WE’VE GOT IT COVERED –
Who likes a cover? Not a duvet or a blanket, well you might like those as well, I mean a cover song. They annoy some people, to the point I’ve been verbally assaulted on Twitter. Nothing like a cover to cause a huge debate The thing is with covers they are usually chosen by the new artists because they are great songs and artists want to sing them. Not always for the better in fact in my opinion rarely. Nine times out of ten, their efforts are met with something between “Not bad… but nothing compared to the original” and “This has ruined my favourite song for me forever. This is the controversial bit. Hardened fans of those songs and artists don’t like them being changed.
Liberty X was on the radio at work doing their rendition of Chaka Khans mega hit “Ain’t Nobody”. I commented that I thought it wasn’t too shabby a cover, to a colleague. My goodness I regret it now. How can you compare Chaka to that lot! She’s in a different class. Well yes she is, but I do think their version is ok. Wish I’d kept my mouth shut!
I’m often surprised as well at the amount of songs that I thought were originals are much older and then gone on to be signature tunes for artists or bands that didn’t record them first. I like listening to different version of songs, as long as they are done well what’s the problem?
Which leads me on to my choices for this week, five covers, I like. I didn’t say they are better OK. Well……maybe two of them I do…I await the backlash!
JOSE FELICIANIO- CALIFORNIAN DREAMIN
Jose Feliciano is a Puerto Rican virtuoso guitarist, singer and composer. Jose was left permanently blind from birth as a result of congenital glaucoma. He started his musical life playing the accordian until his Father gave him his first guitar in a brown paper bag. He would play his guitar by himself in his room for up to 14 hours a day, and would listen to 1950s rock’n’roll records of classical guitarists and jazz players, Jose is a household name in Latin America, most of his music is in Spanish.
Californian dreamin’ was written by John and Michelle Phillips and recorded by the Mamas & the Papas in 1965. The lyrics tell of a yearning for the warmth of Summer during a cold Winter.
I love the Mamas and the Papas, and I love this song. I’ve listened to them both while writing this and to be fair the original is the best with its psychedelic sound and amazing harmonies. However Jose’s version is really good too and I have enjoyed it as a completely different sound. His Spanish guitar is amazing and I love the Spanish language sung. Very romantic…..I know I’m a dreamer
MARCIA GRIFFITHS – FIRST TIME I EVER SAW YOUR FACE
Marcia Griffith nicknamed the ‘Queen Of Reggae’ born in Kingston, Jamaica. Started her career as a young girl in her home town and has an impressive collection of duets with other Jamaican artists. Bob Marley, Tony Gregory and Bob Andy to name but a few. I love this song and to be honest thought the original version was by Roberta Flack. I was wrong the original folk song was written and recorded by British political singer/songwriter Ewan MacColl in 1957.Roberta made it an international hit in the 1960’s
Marcia recorded her version in 1974. I like her version better than Roberta’s. I love reggae and I love Marcia’s soft easy voice. Her vocals are effortless and laid back. The kind of music I like to listen to on a Sunday night, it just washes over you.
SOFT CELL-TAINTED LOVE
Soft Cell were a Synthpop duo from Leeds. Consisting of vocalist Marc Almond and instrumentalist David Bell. They had 10 top 40 hits which included ‘Tainted Love’ their biggest hit.
Tainted Love was written by Ed Cobb for Gloria Jones in 1964. Gloria released this song in 1965 and it was a flop. However in 1973 it was resurrected from the ashes by a UK Northern Soul DJ and became a popular favourite at Wigan Casino.
I have both versions of this song on vinyl. Both get played. I love Gloria’s Northern Soul voice and the harmonies, classic. But I also love the 80s sound of Soft Cell.
FLUNK – BLUE MONDAY
Flunk are an electronic band from Norway. The music genre is described as Trip-hop, Folktronica. Blue Monday was released as their first single from their debut album ‘For Sleepyheads only’. The album was well received in the UK and eventually worldwide. They have since recorded a further 7 albums.
Blue Monday was written and recorded by New Order as if we need to be told that. “Blue Monday” is one of the longest tracks ever to chart on the UK Singles Chart at over 6mins long and is the biggest-selling 12″ single of all time. Impressive stats.
A friend of mine is a huge New Order fan and I thought I would send him the ‘Flunk’ version and see what he thought. His reply was ‘I hate covers especially songs I’m very, very hot on. Second thought I liked the vocals, very good actually. But was waiting for the deep electro beat drums of Morris to kick in and that hooky signature base. There’s a place for that vocalist, very good. However it was like eating a Sunday Beef Roast without the beef, just veg. I know exactly what he means it doesn’t compare with the original version, because they are two different sounds and it lacks oomph! I think the vocals are really good and her voice is quite haunting. See what you think. Hungry now with the mention of Sunday Dinner!!
SIOUXIE AND THE BANSHEES-DEAR PRUDENCE
Siouxsie and The Banshees are a post-punk/new wave English band formed in London in 1976. The band evolved from punk to new wave with its rhythmic electronic experimentation. The Banshees became inspirational in the creation of the gothic rock genre. This song as probably everyone knows was written by John Lennon. It was released in 1968 on the White Album. Lennon wrote the song about Prudence Farrow, sister of actress Mia Farrow. Prudence was in India to study with Maharishi Mahesh Yogi at the same time as the Beatle’s. Farrow became so serious about her meditation that she “turned into a near recluse” and “rarely came out” of the cottage she was living in. John Lennon was asked to “contact her and make sure she came out more often to socialise”. As a result, Lennon wrote the song “Dear Prudence”. In the song Lennon asks Farrow to “pen up your eyes” and “see the sunny skies” reminding her that she is “part of everything”. The song was said to be, “a simple plea to a friend to ‘snap out of it’
I was a huge Siouxsie Sioux fan back in the day. I had aspirations to be a Punk Princess, unfortunately or maybe fortunately my Mam didn’t share my vision. But I took from it some great music and my love of tartan. This is my favourite Siouxsie and the Banshees track released in 1983. Their version is more electronic and up tempo totally different sound altogether, although the sentiment of the lyrics are still there. In my opinion this version is better than The Beatles. Maybe because it’s my era or my love of Siouxie but I don’t listen to the Beatles version and I’m always playing Siouxsie’s. Im going to get wrong for saying that aren’t I?
Just before I go remember ‘One good thing about music, when it hits you, you feel no pain’. *Bob Marley
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