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Los Pasantes - Todo Fluye … Nada Permanece
(SPAIN) - (2005)
5 tracks / 13:02 / 4-page booklet

The band that contributed Taxman to the Harrisongs 2 compilation (2003) now comes with a mini album of their own, featuring two Spanish songs, the Beach Boys’ Surfin’ USA and two Beatles songs: I Saw Her Standing There and You Can’t Do That. Their performances of these songs are note for note replicas of the originals - except for non sound-alike lead vocals, but with flawless pronunciation, harmonious backing vocals, trademark handclapping (in I Saw Her Standing There) and a somewhat heavier and alternate guitar playing in You Can’t Do That. Now let’s hear some of the later period Beatles! (B.U.. 188)

Patchwork - Yesterday … La Magie Des Beatles
(FRA) CD-R (2000)
5 audio tracks; 1 video track / 17:49; 4:27 / 4-page booklet

Since 1995, Patchwork has been performing two types of tribute concerts in France and abroad: Rock Legends and Yesterday .. The Beatles. This demo album is a showcase of the latter concept and comprises of full versions of Twist And Shout, Yesterday and Let It Be as well as two medleys. The first medley mixes early Beatles hits and the second is the Sgt Pepper medley plus Magical Mystery Tour. The vocals on the early tunes aren’t exactly sound-alike but nonetheless pleasant and with only slight accent. The instrumental backing follows the original pretty close. The standard accompaniment is joined by full orchestral sounds in the second medley, which also has Ringo-like vocals on With A Little Help From My Friends. The bonus video track is a medley of concert clips of songs from the early years, with the band clad in black suits. As such, this album is fairly representative for what the band is capable of: a guaranteed worthwhile 60’s night out. (B.U. 183)

Bob Patin - Remember The Beatles
(USA) Bob Patin Music (2007)
10 tracks / 33:27 / 4-page booklet

Bob Patin’s solo piano renditions of Beatles ballads follow The Long And Winding Road via Norwegian Wood to Here, There And Everywhere. Almost half of the tracks start with a new intro, before variations around the familiar melody set in. Others start instantly with the Beatles tune and blend into little improvisations halfway through the song and in the end it all gets back to the original melody. His solid piano touches alternate between light, intimate moments in Yesterday and She’s Leaving Home for instance to a cheerful playing in When I’m 64. These alterations and varieties in high grade piano performances may be looked upon as the main attraction of his renditions, as the one-sided choice of material (e.g. Beatles ballads) wasn’t all too promising. (B.U. 202)

Das Philharmonische Kammerorchester Wernigerode und Tangermann
A Hard Day’s Night - Jazz Meets Classic
(GER) Flower Records FLR CD 2/010 (2001)
12 tracks / 60:22 / 6-page fold-out booklet

A live recording of a joint performance by an orchestra with a jazz/soul band, playing Beatles songs, hence the album title. Bernd Tangermann gently sings his way through the Beatles repertoire, either as a crooner or a swinging soul singer. The accompaniment he gets differs from track to track, too: from a bombastic orchestra (Come Together), a sparse laid-back She’s leaving Home to a Latin-beat backing in the truly swinging finale track, Lady Madonna, in which he takes a few annoying liberties in the lyrics (‘sweetcase’ for suitcase, shoelace becomes ‘sole-lace’). Throughout the songs, there are numerous solo outings on piano, bass, electric guitar, flutes, you name it. Get Back is a fine example in this as it clearly shows the arrangement being built up, starting with just piano and singer, then part of the orchestra comes in, followed by an intermezzo on piano (arranger Oliver Vogt) and one on bass (one of the other arrangers, Matthias Weise). Overall, thanks to the vocals, the melody of the songs can easily be followed, but the instrumental backing at times improvises with hardly any recognizable elements left of the original melody, but with all such musical enthusiasm, that I can’t imagine the audience remained seated all evening. (B.U. 169)

Tim Pitts - Yesterday Today
(USA) Wave Guide Records WG 11121 (2005)
15 tracks / 44:11 / 4-page booklet

For this guitar-centred instrumental one-man-band tribute, Tim Pitts recorded the usual Lennon-McCartney ballads (Yesterday, Michelle, Eleanor Rigby and such) but also Strawberry Fields Forever and three Harrison compositions, Here Comes The Sun, While My Guitar Gently Weeps and You Like Me Too Much. He usually starts his renditions on acoustic guitar, playing the familiar Beatles melody, then adds bass and basic percussion and before you know it, he throws in his electric guitar which either takes over the main melody or fills in newly composed guitar licks and in the end, you’re listening to a multi-layered wall of sound. But, not withstanding his excellent musicianship, some of these instrumentals sound just too overdone. Personally I would favour more diversity, with alternating acoustic and electric guitar based songs plus a few of the mixed tracks. (B.U. 192)

The Prellies - Afternoon Tea With The Prellies
(UK) Atombeat Records AB001 (2006)
11 tracks / 28:41 / 4-page booklet

The songs the Beatles performed at their earlygigs in Liverpool and Hamburg, during which they covered rock ’n’ roll and rhythm & blues compositions themselves. And although this concept isn’t redone that much, almost all songs are Beatles-related. They are almost all selected from the Star Club recordings or BBC radio shows and even some have also appeared on the Beatles studio albums: Twist And Shout, Ain’t She Sweet, Roll Over Beethoven, Lend Me Your Comb, Sweet Little Sixteen, Besame Mucho, Slow Down a.o. All songs , except for the final track, Leiber & Stoller’s ballad Loving You, were done by The Prellies in an energetic,  sweaty way with a tough rocking beat and fine vocals. The only remark may be that it’s slightly disappointing when you discover it’s over within half an hour, but this album guarantees a splendid time when you happen to see them live in concert.
Additional info from Trev Prellie: “The CD was financed by the BBC as a soundtrack for their documentary ‘Stuart Sutcliffe the Lost Beatle’. This was great for us because obviously it allowed us to record some songs, but we did have to compromise on some of the song choices, as they insisted on a couple of more popular choices such as Twist And Shout, which though is a song we play, we wouldn't have put on the CD because there a many bands out there who can do a better job of it. We had to drop Red Sails In The Sunset for that.. A shame.” (B.U. 193)
www.theprellies.co.uk / www.atombeat.com

The Punkles - PuNk!
(GER) Bitzcore BC 1732 (2002)
16 tracks / 27:41 / 8-page booklet

A new Punkles album, with some more of their high-speed ‘Ramones Meet The Beatles’ cover versions, also includes three Beatles-related songs (Please Mr Postman, Dizzy Miss Lizzy and Rock ‘n ‘ Roll Music). The track-listing shows some ballads, and sometimes the intro sounds as if the Punkles have changed their plans. But of course, you won’t find the word ‘ballad’ in the Punkles’ dictionary and they hardly give you time to take a breath: once a song is over, within a few seconds you hear the count-down for the next tune. Drummer Markey Starkey is having a go at Yellow Submarine: relaxed and with a hoarse voice and an occasional energetic outburst when the chorus sets in. With almost all songs clocking in close to one and a half minute each, before you know it, it’s all over. (B.U. 170)
www.bitzcore.de / www.suburban.nl / www.fanboyrecords.com

The Punkles - Beat The Punkles!
(GER) Bitzcore BC 1736 (2002)
17 tracks / 36:47 / 8-page booklet

Beat The Punkles! is a remastered re-issue of the Punkles’ first album, originally released on Wolverine Records in 1998 (review in BU 145). The sleeve of that initial release parodied a Stranglers album, whereas this new version has a more ‘appropriate’ Beatles parody sleeve, with the new guitarist, Captain O’Harrison included, too. Besides that, you’ll get two outtakes, She Loves You and I Wanna Hold Your Hand (which originally only appeared in their German counterparts) as well as a video clip of Drive My Car as bonuses. For the rest it’s the same contents: eight studio cover versions coupled with five live songs from the ‘Hollywood Bowling Centre’ and a second version of All You Need Is Love, with various German punk stars joining in. On their debut album, the motto was Punk Is All You Need, now it is Give Punk A Chance, so, instead of A Hard Day’s Punk, why not have Eight Punkles A Week? Both albums have also been released as vinyl LP’s in fold-out sleeves, in which the round game, which is printed inside the PuNk! album, turns out far better than its CD-sized version. (B.U. 170)
www.bitzcore.de / www.suburban.nl / www.fanboyrecords.com

