Andy was very enthusiastic in describing this release, and after listening to it, I understand why. This is not merely a cover album of Beatles tunes; this is his personal interpretation of some of his (and countless others) favorite classics. He explained that he knew the songs note for note in his head (a self described Beatles geek), and spent two years arranging how a power trio could do them justice while duplicating only the numerous sounds and effects. It’s funny, but he also had to “Unlearn” Jeff Beck’s version of A Day In The Life, which he also had memorized! The release is proudly done without overdubs, with just Andy on guitar, Mike Daane on bass, and Mitch Marine on drums.
Whenever I get a copy of an instrumental release by extremely competent players (and many are friends), I roll my eyes. There are usually a lot of fast rhythm tracks followed by shredding into outer space, and (fingers crossed), hopefully a few great soulful pieces. I listened to this intensely straight through, and then went back for more.
When I’m 64 is very creatively treated, beginning with Chet Atkins style picking, and then going into distortion guitar and back. The beginning of Sgt. Pepper’s Reprise is cleverly given a two-note “Hendrix” salute. A Day In The Life is hauntingly captured with originality. The sitar/funky percussion laden Within You, Without You, is put in a nice spacey psychedelic guitar funky place. Lovely Rita is given a nice pop styled treatment here. Good Morning, Good Morning is cool, with some subtle Cream nuances, mixed with some metal fretwork. A neat Strawberry Fields (which the band has done live for years) is added as a bonus track. Note: The song was originally written for Sgt. Pepper but was omitted ending up on the Magical Mystery Tour album.
One of the hardest parts Andy accomplished here (in addition to giving the songs creative justice) is “Creatively” capturing the original studio effects, and recreating the missing vocals on the frets. The tracks all have a definite personal spin, and sometimes you even hear them taking on a new life, which is ear fun. His peers recognize Andy as being one of them, in the upper echelon of guitar virtuosos. I’m sure they will nod their approval at this effort. The Fab Four has been consistently covered by some of the best in the business, but mostly by intentionally trying to recreate the songs note by note. This is a fresh vision; the guitar work and nuances are brilliant, and the accompaniment spot on!
By RME[Rating: 3/5]