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Kampanella : Is White
(GER) no label (2008)
CD1: 17 tracks / 42:17 / CD2: 13 tracks / 45:17 / poster / DVD-box package

With this 2CD, AG Schellheimer (Kampanella Is Dead) paid tribute to the 40 years old Beatles’ White Album,  complete with a similar poster, but without four separate pictures of the band members (because they have more members?). According to the liner notes, ‘strings, tractors, horses, bagpipes and exotic wind instruments’ make this tribute a ‘lo-fi, village-folk, punk production’. So don’t expect a Xerox copy of that album here, instead there is an a-capella Mother Nature’s Son, with added sound of medieval instruments, reggae versions of Cry Baby Cry (plus computer game bleeps at the end) and  I’m So Tired, pronounced singing (Sexy Sadie), repetitive lyrics by the backing vocals (Blackbird  and Everybody’s Got Something To Hide...), the Beach Boys’ I Get Around woven into Dear Prudence,  a duet in ballad-like style of Ob-La-Di, Ob-La-Da, waltz parts in While My Guitar Gently Weeps and Happiness Is A Warm Gun and their version of Revolution 9 is even more accessible than its original - and (too) many more surprising details to mention about this very welcome tribute. (B.U. 203)

Kayler - Across The Universe
(USA) Mei 1573-1 (2000)
10 tracks / 25:54 / 2-page sleeve

A instrumental tribute album, played solely by professional guitarist Bryun Kayler. Besides some obvious Beatles acoustics, Here There And Everywhere and Yesterday, Kayler also opted for some uptempo, rocking songs: A Hard Day’s Night and Please Please Me as well as some later-years Beatles compositions like Across The Universe. By way of finger-picking, he follows the original melody lines accurately and tosses in some chords, Flamenco-like strumming and bass-accompaniment, all recorded without any overdubs. As such he shows his very own authentic guitar playing techniques, which culminate in his performance of A Day In the Life, a proof of why he’s earned himself the title of ‘ Guitarist Extraordinaire’. Just one alas: the ten tracks are over before you know it, since most of the songs are just around 2 minutes, which use only 1/3 of the CD. (B.U. 186)

Steven King - Beatle-Ing 5 It’s Alive!!!
(USA) KM-CD29 CD-R (2003)
15 tracks / 50 :03 / 2-page sleeve

Although the fourth issue from this series, was subtitled “That’s it! No More!”, King again released two more releases (with colourful sleeves by Yoshi Imamura) from his series of instrumental Beatles songs played on acoustic guitar (previous issues reviewed in BU 167). The repertoire is taken from various phases of the Beatles era, including a few Harrison compositions and not much covered songs like The Night Before, You Won’t See Me and Honey Pie. With a vast output like this series, obviously one has to take in ‘uncommon’ songs as well, but King has done so on all his Beatle-Ing discs. What’s been said before about his guitar playing on the previous versions applies here too: “you hear a full spectrum with the leading melody, the bass line backing, harmony chords and some twiddley bits in between as countermelodies: all set in for a highly enjoyable listening experience.” There’s ‘no overdubbing’, he’s solely playing both the vocal line and instrumental backing, and often maintains the original tempo of each tune. You hardly notice any pauses, for new melodies fill up the space everywhere. Various guitar playing techniques throughout each track make it all a cheerful, enchanted performance, whereas songs like Because, Long Long Long, Mother Nature’s Son and Sun King still get their intimate approach. On Harrison’s Love You To, he remarkably succeeds in perfectly copying the Eastern instruments on his Taylor guitar, showing it’s not without reason that he’s been voted USA National Solo Fingerstyle Guitar Champion. In other songs, he has included some of the original elements, like the ‘She Loves You’ part in All You Need Is Love (although I missed the Marsaillaise …). This leaves only one question: will these two volumes be the final ones in the series or will he go on until he’s done them all?
For die-hard fans there’s a re-release of the first volume in this series. It brings up the quality of 15 of the 19 tracks, to match the other five CD’s, with added ‘bass expansion’ (refers to the use of an extra pickup signal from 5th and 6th strings sent to octave-lowering electronics. This system is used on most of King's solo guitar CDs, and sounds like there is a walking upright bass player accompanying the solo guitar). (B.U. 174)

Steven King - Beatle-Ing 6 Just For Kicks
(USA) S KMCD 30 CD-R (2003)
15 tracks / 47:30 / 2-page sleeve

Steven King - Beatle-Ing 7
(USA) SKMCD33 (2004)
19 tracks / 53:54 / 2-page sleeve

After no less than six releases in this series, we can say we’re quite familiar with Steven King’s Beatles repertoire (check out BU 167 and 174) and this is his latest and last instrumental Beatle-Ing release, subtitled ‘From Earth & Heaven’. The songs are once again selected from various Beatles years and also include three Harrison songs (Taxman, I Me Mine, Don’t Bother Me), and Ringo’s Octopus’s Garden. In all his rich and complex solo renditions there’s so much to be discovered that you’d simply forget about the lyrics. All due to the various riffs and extras added to the original melody lines, which are played to the full: lead vocals and backing melody. Occasionally, King sticks to a more basic approach with ‘just’ the melody and accompanying basslines (There’s A Place) or seemingly simple chords plucking (Come Together). His acoustic versions move from laid-back to joyful up-tempo tunes and at times a bluesy atmosphere (halfway in I’m Down) passes by. And The End obviously is the right decision as this final album’s last track. And what a finale it is, with the well-known electric guitar part played on acoustic guitar - a pity this only lasts just over 2 minutes. (B.U. 178)

Branimir Krstic - Sgt. Pepper For Classical Guitar
(USA) Pineapple Music (2004)
13 tracks / 48:46 / 4-page booklet

There are quite a number of examples of bands and artists that have covered a Beatles album as a whole. Here’s a new addition to that category, being a classical guitar rendition of all the Sgt. Pepper songs, set in the same track listing as the original album. Instead of going for the easy way by picking the usual batch of guitar-friendly tunes, Croatia-born Krstic’s intention to try and re-interpret this classic Beatles album may be applauded with great enthusiasm. Although songs like Within You Without You or A Day In The Life are obvious choices to check on his talent and skills, his refined performances on all the tracks leave no doubt about that. He both ensures that all the original melodies remain quite well intact as well as takes in subtle melody snippets of his own, with versatile guitar playing - adding occasional Spanish flavours, an orchestral sound or a Third Man Theme-like sound in When I’m 64. Reportedly the first classical version of the Sgt. Pepper album - a hard act to follow? (B.U. 189)
Internet :



