This Bird Has Flown: A 40th Anniversary Tribute to the Beatles' Rubber Soul

Editorial Reviews

Barnes & Noble - David Sprague
Forty years after its release, the music on Rubber Soul -- generally considered to be the dividing line between the Beatles’ mop-top era and their emergence as rock groundbreakers -- still packs plenty of punch, not to mention influence. Both are evident on this disc, a track-by-track homage (though hardly a re-creation) of the original British version. This Bird Has Flown starts off innocently enough, with the Donnas’ close-to-the-vest rendition of “Drive My Car” but quickly dives into choppier, more challenging waters, thanks to the Fiery Furnaces, who strafe “Norwegian Wood” with studio effects and rhythms that split the difference between vintage French film music ...
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Editorial Reviews

Barnes & Noble - David Sprague
Forty years after its release, the music on Rubber Soul -- generally considered to be the dividing line between the Beatles’ mop-top era and their emergence as rock groundbreakers -- still packs plenty of punch, not to mention influence. Both are evident on this disc, a track-by-track homage (though hardly a re-creation) of the original British version. This Bird Has Flown starts off innocently enough, with the Donnas’ close-to-the-vest rendition of “Drive My Car” but quickly dives into choppier, more challenging waters, thanks to the Fiery Furnaces, who strafe “Norwegian Wood” with studio effects and rhythms that split the difference between vintage French film music and third-album Velvet Underground. The collection is relatively evenly divided between the two approaches, with the more adventurous ones -- notably Low’s hushed, nearly a cappella “Nowhere Man” and Sufjan Stevens’ oscillating “What Goes On” -- taking on lives of their own. That’s not to say that the folks opting to take the more conventional cover route -- like Dar Williams, who turns in a spry “You Won’t See Me” -- fall flat. It is easier, however, to suspend images of the original versions of lesser-heard tunes (“Run for Your Life,” rendered with appropriate malice by the Cowboy Junkies) than the ones that have turned out to be radio staples. Still, This Bird Has Flown offers new vistas at just about every turn, making it an intriguing and entertaining listen.
All Music Guide - Stephen Thomas Erlewine
There have been countless tribute albums, but relatively few have been an album-length salute to a proper album. Most notably there was NME's 1988 Sgt. Pepper Knew My Father, which had a nice sense of humor and adventure, featuring such excellent pairings as Sonic Youth and "Within You, Without You," Billy Bragg and "She's Leaving Home," and the Fall taking on "A Day In the Life." Seventeen years later, there's Razor & Tie's This Bird Has Flown: A 40th Anniversary Tribute to the Beatles' Rubber Soul, which rounds up 14 adult-alternative and indie rock artists to do a track by track cover of another classic Beatles album. While there are no superstars here, the lineup is rather impressive: adult-alternative mainstays like Ben Harper and Cowboy Junkies are balanced by up-and-comers like Mindy Smith and Nellie McKay, plus indie cult favorites the Fiery Furnaces, Low, Ted Leo and 2005's golden boy Sufjan Stevens. As good as this lineup is, This Bird Has Flown suffers slightly from a sense of predictability, since every artist interprets their chosen selection in exactly the way you'd imagine it, so even if these covers aren't strictly faithful to the Beatles's originals, they do sound familiar. For instance, the Donnas do a straight-ahead, cleanly rocking version of "Drive My Car," Ben Harper reinterprets "Michelle" as an insipid reggae number, Dar Williams does a nice songwriter-y version of "You Won't See Me," Low's "Nowhere Man" is endearingly quiet, Ben Lee takes "In My Life" in a lazily introspective direction, the Yonder Mountain String Band does a neon-old timey version of "Think for Yourself" that's spiked with a fuzz bass while Mindy Smith does a bright, earnest take on "The Word" and the Cowboy Junkies turns "Run for Your Life" into a sultry, late-night groove that's undercut somewhat by silly call-and-response vocals and a creeping resemblance to the work of Alannah Myles. The most memorable cuts here are the ones that take the songs in a slightly different direction than expected -- at least according to what's expected of the song, since these interpretations fit right into the artists' other work. Nellie McKay turns George Harrison's "If I Needed Someone" into swinging lounge-jazz that's just a shade too ironic, but Ted Leo's tightly-wound, ska revival arrangement of "I'm Looking Through You" is certainly one of the highlights here, as is the Fiery Furnaces's "Norwegian Wood." The brother-sister duo reinterpret "Norwegian Wood" as the missing piece from their intricate Blueberry Boat, cutting out the signature acoustic guitar riff and twisting the melody, turning the song into a thick, swirling, organ-heavy, double-tracked ominous collage, complete with a creepy, tape-warped tapestry of piano coda reminiscent of "I Am The Walrus." It's the most imaginative thing here and has an opposite in Sufjan Stevens's similar radical rewrite of "What Goes On," which throws out everything but the lyrics of the original. Where the Fiery Furnaces's reinterpretation sounds lively and imaginative, Stevens sounds contemptuous of his source material, so he decides to recast a nifty country-rock tune into a microcosm of his drama-school art-pop LPs, compressing all of his precious little quirks -- banjos, flutes playing a medieval theme, shifting tempos and disjointed sections -- into a simpering, insufferable mini-suite that grinds this record to a halt. Despite this, the Sufjan track is the only severe misstep in an album filled with good, generally pleasant covers that in no way replace the original Beatles versions but do offer as a nice reminder of what great songwriters Lennon, McCartney and Harrison were.
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Product Details

