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Any Major Cohen Covers

November 17th, 2016 24 comments

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At this year”s Emmy awards in September, some breathy, note-swallowing songstress sang Leonard Cohen”s magnificent though now overcooked Hallelujah over the section listing the year”s departed TV people. I don”t know why she sang that particular song, but it didn”t cross my mind that within a couple of months, Cohen himself would find inclusion on In Memoriam lists.

Cohen himself knew, though. And he checked out the day before Americans rejected notions of respect and decency. His death on November 7 was made public only four days later.

In April this year, Marianne Ihlen (née Jensen), Cohen”s muse who was immortalised in his song So Long Marianne, died. As Marianne lay dying of leukemia, Cohen wrote her a letter. In it he said: “Well, Marianne, it”s come to this time when we are really so old and our bodies are falling apart and I think I will follow you very soon. Know that I am so close behind you that if you stretch out your hand, I think you can reach mine. And you know that I”ve always loved you for your beauty and for your wisdom … but now, I just want to wish you a very good journey. Goodbye old friend. Endless love, see you down the road.”

Now dab dry those most eyes, and take delight in this mix of covers of Leonard Cohen”s songs. It is a strange thing, but Cohen is not really widely covered, a few select songs aside. Often the same artists would return to the Cohen songbook. And yet, I think his songs are very coverable indeed, as this mix shows.

The most covered song in the Cohen canon is 1984″s Hallelujah. Jeff Buckley”s version is the standard, of course, but I also like the two Shrek versions, John Cale”s in the film, and Rufus Wainwright”s on the soundtrack. Some versions are awful (apparently even Michael F. Bolton has molested the song). Here I”ve gone for Brandi Carlile”s lovely version “” she is one of the finest contemporary singers “” which was recorded live with The Seattle Symphony (the live album, Live at Benaroya Hall, is superb). Newsweek ranked it at #7 in its entertaining list of Top 60 versions of Hallelujah.

A few singers here are people with whom Cohen had close relationships. He was a mentor to Anjani Thomas and to some extent to Jennifer Warnes (they also wrote some songs together).  Judy Collins was his mentor. When Cohen was still a struggling poet-songwriter with no plans to become a singer, his fellow Canadian folkie recorded a couple of his compositions “” and had a hit with Suzanne. I wrote about it in The Originals.

Cohen had some success with his latter albums, stepping in the gerontophile path smoothed by Johnny Cash. There is something about the wisdom of songs being delivered by a worn voice. Three Cohen songs are covered here by such worn voices; those of Johnny Cash, Marianne Faithful and Tom Jones. The latter nails his song especially.

I was going to run the second volume of the Bob Dylan covers this week, to follow up on the first mix. That will now have to wait.

As always, the mix is timed to fit on a standard CD-R and includes home-poetried covers. PW in comments.

1. Nick Cave – I”m Your Man (2006)
2. Pixies – I Can”t Forget (1991)
3. Joe Cocker – First We Take Manhattan (1999)
4. Lloyd Cole – Chelsea Hotel (1991)
5. Johnny Cash – Bird On A Wire (1994)
6. Roberta Flack – Hey, That”s No Way To Say Goodbye (1969)
7. Fran̤oise Hardy РSuzanne (1970)
8. Bell + Arc – So Long, Marianne (1971)
9. Judy Collins – Famous Blue Raincoat (1971)
10. Pearls Before Swine – Seems So Long Ago, Nancy (1971)
11. Esther Ofarim – You Know Who I Am (1969)
12. Linda Ronstadt & Emmylou Harris – Sisters Of Mercy (1999)
13. Brandi Carlile – Hallelujah (2011)
14. Harvey Milk – One Of Us Cannot Be Wrong (1996)
15. Anjani Thomas – Blue Alert (2006)
16. Tom Jones – Tower Of Song (2012)
17. Marianne Faithfull – Going Home (2014)
18. Jennifer Warnes – A Singer Must Die (1986)
Bonus track: Madeleine Peyroux – Dance Me To The End Of Love (2004)

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Any Major Bob Dylan Covers Vol. 1

September 15th, 2016 22 comments

Any Major Dylan Covers Vol. 1

A few years ago a reader suggested that a mix of cover versions of sings by Bob Dylan might alleviate the discomfort many feel at hearing the great songwriter”s voice. As a fan of cover versions I was keen on the idea. So I created a Dylan covers folder and began collecting. Something like eight years later I”m ready to present a series of Any Major Dylan Covers.

This will be a series of three CD-R length collections “” 62 songs plus three bonus tracks. As always, I set myself strict rules: no artist may feature twice, and no song may be repeated “” except one, which will end the series.

Since these are supposed to be covers of Dylan songs, he must have released the songs first. That means that those tracks he wrote for others, or which others recorded before he released them, don”t qualify “” except two, which I”ll address in a moment. A song like Blowin” In The Wind might have been recorded first by others (Dylan historians have no consensus on that), but it is so essentially a Dylan song that it can”t be excluded.

Dylan never released Wanted Man before it was first recorded by Johnny Cash on the St Quentin live album. So it isn”t really a cover. But it broke my heart to consider not including a Dylan/Cash hybrid, so “” in best Cash fashion “” rules be damned. In the spoken intro Cash says he wrote the song with Dylan at the Cash home, but Dylan has the sole writing credit. Anyway, the great list-song writer has his lyrics performed by the great list-song singer.

The first volume kicks off with the best of all Dylan covers: Jimi Hendrix“s All Along The Watchtower. Hendrix had received a pre-release acetate of Dylan”s recording, and his version was recorded only two months after Dylan”s. From there on it was Jimi”s song. Bob was cool about it. In the liner notes to his Biograph collection, he wrote: “Strange how when I sing it, I always feel it”s a tribute to him in some kind of way. I liked Hendrix”s record, and ever since he died, I”ve been doing it that way.”

But Dylan has also said that the version of any of his songs he treasures most is Elvis Presley“s 1966 interpretation of Tomorrow Is A Long Time, a song Dylan recorded in 1962 but didn”t release until 1971 as a live track from eight years earlier. So Elvis” version isn”t really a Dylan cover, but rather of the folk singer Odetta”s recording.