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Peter Lacey - How It All Began
(UK) Promo CD-R (2004)
2 tracks / 6:24 / 4-page booklet

Peter Lacey’s promotional disc features two Beatles sound-alike songs from his 4-track homage EP ‘Beatlesque’. Although the CD booklet image reveals a McCartney look-alike, his singing on the first song, How It All Began, somehow sounds like the start of Glass Onion. The second song, Surround Sound, is a psychedelic song in Beatles style, with reverse playing and closed off with a parody of the rooftop concert: ‘I’d like to thank you on behalf of the group and myself and I hope I’ve passed the impression’. (B.U. 183)

Don Latarski - Fab 4 On 6 Vol. 2
(USA) Crescent Records CR2231 (2005)
12 tracks / 45:06 / 2-sided CD-sleeve

Don Latarski’s second album of Beatles favourites (his first is reviewed in BU 183), recorded by overwhelming popular demand after his first version. Once again we’re treated to performances on acoustic baritone guitar of Beatles ballads, from Eleanor Rigby to In My Life - this time no Harrison tracks, though. You’ll get a few more up-tempo songs, Come Together, Help and Two Of Us and like the first volume, you’d be surprised to discover that Latarski’s own musical additions to the original melodies guarantee bright, joyful renditions of each song. He easily succeeds in weaving in some more of his own improvisations, without harming or losing the original melody lines. So when you were pleased with the first release, here’s another set of entertaining instrumental arrangements. (B.U. 190)
www.crescentrecords.com / www.donlatarski.com

Don Latarski - Fab 4 On 6
(USA) Crescent Records CR2227 (2003)
14 tracks / 2-sided CD-sleeve

Playing guitar since 1963, Don Latarski is performer on a varied portfolio of acoustic guitar albums and guitar instruction publications. For his performance on acoustic baritone guitar, he has voted for Mother Nature’s Son and a number of obvious Lennon & McCartney ballads, Till There Was You and Harrison’s Something, which is usually suspicious for an acoustic cover versions album - where are those more complex compositions? But when you put the disc in the CD player, your prejudice may very well change rapidly. The song melodies are usually played on acoustic guitar, tuned down a bit, and played right from the original start but soon after he takes some tiny byways around these melodies. His improvisations on guitar are often new little melodies, and once you think you’re listening to something completely different, he comes back to the familiar tune. Still, he also knows how to deal with more originally up-beat songs like Let It Be and With A Little Help From My Friends. All in all, his instrumental arrangements are fully enjoyable and entertaining as such, and there’s no desire for the absent vocals, which should be the main attraction of an instrumental album. (B.U. 183)

Lisa Lauren - What Comes Around
(USA) Planet Jazz Records 643287 107-2 (1998)
12 tracks / 54:14 / 6-page fold-out booklet

On her three albums Lisa Lauren shows her affection to Beatles music and although her last two albums had one and four Beatles cover versions respectively, she selected no less than six Beatles tunes out of twelve tracks for the first album. Her debut album further includes covers of songs from Donovan, Goffin & King and her own compositions. Besides the vocals, she takes care of piano playing, with the help of various musicians and guest like David Sanborn on alto sax (Can’t Buy Me Love). A brand new intro is often played and the (solo) instruments frequently take improvisational trips (Dear Prudence) or fill in nicely (percussion in Can’t Buy Me Love). Lauren thankfully moulds the songs with different phrasing, without getting too far off the original melody. On the other hand, the experimental instrumentation sometimes saves a song from becoming all too laid-back (With A Little Help From My Friends). In each track, one of the musicians take a prominent solo role (viola in And I Love Her, alto flute in All My Loving and in the South-American styled I’m Happy Just To Dance With You with harmonica). (B.U. 183)

Lisa Lauren - My Own Twist
(USA) Planet Jazz Records 643287  1092 (2001)
10 tracks / 40:26 / 8-page fold-out booklet

Her second album mainly has her own songs, except for a Carole King composition and Harrison’s Here Comes The Sun. Her jazzy performance seems to have changed somewhat into a more up-tempo Bonnie Raitt-like style. Here Comes The Sun has a new sax intro, and the sax intermezzos are improvisations here and there related to the original tune. (B.U. 183)

Lisa Lauren - It Is What It Is
(USA) Planet Jazz Records 643287  110-2 (2004)
11 tracks / 45:08 / 4-page booklet

For her latest album, she again picked cover versions for half the album, including a Eurythmics hit, a Roger & Hart song and four Beatles songs. She also covers new musical grounds, as proven instantly with the first song, the Beatles’ The Word, again with guest musician David Sanborn. This track starts with a new intro, followed by a drum & bass rhythm and guitar licks as in Prince’s Kiss. I’ve Just Seen Her Face is laid-back and flows on with a languid harmonica, whereas I’m Looking Through You is in reggae style and Eleanor Rigby is an instrumental which mixes a piano with an acoustic Spanish guitar, all in South American rhythm.
It leads to the conclusion that most of these Beatles interpretations highlight Lauren’s already enjoyable albums, so would sound perfectly on a Lisa Lauren Performs The Beatles compilation. (B.U. 183)

Lisa Lauren - Loves The Beatles
(USA) Planet Jazz Records 064328-7111-23 (2006)
15 tracks / 63:23 / 4-page booklet

