Listening to former Wings guitarist Laurence Juber play guitar is a real
delight. Hearing him play Beatle songs is icing on the cake. LJ Plays the Beatles Vol. 2 starts off with a joyful version of "Penny Lane" that bounces with
each note. Following is a very serious rendition of "Eleanor Rigby" that
shows that Juber can also shift moods easily.
The tone of the record shifts back and forth between light ("Drive
My Car", "When I'm Sixty-Four"), somber ("Here There & Everywhere"),
beautiful ("Michelle," "The Long & Winding Road," "Blackbird",
"Dear Prudence", "All I've Got To Do") and straightahead ("I Feel Fine",
"You Can't Do That", "Please Please Me").
"LJ Plays the Beatles Vol. 2" is just more proof that the greatness of
the Beatles crossed musical boundaries here, there and everywhere and
that Juber excels at taking listeners down those roads.
Steve Marinucci / EXAMINER.Com
REVIEW from Nov/Dec Minor7th.com
Laurence Juber, "LJ Plays The Beatles Vol. 2," Solid Air Records 2010
Guitarists from Chet Atkins to Ralph Towner have mined the Beatles
catalog since the group’s worldwide breakout in
1963-64. Starting out as a teenager, Laurence Juber has been doing just
that from the earliest days of Beatlemania.
It’s fair to say that Juber now dominates the field of solo guitar
interpretations of the Beatles' music. Most of
his arrangements on this second "LJ Plays the Beatles" collection
utilize DADGAD tuning and take advantage of its
close intervals. This is an important element of Juber’s arranging
style, as it facilitates the placing of
melodies in the guitar’s midrange, thereby leaving headroom in the
higher registers for embellishments,
variations and improvisation. My favorites on this disc are "Penny
Lane", "Eleanor Rigby", "Michelle",
"Blackbird", "I am the Walrus", and "The Long and Winding Road". On
several of these tunes he captures key
elements of the original recordings, including the piccolo trumpet solo
on "Penny Lane" and "Eleanor Rigby's"
string quartet. LJ highly personalizes both "Michelle" and "Blackbird",
reaching new heights as an interpreter
and providing guitarists with insight into reimagining the original,
iconic arrangements, on which many
guitarists cut their teeth as novice fingertylists. "I am the Walrus"
captures the ominous mood of the
original, almost alarming so. Juber’s surprisingly understated readings
of the rockers, "You Can’t Do That,"
"I Feel Fine, and "No Reply," show his willingness to take risks in
order to engage the listener (much as he
did several years ago with his slowed-down, jazzy version of "Can’t Buy
Me Love." The lack of any George
Harrison songs in this set seemed, at first, puzzling. The explanation
is that a companion transcription folio
to this CD entitled "LJ Plays Lennon & McCartney" is in the works by
Hal Leonard Publishing, so George Harrison fans
will have to wait a little longer for LJ's promised recorded version of
"Something." If such wasn’t already apparent, Laurence Juber has
redefined solo acoustic guitar playing. I attribute this equally to
three elements of his approach:
arranging skill, a deep understanding of DADGAD tuning, and willingness
to present popular songs. And
let’s not forget his prodigious workload. If you’re already familiar
with Juber’s music, you don’t need
convincing. If you don’t know Laurence Juber, then "LJ Plays the
Beatles, Vol. 2" is a fine introduction
to his masterful interpretive skills.
The SOUNDING BOARD Jan 2011
LJ Plays The Beatles Volume 2. All of Laurence Jubers CD’s exhibit his
virtuosity and unparalleled mastery of the guitar, but his most popular project
to date has been his instrumental interpretation of classic Beatles songs. If
you liked Volume 1, you will surely love this. Recorded with his new flamed
maple OMC-LJ Pro Custom Artist Edition, LJ’s phrasing is clear and precise, capturing the emotional essence of each