Various Artists: Come Together, Black America sings Lennon and McCartney (Ace)

 |   |  1 min read

Chairmen of the Board: Come Together
Various Artists: Come Together, Black America sings Lennon and McCartney (Ace)

Although their peers like the Rolling Stones, the Downliner Sect and Pretty Things were more profoundly influenced by black American music, the Beatles certainly drew on that deep well.

In their Hamburg days they played songs by Chuck Berry, Arthur Alexander and Little Richard, on their first two UK albums they covered the Isley Brothers' Twist and Shout (Lennon's definitive version), the Marvelettes' Please Mr Postman, Smokey Robinson's You Really Gotta Hold On Me and Berry Gordy's Money.

When they toured the US they requested black acts like the Ronettes, Motown's Brenda Holloway and saxman King Curtis open for them.

So blues, soul and rhythm'n'blues seeped into the writing of Lennon and McCartney, which explains this 24 track collection of black acts taking on everything from Please Please Me (Mary Wells in a colourless big band treatment) and I Want to Hold Your Hand (the peerless Al Green) to Let It Be (Aretha Franklin on top gospel-soul form with King Curtis) and Come Together (a slinky soul brother version by Chairmen of the Board).

Ticket to Ride sounds written for soul-blues belter Wee Willie Walker as does Drive My Car for the sassy Black Heat, Billy Preston (the only person to get a co-credit with the Beatles when he played on Get Back) delivers a slow-burning Blackbird, bluesman Lowell Fulson offers a gritty barroom treatment of Mc Cartney's throwaway Why Don't We Do It in The Road and Roy Redmond takes Good Day Sunshine from an English garden to the steamy South under trees draped in Spanish moss.

Little Richard claims I Saw Her Standing There – with its “oo-oo” – as his own.

Unfortunately absent is a Ray Charles' version of Eleanor Rigby (here it is an equally fine but more brooding Gene Chandler version) and Ike and Tina Turner's thrilling Come Together, but you can't have everything. And this consistently delivers unexpected funk'n'soul to songs overly familiar in the originals.

And Otis Redding's stonking Daytripper.

Like the sound of this? Then check out this.

Share It

Your Comments

Mike Pearson - Sep 26, 2011

An album to look out for obviously!

I have a vinyl copy of Sarah Vaughan sings the Beatles and that is an excellent album. It puts a different perspective on the Beatles music.

post a comment

More from this section   Music articles index

Bannerman: Dearly Departed (Bannerman/Rhythmethod)

Bannerman: Dearly Departed (Bannerman/Rhythmethod)

Recorded in the same furious sessions as his previous release The Dusty Dream Home (considered "an outstanding album" at Elsewhere in 2010, see here), this companion volume as it were... > Read more

Various Artists: Kris Needs Presents Dirty Water; The Birth of Punk Attitude (Future Police/Southbound)

Various Artists: Kris Needs Presents Dirty Water; The Birth of Punk Attitude (Future Police/Southbound)

This excellent, wayward and musically diverse double disc is like a mix tape/vanity project from a friend who just wants to get down his/her favourite raw rock'n'roll/mad attitude songs in the one... > Read more

Elsewhere at Elsewhere

Louisiana Shrimp Etoufee

Louisiana Shrimp Etoufee

In my travel book Postcards from Elsewhere I write about being in cajun country in Louisiana where the bayou seems mysterious and the food is exceptional. That chapter about Breaux Bridge and... > Read more

Crayford/Street/Weiss: East West Moon (Rattle Jazz)

Crayford/Street/Weiss: East West Moon (Rattle Jazz)

Jonathan Crayford has long been considered one of New Zealand's finest jazz pianists and his range is wide, from Latin flavours to touring with Trinity Roots, playing acid-jazz with New York's... > Read more