On her first three albums Lisa Lauren showed her affection to Beatles music and in my review of these albums (BU 183), I concluded ‘that most of these Beatles interpretations highlight Lauren’s already enjoyable albums, so would sound perfectly on a Lisa Lauren Performs The Beatles compilation’. Now, finally , a compilation of her previous Beatles cover versions, plus three new interpretations and The Word (featuring David Sanborn) appearing in a mini-mix and re-mix version is the result of this extra push and a dream come true. As said, her ‘Beatles in her own twist versions’ vary from brand new intros, improvisational trips (Dear Prudence), different phrasing, with guests like David Sanborn on alto sax (Can’t Buy Me Love). experimental instrumentation (With A Little Help From My Friends), prominent solo roles for instrumentalists (viola in And I Love Her, alto flute in All My Loving and in the South-American styled I’m Happy Just To Dance With You with harmonica), there’s new musical grounds covered with a drum & bass rhythm and guitar licks as in Prince’s Kiss (The Word), a laid-back I’ve Just Seen Her Face and a languid harmonica used in I’m Looking Through You, presented in reggae style and an instrumental mix of piano and acoustic Spanish guitar (Eleanor Rigby). Along with the new additions, the acoustic alt-country-ish Love Me Do (backed by Willy Porter) and ditto Eight Days A Week and a sonorous cello and guitar-accompanied What You’re Doing, all taken off their original impact and jazzed-up in a way that I won’t refrain for recommending this disc to all collectors of Beatles cover versions. And above all it is praiseworthy she didn’t go for the obvious Beatles compositions, so when you’re just into the Beatles songs this is the just the right treat and introduction to her other work. (B.U. 194)

Rita Lee - Bossa ‘n Beatles
(BRAS) Abril Music 1105026-2 (2001)
12 tracks / 34:58 / 10-page booklet

The next tribute album that came along [with the Los Minitrónicos - Proyecto Beatles CD - Edit] was RitaLee’s Bossa ‘n Beatles. It’s been reviewed in BU 165 as follows: ‘closer listening shows surprising instrumental details from percussion, mellotron, keyboard effects, vocal harmonies, as well as new intros and different arrangements, which almost unnoticed make the CD stand out’. (B.U. 194)
Internet :
www.randomrecords.com.ar / www.rpmusic.com.ar

Lucas Leigh - A Piano Tribute To The Beatles
(USA) LL0005 (2004)
12 tracks / 41:48 / 4-page booklet

On Lucas Leigh’s tribute to the Beatles repertoire and a few solo songs (three of Lennon and one McCartney), at first it seems that after a peaceful performance of a song (Yesterday, Something), he starts rocking and boogie-ing in a Jerry Lee Lewis way (Ballad of John & Yoko and of course Lady Madonna). But then a series of solid performances follow, from Let It Be to the McCartney-majestic-like playing of Maybe I’m Amazed. Golden Slumbers (coupled with the unmentioned Carry That Weight) is a blend of relaxed and solid approaches. The routine of alternating styles returns, with a swinging (!) Instant Karma following the relaxed Long And Winding Road. A Day In The Life ends the disc, in a highly varied way of playing like the original, right up until the crescendo at the end. Those rocking arrangements on their own and the playful improvisations on other tracks, alternating with laid-back versions, are a welcome addition to the world of Beatles cover versions. This way, it doesn’t matter that much which songs you take, as long as you make them your own, which easily prevents it from becoming another average muzak version. (B.U. 183)

Let Hit Be - The Beatles A Capella Vol. 2
(FRA) LHB 002 (2006)
34 :25 / 12 tracks / digi-pack

The Let Hit Be quintet released a second batch of Beatles a capellas, which ranges from versions of Please Please Me to Hey Jude, Harrison’s Here Comes The Sun and closes off the set with Good Night. An acoustic guitar is used for the intro and outro of Here Comes The Sun, but the rest of their cheerful interpretations are still vox humane. Like on its predecessor (reviewed in BU 167), they generally stick close to the original melodies. But their vocal approaches nevertheless show many variations (in the lead vocals, harmonies, instrumental backing and special effects). This is all heard best in the wide spectrum of vocal sounds and effects during the Hey Jude finale. Other vocal findings include kazoo-sounds in When I’m Sixty Four, various bird sounds in Blackbird, a reggae approach of It Won’t Be Long and Gregorian-style halfway in Good Night. And what’s more, they’ve clearly paid attention to their pronunciation, which shows reasonably less errors than on their debut. Next album with renditions of solo compositions? (B.U.. 188)
Internet :

Lemon Lime - Malcolm McLennon
(USA) Prank Monkey Records PRM 004 (2006)
2 tracks / 10:49 / 12” vinyl LP

Released in lemon yellow vinyl format only, this 12” offers two mash-ups, made by two California musicians. They mixed Malcolm McLaren’s About Her (well known from Kill Bill 2 and its inclusion of lines from She’s Not There) with John Lennon’s Imagine. The other track is a mix of McLaren’s music with a few Herman’s Hermits songs. When you listen to the break beat version of Imagine, you’ll hear that Imagine remains the most dominant melody and the lyrics are heard better than McLaren’s song. Fragments of Oh Yoko are played in the same, laid-back flow as well. In the end, Imagine is repeated over and over again. On the B-side, the same beat goes on, now with Herman’s Hermits hits There’s A Kind Of Hush and Mrs Brown You’ve Got A Lovely Daughter as the two main songs, performed in a different phrasing. Imagine suddenly pops up again in between these two songs, as are lines from a few other tunes (Leaving On A Jet Plane, Brown Eyed Girl). But you really have to get familiar with this sort of mix-ups, otherwise it’s as if you’re listening to two different radio stations. (B.U. 191)

Les Lionceaux Revival - Chantent The Beatles
(FRA) 1re Sèrie (2008)
4 tracks / 10:40 / cardboard sleeve

Four early Beatles songs in French language, done by a French Beatles tribute band which has released various Beatles cover versions in their heydays in 1964-1965. The first two tracks are re-recordings of the songs they’ve released before: Quatre Garcons Dans Le Vent (A Hard Day’s Night) and Toi L’A Mie (All My Loving). On the other hand, Et Je L’aime (And I Love Her) and Quand Je L’ai Vue Devant Moi (I Saw Her Standing There) were originally done by French artists Michelle Torr and Johnny Halliday respectively. The French language added to the otherwise faithful accompaniment and harmonies give the interpretations just that little extra flavour, although a part of the world won’t understand what they’re singing about. The advantage of singing in your own language however is that there can be hardly discussion about the often uneven pronunciation of the original English lyrics. A true sixties revival band, reformed after almost 40 years! (B.U. 202)

