This is Laurence Juber’s fourth Beatles album; in all he’s cut 59 songs, and it’s not just the hits. You gotta love a guy who will take on tunes like “I Am the Walrus,” “And Your Bird Can Sing,” “Strawberry Fields,” and “A Day in the Life,” and do so many unimaginably cool things with the arrangements.
“A Day in the Life” is his most impressive feat of legerdemain on The Fab 4th: Juber manages to capture the song’s different parts and tempo shifts—including McCartney’s “bridge” (“Woke up, got out of bed…”) and the orchestral crescendos—on his six-string, with no loss of the song’s power. The same is true of the rhythmically challenging “You Never Give Me Your Money.” Juber’s arrangements in general are always spot-on, deftly mixing no-wasted-notes economy with amazing virtuosity. This is particularly evident on the simpler tunes, where Juber always seems to find interesting parts based on some harmony, whether vocal or instrumental, in the original. And he really knows how to capture the all-important bass in so many of these tunes.
This album contains a few tracks I’d call B-list Beatles—“Tell Me What You See,” “Every Little Thing,” “I’ll Be Back”—but there are so many standouts, including “Across the Universe,” “Lady Madonna” (love the Fats Domino-ish rolling bass figure), “If I Fell,” “I Will,” and a rollicking “Back in the USSR,” that this album is once again required listening for all Beatles-loving guitar fanatics!
This article originally appeared in the July/August 2020 issue of Acoustic Guitar magazine.
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