Wednesday, December 11, 2013

Refab Four: Oh! Darling

Béla Fleck can get more out of a banjo than most musicians can get from, er, more nobler instruments. Just ask Gary Larsen of “The Far Side” fame, as the banjo and accordion were often fodder as maligned musical instruments of torture for his own brand of humor.

Today’s selection comes from Béla Fleck and the Flecktones’ 1996 release “Live Art.” The recordings were culled from the band’s performances over a five year period and often feature very special guest artists. The Flecktones’ treatment of The Beatles’ “Oh! Darling” is no exception.

On this number, Fleck plays an electric banjo and is joined by Flecktones: Victor Wooten on bass and Future Man on synth drumitar. Former Flecktone, Howard Levy, is on keyboards while special guest John Cowan honors us with his presence on vocals. Cowan and Fleck both were members of New Grass Revival.

This jazzed tinged version ranks up there as one of the better if not the best cover of this classic Beatles’ track from “Abbey Road.” While they all shine on this number, Cowan’s vocals are the proverbial icing on the cake.

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