The Baltimore/Rockville-based reggae Beatles tribute band Yellow Dubmarine.
I’ll admit — the first time I heard of Yellow Dubmarine, the Baltimore/Rockville reggae Beatles tribute band, I couldn’t help but smirk. How many Beatles tributes are there already? And this one is … a reggae version? This is going to be awesome or awful, I thought.
After listening to the band’s re-working of “Abbey Road,” I’m impressed. “Something” — one of the greatest love songs ever written, Sinatra said — gets a sunny, mostly instrumental treatment, thanks to Yellow Dubmarine’s bright brass section.
As hard as it is to believe, “Oh! Darling” sounds surprisingly good with a ska beat. And the tribal drumming on “Because” can lure you into a trance. It could easily be the theme to a spaghetti western.
While the vocals on “Here Comes the Sun” and a few other tracks need more depth, the arrangements are smart from start to finish. Kenny Liner (of the soon-to-be-late band The Bridge) produced the record, using tricks he learned from working with Los Lonely Boys’ Steve Berlin.
It was a good idea to get Liner involved — when the album needs to sound big, it sounds big. When it needs to sound small, it sounds small. That’s not easy to do.
The hardest part, I imagine, will be getting people to actually sit down and listen to this album. Once they do, it’s sure to win them over.
I hope to have Yellow Dubmarine in for a taping soon, but in the meantime, I’m kicking off tonight’s episode of Baltimore Unsigned with “Something.”