The musical revolution unleashed in Memphis in the ‘50s set the stage for the cultural and musical phenomenon of The Beatles. Fried Glass Onions—Memphis Meets The Beatles Vol. 2 is the follow-up to the critically acclaimed Fried Glass Onions—Memphis Meets The Beatles, released in early 2005. The connections between the lads from Liverpool and Memphis are many. The band openly acknowledged their love of Memphis blues, soul and rockabilly. In fact, the band had planned to record at legendary Stax studio in 1966. Although these sessions never materialized, The Beatles’ respect and appreciation of Memphis music is well documented. This CD offers another 12 tracks of soulful, Memphis interpretations of The Beatles original songs performed by Memphis’ ace musicians and singers. Through it all, the magic of The Beatles is never lost, and in many ways, these recordings take the originals to another level. From the opening Hi Records inspired “Glass Onion” with John Kilzer to the gospel-inspired finale “All You Need Is Love,” Fried Glass Onions Vol. 2 captures the essence of Memphis soul and the heart of The Beatles. Other tracks include Charlie Wood’s “Back In The U.S.S.R.,” a bluesy rendition with a punch. Gary Johns’ jazzy, intimate “I Wanna Be Your Man” totally changes-up this early Beatles rocker. On “Lady Madonna” veteran Memphis singer Eddie Harrison adds a little funk to this Beatles #1 hit song, while the lesser known “For You Blue” is performed by The Billy Gibson Band in a groove only a Memphis band could imagine. Dani’s emotional rendering of McCartney’s “Oh! Darling” showcases the vocal talents of this rising star. “Martha My Dear” is the sole instrumental on this CD and is a Dixieland Jazz rendition complete with trumpet, washboard, banjo, tuba, trombone, piano and clarinet! Memphis soul diva Z-Da sings and shrieks like a woman possessed on “Why Don’t We Do It In The Road?” Charles Ponder’s beautiful “In My Life” is absolutely striking in its understated intimacy. Soul veterans The Memphis All-Stars lay back on “Here, There and Everywhere” and allow singer Robert Clayborne to cut-loose on this early Beatles ballad.
It’s been almost one year since Inside Sounds released Fried Glass Onions—Memphis Meets The Beatles. The CD was an immediate success, and the idea of producing a second volume was soon underway. There’s usually some trepidation when considering a follow-up CD (think movies with sequels), especially when there were so many highlights on our first volume. We decided to take a similar approach with Fried Glass Onions—Memphis Meets The Beatles Vol. 2—selecting Beatles songs that would lend themselves to a Memphis twist. On this recording, however, it’s even more Memphis—more Beale Street. In many ways, this CD comes together as a concept even more than the first one. Realizing that casual Beatles fans may not be familiar with “Glass Onion,” it made sense to open the CD with this song. That idea led to the “Glass Onion Reprise,” recorded specifically to precede the magnificent finale “All You Need Is Love.” Both songs happen to be in the same key, which adds greatly to the transition. With a more focused vision, Fried Glass Onions—Memphis Meets The Beatles feels more connected than our first volume. As far as highlights, there are many. “All You Need Is Love” still gives me tingles, even after listening to the final mix twenty times. Dave Smith (bassist/co-producer) and I talked about this song for hours, brainstorming about different approaches to this Beatles anthem! . This track required several recording sessions and, with four different lead singers, a gospel choir and a lot of instrumentation, the mix was a two-day affair. I will admit that the stars were perfectly aligned for this one—these amazing vocalists (Robert Clayborne, Jackie Johnson, Charles Ponder & Z-Da) rehearsed the song individually. Engineer Kevin Houston and I later pieced together the different takes. We were astonished at how the different textures and vocal performances came together as if all four singers had planned it all along. This song could not have been produced anywhere but Memphis. The same can be said of most of this CD. The Memphis music community really shines here and I am honored to have worked with so many great artists. My thanks to all of you, and, of course, to John, Paul, George & Ringo.
1. Glass Onion - John Kilzer
2. Back In The U.S.S.R. - Charlie Wood
3. I Wanna Be Your Man - Gary Johns
4. Lady Madonna - Eddie Harrison
5. For You Blue - The Billy Gibson Band
6. Oh! Darling - Dani
7. Martha My Dear - The Beale Street Syncopaters
8. Why Don't We Do It In The Road? - Z-DA
9. In My Life - Charles Ponder
10. Here, There And Everywhere - Memphis All-Stars
11. Glass Onion (Reprise) - John Kilzer
12. All You Need Is Love - Memphis Meets The Beatles Studio Band