaxed pace. At times, the melody is slowed down (With A Little Help From My Friends to a waltz tempo) to get the easy listening touch. In She’s Leaving Home, slightly different tunes are played in between on piano. And of course, the obvious Good Night should finally send you and your kiddies to sleep. (B.U. 177)
E-mail: wittles-at-aol.com

Floyd Domino - The White Album
(USA) Golliber Records GLBRD2 (?)
12 tracks / 28:32 / 4-page booklet

Compared to the previous one, pianist Floyd Domino asked new musicians and two vocalists to perform on The White Album. In a way it seems as if these renditions were now intended to keep you awake, since the crystal clear singing (either solo or in duet on more than half of the songs) brightens up the whole album, and not just due to the feminine element. The piano and guitar (picking or strumming) each take the leading role by playing the main melody from time to time, with sparse accompanying chords by the other. Combining the often acoustic playing with the singers’ efforts makes this volume superior to its predecessor. And should it ever come to a re-release: the contents of both discs of course easily fit onto one. (B.U. 177)
E-mail: wittles-at-aol.com

Bill Donati - Never Like This
(USA) Marlia Music (2007)
10 tracks / 32:00 / 8-page booklet

This album includes ten Beatles-influenced original compositions and starts off very promising with the Beatles-spoof title track. The songs, recorded in Memphis in 1972 (!) feature, on the whole, no sound-alike voice, but the instrumentation, harmonizing backing vocals and the occasional rhythmic handclapping make the songs on this album Beatlesque in the way we’ve heard Powerpop and Britpop bands performing. Donati takes care of piano and drums, with help from three musicians taking turns on playing bass and guitar. On the negative side however should be mentioned that cliché lines were used here and there, such as: ‘Tell me that you stay, oh please don’t go away’. New Orleans’ is his own interpretation of ‘House Of The Rising Sun’.  (B..U. 201)
E-mail: donatiw-at-unlv.nevada.edu

The Drapes - Rock A Billy
(NL) Demo CD-R (2003)
3 tracks / 6:40 / no booklet

I got this demo disc before the band played during our wedding anniversary. We had asked them to play and entertain our guests because they’d already shown before they were good at  playing a fine set of rocking music as well as taking in some Beatles tunes in their rock-a-billy repertoire. On this demo, in between the Runaway Boys, the Stray Cats’ hit song and Stevie Ray Vaughan’s Love Struck Baby, they play I’ve Just Seen A Face. It  perfectly fits this rock-a-billy groove and proves that the Beatles owed a lot to the original rock’n’rollers. This music makes every wallflower shake and clearly shows that another interpretation of Beatles songs can be as entertaining as the originals. So I can’t see no reason why the Drapes won’t record an album’s worth of cover versions in this style, provided they include some Beatles songs, of course. (B.U. 175)

Dan Dugmore - Off White Album
(USA) Double D Records (2003)
12 tracks / 39:32 / 4-page booklet

Although this album title and the sleeve design suggest otherwise, only three cuts originate from the White Album (Blackbird, I Will, Julia). This instrumental album has the all too familiar pretty Beatles ballads, played on steel guitar and a variety of other instruments, all played by Dugmore, known session player for Linda Ronstadt, James Taylor and many others. His cover versions often start on acoustic guitar, and soon the steel guitar takes over the major part of the performance. And there’s the rub: with such a prominent instrument, you have to really love its sound, for else the solo parts may eventually become less entertaining. On the other hand, though, the steel guitar plays just the right weeping sound in a song like Something and in some of the songs there’s some alternative playing as well. And added features such as the inclusion of mandolin riffs, harmonica and mouth harp (as in Fool On The Hill) fortunately ensure some more variety on this album. So in the end this all makes it the worthy CD you might expect from a dyed-in-the-wool session player like Dugmore. (B.U. 178)
Internet :

The Dutch Meanies - The Dutch Meanies
(NL) CD-R (2002)
13 (+2 hidden) tracks / 45:18 / 12-page booklet

