Various Artists

And Your Bird Can Sing

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This budget-priced British double-CD, running over two hours, is a good idea, assembling 36 covers of John Lennon, Paul McCartney and George Harrison songs by everyone from their fellow Brian Epstein alumnus Billy J. Kramer ("Bad To Me") to the likes of Siouxsie & The Banshees ("Dear Prudence") and the Thompson Twins ("Revolution"). The mix of artists may distress some musical purists, embracing everything from mid-1960's soft-rockers and pop-rockers like the Overlanders ("Michelle"), the Silkie ("You've Got To Hide Your Love Away"), the Sandpipers ("Things We Said Today"), and the Tremeloes ("Good Day Sunshine"), to major international stars like Sergio Mendes ("Fool On the Hill") and Shirley Bassey ("Something"), with significant detours into the territory of American soul belters like Wilson Pickett ("Hey Jude") and Gladys Knight ("Let It Be"), to Status Quo ("Getting Better"), as well as a few folkies (Joan Baez doing "Imagine") and out-and-out legends (Ray Charles's "Yesterday"), as well as oddities like the London Jazz Four's "Norwegian Wood" and St. Louis Union's "Girl." The budget price didn't preclude the presence of some decent notes, and the sound is uniformly first-rate. Some of this stuff, like Peter & Gordon's "A World Without Love" or the Mamas & Papas' "I Call Your Name," is bound to be in a lot of collections already, but any compilation that gets Marianne Faithfull ("I'm A Loser"), Emmylou Harris ("Here, There & Everywhere"), Bryan Ferry ("She's Leaving Home"), and Fairground Attraction ("Do You Want To Know A Secret") together on one CD with Status Quo and Ray Charles is bound to open a few sets of eyes and ears in the course of entertaining.