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Various Artists — this bird has flown

A 40th Anniversary Tribute to The Beatles' Rubber Soul

Release info:

2005—Razor & Tie—7930182948-2

See also:

Wikipedia's entry on This Bird Has Flown

The Ectophiles' Guide's entry for The Beatles

Type of music generally:

Alternative pop


See Razor & Tie site for availability

Ecto priority:



  1. The Donnas — "Drive My Car"
  2. The Fiery Furnaces — "Norwegian Wood (This Bird Has Flown)"
  3. Dar Williams — "You Won't See Me"
  4. Low — "Nowhere Man"
  5. Yonder Mountain String Band — "Think for Yourself"
  6. Mindy Smith — "The Word"
  7. Ben Harper & The Innocent Criminals — "Michelle"
  8. Sufjan Stevens — "What Goes On"
  9. Rhett Miller — "Girl"
  10. Ted Leo — "I'm Looking Through You"
  11. Ben Lee — "In My Life"
  12. Ben Kweller featuring Albert Hammons Jr. — "Wait"
  13. Nellie McKay — "If I Needed Someone"
  14. Cowboy Junkies — "Run For Your Life"

Produced by:

Jim Sampas


This is a song by song tribute to The Beatles' album Rubber Soul, mirroring the song sequence of the original. Some of these are very similar to the originals, some deconstruct the songs, while others bring out elements of the song that might not have previously occurred to the listener but seem to make musical sense.
     The album opens with The Donnas' very faithful version of "Drive My Car", which is almost indistinguishable from the original, even to the harmonies. The following song couldn't be further from faithful—The Fiery Furnaces' version of "Norwegian Wood" is a total but fascinating deconstruction of the song. Very The Fiery Furnacesish and not so Beatlesque, which makes it far more interesting to me than the previous track.
     Dar Williams' "You Won't See Me" feels like another faithful version, up to the enunciation, while Low's version of "Nowhere Man" straddles a middle group between faithfulness but also sounding very like a Low, possibly because the choice of song seems so apt. This is lovely.
     Yonder Mountain String Band's "Think for Yourself" is again, very faithful, and the lead singer's voice even sounds very like the original! The addition of banjo adds a slight mountain-music touch and charm. Mindy Smith version of "The Word" sounds a little reedier but still has the same energy as the original. Ben Harper's reggae beat-based version of "Michelle" made me think "of course"—the beat is perfect for the song, and I like Ben Harper's smoky vocals here.
     Sufjan Stevens' version of "What Goes On" is nearly unrecognizable as The Beatles (it's a lesser-known Ringo song to start with) but becomes pure a Sufjan Stevens extravaganza—terrific stuff. Rhett Miller's very faithful version of "Girl" has all the bathos of the original, while Ted Leo's "I'm Looking Through You" is another interesting deconstruction with a wonderful energy part The Beatles and part his own.
     Ben Lee's slowed-down "In My Life" makes the song drag a little for me; I miss the lilt of the original vocals. Ben Kweller featuring Albert Hammons Jr.'s version of "Wait" is another fairly faithful version. Nellie McKay turns "If I Needed Someone" into an interestingly torchy, Latinate-rhythmed piece—an unexpected but welcome turn.
     Cowboy Junkies have fun with their version of "Run For Your Life" is wonderfully dramatic and threatening—a great ending to the tribute.
     Purists will be fondest of The Donnas and Dar Williams's versions. Others like me will better enjoy the versions further from the originals, like Nellie McKay, The Fiery Furnaces, Sufjan Stevens, and Ted Leo. This is an intriguing collection that both sent me back to The Beatles' original recording, but also made me appreciate many of the versions for their own sakes. (Neile)

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31 entries

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Various Artists: Auralgasms - the beat of dis-content

Various Artists: Bi The People

Various Artists - Going Driftless: An Artist's Tribute to Greg Brown

Various Artists: The Imagined Village

Various Artists - New Arrivals Volume 2: Artists Against Hunger & Poverty

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

Various Artists: Time and Love

Various Artists: Undiscovered Gems


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