Peter Lipa - Beatles In Blue(s)
(Slov) East West Promotions EW 0004 2531 (2002)
16 tracks / 73:05 / 8-page fold-out sleeve

After a few Beatles songs recorded for his earlier albums, Slovakian jazz singer Peter Lipa now invited various arrangers to have a go at a full set of Beatles songs, handpicked from a Beatles songbook and featuring some not too obvious or non-hit songs like Misery, PS I Love You and No Reply, although all pre-1967 stuff, he admits. It all resulted in new interpretations in various music styles within the jazz/blues concept: from big band sound, a laid-back crooning style with a basic setting of keyboard, bass and drums (Do You Want To Know A Secret) and a Brazilian (Carlos Jobim) touch (And I Love Her) to a cha-cha rhythm (No Reply) and an occasional addition of violin or brass instrument in other tracks. I Wanna Be Your Man starts with a bluesy intro on harmonica (harp) and in the end some beautiful vocal harmonies turn the song into a gospel and I Saw Her Standing There is a true guitar-blues version. The disc itself starts with the sound of an old, scratched vinyl album, followed by a version of Day Tripper, of which the first take, recorded with a slightly different band, re-appears as a hidden track, more than 2 minutes after the final song. All the songs start with a fully new intro, which already points out to surprising elements throughout each remake. Within each song, you’ll find various changes of tempo and rhythm. This way, the original melodies are nowhere to be found, only at very sparse moments when the singer leans towards the Beatles melody. In general, though, the lyrics are the only mainstay for recognition. (B.U. 176)

Liverpool - In Our way

In 1988, Liverpool did a successful Beatles musical. Their Beatles tribute album (In Our Own Way…) isn’t available any more, but this band’s latest album includes their own compositions, soaked with Beatles-influences. First of all, with Olle Nilsson’s Lennon sound-alike vocals, it sounds as if Lennon himself is covering the songs here (Free, You Took My Woman and Humans). At least, I can’t imagine Lennon would write lines like “got my children and my wife still I can not live a happy life” (their Eurovision Song contest contribution I Got Life). The familiarity is further audible in features like handclapping and Penny Lane trumpet in Love Is All, Getting Better guitar riff in Neighbours, sitar playing (It’s OK), references to Beatles lyrics: “Free as a bird” (Free), “when I get home to you and find the things that you do” (It’s OK), a psychedelic Klaatu-like composition (Multi Coloured Dream) or even the album title, which points at the originally planned Beatles Get Back album title. In 1994, singer Olle Nilsson won the Swedish equivalent of Stars In Their Eyes, performing as Lennon, singing Imagine (samples of his cover versions of solo Lennon songs can be heard on the Liverpool website). (B.U. 180)

Liverpool - Love Is All And 11 Other Songs
(SWE) Start Klart Records SKRCD-87 (2003)
12 tracks / 41:05 / 12-page booklet

Olle Nilsson - Olle Nilsson
(SWE) Lollipop Records LOLCD 1804 (1995)
13 tracks / 42:24 / 10-page fold-out booklet

A year later, he recorded his solo debut, on which his vocals are just occasionally Lennon-ish. The album has his own original compositions and these vary from mainly relaxed piano accompanied to a few solid rocking guitar based songs and one song set in 20’s music style. (B.U. 180)

Paul Logister - On My Way To Abbey Road
(NL) Marlstone Music CDS2831 (2008)
4 tracks (plus video) /14:14 / cardboard sleeve

Beatles fan and musician Paul Logister finally found time and financial support to record three of his own compositions, at the Abbey Road Studios. The title track, a story of how this all came to be,  is a good quality ode to The Beatles, with various instrumental ingredients from their tunes; the extended version of which has a Hey Jude-like finale. The other two songs (Whole Lotta You and Three Little Words) are both rocking, danceable and Beatles-drenched as well. The video shows footage of the actual recording at the studio and the obligatory Abbey Road crossing. (B.U. 203)

The London Jazz Four - Take A New Look At The Beatles
(UK) Harkit Records HRKCD 8120 (2005)
11 tracks / 37:54 / 6-page fold-out booklet

This is the digital re-release of a rare 1967 vinyl LP, on which that ‘new look at the Beatles’ meant jazzy, swinging versions of their songs, which predominate almost throughout the disc - except for a modest From Me To You. The innovative performances (altered rhythms such as a slowed down Rain, and much more) are based on a light basic rhythm at the start, and further on various instruments (harpsichord, marimba, glockenspiel, vibraphone) are given a chance to play an instrumental solo or improvisation, or play some fills during the original melody, as played by the rest of the foursome. Some renditions start off right away with the Beatles melody, whereas others have intros and intermissions unrelated to the original melody. These improvisations may sometimes go too far and completely lose track of the original melody but the familiar tune often re-appears just in time to enjoy the arrangements as a whole. (B.U. 188)
www.harkitrecords.com / www.clearspot.nl

- the original LP sleeve -

Lonely Hearts Band - St. Nick’s Christmas
(USA) Not Lame Records In-Store Promo (2003)
15 tracks / 44:28 / 2-page sleeve

The concept of mingling Beatles songs with Christmas tunes has passed our Cover Corner before (BU 120 and 168). And here is one more to add in this series, be it that this time the Beatles compositions are all taken from only one of their albums, Sgt Pepper, and follows its track listing, too (yes, even Within You Without You is included). On some of the tracks, the Christmas song dominates, with parts of the selected Pepper song heard only here and there, whereas in others, the two can be heard next to one another from the start. The latter versions are of course the most interesting ones to listen to as it remains fascinating to hear the way the two melodies easily collide and seem to fit perfectly. On other tracks you don’t know what you’re actually listening to, as if you’re hearing a double-recorded tape. The two new seasonal bonus songs, performed by The Toms and Horizontal Ladies Club, don’t have a Pepper ingredient, or any other Beatles tune. (B.U. 175)

Michael Lucarelli - Plays The Beatles
(USA) LMS Recordings LMS1006CD (2003)
14 tracks / 40:50 / 4-page booklet

