HATS OFF TO THE BUSKERS
I don’t know if the ongoing slump in record/CD sales is being mirrored similarly in the circulation figures of music papers and magazines.
Nowadays I’ll only buy something if there’s the promise of a decent-length article on someone I particularly admire. Failing that, I’ll grab a hold of a magazine or two to take away on holiday just in case there turns out to be a hellishly long flight delay and the battery on the i-pod decides to give up the good fight.
Every now and again I will hand over a few pounds if the CD that’s attached to the cover is of any interest. I rarely give a second glance to a CD that is a round-up of tracks from recent LP releases, but I’ll admit to being a sucker when a special effort is made to produce a tribute CD. I did the other month with an edition of Uncut which comes with Like A Hurricane – A Tribute to Neil Young.
I mention this as a rather rambling intro to what today’s songs are all about.
A few years ago, mid- 2003 to be precise, I actually bought two copies of a particular edition of Uncut, simply because they had two separate CDs entitled White Riot – A Tribute to The Clash, featuring a total of 32 singers and bands doing cover versions of the songs of Strummer/Jones (and Simonen and Headon).
Like most tribute albums, some of the offerings turned out to be half-decent, and one or two I would even go as far as to say are truly inspired. Others are just insipid, while others are plain weird.
Most annoying of all however, is the fact that a couple of them are what I would class as lazy – covers which note for note and beat for beat are far too similar to the original.
Some of the songs were taken from other tribute LPs or were a gathering together of b-sides or album tracks, while some turned out to be exclusive recordings previously unavailable before (or indeed since). And while I would never dream of claiming that any of them were superior to the original recordings, there’s some of them been given space on the above mentioned i-pod.
Things like these:-
mp3 : Edwyn Collins – 1977
mp3 : The National – Clampdown
mp3 : Josh Rouse – Straight To Hell
mp3 : Pete Wylie – Stay Free
Incidentally, the last of the above was recorded live at a tiny pub in Haddington, East Lothian at a gig that I’m sure a mate of mine was at. If you’re reading this Mr Greer, be sure to tell us all if that was indeed the case.