The main live act on Beatles Unlimited’s Beatles convention in 2005. The disc starts with the announcement made before their live gig at the Cavern, but nearly all songs are studio recordings: only the two hidden tracks (And I Love Her and Girl) were played before a noisy audience. There are tracks taken from various phases of the Beatles era, from up-tempo songs like Taxman, She Said, She Said to an intimate Dear Prudence. Although the alternating lead vocals aren’t sound-alike, most are reasonably pleasant, whereas others are largely compensated by detailed instrumental backing and vocal harmonies, which both come close to the originals. When you listen more closely, some of their own little additions and clean sounding drums is apparent. Clearly a band with a passion for Beatles music, who carefully sifts out video clips of Beatles songs to find the right chords and perform to share this enthusiasm with their audience, without any dressing-up as done by many look-alike Beatles tribute bands. (B.U. 183)
E-mail: n.wester-at-chello.nl



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Mark Easley - Best Of
(USA) GoldHat Music (2004)
16 tracks / 52:22 / 4-page booklet

Mark Easley’s website includes a broad collection of downloadable cover versions of favourite pop songs. This compilation of him includes the biggest hits as voted by the fans at his website in 2003, plus a parody of Ruby (Don’t Take Your Love To The Pound) about his two dogs and two new original songs, dedicated to his wife and son. The voted tracks include compositions by Eric Clapton, U2, Gordon Lightfoot, three John Denver-related songs, and four Beatles tunes: In My Life, Blackbird, Dear Prudence and Here Comes The Sun. He performs the songs in the same way as the originals and plays a pretty well acoustic guitar on all the tracks, with some added (rhythm) instruments here and there. In most of the songs, his country-flavoured voice moves from the middle regions to the higher notes (at the end of In My Life) and gives a psychedelic touch to Dear Prudence. But his way of singing seems to fit the Denver songs the best - his Annie’s Song version is very sound-alike. Three more Beatles cover versions can be found on his website, ready for download. (B.U. 183)
www.goldhat.net / www.sketch3.jp/eng

Easy Star All-Stars - Easy Star’s Lonely Hearts Dub Band
(USA) Easy Star Records ES-1018 (2009)
13 tracks / 49:08 / digipack

The Trojan label already gave us a 3-disc set of reggae versions, but this one focuses on one album. After successful reggae versions of two other classic pop albums, Pink Floyd’s Dark Side Of The Moon and Radiohead’s OK Computer, it was time for the Easy Star collective, e.g. Michael Goldwasser, to shoot their arrows on Sgt Pepper. The ‘reggae re-imagining’ result is widely covered by the media and was followed by a world tour, too. Whenever a Beatles album is encountered with another music style, it will get my attention, and this album is certainly no exception to this. Each song features a special vocalist from the reggae and dub scene, including Max Romeo, Sugar Minot, Steel Pulse and members of Black Uhuru, Third World and English Beat. Usually two Sgt Pepper album tracks are the first to be judged: Within You Without You and A Day In The Life and they don’t disappoint, especially the treatment of the first is fantastic. Some remain close to the original, but besides the alternate rhythm, there are various treats and funny little alterations like "dragged my hand through my dreads" in A Day In The Life, the inclusion of the reggae alternate of the not much covered ‘inner groove’ at the end of the album and the two ‘Extended Dub Mix’ versions of Fixing A Hole and When I’m 64. The CD has a digicard for two free dub downloads from the album: With A Little Dub From My Friends and Kaleidoscope Dub. Vinyl collectors will like the LP version, which has the added bonus of the first single, containing “With A Little Dub From My Friends,” featuring U Roy, and “Fixing A Dub,” featuring Max Romeo. (B.U. 200)
www.easystar.com / www.bertus.com

John Egniz Connection - Blackbird
(GER) Merkton MER 890000 (1998)
20 tracks / 52:47 / 4-page booklet

