Wednesday, 27 June 2012

Beatles Complete on Ukulele ... nearing completion

I mentioned a while back The Beatles Complete on Ukulele, the excellent project by the artist and music producer/writer David Barratt to create cover versions of the entire works of the Beatles (defined as the 185 original compositions produced between 1962 and 1970).

The project, begun on January 20, 2009, is now up to the 180th composition, and is due for completion on July 31st 2012, the eve of the London Olympics.

Done to a punishing schedule of one a week, the tracks all feature ukulele in some capacity: but this is often minor. It's a fascinating range of sympathetic and creative adaptations by artists in a variety of genres, performed largely by little-known musicians. All the tracks are accompanied by slightly off-the-wall companion essays about the making and inspiration of both the original and new versions. The list is highly worth exploring.

A brief sampler:
18, a vintage-bluesy Lady Madonna with Amanda Homi;
21, Papa Dee's reggae version of Blackbird;
57, an orientation-switched Yesterday by Colton Ford;
80, a remarkable adaptation of Ob-La-Di Ob-La-Da as an anguished monologue by Victor Spinetti in the style of Samuel Beckett's Krapp's Last Tape.
81, a charmingly simple acoustic version of All You Need is Love with Nikki Gregoreff;
82, a very bright and upbeat cover of I Should Have Known Better featuring Samantha Fox;
84, When I was 64, spoken by the 100-year-old Dr Harry Steinberg;
108, a neat Motown version of Ticket to Ride by Jenny Dee & The Dreams;
119, Gerald Ross's gentle instrumental of Penny Lane on solo ukulele;
126, Lauren Molina giving a complex viewpoint spin to She Loves You.

The lineup has changed a little since I first encountered the project. The Flash player version below has some other tracks that I particularly liked the first time round, including Bruisercharles' joke-horror version of Maxwell's Silver Hammer ("The atmosphere is one of Tim Burtonish dread"); and Deni Bonnet's  plaintive Klezmer-style minor-key gender-reversed Please Please Me.

- Ray (Sorry about the whitespace below - it seems to be an artifact of the player embedding code).

Addendum: I just had a helpful comment from the organisers to a detail I hadn't spotted:
To download everything with one click, go to:

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  1. Hey - to download everything with one click go to :

    Thanx for the kind words

  2. Looking forward to the release of Helter Skelter. Heard it's incredible. This project is incredibly unique and the featured artists are some of the best in the industry.

  3. thanks for sharing.