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Disc gives Beatles' songs a fresh feel

The concept: The Beatles and other British rockers drew inspiration from American blues musicians. American blues musicians return the favor by playing songs from the 1968 album "The Beatles," which everyone knows as the White Album, for the new release "The Blues/White Album" (Telarc).

Some of the connections are straightforward. Joe Louis Walker does an aching version of "While My Guitar Gently Weeps." Jimmy Thackery whips "Why Don't We Do It In The Road?" and Lucky Peterson growls "Yer Blues."

Others are less obvious: Maria Muldaur makes "Ob-La-Di, Ob-La-Da" sound like a Bonnie Raitt song; Colin Linden infuses the Delta into "Blackbird"; he and Charlie Musselwhite trade solos on an instrumental "Dear Prudence." Through it all, T-Bone Wolk plays a bluesy bass and avoids the temptation to try to copy Paul McCartney.

Just as adding a touch of blue to white paint makes your walls look brighter, this disc gives these old songs a fresh coat. It's worthwhile as a sampler to some underappreciated blues talent. But it also reminds you that Lennon was a pretty good blues shouter and Harrison a tasty guitarist.

-- Mark Whittington San Jose Mercury News

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