… but I digress

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Cover Battle – “Bad Moon Rising” October 3, 2014

 

The song “Bad Moon Rising” by Creedence Clearwater Revival is a familiar tune; it’s been around since 1969. It’s been used in movies (An American Werewolf in London, Blade, The Big Chill); in tv shows (Supernatural, The Following, Cold Case); and in video games (Guitar Hero). The song talks about that sense you get when you just know something bad’s coming, it feels like the universe is throwing you outsized warnings and you’re kind of on pins and needles waiting for it. But the music behind it is so bouncy and peppy it makes you feel happy, not nervous.

 

Another tv show that’s used the song is The Walking Dead. Even though it’s one of my favorites, I really don’t remember this Mourning Ritual version being used in a trailer. No matter, though. It seems to be a perfect fit with the dread, foreboding and fear of the ever present zombie apocalypse depicted onscreen. The slow, creepy opening, and the persistent throbbing drums that get you pumping and amps up anxiety. It makes you feel there’s something just over your shoulder that’s coming to get you. A totally different feel than the original. The more I listen to this the more it gets my neck hairs standing on end. Well done.

 

Jerry Lee Lewis released an excessively twangy country-sounding version of this. Oh my god, no. This doesn’t work for me at all. It’s not that I necessary have a problem with the really raw, jam session, home-studio sound of it, it’s just the backwoods shack, jug and washboard, moonshine, Deliverance feeling it gives me. That might be more unsettling and uncomfortable than what’s actually going on in the song.

 

Jerry Lee also recorded this with the song’s original writer, Creedence lead singer John Fogerty. Still has some ultra twangy guitar licks, but it sounds way more polished and artfully produced than Jerry’s solo turn, which makes it a bit more palatable.

 

Oh lord – now I’ve really I’ve fallen into a twangy vortex! This next one is by the artist Emmylou Harris. So country. So honky-tonk. Lots of wailing. Whoever does the piano solo on this is really good, and the harmonizing Emmylou does with the backup singers blends together well. But still – I may have to listen to something seriously head banging after this.

   

   

 

Cover Battle – “Walking in Memphis” June 6, 2014

 

The song “Walking in Memphis” was a breakout hit for singer-songwriter Marc Cohn. His deep soulful voice, accompanied by sweet piano, descriptive heartfelt lyrics, and a beautifully done black and white video made the song something truly special. It’s bluesy and gospely (??). All these years later I still love the song and appreciate the artistry of the whole enterprise.

 

The cover video with Sugarland and Little Big Town opens with a voiceover and scenes of the two groups practicing and working out the harmonies. At first I was just “oh just get to the song, please”, but the behind the scenes stuff was actually nice and fun. Then you get to see the result of all that practice, live on stage. And it is quite wonderful. Country twang and all. The groups have a sincere love and respect for the song and it shows proudly.

 

Cher does a truly excellent cover of this as well. I first heard it in a memorable episode of The X-Files. Unfortunately they couldn’t get Cher herself to do it onscreen, but it still worked well. It really showcases what a powerful voice she has. Her video is also done in black and white, just like the Marc Cohn original.

 

The song was covered by another country group, Lonestar. I don’t like their version at all. They speeded (sped?) up the tempo and it doesn’t work for me. It’s like they sort of stripped the heart out of the song.

 

Speaking of stripped, Juri Rother from The Voice of Germany does a really, really stripped down cover. It’s too precious. It doesn’t feel sincere to me.

 

Surprisingly the Tom Jones rendition doesn’t really move me. It’s okay. He may be singing from with heart, but I don’t think of it as one of his best.

 

Swedish Idol contestant Calle Kristiansson absolutely nailed this song with just his voice and his guitar. Outstanding.

 

I found a video of Gavin DeGraw doing this live (squeeee!!!). Gavin is a phenomenal talent – singing, songwriting, performing. And he’s not too bad to look at either. What can I say – I’m officially a pervy old lady now!

 

According to Wikipedia, The Skott Freedman version “remains one of the most popular downloaded versions of “Memphis” on iTunes“. Um, I’m not really sure why though.

 

Shut Up and Dance basically stole the song and put some slightly different lyrics and some weird rubber band sounds and electronic shite all over it, then called it “Raving, I’m Raving”. And that’s the entire purpose of the song – a framework for trippy drug-fueled dancing. Lame. And very bizarre.

