Song of the Day posts one cool cover every morning. Sometimes they’re artist submissions.
The Exile on Main St. remaster has dominated music news for the past few weeks, but to my mind Let It Bleed is the real classic. After kicking off with “Gimme Shelter,” it goes into a Robert Johnson song so far beyond typical blues-rock cover it’s hardly a cover at all. Not only did the band flesh out the original – when you cover Robert Johnson, that’s pretty much inevitable – but they added extra chords, a more defined melody, and Keith Richards’ tricky little acoustic part.
In 1990, Richards described discovering the song.
For a time we thought the songs that were on that first album were the only recordings [Robert Johnson had] made and then suddenly around ’67 or ’68 up comes this second collection that included Love in Vain. Love in Vain was such a beautiful song. Mick and I both loved it, and at the time I was working and playing around with Gram Parsons, and I started searching around for a different way to present it, because if we were going to record it there was no point in trying to copy the Robert Johnson style or ways and styles. We took it a little bit more country, a little bit more formalized, and Mick felt comfortable with that.
It as since been covered by everyone from the Faces to Eric Clapton. The best post-Stones version emerged a year ago though. Blues guitarist Stephen Dale Petit went on tour with ex-Stones axeman Mick Taylor and they performed a stunning piano-and-harmonica cover. Taylor sears it with some brutal slide work. He didn’t play on the original, but he clearly should have.
Hear more Stephen Dale Petit at his website