Another instrumental album from the same company is Johnn Egniz’s Blackbird, featuring accordeon, guitar, dobro and keyboards plus an occasional brass instrument on specific songs. An accordeon is usually one of those instruments which immediately defines a pleasant atmosphere for both the audience and the performers. Besides the original melody lines closely followed by the accordeon, small elements were added to give an extra touch to a song (rhythmic flamenco hand clapping in And I Love Her, gushing sighs in Girl, a new intro, as in We can Work It Out, acoustic guitar with accompanying bird sounds throughout Blackbird or Yellow Submarine with splashing sounds). Although in some fo the songs, the (new) intro as well as the original melody is played on keyboard, the accordeon often takes over (With A Little Help From My Friends) or already has the lead in most of the songs. And finally, sitar sounds appear in Norwegian wood and there’s a reggae-ish intro for Ob-La-Di, Ob-La-Da and Michelle in waltz tempo is of course the ultimate Beatles song to be covered on accordeon, it all closes off with the sound of a little music box. Enough variety to excite, I’d say. (B.U. 177)

Electric Sound Orchestra - Meets The Beatles
(FRA) Magic Records 3930444 (2005)
24 tracks / 57:54 / digipack

From the company that released Denny Laine’s Holly Days on CD this all-instrumental home studio recording arrived, performed by Martial Martinay, disguised as the Electric Sound Orchestra. He chose to pick the songs he preferred most: taken mainly from Hard Day’s Night (5), Help (4), Rubber Soul (3) and Revolver (4) and only five post-Pepper tunes. The tracks are all neatly placed in chronological order and all but one track (Penny Lane) clock in under 3 minutes. Multi-instrumentalists and one-man bands are usually in particular favour and by playing a dozen instruments (including Rickenbacker guitars and Hofner violin bass), Martinay did an admirable job. This way he’s produced a rich, full instrumental sound, although the 12 string Rickenbacker takes the most prominent role since it’s set in to replace the Beatles’ vocals. That Byrds guitar sound might overrule these instrumental renditions but other instruments like strings, tambourine, pipes and drums, fortunately contribute to finesses found in harmonizing accompaniment. (B.U. 181)

Electric Sound Orchestra - Meets The Beatles, The Hollies, Dave Clark Five and The Shadows
(FRA) Magic Records MAM 113 (2006)
20 tracks / 48:37 / cardboard sleeve

The same company released this compilation of theEelctronic Sound Orchestra (alias of Magic Records founder Martial Martinay) performing songs of the Beatles (6), the Hollies (6), Dave Clark Five (4) and the Shadows (4). Three Beatles tracks already appeared on the Electric Sound Orchestra Meets The Beatles CD, reviewed in BU 181: ‘Martinay did an admirable job. This way he’s produced a rich, full instrumental sound, although the 12 string Rickenbacker takes the most prominent role since it’s set in to replace the Beatles’ vocals. That Byrds guitar sound might overrule these instrumental renditions but other instruments like strings, tambourine, pipes and drums, fortunately contribute to finesses found in harmonizing accompaniment.’ The new Beatles ones are not much covered tunes like PS I Love You, The Word and I’ve Just Seen A Face. The same applies to the other bands’ songs, as only Bus Stop and Catch Us If You Can were hits for the Hollies and Dave Clark Five respectively, whereas the Shadows instrumentals are all but one well-known tunes. It’s an admirable job taking unfamiliar tunes instead of going for the obvious. On all these renditions, we hear Martinay performing on different instruments (including guitars, keyboards, percussion, banjo, strings and more) without losing track of the sound of each original band and that 60’s atmosphere. (B.U. 193)

Bob Evans - 4 On 6
(CAN) Acoustic Tone Music ATDC003 (2007)
12 tracks / 34:24 / cardboard sleeve, 4-page booklet

‘A celebration of The Beatles Songbook’, Evans callshis first album of mainly instrumental versions of (except for Blackbird and Rain) early Beatles compositions. His approach is very diverse, using various guitar playing techniques and improvisations, as found in new melodies taken in Norwegian Wood, a modest, light version of Help!, Paul Simon’s Anji woven into All My Loving, a bluesy Things We Said Today and even added vocals and lyrics-play in She’s A Woman. The pleasure he apparently had in playing clearly enravishes each listener. (B.U. 203)

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