Purple Pyramid/Cleopatra [Release date 27.04.15]
Cleopatra are experts in coordinating themed compilations, invariably curated by one-time Yes guitarist/keyboard player Billy Sherwood, and usually featuring a roster of well known artists.
This time they lend their collective hands to a selection of Fab Four songs. Sadly, there is little information given on the smart if minimalist digi-pak, no liner note or recording information, and in this aspect Cleopatra sell themselves a bit short.
Given the influence of The Beatles the label probably found no lack of takers but evidently some of these recordings are re-licensed (for example, the late Andrew Gold’s version of ‘Norwegian Wood’ appeared on his 2008 album ‘Copy Cat’ and Judy Collins’ ‘I’ll Follow The Sun’ on a 2007 solo album) and it’s a shame there isn’t further clarification.
Ann Wilson from Heart opens up shop with ‘Across The Universe’ and there are contributions from John Wetton (‘Penny Lane’), the late Jack Bruce and a last recorded outing for him (‘Eleanor Rigby’) and Todd Rundgren (‘Hide Your Love Away’).
As a neat collection of big artist takes on a classic songbook this will be a welcome purchase and the acoustic treatment throughout gives a thematic quality and a unity sometimes lacking. Moreover, they haven’t buggered about with the arrangements, so what you get is a specific artist stamping their own vocal/persona rather than anything too extreme. ***1/2
Review by David Randall
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