The Punkles - Drive My Car 7” Vinyl Single
(GER) Fanboy Records fan 202 (2002)
3 tracks / approx. 5:00 / picture sleeve

Some more Punkles released on vinyl, released on a different record label is the Drive My Car single, with two exclusive non-album tracks on the B-side. There’s a gravel-voiced version of an obvious Punkles choice, Run For Your Life and a boosted-up version of the Rutles song Hold My Hand, even with the recognizable harmonies and the familiar All My Loving-kind of ending. But stay close to the record player, because the songs are over before you know it. (B.U. 170)
www.bitzcore.de / www.suburban.nl / www.fanboyrecords.com

The Punkles - 1998 - 2003 (1st. edition)
(Jap) Imperial Records TECI-20163 (2003)
20 tracks / 47:38 / 8-page booklet + 8-page Jap. insert
The Punkles - 1998 - 2003 (2nd. edition)
(Jap) Imperial Records TECI-20179 (2003)
20 tracks / 45:02 / 8-page booklet + 8-page Jap. insert

The Punkles are conquering the world, with the release of compilation albums in France (known as the “Yellow Album”) and the above one, in Japan, which entered the charts and was played during Japanese airline flights. For collectors, this compilation is a treat as well, because it not only has tracks from their previous albums. You also get three outtakes from the “Punk” album sessions (two of which already appeared on the Drive My Car 7”vinyl single release), six songs specially recorded as extras for this compilation, and three (or in the case of the second edition) five additional previously unreleased songs - all five would eventually end up on their next studio album, Pistol, too. So half of this album is discussed in earlier Cover Corners (BU 140, 170) and the remaining songs are of the same ‘Ramones meet the Beatles’ pattern. The new songs also include Beatles’ own cover songs like Please Mr Postman, Act Naturally, Boys, Roll Over Beethoven and a Punkles original, Ha Ha Ha (Make Laugh Not War), which is exactly what it says. The tracks are, for the most of it, fast or ‘rough’ Beatles songs, speeded up or dirtied the more by the Punkles. I’m A Loser may surprise you, with an acappella intro and pretty soundalike lead vocals and harmonies over a solid backing. Their version of Rain, the final track on this compilation, is wrapped in a wall of guitar sound with nagging, psychedelic vocals, and has an unexpected playing time, which is far over 8 minutes, including a reprise at the end. Although the first edition includes two Punkles slogans, Give Punk A Chance and All You Need Is Punk, the second release is the more attracting with two new songs, Why Don’t We Do It In The Road and You Can’t Do That. Besides that, the CD-booklet of the first edition wrongly shows a tracklisting of 17 songs, whereas the backside has the right list of 20 songs. I wonder, which Beatles convention will be the first to invite this band to play? (B.U. 175)
www.punkles.com / www.bitzcore.de / www.imperialrecords.jp/intl  / www.rabazco.de

The Punkles - Pistol
(Ger) Bitzcore BC 1743 (2003)
15 audio tracks / 39:52 / 1 video track / 2:12 / 16-page fold-out postersleeve

Out of a studio recording set of 28 Beatles covers, fifteen were included on their new album, Pistol, with the added bonus of an enhanced video clip of Magical Mystery Tour (footage of the band performing in concert and backstage clips). Besides the five songs that already appeared on the Japanese Punkles compilation, this is another set of both their trademark of reinforced performances and some more subtle versions (in the singing, that is). Just like in the above mentioned I’m A Loser, the sound of vocals and harmonies in Two Of Us is highly entertaining. On the other hand, While My Guitar Gently Weeps is a far cry from Harrison’s own acoustic demo and Hey Jude is no longer the sing-along ballad we’re familiar with. And guess what, Tomorrow Never Knows, which closes the album as CD bonus track, not only lasts more than 6 minutes but is even clad in reggae rhythm (!). This certainly raises the question: what will be their next move?
By the way: Punkles fans should also look for the Japanese release, which includes a couple of other tracks than this European version. (B.U. 175)
www.punkles.com / www.bitzcore.de / www.imperialrecords.jp/intl  / www.rabazco.de

Punkles - The Punkles
(FRA) Remedy REM031024 (2003)
14 tracks / 31:24 / digi-pack

The first album is their compilation of hits as released in France and is commonly known as the Punkles’ Yellow Album’, which refers to the fully yellow and black package (with a safety pin-pierced Apple label on the CD). Contrary to the 1998-2003 compilation, which included some new songs, this album is a mix of tracks equally taken from their three albums. The songs represent various phases of the Beatles career and in playing-time, range from the quick 1:29 version of From Me To You to the only one above the 3 min. line: Hey Jude, which clocks in a brave 5:19. And we all know by now, that even the Beatles ballads don’t escape from the band’s unpolished speeded-up guitars and both rough vocals and harmonious singing (although one may initially be distracted by the peaceful intro for Michelle). But obviously, once the French fans have experienced this well-known dynamic Punkles attack on the Beatles pop tunes, they will surely be hungry for more … (and be glad there’s Internet!) (B.U. 180)
www.punkles.com / www.bitzcore.de / www.rabazco.de

Punkles - Pistol
(JAP) Imperial Records TECI 20182 (2004)
16 tracks / 46:51 / 16-page fold-out poster + 4-page Japanese inlay

The second is the Japanese release of the Punkles latest album (see BU 175) and the re-arranged track listing includes six new tracks, which replace Day Tripper, Why Don’t We Do It In The Road, I’m A Loser, Get Back, Ha Ha Ha (Make Laugh Not War) and the enhanced  video track, Magical Mystery Tour. Of the new ones, the vocals and harmonies in Anytime At All and The Night Before may be called melodious(!), whereas the thunderous intro of Money sets the Punkles style, with puffed up tempo and rougher lead vocals. A similar approach was done for Honey Don’t and Ringo Starr’s Don’t Pass Me By. Although the title may suggests otherwise, Revolution 1-2-3-4 is their own 7 1/2 min. Revolution No. 9 parody. It starts with a collage of various sounds, the repeated counting of 1-2-3-4, a guitar, trumpet playing and someone repeatedly reading a few lines from a manual about distortion. It’s all in there: laughter, piano, coughing, barking dogs, violins playing, you name it. So, actually your Punkles collection won’t be complete without this alternative release. (B.U. 180)
www.punkles.com / www.bitzcore.de / www.rabazco.de

Punkles - For Sale!
(GER) Punkles Records CD03441 (2006)
18 tracks / 34:52 / 4-page booklet

And here we have another album of the ‘Fast Four’ entourage, this time with a set list that, besides I Wanna Be Your Man, takes in songs from the White Album, Let It Be and almost all of the Abbey Road’s B-side! All presented in short, solid wall of sound versions, without any time to breath in between songs. The lead vocals vary from gravel-toned to a limited range voice in Octopus’s Garden (credited to Lennon-McCartney!) and a Chipmunks-like Ob-La-Di Ob-La-Da. Besides that there’s ska / reggae rhythm integrated in Sun King and She Came In Through The Bathroom Window. With songs varying in length from 33 seconds (Mean Mr Mustard) to 3:28 (Come Together), they rush 18 songs in just over half an hour and it seems they’re trying to compete in recording the fastest Beatles cover version ever, in their well-known Ramones Meet Beatles attack. (B.U. 191)
www.rabazco.de / www.punkles.com



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David Qualey - UnBEATabLE Songs
(GER) DQ Music (2004)
12 tracks / 44:24 / 4-page booklet

