Wednesday, September 25, 2013

Top Ten-Cover Me

After ten years of blogging and putting up top ten songs that I have been playing, this week we're going to do things a bit different.  This week we are going to do a top ten of Cover versions of songs that you know so well about.  After all we all grew up listening to certain songs and some to the point that I actually covered them in various bands myself.  On the latest Townedgers album 30, we actually do a very nice cover of Bob Dylan's All Along The Watchtower even to the point that I think the TEs did it better than the over the top version that U2 gave the world on the Rattle And Hum album, something that the Hoarder Hound bought when there was nothing else to get for a free CD from the poor selection of FYE Moline.  Of course our last top ten The Fireballs What I Am was a covered and was a minor hit for Tommy James and The Shondells and through the magic of XM radio and 60s on 6 became the first time I heard that song played on the radio in about 4 decades.  AM 740, the oldies station from Canada also rocked my word by playing a lot of obscure 60s stuff that no Cumulus/Clear Channel would touch.  In today's radio world, the best stations are online or satellite radio for the price of new cd, you can get a month's worth of forgotten favorites and all the Pink Floyd and Grateful Dead you can handle but for myself I wish the folks at Deep Tracks would just spin Pink Floyd off to their own channel and open up the vaults of the forgotten.  At least they played some obscure Savoy Brown for a change before moving to something from Animals.  Don't get me wrong, I like Pink Floyd and have a few of their albums here, but I don't love them to the point that I have to hear them every single day.  I grew up in a world of variety and plenty of it.  But even after a while my favorite XM Radio station will tend to play their tried and true, which in that case, I either push a button to another station or stuff a CD into the player.

But in order to win me over, you have to dig deep into the archives for the hard to find and sometimes a great cover version of a song remade for the new generation.  And with the hope that if you like the cover, you'll go look for the original version.  So let's see what's cooking for cover classics this week.

1.  Are You A Boy Or Are You A Girl-Peter Wolf  1990  Originally done by the Barbarians and written by Doug Morris who went on to bigger things in the music industry.  Peter Wolf, the J Geils Band singer moved on to a solo career that had its up and downs and this was the B side to 99 Worlds which stumbled up to number 78 on the charts.  But I'm sure you never heard of Wolf's version since it was a B side only and not on his sole MCA LP.  Doesn't vary much from the Barbarians version even with it's dated 90's production but it's more closer to the rock sounds of early J Geils.  A shame it didn't make the album.

2.  I Fought The Law-The Clash 1979  This is one song that you cannot mess up and perhaps the most perfect song that Bobby Fuller ever wrote and of course it's been covered many a time, Hank Williams Jr had a hit with it in 78.  But The Clash bring punk rock and garage rock together on this in you face add on the 1979 S/T album that Epic in the US finally put out (with a few more variations).

3.  Summertime Blues-The Who 1970  Many a cover version has appeared and at around that time Blue Cheer turned their amps up to 11 and blasted away but for me the best version came from The Who and the classic Live At Leeds, one of the all time best live albums ever.  The Who made an attempt to do a studio version of this (later issued on the revamped Odds And Sods) and it was okay but nothing compares to the live version of this to which I wore the grooves off my 45.

4.  The Weight-The Staple Singers 1968  Sometimes I overlook the R and B acts that I grew up listening to, plenty of Otis Redding and Sam and Dave and of course Sam Cooke, then you Arthur Lee and Love and Jimi Hendrix and of course Mothers Finest but outside of a handful of rising stars (Black Joe Lewis) a lot of black people would rather be thugs or rappers a far cry from the soul music of the 70s and the likes of Isaac Hayes, Rick James and many many others.  The Staple Singers to me was one of the best crossover acts, going from gospel to rhythm and blues and their Stax best of is required listening.  Certainly Aretha Franklin does a fine version of this but The Staples' version will blow you away.