But how great is Kris Kristofferson singing Quinn The Eskimo?

Which brings me to two acts who are notably excluded in this series: Odetta and Peter, Paul & Mary had a great reputation for singing Dylan songs (Odetta, in turn, was something of a mentor to the budding songwriter from Minnesota). Their exclusion was not deliberate: where I had candidate songs by them, there were others which were a better fit.

Mr Tambourine Man is covered here by Johnny Rivers “” so I”ll leave you to wonder which Dylan cover by The Byrds will feature in this series? And what will we have Joan Baez singing? And whose version of Blowin” In The Wind will feature?

The mix is timed to fit on a standard CD-R and includes home-busked covers. PW in comments (you are welcome to leave a message there).

1. The Jimi Hendrix Experience – All Along The Watchtower (1968)
2. Merry Clayton – Rainy Day Women #12 & 35 (1975)
3. Elvis Presley – Tomorrow Is A Long Time (1966)
4. Johnny Cash – Wanted Man (1969)
5. Hoyt Axton – Lay Lady Lay (1975)
6. Marshall Crenshaw – My Back Pages (1999)
7. Jeff Tweedy – Simple Twist Of Fate (2007)
8. Bruce Springsteen – Chimes Of Freedom (1988)
9. Kris Kristofferson – Quinn The Eskimo (2012)
10. Emmylou Harris – Every Grain Of Sand (1995)
11. The Pretenders – Forever Young (1994)
12. Richie Havens – Just Like A Woman (1968)
13. Them – It”s All Over Now, Baby Blue (1966)
14. The Grass Roots – Mr. Jones (Ballad Of A Thin Man) (1966)
15. Johnny Rivers – Mr. Tambourine Man (1965)
16. The Turtles – It Ain”t Me Babe (1965)
17. Stereophonics – Positively 4th Street (1999)
18. Eels – Girl From The North Country (2006)
19. Lloyd Cole – You”re A Big Girl Now (2001)
20. Josh Kelley – To Make You Feel My Love (2004)
21. Norah Jones – I”ll Be Your Baby Tonight (2002)
Bonus track: Ani DiFranco – Hurricane (2000)

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Beatles Recovered: Revolver

July 28th, 2016 16 comments

Revolver Recovered

August 5 will see the 50th anniversary of the release of The Beatles’ seminal Revolver album. If Rubber Soul was the moment when the besuited moptops handed over the Beatle baton to the more experimental stoners, Revolver was the moment the stoners became adults, doing things on their own terms.

George Harrison’s I Want To Tell you is perhaps most emblematic of that progression. The melody could have been on Rubber Soul, or even Help!, but the arrangement and especially the lyrics absolutely couldn’t.

The first song which the Beatles recorded for the album was one that set the scene for what innovation was to come. Tomorrow Never Knows, which was born almost exactly four months before Revolver‘s release (on April 6), was a radical departure from the pure, relatively uncomplicated pop and rock & roll which the band had produced just a year earlier on Help (which was released on August 6, 1965, almost exactly one year before Revolver. Let that timeline sink in!). The song was subject to such experimentations as tape loops and running the vocals through a speaker normally used for the Hammond organ, plus Ringo using a novel drum-pattern.

The cover of that song here is a sparse affair from 1970 by the blues/R&B singer Junior Parker, recorded a year before his death at the age of 39 during surgery for a brain tumor.

Harrison had already experimented gingerly with Indian music on Rubber Soul. Here, on Love You To, he went full Indian “” I guess it must have been even more startling to Revolver“™s first listeners than Tomorrow Never Knows. It is covered here by the Don Randi Trio, who recorded the whole of Revolver in their jazz interpretation, within weeks of the album’s release. Their version respects the original’s Indian core.

Revolver had several moments of genius. Eleanor Rigby in particular is a masterpiece, lyrically and musically (I’ll leave it to you whether Ray Charles’ interpretation trumps the original). McCartney’s other two ballads on the album – For No One and Here, There And Everywhere – are remarkable as well. Emmylou Harris features here with her gorgeous take on the often neglected For No One, from 1975’s Pieces Of The Sky LP. She might also have been included for her version of Here, There And Everywhere, recorded the same year for the Elite Hotel album. That song is covered to equally lovely effect by that other country woman of crossover appeal, Bobbie Gentry.

Lennon was more hit-and-miss on Revolver than Paul. Tomorrow Never Knows and I’m Only Sleeping tower above the serviceable but usually not unduly overlooked Dr Robert, And Your Bird Can Sing and She Said She Said, decent tracks though they are. Dr Robert was the most difficult song to find a cover for. Here it is done by an Italian band called Slow Feet (an allusion to Eric Clapton’s nickname Slow Hand), which specialises in covering classic rock songs.

In don’t know why Paul’s excellent Good Day Sunshine doesn’t receive more love. Roy Redmond’s southern soul cover reveals a depth to a song which in The Beatles’ version is “just another” Beatles pop song.

Critics don’t love Yellow Submarine, written by Paul specifically for Ringo and deliberately as a children’s song. It ought to have been only a b-side (as it also was, to Eleanor Rigby), not an album track. But while the purists hate it, the public loved it, as would be the case two long, long years later with the much maligned yet ferociously popular Ob-La-Di, Ob-La-Da.

The Pickin’ On Picks recording was the only feasible version of Yellow Submarine that I could include here (though I include the 1976 Sesame Street version – three monsters harmonising in monstrous ways – as a bonus). The Pickin’ On Picks was a 1990s project whereby session musicians would render the catalogue of a particular artist in the bluegrass genre. Cross-genre appropriation sometimes works well, and sometimes does so only in small doses. This is such a case: one or two songs at a time are great; more than that is quite enough.

The obvious choice for a cover of Got To Get You Into My Life might have been that of Earth, Wind & Fire, or perhaps that by Thelma Houston, which surely inspired the EWF arrangement. That itself might have borrowed from the one used here, by Blood, Sweat & Tears. The EWF version previously featured on Any Major Beatles Covers: 1962-66; the Thelma Houston version you can get on the Jim Gordon Collection Vol. 2.