 

Then the group Scooter took Shut Up and Dance’s efforts and added their own bits to it. It sounds like something perfect for a rave/Irish stepdance competition.


 

   

   

 

Cover Battle – “Harvest Moon” May 2, 2014

 

Once again we have a song that I first became aware of through Cassandra Wilson: “Harvest Moon“. I like it (but you probably already knew that). Hers is nothing like the original or any of the others I’ve heard subsequently. Cassandra’s is, of course, lush and atmospheric and sets up a deep, passionate mood. It’s elegant and sophisticated. The others have more of a fun, playful tone to them.

 

The Neil Young original recording is happy and upbeat, and you can hear the country in it. It’s got a very average Joe, juke boxy way to it. It’s not a version I’d go back to, but it’s still a very sweet, and heartfelt song.

 

The one I found from Ben Gibbard of Death Cab for Cutie sounds a lot like Neil’s original, especially in the high-pitch earnestness of his vocals. For some reason this feels more accessible to me, and I don’t know why, but I could see myself actually going back for another listen.

 

You can hear the country roots in the song when done by Pearl Jam. I enjoyed the short harmonica solo from Eddie Vedder. The guitar on this is not quite as dancy or overtly perky as Ben or Neil and I think that’s a good thing.

 

The live collaboration between St. Vincent and Justin Vernon of Bon Iver starts off with Annie Clark, who sounds lovely here. The music has a great groove and I love the prominence of the drum. Then Justin comes in. His voice, while reminiscent of Neil and Ben and even Eddie, messes the whole thing up for me. If Annie had done it solo I would have liked this a lot more.

   

   

 

Cover Battle – “I’ve Just Seen A Face” October 18, 2013

 

 

Well, I had no idea “I’ve Just Seen a Face” was a Beatles song. If this had been the first version I heard, I would think it was cute. A bit country, you know – but fun and sweet. It would not have imprinted itself as memorably as their other compositions, though.

 

The first I knew of this song was from Holly Cole. I love her singing a whole bunch. I just think she’s wonderful. Her style is very torchy and languid. A true chanteuse. Plus her version feels modern and there’s nothing hokey about it at all.

 

John Pizzarelli puts a slightly jazzy, Broadway, cabaret/showcase vibe to it. I quite enjoy the piano interlude that he brings in as well.

 

I like the cover version done by the indie band The View, as well. Frankly I’m liking the covers more than the original. Okay, maybe not necessarily the next version.

 

The Leon Russell version, performed with bluegrass musicians, ups the country factor on this with banjos and what not. I like the gruffness of Leon’s voice but the twanging and fiddling and “Cotton-Eyed Joe“-ness is not to my taste at all.

 

The Wings live performance is fine as well, although I do think Linda McCartney’s volume tends to overpower the other voices (and music) a bit. But I do love to see Paul & Linda together.

 

The interpretation from the movie Across the Universe is worked into the whole plot of the film. It’s a fun take on the exhilaration of love at first sight. On a side note, if you haven’t seen the movie yet, you simply must. It’s Beatles music, stunning visuals and direction by Julie Taymor, great performances and productions. Just awesome, seriously.

   
   

   

 

Cover Battle – “Last Train to Clarksville” September 27, 2013

 

The Monkees original version of Last Train to Clarksville, written by Boyce and Hart is upbeat, kicky and fun. And it’s a really good song. The music and the lyrics – imploring a lover to meet you in Clarksville for one more meeting seem a little cheeky. Exploring information about it, I discovered the lyrics go much deeper. It was actually a bit of a protest song, in its own way. The key is in the line “and I don’t know if I’m ever coming home”: The lover is a soldier being sent off to Vietnam.

 

The lovely Cassandra Wilson turns this song on its ear and gives it a smoky seductive feel. How could anyone refuse her request? You get wrapped up in the deep warm silkiness of her voice, especially when she scats.

 

So, what can I say about the Flatt & Scruggs version? Um … it’s super super twangy. And banjo-y. And I think there might be an actual train whistle in there somewhere. Or maybe it’s just a harmonica. Although, originated by The Monkees I can see how this would seem to lend itself to a country interpretation. And I think it works well in this vein. But, personally, I just can’t hang with the twang.

 

George Benson. Great artist, immensely talented. Sorry to say, I really dislike his version. It’s so fast, it’s almost frenetic. You know it sort of sounds like background music you’d hear on a game show while waiting for the contestants to finish writing out their final answers.

