R. Stevie Moore

Stevie Does the Beatles

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In 1975, R. Stevie Moore's uncle and artistic patron, Harry Palmer (formerly of the Boston psychedelic band Ford Theatre and then an executive at Atco Records, and incidentally the guy who discovered the Shaggs), asked his nephew to record an album of instrumental Beatles covers, possibly for release as one of those budget-label eight tracks that used to populate variety stores and truck stops across America. Palmer financed the recording of 19 tracks, but their release fell through, so Moore simply put them out himself. As an album, Stevie Does the Beatles is entertaining listening: you can't go wrong with the songs, of course, but amusingly, Moore performs every one of them as if they were his own. Fans of his album Phonography or any of his mid-'70s self-released efforts will immediately recognize Moore's characteristic guitar tone and loping rhythmic style. There are even a few typically Moore experiments: "And I Love Her" is positively minimalist, and he turns the slight "I Wanna Be Your Man" into an extended jam with flute, saxophone, and congas. (Overall, the song selection leans toward the Beatles' early-to-middle years, with many of their big hits ignored in favor of beloved album tracks like "And Your Bird Can Sing.") For good measure, the set ends with side two of Abbey Road boiled down to a concise ten minutes. Stevie Does the Beatles is essential neither for Beatles fans nor for Moore fans, but it's entertaining.

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