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Album Review

Beatle Country was originally released as an attempt to match the enormous commercial success of a then-recent album called The Baroque Beatles Book, which featured baroque-style orchestral versions of Fab Four compostions. Beatle Country, however, is a surprisingly (considering its inherently contradictory nature) excellent album of Beatles songs performed in straight bluegrass style, recorded in Nashville, performed by a group of Cambridge, MA-based musicians, and produced by the legendary Paul Rothchild (of the Doors, Janis Joplin, Bonnie Raitt etc. fame). A bizarrely erroneous marketing strategy (Elektra executives in New York didn't know the difference between bluegrass and country music) assured the record few sales and instant cult status. The musicians involved, most notably mandolinist/vocalist Joe Val (who many consider the greatest New England bluegrass player ever), do a fine job of imbuing Lennon/McCartney's tunes with an authentic Kentucky mountain flavor and never resort to kitsch (with the exception, perhaps, of pronouncing "Yellow Submarine" as "Yeller Submarine"). Although interesting for its novelty value alone, Beatle Country stands tall as an excellent bluegrass album by any measure, regardless of the unusual source of its material.


Formed: 1958

Genre: Country

Years Active: '50s, '60s, '70s

One of the first urban bands to play bluegrass and old-timey music, the Charles River Valley Boys helped to spark the folk revival of the early 1960s. While their original repertoire centered around songs by Uncle Dave Macon, Charlie Poole and Gid Tanner & His Skillet Lickers, the group's 1966 album, Beatle Country, marked one of the earliest examples of the British rock band's songs being rearranged as country music. The genesis of the Charles River Valley Boys began when Bob Siggins, a banjo...
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Beatle Country, The Charles River Valley Boys
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