RUMPLED COVERS, VOL. 1
RUMPLED.COVERS,.VOL.1; A Cornucopia of Strange Bedfellows
by Fray D Jay
1. Malcolm McLaren – About Her (The Zombies - Argent);
2. The Walkabouts – Cello Song (Nick Drake) (04.34);
3. This Mortal Coil – With Tomorrow (Gene Clark) (08.19);
4. Johanna & the Dusty Floors – Cloudbusting (Kate Bush) (10.28);
5. Richard X/Jarvis Cocker – Into You (Mazzy Star – Sandoval/Roback)(13.50)
6. Asobi Seksu – Bob Dylan’s 115th Dream (Bob Dylan) (17.44);
7. The Sea and Cake – Sound & Vision (David Bowie) (21.37);
8. Luna – Neon Lights (Kraftwerk – Hutter/Schneider/Bartos) (25.25);
9. The National – Clampdown (The Clash – Strummer/Jones) (29.42);
10. Keith James – Three Hours (Nick Drake) (33.30);
11. The Clash – Police & Thieves Dub ( Junior Murvin) (38.37);
12. Judy Dyble – See Emily Play (Pink Floyd - Barrett) (41.26);
13. Hellsongs – Paranoid (Black Sabbath) (45.28);
14. Lloyd Cole – Chelsea Hotel #2 (Leonard Cohen) (49.49);
15. Echo & The Bunnymen – Soul Kitchen (The Doors) (53.07);
16. Raphael – Modern Love (David Bowie) (58.37);
17. Shawn Lee – River Man (Nick Drake) (1.00.32);
18. Lewis Taylor – Ghosts (Japan - Sylvian) (1.04.52);
19. Lovespirals – Cymbaline (Pink Floyd – Waters) (1.08.26);
20. Frazier Chorus – Anarchy in the U.K. (Sex Pistols) (1.11.57);
21. The Last Battle – Regulate (Warren G/Nate Dogg) (1.15.18)
The group or artist who recorded the original version of each song is identified after each song title, followed by the composer if different.
The indicated times after each track title are the approximate start times of the track.
Sultry voice of Radio Etiopia – Ana Ribeiro
Cover for covers – A mash-up by Fray!
Please visit my blog at firstname.lastname@example.org to download the companion Volume 2 – “Rumpled Covers 2; More Strange Bedfellows” ….
Includes Leonard Cohen singing Bee Gees and spouse of world leader cooing Bowie!
Cover versions can raise the hairs on the back of your neck or your hackles (wherever they may be) with equal ease. Some stay dutifully faithful to the writer’s own interpretation, some radically alter the base structure, rendering the original composition almost unrecognizable and the meaning or message opaque.
It can be a mug’s game interpreting other people’s material. A harmless stab at popular songs, especially by iconic artists, can leave you open to scorn and ridicule by the latter’s devoted fans if you make a pig’s ear of it or offend their sensibilities by, say, turning a mournful lament heaving with naked hurt and emotion into a jaunty sing-along knee slapper – “Spaceballs” to a “Star Wars” fan!
Conversely a cover version that takes the piss (respectfully, of course – or at least covertly!) out of some bombastic slab of sluggish metal or a banal, macho set of naff yet offensive lyrics can be totally worthwhile and hilarious to boot. Two feature here – and no points are awarded for guessing which they may be!
But, apart from these two little exercises in disassembling, the other covers are all genuine attempts to apply a fresh coat of lacquer to some well-known ditties of varying age. I’m sure opinions may vary as to the success or failure of the cover versions included here but – credit where credit is due – if you’re taking on a Nick Drake song or Cohen’s homage to the late Janis Joplin, you’re messing with perfection and generally on a hiding to nothing.
Shawn Lee’s interpretation of “River Man” is the most radical, yet it might just surprise you in its boldness.
Kraftwerk are invariably granted great respect in covers with most attempts sticking close to the original blueprint, but LUNA bring a tasty, guitar-driven low-fi sensibility to the Teutonic high-tech wizard’s “Neon Lights”;
Bowie is visited twice – a copycat “Sound & Vision” by THE SEA AND CAKE but with added bubbly pop bounce, and a fragile, acoustic “Modern Love” from Gallic heartthrob RAPHAEL, as are Pink Floyd by two female voices – “Cymbaline” always cried out for a feminine interpretation, while Judy Dyble, Fairport Convention’s original singer before Sandy Denny joined them, gives Syd Barrett’s classic “See Emily Play” a good cuffing.
THIS MORTAL COIL was the consummate covers project, releasing three albums of shimmering goth beauty primarily made up of inspired cover choices, none more so than their achingly beautiful interpretation of Gene Clark’s achingly beautiful “With Tomorrow” – a description entirely applicable to LEWIS TAYLOR’s version of “Ghosts” in whose hands the dispassionate chill of the original is transformed into a bouquet of warmth and beauty.
Other included covers may delight or offend according to sensibility – you may find a hymnal “Anarchy” altogether too bizarre to swallow, for example. Two of the tracks are mash-ups, the arch JARVIS COCKER raising an eyebrow paired with the sensual swoon of HOPE SANDOVAL’s lush vocals, while MALCOLM McLAREN, the old fraudster, shamelessly commits multiple counts of grand larceny by making off with not only the classic Zombies hit “She’s Not There”, but also the voice of blues legend Bessie Smith from beyond the grave intoning "My man's got a heart like a rock cast in the sea” from W.C. Handy’s seminal “St Louis Blues” repeatedly throughout “About Her”, a track which, to surely nobody’s surprise, is credited to him as the sole writer on the soundtrack for Tarantino’s “Kill Bill 2”.
He got sued but, perversely, by none of the aforementioned. Some unknown French songwriter accused McLaren of plagiarizing one of his unknown compositions and sought recompense.
The case was thrown out of court.
Happy holidays to you all.
Don’t forget to OCCUPY 2012!