After a series of classical guitar albums focussed on music ranging from Christmas classics to work from South America, Lucarelli presents us with his solo acoustic guitar renditions of mainly ‘Blue album’ Beatles songs, including compositions like Maxwell’s Silver Hammer, Across The Universe and While My Guitar Gently Weeps. The songs were equally divided between two arrangers and offer a rich variety of instrumental melodies, which generally follow two lines. There’s the fingerpicking playing, which takes care of the leading, vocal part and a bass-line backing, which plays an accompanying melody (most often unrelated to the Beatles tune) and both played at the same time. And even within each track, the note for note picking alternates with chords strumming, on this album all culminating in a thrilling finale of the 6-½ min. version of Hey Jude, which in style may remind you of José Feliciano’s spectacular live reading of A Day In The Life. (B.U. 173)

Lucy In The Sky - Live In Liverpool At The Cavern
(GER) Inner Light Music (2002)
14 tracks / 40:58 / 4-page booklet

In BU 152, their 1999 ‘The Beatles Rock ‘n’ Roll Music Live!’ CD was discussed as ‘A fully-used CD (…) The major treat is that the band members have some clear - not necessarily sound-alike voices, used in both lead vocals and harmonies (here and there highlighted by an a-capella rendition).’ This time, they’ve released an album with songs from the two Cavern gigs they did in 2002. They’ve chosen for mainly early Beatles years stuff and preference for the rocking tunes, including a loosely played She’s A Woman and audience participation in Love Me Do. This is followed by a laid-back Something and three later period songs. A 16:44 min. promo DVD features interviews and live footage showing the band’s accuracy in every aspect of their show. (B.U. 203)



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Maccaband - Promo CD
(ITA) Promo (2005)
6 tracks / 19:35 / 2-page booklet

The Maccaband’s cover versions are available in full versions, complete with artwork, for a limited time on the band’s Internet site. We’re not just treated to some of McCartney’s finest hours - picking from his Beatles (credited to McCartney-Lennon!), solo and Wings treasure trove. The band’s performance is instrumentally sound alike, from the acoustic Blackbird to the electric Band On The Run - with occasionally one instrument more to the front as compared to the original and the strings on Eleanor Rigby were taken from The Beatles Anthology. The lead singer usually comes close and succeeds in singing a lot of the various highs and lows (Maybe I’m Amazed). Four of the tracks re-appear in video format, recorded during two gigs in Rome, with two more Beatles ballads (an acoustic, keyboard accompanied Yesterday and Michelle, shown as a vintage b&w movie) and two Wings tunes (Jet and My Love, with pictures of the band members woven into the clip).

Maccaband - Live DVD
(ITA) Live DVD (2006)
8 tracks / 25:40 / 2-page booklet

The videos show that band is very well capable to play the songs live in the same way as in the studio, although the lead vocals are more varied here - in a few songs they are much more sound alike and convincing than elsewhere and quite like the studio counterpart. There’s one real annoyance: the footage of the two concerts were mixed in such a way that you see the band perform in two different outfits or with two different keyboard players, during a song. A dissonance, which of course wasn’t apparent at that time, for the fans were clearly enjoying themselves. (B.U. 188)

Daddy Mack Blues Band - Slow Ride
(USA) Inside Sounds ISC-0527 (2006)
10 tracks / 36:34 / 4-page booklet

Harmonica player Billy Gibson, whose version of For You Blue appeared on Fried Glass Onion Vol. 2, now guests on this album, which is a mixture of blues versions of hit songs by the Kinks, the Stones, Clapton, Led Zeppelin, the Monkees and the Beatles. All are new interpretations, only their steaming version of Get Back already appeared on the first Fried Glass Onions volume. Except for the lyrics of the songs, nothing seems to be left of the original sound of the songs, but notwithstanding all that, they’ve been encountered with respect and the omni-present Memphis blues sauce. (B.U. 189)

Mad Dogs Interpreta The Beatles
(BRAZIL) CD (2004)
8 tracks / 36:19 / 2-page sleeve

The third album by Mad Dogs from Brazil focuses on the Beatles and shows that there are still surprises arriving in the cover versions field. You won’t find any soundalike versions here, on the contrary: no matter if it’s a ballad like Eleanor Rigby or a complex song like Strawberry Fields Forever - they are all drenched in Brazilian rhythms and performed with fully new instrumental hooks (such as a saxophone and electric guitar taking turns in Come Together or a haunting harmonica intro in You’ve Got To Hide Your Love Away). There’s a swinging version of Yer Blues which almost makes you happy about being ‘lonely wanna die’, Strawberry Fields starts with the original intro and easily flows into the band’s reggae  version and there’s a Portuguese version of I Saw Her Standing There. Their solid interpretations make you forget the sometimes sloppy pronunciation or the wrong tracklisting and make you long for more than just these eight renditions.  (B.U. 192)

Maddooo - To The “Fab Four” From Liverpool - A Tribute From India
(USA) Madooo Records Mad CD 0002 (2004)
16 tracks / 64:48 / 8-page booklet

The main body of this CD consists of twelve cover versions, four of which re-appear as radio edits, edited down to one minute - all arranged by Madooo, formal alias for Madhukar Dhas (Chandra). Madooo, star in Indian production of Jesus Christ Superstar and other rock music shows, has come up with a tribute to the band that inspired him to sing and play guitar. The songs vary from Love Me Do and Harrison’s If I Needed Someone right up to Across The Universe and a John Lennon tribute, being a medley of Imagine / Watching The Wheels / Give Peace A Chance and incorporates various news reports about John Lennon’s murder. The other tracks are a lacklustre choice from various phases of the Beatles career - and not necessarily the Indian flavoured ones - mind you! Each song is changed drastically in rhythm and accompaniment by Madooo’s arrangements, giving them oriental atmosphere with sitar and tabla (keyboard) sounds. A highly enjoyable element is his versatile singing, which varies with each track: yelling high, rough, singing lead vocals and all the harmonies. In a few songs, a somewhat cold and tinny sounding synthesizer pops up (I Saw Her Standing There, Things We Said Today), although the rhythm section still rocks and stomps like a train passing by. No casual interpretations, but an one of its kind, inspiring curry-flavoured tribute this one - only available at Madooo’s website. (B.U. 180)

