Fried Glass Onions
Memphis Meets The Beatles
The Beatles loved Memphis. From the earliest blues to the soul of Stax, the Fab Four got a lot of inspiration from the home of Rock N’ Roll. And Memphis loves the Beatles. Recently, Stax Museum had an exhibit of Beatles photographs in an exclusive showing. And now, local Memphis label Inside Sounds has released Fried Glass Onions – Memphis Meets The Beatles, a tribute album with all Memphis-area artists recording 14 diverse Beatles tunes.
The common question that arises when discussing cover songs with my friends and colleagues is, “Well, is it better than the original?” This is a question that tends to not be asked when the original artist is The Beatles. Instead, with that history to live up to, people generally ask, “Well, is it better than the other cover versions I have heard?” Fried Glass Onions stacks up quite well on this meter, mainly because a good portion of the songs they picked are songs that are not often covered. For every “Get Back” there is a “Happiness is a Warm Gun.” For every “Day Tripper,” an “Old Brown Shoe.” The soul treatment really takes “Happiness is a Warm Gun” to a whole other level. Charlie Wood’s ode to his gun is exactly what this song has always needed. And Dani’s version of “Old Brown Shoe” highlights vocal talents that I hope to hear a lot more of in the near future. As for the commonly-covered tunes, the instrumental version of “A Hard Day’s Night” by Lamar Sorento and The Mod Saints practically burns. And I think I have a new favorite version of “Drive My Car.” The Memphis All Stars crank the soul meter up to 11 on this rendition, and it climbs to the top in my book, outshining even the original.
I could take up a lot of your time and discuss each of these songs, the artists covering them, and how they fare when listened to with an eye for the original, but producer Eddie Dattel does a wonderful job of covering all of that in his extensive liner notes. He details the genesis of the album concept, and follows through with highlights of the recording of each song and bios of the artists.
While not a perfect album, Fried Glass Onions accomplishes what it set out to do — pay tribute to a legendary band that took inspiration from a legendary musical city. After listening to Fried Glass Onions hopefully two things will happen: you will have a new appreciation of some old Beatles songs and you will seek out some new music from the artists you met on this album.
Inside Sounds: www.insidesounds.com