  • Release Date: 10/25/2005
  • Label: Razor & Tie
  • UPC: 793018294829
  • Catalog Number: 82948
  • Sales rank: 95,357

Tracks

Disc 1
  1. 1 Drive My Car - The Donnas (2:35)
  2. 2 Norwegian Wood (This Bird Has Flown) - The Fiery Furnaces (2:56)
  3. 3 You Won't See Me - Dar Williams (3:32)
  4. 4 Nowhere Man - Low (2:46)
  5. 5 Think for Yourself - Yonder Mountain String Band (2:13)
  6. 6 The Word - Mindy Smith (3:01)
  7. 7 Michelle - Ben Harper & the Innocent Criminals (2:53)
  8. 8 What Goes On - Sufjan Stevens (5:47)
  9. 9 Girl - Rhett Miller (3:01)
  10. 10 I'm Looking Through You - Ted Leo (2:25)
  11. 11 In My Life - Ben Lee (3:10)
  12. 12 Wait - Ben Kweller (2:24)
  13. 13 If I Needed Someone - Nellie McKay (2:16)
  14. 14 Run for Your Life - Cowboy Junkies (4:07)
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Album Credits

Performance Credits
Paul Davis Background Vocals
Duke Levine Bass, Electric Guitar, Harmonium, Mandola, Omnichord
Dar Williams Vocals
Alan Anton Bass
Kevin Barry Acoustic Guitar, Lap Steel Guitar
Paul Bryan Bass, Vocal Harmony
Ben Harper Guitar, Vocals
David Hopkins Percussion, Drums
Leon Mobley Percussion
Tom Ralls Trombone
Margo Timmins Vocals
Michael Timmins Guitar
Peter Timmins Drums
Michael Ward Guitar
Jason Yates Keyboards
Jay Bellerose Percussion, Drums
Ted Leo Bass, Guitar, Drums, Vocals
Ben Lee Vocals
Rhett Miller Vocals
Juan Nelson Bass
Alan Sparhawk Guitar
Tracy Wannomae Flute, Baritone Clarinet
Mimi Parker Vocals
Chris Holt Acoustic Guitar, Piano, Electric Guitar, Background Vocals
Jeff Austin Mandolin, Vocals
Sufjan Stevens Organ, Acoustic Guitar, Banjo, Bass, Flute, Glockenspiel, Electric Guitar, Oboe, Recorder, Triangle, Vocals, Shaker, sleigh bells, Wurlitzer, Casio
Albert Hammond Jr. Guitar
Ben Kweller Musician
Adam Aijala Guitar, Vocals
James McAlister Drums, Tambourine
Oliver Charles Drums
Ben Kaufmann Bass, Vocals
Eleanor Friedberger Vocals
Nellie McKay Vocals, Musician
Salim Nourallah Bass
Torry Castellano Percussion, Drums, Background Vocals
Maya Ford Bass, Background Vocals
Allison Robertson Guitar, Background Vocals
Raymond Raposa Background Vocals
Lara Meyerratken Vocals
Brett McKean Anderson Piano, Vocals
Clubhouse Quartet Background Vocals
Technical Credits
George Harrison Composer
John Lennon Composer
Paul McCartney Composer
Duke Levine Producer
Low Producer, Engineer
Greg Calbi Mastering
Roger Greenawalt Producer, Engineer
Paul Q. Kolderie Engineer
Gary Paczosa Engineer
Michael Timmins Producer, Engineer
Teddy Producer
Ben Lee Producer
Paul David Hager Producer, Engineer
Jim Sampas Producer, Executive Producer
Michael Solomon Executive Producer
Danny Leo Engineer
Adam Hawkins Engineer
Sufjan Stevens Arranger, Engineer
Walter Fishbacher Engineer
Bill Skibbe Engineer
Mindy Smith Producer
Greg McRae Engineer
Nellie McKay Producer
Salim Nourallah Engineer
Lara Meyerratken Producer
Donnie Whitbeck Engineer
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