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Various Artists

Keep Calm and Salute the Beatles

Review by Gary Hill

I would say that this set is pretty effective. Not every song works as well as the rest, though. Overall, I’d rate it a success story. That said, the one complaint I have is that it generally stays too faithful to the source material. I like to hear some liberties taken and new territory walked. Still, you really can’t complain when it’s this strong.

This review is available in book format (hardcover and paperback) in Music Street Journal: 2015  Volume 4 at lulu.com/strangesound.

Track by Track Review
Across The Universe - Ann Wilson

This is a great psychedelic rock rendition. I like it a lot. It’s not a huge change from the original, but it works really well.

Penny Lane - John Wetton
The acoustic basis here brings some definite difference. John Wetton’s voice is unmistakable, too. I like the vocal arrangement. The flute is a nice touch, too.
Eleanor Rigby - Jack Bruce
I’ve always loved this song. This symphonically enhanced rendition is classy. I like Bruce’s voice, too.
Blackbird - Liz Madden
Liz Madden’s voice is a nice change. The acoustic guitar based piece is bouncy and fun.
Norwegian Wood - Andrew Gold
This sounds shockingly like the Beatles. It’s a great rendition. It’s actually one of my favorites here.
Hide Your Love Away - Todd Rundgren
I had to double check as this song started. It really didn’t sound like Rundgren to me. I’m a big Rundgren fan, but I’m not crazy about this rendition.
All You Need Is Love - Helen Reddy
I like the musical arrangement here. Helen Reddy’s vocals are a bit too showtune for my tastes, though. Still, it’s pretty good. The repetitive outro is pretty annoying, though.
I’ll Follow the Sun - Judy Collins
This really feels different than the original. It’s distinctly Judy Collins with some hints of country music in the mix. I really like this rendition a lot. It’s a nice change and Collins’ voice works quite well on it.
And I Love Her - Howard Jones
Here’s another that almost feels like the Beatles at times. It’s a strong rendition, if not revolutionary.
Ticket To Ride - Felix Cavaliere
There is almost a jazzy vibe here. It’s a fun take, but the vocals feel a bit weird at times in terms of processing. They just feel a little clipped or something.
Let It Be – KC
I really like this version a lot. It seems to really capture the spirit of the original. KC (of Sunshine Band fame) puts in a stellar vocal performance. This is one of my favorite cuts here.
Yesterday - David Clayton Thomas
I like this version, but it’s not my favorite. It’s a little “oldies” like. 
Nowhere Man - Martha Davis
Now, this is a fun take. I like the playfulness of the musical arrangement and Davis’ voice brings a great texture to it.
All I Gotta Do - Stephen Bishop
This acoustic based rocker is strong. It’s not really a standout, but I like it, and particularly the variety it brings.
Something - Billy Sherwood
I really like this version. It’s not what I expected from Sherwood, but being surprised is a good thing.
Hey Jude - Leo Sayer
I like the harmonica on this tune. The later sections that are more involved are strong, too. I’m not all that excited about the beginning, though.
 
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