Thursday, June 25, 2020

25 June 2020 - Weezer - Africa

One of the most requested covers for me to post is this one.

It was similarly frequently requested that Weezer cover this Toto classic.  It was a Cleveland teenager named Mary Klym who requested that Weezer cover "Africa" on Twitter.


On May 24th, 2018, Weezer replied by posting this song.

Wednesday, June 24, 2020

24 June 2020 - René Froger & Candy Dulfer - Baker Street

René Froger is a Dutch artist who took a while to become a successful artist.

Candy Dulfer is perhaps the best known saxaphonist of the late 1980s and early 1990s. She also happens to be Dutch.

This live performance by two moderate Dutch stars is a somewhat perfect pairing - at least for this song, with perhaps the best known saxophone solo of all time.  

Tuesday, June 23, 2020

23 June 2020 - Veruca Salt - My Sharona

If you ask me about my ten favorite covers of all time, this one would be in the conversation, without hesitation.   One of these days, I'm going to do that post.  It's going to be a tough one.

A B-side to the single "Victrola", Nina Gordon and Louise Post bring a much slower, darker feel to this song, a huge hit for The Knack.  Enjoy!

Wednesday, June 10, 2020

10 June 2020 - The Dixie Chicks - Goodbye Earl

I didn't post this because I'm a fan of Lauren Holly, Jane Krakowski and Dennis Franz - but the visuals they bring to the story this song tells.

I posted this because this might be the cheeriest song about domestic violence ever performed.  And it DOES tell a great and clear story.

And OK, zombie Dennis Franz.

I posted this because there's a great story and a controversy.

This song is a cover of a song originally recorded by country band Sons of the Desert - BUT there's a bit of a story here.  Soon after Sons of the Desert recorded the song for their planned album, the Dixie Chicks discovered the song and claimed it as their own.   Their shared record label parent company (different labels, both owned by Sony) sided with the ladies, and Sons of the Desert left Epic Records as a direct result. 

At any rate, this version is denser and more layered - so enjoy.




Tuesday, June 9, 2020

9 June 2020 - Instituto Mexicano del Sonido - Sinfonía Agridulce

How about a Spanish cover of a Verve classic? Complete with a vague recreation of the video and added horns, this cover makes me smile, every time.

Instituto Mexicano del Sonido - Mexican Institute of Sound in English - is the brainchild of Camilo Lara and is part of a growing Mexican electronic movement.  This cover of the Verve song "Bittersweet Symphony" appears on the 2009 album Soy Sauce, which, in the case, would be sauce asserting its identity.

I don't feel good about that terrible joke, so let's get to the music.




Monday, June 8, 2020

8 June 2020 - Kelly Willis - Little Honey

When I was a student at St. Bonaventure University, I was a college radio DJ.  I was on late night and played what was known at the time as "alternative" or "New wave" music.  It was typical college/indie music of the period.

As you know from my two blogs 1) this is where and how I met my former co-writer, Scott Colvin, and 2) I am a fan of somewhat guilty pleasure music, so I pushed the envelope of definition of that format, which was mostly met positively.

Coincidentally, I discovered an alt-county artist named Kelly Willis.  At the time, MCA Records was trying to sell her as some sexpot artist - but she was - IS - much more than that.

Take this cover of Dave Alvin's "Little Honey", which originally appeared on the soundtrack to the motion picture Thelma and Louise.  Her huge emotive voice brings a different, angrier and yet still heartbroken feeling to the song. This is a live performance from 2016, 25 years after the original version was released.



I closed almost every show I did on WSBU from 1991 on with this song.  Was it an odd choice for someone who regularly played rock, new-wave, and punk music?  Maybe.  I didn't care.  It's a beautiful song, and alternative is alternative, be it rock or country.  It resonated with me and had a good end-of-show feel. 

So, this is the last song I played as a college radio DJ.  So, for that reason and so many more, it retains a lot of personal feeling for me to this day.

Here's the studio version of the song.  It was as fantastic then as it is today, almost three decades later.

Monday, June 1, 2020

1 June 2020 - First Aid Kit - America

Over this past weekend, a lot of American cities saw protests and riots, in support of George Floyd, who was killed in police custody in Minneapolis.  We are in what seems like the darkest timeline, and between this and the coronavirus pandemic, it seems like 2020 is never-ending.

I struggled with what to post here.

I chose to go with a cover of a very innocent and idealistic Simon & Garfunkel song that celebrates the beauty of our country and the idealism of youth.  The cover is performed by two Swedish sisters, Johanna & Anna Söderberg, and they do a fine job of paying proper tribute to Paul Simon's composition. 

