158

Soulive: Rubber Soulive

Doug Collette By

Sign in to view read count
Soulive: Rubber Soulive Soulive has experimented in many directions during the course of its decade- plus career, so it's only natural that the group would eventually go back to the basics, and that's exactly what it's done with Rubber Soulive. Comprised entirely of tunes by The Beatles, this project allows the band to get back to its roots in more ways than one (on the inner liner photo, see the suits and ties of their early days) without even covering that particular Lennon/McCartney tune.

Booker T & the MG'ss devoted an entire work to The Beatles on McLemore Avenue (Stax, 1970), and the best moments of Soulive's disc certainly bring that splendid work to mind, not because it sounds like it, but because it's equally inventive on its own terms, albeit deceptively so. Like the best groove musicians, the members of Soulive know just where to find the nexus of melody and rhythm in a song, so it's no wonder "Drive My Car," like most of these eleven tracks, is instantly recognizable.

Yet Soulive don't just proffer easy listening renditions of material like that or "Taxman"; this is not muzak in any way, shape, or form. Rather, the trio- -and that's what Soulive is here, shorn of the vocalists and horns that have adorned past projects— finds the best way to shape a number like "In My Life," where guitarist Eric Krasno states the main melodic motif, touching upon the melancholy and allowing Neal Evans (playing only piano and organ) to extend the emotion with a surge of Hammond B3.

"Eleanor Rigby" works much the same way, as Soulive never allows schmaltz to form on the sentiment at the heart of the song. And that may be what is most remarkable about the execution of this concept: Soulive creates an economical take of "I Want You (She's So Heavy)," for instance, and never succumbs to the temptation to drag out its performance. The group gets right to the heart of such famous songs with not a whit of self-consciousness, and no track exceeds five minutes in length.

So, not surprisingly, Soulive's take on "Come Together" captures both the whimsy and angst at the heart of John Lennon's composition. The sound quality plays no small part in the equation, as Neal Evans manages to create formidable keyboard bass lines and sibling Alan is just authoritative hammering out a 4/4 beat as he is gently accenting "Something." Of the three musicians, the drummer may be the most astute in maintaining the essence of Ringo Starr's original parts, all the while maintaining his unique approach.

The sole exception to Soulive's admirable loyalty to The Beatles is its reinvention of "Revolution." With the tighten-up drumming and dancing piano, the track is prime R&B—light years from the hard rock of the single version and the mix of music hall jazz and blues on The White Album (Apple/EMI, 1968). As such, it hints at the possibilities open to Soulive when the group plays this music in concert and avails itself of the opportunity to improvise on songs that have already proven themselves durable fodder for reinterpretation.

Track Listing: Drive My Car; Taxman; In My Life; Eleanor Rigby; I Want You (She's So Heavy); Come Together; Something; Revolution; Help!; Day Tripper; While My Guitar Gently Weeps.

Personnel: Eric Krasno: guitar; Neal Evans: piano, organ; Alan Evans: drums.

Title: Rubber Soulive | Year Released: 2010 | Record Label: Royal Family Records


Tags

Related Video

comments powered by Disqus

More Articles

Read 90 Going On Amazing CD/LP/Track Review 90 Going On Amazing
by Dan Bilawsky
Published: August 21, 2017
Read Let There Be Life, Love and Laughter CD/LP/Track Review Let There Be Life, Love and Laughter
by Victor L. Schermer
Published: August 21, 2017
Read L.O.T.U.S. CD/LP/Track Review L.O.T.U.S.
by Mark Corroto
Published: August 21, 2017
Read Art in the Age of Automation CD/LP/Track Review Art in the Age of Automation
by Geno Thackara
Published: August 21, 2017
Read Screen Sounds CD/LP/Track Review Screen Sounds
by Dan Bilawsky
Published: August 20, 2017
Read Rediscovered Ellington CD/LP/Track Review Rediscovered Ellington
by Troy Dostert
Published: August 20, 2017
Read "Black Shuck" CD/LP/Track Review Black Shuck
by Bruce Lindsay
Published: December 17, 2016
Read "The Wild" CD/LP/Track Review The Wild
by Hrayr Attarian
Published: March 18, 2017
Read "Silent Light" CD/LP/Track Review Silent Light
by Mark Sullivan
Published: April 27, 2017
Read "It Will Come" CD/LP/Track Review It Will Come
by Dan McClenaghan
Published: April 16, 2017
Read "Cómo Desaparecer Completamente" CD/LP/Track Review Cómo Desaparecer Completamente
by Karl Ackermann
Published: October 22, 2016
Read "Kinship" CD/LP/Track Review Kinship
by Dan Bilawsky
Published: August 8, 2017

Sponsor: JANA PROJECT | LEARN MORE  

Support our sponsor

Join the staff. Writers Wanted!

Develop a column, write album reviews, cover live shows, or conduct interviews.