From the Vault...


Various Artists
"The Art Of McCartney"

© Arctic Poppy/Bulletproof Records

Year of Release: 2014

track listing
  • Maybe I'm Amazed--
    Billy Joel
  • Things We Said Today--
    Bob Dylan
  • Band On The Run--
  • Junior's Farm--
    Steve Miller
  • The Long And
    Winding Road--
    Yusuf/Cat Stevens
  • My Love--
    Harry Connick Jr.
  • Wanderlust--
    Brian Wilson
  • Bluebird--
    Corinne Bailey Rae
  • Yesterday--
    Willie Nelson
  • Junk--
    Jeff Lynne
  • WHen I'm 64--
    Barry Gibb
  • Every Night--
    Jamie Cullum
  • Venus And Mars/
    Rock Show--
  • Let Me Roll It--
    Paul Rodgers
  • Helter Skelter--
    Roger Daltrey
  • Helen Wheels--
    Def Leppard
  • Hello Goodbye--
    The Cure Featuring
    James McCartney

    Disc Two
  • Live And Let Die--
    Billy Joel
  • Let It Be--
    Chrissie Hynde
  • Jet--
    Robin Zander &
    Rick Nielsen
    Of Cheap Trick
  • Hi Hi Hi--
    Joe Elliott
  • Letting Go--
  • Hey Jude--
    Steve Miller
  • Listen To What The
    Man Said--
    Owl City
  • Got To Get You
    Into My Life--
    Perry Farrell
  • Drive My Car--
  • Lady Madonna--
    Allen Toussaint
  • Let 'Em In--
    Dr. John
  • So Bad--
    Smokey Robinson
  • No More Lonely Nights--
    The Airborne
    Toxic Event
  • Eleanor Rigby--
    Alice Cooper
  • Come And Get It--
    Toots Hibbert
    With Sly & Robbie
  • On The Way--
    B.B. King
  • Birthday--
    Sammy Hagar>

  • WSVNRadio Archives
    A B C D E F G H I J K L M
    N O P Q R S T U V W X Y Z

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    Various Artists Website
    Previous Review: #1657
    Janis Ian--Between The Lines
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    The Residents--Commercial Album
    Various Artists
    "The Art Of McCartney"

    This week, we take a look at a 2-disc tribute to the music of Sir Paul McCartney. 2014 was the year that The Art Of McCartney was released. In reading some of the reviews of this tribute, they were of mixed results. As it says on the album's front cover, The Songs Of Paul McCartney Sung By The World's Greatest Artists -- the artists participating here are truly incredible. But as the reviews for this tribute are mixed, I can say the same.

    For instance, Billy Joel, Bob Dylan, Heart, Harry Connick Jr. -- I am very familiar with all of these great artists' music. Yet, when I hear their versions of Paul songs, I ask, "Is this really them?" They all sound so different. Billy Joel's "Maybe I'm Amazed" sounds a bit strained in his voice. Paul certainly had the "grit" in the right spots. Billy tries, but it's just not right there. His version of "Back In The USsR" is definitely better. Bob Dylan's "Things We Said Today" -- his voice is different! It's not that "whiny" style we are more familiar with. Heart's "Band On The Run" has the Wilson sisters singing voices sounding far different than what we are used to. As for Harry Connick Jr., his "My Love" is not up to Paul's version. Maybe if given more of a Jazz spin, it may have been better. On that note, giving his own style to "Yesterday," Willie Nelson's version here is exceptionally well. Cat Stevens (now known as Yusuf) sounds passionate on his version of "The Long And Winding Road," but... as he tries his best, this is not a definite impressive version. Another "Is this really..." is Jeff Lynne's "JUnk." This song for some, may or may not know. And Jeff Lynne being a huge Beatles fan, I was kind of expecting this version sounding ELO'ish. Yet it sounds like anyone could have recorded this song, but not easily recognized as a Jeff Lynne song, or even by the Electric Light Orchestra.

    Now, for some "good" tunes -- Steve Miller's "Junior's Farm" you can say "YES!" This is a good version. "Wanderlust" was a Paul song that I wasn't familiar with, yet Brian Wilson (The Beach Boys) does fairly good with his version. Corinne Bailey Rae's version of "Bluebird" is a good version, as this is a great song originally by Paul. Barry Gibb (The Bee Gees) takes on the Sgt. Pepper's tune, "When I'm 64" -- Although The Bee Gees and Peter Frampton made the Sgt. Pepper's movie, Barry's song here, could have easily been part of the movie soundtrack. His version is pretty good, and follows pretty much to the original. On a more positive note, Jamie Cullum's version of "Every Night" is done quite well, as his singing voice is sounding alot like Paul's. Then there is Kiss -- if it's by Kiss, it has to be good, and yes, it is -- Their version of the classic "Venus And Mars/Rock Show" is done great form. The slow-driven, almost bluesy "Let Me Roll It" is also done exceptionally well, by Bad Company's Paul Rodgers.

