A SMATTERING OF COVER VERSIONS

I’ve found an old posting from the deleted blog, and feel that in these environmentally aware times that it is worth of recycling.  Originally from November 2009:-

It’s been a wee while since I threw some interesting cover versions your way. So much so, I feel it needs to be a quartet today – all of them covers of classics:-

mp3 : British Sea Power – A Forest

This is such a difficult song to cover. I’ve always felt that with this 1980 single, The Cure created one of the all-time classic goth anthems. Almost 30 years on, the original hasn’t dated one bit – it still fills the floor of indie discos the world over. Just the other week, I saw trendy young things dressed head-to-toe in black at a Halloween event scream with delight when this was played. Alongside them on the dance floor there were blokes old enough to be their dads just as excited….and closing their eyes and imagining themselves to be three stones lighter, with full heads of hair and so on.

To be fair to British Sea Power, they make a good first of it, and they manage to make it sound like one of their own songs. But….given how much prominent the bass line is in the original, it seems strange to discover it is so relatively low in this mix. Anyone got strong views either way?

mp3 : Carter USM – Down In The Tube Station At Midnight

Once again, a very difficult track to do justice to. But if you didn’t know the original, I reckon you’d think this was yet another a Carter USM classic lyric and tune. Jim-Bob and Fruitbat have done a very fine job….the vocal delivery isn’t a million miles away from that of Paul Weller…and they keep the classic chant-along “whoa-oh-oh-oh” refrain after the song title is sung. I love it…..

mp3 : The Divine Comedy – Party Fears Two

Now, I am very sure about this. The Divine Comedy have taken one of the best-loved songs ever released by a Scottish group and ruined it. Neil Hannon is not a bad singer by any means, but his half-arsed effort at this shows just how distinctive and unique a vocal talent we had in the late and lamented Billy Mackenzie. And don’t get me started on how a great pop tune in the hands of Alan Rankine has been turned into something that makes me want to throw rotten fruit in the direction of those with the musical instruments in their hands. Bloody awful. But feel free to disagree.

mp3 : Aidan Moffat & The Best-Ofs – I Got You Babe

Despite me being just 2 years old when Sonny & Cher took this to #1 in both the USA and UK in the late summer of 1965, it is a song of which I know every single word and note,  simply because it was a staple favourite of radio stations for at least a decade afterwards. These were the years when DJs relied heavily on requests from listeners, and inevitably it would be a couple’s anniversary and this was the song they fell in love to and/or it was the first song at their reception. Oh, and it was always one asked for by wives on the Armed Forces request show on Sunday mornings for their husbands serving their country, usually in Germany or Belize.

Aidan Moffat‘s version, which was made available on 7″ vinyl if you bought the deluxe version of his 2009 LP How To Get To Heaven From Scotland has turned into one of my favourite bits of music released over this past year. Aidan delivers it with enough sincerity to make us believe that he’s a big fan of the original, and yet thanks to that brilliantly distinctive Falkirk twang in his voice he could just as equally be accused of taking the piss, such is the lack of polish in its production. Personally, I think he really is delivering a heartfelt tribute….and the singing and playing are complementary to much of what was on his own material on the LP. But if you don’t get Aidan Moffat or think Arab Strap are hugely overrated, then I suspect this cover is not for you.

JC

7 thoughts on “A SMATTERING OF COVER VERSIONS

  1. The only decent cover of Party Fears 2 I’ve heard is by Glenn Gregory.
    I totally agree with you on the take by TDC.

  2. This is spooky. Yesterday I was driving home from work and decided I needed to hear
    a little bit of Hot House Flowers and my favorite song by them is I Can See Clearly Now. I had planned on calling JC this morning to mention this, as to me it’s the ultimate cover as they have taken the original and completely changed it.
    For anyone who hasn’t heard it, please give it a listen.

    SC

  3. I have really enjoyed the Divine Comedy that I have in the Record Cell [admittedly only two albums worth…] so the notion of Neil Hannon ruining the glory of PF2 seems improbable and scandalous to these ears! But I’ll take a Scotsman’s word on the subject!

  4. Carter USM does justice to a really distinctive song. Not sure it carries the menace and urgency of the original but still a brave cover, earnest and well-produced.

  5. I always thought The Divine Comedy were shite, so to find out that they ruined a great Associates song is welcome validation of that opinion. Thank you.

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