Magical Mystery - In Concerto Al Teatro Malibran / Le Canzoni Dei Beatles
(Italy) Azzurra Music TBP11339 (2005)
17 tracks / 72:56 / 4-page booklet

The recording of a live performance by an Italian ensemble, 40 years after the Beatles toured Italy. The Beatles tunes are presented here in lacklustre, non-chronological order, with the majority taken from the Beatles later era: Rain, A Day In The Life, the Abbey Road medley and of course Magical Mystery Tour, which opens the disc. The Magical Mystery band either performs alone or is accompanied by a string sextet and brass section. They remain as close as possible to the originals, with all familiar instrumental elements included (listen to Being For The Benefit Of Mr Kite, with guest vocalist) - all perfectly played and with beautiful harmonies (Abbey Road medley). The lead vocals aren’t necessarily sound-alike, but vary in quality from one track to another, as is most striking in the fragile acoustic version of Yesterday. On the other hand, there are surprising interpretations, such as a tom-accompanied Tomorrow Never Knows or Rain, where a classical interlude comprises of various melodies from other Beatles tunes. And besides that, the strings- and brass- accompanied versions give songs like Got To Get You Into My Life and A Day In The Life an enriching impulse, all culminating in the finale song, Hey Jude. So when you overlook the minor faults, you can enjoy an instrumentally rich performance. (B.U. 192)

The Mahoney Brothers - Long Live The Beatles
(USA) MBE 2001 (2001)
10 tracks / 24:53 / 2-page sleeve

This studio album includes Beatles compositions, songs which the Beatles also covered and one Lennon solo song, Imagine. Except for the latter song and Lady Madonna, all are from the Beatles early years. The band plays perfect sound-alike versions and there’s at least one song in which originally one of each Beatle sings lead. This gives you the chance to judge all four singers of the band. They generally succeed in close enough copies of the original singing and the same applies to the instrumental accompaniment, handclapping and backing vocals. Don’t expect any new interpretations, but a standard set taken from the Beatles repertoire, capable of warming up a Beatles tribute show. It is a pity, though, that no more ‘later period’ songs were included, these would have easily filled up the disc’s space. Part of their live and studio repertoire is available as full or excerpt downloads from their website and shows that this band’s output goes further. On a CD-R with a few examples from their live gigs, this is proven with songs like A Day In The Life and the Abbey Road medley. Here, some of the vocals sound much rougher than on the studio album and are no longer faithful copies of the originals, whereas the backing remains the same. The audience doesn’t care, it seems. (B.U. 175)
Internet :
www.longlivethebeatles.com / www.MahoneyBros.com

Hiroshi Masuda- Fingerstyle Guitar
(JAPAN) Jasrac S-287856 (2007)
10 tracks / 60:44 / 4-page booklet

Hiroshi Masuda already appeared in this column in BU183, when, under the name of Sketch, his ‘With A Little Help From My Friends’ was reviewed. The Beatles repertoire obviously has his preference, as no less than eight tracks on this acoustic instrumental album are Beatles compositions, from the early I Saw Her Standing There to Penny Lane and The Long And Winding Road, next to Japanese folk songs (one of which is performed with Kayoko Ono) and compositions from Paul Simon, Elton John and Gilbert O’Sullivan. With a new intro and new intermissions besides the familiar tune in I Saw Her Standing There, an always exciting A Day In The Life and a swinging performance of A Hard Day’s Night, the set sounds very promising. But most other interpretations remain close to the original impact and lack that little extra, when the instrumentals tend to be too basic, too elementary and you miss tempting vocal parts. (B.U. 202)

Brian McGuire - Westminster Holiday
(USA) POP Records 0002 (2005)
12 tracks / 32 :53 / 4-page booklet

Brian McGuire, the ‘McCartney’ in Beatles tribute band Rubber Soul didn’t arrive with a cover versions album. Instead, being heavily influenced by the Beatles’ Rubber Soul and Revolver albums, McGuire thought it was time to record an album of his own songs, with help from two fellow musicians and a few guest musicians. All his (co)compositions are catchy pop songs, with one title clearly referring to the Beatles (Barefoot in Rishikesh). It’s not Beatles sound-alike vocals you’ll hear, but the harmonies and hand clapping (Held Hostage), the melodic guitar and backwards playing (in Looking For Something) plus his wide range of instruments (including Beatles-familiar sitar, table and 12-string Rickenbacker) all show that his special interest in psychedelic Beatles and Byrds have worked out perfectly well. (B.U. 188)
Internet :

Meek - Sleeping With Big Ben
(JAP) M…In France minf-002 (2003)
14 tracks / 42:35 / 8-page booklet

The sounds of the Big Ben and rain sets in a series of Beatles songs, recorded ‘just for fun’ in between other sessions. Meek’s lead vocals and backing harmonies are a prominent element, but in almost all songs, he also performs every - often sparse acoustic - instrument. The vocal harmonies vary from the repeated echoing of the lyrics to using three or more vocal layers. Elsewhere, he altered bits in the lyrics or added a line from another song and although he has omitted a few elements (Strawberry Fields Forever’s complex ending, the sound effects in Yellow Submarine), you’ll hear jungle sounds and a cheering crowd in Happiness Is A Warm Gun. The harmonies and often slowed down tempo result in an unconstrained collage of songs, gently flowing from your CD player. This world exclusive edition also has two bonus tracks, including a live acoustic version of Honey Pie with a beautiful guitar improvisation. (B.U. 177)

David R. Merry - Kingston Rd.
(UK) CD-R (2003)
14 tracks / 47:56 / 4-page booklet

Out of the fourteen songs David R. Merry recorded for inclusion on this album, four are Beatles songs and the rest are his own compositions. But then again, the first cover version, Tomorrow Never Knows, is wrongly attributed to Harrison, Blackbird is apparently only McCartney’s effort and the tribute song, titled Lennon, composed by Lennon …? Besides that, Hey Joe is often confused as being a Jimi Hendrix original, but it is William (Bobby) Roberts’ composition. Well, enough of these titbit facts that wander through one’s mind - now for the music itself. Regarding the Beatles songs: Merry stays pretty close to the original songs, be it that Tomorrow Never Knows here has a firm drum beat and psychedelic keyboard playing. Blackbird is an acoustic take of the song, complete with bird sounds. His own songs are said to be Beatles-influenced, but hey, don’t almost all artists owe a lot to the Beatles? Honestly, I can’t find specific details in his songs that point to a certain Beatles element -  Midnight Crying vaguely reminds me of the Eagles’ Hotel California. Production-wise, the overall sound and especially the singing seem to come from under a blanket and don’t come much to the fore at times, which makes it hard to listen to some of the lyrics, unfortunately. (B.U. 176)

