After ten years since the release of his popular and brilliant album "LJ Plays The Beatles"Lj Plays the Beatles, Laurence Juber is back with a most fitting follow up to one of the most flawless acoustic albums ever.
"LJ Plays The Beatles Volume 2" is a MUST for any Beatles fan as well as any fan of Juber's incredible musical talents. I can't believe I'm writing this, but this man's musical virtuosity has evolved to a new high - and I didn't think that would be possible since he's definitely the Master of the Acoustic Guitar Domain, and has been for more than a few decades.
The album starts out with the lovely and lilty "Penny Lane" and segues into "Elenor Rigby" which though still haunting, has a really cool rhythm behind it, making it more introspective than depressing. "Drive My Car" rocks and Juber's version of "Here, There & Everywhere" is heartfelt and easy to imagine as "the" song used in any wedding ceremony/celebration; just beautiful.
"You Can't Do That" and "I Feel Fine" are expertly interpreted and LJ makes them both his own.
Don't get me started on "Blackbird" which I personally never thought could be improved upon, but by God, when you listen to the nuances LJ brings to this classic (and is there any guitarist who hasn't tried to master this one?!), you hear some very sweet and sublime layers that could only be created by someone as gifted as Juber.
Confession: There are a few Beatles songs that I usually fast forward through given my affinity for the music from their "starting out days" - and "Michelle," "Dear Prudence" and "I Am The Walrus" fall into this category (sorry, lads!) but I am happy to say that LJ's versions of all three of these tunes keep me from skipping over them; all new interpretations and all truly great. They converted me, anyway....
That said, my personal favorites on this album are "I Feel Fine," "All I've Gotta Do," "Please Please Me" and "No Reply" - for my obvious allegiance to the group's early days. But, boy, do I love "When I'm Sixty Four" - it's absolutely contagious in its sweetness and simplicity.
The album "winds" up perfectly with Juber's flawless "The Long and Winding Road" which will bring tears to your eyes. This song means so much to so many and LJ brings heart, soul, and clearly the depth of someone who has traveled many a long and winding road to where he, as a talent and a human being, has arrived as one of our greatest musical artists.
This album is a joy and a pleasure to have on my iTunes and in my car at all times.
Whenever one of these tunes pops up on my iPod Shuffle, it brings a smile.
Thanks, LJ, for yet another gem.