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June 20, 2024

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The Exotic Beatles, Part Three
Around The Universe In 80 Minutes: A Tribute to Klaatu (
Exotica Records / Bullseye Records)

By: Gary "Pig" Gold

What can there honestly, possibly, HUMANLY be left unsaid at this point in the game re: John, Paul, George and, of course, Ringo? Well, guess what -- Absolutely NOTHIN' (say it again).

However, those most admirable of lunatics at Exotica Records in Great Britain have nonetheless bravely scoured audio flea markets the world over and come up with yet another truly unbelievable, utterly miraculous, and wall-to-wall MASTERPIECE of an album chock-full of Beatlesongs --the way you never imagined they ever would (or could!) be interpreted. I'm talkin' a mock-operatic "Ticket To Ride," a speed-metal "Yesterday," acapella "Let It Be" (in Italian no less!), flamenco "Yellow Submarine" (not to mention "From Me To You"), fairground-organ "Help" and "She Loves You," and even a surprisingly masterful "Love Me Do" as, uh, sung by an assortment of farmyard beasts.

Several others (Feeling B's "Revolution No. 89," a roller-rink / ska "I Want To Hold Your Hand," and Doodles Weaver's drop-down BRILLIANT "Eleanor Rigby") utterly defy description, so I'm not even gonna try -- better you just grab this disc and hear for yourselves. Like their previous two collections, Part Three of Exotica's anti-Beatles Anthology is assembled with the utmost attention to detail (each of its -- count 'em! -- two dozen tracks are most skillfully woven together with spoken interludes by the likes of everyone from Lee Marvin to Alan Ginsberg --not to mention J, P,G & R themselves) and lovingly packaged in a way that puts each and every one of EMI / Capitol / Apple's "official" Beatle releases to shame.

Yes, you can even be as sick by now of the Fab Ones as I am, yet still enjoy The Exotic Beatles more than anything since, well, "More of the Monkees." Really!

Meanwhile, speaking of faux-Beatles, the equally adept crew at Bullseye Records in far-off Canada have duly immortalized one of Lennon and McCartney's most vilified prodigy, the "Are they, or aren't they?" masters Klaatu, with a stellar multiple-artist tribute called Around The Universe In 80 Minutes.

As wary as I am (and you too, I bet) of these sorta projects, this album is a surprisingly reverent -- and as a result, wholly worthwhile -- series of tracks painstakingly recorded by some of the world's greatest should-be-knowns (for example? Ed James, Jamie Hoover, and the home-taping wizard Jeremy). Blue Cartoon offer a fine "I Don't Wanna Go Home," Curiosity Shop produce a crackerjack "Routine Day," and even the infamous "Calling Occupants Of Interplanetary Craft" is tackled with wide abandon by Springfield, Illinois' appropriately-named Oohs.

Indeed, this is far, far more than the synth-ridden Great Lost "Deface The Music" follow-up I would've expected, and as such deserves a place in even a hardened Beatle-basher's collection.

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