In many ways, Beatles’ fans are a lonely bunch.
The music of the first super group – arguably the most
talented collection of contemporary musicians of the past century – is so
multi-faceted that it can and has been analyzed, enjoyed, and rediscovered for
But those that want to quench their musical thirsts for
additional Beatles’ material have had few options. Although Sir Paul McCartney
and Ringo Starr are still very active in contemporary music culture their work
is a faint reminder of The Beatles’ collective experience. The same can be said
about the individual work of the late John Lennon and George Harrison. In the
case of the Beatles the whole equals much more than the sum of its parts.
Well, belly up to the musical bar because Easy Star’s Lonely Hearts Dub Band will
surely satisfy. The new rendition of the
1967 classic Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band comes from the same folks
that released 2006’s Radiodread, a
reggae take on Radiohead’s Ok Computer.
This album features vocals from a list of reggae and dancehall
artists including Steel Pulse, Matisyahu, Michael Rose of Black Uhuru, Ranking
Roger (English Beat) and a host of others. Now before fans begin to bandy about
terms such as “sacrilege” it should be noted that the music was treated with
something akin to reverence with the same lyrics and many of the same
arrangements as in the classic album.
Yes, there are definite reggae nuances – notably extra
percussion and horns – but this album is much more Beatles than reggae. Following the exact track listing of the
original, listeners will find many of the renditions are standouts. Consider
“For the Benefit of Mr. Kite” which uses the same funky, circus-coming-to-town
keyboards that so enthrall fans of the original work. But Roger’s vocals – interrupted
briefly with a pure reggae interlude – works to modernize yet preserve the
original piece. The same is true of occasional slight word substitutions – such
as in “A Day in the Life” when “dregs” is substituted for “head” (“Dragged a
comb across my head”).
It’s a safe bet that the modern Lonely Hearts will not only be embraced by die-hard Beatles fans,
but introduce the Beatles’ magic to a whole new group of listeners.
Standout Tracks: “Good
Morning, Good Morning,” “A Day in the Life” NANCY DUNHAM