Naturally the mix fits on a CD-R, and includes home-renovated covers. PW in comments.

1. The Loose Ends – Tax Man (1966)
2. Ray Charles – Eleanor Rigby (1968)
3. Lobo – I’m Only Sleeping (1974)
4. Don Randi Trio – Love You To (1966)
5. Bobbie Gentry – Here, There And Everywhere (1968)
6. The Pickin’ On Picks – Yellow Submarine (1995)
7. Hedge & Donna – She Said She Said (1971)
8. Roy Redmond – Good Day Sunshine (1967)
9. Spanky & Our Gang – And Your Bird Can Sing (1967)
10. Emmylou Harris – For No One (1975)
11. Slowfeet – Doctor Robert (2006)
12. Chris Stainton & Glen Turner – I Want To Tell You (1976)
13. Blood, Sweat & Tears – Got To Get You Into My Life (1975)
14. Junior Parker – Tomorrow Never Knows (1970)

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More Beatles Recovered:
Beatles Recovered: A Hard Day’s Night
Beatles Recovered: Beatles For Sale
Beatles Recovered: Help!
Beatles Recovered: Rubber Soul
Beatles Recovered: Revolver
Beatles Recovered: Sgt Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club  Band
Beatles Revovered: Magical Mystery Tour
Beatles Recovered: White Album
Beatles Recovered: Yellow Submarine
Beatles Recovered: Abbey Road
Beatles Revcovered: Let It Be

Wordless: Any Major Beatles Instrumentals
Covered With Soul Vol. 14 – Beatles Edition 1
Covered With Soul Vol. 15 – Beatles Edition 2

Any Major Beatles Covers: 1962-66

Any Major Beatles Covers: 1967-68
Any Major Beatles Covers: 1968-70
Any Bizarre Beatles

Beatles Reunited: Everest (1971)
Beatles Reunited: Live ’72 (1972)
Beatles Reunited: Smile Away (1972)
Beatles Reunited: Photographs (1974)
Beatles Reunited: ’77 (1977)
Beatles Reunited: Let It See (1980)

 

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Great Covers: Ziggy Stardust (1972)

January 11th, 2016 6 comments

Ziggy

[To mark the passing of David Bowie, I repost this from October 2013]

There is a sweet irony in the cover picture of The Rise and Fall of Ziggy Stardust and the Spiders from Mars: the alien superstar is photographed in a seedy sidestreet, not a glittering glamour spot, of London”s West End. Instead of shining brightly in a metallic science fiction wonderland, the monochrome photo is hand-coloured in the way of postcards from the turn of the last century.

The cover holds not the promise of the story we are coming to hear, but its denouement: Ziggy has come back down to earth as David Bowie. There”s trash, there”s rain, there”s a bin, there”s the sign of the furrier K. West, where the fiction of left-handed Ziggy and the fact of Bowie, holding his guitar right-handed, come together.

Or that”s how I choose to see it. The story of Ziggy Stardust is vague enough to let you project your own ideas on it. In fact, by writing about the cover, by stripping away a veneer of its mystique, I may be depriving you, if you do not know the story of the cover, of your ability to freely project. Read on at your own peril.

What we will find is that the story of the cover is rather”¦ ordinary. The photo was taken on a cold January night in 1972 in Soho”s Heddon Street, then an insalubrious sidestreet, but today a fashionable pedestrian zone. The photographer was Brian Ward, who had studio in the street.

He took 17 photos that night, including the back cover shot of Ziggy/Bowie in the telephone booth. The front cover pic was taken at house number 23, under the big sign for K. West. Apparently Bowie turned up (with a posse of two girls), posed for a few minutes, and quickly disappeared into the rainy night, leaving Ward to develop his black-and-white photos.

Did Bowie feel like Ziggy in “Five Years”? “It was cold and it rained and I felt like an actor.”

ziggy-bwThe winning shot was colourised, giving the jumpsuit a blue hue when it was, in fact, green. You can see the jumpsuit in real life on this clip from the Old Grey Whistle Test in February 1972.

Have look at all 17 photos of the session at the Five Years site (from which I”ve borrowed one here). And if you feel that Bowie was wrong as Ziggy, and it should have been your mug on the cover, well, that can be arranged HERE.

As for the signs on the wall? They were for Paquerette Dresses (4th Floor), Ramar Dresses Ltd (3rd Floor), International Wool Secretariat, Cravats Ltd (main entrance), and T.H. Ferris (2nd Floor)

So, to mark the Ziggy cover here”s a mix of Ziggy covers. Every track off the album is performed in sequence by various artists “” and two by Bowie. One is from the famous Hammersmith Odeon concert at which he killed off Ziggy Stardust “” obviously the final track, “Rock “n” Roll Suicide” “” the other a new mix of the largely uncovered “Star”. In fact, there”s a third Bowie number: The Arnold Corns was a Bowie project on which he test-drove some Ziggy tracks a year before he gave birth to the alien superstar.

One song on the album, of course, was a cover itself: “It Ain”t Easy” was a Ron Davies song. The cover of that on this mix also precedes Ziggy.

1. The Polyphonic Spree – Five Years (2002)
2. Marti Jones – Soul Love (1986)
3. The Arnold Corns – Moonage Daydream (1971)
4. Leningrad Cowboys – Starman (2006)
5. Three Dog Night – It Ain’t Easy (1970)
6. Seu Jorge – Lady Stardust (2005)
7. David Bowie – Star (40th Anniversary Mix) (1972/2012)
8. Contraband – Hang On To Yourself (1991)
9. Bauhaus – Ziggy Stardust (1982)
10. Red Hot Chili Peppers – Suffragette City (2012)
11. David Bowie – Rock ‘n’ Roll Suicide (live) (1973)

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(PW in comments)

 “¦

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Beatles Recovered: Rubber Soul

December 10th, 2015 8 comments

Rubber Soul Recovered - front

The progression of The Beatles from mop tops making uncomplicated pop music to the innovators who blew the minds of their peers was at its most dramatic in the 14-month period during which they proceeded from the fine pop of You’re Going To Lose That Girl on Help (recorded on 19 February 1965) to the psychedelic workout that was Tomorrow Never Knows on Revolver (recorded on 6 April 1966).