 

Jerry Reed’s recording is a country version I can actually get into. It’s nowhere near as … twangy as Flatt & Scruggs (thank goodness). The tempo and the vocal is much smoother than The Monkees, while still maintaining a peppiness to it. There’s a richness to Reed’s voice that I quite like.

 

Pam Tillis is another country performer presenting the song. She tries to be a little saucy with it. It seems like she’s just using the song as a filler to make a quick change from one kinda cute hippie outfit to a decidedly uglier hippie outfit. The bulk of the song showcases her band – guitars, pianos, and violins. Oh sorry – it’s country so I guess that would be “fiddles”. I like her band more than I like her 57 seconds of actual singing. (Yes, I did time it)

 

The Shadows present an all-instrumental version. No lengthy vocals to drag it out, just a quick little musical interlude. It’s nice, but it doesn’t do anything for me.

 

Finding out The Knack did a cover was a nice little treat. It’s extremely faithful to the well-known Monkees version, and very well-done. They didn’t overdo it trying to be different and they didn’t detract from it. Except this version doesn’t seem like a pointless recreation; it sounds like a very appreciative homage to a great piece of music by an extremely underrated band.

 

Ludichrist (no, not the rapper, that would be Ludacris) seems to be some sort of thrashy, metal-ly type of artist reworking. It’s beyond up-tempo – it’s hyper tempo, so it might actually be more of a punk thing. It’s really loud. And doesn’t bring a sense of wistful romanticism that seems to be told by the song’s lyrics. It sounds like a mental patient making demands “TAKE THE LAST TRAIN TO CLARKSVILLE!!!”

 

Now, frankly, I have no idea who Fonda Rae is, but I thought I’d throw this one in anyway. This version is such an oddity to me: it’s got some semi-interesting drum work, some robotic-electronic sounding stuff and a little funky guitar in there, too. It doesn’t bring anything new to the song. Well, let me restate that – it brings a lot of new stuff to this song. Like instruments and tempos and … stuff that I haven’t heard used on it before, but that’s not really any sort of improvement or reinterpretation. It just seems kind of pointless, like they said “Okay we’ve got all this stuff in the studio, let’s just throw it in. Oh, and does anyone have a kitchen sink we can add, as well?”

   

   

 

Cover Battle – “Billie Jean” August 16, 2013

 

Michael Jackson. Legendary, groundbreaking performer. Often imitated, but never duplicated. Who in the world would even attempt to cover one of his masterpieces? Well I found a very unlikely duo willing to go for it, on “Billie Jean“. I think you’ll be surprised at their interpretation.

 

The original song, with its mysterious lyrics, oh so danceable, infectious beat, making everyone think they could moonwalk (they can’t), was an instant classic. Featuring Michael’s signature wails and whelps and high-pitched “hee-hee-hee”, it continued MJ’s ascent into legendary music icon status.

 

The duo responsible for covering this song, The Civil Wars, is a new favorite of mine. Their musical stylings are much sparser than Michael’s, and definitely not what anyone might think of as pop, rock, r&b or soul. They’re decidedly more country, or even folk would be a good description. But they have such great heart and a lovely vocal interplay. I would have never expected a Michael Jackson cover from them.

 

Their version is simple – just 2 voices and one guitar. John Paul White’s voice is a nice harmonious counterpoint to Joy Williams’ delicate tone. They play against each other in a very inviting and engaging way. You should head over to YouTube to check out some of their other offerings.

 

And the Lego tribute? I just included that because I thought it was cute. 😉

   
   

   

 

Cover Battle – “If Loving You is Wrong (I Don’t Wanna Be Right)” August 9, 2013

 

Get yourself a nice cuppa, sit back and relax. This is another long one, and it’s not broken into two parts because there was really no big delineation between the versions I liked and the versions that sucked. They were all pretty good to me.

 

If Loving You is Wrong (I Don’t Wanna Be Right)” is a cheating song. There’s no way around it. But cover battles are not about the morality of the situations depicted in the songs so I’m not gonna rant over it. I just like the song and I’m gonna leave it at that.

 

I’ve never really listened to Millie Jackson’s music. I just remember when I was younger not being allowed to because she was “For Adults Only”. Like the Richard Pryor albums my parents had. Yep, Millie definitely has a reputation for being raunchy; some would say downright nasty.