Giuseppe Milici & Mauro Schiavone - Beatles Jazz Tribute
(ITALY) Undamaris UME CD 005 (2005)
12 tracks / 58:11 / 12-page booklet

Harmonica player Milici and pianist Schiavone duet on lengthy renditions of Beatles compositions, all newly arranged by Milici. The selections were taken from various stages of the Beatles career and include Penny Lane, Drive My Car and Honey Pie as well as McCartney’s solo song My Love. With his harmonica, Milici often takes care of the lead vocal part and usually starts after a new piano intro and takes a new instrumental route when the song progresses. The pianist initially accompanies in a modest way, before it sets in some swinging solo improvisations. Except for Yesterday, which is done solely on piano, with a mix-up of the familiar tune and new melodies. The jazz improvisations frequently lose touch with the original melody and you don’t realize you’re listening to a Beatles song. But not withstanding that, their sparkling performances of the up-tempo compositions leave you in a really good mood. (B.U. 188)

Hadewych Minis & Mike Boddé - Gelukkig Met Hadewych En Mike
(NL)Agents After All Theater (2008)
15 tracks / 59:40 / 4-page booklet

This duo’s musical bond resulted in a theatres tour and this album, which includes two Beatles and one Lennon song. Their version of Cold Turkey has the original strong, heavy feel, with electric guitar and, later on, keyboards, with Hadewych’s clear vocals building up to the final cries. Blackbird and Because close the album, with Mike starting Blackbird, complete with bird sounds, acoustic guitar and keyboards. Then the two contrasting vocals join in a beautiful harmony, as is done likewise in their 2-min. a-capella version of Because. The other songs on this entertaining album vary from Latin and jazz interpretations to a very funny medley of lines from one familiar Dutch song, done in various interpretations (Costello, A-Team, The Final Countdown, you name it). (B.U. 203)

Los Minitrónicos - Proyecto Beatles
(ARG) Random Records RR841 (2006)
10 tracks / 32:14 / 4-page booklet

Los Minitrónicos (Fernando, Ana, Mario and Diana) is another children band performing Beatles songs in their own style (there have been kids bands before in this column). The selected songs are mainly up-tempo singalongs, all sung in Spanish, although Hey Jude and Ob-La-Di, Ob-La-Da still have the English titles and in a few songs you’ll still hear English lines in the chorus (Yellow Submarine, Come Together, All My Loving, Let It Be). In general, there isn’t one specific lead singer - they either take turns or sing the lead vocal line together in a quite pleasant, merry way. The CD booklet doesn’t mention details on who plays the instruments, but the children are mainly accompanied on keyboards, guitars and drums, with occasional instrumental solos (electric guitar in Can’t Buy Me Love, Get Back, Let It Be). Obviously not a sound-alike tribute, but instead you’re treated to cheery Spanish renditions of some common Beatles songs. (B.U. 194)
Internet :
www.randomrecords.com.ar / www.rpmusic.com.ar

Fred Morgenstern - Beatles On Vibraphone
(USA) no label (2006)
13 tracks / 38:43 / 4-page booklet

Morgenstern serves us with a range of Beatles melodies, from Sun King and Fixing A Hole to Julia, with help from acoustic and electric guitars and basses, drums and percussion. In most of the songs, Morgenstern’s vibraphone is in the limelight and stays true to the original Beatles melodies, whereas the other instrumentalists have a somewhat subdued role for back-up and rhythm, including reggae in Fixing A Hole and Latin influences in Norwegian Wood. On the three solo performances of Yesterday, If I Fell and In My Life, the light and clear tinkling sound of the vibraphone is heard to the full. Although that sound guarantees a vivid joyful listening experience, I prefer the more jazzy impact which appears when the other instruments join in. Still an instrumentally unique and admirable project in a world of orchestral versions and sound-alike bands. (B.U. 189)

Manuel Munzlinger, Romy Sanderling, Andreas Wolter - The Oboe Goes BaRock
(GER) Berlin Classics 0017502BC (2002)
15 tracks / 49:22 / 16-page booklet

With six songs, the Beatles tracks take the major part of the compositions, performed by the chamber music trio on oboe, violoncello, and harpsichord / piano. Oboist Manuel Munzlinger arranged all the tunes on the album and when looking at the Beatles songs, all start with a new intro, played by the harpsichord or piano, soon taken over by the oboe playing the main melody. Occasionally, the violoncello swaps its backing role with the oboe and plays the leading part as well, whereas the harpsichord or piano remains a backing instrument. Either the familiar accompaniment is used or newly arranged melodies. It’s the variety of role changes, countermelodies, improvisations and finding each other at certain points in a song that make these versions the more enjoyable. The marriage of the frisky sound of oboe, the darker violoncello and jumpy harpsichord, result in cheerful renditions of the Beatles songs, although And I Love Her gets a more solemn approach. I wouldn’t mind a full Beatles cover versions album in this Ba-Rock style. (B.U. 169)
www.edelclassics.de / www.mmmusic.de

Gary Murtha - Walrus
(USA) Walrus Records WR-CD-R-2007-01 (2007)
15 tracks / 43:26 / 4-page booklet

Two ‘song-poem’ tribute albums by Gary Murtha , with the help of David Fox and David Dubowski, two song-poem singers (song-poems are a 100 years old music genre). Murtha transformed various Beatles happenings and stories into new compositions. Most have Beatles-related titles and although these aren’t cover versions, some of the tracks feature snippets of lines from various Beatles songs, either just a few words that pass by or (like Titles from Barclay James Harvest, or Nilsson’s You Can’t Do That) a couple of lines are woven into a stanza or refrain. Two synthi-pop instrumentals on Walrus sound somewhat out of place (despite their Beatles-inspired titles: #10 Dream and Hamburg Nights) and a few songs have thin instrumentation, whereas others are rocking or breathe a Beatle-ish atmosphere by using backward recording and psychedelic sounds. (B.U. 200)