The link between those two very different albums, whose releases were separated by exactly a year, was Rubber Soul, which was released 50 years ago on December 3. Rubber Soul recalls Help in tracks like Wait (which had been recorded for Help) or You Won’t See Me or Michelle, and it presages the future with songs like In My Life, Nowhere Man, Drive My Car or Norwegian Wood. And then there is George’s If You Needed Someone, which seamlessly incorporates the old sound and the new.

Remarkably, The Beatles wrote and recorded Rubber Soul under immense time pressure, still writing some of the songs as they were recording. In an age when thoroughly unoriginal bands take two or three years to bring out an album, it seems impossible to grasp that The Beatles began recording Rubber Soul on 12 October, less than two months before the scheduled release date. The first track recorded that day was Run For Your Life. The Rubber Soul recordings ended on 11 November with a highly pressured marathon session. The last full song to be recorded that day was Girl, which Lennon had hastily written.

On top of that, they were expected to write and record two non-album tracks for a single release. These songs turned out to be We Can Work It Out and Day Tripper. Lennon wrote the latter virtually off-the-cuff in the studio; he and Paul called it a “forced” composition. And in between all that, The Beatles were expected to create the annual Christmas record, for distribution on flexi-disc to fan club members.

The strength of Rubber Soul does not reside so much in the songs but in the album’s feel. Here our boys are high on pot, not freaked out by LSD, and it shows in the sound. It is also the most country of Beatles albums. What Goes On is the only country song on the set, but some of the covers here show just how well suited these tracks are for that genre.

Rubber Soul Recovered - back

The best cover here is Johnny Cash’s take on In My Life. Lennon sang the song when he had just turned 25; the song’s wistfulness is measured against the fact that the singer memories are still pretty young. Cash sung the song a year before his death. The ravages of age are reflected in his voice, and he sounds like the tired old man her is, looking back at a rich life where some places and some people have indeed gone and some have changed. I think the great video for Hurt would have been even more potent for this song, which appears on the same album.

The most radical reworking of Rubber Soul‘s songs featured here comes right at the top, with the bluesy take on Drive My Car by Humble Pie. It appeared on a 1975 LP, Street Rats, with two other Beatles covers, We Can Work It Out and Rain, as well as a cover of a Beatles cover, Chuck Berry’s Rock & Roll Music.

Nancy Sinatra, appearing here with a Lennon song which the composer despised, also recorded more than one Beatles song. On the Boots LP of 1966, on which Run For Your Life appears (as well the hit song which gave the album its title), she also sang Day Tripper.

Naturally the mix fits on a standard CD-R and includes covers. PW in comments.

1. Humble Pie – Drive My Car (1975)
2. Tangerine Dream – Norwegian Wood (2010)
3. Anne Murray – You Won’t See Me (1974)
4. Randy Travis – Nowhere Man (1995)
5. Fran̤ois Fabrice РLes Garcons Sont Fous (Think For Yourself) (1966)
6. Mindy Smith – The Word (2005)
7. King Curtis – Michelle (1966)
8. Charles River Valley Boys – What Goes On (1966)
9. The Brothers Four – Girl (1966)
10. Steve Earle – I’m Looking Through You (1995)
11. Johnny Cash – In My Life (2002)
12. Connie Evingson – Wait (2003)
13. Roger McGuinn – If I Needed Someone (2007)
14. Nancy Sinatra – Run For Your Life (1966)
Bonus tracks:
Dionne Warwick – We Can Work It Out (1968)
Whitesnake – Day Tripper (1978)

GET IT! or HERE!

More Beatles Recovered:
Beatles Recovered: A Hard Day’s Night
Beatles Recovered: Beatles For Sale
Beatles Recovered: Help!
Beatles Recovered: Rubber Soul
Beatles Recovered: Revolver
Beatles Recovered: Sgt Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club  Band
Beatles Revovered: Magical Mystery Tour
Beatles Recovered: White Album
Beatles Recovered: Yellow Submarine
Beatles Recovered: Abbey Road
Beatles Recovered: Let It Be

Wordless: Any Major Beatles Instrumentals
Covered With Soul Vol. 14 – Beatles Edition 1
Covered With Soul Vol. 15 – Beatles Edition 2


Any Major Beatles Covers: 1962-66

Any Major Beatles Covers: 1967-68
Any Major Beatles Covers: 1962-66

Any Major Beatles Covers: 1967-68
Any Major Beatles Covers: 1968-70

More Beatles stuff

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Help! Recovered

August 6th, 2015 9 comments

Help Recovered front

Today, exactly 50 years ago, The Beatles released their Help! album in Britain . In the US, a different version was issued a week later. It was a great time for music. A month earlier the Beach Boys released their Summer Days (And Summer Nights!!) album; Bob Dylan issued his Highway 61 Revisited on August 30, and two weeks later Otis Redding”s Otis Blue came out.

A few years ago I conducted an experiment to discover which Beatles album was the best, song-by-song. That is obviously different to an album”s conceptual, cultural or historical value. By that token, I might instinctively go for Abbey Road, or Sgt Pepper”s, or Revolver, or Rubber Soul. But here I rated each song on an album out of ten and arrived at an average.

Help! won, just ahead of A Hard Day”s Night, followed by Abbey Road. Song for song, Help! is a most satisfying and likeable album. Even the least great songs (You Like Me Too Much, Tell Me What You See, Another Girl) are pretty good. Only Dizzy Miss Lizzy is a regrettable throwback to the first two albums. (Bottom of the table was With The Beatles).

Cover versions of most songs on Help! are relatively scarce. So I”m rather pleased with this lot. Tim Rose”s version of You”ve Got To Hide Your Love Away especially is quite wonderful, with its organ backing by Gary Wright and the insistent guitar and by rolling drumming by Wright”s fellow Spooky Tooth members Mick Jones and Bryson Graham.

Vanilla Fudge go all Summer-of-Love psychedelic on their version of Ticket To Ride, while The Sunshine Company, also in 1967, slow down Harrison”s jaunty I Need You (The Beatles” original, incidentally, was released as a single in Italy).