After a dozen albums and DVD’s of his own guitar compositions, David Qualey thought of recording an album of self-arranged Beatles songs. Some were played for the first time, whereas others only needed some reworking as the arrangements were already made some years ago. The majority is a selection of ballads, laid-back Beatles compositions and only a few swinging exceptions, which are fortunately treated as such. Qualey has acknowledged that he didn’t pursue any big experimental adventures - and that’s exactly what you get. In all the songs he’s playing solo guitar, either by picking the melody line or occasionally strumming guitar chords (Here, There And Everywhere) as well as playing an accompanying bass-line on the way. As such, Fool On The Hill is treated to a bluesy atmosphere and Lady Madonna is a real swinger, but as the shortest track of all (1:44) it’s over before you know it, unfortunately. In other songs you’ll hear new melodies in the intro (Norwegian Wood) or in the end of a song (With A Little Help From My Friends), whereas in Eleanor Rigby the new intro melody remains throughout the song, right up until the end. Hearing elements like these, it’s a pity he didn’t choose for more of such little alterations and a finishing personal touch for this otherwise enjoyable instrumental album. (B.U. 181)



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Rain - A Tribute To The Beatles Yeah! Yeah! Yeah!
(USA) Rain Corps Ltd. (2002)
13 tracks / 38:59 / 4-page booklet

In the CD-booklet, they’re honest in admitting that they did not want to make a Beatles cover album for fans to buy as a reminder of their concerts: ‘why re-record the Beatles songs when you can go and buy an original Beatles album?’ All four band members already have quite a reputation in Beatles cover bands (“Beatlemania” Broadway show and Dick Clark’s “Birth of the Beatles” TV movie). After public demand, they finally gave in and released this album of both studio recordings and examples of their live output, sitting comfortably side by side. The tracks are neatly placed in chronological order, from I Saw Her Standing There right up to a fitting The End. The five live tracks together form a remarkable mixture of songs, including a medley of the first Beatles hit songs (exactly like the Beatles’ own Around The Beatles TV Special medley), two Harrison songs and one of Ringo Starr’s Octopus’s Garden. And indeed, as soon as the first instrumental and vocal tones set in, the band performs a perfect imitation of the original Beatles sound, with all the familiar authentic instrumentation, vocals and sound effects. It’s almost hard to detect a slip of the tongue or a tiny error of some kind, which could break the spell. And any sparse moment that does differ somewhat, passes by almost unnoticed. In Get Back, they’re performing so close to the original that you miss John Lennon’s ‘passed the audition’ outro. It’s admirable how this band not only shows their perfections within the safe studio walls, but can do just the same before an audience. (B.U. 176)


A promotional DVD, also titled Yeah Yeah Yeah, shows nearly 10 minutes of various live footage of the band, released in 2003. Although the sound doesn’t often synchronize with the video clips, you still get quite a good impression of the band’s quality performance (with outstanding Harrison guitar playing in While My Guitar Gently Weeps and The End). In between, comments from the audience agree on the band’s high standard Beatles sound. The song snippets are presented in non-chronological order and show the band in various Beatles outfits (early period suits, Sgt Pepper costumes, Abbey Road clothes). Nearly twenty samples pass by, including a medley and footage of their live re-enactment of the Rooftop concert. Pierce Brosnan rounds off the DVD by saying you have to employ them! (B.U. 176)

Rainbow Sleeves - Painted Songs
(GER) 319.1330.2 (2004)
15 tracks / 56:38 / 4-page booklet

Duo Rainbow Sleeves named themselves after a Tom Waits song, which is also present on this set of acoustic cover versions of songs from Elton John, Tori Amos, Rickie Lee Jones, Jennnifer Warnes, Prince and others. But the reason for mentioning the album here is the presence of two Lennon-McCartney songs, The Fool On The Hill and Norwegian Wood. Lara Schallenberg (vocals and body percussion) and Eddie Nünning on guitar, synthesizer, vocal percussion and backing vocals, present the songs with crystal clear high vocals, resembling Joni Mitchell’s. On some, Nünning adds his sonorous backing vocals, but not so on the two Beatles songs. The Fool On The Hill has a long stretching intro on guitar, different but beautiful backing melody lines and alternate way of singing, with an Antonio Jobim touch. Norwegian Wood also has a fully new guitar intro and the acoustic guitar plays on, while the singer sings the song in the same vein as the original. On the whole, I wouldn’t mind a full album’s worth of Beatles tunes by this duo. (B.U. 181)

Rangzen - Rangzen
(ITA) CD (2000)
17 tracks / 70:17 / 16-page fold-out booklet

Over the years, Italian band Rangzen, has recorded a fair deal of Beatles songs, both on CD and DVD. Their first album comprises of seven Lennon-McCartney songs next to hit songs by David Crosby, Rolling Stones, the Doors, Led Zeppelin and four of their own compositions. Although the lead vocals vary and show an occasional slight accent, their harmonies are beautiful (as in Crosby’s Long Time Gone). There are both live and studio recordings and the final song, Give Peace A Chance starts off as an audience sing-along version and features some reggae-ish backing. Still, both their selection of not too obvious songs, ranging from Ask Me Why to a medley of Birthday and Yer Blues and their bluesy but detailed renditions of the songs, show the first signs of the band’s potential. (B.U. 191)

Rangzen - Live At The Abbey Road Studios
(ITA) CD (2006)
18 tracks / 52:48 / 8-page booklet

Unlike their debut, their second CD clearly points at its Beatles contents with a parody of the Abbey Road sleeve and features two recording sessions, one from the Abbey Road studios and the other at the Yellow Studio in the band’s Italian home town Rimini. On this album, the track listing mainly shows the more solid Beatles songs, from Getting Better and Hey Bulldog to What Goes On, Harrison’s Old Brown Shoe and an unplugged piano plus vocals medley of five songs, which closes the Abbey Road session. Again you’ll hear their precise instrumental accompaniment, decent singing and the live atmosphere in tracks like I’ve Got A Feeling and the ‘Jammin’ In Studio 1’ medley adds up to their Beatles likeness. (B.U. 191)

Rangzen - Borgo 2003
(ITA) DVD (2004)
7 chapters / 1:52:56 / no booklet

The Borgo DVD is an audience recording, taken from one angle, with occasional close-ups. Drive My Car is heard when the menu pops up and besides other Beatles songs, the band performs songs of various other 60’s artists and bands. The backing vocals on the Beatles tracks Can’t Buy Me Love and Love Me Do leave much to be desired, although their rendition of If I Needed Someone is far better in this respect. The lead singer’s gritty vocals are most appropriate in the Stones, CCR, Doors and Deep Purple songs. (B.U. 191)

Rangzen - Live At Naima Club
(ITA) DVD (2005)
9 chapters / 1:42:18 / no booklet

Live At Naima Club is another audience recording, by one who likes to swerve with his camera which makes you think you’re watching the concert on a boat. There’s a chapter with Beatles songs and in other parts on the DVD a Beatles song passes by, too: the Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young part includes an acoustic Blackbird and the DVD closes with the Abbey Road medley, with the lead singer varying his vocals from rough to clear - depending on the song he sings. The band is doing a great job in perfectly copying the original instrumentation. The lead singer’s almost nonchalant appearance includes very Mick Jagger-like moves and a gravel-voiced way of singing, which fits most of the Beatles songs (I’ve Got A Feeling, Sgt. Pepper, Hey Bulldog). For other songs, another band member takes over the lead singing (With A Little Help From My Friends, Strawberry Fields Forever). Due to darkness, you can’t really see the audience reactions, but they must have had a good time re-living the 60’s music. And if you want more, the band’s website features other downloadable concert footage. (B.U. 191)

Sam Reid & Alan Connelly - An Instrumental Tribute The Beatles
(CAN) Willow Music 00052 (2002)
11 tracks / 35:52 / 4-page booklet

The instrumental ‘Pure Song’ tribute series so far comprises of discs ‘celebrating’ the music of Paul Simon, the Eagles and the Beatles. On the latter two, Sam Reid (piano) and Alan Connelly (guitar) of Canadian pop group Glass Tiger, perform their own arrangements of the songs. Besides the obvious ballads, they also selected Two Of Us, Fixing A Hole and the Golden Slumbers / Carry That Weight medley. In general, the two instruments switch the leading role, leaving the original melody intact as it speaks for itself and supposedly needs no drastic improvisations. Subtle sound alterations include castanets in the Spanish-flavoured And I Love Her or a mysterious sound at the start of Two Of Us, which show their musicianship. But albeit these details, the overall impression is that their performance is too laid-back, even in the up-beat songs, and comes close to a meditative music style. And guess what - in my collection I found an earlier release of the same performances, in the Tapestries series, be it that nature sounds had been added, which were recorded and mixed by Ernest Lyons, which gave it all even more relaxant moments. (B.U. 183)