5.  I Heard It Through The Grapevine-CCR  1970  Believe it or not this actually came out as a single version in 1976 which by then they were no more but a reminder on how great they made radio with their songs and extended jams.  But even all the good times couldn't hide the acrimoniousness that both John Fogerty and the CCR rhythm section vowed to never work again together.  But both John and Doug and Stu continue to prop up tribute albums to their sounds, John getting guest stars on his latest and the other guys as CC Revisited.

6.  Cry One More Time-Gram Parsons 1972  While people continue to sing the praises of Mr. Parsons, I pick and choose the best ones, Sweetheart Of The Rodeo and Gilded Palace Of Sin are his legacies and his solo albums have been dust collectors on my shelf but while trying to compile a covers list, I was pointed out to this cover of a J. Geils Band number that is on The Morning After.  Which proves that Gram also knew a great song to cover as well as write them.

7.  Come On Let's Go-The Paley Brothers 1979  Featuring The Ramones in the background off the Rock and Roll High School album.  If you like good power pop, Real Gone Music has reissued The Paley Brothers Sire album and worth a listen.

8.  Louisiana  Rain-Samantha Fish 2011  In putting together this top ten it was noted that I haven't put anything from the 2000's onward, like I said, not an oversight, just that a lot of the good covers came from the 60s or 70s.   Samantha does a pretty good cover of this Tom Petty number that you don't hear much on classic rock radio although it's off Damn The Torpedoes.   Still waiting for our local store to have the latest album, or if Half Priced Books had finally gotten a promo copy in, since they have been good at getting stuff from Ruf Records in as promos.

9.  Me And The Boys-Dave Edmunds 1981 Dave actually makes this NRBQ cover a lot more hard rocking if you can believe that.

10.  Money Changes Everything-Delta Moon 2007  If you've been following me here in this blog and elsewhere you know how much I love the first Brains album and been trying to get it reissued in one way or another, finally converting a cassette copy over to CD.  I always thought that the cassette sound version was a bit louder than the album itself.  For many a year and time the Brains blog has been the number 1 most viewed blog I had up till the last couple months which it has kinda died off and maybe wondering whoever had the link up on their site got taken down or what have ya.  Cyndi Lauper covered it and kept the memory alive of Tom Gray who continues to work under the Delta Moon banner and making fine albums on their own.  He decided to revisit the song and reconstruct it in a more straight forward southern rock mode.  Still stands to me as a cover.

Elsewhere:  You gotta hand it to Jack White to keep the legacy of the blues alive and this time out has taken on a role of preserving the history of Paramount Records, the late 20's label coming from the major record company of the Wisconsin Chair Company. JSP Records really did a fine job issuing some of the old Paramount 78s into a couple of 4 CD box sets. Teaming up with Reverent, White and Third Man will issue a massive 6 LP set called The Rise And Fall Of Paramount Records next month.  Plenty of folk recorded for Paramount back then, from Louis Armstrong to King Oliver to Blind Blake to Blind Lemon Jefferson and plenty more.

Not enough toes left to shoot off department:  I noticed that Best Buy has raised the price on most of the 4.99 CDs which makes no GD sense whatsoever.  Not sure why the majors decided to raise the price but it's generally agreed that most of us already have those CDs in our collection anyway.

And so it goes.

Pat Gallagher is out as Station Manager at Triple M in Madison, sounded like he was forced out from Corporate Shenanigans (FU Entercom).

Passings: Tommy Wells, Nashville session drummer who you can hear on the Foster And Lloyd hit single Crazy Over You, he was 62.   And Brian Flugge, who isn't in the music business but one of the best plumbers that I knew of.  He owned Reagens' (I probably spelled it wrong) Plumbing and Heating and died of a sudden illness at age 40. Too young to die.

As for myself, I've been keeping a low profile the past week from a  high shoulder muscle spams that makes it hard for me to be at the computer for more than 5 minutes.  Don't know what the fuck I did but I have been in pain all fucking week despite going to the doctor twice.  If I could I would have sacrificed myself in order to let somebody like Brian Flugge live longer.  But sometimes life isn't fair and the good die young anyway.  On the plus side, the Crabb site has passed 2,000 views.  Guess we're extended the good fortune for another month eh?

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