You”re Going To Lose That Girl is represented in a French version by an act of which I”ve found out little. Their name, Les Mersey”s, does little to hide their influence. The Quebec foursome issued their first LP in 1964 and their last, of course, in 1970. It seems they frequently covered The Beatles, but they were no cover band.

Help Recovered back

And before the year is out, there”ll be a Recovered version of Rubber Soul to mark that album”s 50th anniversary. But for today, here”s Help! Recovered, with home-made covers, made the night before. PW in comments.

1. José Feliciano – Help (1966)
2. Herbie Mann – The Night Before (1966)
3. Tim Rose – You’ve Got To Hide Your Love Away (1972)
4. The Sunshine Company – I Need You (1967)
5. George Martin Orchestra – Another Girl (1965)
6. Les Mersey’s – Je lai perdue cette fille (You’re Going To Lose That Girl) (1966)
7. Vanilla Fudge – Ticket To Ride (1967)
8. Leon Russell – Act Naturally (1971)
9. Bryan Ferry – It’s Only Love (1976)
10. Hugo & Osvaldo Fattoruso – Me gustas demasiado (You Like Me Too Much) (1969)
11. Teenage Fanclub – Tell Me What You See (2001)
12. Johnny Rivers and his L. A. Boogie Band – I’ve Just Seen A Face (1973)
13. The Dillards – Yesterday (1970)
14. Flying Lizards – Dizzy Miss Lizzie (1984)

GET IT!

 

More Beatles Recovered:
Beatles Recovered: A Hard Day’s Night
Beatles Recovered: Beatles For Sale
Beatles Recovered: Help!
Beatles Recovered: Rubber Soul
Beatles Recovered: Revolver
Beatles Recovered: Sgt Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club  Band
Beatles Revovered: Magical Mystery Tour
Beatles Recovered: White Album
Beatles Recovered: Yellow Submarine
Beatles Recovered: Abbey Road
Beatles Revcovered: Let It Be

Wordless: Any Major Beatles Instrumentals
Covered With Soul Vol. 14 – Beatles Edition 1
Covered With Soul Vol. 15 – Beatles Edition 2

Any Major Beatles Covers: 1962-66

Any Major Beatles Covers: 1967-68
Any Major Beatles Covers: 1968-70
Any Bizarre Beatles

Beatles Reunited: Everest (1971)
Beatles Reunited: Live ’72 (1972)
Beatles Reunited: Smile Away (1972)
Beatles Reunited: Photographs (1974)
Beatles Reunited: ’77 (1977)
Beatles Reunited: Let It See (1980)

 

Categories: Beatles, Covers Mixes Tags:

Beatles For Sale – Recovered

November 27th, 2014 5 comments

BFS Recovered - front

On 4 December 1964 The Beatles released their second LP of the year, just in time for the Christmas. Sandwiched between the masterpieces A Hard Day’s Night (released just six months earlier) and Help!, and released just a year before the game-changer Rubber Soul, the album — titled perhaps not unironically Beatles For Sale — looks like the runt of the litter.

The cover image is emblemic. The guys look tired and irritated. It was a busy year. In 1964 they had recorded A Hard Day’s Night, for which Paul and John had written all the songs, filmed the movie of that name, promoted both, and toured extensively in Europe, Hong Kong, Australia and New Zealand, and the USA, where they had broken big with their appearances on the Ed Sullivan Show (which is recalled HERE, with a great jazz mix of Beatles covers).

Beatles For Sale was recorded over seven days between August and October. For the last time on a Beatles LP, it included covers of songs by the band’s rock & roll heroes: Chuck Berry (Rock and Roll Music), Buddy Holly (Words Of Love), Carl Perkins (Everybody’s Trying to Be My Baby), Little Richard (Hey Hey Hey Hey), Wilbert Harrison (Kansas City, also recorded by Little Richard), and Dr. Feelgood and the Interns (the much-maligned Mr Moonlight).

The covers were obvious fillers, but it would be wrong to dismiss Beatles For Sale on their account. There are several underrated gems among the Lennon/McCartney compositions. The opening trio is as good as almost any on Beatles album: No Reply, I’m A Loser and Baby’s In Black. Eight Days A Week, I’ll Follow the Sun and Every Little Thing are stone-cold Beatles classics. The latter is a rare thing: John singing lead on a McCartney song.

The compilation of cover songs of tracks from the album, presented here in the original order, is great fun. I don’t know if I really like the version of Every Little Thing by Yes, but if I approve of Isaac Hayes totally reworking a sing in psychedelic style, then I should at least express my admiration for this 1969 version, recording of which might have involved the use of drugs.

1. Les Lionceaux – Ne Ris Pas (No Reply) (1965)
2. Eels – I’m A Loser (2003)
3. John Doe – Baby’s In Black (2004)
4. Humble Pie – Rock And Roll Music (1975)
5. The Brothers Four – I’ll Follow The Sun (1966)
6. The Hollies – Mr. Moonlight (1964)
7. Little Richard – Kansas City Hey Hey Hey (1959)
8. Alma Cogan – Eight Days A Week (1965)
9. Jeff Lynne – Words Of Love (2011)
10. Ringo Starr and his All-Starr Band – Honey Don’t (1990)
11. Yes – Every Little Thing (1969)
12. The Savoys – I Don’t Want To Spoil The Party (1970)
13. The Fantastic Dee Jays – What You’re Doing (1965)
14. Johnny Cash feat. Carl Perkins – Everybody’s Trying To Be My Baby (2003)

GET IT!