The Repeatles - Top 10
(SWE) P636G627 858S 764 (2002)
10 tracks / 25:41 / 8-page fold-out posterbooklet

The band’s first album has a list of 1963-1967 favourites made famous by the Who, the Kinks, the Hollies and the Beatles, who dominate that top 10 with five compositions. In between two 1967 tracks, Pictures Of Lily and Penny Lane, the band builds up a true 60’s atmosphere, not necessarily in sound-alike style as far as the vocals are concerned. However, their instrumental performance and eye for details take care of authentic, faithful copies. And in a way, it’s nice to have a few other sixties songs besides the mainly early Beatles tunes. The CD cover concept parodies the 60’s LP’s and inside, the label is like the Parlophone label, now with a Euro sign; the total playing time of the album is from the vinyl era, too. (B.U. 183)

The Repeatles - Mathew Street Beat
(SWE) CD-R (2004)
16 tracks / 47:29 / 6-page fold-out booklet

Their next album shows a similar 60’s track listing including Who-, Kinks-, Byrds and Hollies hits, seven Beatles songs as well as five compositions by band member Jan Leonard Borgh, neatly placed at the end of the disc. As opposed to their debut, this is more mid-sixties, with songs like And Your Bird Can Sing, Thank You Girl and Wait. Their Xerox copies of the songs are close to perfect again (just listen to things like the 12-string Rickenbacker or harmonica). Their lead vocals and harmonies on most of the songs seem to have developed into a more sound-alike style. Their own compositions are clearly drenched by their inspirations, with little elements that reminds you of an intro, a guitar lick or harmonies from one of these bands. (B.U. 183)

The Repeatles - Something Else …
(SWE) CD-R (2004)
5 tracks / 18:20 / CD-single sleeve

The Something Else CD-single has four of these own originals and the Hollies hit Look Through Any Window, all taken from Mathew Street Beat. (B.U. 183)

Mike Ringler - Walking On Abbey Road
(USA) no label (2005)
4 tracks / 13:33 / 2-page sleeve

This mini album’s title track is a home-recorded Beatles tribute, written after Ringler’s visit to Abbey Road and tells the Beatles story over a continuous chant-like melody. He plays all instruments and takes care of vocals and harmonies on every song. The versions of Please Please Me, It’s Only Love and I’ll Be Back are modelled after the original melodies, with a basic but prominent drumming and narrowly reached higher notes. Meanwhile, an expanded version of this album (7 tracks; 24:37) became available and includes another original, the cheerful Beatlesque Thanks To You besides additional versions of You Can't Do That, with intriguing guitar intro and whimsical vocals and a modest, guitar accompanied Imagine. (B.U. 187)

Mike Ringler - The Spirit Is The Source
(USA) no label (2008
13 tracks / 48:30 / 2-page sleeve

In BU 187, Ringler’s minialbum, Walking On Abbey Road (2005) appeared and had both Beatles covers and his own Beatlesque tribute compositions. Now these two home made CD’s don’t have a similar relation, but feature Ringler’s own compositions, that include Beatlesque features. Mainly vague reminders of a Beatles tune, caused by vocal harmonies, Lennon-ish vocals and reminiscent instrumentation, as heard in a very solo Lennon-like composition and ditto performance (Short Term Memory Blues) - please some more of this next time! But as opposed to the earlier mentioned album, it´s harder to find Beatles connections:  the ?????? track at the end of the Note-Ified disc is even an obvious Bob Dylan parody (something Lennon has done as well, of course). I would say these CD’s tend to be tributes to various 60’s (psychedelic) bands from both UK and US, than specific Beatles homages. (B.U. 203)

Mike Ringler - Note-Ified
(USA) no label (2009)
12 tracks / 56:02 / 4-page booklet

Ringo Ska - You Are Listening To Ringo Ska / A Stereo Recording
(GER) Ringo Entertainment (2002)
7 tracks / 19:55 / 4-page booklet

There have been numerous (re-)releases of Beatles songs in reggae style, generally taken from the Trojan Horse archives, but here’s a German band performing covers in the related ska music style. Their first mini album represents a cross-section of the Beatles career, from Hide Your Love Away (!) to Come Together. The music style itself is a pleasant and highly danceable one, and by incorporating prominent electric guitar solos, piano improvisations and keyboard runs, the songs are even more swinging. The lead and backing vocals aren’t necessarily sound-alike but enjoyable enough with only minor accents. The more laid-back reggae approach comes around a few times as well, but this variation adds to a delightful effort to present an entertaining summer party. (B.U. 183)

Ringo Ska - It’s Ringo Ska / A Fine Stereo Recording
(GER) Ringo Entertainment (2004)
16 tracks / 43:12 / fold-out digipack

The second album offers of course the same nutty boys approach, although the track listing now shows a preference for pre-Sgt Pepper songs, Lady Madonna, All You Need Is Love and the obvious Ob-La-Di, Ob-La-Da. The foot-tapping tempo is already put into gear in the first songs, before some more relaxed versions pass by (Things We Said Today) but then you’ll jump up when a storming of Eight Days A Week arrives. On five songs, the lead singer makes way for other band members to have a go at the lead vocals. Variation in each song by way of instrumental breaks or improvisations (It Won’t Be Long), backing vocals (Please Please Me) and different drum-rhythms (Girl) makes it all the more interesting before you might suspect another album with too much of the same. When you’re a Beatles fan in low spirits, this is just the right medicine. (B.U. 183)

Daniel de Rossi - Tribute To The Beatles
(FRA) Private Pressing (2006)
8 tracks / 46:31 / 4-page booklet

The title suggests otherwise, but de Rossi serves us just three Beatles compositions, a Beatles related tune (Besame Mucho) and four works of his own. His recordings are lengthy piano improvisations, each with a special element: While My Guitar Gently Weeps starts with an unrelated 3-minutes intro before snatches of the well-known melody can be heard. The laid-back performance of Fool On The Hill on the other hand is more recognizable and the original melody dominates. The frolic, swinging version of With A Little Help From My Friends has improvised intervals and features (not really accent-less pronunciation). A fine aptitude test for what should have been more in quantity. (B.U. 200)


The Toshiba CD release of The Beatles Concerto by the Royal Liverpool Philharmonic Orchestra, with Ron Goodwin and piano duo Rostal & Schaefer has been (and still is) on my wants list for a long, long time.
I received notice, that the album, which is recorded in Liverpool and produced by George Martin, who concluded in his liner notes, ‘It is, it seems, not such a long way from the Cavern to the Philharmonic Hall!’, was re-released in 2000 (!) on HMV Classics. You can find the CD under a new title, Rostal & Schaefer Play The Beatles Concerto (HMV 5 74046 2) and in a different cover design. The HMV Classics series also contains a version of Manuel Barrueco - Plays Lennon & McCartney (HMV 5 73465 2).(B.U. 188)

The Royal Space Pop Symphony Orchestra - Music From Lennon & McCartney MadeFamous By The Beatles
The Royal Space Pop Symphony Orchestra - Music From The Beatles In Classic Style
(NL) CNN 2000 Recordings NN2302 (2007)
CD1: 23 tracks / 47:17 / 8-page booklet
CD2: 22 tracks / 48:50 / 8-page booklet

A double album’s worth of classical tributes to the Beatles songs, in several classical styles. There are two different releases of this compilation, with an alternate title and varying CD booklet designs, but both include 37 Beatles songs (including Free As A Bird), 6 Lennon solo songs and The Queens Dance (actually a classical interpretation of  McCartney’s Tug Of War) and Ode To The Queen. Usually, one (or more of the same) instrument plays the lead vocal part and therefore make these orchestral versions very recognizable. A few songs are only partly recognizable (Honey Pie), have new melodies included (Norwegian Wood) or start with a new intro (Lady Madonna). The playing time varies from 0:55 (Martha My Dear) up until 4:02 (Mother), but the majority of the songs clock in under 2 minutes. Some of the classical arrangements sound very much like those on the 12 Cellists Of The Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra album. Besides a minimalistic Sun King and an exuberant version of Mother, the 16 musicians of the Royal Space Pop Symphony Orchestra play with enthusiasm and give us both bright, merry performances as well as more solemn approaches. (B.U. 200)