 

Monday, May 11, 2020

11 May 2020 - Royal Teeth - Heartbeats

I don't usually revisit the same song so frequently as this one - recall that I published a folk cover of this song by The Knife about two week ago - unless I'm doing a whole theme week.

This song is different.  So many artists have their own unique and really good takes on what was originally a synth-heavy song, it's impossible to ignore.

Royal Teeth started off in folk, actually.  By the time they got around to recording "Heartbeats" in 2012, they were a percussion-heavy band - and it shows in their take of the song, which borrows heavily from both the José González and original version - while still making it completely their own.

It is, possibly, my favorite version of the song.



This cover is so good I had to publish a 2nd performance of it.  It isn't all that different from the 1st one, but it's beautifully undetatched, in stark contrast to the original, which has famously and intentionally cold.  Royal Teeth also bring a lot more energy to the song than anyone else - it's not quiet or calm.  It's desperate and pleading.

Friday, May 8, 2020

8 May 2020 - KONGOS - Tokoloshe Man

When a musician has four sons, of course they're going to form a band and cover his songs.

They do a great job paying tribute to their dad, John Kongos, who was a bit of a late hippie who had a few hits in the 1970's - and they even throw in a little accordion to liven things a bit.

Monday, May 4, 2020

4 May 2020 - Ween - Ohio

ON this 50th anniversary of the Kent State massacre, there's no other song to play.



Ween, known for being off-kilter, do an amazingly and unexpected straight reading of this song.







If you aren't familiar with the original, or the story, it's over here on Wicked Guilty Pleasures.

Thursday, April 30, 2020

30 April 2020 - Glen Campbell - Hold On Hope

I never expected that Glen Campbell would do a Guided by Voices cover.  But this song - which we featured in its original version on Wicked Guilty Pleasures five years ago - is a perfect fit for the feel Campbell was seeking.

You see, Ghost on the Canvas was meant to be his farewell album.  This song - about the hope that everyone holds on to - was perfect for him, as he was struggling with Alzheimer's and the end of her career.  He brings a different sadness than the one Robert Pollard brought to the original - this one is a less dark sadness, one of hope and resignation, and not of despair.

By the way, he recorded two more albums.

Tuesday, April 28, 2020

28 April 2020 - José González - Heartbeats

This song was originally performed by a Swedish electronic duo called The Knife.   Nicely, they were able to stay anonymous for many years.  Until 2009, that is - when José González released an acoustic version of the song that reached #9 on the UK charts.

Here's the video for the song.  It brings warmth and sadness to a song that was a purposefully and beautifully cold breakup song, and still the song works!!



Sony used this version of the song in a commercial - and that sparked interest in the original by The Knife - so they lost their anonymity and took to wearing Venetian bird masks.  I include the bouncing ball video - the Sony Bravia commercial that caused all this trouble,

Monday, April 27, 2020

27 April 2020 - A Brazilian "Stay" Special

Today on Wicked Guilty Pleasures, we feature the Oingo Boingo song, "Stay".  This song was not a huge hit in the United States... but it WAS in Brazil, where it was used in a telenovela named Top Model.

So, this is a song Brazilian artists want to cover.

Take Tallene, from São Paulo .  This one departs wildly from the sound of the original - making the sweet rock song into a metal anthem.  They also seem to be interested in making a video that's more than a performance piece - but that ran into a snag.



Paradox decided to go a little more traditional in their reading.  Paradox are a band from Novo Hamburgo, in Brazil - and they do admirable job covering this song.

 

Not to be outdone, Tonantes Verdes Fritos have a cover of their own.  Hailing from Ribeirão Preto, I think, this faster tempo version accomplishes something even Danny Elfman couldn't - proper annunciation of the lyrics.  Or did you think it was a cat show with prizes at the door, like I did for years?



Let's flip it a little bit.  Here's Rock'n Coaster, from São Paulo, with a female singing the song.  It gives the song a slightly different feel, doesn't it?



Hot Rocks is also from São Paulo, and they bring this post full circle - back to the party band vibe that Oingo Boingo brought in the first place.



However, you know us.  We hate leaving perfect circles.  Liga Joe, from Goiânia, also have a cover of this song - and it's less party and more straight-ahead power rock.   It's different, but still valid...... and they capture the orginal's outro really well!



The song is just a well known song in Brazil.  This performance by Vintage Cult illustrates that well - the crowd is singing along!

