Dave DiMartino
November 01, 1991 AT 05:00 AM EST

CHOBA B CCCP The Russian Album

Current Status
In Season
Paul McCartney
Rock, Pop

We gave it a B-

Though Paul McCartney’s perception of what constitutes classic rock & roll is by definition fascinating — the rockin’ dude is an ex-Beatle — his execution of it doesn’t have to be. And on this performance of 14 classic rock & roll tunes, it isn’t. Recorded in 1987 and initially released only in the Soviet Union, The Russian Album features McCartney and a cozily small crew covering Fats Domino, Eddie Cochran, Elvis Presley, and Lloyd Price, as well as major McCartney inspiration Little Richard, and sounding just like they’re covering a bunch of songs they like by all those artists. Our own overfamiliarity with most of these tunes precludes hearing these versions as anything but affectionate nods to someone else’s work, which can’t help but diminish their impact. True artists use their influences as a starting point and then proceed to forge a style entirely their own — which is one reason that when true artist Paul McCartney apes Little Richard or Fats Domino, we just hear the same Paul McCartney we’ve been hearing for over 27 years. Doing a bunch of songs he likes. B-

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