While the very concept of the “Tribute” album has over the years become quite a scary one, the Beatle Tribute can strike downright terror into the hearts of any who still value their sensibilities, let alone that hitherto-durable 214-song catalog. Yes, as far back as William Shatner’s 1968 stab at “Lucy In The Sky,” John, Paul, George and even Ringo have had their melodic legacies sliced, diced, half-baked, botched and certainly butchered by those both well-meaning and, well, just plain mean. Truth to tell, these days I find it increasingly hard to sit through that Bee Gee/Frampton Sgt. Pepper movie even with tongue deep in-cheek.
How many people can put out three great albums in a single year? Virtually no one. No one but Taylor Locke, that is. Locke is best known as the guitarist in the powerpop band Rooney, but he is quickly making his mark as a talented solo artist. It was only back in April when he revealed his outstanding debut, “Grain and Grape” and then early this summer we heard Rooney’s latest CD, “Eureka.” Now he throws a collection of 10 new songs at us on “Marathon.” The most astonishing thing is that his work has been stellar throughout. To say the guy is on a roll is an understatement.
While most of “Marathon” is brilliant, it does get off to a false start. The epic opener, “The Honor Role,” sounds like three or four completely different songs loosely patched together. I presume they were going for something that rivaled McCartney’s “Band On The Run” or a Jellyfish opus, but the disparate parts just don’t work together.