Although the Beatles All Over The World DVD sleeve from the same company has the same classical instruments image used for one of the CD releases, it is not a companion-DVD of this classical tribute. The DVD comprises of the following newsreel footage: The Beatles In The UK; The Fab Four Visit America; Back In England; The Beatles In Holland; The Beatles In Germany; The Beatles In Japan; Back In The USA; Ravi Shankar, Maharishi, Brian Epstein, The Twilight; Beatlemania 1 and Beatlemania 2 (private movies taken during visits to the various Liverpool Beatles sites and the Beatles convention 2001). (B.U. 200)

Renato Russo - Beatles ‘n’ Choro
(ARG) Deckdisc 11006-2 (2002)
12 tracks / 35:43 / 8-page fold-out booklet

From the same distributor [as the Los Minitrónicos - Proyecto Beatles CD - edit] arrived another Argentine release, recorded by Renato Russo, whose Beatles ‘n’ Choro project already counts 4 volumes. Choro is the term for either the musical style closely connected with samba or refers to a small ensemble, where one member acts as the soloist. This first volume dates from 2002 and features Beatles ballads and up-tempo songs, played as Latin instrumentals featuring leading performances on numerous instruments ranging from flute, clarinet and saxophone to harmonica, bandolin and cavaquinho guitars. Most solo musicians appear more than once and play along the lead vocal line, with flexible musical rambles around it at times. Other guest musicians accompany with new arrangements of the original melody or improvise with melodic subtleties. The result is an instrumentally rich project full of swing and rhythm (Help, When I’m 64) as well as sincere modesty (Something, While My Guitar Gently Weeps) and quite rightly got its follow-ups. (B.U. 194)
Internet :
www.randomrecords.com.ar / www.rpmusic.com.ar



Get back to the top

Joe Sachse Ernst Bier - Helter Skelter - Beatles Forever
(GER) Born & Bellmann / Pool Music CD021508 (2002)
14 tracks / 48:55 / digi-pack

Guitarist Sachse and drummer Bier recorded this instrumental set at the Berlin Jazzclub A-Trane. The compositions were mainly taken from the Beatles later period and also included are no less than three Harrison tracks and a short medley, consisting of five intros (!) of Beatles songs. Eventually, on most tracks, the melody is followed, but halfway the two freak out and produce a wall of sound, which is no longer related to the Beatles song. Only in a few songs, you vaguely recognize a few tunes from the song. Harrison’s Something is done in a more restrained way, whereas Fool On The Hill starts totally unfamiliar, and only at the end, you get to know which song it is. Fixing A Hole and Blackbird on the other hand are jumpy performances on guitar and drums, with weird sound effects made along the way. Often too, the guitarist plays the melody while on the drums a totally different, un-related counter-rhythm is being played (Because, Within You Without You - with Sachse on flute). In Lady Madonna, little guitar riffs take over from chords playing. What remains is how two musicians succeed in making such a wild but swinging sound collage and meanwhile starting from or getting back to the Beatles song, as well. (B.U. 169)

Gerard Saint Paul - 10 Hits De Lennon & McCartney Chantés En Francais Par Gerard Saint Paul
(FRA) Magic Records MAM 113 (2008)
11 tracks / 33:56 / cardboard sleeve

This is a ‘vinyl replica’ re-release on CD of the 1971LP, with an extra bonus track, a live 1969 version of Ob-La-Di, Ob-La-Da, by Les Dauphins featuring Saint Paul, with French accent. The release of the original vinyl was a very surprising tribute to the Beatles. First, as opposed to the bonus track, which is in English, all songs were done in French and secondly, the songs were taken from the final chapters of the Beatles’ portfolio: from The Ballad Of John & Yoko to You Know My Name (!) as well as versions of Teddy Boy and Instant Karma. Without any version of Yesterday, Something or Michelle, a very daring, risky release back then. It appeared that most songs weren’t straight translations but feature new lyrics in French (by Simille and Delancray), sung with fine lead vocals over an accompaniment that touches the original, although at times you can hear a few English words (most often when the song title passes by). Although Magic Records already released the 5-part series, ‘La France Et Les Beatles’ (see B.U. 193) which includes a major part of this CD, the release of the full album is in this respect worthy, too. (With special thanks to Yvon Marie) (B.U. 202)

Emmanuel Santarromana - Fab4Ever
(GER) Promo 3114535 WAG0 (2006)
12 tracks / 45:01 / cardboard sleeve

For his second album, Santarromana has opted for a Beatles tribute. His homage  is a mix of various musical improvisations, from a rocking Paperback Writer, a modest Across The Universe and a re-done We Can Work It Out - which originally appeared on his ‘Barbara Bui: Whisper And Soul’ compilation. It’s all the result of a joint enterprise with many instrumental and vocal collaborators. The song selection is as varied as his musical approach: from You’ve Got To Hide Your Love Away to Flying and Sun King. The original melodies are generally hard to find, since he’s made completely new sound designs to these songs. In Sun King, you’re completely unaware of which song you’re listening to, until the familiar lyrics come along in the electro sound mix. On all but four songs, he’s left the lead vocals to female guest vocalists and a Bowie-ish singer (on Tomorrow Never Knows).  All in all a very refreshing and musically rich look on the Beatles repertoire. The commercial digipack version is available on Pschent 3115942. (B.U. 197)
www.fab4ever.music.com  / www.pschent.com

Scenario - Jazz The Beatles
(GER) Organic Music ORGM 9729 (2002)
11 tracks / 61:49 / digipack with 6-page fold-out booklet

The jazz trio on sopranino / alto saxophone, Hammond and drums / percussion, have scored their first point with an appetizing track listing: later Beatles era songs from I Am The Walrus to Helter Skelter and Blue Jay Way (dedicated to the memory of George Harrison) and a medley of Dig A Pony with Don’t Let Me Down. Most of the times, the saxophone / sopranino either follows or floats around the main melody, backed by the other instruments. Then the Hammond takes over control and comes to the fore playing a new melody (with only vaguely recognisable elements of the original tune) and in the end, the saxophone finally brings you back to the familiar original melody. Sometimes, these roles are switched and all done in an alternative pace or with tempo changes varying from the Beatles versions. However, these varieties may turn against themselves, since almost tracks clock in around 5-6 minutes each, the improvisations tend to get longwinded. But then again, some features are interesting novelties: psychedelic backing sound on Hammond in I Am The Walrus, tom-tom-like drumming in Norwegian Wood, a swinging Latin style intro to Lucy In The Sky With Diamonds and a nearly 2 min. drum solo further up in the that song and isn’t it funny to hear that Dig A Pony resembles With A Little Help From My Friends? (B.U. 174)

Achim Schultz - Bye Bye George Harrison
(GER) AS Musicrecording AS720069 (2006)
14 tracks / 47:14 / 8-page booklet

Bye Bye George Harrison is the tribute song thatdraws most attention (including broad interest on My Space and a radio show like Radio Rheinwelle). It was voted sound carrier of the year by Internet portal ‘German Beat’. But there are more Beatles related features can be found on this disc: second track is titled The Wilburys and No Game, the final track on the album is dedicated to Paul McCartney and his fight against landmines. The CD booklet shows a drawing of George Harrison, made by Klaus Voormann. The tribute is a pleasant, feel-good song with repeated use of Beatles song titles or familiar lines, such as Here Comes The Sun, All You Need Is Love, What Is Life and ‘little darling’ and ending with Hare Krishna chant. The rest of the songs, all his own compositions, are pure 60’s pop as performed by Schultz and a few guest musicians. The Lakota Village Fund also benefits from the album proceeds. (B.U. 193)y
www.achim-schultz.com  / www.musicrecording.tv

Achim Schultz / Over Twenty - Think Big
(GER) AS Musicrecording AS1200810 (2008)
10 tracks / 40:15 / 8-page booklet

