Let It Be Guitar!
Joel Paterson Plays the Beatles

The first thing that caught my attention about Joel Paterson's release, Let It Be Guitar! Joel Paterson Plays the Beatles was the clever cover parody! It is a take-off of Introducing The Beatles on Vee-Jay Records, the first Beatles album released in the United States released on 10 January 1964. But, in place of each of the four Beatles is the image of Joel Paterson for each Beatle. And Joel gets extra kudos for not picking one of the well-known covers to recreate (the last thing we need is another parody of the Abbey Road" cover). Anyway, I figured that anyone that went to that length to re-create an iconic cover deserved a listen!

OK, the cover is GREAT, but what about this music? Of the sixteen tracks, Joel covers the entire career of the Beatles, not concentrating on any single time period. And, while he does pick some familiar tunes ("All My Loving, "Can't Buy Me Love", "Something", and "Drive My Car"), he does choose a few deeper cuts ("Things We Said Today", "Honey Pie", "I Don't Want to Spoil the Party", "Girl", and "Her Majesty"). Joel's guitar instrumental style changes from song to song, effortlessly going from jazz, blues, western swing to create a varied musical journey of classic Beatles tunes.

Of the inspiration for the album, Paterson says, “This is the guitar record I’ve always wanted to make. I love the Beatles and their artistry and attention to detail in the recording studio—and I love all-things-guitar. So, I had a great time diving into these amazing songs, coming up with my own arrangements, and at the same time paying tribute to some of my favorite guitarists and vintage recording techniques of yesteryear.”

Joel gets to show off his chops in many styles, compare the acoustic fingerpicking on "Her Majesty" (taken slightly faster than the original, making it even more impressive) to the authentic sounding "Spaghetti Western" soundtrack vibe of "Things We Said Today" (my personal favorite on this album!). "All My Loving" gets a Chet Atkins treatment, while "This Boy" is reminiscent of Santo & Johnny's "Sleep Walk". His guitar picking sounds just as hot as Clarence White (Byrds) on "I Don't Want to Spoil the Party"! "Can't Buy Me Love" sounds like a Booker T and the M.G.'s outtake.

I hadn't heard of Joel Paterson's music until this album, but was pleasantly surprised and will definitely seek out more of his music in the future. And, I think I will also definitely buy a vinyl copy for the cover!

Above: Joel and the original Beatles album. Photo by Ted Beranis

Review by Ronnie