Gary Murtha - Strawberry Walrus - Magical History Tour
(USA) Walrus Records WR-CD-R-2007-5 (2007)
16 tracks / 44:43 / 4-page booklet

The Magical History Tour followed the Walrus with a more chronological set of songs travelling along some of the highlights from the Beatles career, from compositions like ‘Aunt Mimi’s Mendips’ and ‘When John Met Paul’ (the latter also appeared on Walrus) via ‘Shea '65’and ‘Apple Boutique’ to ‘Tittenhurst Park’. The stories in these songs force you more to listen to the lyrics than to the songs as a whole and obviously don’t  intend to replace a Beatles history book, but are fine ways of hearing about some of the Beatles facts / opinions (the walrus was …?). (B.U. 200)



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N.I.L.F.I.S.C. - 3 Pearles 4 You
(Austria) Junk Records JR 9990 (2003)
3 tracks / 40:54 / 4-page booklet

The ‘Fathers of JUNK-Music’ brought this new release to our attention, the follow-up minidisc after their Beatless album (reviewed in BU 167). The trio, performing on guitar, bass and keyboards, included one of their own songs as well as two Harrison compositions, which were also on the Beatless album: Within You Without You, but now in a longer version and It’s All Too Much, which is identical. Their own song is an 11 minutes instrumental, with Led Zeppelin’s Whole Lotta Love intro repeated over and over again throughout the track, mixed with wild electric guitar and peaceful keyboards in the back. The first Harrison tune is only recognized after two minutes of heavy guitar licks played around a pulsating beat (which goes on and on). Once the original melody is over, there’s lots more experimental guitar playing and improvisations on keyboard, until the melody happens to pass by again. The same goes for the other Harrisong, in which the first part sounds unrelated and after nearly 4 minutes the electric guitar sets in with the first lines of the song repeated a couple of times. Then more unrecognisable keyboard and guitar sounds getting louder and louder, and suddenly that familiar line pops up again a couple of times more. For completists only, if you’re really addicted to this sort of prolonged experimental music porridge. (B.U. 174)

Nashville Mandolin Ensemble - Bach >> Beatles >> Bluegrass
(USA) Soundart Recordings SAR-1258 (2003)
15 tracks / 50:51 / digipack

On the Nashville Mandolin Ensemble CD, again J. S. Bach and the Beatles are both present, now each with three of their compositions (Eleanor Rigby, Here, There And Everywhere and With A Little Help From My Friends), next to traditionals as well as compositions by Hoagy Carmichael / Mitchell Parrish and Django Reinhardt / Stephen Grappelli. The tunes have been placed in the same order as the album title shows (‘the three B’s of music’): this way, the Beatles songs form just the right step between the relaxed classical approach of Bach’s repertoire to the more playful bluegrass performance. As soon as the first Beatles song sets in, the band’s performance on mandolin family instruments, guitar and bass loosens up considerably. The ensemble generally follows the original melodies, with one or more instruments taking the lead while others back up accordingly, but all three in a swinging mood. Variety in their performance remains throughout the rest of the disc, from laid-back tunes like  Nuages and Stardust to up-tempo ones like Jack Rabbit Trail. (B.U. 183)

Emmerson Nogueira - Beatles
(Brazil) Columbia 2 515637 (2004)
14 tracks / 40:52 / 16-page booklet

For an acoustic guitar-orientated album, the songs on this tribute aren’t all the most obvious ones (Blackbird), but vary from Love Me Do, We Can Work It Out to Across The Universe. In a blend of country with jazz, blues, cha-cha and Spanish rhythms (You’ve Got To Hide Your Love Away), you’re treated to very entertaining interpretations around guitar with a range of other instruments added: lap-steel, harmonica, piano, percussion. Nogueira’s lead vocals and harmonies by two female vocalists are David Crosby and Venice-inspired (Nowhere Man, Blackbird, Golden Slumbers); the first track, A Hard Day’s Night is a duet with one of these two singers. Most tracks offer a refreshing head and tail: new intros which don’t already betray the Beatles song (such as a harmonica intro in Mother Nature’s Son) and original new melodies to round off the songs. Occasional intermissions of instrumental solos appear as well and with efforts like these, his little accent audible in a few songs will be quickly forgiven. And if you feel like joining them on guitar, the CD booklet includes the lyrics and guitar chords. (B.U. 183)



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The Oz From Russia - Che Lennon
(USA) Inner Light Explosions ILKE 1 (2008)
19 tracks / 42:42 / digipack, 16-page booklet

A so-called punk opera, dedicated to John Lennon’s political life, divided into Intro, Part 1 (Paint It Red), Part 2 (Show Must Go Off) and Conclusion. This concept album by St Petersburg musicians provides a treasure trove of quotes from Lennon interviews and remarkable ‘philosophical’ interpretations of Lennon’s political solo work, from the album track Attica State to the rare Do The Oz and Serve Yourself, all redone in generally forceful, post-punk styles. ‘Stranger’s Room’ is an alternate I’m Losing You, there’s a heavier, swinging version of Serve Yourself, a thumping Working Class Hero, in the tougher version of Oh My Love, the backing vocals move from fine to rough. There’s an almost unrecognizable Cold Turkey, an upbeat Vaudeville-like Crippled Inside, a punk/reggae version of Jealous Guy, a strong version of God, with vocals varying from heavy to intimate, over a different instrumental backing and only the children’s choir reminds you of the seasonal feel Happy X-Mas originally has. The six interview excerpts spread over the album, may very well disturb to listen to the songs in one go, but then again, they’re not that long. An Oz version of The Luck Of The Irish and the original cover design couldn’t be used for copyright reasons. A live version of the opera, recorded on 29 March 2009 at The Amsterdam Hilton for the 40th anniversary of John & Yoko 'Bed-In', is available on the oz website. (B.U. 202)
www.ilemusic.com / www.dotheoz.com

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