More Beatles Recovered:
Beatles Recovered: A Hard Day’s Night
Beatles Recovered: Beatles For Sale
Beatles Recovered: Help!
Beatles Recovered: Rubber Soul
Beatles Recovered: Revolver
Beatles Recovered: Sgt Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club  Band
Beatles Revovered: Magical Mystery Tour
Beatles Recovered: White Album
Beatles Recovered: Yellow Submarine
Beatles Recovered: Abbey Road
Beatles Revcovered: Let It Be

Wordless: Any Major Beatles Instrumentals
Covered With Soul Vol. 14 – Beatles Edition 1
Covered With Soul Vol. 15 – Beatles Edition 2

Any Major Beatles Covers: 1962-66

Any Major Beatles Covers: 1967-68
Any Major Beatles Covers: 1968-70
Any Bizarre Beatles

Beatles Reunited: Everest (1971)
Beatles Reunited: Live ’72 (1972)
Beatles Reunited: Smile Away (1972)
Beatles Reunited: Photographs (1974)
Beatles Reunited: ’77 (1977)
Beatles Reunited: Let It See (1980)

Categories: Beatles, Covers Mixes, Mix CD-Rs Tags:

A Hard Day’s Night – Recovered

July 10th, 2014 14 comments

A Hard Day's Night Recovered- front

Today, July 10, it is 50 years since The Beatles released their A Hard Day”s Night LP in the UK (the US version, with a different tracklisting, followed two weeks later). It was a landmark event for pop music, not because the music was especially innovative, but because here a pop group released an album including only own compositions. In 1964, this was very unusual indeed.

And this even more remarkable when one considers just how busy the group was at the time, with all the touring and US television appearances (as documented here), filming the movie and recording even more music that didn”t make it on to the album. In their writing, John Lennon and Paul McCartney were so prolific that they could give away pretty good songs to other artists, such a Peter & Gordon, Cilla Black and Billy J Kramer. The creative pressure showed on the follow-up, Beatles For Sale, which was released later in 1964 and included several covers (and also a few stone-cold Beatles classics).

A Hard Day”s Night was very much Lennon”s work. He wrote the title track, I Should Have Known Better, Tell Me Why, Any Time At All, I”ll Cry Instead, When I Get Home and You Can”t Do That, most of If I Fell and I”ll Be Back, and contributed to McCartney”s I”m Happy Just To Dance With You. But Paul”s three other contributions are probably the strongest: And I Love Her, Things We Said Today and Can”t Buy Me Love.

A Hard Day's Night Recovered- back

A Hard Day”s Night was also the first Beatles album to rely on the Beatles” unique sound. Where the previous two LPs included several covers of rock & roul and R&B songs, and many songs recalled the various influences from which the group drew, this was the first album on which The Beatles totally owned their sound. Nobody sounded like them.

And yet, this is not down to the compositions themselves, but the arrangements they benefited from. Listen to this set of covers, sequenced in the original chronology of the album, to hear just how flexible these songs are. Some of them sound nothing like a Beatles song. I believe that if a song can be covered well in any genre in ways that do not sound like a cover (never mind a pastiche), then it”s a great song. So Ella Fitzgerald can turn Can”t Buy Me Love into a big band number without it sounding like a novelty number, and John Mayall can turn A Hard Day”s Night into a true blues song, no matter how familiar we are with these Beatles standards.

My favourite here, however, is the Holmes Brothers” bluesy version of And I Love Her. Vanilla Fudge”s psychedelic rock take on You Can”t Do That from 1968 is a trip, too.

The covers featured in this post are included in higher resolution. PW in comments.

1. John Mayall – A Hard Day’s Night (1975)
2. Beach Boys – I Should Have Known Better (1965)
3. Keely Smith – If I Fell (1965)
4. Anne Murray – I’m Happy Just To Dance With You (1980)
5. The Holmes Brothers – And I Love Her (1997)
6. April Wine – Tell Me Why (1982)
7. Ella Fitzgerald – Can’t Buy Me Love (1964)
8. Nils Lofgren – Anytime At All (1981)
9. Johnny Rivers – I’ll Cry Instead (1965)
10. Bobby Fuller Four – Things We Said Today (1960s)
11. Yellow Matter Custard – When I Get Home (2003)
12. Vanilla Fudge – You Can’t Do That (1968)
13. Elliott Smith – I’ll Be Back (released 2011)

GET IT!

 

More Beatles Recovered:
Beatles Recovered: A Hard Day’s Night
Beatles Recovered: Beatles For Sale
Beatles Recovered: Help!
Beatles Recovered: Rubber Soul
Beatles Recovered: Revolver
Beatles Recovered: Sgt Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club  Band
Beatles Revovered: Magical Mystery Tour
Beatles Recovered: White Album
Beatles Recovered: Yellow Submarine
Beatles Recovered: Abbey Road
Beatles Revcovered: Let It Be

Wordless: Any Major Beatles Instrumentals
Covered With Soul Vol. 14 – Beatles Edition 1
Covered With Soul Vol. 15 – Beatles Edition 2

Any Major Beatles Covers: 1962-66

Any Major Beatles Covers: 1967-68
Any Major Beatles Covers: 1968-70

More Beatles stuff

More Mix-CD-Rs

Categories: Beatles, Covers Mixes, Mix CD-Rs Tags:

Any Major ABBA Songbook

March 27th, 2014 10 comments
ABBA are introduced in a pre-performance segment at the 1974 Eurovision Song Contest. Viewers had no idea what outlandish costumes would greet them when ABBA took the stage.

ABBA are introduced in a pre-performance segment at the 1974 Eurovision Song Contest. Viewers had no idea what outlandish costumes would greet them when ABBA took the stage.

On 6 April it will be 40 years since ABBA won the Eurovision Song Contest in Brighton, England, with “Waterloo”. It was a strange choice of vehicle by which to shoot for international stardom. The Eurovision Song Contest was notorious for its dull offerings of sentimental easy listening ballads, absurd pop fodder and idiosyncratic national folk pop — which, at its rare best, nevertheless produced such timeless classics as “Volare”, placing third in 1958.

Of course, intermittently the contest revealed a gem, such as Sandie Shaw’s “Puppet On A String” (which she despised), Katja Ebstein’s “Wunder gibt es simmer wieder” or, arguably, France Gall’s “Poupée de cire, poupée de son”. And even among the easy listen ballads there’d be rare gold, such as Vicky Leandros’ pair of international hits, “L’amour est bleu” (covered by Paul Mariat as “Love Is Blue”) and “Apres toi”, a UK hit as “Come What May”.

