Fred Benedtti & Peter Pupping- Here Comes the Sun (Reprint)

Here is the first music review I ever made on my original blog (found here: http://kevin-card-the-music-critic.blogspot.com/2010/12/here-comes-sun.html). I wanted to reprint this version to display how my reviews (and writing style) have evolved overtime. Also, sometimes my opinions can change on certain issues. I’ll always have a special place in my heart for this particular blog because I wrote New Years eve 2010, and it was my first professional entry. I hope you enjoy it! 🙂

On a starting note, I am reviewing an older version of the CD, it only has 12 songs as opposed to the one you can buy online that has more.

Title: Here Comes the Sun
Year: 1997
Genre: Easy Listening- Acoustic Music
Artist(s): Fred Benedetti and Peter Pupping
Record label: Guitar Sounds
Copyright: © Copyright-Petrus Productins Inc., dba GuitarSounds

Songs:

1. Here Comes the Sun- The Beatles

The first thing I notice is that the audio mixing on the CD is very loud. Also compared to the original the speed of the song is faster, and 58 seconds shorter. This cover is more of a summary of the original, with the guitars taking over the guitar tracks and the vocals. I also can’t help but notice the song is more inclined to being excited and joyful as opposed to feeling relief from depression. It seems like they wanted to try to make the song a little catchier than it already is. Despite it’s short comings the song is still very enjoyable. 3 out of 5 Stars.

2. Dust in the Wind- Kansas cover

The tempo of the song is slowed down, seeming to convey how haunting this song sounds. The emotion of the song is captured perfectly, it’s almost as thought-provoking as the original, except it is just purely an emotional song. Instrumentally they nailed this cover with 100% accuracy, but the slowing the tempo down helped ensure it wouldn’t just be a carbon copy. 5 out of 5 stars.

3. Scarborough Fair- Simon and Garfunkel cover

This is a very short cover of the Simon and Garfunkel version of thing song (nearly four minutes shorter), but it retains the mystical atmosphere of the original. It is at the same speed as the original. Where this one differs is that instead of having two guitars play together on the vocal line like Simon and Garfunkel did,they harmonize the guitar tracks to create this odd yet cool echo effect. During the chorus they have one guitar play while the second guitar plays independently, then the second guitar plays independently, then the main guitar returns to play the main melody with an echo effect behind it. Unfortunately they don’t put in the flute interlude, but the song is still pretty enjoyable despite that and being short. 4 out of 5 stars.

4. In My Life- The Beatles cover

This is one of my favorite Beetles songs, and I enjoyed their version of it. The tempo is faster than the original. This version opens with a slightly modified version of the Harpsichord solo rather than the slight build up the original had. After the intro the voice part comes in and it sounds very pleasant with the guitar part. The playing for both guitarists is very emotional and captured the spirit of the original perfectly. They also did a very good job with the Harpsichord solo. The song closes softly with the main guitar part. This is another great example of a cover that stays true to the original but also safely manages to put its own spin on the song. 5 out 5 stars.

5. Father and Son- Cat Stevens cover

This version is a very touching cover of the original. The music is almost identical aside from the vocal part being higher than Cat’s baritone voice. They do play the voice part lower, but not until later in the song. The natural sound of the of the guitars themselves is so close to Cat’s guitar it’s almost scary. They play an accurate and good version of the solo, even if it is sped up a little too much. They made the song shorter than the original, but they managed to capture the feel of Cat’s version very well. The only real difference is that the original was sincere but also somewhat sad, this is just purely sincere. However, I am going to attribute that to them not being able to use words to affect the emotion of the song. 5 out of 5 stars.

6. El Condor Pasa- Traditional Peruvian Melody cover (and Possibly Simon and Garfunkel)

This song is set faster than normal, and it is also very haunting. It is a very good rendition of the song, and the guitars do some cool stuff like trading the melody at parts playing two melodies at once. Other times the guitars play of each other with little riffs that add-on and echoing of the other parts on different notes. It ends with the guitars echoing off each other in different octaves (same notes but higher and/or lower.) This song to me shows just how good Benedetti and Pupping are as guitar players because it shows both skill and soul on their parts. 5 out of 5 stars.

