Various Artists

Beatles Blues [Indigo]

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Whether country artists dueting with soul stars, bluegrass performers doing a Bob Marley tribute CD, or rock singers covering Sinatra tunes, oil-and-water blends of disparate genres for one-off projects usually go down about as well as actually drinking oil and water together. But that doesn't seem to stop such ideas from flowing, does it? Doing an all-blues compilation album of Beatles covers isn't the most inspired notion, either, although in its favor, it has to be said that this compilation is more tasteful than many would anticipate. It's not the most sellable endeavor, though, since most of the performers are blues journeymen and journeywomen who will be unfamiliar names even to some blues fans. The only ones likely to excite wide recognition among generalists are ex-Chicken Shack guitarist Stan Webb and Earl Gaines. The performers give an assortment of Lennon-McCartney compositions (no Harrisongs, thank you!) rather subdued, restrained soul-blues readings. There's a consistent urbane blues sheen to the arrangements that gives this a surprisingly consistent flavor for a "salute to composers" album, which doesn't mean that it's memorable, although it's competent.

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