Various Artists

Fried Glass Onions: Memphis Rocks the Beatles, Vol. 3

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The back cover liner notes on this disc state "It's no secret that the Beatles were influenced by Memphis -- America's musical crossroads and birthplace of rock 'n' roll." That statement is certainly true enough, but the trouble with Fried Glass Onions, Vol. 3: Memphis Rocks the Beatles, Vol. 3, in which a handful of Memphis-based acts tackle classic Beatles numbers, offers precious little in the way of the rockabilly or soul sounds that captivated the Fab Four back in the day. While David Brookings' cover of "I'll Cry Instead" has a nice Sun Records feel, the closest thing to blues here is Crazy & the Crutch's overblown take on "Love Me Do," and the arena level bombast of Steve Selvidge's "She Said, She Said"; the metal guitar mauling of Rabid Villain's "Don't Let Me Down" and the sub-Joe Satriani instrumental overkill of Tim Simmons' "Eleanor Rigby" are more typical of the wrong-headed interpretations that dominate this disc. And while those are the low points of the album, most of the rest of Memphis Rocks the Beatles is either faithful enough to be pleasant but unchallenging (such as "When I Get Home" by Ross Rice) or a rethink that lacks the confidence to bring anything really revelatory to the material (like Van Duren's slightly rocked-up take on "Hey Bulldog"). And significantly, there's not a hint here of the Anglophile power pop of Memphis bands like Big Star or the Scruffs, who took the Beatles' influence and made something new out of it. Only the most obsessive collectors of Beatles' spin-offs need to go out of their way to check this out.

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