7. Tears in Heaven- Eric Clapton cover

This song is at the same tempo of the original, and the emotion is also accurate to the original. The guitars are very accurate, the second guitar even imitates the bass part pretty well. While listening to this cover I can tell two things 1) They really are Clapton fans and 2) they do the song so much justice as if they are paying respect to one of their favorite players for the loss of his son. I find this to be a very good cover that is a little different, but similar in a healthy way to the original. 5 out of 5 stars.

8. You’ve Got a Friend- James Taylor cover

I quite enjoyed this cover. It opens at a slightly slower tempo than the original, but it still has the spirit of the original. The guitar playing is very simple, the second guitar doing the rhythm guitar line and the bass line and the vocal part. The vocal part is changed a little bit, but that is because a guitar can’t sustain a note like the human voice can. While listening to this it is very easy to imagine hearing James Taylor singing and playing this song. It is about 23 seconds shorter and ends on a fade away, but it works well. A very touching cover of the James Taylor version. 5 out of 5 stars.

9. And I Love Her- The Beatles Cover

This version is set slower and bit more haunting than the original. It has the guitars playing the rhythm guitar line, lead guitar line, and vocal line. Their playing is accurate, except they put their own interesting spin on the solo and they had a little outro solo that was different from the original version. Overall I would say it a good cover, even if it manages to somehow be more haunting than the original which I am guessing they just wanted to make it sound more haunting. 5 out of 5 stars.

10. Bridge Over Troubled Water- Simon and Garfunkel cover

This version has a very long instrumental opening, which is the guitarists adding in their own lines. When the vocals come in you do immediately recognize it as Bridge Over Troubled Water. The guitar parts double each other with a slight bass line to fill in the piano part. There are no extra instruments for the string orchestra. I’ve noticed the song doesn’t build to climax like the original does, almost like they were intending for the song to be good background music. It’s also possible they wanted to emphasize the calming nature of the song (as was the song’s original purpose.) It’s a nice cover, but it disappointments me they left it at the same pace rather than build up to a climax. 3.5 out of 5 stars

11. Black Bird- Beatles Cover

This version is a perfect cover of the original, the only difference is that the guitars are doubled all of the time, and the vocal part only has a single guitar and doesn’t double it’s self like Paul did in the studio. I love this rendition, it’s so full of energy, you can really tell Benedetti and Pupping had fun while playing this song. This to me again shows just how good they are at guitar playing and how they can be almost 100% accurate and still make it their own song. 5 out of 5 stars

12. Fire and Rain- James Taylor Cover

This version is an interesting cover. The guitar parts are very intricate with parts echoing each other, a bass line, and two melodies with the voice line and a guitar part adding embellishments going on. The lead guitar switches between play the vocal part and doing solos quite often. The emotion that comes to mind when hearing this is sincerity. I’m not sure why they changed the emotion since the original was about James Taylor’s friend Susan killing her self after having a horrible time in an asylum, but it strangely works. 5 out of 5 stars.

What I didn’t like:

The only real things I didn’t like was that sometimes their experimentation destroyed the original feel of the song as was the case with Bridge Over Troubled Water, and damaging the sound of the song as was the case with Here Comes the Sun.

What I did Like:

The playing was solid, they had very good expression of the songs messages and feel, and they managed to change things around expertly enough to keep it fresh without destroying most of the songs. Even with Bridge over Troubled Water and Here Comes the Sun they were still nice to listen to.

Who would enjoy this album:

Guitarists, fans of the artists who were covered, fans of easy listening, any one needing good study/working/tax paying music. Pretty much anyone except for fans of percussion music.

Overall:

I feel Benedetti and Pupping did an amazing job on the album, with great skill, experimentation, and emotion. Not to mention just how much fun they had sometimes as well. I also liked how interestingly they used the guitars on the other instrumental parts of the song with things like the echoing and the embellishments. The only downfall is that they sometimes experiment too much and spoil the broth so to speak. This is a solid album and I definitely recommend buying it, especially the newer version since it has many more songs.

Rating: ****

A video of Benedetti and Pupping’s cover of Dust in the Wind by Kansas:

A video of Black Bird and Here Comes the Sun in Memory of Princess Diana: 

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