Still, when ABBA appeared in their gaudy outfits to play their glam pop number — conducted by a man, the late Sven-Olof Walldoff, dressed as Napoleon instead of the obligatory tux with bowtie — it was quite unprecedented. That might explain why most national juries didn’t give that year’s best song by far, and I have watched the thing, top marks. This wasn’t in the spirit of the Eurovision. Britain was among the five countries to give ABBA “nil points”. Which was fair enough, since Sweden gave no points to the British entry, one of the favourites, the moderately rousing and religiously-vibed “Long Live Love” by Olivia Newton-John, which ended up in fourth place.

ABBA 1974

ABBA react to not getting any points from the Greek jury in round five of scoring. Belgium’s not very good entry got five points from Greece. ABBA was one point behind Italy at the time.

 

1974’s Eurovision had a strange point-scoring system: national juries comprised ten members — five music insiders and five music-loving fans of all age groups — who each would award a point to their favourite performance. The highest aggregate bestowed by a jury that year was five points, awarded four times, and twice to “Waterloo”, by Finland and Switzerland. Until the 14th of 17 rounds, the Italian entry — a ballad sung by Gigliola Cinquetti titled “Si” — narrowly led the Swedish entry. Germany’s two points and the Swiss fiver turned it for ABBA, who ended up winning by a healthy six points.

ABBA, as we know, became phenomenally successful, and then, in fairly short order, reviled. I loved them, but when I was 12 or 13 — the age of “Summer Night City” and the annoying “I Have A Dream” — I didn’t anymore. At that age I would reject acts for being aimed at people of my own age group, people like Leif Garrett. But with ABBA it was their visible progression to middle age that caused my rejection of them. It wasn’t that “Summer Night City” itself offended me, though I was, and remain, indifferent to it. It was, to put it symbolically, that Agnetha, my first pop crush, started to dress like my mother. Now, my mother was a very attractive, young woman in her mid-thirties (only a year older than Anni-Frid), who wore tasteful clothes which complemented her sporty figure, and she generally was pretty hip. But I certainly didn’t want to see Mom in my pop music.

The final score board and pink-clad presenter Katie Boyle

The final score board and pink-clad presenter Katie Boyle

 

I was not alone in falling off Planet ABBA. The backlash to the most successful group of the 1970s was vicious. For a long time ABBA were regarded as naff, commercial, corporate, even as lacking in artistic credibility. They might have been a “guilty pleasure”, but not meriting of much admiration — at least outside the gay scene. To my shame, I was not reawakened to their genius until the mid-’90s when ABBA”s rehabilitation was in full swing.

Much has been made of their genius since then, by people who are much better qualified than I am to explain it. But one thing I do pretend to know a few of things about is cover versions. And it is remarkable how few cover versions of ABBA songs there are, never mind good ones. The big ABBA hits are very great songs, to be sure. But their lifeblood is not the melody, but Benny and Björn”s arrangements and the place of Agnetha”s and Annifrid”s voices in these arrangements. Without these elements, ABBA songs are difficult to pull off.

This mix illustrates the point. Mostly it is pointless to make a straight copy of ABBA songs, unless you do the early numbers in glam rock style, as Dr & the Medics do here with the help of glam legend Roy Wood, or are able to capture the pop essence, as Kylie Minogue does in her live performance or as Sweet Dreams do in one of the earliest covers of an ABBA song. Failing the glam or pop option, the songs require reinterpretation “” and that isn’t easy when you have to work with those lyrics!

Nils Landgren turns “The Name Of The Game” into an acid jazz jam, and Richard Thompson gives “Money Money Money” an unironic folk treatment, as does Evan Dando with “Knowing Me, Knowing You”. Yngwie Malmsteen denudes “Gimme Gimme Gimme” of its disco camp and renders it hair-rock style. Max Raabe does such strange things to “Super Trouper” that one wonders whether he likes the song or utterly despises it. And Mike Oldfield takes a song that sounded like a Mike Oldfield song in the first place, and turns it into a Mike Oldfield song.

coversAs always, the mix is timed to fit on a standard CD-R and includes flat-pack home-assembled covers. PW in comments.

1. Doctor & The Medics with Roy Wood – Waterloo (1992)
2. Sweet Dreams – Honey Honey (1974)
3. Kylie Minogue – Dancing Queen (1998)
4. Nils Landgren – Name Of The Game (2004)
5. Go West – One Of Us (1993)
6. Blancmange – The Day Before You Came (1984)
7. Mike Oldfield – Arrival (1980)
8. Sinéad O’Connor – Chiquitita (2003)
9. Evan Dando – Knowing Me, Knowing You (1999)
10. Richard Thompson – Money (2003)
11. Nashville Train – Hasta Manana (1977)
12. Black Sweden – The Winner Takes It All (2001)
13. Yngwie Malmsteen – Gimme! Gimme! Gimme! (1999)
14. Ash – Does Your Mother Know? (1996)
15. Lush – Hey Hey Helen (1990)
16. Culture Club – Voulez Vous (1999)
17. Erasure – Lay All Your Love On Me (1990)
18. Men Without Hats – S.O.S. (1989)
19. Palast Orchester mit seinem Sänger Max Raabe – Super Trouper (2005)
20. Carpenters – Thank You For The Music (1978)

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Categories: Covers Mixes, Mix CD-Rs, Songwriters Tags:

Wordless: Any Major Beatles Instrumentals

February 13th, 2014 10 comments

wordless

Fifty years ago this month, The Beatles appeared on The Ed Sullivan Show and thereby changed the trajectory of pop music. The first of their three consecutive weekly performances, on February 9, was seen by an estimated 73 million viewers, setting a new record (read Echoes in the Wind’s fine post on watching that show).

Also on that show were impressionist Frank Gorshin (doing a routine about movie stars as politicians), acrobats Wells & the Four Fays, comedians McCall & Brill, and Broadway star Georgia Brown, joined by the cast of Oliver!, including a pre-Monkees Davy Jones singing “I”™d Do Anything”.