Over Twenty’s leading man Achim Schultz clearly floods the market with Beatles tributes and Beatlesque material. Following his George Harrison tribute, Bye Bye George Harrison (see: BU 193), Think Big and Welcome arrived, with titles like Give Peace A Chance, Walls And Bridges, Girl, From Me (To You), Rain and The Fool On The Hill. This may suggest that you’re dealing with cover versions of Beatles / Lennon songs. But mind you, they’re only vaguely related: The Fool On The Hill (also released on CD-single) is dedicated to Jolly Goodfellow, a dance artist, who was dropped out of the Beatles Love show) and Give Peace A Chance occasionally even sounds like a slowed down version of Help! Nevertheless, Schultz’ original songs are Beatles-inspired and have a retro 60’s sound, with psychedelic feel and feature pleasant vocals, accurate pronunciation, rhythmic handclapping, Höfner bass and sitar sounds and melodious harmonies. One Beatles related aspect may be a convincing feature: as for Bye Bye George Harrison, Klaus Voormann again took care of the sleeve designs of the Give Peace A Chance CD-single (2008) and Welcome. (B.U. 202)
www.achim-schultz.de / www.musicrecording.tv

Achim Schultz / Over Twenty - Welcome
(GER) AS Musicrecording AS200911 (2008)
10 tracks (+ 1 video track) / 37:58 / 4-page booklet



Roy Scoutz - Here Comes The Sun
(USA) Spindlefish Records SP 5201 (2001)
18 tracks / 63:47 / 2-page sleeve

George Harrison’s title track is followed by a mix of the usual Beatles hit ballads and uptempo compositions, all performed likewise. Some tracks are of over five minutes, whereas others clock in under 2 minutes (With A Little Help From My Friends, which here flows into Got To Get You Into My Life!). Fully new instrumental intros generally start each track before you get to hear the familiar melody, while new refined melodies or improvisations frequently pop up as well (like in Come Together, where the original melody line gently mingles with a musical excursion). Unusual tempo variations appear in A Hard Day’s Night and Michelle. The intimacy of the solo acoustic guitar playing (without the use of overdubs or sequencing) on a few tracks takes turns with those interpretations that either feature guest musicians on vocals, violin and percussion or some added performances by Scoutz on keyboards, (fretless) bass and lap steel. It all adds up to show that Scoutz has succeeded in putting his own seal on top of already outstanding renditions. (B.U. 188)

Sgt. Pekker - Sgt. Pekker
(USA) Lakefire Records LR0201 (2002)
23 tracks / 56:41 / 16-page booklet

Hey guys, why don’t we create an album with our own compositions, use snatches of Beatles music (oriental in Really, Really, Really Long, piano in The Long Unwinding Scroll), rename some of their song titles (Martha I Fear, Blackguy, Piss Boy [Otto’s Theme], Hey Vern), re-write some of their lyrics (Maxwell’s Silver Hammer into Wham Bam Thank You Ma’m), with the inclusion of some explicit words - let’s not forget to warn potential buyers with a filth-advisory sticker -, toss in some related Beatles names: band members (John Paul Pope, Jean-Paul Fabb), special guests (Yikes Oya - backing vocals, inspiration, mothering), producer (Gerald “Booth”  Martin - the fifth Pekker), design a parody of the Beatles’ White album sleeve concept, present the album as the ‘anti-thology of material from The Even Whiter Album, Let’s Make It Side B, and Flabbby Load’ .... and there you have it: not necessarily a Beatles tribute or parody album, but in the end this is one that gets attention with the above mentioned features. Hope you’ll like their humorous effort - this reviewer at least did. (B.U. 186)

James Shepard - From Me To You
(USA) Eagle Canyon Music ECM 30015 (2003)
12 tracks / 31:06 / 4-page booklet

When you look at the CD sleeve, you’ll see one of the inspiration sources for the Beatles’ Sgt Pepper album cover concept: brass bands usually were portrayed this way. But that music style isn’t what it’s all about here. Singer songwriter James Shepard’s ‘humble tribute to some of the greatest love songs ever written’ includes eight Beatles classics, two Everly Brothers hits and two of his own compositions. He performs on guitar and vocals, gently following the originals with the added versatile touch of various instruments, helped out by family and friends. This way, some songs were turned into another music style: pedal steel takes care of a country flavour (From Me To You, Something and the Everly hits), there’s a jazzy sax (This Boy), beautiful solo strings in Yesterday and harmonica in Here There And Everywhere. Besides some backing vocals (‘Oh’s and ah’s’), he’s sometimes joined on lead vocals by Beatles tribute band Blackbird’s Paul impersonator Len Balasa. His Beatles-influence is also apparent in his own songs, which are very McCartney-like both in composition and vocal performance. (B.U. 183)

Sketch - With A Little Help From My Friends
(USA) Hiroshi Music (2004)
11 tracks / 33:01 / 2-page sleeve

Mark Easley also distributed and co-produced the instrumental Beatles tribute album by Japanese acoustic guitarist Sketch (Hiroshi Masuda). The CD starts with the Sgt Pepper opening medley, via four White Album tunes (including Harrison’s Piggies) to All You Need Is Love and Michelle as the only pre-Pepper song: at least a song selection that looks very promising! All arrangements are his own, except for Blackbird - which is from John Knowles, which features some alternate melodies. For the remaining tunes, he doesn’t take any extravagant improvisational excursions but follows all the melody lines (lead and backing) of the original compositions - right up to the inclusion of She Loves You at the end of All You Need Is Love. But then again, these acoustic solo performances are highly skilled, varied and beautiful - as such, vocals are hardly missed. A perfect example of how renditions of the later period catalogue can be both challenging and rewarding. (B.U. 183)
www.goldhat.net / www.sketch3.jp/eng

Smithereens - Meet The Smithereens!
(USA) Koch Records KOC-CD-4204 (2007)
12 tracks / 28:01 / 8-page booklet

Their 1991 Top Of The Pops CD-single already contained a cover version of One After 909, but now New Yersey band the Smithereens released an exact replica of Mersey band the Beatles’ US breakthrough album Meet The Beatles. Such an approach also yields versions of not much covered songs, like Don’t Bother Me (like Till There Was You also wrongly credited to Lennon-McCartney), Little Child or Not A Second Time. It all became a mix of easily recognizable elements from the originals (harmonica  in Little Child, the countdown intro of I Saw Her Standing There and rhythmic handclapping) and darker, Elvis Costello-like lead vocals (as in Till There Was You) and beautiful backing vocals (best heard in This Boy) accompanied by a straight and richer instrumental backing (a swinging I Wanna Be Your Man). This effort clearly points out that they’re true fans of the band, with eye for details and as such they’ve handled the songs cautiously and meanwhile make them sound refreshingly new. A small concert tour early this year followed the release of this album. (B.U. 194)


The Stamps - Journey To The Mind
(Bel) CD-R (2003)
20 tracks / 47:38 / 2-page sleeve

Some time ago, one of our readers sent us this CD-R and we were promised Beatles-influenced songs. Of course nearly every band owes a lot to the Beatles, but what The Stamps offer here are all up-tempo songs, almost all sung by women, in the style of 80’s bands like Blondie, Nena or Katrina & The waves (Walking On Sunshine) as well as a few instrumentals. Perhaps not for a Beatles-like event, but for some highly danceable evening, you may get in touch with this band. (B.U. 175)

The Starbugs - Kids Sing Beatles
(New Zealand) UCA 34-2 (2000)
16 tracks / 44:30 / 2-page sleeve

Backed by a band, six kid singers (one main singer and five doing lead vocals on one or two songs or taking care of backing vocals) sing their way through a divergent set of Beatles and related songs, from Do You Want To Know A Secret to Birthday and Goodnight. The lead vocals generally sound sweet and innocent, sometimes emotional (Blackbird, Goodnight), but precisely pronounced and accompanied with neat backing vocals. The instruments simply play the backing line and occasional intermezzos, only once in a while you’ll find some new guitar fills (Help). Nothing to really complain about, except that there’s hardly any thrills or personal touches (besides the ‘kid’s sweetness’) to be found in these versions. Sometimes, a guitar intro or vocals are more prominent (Birthday). Moreover, some of the lyrics sound somewhat misplaced, when the kids sing about ‘grown-up’ subjects. In All You Need Is Love, technical editing during the repetitive intro is clearly audible and therefore annoying, and in a song like Birthday, the keyboard seems to be at sea here and there. The sound effects in Yellow Submarine are self-made. And what’s more, they’ve done quite some Beatles songs originally sung by Ringo Starr - that sets one thinking or is it pure coincidence? (B.U. 174)

