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Various Artists

Meat Dbeatles: Vol. 1

Review by Gary Hill

This album of covers by relatively obscure acts is quite cool. I think that for the most part the music here is vital and there are few weak tracks. If I had to put forth any real complaints (beyond the individual track comments – a couple follow in the track by track review) the first would be that considering the title and cover art you would expect all Beatles songs covered here. Yet, there are a couple John Lennon solo numbers. It just seems that more control in that direction might have made this more “on message.” Next up, I’d say that too many of these seem to be done with a great reluctance to really change the delivery method. Really, why cover a song unless you can bring something truly new to the table. Finally, I’d say that perhaps changing the order of the tracks to put some of the more original versions in between more faithful renditions would go a long ways towards resolving that last issue. All of those things taken into consideration, though, I definitely like this thing quite a bit.

This review is available in book format (hardcover and paperback) in Music Street Journal: 2009  Volume 1 at lulu.com/strangesound.

Track by Track Review
Come Together - Robert Shanney
There’s a less crunchy texture to this than the Beatles’ version. Some of it sounds close to a progressive rock nature. I like this and it represents an interesting change. When it does power up at times it feels rather like Boston. The guitar solos on this are particularly tasty – especially the soaring one toward the end. The closing section of this is actually very prog rock like.
Imagine - Luciano
Imagine a reggae version of this John Lennon song. Well, that’s what we’ve got here. It’s a nice change from the original. I’m not saying this one will replace that, but it’s cool nonetheless. 
You Can't Do That - The Wise Guys
In some ways this is quite similar to the Beatles’ version. There are some little bits of other Beatles sounds here and there, though and the horn section is a nice touch. 
Woman - Rocky Larsen
Here’s another John Lennon piece. I’d say that this is similar to the original, but there’s a bit of a different flavor to it. I really like this performance a lot. 
I Feel Fine – Vavoom
To me this feels like a cross between Cheap Trick and the original Beatles version. It’s an upbeat and potent jam. 
Blackbird – Zlat
This short number is a little odd in terms of delivery. I guess it’s mostly the sound on the vocals. It’s an acoustic guitar based ballad. 
Lady Madonna - Hegg Bros
Bouncy and fun, this is a cool version. It’s not as heavily arranged as the original and that seems to allow the track to breathe a little more. There’s a real soulful feeling to this. The jazzy little jam in this is nice.
Helter Skelter - Gene Hilbert
This is an intriguing change up from the original. It’s delivered like a hard-edged electric blues performance – complete with appropriate vocals. The guitar solo on this is a scorcher and it moves out into nearly prog rock territory from there – taking it up to the fade out. 
Magical Mystery Tour – Multi Mike, No Smoking and Rocky Larsen
In many ways this is quite similar to the Beatles’ version. Considering the arrangement on that version, it’s a big compliment. Certainly, no one will think this is the Beatles, but there aren’t any huge differences in texture or delivery.  The piano solo segment, though, takes on a rather progressive rock oriented element. 
Hard Day’s Night - Art W., Miracle Maker and Will E.
Here we have an almost metal version. Don’t get me wrong, the vocals and overall texture are similar to the original. It’s just that the guitar is very crunchy and very “heavy metal.” There’s a smoking guitar solo on this, too. 
Strawberry Fields – Imemine
While this is pretty much every bit as psychedelic as the original, there’s an almost “garage band” texture to it. I’m not really blown away by this. Parts of it are great, but other sections feel a bit amateurish – mostly in terms of the vocal delivery and mix. The instrumental segment/outro, though, is quite cool. So is the little reprise at the end. 
I've Just Seen a Face - Carlette West
Now, this is very different. It’s a down home country and western take. This is full of twang and yet very fun. It makes for a great change of pace. 
Within You Without You / Tomorrow Never Knows - Elektronz
As you might guess from the name of the group, this is a techno, electronica take on this Beatles two-fer. Again it makes for a nice variant and an interesting change up. There are some Hawkwind-like space elements here and there, too. This seems a bit long and redundant, though in places. 
Here Comes the Sun - Gary Tucker
I’ve always really liked this track, but something seems very “off” about the vocal performance here. If there’s a track I’d skip this is it. The music itself is good (although the production feels a bit cheesy) but the vocals just don’t cut it. 
Because - Evans Orchid
There’s a twisted, almost Alice Cooper-like vibe to this. Although it’s rather strange, I like it a lot and would consider it a highlight of the disc. 
This Boy - Bowillie & Knightmoods
This is a fairly straightforward take on the cut. While it’s decent I wouldn’t consider it a standout. 
Tomorrow Never Knows - Electric Gypsy
Wow – this is amazing! It’s hard rocking and quite psychedelic. This feels modern and yet retro at the same time. This is definitely my favorite cut on show here. 
Let it Be - 101 Rocks
A fast paced punk rock take on the Beatles classic, this is a nice touch and a great way to end things in style.
 
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