 

She’s got a wonderful, deep soul sound and a realness to her voice – in her singing and her spoken patter during the song. Millie seems like she’d be straight up honest with you and not give a damn about whether you like it or not. She knows what she wants and will not let anyone dissuade her from her goal, whether it’s wrong or whether it’s right.

 

Country singer Barbara Mandrell is a little more up-tempo than the traditional slow grind of Millie’s versions. The only YouTube comment on Barbara’s version brought up the point that Millie’s version has the singer sounding guilty about it whereas Barbara is actually more wanton and celebratory about this fantastic love that she’s found. I think that’s a good take on it, although I think Millie’s characterization definitely reveals a lot of enjoyment of lusty, naughty aspects of the whole situation. I like Barbara’s version but I think the slower, more r & b arrangements fit it better. They bring more of a deeper, raw emotionality to the piece.

 

The piano intro to Rod Stewart’s version threw me off. It’s gonna take me a few listens to get used to it. I think Rod’s a magnificently talented artist in all sorts of different musical genres. As the song continues on I’m liking his vocals more and more. It’s just that opening and the first minute or so that wasn’t thrilling me so much.

 

The late great David Ruffin brings it back to the more soulful, desperately wanting trail. He’s a man who knows he’s guilty of betraying his family but just can’t help himself. It’s like without his “chick on the side” he would go insane. You can actually feel his conflict with being a good man and still encouraging/pursuing the outside relationship.

 

LeAnn Rimes, like Barbara Mandrell, is also a country singer. But her rendition does keep a somewhat soulful tinge to her twang as well as reveal some level of emotional conflict akin to David’s version. I enjoyed hearing her version and may have to investigate some more of her music.

 

The Ramsey Lewis cover is strictly instrumental. It grooves and swerves and would actually be great background music for sexy time. With a partner or a side dish. There is some incredibly jazzy piano work on this that I find captivating and funky yet so very mellow.

 

Tom Jones. I remember watching his tv variety show when I was younger and just swooning over him before I knew what swooning and lady tingles were all about. The man is 73. If I knew I could get him to my place, I would break into a pharmacy, grab all the Viagra I could find, come home, wait for him to show up on my doorstep, invite him inside and let the panties drop. When I think of Tom Jones I think of that intoxicating Welsh accent and those beautifully swiveling hips.

   
   
   

……………..

   
   
   

Oh, sorry – I think I passed out for a moment, but I’m back now. That is one soulful dude. Passionate and effortlessly sexy. He oozes sex appeal. In the best possible way. This is a great song for Tom. The story, the arrangement just fit with his song styling and personal magnetism and charm. And raw oozing sex appeal. Unf.

 

Percy Sledge does a fine bluesy interpretation. Very passionate and heartfelt. I enjoyed it a lot. I didn’t know that Isaac Hayes aka “Black Moses” tackled the song as well. Isaac brings big orchestration to this version, making it over in his style yet keeping the sexiness, power and emotional grit of the song intact while elevating it to another level.

 

I have to say that Cassandra Wilson’s interpretation is really my favorite. I think her voice may be kind of an acquired taste for some people. It took me a few listens before I grew to appreciate what a unique way she has of relaying emotion and expressing her artistry. Her voice is very deep and throaty yet not guttural. It’s incredibly rich, and smoothly seductive. In my opinion, she turns this into a wistful, resigned torch song. It’s wonderful.

   
   

   

 

Happy Birthday Martin Luther King, Jr. January 15, 2011

Martin Luther King, Jr. on wiki

Coretta Scott King at wiki

Martin Luther King Day

COMMEMORATING MARTIN LUTHER KING JR. / Gandhi’s influence on King

Martin Luther King and the Civil Rights Movement

Martin Luther King, Jr. – The Legacy

African-American Civil Rights Movement

Gandhi

Nonviolence

Civil Disobedience

Rosa Parks

Montgomery Bus Boycott

March on Washington

Letter from Birmingham Jail

Southern Christian Leadership Conference

Jim Crow laws

Civil Rights Act of 1964

Voting Rights Act

Nobel Peace Prize

Presidential Medal of Freedom

Congressional Gold Medal

 

Yuck!! January 11, 2011

Filed under: Found Objects — jerzygirl45 @ 2:48 am
Tags: , , , , , , , , ,

 

I don’t know about you, but I think this kiss

looks like grounds for annulment.

 

 

 

Thank you #SOT December 24, 2010

Via Soldier’s Angels

 

 
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