Bobbie Stewart - Undercover Beatles
(GER) CD-R (2004)
20 tracks / 59:30 / 4-page booklet

Joachim Neumann, a.k.a. Bobbie Stewart, is a street musician who plays a repertoire of songs from Beatles, Stones and Dylan to Björk. He’s trying to sell his songs through Ebay, presenting a huge list of songs he’s covered (there’s a choice of more than 100 Bob Dylan songs) - you just mention your favourites and get your own compilation. He’s already admitted that his CD’s aren’t the best of quality, but good home-PC-standard and that’s how this should be viewed: catching versions in their sincere purity. His faithful renditions feature lead and backing vocals with rhythmic sounds added to his acoustic guitar playing. Carefully avoiding most of the high notes, he usually sings in a lower key, which doesn’t work on all the songs. In his different phrasing than the originals, the synchronization occasionally fails somewhat. Imperfections like these would of course be straightened out with a professional recording. His broad selection is worth mentioning, from A Day In The Life and Glass Onion to solo tunes like Isn’t It A Pity and Jealous Guy. On another version of this demo disc, five more songs can be found (When I’m 64, Lady Madonna, The Ballad Of John & Yoko, Get Back and Working Class Hero) and he’s recently covered Harrison’s Pisces Fish! (B.U. 183)

Kevin Stoller - Long And Winding Road
(USA) Invincible INVCD 0265 (1999)
10 tracks / 53:19 / 4-page booklet

In a portfolio of New Age and yoga music and (Gregorian) chants, Invincible released this album with solo piano performances of five tranquil Beatles classics and one Lennon song (Imagine), next to four of Stoller’s own compositions. The familiar Beatles melody is heard and played to the full either directly or after a long, newly arranged intro. In some, Stoller has thrown in some improvisations of the melody or even added new instrumental parts, which were cleverly woven into the original melodies. All of his Beatles impressions are performed in a laid-back way that obviously fulfils its promise of relaxation. The enhanced part of the CD is a short multimedia show, in which Stoller explains his inspirations to make the album. (B.U. 188)

Die Strawberries - Was Glaubst Du, Wer Du Bist
(GER) Hansa / BMG Ariola 74321 35516 2 (1996)
4 tracks / 10:27 / CD-single inlay

On stage German band Die Strawberries play their mix of Beatles cover versions and their own original songs. On this demo disc, they’ve recorded two of their own compositions in a Beatles sixties style, with German lyrics. The songs, Was Glaubst Du, Wer Du Bist (Who do you think you are) and Liebst Du Mich (Do You Love Me) both appear in a vocal and instrumental version (still including the backing vocals). Especially the second song features a few elements that vaguely reminds you of Beatles, as the song starts with a Rutles-like Paperback Writer pastiche, halfway riffs from She Loves You and early Beatles handclapping and “ooh” trademarks. (B.U. 183)
E-mail: Becker_Lothar-at-web.de

The Strawberry Beats - A Tribute To The Beatles DVD
(NL) AmbianZ AZ 300714 (2006)
28 tracks + 3 bonus / 1:19:12 + 8:06 / 4-page booklet

Winners of Beatles Unlimited’s Golden Apple Award 2007, whose glorious path started off with the release of this Beatles tribute DVD. It shows a concert of the band, recorded on 25 November 2005 at the Tagrijn, in Hilversum, the Netherlands. Their performance follows the Beatles career and thus shows the band is capable of covering all Beatles phases - from If I Needed Someone and Tell Me Why to Doctor Robert and the usual finale sing-along song, Hey Jude. During the menu, you can hear Revolution No. 9 and Within You Without You sounds. There you can either go straight to the concert or start from a specific song from the track listing. You can also vote for watching the support act first: the 9-year old Eline Mann, who strums on acoustic guitar and sings three Beatles songs - very natural and brightly performed, without any stage fright it seems. During the concert, you can see that all members of the five-man band, including a keyboard player, take turns in singing lead or taking care of backing vocals, without trying to be sound- or look-alikes (except for the Shea Stadium suits). It looks as if every one has an affection for a certain period of style, whereas the drummer gets his share as Billy Shears in With A Little Help From My Friends. There are a few intimate moments (the acoustic Blackbird) and some rocking, electric renditions (Come Together, Sgt Pepper, Back In The USSR) - all feeding the enthusiastic atmosphere at the venue. Although initially meant as a promotional DVD, the decision was made to turn it into an official release. A good move, indeed, for now everyone can witness that there’s no need to perform Xerox-Beatles to be a good tribute band. (B.U. 191)
www.strawberrybeats.nl / www.ambianz-entertainment.nl

The Strawberry Beats - Come And Get It
(NL) AmbianZ AZ 300718 (2007)
3 tracks / 10:20 / CDsingle

On the Strawberry Beats’ first CDsingle, If I Needed Someone and Come Together from the above mentioned DVD accompany the band’s version of Come And Get It, the McCartney give-away song to Apple band Badfinger. A strong guitar intro sets the pace for some more new Queen-like instrumental lines and the song flows from Badfinger-ish to their own personal icing on the cake, and quite sound like a contemporary song. The final part is a sound collage of other Beatles song lines, cleverly woven into the Come And Get It melody. Their website features a video for this song. So guys, why not record more of these give-away tunes? (B.U. 191)
www.strawberrybeats.nl / www.ambianz-entertainment.nl

The Strawberry Beats - It Was 40 Years Ago Today
(NL) Ambianz AZ 300934 (2007)
3 tracks / 12:25 / CD-single cardboard sleeve

The band has already been in this column and has since released this tribute medley of Sgt Pepper album songs, It Was 40 Years Ago Today (also the name of their 60’s theatre show). The 3 ½ min. mix includes five songs from the album. It’s a highly enjoyable sound collage and the final part, starting with a few mini samples from other songs and the Sgt Pepper Reprise, really rocks. The two bonus songs, the accordion-accompanied and vocally harmonious Norwegian Wood and the finale audience sing along Hey Jude have been taken from the band’s Live DVD (see BU 191). (B.U. 197)
www.strawberrybeats.nl / www.ambianz-entertainment.nl

The String Quartet - Tribute To The Beatles
(USA)Vitamin CD8792 (2005)
CD1: 10 tracks / 37:14 / 4-page booklet
CD2: 10 tracks / 30:26 / 4-page booklet

From a huge catalogue of similartributes, Vitamin records comes with no less than two discs full of string arrangements of Beatles songs - however, the two CD’s would easily fit on one disc. The track list shows both Beatles songs, a solo McCartney (Band On The Run) and quite a lot Lennon songs (Starting Over, Beautiful Boy, Imagine, Instant Karma and Mind Games). The Beatles compositions vary in style, so there’s Come Together, Let It Be as well as Nowhere Man, Something and Yesterday. Although the title suggests otherwise, there are four different combinations of musicians performing five songs each, with one trio playing all Lennon solo songs. The original melodies are generally followed closely, without all too much musical byways. But still there are some nice new melody lines added here and there (Come Together may very well show up in a James Bond movie) and at times they even sound like Apocalyptica playing Metallica - especially when the ensemble sets in heavily. Renditions such as these  stand out in the otherwise muzak-kind of cover versions field. (B.U. 192)

Paul Suescun - Let It Be Instrumentals
(USA) Mambito Records MR 017 (2004)
12 tracks / 40:53 / 4-page booklet

