Various – Let It Be: Black America Sings Lennon, McCartney and Harrison (Ace 1483)

22 tracks, highly recommended.

 

The Beatles’ songs have always eminently coverable and many artists have put their stamp on the songs of Lennon and McCartney—everyone from Joe Cocker to Ray Charles.  And the R&B world has been no exception, on this sequel to Come Together: Black America Sings Lennon & McCartney (Ace 1300) 22 of the biggest names in R&B/Soul get their Fab Four on.  With the inclusion of songs by the underrated George Harrison, the album is kicked up several notches by Nina Simone’s take on “Here Comes the Sun”, Ella Fitzgerald swinging out on “Savoy Truffle”, and Isaac Hayes’ epic interpretation of “Something”.  Of course from people like Aretha Franklin (“Eleanor Rigby”), Randy Crawford (“Don’t Let Me Down”), Bill Withers (“Let It Be”), Ike & Tina Turner (“She Came in Through the Bathroom Window”), Dionne Warwick (“We Can Work it Out”), and The Temptations (“Hey Jude”) one expects greatness and they don’t disappoint.  But the real surprises are from Arthur Conley (“Ob-La-Di, Ob-La-Da”), Junior Parker (a spooky “Tomorrow Never Knows”), Screamin’ Jay Hawkins (a spirited “A Hard Day’s Night”), Maceo & All the King’s Men (a tender “For No One”), and Boyz II Men (a gorgeous “In My Life”).  As a second trip the well, I can report that Let It Be is not a wasted journey.

  1. Eleanor Rigby – Aretha Franklin (Atlantic 2683, 1969)
  2. Dear Prudence – The 5 Stairsteps (Buddah 165, 1970)
  3. Got to Get You Into My Life – Earth, Wind & Fire (Columbia 10786, 1978)
  4. Do You Want to Know a Secret – Mary Wells (20th Century Fox LP TFS 4178, 1965)
  5. The Fool on the Hill – Four Tops (Motown LP MS 675, 1969)
  6. Lovely Rita – Fats Domino (Reprise 0775, 1968)
  7. Here Comes the Sun – Nina Simone (RCA 74-0467, 1971)
  8. Ob-La-Di, Ob-La-Da – Arthur Conley (Atco 6640, 1969)
  9. A World Without Love – The Supremes (Motown LP M 623, 1964) (*)
  10. Tomorrow Never Knows – Junior Parker (Capitol 2951, 1970)
  11. Don’t Let Me Down – Randy Crawford (Warner Bros. LP BS 2975, 1976)
  12. With a Little Help from My Friends – The Undisputed Truth (Gordy 7122, 1972) (*)
  13. A Hard Day’s Night – Screamin’ Jay Hawkins (rec. 1964 – issued Sequel CD NEMCD 921, 1999)
  14. She Came In Through the Bathroom Window – Ike and Tina Turner (United Artists LP UAS 5598, 1972)
  15. For No One – Maceo and All the King’s Men (Excello LP EX 8022, 1972)
  16. It’s Only Love – Gary “U.S.” Bonds (EMI America LP SO-17051, 1981)
  17. We Can Work It Out – Dionne Warwick (Scepter LP SPS 573, 1969)
  18. Hey Jude – The Temptations (Gordy LP GS 949, 1969)
  19. In My Life – Boyz II Men (Decca CD 0602527237374, 2009)
  20. Savoy Truffle – Ella Fitzgerald (Reprise 0875, 1969)
  21. Something – Isaac Hayes (Enterprise LP ENS 1010, 1970)
  22. Let It Be – Bill Withers (Sussex LP SXBS 7006, 1971)
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