 

You got this far.  Now go listen to the original on Wicked Guilty Pleasures.

Friday, April 17, 2020

17 April 2020 - Seven Boots - Peter Gunn

You know that totally adorable thing that I like to do - feature small bands you've never heard of ?

Here's a clearly Jethro Tell-inspired version of Peter Gunn to finish your week.  Performed live by German band Seven Boots (go to www.sevenboots.com to learn more about them) , it features a lead flutist. 

I love this.  That's all I can really say about that.  I hope you do, too!

Thursday, April 16, 2020

16 April 2020 - The Cramps - Peter Gunn

Now, let's take this Peter Gunning to the next level.

I firmly believe that this cover - released by the Cramps in 1997, but really released as a Poison Ivy guitar showcase (no Lux Interior to be seen) - is a cover of the Art of Noise version we published two days ago, and not of the original Henry Mancini version.

Either way, Poison Ivy OWNS this song on guitar.  The Cramps are a perfect band to cover this song, combining punk and surf sounds regularly, primarily because of her guitar work.




Wednesday, April 15, 2020

15 April 2020 - Emerson, Lake And Palmer - Peter Gunn

This week was originally supposed to be a Henry Mancini tribute week.  I found so many covers of Peter Gunn that I couldn't resist.

What happens when Henri Mancini's class meets prog rock?  The answer, of course, is this ELP cover of his classic.   It's interesting to hear so much keyboard in a song that is clearly guitar-driven.

Tuesday, April 14, 2020

14 April 2020 - The Art of Noise featuring Duane Eddy - Peter Gunn

You think you have this week's theme figured out? 

Two days, two Peter Gunn covers, each very different. Duane Eddy is well known for covering this song in the 1960's - in the 1980's, he teamed up with avant-garde group Art of Noise to bring together the worlds of surf guitar and electronic experimentation.  Doesn't sound like a good combination, does it?  It works.



Tune in tomorrow to see if your guess is right.

Monday, April 13, 2020

13 April 2020 - The Jody Grind - Peter Gunn

This cover is a bit of a revelation.  Who knew that this song even had lyrics?

In its original version, it didn't.  Henry Mancini wrote it without lyrics, in support of the television series of the same name.

In the 1960, Jay Livingston & Ray Evans added lyrics.  This version was originally recorded by Sarah Vaughan - in this version, the song is called Bye-Bye. The Jody Grind - an Atlanta band that released two albums in the early 1990's but disbanded when two of their members were killed in a car crash - covered THAT.  Kelly Hogan's huge, soulful voice completely dominates the tune, and that's a good thing! 

Friday, April 10, 2020

10 April 2020 - Fine, it's Pink ft. Platonic Scale - Teen Spirit (Dreaming of Nirvana) | Fine, it's Pink - This Feeling

I've been a fan of Fine, It's Pink for years.  They've gone back and forth between original music and covers throughout their career.   Although they're Romanian, they primarily record in English - and have a unique, ethereal-but-heavy song not unlike the feel of early Cocteau Twins. 

Ioana Lefter isn't Kurt Cobain, and that's OK - a Nirvana impersonation doesn't do this song justice.  The band teamed with Victor Mihailescu (Platonic Scale) to give the song a darker, modern feel. 



Now that we are in the middle of a pandemic, even in Romania, the band is separated.  That doesn't mean they aren't making new music.....    This is a cover of the Alabama Shakes song "This Feeling" that the band recorded in THREE different locations, separated, and released to their Facebook page - please give them a like. 

This might be my favorite song of the moment - both in its original version and this cover.  I think the lyrics nicely capture what a lot of us are feeling right now. 

Wednesday, April 8, 2020

8 April 2020 - A Cover Me Canada Sundown Special

The video for this was filmed at midnight, in Whitehorse, Yukon, Canada.... so there was no sundown.  But a Canadian band covering a Canadian classic seemed just too perfect today.

The video itself was made by folk group Come Eat A Cat as an audition tape for a Canadian reality competition in which they could cover one of four Canadian songs.  Don't worry.  I'll be featuring the other three songs soon.... but there were so MANY solid covers of this song that we had to start here.



There were so many good covers that were so different we couldn't help but feature a second.  Valley
are decidedly NOT a folk group - representing my favourite province, Alberta (they're from St. Albert, Canadian friends).



So I don't get shit from my Ontario friends, here's a Toronto band covering Sundown....



..although, for my money, the Credit Valley metal take from Ontario was a little better.



