Damn, those funky fellows and creative cats in Soulive must be the epitome of creative artistic freedom. Whether funking things up with the original funk collective Lettuce, releasing solo albums, heading their own recording label and studio, or jazzing it up as Soulive, they’ve always done things their own way. It’s no surprise then, to find that on Rubber Soulive, the original trio of Alan and Neil Evans and Eric Krasno is following its own instinctive, artistic intuition in covering the music of the Beatles.
Recorded in just four days between tour dates at drummer Alan Evans’ Playonbrother studio in Massachusetts, the eleven cuts presented cover Beatles’ songs from 1965 to 1969; it’s a tribute to the band more than to one particular album, despite the clever title and artwork. While no one would, or should, expect the pure pop bliss of the originals, this album doesn’t go off on the long winded, improvisational tangents one might expect. Instead, Soulive does just enough to make these versions its own. Lyrics are replaced altogether by rhythmic organ swells and wavy guitar on tracks such as “Drive My Car” and the dulcet tones of “Something”. There is a fluidity to Krasno’s guitars on “I Want You (She’s So Heavy)” that isn’t so much drowned out by Neil Evans’ psychedelic swirls of Hammond organ as much as it is rolled under and back over. “Help” and “Day Tripper” are the most upbeat cuts and probably stand out as the hits of this collection, though all are instantly recognizable. Following its own muse on Rubber Soulive, the trio pays fine tribute to some of the finest songs from the Beatles catalog.