DEVIN McKINNEY • You have your cover versions of Beatles songs, and then you have your “recovers”—songs rendered as The Beatles would have done them, had they done them completely differently, or, in some cases, at all. One of the earliest and best entries in this imaginative and as-yet unnamed subgenre was It’s Four You (1994), by Australian soundalikes The Beatnix, which recovered, in authentic Beatlesque, Lennon-McCartney songs written for others. Apple Jam’s 2012 EP On the Wings of a Nightingale likewise restyled three songs by solo Beatles in various Beatles and post-Beatles styles. (AJ’s previous album, 2009’s Off the Beatle Track, was a second go at the Beatnix concept, using a mostly identical lineup of songs.) The result is not a cover band’s replication of the familiar, but a recovery of Fab sound and intent in places where, for one historical reason or another, it was never applied.
Just down the pipeline and into the mix of this genre waiting to be named is Please Please Me & 2 Other Songs, an EP by Admiral, on the Sound of the Sea label. Comprising Alan Grandy, Jeff Harmon, Marky Ray, and Chris Solt—former members of bands the terrible parade and/or Sputnik—Admiral takes the novel tack of recording three songs from the Beatles’ first album in different, but apposite, style.
According to the band’s blurb, the seed lay in John Lennon’s comment (seconded by Paul in the Anthology) that “Please Please Me” had been his “attempt to write a Roy Orbison song”—something slow and cumulative, with dramatic stops and starts, and quite different from the up-tempo power-popper conceived and urged into being by George Martin, which topped the UK charts and really set the boulder of history rolling. “A Taste of Honey” and “There’s a Place” are likewise subjected by Admiral to revision, restyling, and general “re”-ification, a la The Shadows and The Everly Brothers, respectively.
Sounds not bad at all to these ears. This genre attracts some imaginative people; someone should come up with a full listing of “recovery” species bred under the Beatle genus. (Where’s a taxonomist when you need one?)
Admiral’s songs may be sampled or purchased for download through Band Camp.