Beatles on Sullivan

They all were, it is safe to say, thoroughly overshadowed by the Beatles, who played All My Loving, Till There Was You (presumably for all the Moms), She Loves You, I Saw Her Standing There and I Want To Hold Your Hand.
The following Sunday’s show, on February 16, was broadcast from Miami Beach and tied to the first heavyweight title bout between Sonny Liston and Cassius Clay – another decade-defining event. Only the champion was present. Also in the audience was boxing legend Joe Louis.
Brought to you by Lipton Tea, which was punted poolside by TV announcer George Fenneman, the line-up also included singing actress Mitzi Gaynor (performing a rousing version of Too Darn Hot and a medley of blues songs), comedians Marty Allen & Steve Rossi (riffing only mildly amusingly, at least by modern standards, on the theme of boxing), the affable comedian Myron Cohen, Swiss way-pole acrobats The Nerveless Nocks, and unicyclist act The Volantes. Allen, now 91, Rossi, 81, and Gaynor, 82, are still alive.

 

The Feb. 16 show: Title card from Miami Beach; George Fenneman and random woman punt Lipton Tea; Ed Sullivan and his shadow; The Beatles in full song (note John's wide-apart legs); Beatles fan controls her hysteria; today she probably tells her grandchildren about seeing the Beatles.

The Feb. 16 show: Title card from Miami Beach; George Fenneman and random woman punt Lipton Tea; Ed Sullivan and his shadow; The Beatles in full song (note John’s wide-apart legs); Beatles fan controls her hysteria; today she probably tells her grandchildren about seeing the Beatles. (Right-click and open in new window/tab for larger version of the pics)

 

The Beatles played She Loves You, This Boy, All My Loving, I Saw Her Standing There, From Me to You and I Want To Hold Your Hand (“A song,” according to Paul, “that was recorded by one of our favourite American groups, Sophie Tucker”).

The performance which was broadcast on February 23 was pre-recorded. In fact, it was really the first Beatles performance for Sullivan since it was recorded before the first show. By then Beatlemania was in full swing in America. The Beatles played Twist and Shout, Please Please Me and I Want to Hold Your Hand. Also on the show were jazz singer Cab Calloway (singing St James Infirmary and Old Man River), English clarinettist Acker Bilk, English comedy duo Morecambe & Wise, comedians Dave Barry and Morty Gunty, comedy duo Gordon & Sheila MacRae, singer Gloria Bleezarde (no, me neither), and marionettes Pinky & Perky.

The Beatles returned to The Ed Sullivan Show on September 12, 1965. A week later, the show began broadcasting in colour.

On the Feb 16 show: Heavyweight champ Sonny Liston is introduced; comics Steve Rossi & Marty Allen; Mitzi Gaynor and pals; comedian Myron Cohen; Ed Sullivan greets the Fab Four.

On the Feb 16 show: Heavyweight champ Sonny Liston is introduced; comics Steve Rossi & Marty Allen; Mitzi Gaynor and pals; comedian Myron Cohen; Ed Sullivan greets the Fab Four.

 

We’ve been through a lot of Beatles covers in the past (and the links are live again). To mark the 50th anniversary of the pivotal Sullivan shows, here is something a little different: a mix of jazz and soul (and early fusion) instrumental covers.

There might be jazz, but there’s very little jazzy noodling going on. Arif Mardin might go a bit psychedelic during Glass Onions, as does Steve Marcus on Rain, Mongo Santamaria might go on a trip halfway through his song, and Jim Caravan might take some serious liberties with A Day In The Life after a faithful start, but Jonah Jones de-cheeses Michelle, and Shirley Scott’s version of Get Back has enough energy to light up New York City during one of its famous powercuts. It’s all great stuff.

As always, the whole thing is timed to fit on a standard CD-R and includes home-fabbed covers. PW in comments.

1. Steve Cropper – With A Little Help From My Friends (1969)
2. Shirley Scott & The Soul Saxes – Get Back (1969)
3. Cal Tjader – Lady Madonna (1969)
4. Jimmy Ponder – While My Guitar Gently Weeps (1974)
5. Arif Mardin – Glass Onion (1969)
6. Buddy Rich Big Band – Norwegian Wood (1967)
7. Count Basie – Come Together (1969)
8. Harvey Averne Dozen – The Word (1968)
9. Jimmy Caravan – A Day In the Life (1968)
10. Jonah Jones – Michelle (1968)
11. Booker T. & The MG’s – Eleanor Rigby (1968)
12. Gabor Szabo – In My Life (1969)
13. Wade Marcus – Something (1971)
14. The Mar-Keys – Let It Be (1971)
15. Mongo Santamaria – Day Tripper (1970)
16. Steve Marcus – Rain (1968)
17. Bobby Bryant – Happiness Is A Warm Gun (1969)
18. Freddy McCoy – I Am A Walrus (1968)
19. Ramsey Lewis – Julia (1968)
20. Bud Shank – Yesterday (1966)
21. The Soulful Strings – Within You Without You (1967)
22. Don Randi Trio – Tomorrow Never Knows (1966)

GET IT: https://rapidgator.net/file/1693f37563d5d6ef197c7a20e81ded2a/Wordless.rar.html

More great Beatles stuff:
Beatles Recovered: A Hard Day’s Night
Beatles Recovered: Beatles For Sale
Beatles Recovered: Help!
Beatles Recovered: Rubber Soul
Beatles Recovered: Revolver
Beatles Recovered: Sgt Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club  Band
Beatles Revovered: Magical Mystery Tour
Beatles Recovered: White Album
Beatles Recovered: Yellow Submarine
Wordless: Any Major Beatles Instrumentals
Covered With Soul Vol. 14 – Beatles Edition 1
Covered With Soul Vol. 15 – Beatles Edition 2

Any Major Beatles Covers: 1962-66

Any Major Beatles Covers: 1967-68
Any Major Beatles Covers: 1968-70
Any Bizarre Beatles
Beatles Album tracks and B-Sides Vol. 1
Beatles Album tracks and B-Sides Vol. 2
Beatles Reunited: Everest (1971)
Beatles Reunited: Live ’72 (1972)
Beatles Reunited: Smile Away (1972)
Beatles Reunited: Photographs (1974)

 

Categories: Beatles, Covers Mixes, Mix CD-Rs Tags: