Much more than a simple tribute to a favourite album
As has been written elsewhere on several occasions recently, one of the very few positive aspects of this awful virus has been the desire of so many of our favourite and talented musicians to continue to produce output, in terms of new album releases and remote performances, whilst under severely restricted conditions. Not material about the virus – goodness knows no one needs that replayed back to them – but inspiration caused by the restrictions put upon us by the virus. Brooklyn-based Steve Mayone recorded his eponymous album in the early days of the pandemic, fearful of getting sick due to COVID-19 and “…I wanted to leave something behind that I would be proud of. Just in case.” Well, be proud he can.
One of Mayone’s favourite albums is Paul McCartney’s 1970 first solo effort ‘McCartney’ (the one which includes the sublime ‘Maybe I’m Amazed’) and Mayone has produced what he calls a response/tribute to that record, matching its pace and rhythm and even styling. There are 13 tracks on each album, none of which is particularly long – only two tracks on ‘Mayone’ are longer than three minutes – and opener ‘The Sweet Suzanne’ even matches the alliteration of the opening track on McCartney’s album, ‘The Lovely Linda’. ‘Junk’ and ‘Singalong Junk’ are matched with ‘Stuff’ and ‘Singalong Stuff’ on tracks 6 and 11 on each album, Mayone even updating the consumerism theme some 50 years later.
Some songs even echo Macca on a number of levels including ‘Missouri Loves Company’ and ‘Like You’ve Never Been Away’, but others such as ‘Sweet Little Anchor’ rock away elsewhere and fun track ‘Happy Alcoholidays’, about the evils of the demon drink, is a Christmas song that would be welcomely received as a replacement for the likes of Shaky and Maria blasting out continuously from every shop’s speakers in December (assuming they all reopen again one day).
There is excellent guitar work across the album, with banjo, mandolin and uke supporting plenty of acoustic and electric, and the original songs are strong, albeit maybe a touch short in places. It’s all an excellent idea and works very well, but this is much more than simply a tribute to ‘McCartney’. ‘Mayone’ emulates ‘McCartney’ certainly but this is an album that possibly wouldn’t have been created had there not been the pandemic. So perhaps this may be stretching a point, but maybe we all do need to be thankful for the conditions being provided for albums like this to be made.