this tribute is worthy

Come Together: America Salutes the Beatles (Liberty)
various artists

By Allen Howie

Worst case scenario: You're a big Beatles fan who hates country music. Prepare your self for an enormously pleasant surprise.

This collection of 17 Beatles songs covered mostly by country artists will win over even the most reluctant listener..

Its success can be chalked up to a couple of key elements: the songs themselves, which are as good as they come, and the arrangements, which wisely stick to the fab originals in almost every case.

That said, the individual singers who contributed tracks are consistently, even surprisingly, good. David Ball tums in a lustrous "I'll Follow the Sun," John Berry's "Long and Winding Road" will raise the hairs on the back of your neck, Delbert McClinton's wiry "Come Together" was made to be played loud, and Sammy Kershaw's "If I Fell" is chilling, as is Collin Raye's "Let It Be."

And the hits just keep on coming. Christian artists Phil Keaggy and PFR dance divinely with "We Can Work It Out," Huey Lewis "is McCartney-cute on "Oh! Darling," Little Texas plays scene-stealer on "Help!," Susan Ashton and Gary Chapman team up for a poignant "ln My Life," Steve Wariner shuffles through an energetic "Get Back" and Suzy Bogguss teams up with Chet Atkins for an elegant "All My Lovmg."

Even those artists who try to put their own stamp on the songs succeed. Willie Nelson's "One After 909" chugs merrily along, Randy Travis brings a back porch melancholy to "Nowhere Man" and Kris Kristofferson growls out a gruff, gritty "Paperback Writer." In fact, even Tanya Tucker's "Something" grows on you after awhile. In a market full of tribute albums, this one is a keeper.