In researching this post, I heard a LOT of really bad covers of this song.  I won't be sharing them..... Honestly, I didn't expect this post to become a tour of Canada... but sometimes, the posts go where they want to go.

Here's a band from British Columbia - Vancouver, to be precise. - to finish up.  High Society goes all Postmodern Jukebox with a horned-up hip-hop take.



Tuesday, April 7, 2020

7 April 2020 - Foo Fighters - Never Talking To You Again

Hüsker Dü originated this very simple song - originally written by the late Grant Hart - and Dave Grohl does an admirable job covering it. 

The song itself is very simple - it's performed only on guitar, with no additional accompaniment - and yet still stays pretty faithful to the original (which did feature Hart and Bob Mould together on vocals and guitar).

Monday, March 30, 2020

30 March 2020 - Joan Osborne - One of Us

"One of Us"

That's the whole title.

What you did NOT know is that this song was originally written and performed by Eric Bazilian, who is best known for his work as a member of The Hooters.  However, he recorded it as a demo and hid it as a hidden track on his debut solo album (and The Hooters have performed the song as well since).

Bazilian was part of the songwriting team that worked on Osborne's debut album, Relish, and he ended up playing his demo for this quick little song he wrote to impress a girl - and she asked to record the song. 

The song went on to win several Grammys, so right choice, Eric!

The song expounds on the imagery of man being created in God's image - and some found it to be a little sacrilegious - which, of course, missed the point of this beautiful song.

Thursday, March 26, 2020

26 March 2020 - Hole - Gold Dust Woman

I was not sure I would like this version of "Gold Dust Woman" before I heard it. 

Wow, was I wrong. Courtney Love brings even more anger to an already angry classic, owning it herself - and this was originally from the genius of Stevie Nicks!!!! 
 

Wednesday, March 25, 2020

25 March 2020 - Patty Loveless - Don't Toss Us Away

This song, a very faithful cover of a Lone Justice ballad, is full of emotion and poignancy.   She became a really big star, but in 1989, she was a rising star of country music, and this song - written by original vocalist Maria McKee's BROTHER - fit well with her vocal range and her sound - a fact even McKee admitted to Loveless personally during the recording session for this song.

Anyway, it was a top five hit for Loveless.  And it is beautifully performed.

Thursday, February 6, 2020

6 February 2020 - fIREHOSE - Walking The Cow

When the album Flyin' The Flannel came out, I never did think this sounded like a fIREHOSE song.  I just thought it was Mike Watt being econo or something. 

Turns out it was a cover of a Daniel Johnston song.  Inspired by a Blue Bell ice cream wrapper, the late Johnston recorded the original on a tape recorder in his Austin home.  This version is only slightly more hi-fi than that - replacing chord organ with boom stick - and a fitting tribute.

Wednesday, February 5, 2020

5 February 2020 - Shawn Colvin - Crazy

I first heard this amazingly understated cover several years ago.... but I forgot about it......

Tuesday, February 4, 2020

4 Febuary 2020 - Fifth Dimension - Wedding Bell Blues

We've gotten to the Fifth Dimension part of this blog.  What a lot of people don't know is that this was a cover of a Laura Nyro song.  Marilyn McCoo and company took it all the way to #1 in 1969.  Those of you who grew up in the 1980's remember Marilyn McCoo from the TV show Solid Gold.  She was a legitimate musician, and not just a TV host.

Saturday, February 1, 2020

3 February 2020 - Dana Williams and Leighton Meester - Dreams

Let's not bury the lede.  Yes.  That's Blair Waldorf singing a Fleetwood Mac cover.  And playing a guitar.  We're having some trouble reconciling that with the thing she did with Cobra Starship and especially the thing she did with Robin Thicke, but this is really good

We kid.  We know Leighton Meester can sing.  Anyone who saw Country Strong knows this.

I also don't want to ignore Dana Williams, who is equally strong on this track.  She's not as well known as her co-singer (having been in an Apple commercial and the reality show Rising Star) but that's not a reflection of her talent, as the two ladies harmonize quite well.


1 February 2020 - R.E.M. - Wichita Lineman

I know, it's been awhile.  I'm glad to be back at this.

Many of you know my favorite song is "Wichita Lineman" by Glen Campbell.  I said as much here.  It's become more meaningful to me as I have aged. 

"Wichita Lineman" was a song by Jimmy Webb, written for Campbell but also recorded by Webb.  This version, for an R.E.M. concert film, is a beautiful and haunting version of an already beautiful and haunting song.  This version captures the simplicity of the song as well.