Saturday, 6 March 2010

Classic covers

Various musical listenings over the past few weeks and months have inspired me to write this particular blog entry. Whilst I'm very sure that the theme is not unique, perhaps my take on it will be.

I've decided to create a playlist on lastfm, and document here, what I refer to as 'classic cover versions'. Don't expect to see run-of-the-mill stuff here, the classic covers I refer to are for songs that mean something to me. So, let's get started ...

Actually I have just reaqlised I pressed the 'publish' button a little prematurely and some tracks do not have descriptions ... will look to address this soon.

The Damned - Looking At You

I can't quite remember where I heard this song but seem to have a memory of having it on tape, recorded from the John peel show in the late 1970's (subsequent internet research indicates it featured in a Peel session). I loved the track the moment I heard it but it was probably 20 years later that I eventually heard the MC5 original version from their classic 1970 album Back in the USA. Whilst some covers versions tend to polarise opinion, I'll have to give this one a the same score as I like both versions equally.

The Clash - Pressure Drop

Toot and the Maytals original version is, of course, excellent, but the Clash version of this track was one of the first real reggae tracks I had ever heard. It took a while for me to come to terms with the fact that reggae and punk could sit side-by-side in my record collection, but artists like the Clash made this possible.

The Clash - Police and Thieves

Another great Clash cover version. Junior Mervin's original is yet again another firm reggae favourite in this house.

Marc and the Mambas - Vision

I remember being blown away by the tracks on the first Marc and the Mambas album, particularly those which were cover versions. This cover of a Peter Hammill track is probably my favourite track on the their 1983, Torment and Toreros album. The influence that Peter Hammill had on Marc Almond is evident from the cover version, and again this is one where I like the original and cover equally, but thanks to this Marc Almond cover version I have built up a fair sized Peter Hammill and Van der Graaf Generator collection.

Marc Almond - If You Go Away

Another Marc Almond cover version again in his Marc and the Mambas guise, covering a Jacques Brel track. This was probably my first exposure to Jacques Brel, and although Marc has covered plenty more in his time this is my favourite.

Marc and the Mambas - Caroline Says

The original version of this track comes from Lou Reed's bleak masterpiece, Berlin, from 1973. This cover version is another from Marc and the Mambas, this time from their Untitled album of 1982.

Stiff Little Fingers - Doesn't Make It Alright

The Specials

Manic Street Preachers - Working Class Hero

This was one of those tracks that I'd heard the name banded around for years, but the forst time I heard the song was as a cover version, first by the Manics, then Green Day. John Lennon .......

Siouxsie and the Banshees - Helter Skelter

This was one of the first Siouxsie tracks I heard after Hong Kong Garden, and had no idea at the time it was in fact a Beatles track. I like both versions but, probably due to my punk heritage, the Siouxsie version just pips McCartney at the post.

Siouxsie and the Banshees - Dear Prudence

The Mission - Tomorrow Never Knows

Another cover version of a Beatles song, this time by Sisters of Mercy offshoot, the Mission, covering Tomorrow Never Knows from the Beatles' 1996 album Revolver. Not necessarily the easiest or most obvious track to cover but I feel the Mission did it justice.

The Mission - Dancing Barefoot

Having been a Patti Smith fan for more years than I care to remember, I remember being somewhat sceptical when I heard that the Mission had recorded a cover version of her classic Dancing Barefoot track. However, my fears were unfounded as this is a superb cover version, working well both as a studio track and a live encore track when I saw them back in the late 1980's.

Dandy Livingstone - A Message To You Rudy

This was one of the reasons for compiling this playlist. I only heard this version in the past couple of weeks and must admit, somewhat ashamedly, that until then I thought The Specials did the original. Since I've been alerted to the error of my ways I've been listening to quite a few tracks by Dandy Livingstone and am very much likeing what I'm hearing.

Two Lone Swordsmen - Sex Beat

Psychic TV - Set The Controls For The Heart of The Sun

The Jam - So Sad About Us

Cover versions were quite commonplace in the early days of the Jam, but this cover of Pete Townsend's track appeared on the b-side of their classic single, from 1978, Down in the Tube Station at Midnight, as a tribute to The Who durmmer, Keith Moon, who died earlier that year.

The Cramps - Psychotic Reaction

As usual, a list of records and CDs for sale cane be found on my web site.

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