Meet the Beatles: Live in Paris Import
In 1987, French leading newspaper Liberation invited British R&B stalwarts The Inmates to perform a concert in Paris to celebrate the 25th anniversary of the Sgt Pepper album.
The Inmates delivered a legendary show made of pumped-up versions of Beatles classic rockers. The CD also features the encore: 3 classic Inmates songs, including their hit single "Dirty Water"
A day or two off of the projected delivery but probably due to the local carrier not the seller.
The Inmates had a rather large catalog to draw from, and hands down chose the hard rocking numbers from that Beatles’ catalog, then went on to supercharge each and every one of those songs, creating an edgy good time feel that doesn’t let up from the first chord to the very last, all without slowing down the pace for one minute to catch their collective breath, or the audience to collect theirs.
This is a band who know how to define their rhythm sections, and the songs they’ve chosen lend themselves well to that vision … hook line and sinker. No, they do not have the harmonic abilities of The Beatles, and what they lack, they more than make up for with exuberance, energy, and the integrity, all constructed to do a masterful job, pulling out all of the stops and delivering.
It would be easy to consider Meet The Beatles - Live to be a tribute album of sorts, yet it’s far beyond that, resounding as if they’d gotten the notion of opening the show with “Little Child,” and then simply and relentlessly moved on from one Beatle song to another without forethought or planning, playing like there’s no tomorrow, playing like this is their last live show ever.
Yeah … it’s all that and more. So lay aside your pretenses, slip into a comfortable pair of two toned shoes, a leather jacket if you’ve got one, pay the man at the door his three dollars, and let The Inmates do the rest.
Review by Jenell Kesler
The Inmates annouce their agenda with authority by starting the evening off with "Little Child," an early Beatles song that is from "With the Beatles" if you are from the U.K. but "Meet the Beatles" if you live in the U.S. This is such an early Beatles song that you might think it was another one of the Fab Four's covers like "Roll Over Beethoven," but it is an early song by Lennon & McCartney. It also makes it clear to the Paris audience that the Inmates are hear to play rock and roll rather than Merseybeat or anything lighter. That is why most of the songs at the start of the concert are early Beatles: "I'll Get You," "She's a Woman," "You Can't Do That," and "Day Tripper." The common denominator is that the rhythm section is carrying most of the load while Bill Hurley's vocals are more earthy than John Lennon's (and he is not going to even try to compete with Paul McCartney's higher pitcher warbling).
Ironically given that the point of the concert is to honor the Beatles for "Sgt. Pepper," the only song from the seminal album the Inmates perform is the title track (as a hard rock song, of course, that launches right into the next song). There are also limited in picking songs that post-date that album, with rockers "Back in the U.S.S.R." and "Birthday" from the "White Album," and "Get Back" and "Hey Jude" from the final days. That last song is obviously picked because the audience gets to join in on the chorus and provide a big finish to the evening's festivities. Otherwise, the focus is clearly on early songs (pre-"Revolver"/"Rubber Soul") and not the big hits (only four of these songs reached #1 for the Beatles). If the thought of hearing early Beatles songs done as hard rock with an R&B twist (e.g., "I Saw Her Standing There"), then you should find "Meet the Beatles: Live in Paris" a worthwhile listening experience.
For the three-song encore the Inmates come back and do three of their own songs, beginning with their most recognizable tune, a cover of the Standells' "Dirty Water." But there is nothing wrong with taking a bow as yourselves after rockin' hard all night doing a tribute to the music of another band. Let me end by introducing the boys in the band. Eddie Hedges on drums, Ben Donnelly on bass, Peter Gunn on lead guitar and vocals, Tony Oliver on rhythm guitar and vocals, and Bill Hurley on lead vocals