New Music for Old People: Borrowed Beatles

Covers You Might Have Missed: Bettye Lavette, The Wallflowers, Ray Charles, The Easy All-Stars and More

By , Columnist

This column is like the title says - its intention is to fill the gap for those of us who were satiated musically in the '60s and then searched desperately as we aged for music we could relate to and get the same buzz from nowadaze. iTunes was the answer for me in 2003 and I have been following the new releases every Tuesday ever since I realized there was an endless stream of music I could enjoy there.

I also include older items that I felt were obscure originally and might not have been heard back then. The reason I am writing this column is to make sure others don't miss this wonderful music. These are not top ten items; but they SHOULD'VE been!

Below is a jukebox containing all the songs I picked this week. After you read about them below, go back and listen to whatever you like by just clicking on that title in the jukebox, or stream the whole playlist by clicking on the "play" icon at the top. It's free and it's the entire song. We're not selling anything. We're just in the business of hopefully making your days better by listening to great music.

We apologize to our readers/listeners who are trying to enjoy the playlists via mobile devices like iPhones/iPads and are finding that they can't; these are, unfortunately, circumstances beyond our control. At present, Grooveshark is not compatible with those operating systems, and in order to stream the playlist, you will need to use a PC or Mac.

TMR1206 by Lisa on Grooveshark

1. "I Wanna Hold Your Hand" — T.V. Carpio (2:40)

She was born in 1981 in Oklahoma and was an actress in the Beatle-inspired movie Across the Universe, in which she sang this version. Later she was in the Spider-Man Broadway show until just a month ago. She has a pleasant and unique voice that matches well with this arrangement.

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2. "Don't Bother Me" — Al Kooper (4:39)

I love the time I got to spend with George Harrison and I really appreciate how loud he made me in the mix of "All Those Years Ago"! I always loved his song from the With the Beatles album and I tried it as a slow version on this self-homemade demo. He left us waaay too soon and I remain a big fan. Hope you enjoy it.

3. "I'll Be Back" — The Buckinghams (2:29)

This is from their amazing album Time & Charges, where they conspired with producer James William Guercio and the as-yet unrecorded band Chicago in 1967. Great arrangement and orchestration with well-sung vocals and perfect production and mix by Guercio. So far, it seems to be timeless — but that’s only 47 years so far.

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4. "Maybe I'm Amazed" — Bettye LaVette (3:14)

I am NOT amazed how good this is. She is a singer of many subtle finesses, a few of which she graces us herewith. Words fail me when it comes to vocalists of this high order. Paul should be honored. Ooops! I forgot — he’s already Sir Paul. But sadly, she’s still just brave Bettye.

5. "I'm Looking Through You" — The Wallflowers (2:32)

Many thought Dylan’s "Fourth Time Around" (the song) was ripped from the Fab Four’s "Norwegian Wood." I seem to recall it was the other way around although "Wood" was released first. The next generation is more mindful here as son Jakob tips his skullcap towards the UK for this tight-sounding cover version.

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6. "Blackbird" — Crosby Stills & Nash (1:56)

Wow! Sir Paul didn’t attempt these or any harmonies on his version. These guys certainly knew what to do, but Brian Wilson coulda if he so desired. Still, it seems tailor-made for these old masters. I just wish Stills or Crosby would have finger-picked it and that it was longer. ‘Nuff said.

7. "And Your Bird Can Sing" — Matthew Sweet & Susanna Hoffs (2:06)

This just benefits from the improvements in technology over the years rather than any arrangement genius. The last verse is the only time they stray from the original. I miss the bass throttle on the last note and don’t get Susanna’s jokey ending BUT this sounds great overall.

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8. "Imagine" — Ray Charles (4:11)

The man could sing the phone book and still put a tear in your eye. So if he tackles a Lennon goodie, watch out! LOVE the keyboard fills throughout, not that he doesn’t make it his own just with that voice.

9. "Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds" — Easy Star All-Stars (4:04)

There are a few other songs in the catalog that are first in line for reggae-fication, but the All-Stars always do well covering the non-obvious. This is a masterful recording, imitating just to show off and reggae-arranging anytime they get ready. Great musicians and singers shine in any category.

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10. "Final Medley (Live)" — Cheap Trick (5:08)

Who doesn’t LOVE Cheap Trick — lemme qualify that to all music-lovers over 40 (the new 39)? This is from a live album where they performed the entire Sgt. Pepper album before a squealing audience. No mean live feat—the Beatles never did it—but, on the other hand, the Fab Faux do it every other weekend. This is a fine closer for the subject matter of this column. And in the end, the love you take is equal to the love you make...

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