    Roger Daltrey gets the call on "Helter Skelter." This song can be the ultimate challenge, in vocal style. Daltrey has always been a top-notch, rough vocal'd artist. And quite truthfully, his grit vocal style works well on this version. Roger still has it, close to 50 years later. Another great song by Paul & Wings, is "Helen Wheels," and Def Leppard's version is just as good as Paul's. Disc One ends with "Hello Goodbye," as The Cure, alons with Paul's son, James this version. The Cure's Robert Smith has always had a distinctive singing voice, and it is recognized on this Magical Mystery Tour tune. Their version is as seminally equal as the original, with Smith's unique voice.

    Billy Joel starts out the second disc, with the Paul classic from the James Bond movie, "Live And Let Die." And, just as Billy's song starting out the first disc, his voice is strained again. Even musically, Paul's version brings more energy than Billy's. Both Paul's original versions of Billy's interpretaions of McCartney tunes are just way, way better. The piano starts out on "Let It Be" as the original, and singing this version is The Pretenders' Chrissie Hynde. And just as Paul did, the lead singer of the Pretenders does a good job. You can take your lighters out and wave them to Chrissie's version too. Cheap Trick's Robin Zander and Rick Nielsen take on the Wings' "Jet" -- Once again, this song just isn't as great as it's original, but their version here is listenable. Def Leppard's Joe Elliott does better than Cheap Trick, on his version of the non-album Paul track, "Hi Hi Hi."

    Like Billy Joel, Heart has a second song on this tribute, "Letting Go." Another lesser-known Paul song, Heart does well on this version, maybe better than their version of the classic "Band On The Run." And another artist having a second song on this tribute, Steve Miller's take on one of the most popular Beatles' song ever, "Hey Jude." Miller's version is good, but his "Junior's Farm" was better. One of the newer bands in popular music, is Owl City. Their version of Wings' "Listen To What The Man Said" is just as good as the original.

    There are two versions of "Got To Get You Into My Life" -- The original Beatles version, and the one that was recorded by Earth, Wind & Fire. Perry Farrell's version is another very good version to the Beatles' original version. If his name doesn't ring any memory bells, the band he was in will -- Jane's Addiction.

    There is no stopping Dion, one of the popular voices from the late 1950s/early 1960s. His version of "Drive My Car" proves that he can record just about anything. This is Dion in a rare form. You could ask (like the others), "Is this Dion?" The answer is "Yes" -- and his version is incredibly done well. (Just to think, he could have been one of the passengers in that fateful plane crash, that took the lives of Buddy Holly, Ritchie Valens, and The Big Bopper.) Allen Toussaint's version of "Lady Madonna" is also done exceptionally well. Toussaint was more of a songwriter and producer, than that of a singing performer. He had been writing and producing since the 1960s. He passed away in 2015, one year after this Paul tribute was made.

    Another distinctive voice was Dr. John, and his gravelly voice (as all of his songs) does well on "Let 'Em In." His voice makes this version, and even the rest, musically. Smokey Robinson's "So Bad" has been recording since the 1960s, and his trademark (high) vocal style is still in shape on this version. He still has the "quiver" in spots in this song, another trademark style of his. His voice has aged, and maybe not as powerful as it was in his heyday, he still can pull through with his unique and talented voice.

    The Airborne Toxic Event's version of "No More Lonely Nights" sounds more like a lounge-act tune. It is unique, and quite different than it's original. This makes the song work, as the ATE puts their own touch on a great Paul McCartney song. They've recorded a total of 5 studio albums, from 2008 to 2015. Alice Cooper does a great version of "Eleanor Rigby." This song is probably the best version in all of the songs on this tribute. Many reviews praised his version, and it shows. Alice has been recording for close to 50 years also, and he still has it. He is still performing, and it would be great to see him host the Superbowl Halftime Show, if they would allow him.

    Toots Hibbert With Sly & Robbie's version of the Badfinger classic "Come And Get It" has a somewhat Reggae touch. This song was written originally by Paul, and there is a "lost" recorded version by The Beatles, which was released on their Anthology 3. Have to say this version is quite catchy, as their own touch is supplied, making it well. As it should, Toots Hibbert is the leader of the reggae/ska band, Toots & The Maytals. Toots gets a litle help from his friends, reggae artists Sly & Robbie. "On The Way" is another song I am not familiar with by Paul, but if it's by the great B.B. King, it has to be good. And it is. Everything B.B. touched, he turned to gold. And finally, the rocker Sammy Hagar rocks it out, with "Birthday," one of the best rocking Beatle songs ever recorded, and penned by Sir Paul. Hagar does his version great too, rocking it out, the only way he can.

    The Art Of McCartney has it's moments, good and well, could have done better. But the good thing, there are far more good songs than the lesser. Alice Cooper's "Eleanor Rigby" is the icing on the cake. Kiss' "Venus And Mars/Rock Show" is a close second. And another song worth listening to, is Willie Nelson's "Yesterday." With only a handful+1 of least favorites, the rest of the album is done well. Sure, some are better than others. but this album is a good tribute, and you have to realize, trying to record your own versions of songs penned by Sir Paul McCartney is a challenge in itself. I'm sure Sir Paul would be proud of this tribute. This tribute will get the most attention from the Beatles/Paul fans. Not only are there great songs here, but the all-star lineup of artists performing them, are also taken into consideration.

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    Janis Ian--Between The Lines
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    The Residents--Commercial Album