Cedryl Ballou’s Let It Be Zydeco album, reviewed in BU 176, was initially recorded as a birthday gift to Mambito Records’ Jose Suescun. The latter’s son Paul took the masters of this album to re-record and re-mix the tracks as fully instrumental versions and added some of his own guitar playing along the way. Compared to the original album, the sleeve concept is slightly altered, the track listing has been changed, a new song is added (Michelle, featuring laid back saxophone coupled with synthesizer sounds) and two versions of I Saw Her Standing There are included, one being an electro-pop remix almost twice the playing time of the other. A dominating electric guitar follows the vocal lines and is backed by some firm drumming. The cheery accordion fills from the original album are still there and give these guitar and drums performances some of the necessary warmth. The same goes for Michelle, where a laid-back saxophone is coupled with some synthesizer sounds. So in a way, this is Let It Be Zydeco’s twin brother, who certainly needs a hand of his kid brother and knowing that the original album was merely meant as an experiment and that a remake is in the can, we’ll see how the kid brother matures. (B.U. 181)

Big Jim Sullivan - Sitar Beat
(UK) RPM 242 (2002)
16 tracks / 45:43 / fold-out poster booklet

One of the studio artists lending his talents to the Hot Hits albums was Jim Sullivan, whose 1968 album Sitar Beat is now available on CD, with six bonus tracks, and includes two Beatles songs. For She’s Leaving Home, the sitar first takes the leading vocal melody, taken over by a flute, with the sitar echoing and playing second ‘vocal part’. At times, the two play together, too, while the backing is done by various percussion instruments and guitar. You’ll hear new melodies played in between as well. The more obvious composition for sitar playing is of course Within You Without You and is now played fully instrumental and (fortunately) does not have the hilarious laughter at the end and fits in nicely with the remaining tracks (cover versions of Donovan and Procol Harum songs and Sullivan originals). The prejudice regarding that instrument, which you often have to be really susceptive to fully enjoy it, can be altered once you hear Sullivan putting in some swing in the psychedelic 60’s style on this album. (B.U. 174)
www.cherryred.co.uk / www.rpmrecords.co.uk

Aaron Sutcliffe - Wavertree
(SWE) Subspace Communications / Playgournd ICOM31 (2007)
14 tracks / 39:49 / 4-page booklet

This collection includes the artist’s personal favourites from the Beatles’ later period, with songs such as Tomorrow Never Knows, Why Don’t We Do It In The Road, Glass Onion and Mean Mr Mustard. His synthi-pop versions back his sometimes slightly furry / distorted (but still fine enough) vocals and the added sound effects take you straight back to the 80’s. Some versions have much of the original melody lines, whereas in others, only fragments of the instrumental backing have recognizable elements of the original instrumentation (Don’t Let Me Down) and when it differs the more, the vocals generally help you out to find the familiar song. Got To Get You Into My Life was picked out to be released in a 14 seconds shorter ‘single version’. (B.U. 201)
www.Playgourndmusic.com  / www.myspace.com/aaronsutcliffe

Aaron Sutcliffe - Got To Get You Into My Life
(SWE) Subspace Communications / Playgournd ISSC63 (2007)
1 track / 2:58 / 4-page booklet



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T.P.H. Productions - Perform: The Beatles / The Party’s Here! With The Beatles
(UK) Musicbank APWCD7011 (2002)
20 tracks / 54:37 / 4-page booklet

A new ‘band’ name, a new album design, but this appears to be the same as “The Caverners Perform The Beatles No. 1’s” release from the same company, reviewed in BU 165, be it that there are seven tracks less on this new release. From that review, the centrepiece was: ‘In their effort to make a perfect sound-alike version, the lead vocals seem somewhat forced now and then. On other tracks, they sound more even and natural. Still, all the bits and pieces were taken in. The band opted for this xerox version, with different lead singers and musical backing copying the original. As said, making a perfect sound-alike version is an admirable job but you always tend to get annoyed by the (slight) differences. So a more personal touch is often appreciated more’. So, if you’ve missed the Caverners disc, here’s your chance to get it again, in a new coat, or perhaps there’ll be another one out by the time you read this. (B.U. 173)

Alan Thomas - The Long And Winding Road
(UK) Guitar Classics GC003-1/2 (2004)
Disc 1: 18 tracks / 50:59 / 4-page booklet
Disc 2: 18 tracks / 53:30 / 4-page booklet

Alan Thomas released a double disc full of guitar-performed hits taken from all Beatles stages, from Love Me Do to Her Majesty, listed in non-chronological order. This may eventually refrain you from playing both discs in one go, fearing all versions have the same approach, with a guitar playing the vocal melody lines. Amidst such whistle or sing along tracks however, there’s a bouquet of guitar variety to be heard -  true solo projects (played on either classical, steel-string or 12-string guitar) as well as multi-tracked recordings on various combinations of guitars, ranging from mandolin, banjuleles, bass, 12-string, jazz and classical guitars. Although he didn’t always pick a successful one (banjuleles in Yellow Submarine), Thomas immediately catches your attention with most of these instruments (mandolins for a Mediterranean-styled Michelle) and on top of that with surprising tempo changes (I Want To Hold Your Hand), new musical finds (Come Together) or when he covers other musical genres (a bluesy I Feel Fine). This way he’s gained that the quality of his performances predominates over the quantity of the tracks. (B.U. 189)

The Thurston Lava Tube - Me Ka Nahuku
(UK) Cordelia Records CD030 (2002)
21 tracks / 45:02 / 4-page booklet

I bumped into this one when I was browsing on the Internet looking for some more unknown cover versions. This album appeared to be one in a genre of which, to my knowledge, there’s no Beatles cover versions album available - so it was a truly worthwhile discovery. And what’s more it even sounds refreshingly great. Imagine an energetic melange of surf music, guitar bands like the Ventures, the Shadows, the Dakotas … and you’ll get the picture. Except for a few spoken lines here and there, all tracks are instrumental versions, often played at high speed. Either guitar or organ play the most prominent role, while the others back up, and in some other songs the two take turns and play each a line or two. Forget that the easily recognizable melodies sometimes discharge into a cacophony (Helter Skelter, wedged between two short versions of Maxwell’s Silver Hammer), because there’s still a lot to enjoy. This varies from newly added riffs and sound effects (bubbles in Please Please Me) to changing guitar techniques within a song and funny little features, such as on track 9 (!): When I’m 64, which is played as Revolution Nr. 9 (with a repeated ‘64’ instead of ‘number 9’ and lots of sound effects), whereas Revolution No. 9 itself is almost unrecognisably disguised as a repetitive played riff reminiscent of the Tequila tune. Two non-Beatles tracks are included as well: the Rutles’ With A Girl Like You and Frank Zappa’s What’s The Ugliest Part Of Your Body. The final tracks are very Sgt Pepper like, with a newly made sound collage of A Day In The Life, followed by sea shore sounds and a gentle twanging guitar version of Free As A Bird, all culminating in a hidden 25 sec. backwards recording. (B.U. 174)

Two Of Us - The First
(NL) 2OFUS27052000 (2000)
15 tracks / 53:13 / 4-page booklet

On their first album, this Dutch duo presents 60’s &  70’s favourites they were inspired by, with songs originally from the Kinks, the Doors, Beach Boys, Dave Berry, Jethro Tull and more - some of them well-known and some not too obvious. Beatles songs however took the major part, with Come Together, Lady Madonna, Here Comes The Sun and I Don’t Want To Spoil The Party. (B.U. 192)

Two Of Us - The Second
(NL) 2OFUS28052005 (2005)
16 tracks / 44:14 / 4-page booklet

This preference for Beatles songs was shown the more on their second album, which is all-Beatles. Their approach of these classics is supposed to near the originals, just re-arranged for acoustic guitar, tenor sax, flute and maracas. It is all pretty modest and without any rough edges, although some songs deserve another style (Come Together or  the Stones’ Backstreet Girl). The second album of course starts with Two Of Us (complete with the ‘Charles Hawtrey and the Deaf-Aids’ intro) and what follows is a cross-section of the Beatles repertoire, from I Saw Her Standing There right up to the Anthology version of While My Guitar Gently Weeps. Their harmonies sound perfect and the higher vocals in a song like Dear Prudence are very appropriate, but then again, I still miss an occasional gritty sound here and there. On the other hand, an acoustic performance like this attracted an enthusiastic audience on the various Beatles conventions they’ve performed on. (B.U. 192)

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