Thursday, April 2, 2009

Splotchy's Contribution To The COVER ME! Mix

Here's a discussion of my selections for the COVER ME! Mix, Volume 17 of the Green Monkey Music Project.

Contact - Godzuki
Contact - Brigitte Bardot
I heard the Godzuki cover of this before hearing the original by Bardot. Both are neat in their own way. Bardot's original is really peppy and short. And, she sings in French. That's always nice.

I really like Godzuki's cover. It's kind of electronically chunky, for lack of a better word. I think they have a drum machine patched through a Crybaby (aka "Wah-Wah") pedal which gives the whole song a really nice funky underpinning. This song can be found on the wonderful compilation Pop Romantique, which consists of well-established "alt" bands (Luna, Magnetic Fields, Ivy, Air) covering French tunes.

The Tide Is High - Blondie
The Tide Is High - The Paragons
This is another case of me hearing the cover before hearing the original. In fact, I didn't even realize it was a cover until a few years ago.

I used to go every Tuesday to Rock Records in downtown Chicago (you could get a dollar off all albums on Tuesdays). I would usually just go through their cutout bin of $5 items, looking for a good deal. One of those Tuesdays I lucked upon Duke Reid's Treasure Chest, a fantastic 2-disc compilation of rocksteady music. When I got home, I put on the first disc without looking at the tracks, and was very surprised to hear the Paragons launch into "The Tide Is High".

Even though it's a cover, for me the definitive version of this song will always belong to Blondie. Oh, this song. It would fit nicely as one of my selections on the Total Absorption Mix, as when I hear it I have to listen to the whole damn thing. It would fit nicely on the Eargasm Mix as well -- at the 3:48 mark, the way Deborah Harry sings the "the tide is hiiiIIGH!" gets me every time.

You may have noticed that I included an image of the K-Tel album Full Tilt as opposed to the Blondie album that the song was originally on, Autoamerican.

Well, that K-Tel record was a huge part of my childhood existence. I didn't own it, but a good friend of mine did. And we played the crap out of that album. Here's the track listing:

A1 The Tide Is High (Blondie)
A2 Let My Love Open The Door (Pete Townshend)
A3 Whip It (Devo)
A4 Hot Rod Hearts (Robbie Dupree)
A5 Take Your Time (Do It Right) (S.O.S. Band)
A6 I'm Happy That Love Has Found You (Jimmy Hall)
A7 Who'll Be The Fool Tonight (Larsen-Feiten Band)

B1 He's So Shy (Pointer Sisters)
B2 You're The Only Woman (Ambrosia)
B3 Shining Star (Manhattans)
B4 Midnight Rocks (Al Stewart)
B5 Misunderstanding (Genesis)
B6 Aint' That A Shame (Cheap Trick)
B7 Hit Me With Your Best Shot (Pat Benatar)

Honestly, I remember listening to the Pete Townshend, Devo and Blondie more than anything. And I remember playing "Whip It" at the wrong speed. It actually sounds quite lovely sped up. But I would never do that to Blondie. No, no, no.

Speeding Motorcycle - Yo La Tengo
Speeding Motorcycle - Daniel Johnston
I remember friends of mine in college talking about this song. One was defending it, and one was mocking Daniel Johnston. I like this song. The original is a little jarring when you first hear it, but it's sincere. And Yo La Tengo does a really pretty cover of it.

I thought about including R.E.M.'s cover of the Syd Barrett song "Dark Globe", which I think has a similar relationship to this cover/original pair.

Oh, there's another nice cover of this song by Yo La Tengo on Genius + Love, where Daniel Johnston calls in to sings the vocals, with YLT providing the musical accompaniment.

Superstar In France - Lambchop
Superstar In France - East River Pipe
I first discovered Lambchop during one of my many sessions of browsing used CD's at Laurie's Planet Of Sound. I really dug the album I picked up, Thriller. One of the best tracks on the record was "Superstar In France", which was actually a cover of a song by F.M. Cornog (aka East River Pipe).

They actually do a couple covers of East River Pipe songs on this album, but this is my favorite.

I bought some albums by East River Pipe because I liked the Lambchop covers so much.

Though the original "Superstar In France" is quite lovely, I love the Lambchop version a bit more. The instrumentation is wonderful, and Lambchop singer Kurt Wagner has one of the best voices in pop music.

Crazy - Violent Femmes
Crazy - Gnarls Barkley
Okay, the original song, from Gnarls Barkley's debut album St. Elsewhere, is great. You'll get no argument from me.

On the same record, Gnarls Barkley does a cover of "Gone Daddy Gone", a song from the Violent Femmes' debut album. I'm not sure if that was a motivating factor for the Violent Femmes to cover "Crazy", but whatever got them to do it, I'm thankful.

If they haven't already done so, they should cover the respective "Crazy" songs by Patsy Cline and Pylon. If there is any song out there called "Crazy", I want to hear Gordon Gano singing it.

American Woman - Butthole Surfers
American Woman - The Guess Who
I honestly don't know if I ever have heard the original in its entirety prior to this mix. I mostly know it from the "Freedom Rock" commercial, or whatever-the-hell compilation it used to be on that would be incessantly advertised on the T.V.

I have heard the Butthole Surfers cover plenty, however. I don't know, it has traces of the original, but stands alone as its own song quite nicely. It's a little squonky. I just like it.

1 comment:

Randal Graves said...

"Hey, man, is that Freedom Rock?"
"Yeah, man."
"Well, turn it up, man!"

When I think of Lambchop, I think of the puppet. I didn't even know it was a band.